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The brazen bull
One of the most brutal methods of execution ever created took the form of a hollow bull statue. Invented in ancient Greece by Perillus, a bronze worker in Athens, it was given as a gift to a cruel tyrant named Phalaris of Agrigentum. As well as roasting criminals alive, the device also doubled as a musical instrument, converting the victim’s desperate cries into what Perillus described as “the tenderest, most pathetic, most melodious of bellowings”.
Distrustful of the inventor’s claims, Phalaris ordered Perillus to climb inside and prove the device’s musical capabilities himself. However, as soon as he was inside, Phalaris shut the door and lit a fire beneath, causing Perillus to scream for real. However, rather then letting him die at the hands of his own creation, Phalaris had him removed and thrown off a cliff instead.
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