This One Bone Is The Only Skeletal Evidence For Crucifixion In The Ancient World
The Romans practiced crucifixion – literally, “fixed to a cross” – for nearly a millennium. It was a public, painful, and slow form of execution, and used as a way to deter future crimes and humiliate the dying person. Since it was done to thousands of people and involved nails, you’d probably assume we have skeletal evidence of crucifixion. But there’s only one, single bony example of Roman crucifixion, and even that is still heavily debated by experts.
Crucifixion seems to have originated in Persia, but the Romans created the practice as we think of it today, employing either a crux immissa (similar to the Christian cross) or a crux commissa (a T-shaped cross) made up of an upright post and a crossbar. Generally, the upright post was erected first, and the victim was tied or nailed to the crossbar and then hoisted up. There was usually an inscription nailed above the victim, noting his particular crime, and sometimes victims got a wooden support to sit or stand on. But Seneca, the Roman philosopher, wrote in 40 AD that the process of crucifying someone varied greatly: Read more.
So, apparently, crucifixion in Super Sentai is a trope going all the way back to the first series, Himitsu Sentai GoRanger. This did not get started with Sentai though as Crucifixion in Toku dates back to at least Ultraseven* in 1967:
Perhaps even more (in)famously is the scene from 1972′s Ultraman Ace where the Ultra Brothers are crucified on the Planet Gologotha as a trap for the new hero.
This scene is actually so famous in the series that it got a scene set release in the Ultra Act toyline from Bandai.
I think this got started because the creator of Ultraman and Ultraseven, Eiji Tsuburaya, was a Catholic who liked to infuse Christian religious imagery into his work. The classic Ultraman specium beam pose is supposed to resemble a cross, the ultimate ward against evil.
The actual meaning of crucifixion was apparently lost and seen as just a means of restraint before an execution. Or maybe the meaning was stripped away and the original intent as an archaic, barbaric form of execution restored.
The Super Sentai series above are (in order of the pictures):
Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger
Himitsu Sentai GoRanger
Hikari Sentai Maskman
Choujin Sentai Jetman
and then two instances from:
Hyakujyuu Sentai GaoRanger
*The episode of Ultraseven featuring the hero’s crucifixion was accidentally aired (in dubbed form) by TNT in the United States on Easter Sunday, an act that upset several of their viewers considering TNT is based in the Conservative Southern city of Atlanta.
This is a classic NWOBHM cult release by an underground / underrated / unknown band back in ‘84. Hell, this is my kind of NWOBHM; straightforward, in your face, and bad-ass. although it was released in 1984, when the movement of NWOBHM was coming to an end ,if this had been released back in 1980 or 1981 that would be a different story, and they might have been a bit more famous.
- It’s a shame that these guys never released a full-length album.