The Best Ism of them All

Now, you all know that Cheapo is an odd homonculus. He has a wide variety of interests from aardvark to zubrowka.

But, he generally stays well away from the ‘isms’: communism, capitalism, socialism, fascism, feminism, legalism, materialism, optimism, racism, secularism, hedonism, organism, journalism, masochism etc.

There are a few exceptions though. Cheapo is a firm believer in altruism, cannibalism, nudism, Pastafarianism, totenism, pessimism, voyeurism, rheumatism and nihilism.

Cheapo thought that covered it.

But, as usual, Cheapo was wrong.

Cheapo recently read about another ism. And this one is a top top top ism.

Scaphism is a torture method devised by the ancient Persians. The name comes from the Greek σκάφη, skáphe, meaning “anything scooped out”.

Victims were force fed honey and milk and stripped naked., tied in a boat or hollow tree trunk, smeared in more honey and/or milk, and pushed into stagnant water.

The victim would then be firmly fastened within the interior space of two narrow rowing boats joined together one on top of the other with the head, hands and feet In some cases, the executioner would mix milk and honey and pour that mixture all over the victim. The victim would then be left to float on a stagnant pond or be exposed to the sun.

Insects, attracted to the honey and milk, ate the victim’s body, slowly. As the victim shat, insects bred in the excrement, creating more bugs, which bred and lived in the victim’s wounds, turning them gangrenous. The individual would lie naked, covered from head to toe in milk, honey, and his own feces. The feeding would be repeated each day in some cases to prolong the torture, so that fatal dehydration or starvation did not occur. In some permutations, wasps were used.

Here’s a first person account

[The king] decreed that Mithridates should be put to death in boats; which execution is after the following manner: Taking two boats framed exactly to fit and answer each other, they lay down in one of them the malefactor that suffers, upon his back; then, covering it with the other, and so setting them together that the head, hands, and feet of him are left outside, and the rest of his body lies shut up within, they offer him food, and if he refuse to eat it, they force him to do it by pricking his eyes; then, after he has eaten, they drench him with a mixture of milk and honey, pouring it not only into his mouth, but all over his face. They then keep his face continually turned towards the sun; and it becomes completely covered up and hidden by the multitude of flies that settle on it. And as within the boats he does what those that eat and drink must needs do, creeping things and vermin spring out of the corruption and rottenness of the excrement, and these entering into the bowels of him, his body is consumed. When the man is manifestly dead, the uppermost boat being taken off, they find his flesh devoured, and swarms of such noisome creatures preying upon and, as it were, growing to his inwards. In this way Mithridates, after suffering for seventeen days, at last expired.
— Plutarch, Life of Artaxerxes

Cheapo loves this. Whoever invented this punishment deserves a Nobel Prize for services to humanity.

As the inventors of stadiums, refrigerators and beer, the Persians were already considered to be a top top top civilization.

Scaphism clinches it.


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