[Above: Jesus `impaled' on a single stake with both arms together over his head affixed by one nail: Watchtower Bible & Tract Society, "What Does the Bible Really Teach?," 2005, p.52. This is how the Watchtower Bible & Tract Society has consistently depicted Jesus' execution since at least 1950, i.e. over half a century.]
In the writings of Livy, a Roman historian of the first century B.C.E., crux means a mere stake."Cross" is only a later meaning of crux. ... Evidence is, therefore, completely lacking that Jesus Christ was crucified on two pieces of timber placed at right angles.
References were originally from Leolaia's "The facts on crucifixion, stauros, and the `torture stake'" but I checked each one out in libraries and the quotes here were scanned by me from photocopies of library books or from books that I own. Each referenced quote is hyperlinked to a fuller version at the end of this post.
"a certain householder had driven his slave, bearing a yoke ... through the midst of the circus, scourging the culprit as he went" (Livy, History, 2.36).
Plutarch. The Greek historian Plutarch (c. AD 46-120), comments on this same incident:
"A certain man had handed over one of his slaves to other slaves, with orders to scourge him through the forum, and then put him to death ... it was a severe punishment for a slave who had committed a fault, if he was obliged to take the piece of wood [xulon] ... and carry it around through the neighbourhood." (Plutarch, Coriolanus, 24.3-5).
"This patibulum-bearing punishment, during which a slave is whipped and lead [sic] through the city ... was the direct ancestor of the portion of the crucifixion ritual in which the victim carries his own cross ... It is this piece of wood that centuries later became the crossbeam in the Roman cross." (Leolaia, 2005, pt I. Cf. Torrance, 1982, p.253).
Esther. The Bible in Esther 2:23; 5:14; 6:4; 7:9; 7:10; 8:7; 9:13; 9:14; 9:25 refers to "hanging" [Heb. talah "suspend," "hang"] from a Persian "gallows" [Heb. 'ets "tree," "wood"] in the reign of Xerxes I or Ahasuerus I, who reigned 485-465 BC. There is no conclusive evidence that this was "hanging" on a "gallows" was live crucifixion on a cross. Here "gallows (Heb. `es) is literally `tree'; it could- have been a pole or indeed anything made of wood" (Baldwin, 1984, p.88).
Josephus. The Jewish historian Josephus (c. AD 37-100), refers to the same incident where Haman "a tree [xulon] sixty cubits high to be cut down, and in the morning ask the king for leave to crucify [anastaurosai] Mordecai" on "gallows [xulon]" or "cross [stauron]" made from it, but Haman himself is "hanged [ekeinou] on that very same cross [stauron] till he was dead" (Josephus, Jewish Antiquities, 11.246ff). But despite Josephus' English translator rendering Gk. stauron" as cross and anastaurosai as "crucify," there is nothing in the account that necessarily indicates live crucifixion by being affixed to a cross and Josephus' "hanged ... till he was dead" seems consistent with a long-drawn-out death hung high on a wooden pole or frame, which may well have been a form of crucifixion.
Thucydides. Greek historian Thucydides (c.460-395 BC) , in his "History of the Peloponnesian War," describes the 454 BC execution by the Persians of an Egyptian rebel leader Inaros as him being "impaled [anestaurothe]":
"Inaros, however, the king of the Libyans, who had been the originator of the whole movement in Egypt, was taken by treachery and impaled [anestaurothe]." (Thucydides, Peloponnesian War, 1.110).
The Encyclopædia Britannica interprets this as crucifixion:
"... in Egypt. ... a revolt broke out .... It was led by a dynast, Inaros, who acquired control over the delta and was supported by Athenian forces against the Persians. Inaros was crucified by the Persians in 454 BC, when they regained control of most of the delta." ("Egypt, ancient," Encyclopædia Britannica, 2008).
The Greek word, anestaurothe could mean impalement or crucifixion on a single stake, or crucifixion on a two-beamed cross, but there is not enough information in the account to decide.
