One of the rebels being torn apart by Roman soldiers

Carnificina is a Roman military punishment. The name means "execution, torture, anguish" in Latin. The punishment was sometimes used as a "side entertainment" to punish and kill prisoners of war while the present conflict continued.

Third Servile War

Marcus Licinius Crassus used Carnificina during the Third Servile War, after retaking the cities of Thurii and Sinuessa. He also enacted the punishments after the war was ended, against few of the chosen rebels, while the other survivors were crucified along the Appian Way. Pompey might have used it on the rebels he captured.

Cilician pirates

In 66 BC, Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus led a campaign that greatly suppressed the Cilician pirates and their activities around the Mediterranean. Left with many prisoners from this campaign, he may have enacted Carnificina alongside public execution and Crucifixion.


There were a range of punishments included in Carnificina, such as dismemberment (being pulled apart limb from limb), having ones head crushed in with hammers, and usual gladiatorial execution, fighting against a Roman soldier.

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