Medieval Monday: The Pear of Anguish

If you’re new to these here parts, every Monday I like to do what I call Medieval Monday. I highlight a specific term from the medieval ages, and expand on the definition of that term and describe its appearance. If there is something you would like to see featured in a Medieval Monday, hop into the comments and say so.

For this week, say hello to the Pear of Anguish!

Uhm…can you say “ouch”?

I don’t know about you, but the name alone makes me shudder. Once you learn of what it is and how it was used, I guarantee you’ll shudder.

So, for starters, the Pear of Anguish was an instrument of torture. It was used to punish women who performed abortions for other women, liars, blasphemers, and homosexuals. As the name may suggest, it was a pear-shaped device. The Pear of Anguish was inserted into one of the victim’s orifices based on their crime: the vagina for women, the mouth for liars and blasphemers, and the anus for homosexuals.

Once the device was inserted, the four leaves (as seen in the picture) would slowly separate from each other by turning the screw at the top. This type of torture either resulted in tearing the skin or expanding the device to its full width to mutilate.

Do you enjoy reading about and studying the medieval ages? Tell me! I love chatting, so don’t leave me alone here. Also, if you found this post useful or entertaining, give it a retweet on twitter, please. Thanks!



  1. gah! and they think water-boarding is bad! (okay, okay, it IS bad, but THAT!?) i’d give up my grandma if someone threatened to put that anywhere inside me.

  2. Hmm what to do? Haven’t looked at Rachel’s blog in awhile, -click, read- HOLY WHAT THE.. I JUST.. I UM… Whaaaaaaat…

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