File:Breaking Wheel.jpg

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This wood cut shows the 'breaking wheel' as it was used in Germany in the Middle Ages. The exact date is unknown, as is the creator, but it depicts the execution of Peter Stumpp in Cologne in 1589. This form of punishment was most common during the middle ages and early modern age. Though, for example in many regions of future Germany, the breaking wheel was still used in the 19th century. The last known execution happened 1841 in Prussia. The picture was published in 'Het Tilburgs Tijdschrift voor Geschiedenis' (Tilburg History Magazine) in 2003.

The woodcut relates the crime and the punishment of Peter Stumpp and includes a depiction of the punishment of his daughter and mistress.

Stumpp was accused of being a werewolf and in the top left hand corner of the woodcut we see a large wolf attacking a child. Above this scene a man with a sword is seen fighting off the wolf and in doing so, lops off the wolf’s left forepaw.

In the centre left of the illustration we are shown the first punishment of Stumpp, namely the tearing of his flesh with red hot pincers while he is bound to a wheel.

In the middle we see the executioner using the blunt side of an axe to break Stumpp’s arm and leg bones.

On the righthand side of the illustration the executioner beheads Stumpp.

In each of these three depictions we can see that Stumpp’s left hand is missing, presumably pointing to the fact that the werewolf had its left forepaw cut off.

After his beheading, Stumpp’s body is dragged away to be burnt. In the top right hand corner of the wood cut we see the fire where Stumpp’s daughter and mistress, each tied to a stake, are burnt alive with Stumpp’s headless body tied to a stake between them.

Also shown is a wheel, mounted on a pole, which carries Stumpp’s severed head together with a figure of a wolf.

The clothing may be from Germany in the mid 17th century.

Source The execution of Peter Stuube. From a contemporary poster printed in Augsburg, Germany (1589). Staats- Stadtbibliothek, Augsburg. [1]
Author Unknown
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current15:41, 25 May 2006Thumbnail for version as of 15:41, 25 May 2006995 × 551 (138 KB)Tasja~commonswiki (talk | contribs)The picture shows the 'breaking wheel' as it was used in Holland in de Middle Ages. The exact date is not known, as is the author. It must be made before the 18th century - there was no such punishment afterwards. The picture was published in 'Het Tilburg
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