Gruesome Executions in History

History Storytime - For Kids

Sep 27 2021 • 8 mins

Sophie (age 7) and Ellie (age 5) tell the story of gruesome executions from history – feeding Christians to the lions, the punishment of the sack, decimation of soldiers and more.

We start with the punishment of the sack. Romans kept this punishment for people who killed their father. They would put the person inside a large sack. Then they would put a live monkey, a snake, a dog and a rooster in the sack too. The sack was tied up with everyone inside. They it was thrown into the river so that everyone drowned.

Next we tell of how the Christians were punished by the Romans. The Romans wanted Christians to agree that there’s was not the only God but there was also the Roman gods – Jupiter and Venus and others. Christians would not agree. So many of them were taken to the Colosseum in Rome. This is where Gladiator fights happened. The Christians had no swords or armour. The Romans had wild animals like lions and tigers. They had not been fed for ages so they were now hungry. The Romans let them loose on the Christians. The Lions and tigers ate the Christians.

However, in Roman times it was not only the Romans who were fierce.

There was a Roman General called Crassus. He was very rich. He led an army to invade Parthia. There was a battle fought in the desert. Instead of attacking the Romans, the Parthians attacked the wagons with the water in them. They broke open the barrels of water and the water drained into the desert. The Romans had to surrender because they had no water. When the Parthian Emperor had the Crassus in his hands, he poured molten gold down Crassus’ throat to mock his wealth.

The Romans knew that losing battles was a bad idea. So they had a way of making sure that their soldiers did not run away. If a unit ran away in battle then after the battle there was a terrible punishment for them. Everyone in the unit had to draw straws. Some of the straws were long, but some were short. There were nine long ones to one short one. When you were drawing the straws you could not tell if the straw was long or short. Everyone who had a long straw too a club and stood in two lines facing each other. Everyone who had a short straw had to run between the two lines. The people with a short straw were then beaten to death by the people with a long straw.

They called this decimation which means killing one in ten.

It wasn’t only men and soldiers who faced terrible executions. The Romans had priestesses called Vestal Virgins. They kept a sacred fired in Rome burning. They lived in luxury but they were not allowed to have boyfriends or get married. If one of them did get a boyfriend then she faced a terrible punishment. It was not allowed to kill a Vestal Virgin. So she was locked in an underground room without any food and left there to starve to death!


We had so many stories this week that we have saved some of them for our Patrons’ episode. We have there a follow on episode. It has stories of death by rat, death by elephant, death by red hot poker, death by cannon and death by being hung, drawn and quartered. You can join at