Impaling, that of skewering a human body, was a favorite of the Romans and, in more recent times, the Turks. Durin the reign of the Roman Emperor Nero, the victim was forced to dig his own grave, at the bottom of which, a third from one end, was planted a sharpened stake, point uppermost.

If the crime committed had been but a minor one, the felon, bound hand and foot, was then thrown in so that the stake pierced his chest and hopefully his heart, bringing him a mercifully speedy end. But should he have been found quilty of a more serious a crime, his exectutioners would drop him in, ensuring that the stake penetrated his groin, his suffering continuing even after the grave had been filled in.

The Chinese, always expert with the knife, were equally dextrous with bamboo spears, not only for torture but also to inflict devilish and fatal wounds on those sentenced to death. When the condemned man had been secured to a conventional -type cross, the executioner would take four sharpened slivers of bamboo and, if the crime had been serious, or the felon's realatives had been unable to raise the necessary bribe, the spears would be inserted with devastating slowness into those parts of the victim's body that would not bringabout immediate death: the genetals, fleshy areas of the stomach or upper chest. Once these had been thoroughly embedded and, in some cases, passed right through the man's body, he would be left to die in agony. If, however, the executioner had been financially induced to dispatch the criminal without undue delay, the first three spears would be aimed at relatively insensitive areas such as the shoulder and leg mustles, the forth sliver being then driven into the victim's heart.

In the west impaling was a penalty inflicted on a Turkish peasant, Solyman Illeppy, who, on 14 June 1800, assasinated General Jean-Baptiste Kleber. Afer having the flesh burned off his right hand, traditionally the offending one, the assassin was impaled, in which position he survived for nearly two hours, reportedly dying without showing fear or remorse. Solyman, had the ill-fortune to be impaled in one of the most horrible ways. The stake, after being sharpened and sometimes greased, was pushed slowly into his body through his anus. After about 5 mins the stake was expertly shoved through his body from his rectum out his shoulder, avoiding vital organs to ensure he would survive for those two agonizing hours.