Medieval Monday: Judas Cradle

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.

I’ve decided to start having monthly themes, so for the month of September we’ll be seeing a torture device highlighted each Monday. This week’s feature is the Judas Cradle!

That’s it. I’m having nightmares tonight.

One look at the image tells you the entire story. The Judas Cradle was, in my opinion, one of the most horrible torture devices ever to be invented.

The victim would be placed into a waist harness above the pyramid-shaped seat and the point would be inserted into the victim’s anus or vagina. Then the ropes were slowly lowered. I think you can imagine how horrible this would have been. The torture itself lasted anywhere from a few hours to several days.

To increase the level of pain and hurry death, torturers sometimes added weight to the victim’s legs to help drag them down further onto the point. Placing oil onto the device was another option. Other alternatives also included rocking the victim or raising them by the ropes and then releasing, thus dropping them onto the “pyramid”.

This brand of torture would lead to tears in muscle tissue or outright impalement. If the victim didn’t die from the injuries, infection was sure to finish them off; the device was rarely, if ever, washed. The Judas Cradle is also known as the culla di Guida in Italian, the Judaswiege in German, and The Wake in French. It was widely used.

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. Whoa! I’d heard the term Judas Cradle before, but I had no idea what it was. Yikes, that’s horrific. Those Medieval people sure were creative in the most terrible ways.

    Wishing you a very productive #writemotivation month,

    1. Thanks for stopping in, Jocelyn! I hope you have a wonderful #WriteMotivation month as well!

      And yes, they certainly knew how to create some horrific devices back in the day.

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