"... clamp this miscreant upon the high-beetling crags in shackles of binding [desmon] adamant that cannot be broken." (Aeschylus, Prometheus Bound, 4-5).
"...The bracelets are ready ... Cast them about his wrists ... clamp him tight, leave nothing loose ... This arm, at least, is fixed ... Now rivet this one too ..." (Aeschylus, 55-57).
Amazingly, the Watchtower cites this is as evidence of being fastened to "an upright stake":
"In the classical Greek the word stau-ros' meant merely an upright stake, or pale ... It was to such a stake, or pale, that the person to be punished was fastened, just as the popular Greek hero Prometheus was represented as tied to rocks. Whereas the Greek word that the dramatist Aeschylus used to describe this simply means to tie or to fasten, the Greek author Lucian (Prometheus, I) used a·na·stau·ro'o as a synonym for that word." (WB&TS, 1984, New World Translation, p.1577).
But quite clearly Prometheus is depicted by Aeschylus as having each "arm" fastened at each "wrist" by "bracelets" (plural), i.e. on either side of him, not having both arms fastened together by one bracelet over his head, which would be the analogy of the Watchtower's `impalement' on a single stake with both the victim's hands affixed by a single nail above his head (see above). This will become even clearer when we consider Lucian's (c.AD125-180) Prometheus.
4th century BC:
Plutarch records the Persian queen Parysatis' c.395 BC execution of a eunuch on four stakes [stauron]:
"Parysatis ... put the eunuch in the hands of the executioners; who were ordered to flay him alive, to set up his body slantwise on three stakes [stauron], and to nail up his skin to a fourth." (Plutarch, Artaxerxes, 17.5).
This is a form of crucifixion, being nailed to at least one and probably four stakes. It also shows that even four centuries before the time of Jesus, the Watchtower's claim was false that:
"In the classical Greek the word stau·ros' meant merely ... a simple stake ... without a crossbeam of any kind at any angle. There is no proof to the contrary" (WB&TS, 1985, Kingdom Interlinear Translation, p.1149).
since at least some Persian executions recorded in "classical Greek" were on structures comprised of multiple stakes, with the victim's body hung "slantwise," which suggests at least one "crossbeam" at an "angle."
Diodorus Siculus. The Sicilian Greek historian Diodorus Siculus (90-21 BC), wrote of Onomarchus, a Phocian (Greek) general who was crucified [estaurothe] in 352BC by Philip II of Macedon (382-336 BC), the father of Alexander the Great (356-323 BC):
"In fact the man who first schemed for the seizure of the shrine, Philomelus, in a crisis of the war hurled himself over a cliff, while his brother Onomarchus, after taking over the command of his people, now become desperate, was cut to pieces in a battle in Thessaly, along with the Phocians and mercenaries of his command, and crucified [estaurothe]. " (Diodorus Siculus, "Library of History," Book 16.61.2, Vol. VII, p.409).
And the meaning of estaurothen is "nail to the cross, crucify":
"staroo ... estaurothen nail to the cross, crucify ... lit. tina someone w. ref. to Jesus' crucifixion Mt 20:19; 23:34; 26:2; 27:22f, 26, 31, 35, 38; 28:5 ..." (Arndt, W.F. & Gingrich, F.W., 1957, "A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament," pp.772-773. Emphasis original).
This indicates that the Greeks adopted crucifixion from the Persians who they fought in the Greco-Persian Wars (499-479 BC).
"... [Alexander's] wrath furnished the victors with an awful spectacle; 2000 men ... hung nailed to crosses [crucibus affixi] along a great stretch of the shore." (Curtius Rufus, History of Alexander, 4.4.17).
Quintus Curtius wrote in Latin and while crucibus could mean stakes, there was a Latin word for a single stake, namely, palus:
"palus ... A length of unsplit wood, post, stake. ... A wooden peg or pin. ... a wooden pile. ... a wooden pole ... the stake to which condemned persons were tied for execution." (Glare, Oxford Latin Dictionary, 1982, p.1287).
