A Short History of the Executioner
The history of the professional executioner is a chronicle of perfecting the choreography of death. It’s a story of exacting skill and the never-ending search for a more efficient means to enact (and contain) the spectacle of death. The professionalization of death—a chilling business—was cultivated for centuries by a profane tribe of men who were denied civil status and ostracized from nearly every aspect of daily life. Forced to live at the margins, the executioner was defined by ambiguities: a pivotal actor in the multipart drama of public killing, an extension of the crown, and yet morally hazy and universally despised.
Source: A Short History of the Executioner—Blog—The Appendix
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