Ah, October, my favorite month. I figure if you're gonna go creepy, might as well go as creepy as possible, right? So today we're taking a look at a particularly chilling form of historical execution: immurement, in which the condemned person was built up inside a room, cave, wall, or some other small area, and left to die. Unlike live burial, where the victim suffocates quickly, immurement doomed its sufferers to a long, slow, painful death from starvation and dehydration. Good times!
The Julio-Claudians were alarmingly fond of this method of execution. According to the historian Cassius Dio, Antonia Minor, widow of Drusus the Elder, locked her adulterous daughter Livilla in a room until she starved to death as punishment for conspiring to murder her uncle Tiberius. The family of Livilla’s brother Germanicus fared even worse: his widow Agrippina the Elder, daughter Julia Livia, and son Drusus Caesar were all executed, likely by immurement in prison, at the hands of Tiberius. (Moral of the story: don’t get on Tiberius’ bad side.)
|Pontefract Castle, where Richard II met his untimely end|