The Art of Executing Well

By Nicholas Terpstra (editor),

Book cover of The Art of Executing Well: Rituals of Execution in Renaissance Italy

Book description

In Renaissance Italy a good execution was both public and peaceful―at least in the eyes of authorities. In a feature unique to Italy, the people who prepared a condemned man or woman spiritually and psychologically for execution were not priests or friars, but laymen. This volume includes some of the…

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Why read it?

1 author picked The Art of Executing Well as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

It’s not often I’m moved to tears by an academic book, but this book did it for me by putting me in the shoes of a Florentine patrician trying to comfort his friend the night before his execution. The main historical source of the book is an extraordinary ‘how-to’ manual: the one used by the ‘comforting confraternities’ of 16th-century Bologna, men who volunteered to spiritually prepare condemned criminals for their final moments on earth and, in so doing, hopefully increase their chances of salvation. The book explains the various methods and tools that the comforter could use, including…

From Una's list on the history of capital punishment.

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