"... palus ... a stake, prop, stay, pale. ... a stake set in the ground ... (Lewis & Short, A Latin Dictionary, 1890, p.1295).
which he would be expected to use if that is what he meant. For example, Livy writing in Latin of events in the 3rd century BC, used palum when he meant a single stake:
"... nor shall I be ... bound to a stake [ad palum deligatus], with my back mangled by rods...." (Livy, History of Rome, 26.13.15).
"... Bound to a stake [Deligati ad palum] they were scourged and beheaded ..." (Livy, 28.29.11).
Plutarch records the crucifixion [anestaurosen] (or impalement-see above) by Alexander of his physician in 324 BC following his failure to prevent the death of his friend and general Hephaestion (c.356 BC-324 BC):
"But during this time it chanced that Hephaestion ... fell sick, and in a little while died. Alexander's grief at this loss knew no bounds. He ... crucified [anestaurosen] the wretched physician ..." (Plutarch, "Alexander," 72.2-3).
Continued in Part #3D Historical (3rd century BC).
"POWER: To earth's remotest confines we are come, to the Scythian tract, an untrodden solitude. And now, Hephaestus, thine is the charge to observe the mandates laid upon thee by the Father-to clamp this miscreant upon the high-beetling crags in shackles of binding adamant that cannot be broken. For thine own pride, even flashing fire, source of all arts, he hath purloined and bestowed upon mortal creatures. Such is his offence; wherefore he is bound to make requital to the gods, that so he may be lessoned to brook the sovereignty of Zeus and forbear his championship of man." (Aeschylus, "Prometheus Bound," 1-11, in "Aeschylus," Smyth, H.W., transl., Loeb Classical Library, Heinemann: London, 1922, Reprinted, 1956, p.215. Emphasis original).
"HEPHAESTUS: Well, there then! The bracelets are ready, as thou mayest see. POWER: Cast them about his wrists and with might and main smite with thy hammer; rivet him to the rocks. HEPHAESTUS: There! The work is getting on and is not done amiss. POWER: Strike harder, clamp him tight, leave nothing loose; for he is wondrous clever at finding a way even out of desperate straits. HEPHAESTUS: This arm, at least, is fixed beyond all loosening. POWER: Now rivet this one too and securely, that he may; learn, for all his cleverness, that he is but a dullard compared to Zeus." (Aeschylus, "Prometheus Bound," 55-57, in "Aeschylus," Smyth, H.W., transl., Loeb Classical Library, Heinemann: London, 1922, Reprinted, 1956, p.221. Emphasis original).
"staroo (in the sense `fence w. stakes' Thu. +) fut. stauroso; 1 aor. estaurosa. Pass.: pf. estaurmai: 1 aor. estaurothen nail to the cross, crucify (Polyb. 1, 86, 4; Diod. S. 16, 61. 2; Artem. 2, 53; 4, 49; Esth 7:9); 8:12 r: Jos. Ant. 2. 77; 17, 295). 1. lit. tina someone w. ref. to Jesus' crucifixion Mt 20:19; 23:34; 26:2; 27:22f, 26, 31, 35, 38; 28:5; Mk 15:13ff, 20, 24f, 27; 16:6; Lk 23:21, 23, 33; 24:7, 20; J 19:6a, b, c, 10, 15f, 18, 20, 23, 41; Ac 2:36; 4:10; 13:29 D; 1 Cor 2:8; 2 Cor 13:4; Rv 11:8; B 7:3, 9; 12:1; I Eph 16:2; GP 4:10; 12:52. Christos estauromenos I Cor 1:23; cf. 2:2; Gal 3:1. Also simply o estauromenos M Pol 17:2. o staurotheis GP 13:56. alethos estaurothe he was truly crucified (in contrast to the Docetic view that the Passion was unreal) I Tr 9:1. me Paulos estaurothe uper umon 1 Cor 1:13 - On the crucifixion of Jesus cf. Feigel, Weidel, and Finegan s.v. 'Ioudas 6: also) E.Bickermann. Utilitas Crucis: Rev. de l'Hist. des Rel. 112. '35. 169-241. 2. fig. oi tou Christou 'l. ten sarka estaurosan those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh w. its sinful desires Gal 5:24. Pass.: of the cross of Christ, di' ou emoi kosmos estaurotai kagi kosmo through which the world has been crucified to me, and I (have been crucified) to it, the believer who is inseparably united to his Lord has died on the cross to the kind of life that belongs to this world Gal 6:14. o emos eros estaurotai my desire (for worldly things) has been crucified I Ro 7:2. M-M." (Arndt, W.F. & Gingrich, F.W., 1957, "A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian literature," University of Chicago Press: Chicago IL, Fourth edition, 1952, Revised, pp.772-773. Emphasis original).
