Death by burning  

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“They found it easier to burn Vanini that to confute him.”--Religion: A Dialogue (c.1830) by Arthur Schopenhauer

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Execution by burning has a long history as a method of punishment for crimes such as treason, heresy and witchcraft (burning, however, was actually less common than hanging, pressing, or drowning as a punishment for witchcraft). For a number of reasons, this method of execution fell into disfavor among governments in the late 18th century; today, it is considered cruel and unusual punishment. The particular form of execution by burning in which the condemned is bound to a large stake is more commonly called burning at the stake.

Famous cases

Notable individuals executed by burning include Jacques de Molay (1314), Jan Hus (1415), Joan of Arc (1431), Savonarola (1498), Patrick Hamilton (1528), William Tyndale (1536), Michael Servetus (1553), Giordano Bruno (1600), Lucilio Vanini (1619), Urbain Grandier (1634) and Claude Le Petit (1662).

Portrayal in film

In the film adaptation of Umberto Eco's The Name of the Rose, the innocent simpleton Salvatore (Ron Perlman) is seen to die horribly, burnt at the stake. The fate is also suffered by Oliver Reed's less innocent character in Ken Russell's The Devils. The film The Seventh Seal shows a woman about to be burnt at the stake. Dreyer's La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc (The Passion of Joan of Arc), though made in the late 1920s (and therefore without the assistance of computer graphics), includes a relatively graphic and realistic treatment of Jeanne's execution. Of course, nearly all other film versions of the story of Joan show her death at the stake - some more graphically than others. Execution by burning also features in the 1973 film The Wicker Man.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Death by burning" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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