Collective Amnesia: What is the History of Torture

By Trace Hentz

Torture has to have a beginning. Did it start with the Roman Empire?

Here is one example:

Sewn Into A Donkey

If you’re looking for cruel and unusual forms of torture, you don’t have to look any further than ancient Rome. Take, for instance, a torture that was described by both Apuleius (The Golden Ass) and Lucian (Lucius, or the Ass):
A donkey would be killed, its belly sliced open, and the entrails removed. The accused was then stripped of clothing and stuffed into the animal’s belly. The belly was stitched closed, leaving only the accused’s head outside, preventing suffocation but prolonging suffering.
The donkey’s body was kept in the sun. It would begin to decompose—with the living victim inside being cooked by the heat. Maggots would crawl all over the accused, and vultures would peck at the animal’s decaying flesh. Death, while welcomed, came slow for the victim of this torture.
More Roman Torture

Then I found this quote: "...with the UN Convention against Torture, the rack was now only used by despots."  This brings torture forward. The United Nations has acted.

READ: A history of torture

Surely we had all long since learned that torture was pointless, in addition to being disgusting, since a statement extracted on the rack was inherently unreliable. How wrong could I have been? I had myself forgotten the most important lesson of history - that nobody (least of all a populist politician) learns from history.

Here is something I wrote 2013-2014 at my Lara blog on wordpress:

Collective Amnesia: Divinity and the Roman Empire

di·vin·i·ty (noun \də-ˈvi-nə-tē\): the state of being a god : the state of being divine: a god or goddess: the formal study of religion, religious practices, and religious beliefs

Part Three:  By Lara/ Trace
Could America have amnesia about it's eerie uncanny resemblance to the Roman Empire?
You have to look with a wide lens.  First, you have to know WHO you are praying to... and who put them there.

Being divine or believing in one god or any god did not apply to all people. In early Rome, and in many early organized religions, men only were divined to be Emperor, Conqueror, Law Maker, Land Owner, Slaveholder, Priest.

In Ancient Rome, one tenth of one percent held all political and social power, with senators and governors its ruling class.  Concepts that originated in the Roman constitution live on today. America borrowed checks and balances, the separation of powers, vetoes, filibusters, quorum requirements, term limits, impeachments, the powers of the purse, and regularly scheduled elections. Even block voting found in the electoral college, originate in the Roman constitution.

Who in America knows that Roman Law is rooted in the Etruscan religion, emphasizing ritual??[3]  English and North American common law were influenced greatly by Roman law. (WIKIPEDIA)

How little has changed… parts of this planet still have the same rules and rulers and ruling class who have maintained power for generations and centuries. Even the American "treaty" with tribes of Indigenous people is an invention of Rome!

Here in America, a land of opportunity for boatloads of immigrants, they had the chance to be different.  

Yet we see workers (human slaves) will destroy acres, pollute land, sky and water and rob other people, just to make the rich people richer.

In Indian country, children make us rich, but not in a monetary sense. They are as important as wind and rain and sun -  a child is every bit as important as an elder. Children are the future. Our chiefs and leaders were chosen for their personal sacrifice and generosity, not avarice and greed.

Divinity didn't have a place in Indian Country. Divinity was brought over on the boats.

Those aristocratic Romans enjoyed such savagery, feeding people to lions and other animals.  They enslaved others. They adopted male heirs. Even death and torture was entertainment. (You might say our prison system is similarly cruel.)

“Owning or killing people was as natural to Romans as water running downhill… Who can comprehend a father tossing an infant into the village dung heap for being female, sick or a surplus mouth to feed. The Romans were not offended, especially if the father followed the law and invited five neighbors to examine the baby before he left it to die,” according to Lewis Lord, author of “Bread and Circuses in the Year One: Life Under Augustus was dirty, brutal and short” (page 76 – 79, The Ancient World, Mysteries of History, US News and World Report Special Edition, 2004.)
The Roman family was called familia, from which Latin word 'family' is derived. The familia could include the triad: two parents and children (biological or adopted), as well as slaves and grandparents. (See Jane F. Gardner's "Family and Familia in Roman Law and Life" reviewed by Richard Saller in The American Historical Review, Vol. 105, No. 1. (Feb., 2000), pp. 260-261.)  The adoption of male children brought families together and allowed continuity for certain families to RULE and carry on their family name.  This is a patriarchy - men rule the family. Men even believed children were not human until they walked and talked in Roman times.

Again, it doesn’t seem much has changed. Historians think a combination of factors: Christianity, decadence, lead poisoning, monetary trouble, and military problems caused the Fall of Rome.  Might those be the reasons if the American Empire falls? American has become the home of greed, world dominance, fear and corruption just like Rome.

I ask you, what is divinity? How is America different than Rome?
With a few computer key strokes, the (NASA) agency has solved the problem that has bedeviled world powers since at least the time of Caesar Augustus: how to control unruly local leaders, who are the foundation for imperial rule, by ferreting out crucial, often scurrilous, information to make them more malleable. The NSA’s global panopticon thus fulfills an ancient dream of empire.
- It's about Blackmail: Surveillance and Scandal
Time-Tested Weapons for U.S. Global Power
Alfred McCoy SOURCE

Collective Amnesia: Religious Wars (2013) Part 1

I always felt it was my job as a journalist to look at history and religion with a lens of accuracy, not faith. It’s my job as a writer to find the truth where it exists, if it exists.
Blind Faith? I don’t think we are aware of our collective amnesia as a whole.

 Collective Amnesia: Leaders who won't lead (Part 2)
Our attention span is under three minutes now. TV has transformed us into zombies.

Collective Amnesia: Misogyny and Witch Hunts (Part 4)
American anthropologist, Marvin Harris, in his work, ‘Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches’ (1973), states witches were used as scapegoats – victimized by the Church and secular male lords to focus and divert public furor at a time of economic dislocation and uproar: “The practical significance of the witch mania therefore was that it shifted responsibility for the crisis of late medieval society from both Church and state to imaginary demons in human form.” American suffragette Matilda Joslyn Gage had claimed that nine million women had been killed in the European witch trials. 

So who invented torture? Adam or Eve?



click on older posts (it's a time machine)

click on older posts (it's a time machine)
be brave and go way back

Contact Me


Email *

Message *

my books on BOOKSHOP

most popular posts