"But first it is only right, so we think, to record the punishment which was visited by the gods upon those who had committed the outrage on the oracle. For, speaking generally, it was not merely the perpetrators of the sacrilege but all persons who had the slightest connection with the sacrilege that were hounded by the inexorable retribution sent of Heaven. In fact the man who first schemed for the seizure of the shrine, Philomelus, in a crisis of the war hurled himself over a cliff, while his brother Onomarchus, after taking over the command of his people, now become desperate, was cut to pieces in a battle in Thessaly, along with the Phocians and mercenaries of his command, and crucified [estaurothe]. " (Diodorus Siculus, "Library of History," Book 16.61.2, Sherman, C.L., transl., 1952, Heineman: London, Vol. VII, Reprinted, 1967, p.409).
"[Est 5:14] The initiative in suggesting a course of action comes from his wife, supported by the `friends'. A gallows (Heb. `es) is literally `tree'; it could- have been a pole or indeed anything made of wood. The word haunts the book (cf. 2:23; 6:4; 7:9-10; 8:7; 9:13, 25). The height of the gallows, 75 feet, strikes western commentators as exaggerated. It certainly is unnecessarily high, but then everything constructed by Persian rulers was on a grand scale, like the image of Babylonian Nebuchadrezzar (Dn. 3:1), which was 10 cubits (15 feet) higher." (Baldwin, J.G., 1984, "Esther: An Introduction and Commentary," Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries," Inter-Varsity Press, Leicester UK, p.88).
"After that the king's [Alexander's] wrath furnished the victors with an awful spectacle; 2000 men, for the slaying of whom frenzy had spent itself, hung nailed to crosses [crucibus affixi] along a great stretch of the shore. ... Tyre was taken in the seventh month after the beginning of the siege, a city worthy of note in the memory of later times both for its ancient origin and its frequent changes of fortune." (Curtius Rufus, Quintus, "History of Alexander," 4.4.17, Rolfe, J.C., transl., Loeb classical library, Heinemann: London, 1946, Reprinted, 1963, p.205).
"The Persian defeat by the Athenians at Marathon in 490 BC had significant repercussions in Egypt. On Darius I's death in 486 BC, a revolt broke out in the delta, perhaps instigated by Libyans of its western region. The result was that the Persian king Xerxes reduced Egypt to the status of a conquered province. Egyptians dubbed him the "criminal Xerxes." He never visited Egypt and appears not to have utilized Egyptians in high positions in the administration. Xerxes' murder in 465 BC was the signal for another revolt in the western delta. It was led by a dynast, Inaros, who acquired control over the delta and was supported by Athenian forces against the Persians. Inaros was crucified by the Persians in 454 BC, when they regained control of most of the delta. In the later 5th century BC, under the rule of Artaxerxes I (ruled 465-425 BC) and Darius II Ochus (ruled 423-404 BC), conditions in Egypt were very unsettled, and scarcely any monuments of the period have been identified. ("Egypt, ancient," Encyclopædia Britannica Online Library Edition. 6 Aug. 2008).
