What happened to most people who got crucified in Roman times?
- If they got lucky, a friend sweet-talked someone into freeing them.
- They got a proper burial.
- They got thrown into a mass grave or nearby pit.
- Crows, dogs, and wild critters recycled their protein.
- A wild bear ate them.
- Witches pulled off the nails and cut off hunks of flesh for casting spells.
- Physicians used the nails to cure someone’s pain in the neck and the ropes to treat a fever.
All of that happened from time to time.
I’ve been surprised at the wide variety of ways Romans crucified people and what they did with the corpses.
First-century historian Josephus said he talked Roman General Titus into freeing a couple of his friends who had been crucified. In spite of medical help, one died. One lived.
Some corpses got buried. An archaeologist found the bones of one crucified man with a nail still in the heel bone. The victim had been buried properly, in a tomb.
Witches and physicians each used some pretty strange ingredients to take care of business. A first-century natural history writer named Pliny the Elder writes about both. Just google “Pliny, witches, nails.”
Ignore the pictures of fingernails that pop up on your screen. Fingernail clippings were for malaria.
So was menstrual blood, soaked into black wool and worn in a silver bracelet.
If you get a chance, spend some time with Pliny’s Natural History, which is free to read online. It’ll make you happy to be living today, in spite of the high anxiety most everyone seems to be feeling because of [go ahead and fill in the blank if it’ll help you].
Peace to you.