Bible Dictionary

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A Roman form of punishment, usually inflicted only on slaves and the lowest criminals. The Lord was condemned to it at the request of the mob on a nominal charge of sedition against Caesar. The purple robe, the crown of thorns, and other insults to which He was subjected were illegal. The punishment was preceded by scourging. The criminal was made to carry his own cross to the place of execution, which was always outside the city. His clothing was the perquisite of the soldiers who carried out the sentence. The cross was driven into the ground so that the feet of the prisoner were a foot or two above the surface. The cross was watched by four soldiers at a time until death took place, which was sometimes not until the third day.