"palus 1, m. Also ~um ~i, n. [ < pak-slos (PANGO) ; cf. Gk. passalos] 1 A length of unsplit wood, post, stake. est quasi ~o pectus tundat PL.Rud.1290; ~os, siccos dolato CATO Agr.37.3; alterum (pedawentum) ~us (est) e pertica VAR.R.1.8.4; teneram ~is adiungere uitem TIB. 1.7.;3; hic annus nondum uehementem ~um aut ridicam desiderat COL.4.12.1; saepes. pro ~is elephantorum dentibus fieri PLIN.Nat.8.31; - (collect. sg.) caesae harundinis uel ~i compendium .. ad fructuarium pertinet PAUL.dig. 7 1.59.2; CIL 10.114; - (used for marching boundaries) in qnibusdam .. regionibus ~os pro terminis obseruant SIC. FL.agrim.p.102; actuarios ~os suo quemque numem inscriptos .. defigemus HYG.GR.agrim.p.155; - (applied to the phallus of a Priapus) obsceno .. ruber porrectus ab inguine ~us HOR.S.1.8.5; - neut.) quid? in non uides in uineis, quod tria ~a habeant, tripales dici? VAR.Men.179. 2 (of var. spec. objects) : a A wooden peg or pin. b a wooden pile. c a wooden pole serving as a dummy in fighting-practice. d the stake to which condemned persons were tied for execution. e the wooden sword of the seculores; ~us primus, the leader of the sectctores. f a dibble ..." (Glare, P.G.W., ed., 1982, "Oxford Latin Dictionary," , Clarendon Press: Oxford, p.1287. Emphasis original).
"[Haman] also said that he was not pleased at seeing the Jew Mordecai in the court. Then Zarasa, his wife, told him to order a tree [xulon] sixty cubits high to be cut down, and in the morning ask the king for leave to crucify [anastaurosai] Mordecai; and he praised her plan and ordered his servants to make the gallows [xulon] ready and set it up in the court for the punishment of Mordecai. And so it was prepared. ... But Sabuchadas, one of the eunuchs, seeing the cross [stauron] that had been set up at Haman's house and prepared for Mordecai, inquired of one of the servants for whom they had made this ready, and, learning that it was for the queen's uncle, for the time being held his peace. ... At this Haman was overcome and unable to utter any further sound, and then came the eunuch Sabuchadas and accused Haman, saying that he had found a cross [stauron] at his house prepared for Mordecai. For this was what the servant had told him in answer to his inquiry, when he had come to Haman to summon him to the banquet. And the cross [stauron], he said, was sixty cubits in height. When the king heard this, he decided to inflict on Haman no other punishment than that which had been devised against Mordecai, and ordered him at once to be hanged [ekeinou] on that very same cross [stauron] till he was dead." (Josephus, "Jewish Antiquities," 11.246, 261, 266-268, in "Works," Marcus, R., transl., Heinemann: London, Vol VI, 1937, Reprinted, 1958, p. 443).
"This patibulum-bearing punishment, during which a slave is whipped and lead through the city, was practiced in pre-Republican times and was the direct ancestor of the portion of the crucifixion ritual in which the victim carries his own cross. It did not always precede execution; it was often used for humiliation. Other descriptions of this early form of punishment can be found in Livy and Plutarch, who both describe its use in pre-Republican times and reveal that the wood carried by the victim was also called a furca `fork'. .... It is this piece of wood that centuries later became the crossbeam in the Roman cross. The crux compacta came into existence when Phoenician crucifixion was fused with the pre-existing Roman patibulum-bearing punishment. Not only was the errant slave punished by being paraded throughout the city yoked to a patibulum, but he now died suspended from it. But when did this happen? We need to examine the earliest known descriptions of the kind of crucifixion adopted by the Romans and the specific terms they used to refer to it." (Leolaia, 2005, "The facts on crucifixion, stauros, and the `torture stake'," Jehovah's Witnesses Discussion Forum, 11 June, Part I.).
