Something I'm curious about is the severity of scourging ancient Romans inflicted on their victims before crucifixion.

Numerous religious/Christian websites suggest that it was quite severe, and involved an instrument in which metal or bones were embedded in the lashes. For example:

But many of these online sites don't really reference, in my view, a reliable account, primary source, or any extant "flagra" from the ancient Roman era.

In fact, according to this article by Dr. Andrea Berlin and Dr. Jodi Magness Two Archeologists Comment on The Passion of the Christ, the scourging was just done with a reed. https://www.archaeological.org/pdfs/papers/Comments_on_The_Passion.pdf

What reliable evidence is there that scourging before crucifixion was as severe as most online website describe them to be?

  • The problem with many websites is that they just pick the 'juicy' bits. Also, you're asking about a time period of several hundred years (up until 337AD when it was discontinued), and what happened in one town (not to mention one province) may have been different from another. And then you probably have to consider what the crime was. Thus, it might help to set some boundaries for your question. – Lars Bosteen Aug 19 '18 at 4:55
  • @Lars That's a good point. Could you help me refine my question? Perhaps, it might be worth breaking it up into several questions: What sources exist in support of a "fragrum" containing bits of metal and bones (any place/any era)? What sources exist in support of severe scourging/whipping before the crucifixion (any place/any era)? – ByEvidenceOnly Aug 19 '18 at 5:18
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    From what I understand (which is limited without doing some serious research), scourging was a punishment in itself (scourging to death). I don't recall seeing much on scourging before crucifixion, other than the notorious case of Gessius Florus in the lead up to the Great Jewish Revolt. The only other case I can cite (off the top of my head) of a punishment before crucifixion was a mention by Cicero of someone having his tongue cut out. I'm sure there must be other cases, but perhaps you should focus on 1st century Judea (given your citations). – Lars Bosteen Aug 19 '18 at 6:06
  • It may well be hyperbole, but this from Plautus' Captivi suggests that Roman floggings were not negligible! HEG. Take him where he may receive weighty and thick fetters, thence, after that, you shall go to the quarries for cutting stone. There, while the others are digging out eight stones, unless you daily do half as much work again, you shall have the name of the six-hundred-stripe man. – TheHonRose Aug 21 '18 at 12:35
  • But can any of you please explain if the Romans whips tore through a victims skin and flesh? Did a flogging really do all these terrible things? Please also provide a reliable source. – Andrew Nov 17 '19 at 6:23

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