It is difficult to tell when the saw was really first invented, but I can fairly confidently say it was in the weeks after saws were invented, so probably about 17th century BCE — nearly 4000 years ago. In fact, death by sawing continued to occur, at least according to some accounts, up until as late as the 1820s in Myanmar, for some criminal offenses. Because of the simple nature of the method and the nonpretentious nature of execution, the practice of death by sawing was widely practiced at the time of the Inquisition. The methods varied, but the most horrific kind of sawing was the kind in which a magistrate would tie a perpetrator up upside-down, eagle-spread, and watch as he was taken from his anus or vagina into his stomach, where they would slowly bleed to death.
The best method, some found, was to suspend a victim upside down and saw them half-lengthway, from groin to head. The common method of seeing the victim in half was by hanging upside down and seeing them through the genitalia. During this torture method, the individual may drown, succumb to injuries caused by being struck by the sides of the vessel, or be cut in pieces and left to die. A slow, painful form of punishment, the technique typically involved gradually dropping a victim — feet first — into boiling oil, water, or wax (although boiling wine and melting lead were also recorded).
The Chinese had a workaround to this, crushing the victim first between two wooden boards, then commencing either the slashing, or death from 1000 cuts. Two executing officers, one on each end of a saw, would saw down the stabilizing planks and victim.
The thigh-cut involved an executioner using a very large, bladed tool to cut a sickly inmate in half around the waist, missing the vital organs and thus inflicting a slow, painful death. Being turned over allowed the cutting to proceed at least to the chest before death took hold, and all of the blood going into the head allowed consciousness to remain alive for that little longer. Sawing through the middle of the abdomen would have been quite painful, as well as leading to prolonged death, as you watched your victims guts splatter on the floor, blood dripping down the sides of their faces.
For a brief period it is just uncomfortable, but prolonged incarceration can cause death by starvation or thirst, or by manscaphism — allowing or encouraging insects to breed on the body flesh and eat it. In certain cases, feeding The victim would usually be allowed daily, to prolong the torment, to prevent dehydration or hunger from providing the death emancipation.
A particularly vicious person would allow their growing numbers of enemies to see their midsections while they were eating, seemingly saying such misery served as an appetizer for their meals. By the time a particularly nasty individual was 25, he had become Emperor following the death of Tiberius, but at that point, he had gone completely mad. By refusing to make sacrifices to the pagan gods, Cassian enraged the local officials, who condemned him to death, handing him over to his students, just as his executioners had condemned their students.
Before saws were given their unimportant role cutting wood and thick materials, they were used to cut people to torture or execute them. It can even be used as an execution technique, with a living victim left starving, dying from thirst, or exposed to radiation — usually hung from high places to block aid or rescue. The best known of Roman methods of execution, the crucifix has been used for centuries as a torture device. The guillotine was still an official method of execution in France until France abolished capital punishment in 1981.
During the 19th and 20th centuries, capital punishment was increasingly abandoned, not just in the United Kingdom, but throughout Europe, to the point where only a handful of European countries still maintain the death penalty. Today, the death penalty is retained in 56 countries around the world, although in 2020, executions were carried out in just 18 countries. As early as Chinas ancient laws, capital punishment was established as punishment for crimes. Britain has had a greater impact on colonies than any other nation, and has a long history of punishing with death.
In South Jersey, the death penalty was not used for any crimes, with the two crimes being murder and treason, which were both punishable by death. All capital offenders were required to remain incarcerated at a harsh condition of life, could not be executed until a year had passed, and then only upon a Governors order.
The holding was opposed by many death penalty abolitionists, who believed that a public execution would ultimately lead people to clamor for the death penalty itself. Over the years, activists used Prohibition to ban some types of execution methods, and in effect stigmatized execution itself itself (your correspondent, for instance, is anti-death penalty).
It presents itself as a uniquely easy and inexpensive way of killing victims accused of witchcraft, adultery, murder, blasphemy, or even theft. Whether it involves rats, pikes, or boiling oil, the worst method of execution that has ever been devised demonstrates the mastery that humans have for torturing and killing. The barbaric, merciless application of capital punishment has continued, not only through Antiquity and the Middle Ages, but also in the Modern Era.
Sawing was the method of execution used throughout Europe during the Roman Empire, in the Middle East, and parts of Asia. We have to move on to the most recent times, beyond the Jewish, Christian, and Egyptians, all of whom claimed to have a certain method of Sawing. The Traitor was certainly hung (almost to the death), drawn (on the ground, on horseback), and quartered, but this was just half the story.