"The Society insists that the word stauros did not refer to crosses in the first century AD and merely referred to single-beamed stakes. Here are some typical statements to this effect in the literature: `stauros in both classical and koine Greek carries no thought of a `cross' made from two timbers. It means only an upright stake, pale, pile, or pole' (Insight on the Scriptures, Vol. 1, 1988, p. 1191). `The inspired writers of the Christian Greek scriptures wrote in the common (koine) Greek and used the word stauros to mean the same as in the classical Greek, namely, a stake or a pole, a single one without a crossbeam of any kind or at any angle. There is no proof to the contrary' (New World Translation , 1950 edition, p. 769). `In classical Greek, this word [stauros] meant merely an upright stake, or pale. Later it also came to be used for an execution stake having a crosspiece' (Reasoning From the Scriptures, 1987, p. 89). ... The quotes from the Society posted above only vaguely indicate that `later' the meaning of stauros changed. Thus we find ambiguous statements like: `Later it also came to be used for an execution stake having a crosspiece' (Reasoning From the Scriptures, 1987, p. 89). `...the original meanings of these words [stauros and crux] were later expanded to include the cross' (Watchtower, 15 February 1960, p. 127). But when was this `later'? Many Watchtower publications cite W. E. Vine's lexicon as stating that this occurred `by the middle of the 3rd cent. A.D.' (cf. Truth that Leads to Eternal Life, 1968, pp. 142-143; Awake! , 8 May 1969, p. 4; Reasoning, pp. 90-91; Watchtower, 15 August 1987, p. 22; Insight, Vol. 1, pp. 1191; Watchtower, 1 May 1989, pp. 23-24; see Vine's An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, 1948, Vol. 1, p. 256). Additionally, the 22 March 1987 Awake! (p. 11) published an article by Nicholas Kip which implied that the meaning-shift took place in the days of Emperor Constantine (A.D. 312-337). The impression the Society gives is that stauros referred only to a crux simplex until between AD 250 and 315." (Leolaia, 2005, Part II).
"1. palus, i, m. (neutr. collat. form palum, i Varr. ap. Non. 219. 18) (for paglus (cf. dim. paxillus); root pag-; Sanscr. pacas, snare; Gr. pegnumi, fasten; Lat. pango; cf.: pignus, pax], a stake, prop, stay, pale. I. Lit. (very freq. and class.; syn.: sudes, stipes): ut figam palum in parietem, Plaut. Mil. 4, 4, 4; id. Men. 2, 3, 53: damnnti ad supplioiam traditi, ad palum alligat:, Cic. Verr. 2, 5, .5, § 11: palis adjungere vitem, Tib. 1, 8 (7), 33; Ov. F. 1, 665: palos et ridicas dolare. Col. 11. 2, 11; Varr. 1. l.-The Roman soldier learned to fight by attacking a stake set in the ground, Veg. Mil. 1, 11; 2. 33; hence, aut quis non vidit vulnera pali? Juv. 6. 246 - And, transf: exerceamur ad palum: et, no imparatos fortuna deprehendat, fiat nobis paupertas familiaris, Sen. Ep. 18. 6.- In the lang. of gladiators, palus primus or palusprimus (called also machaera Herculeana, Capitol. Pert. 8), a gladiator's sword of wood, borne by the secutores, whence their leader was also called primus palus, Lampr. Commod. 15; Inscr. Marin. Fratr. Arv. p. 694.. - Prov.: quasi palo pectus tundor, of one astonished, stunned; Plaut. Rud. 5. 2. 2 - II. Transf. = membrum virile, Hor. S. l., 8; 5." (Lewis, C.T. & Short, C.S., 1890, "A Latin Dictionary," Clarendon Press: Oxford, p.1295. Emphasis original).
"It so happened that at Rome preparations were making; to repeat the Great Games [B.C. 491]. The reason of the repetition was as follows: at an early hour of the day appointed for the games, before the show had begun, a certain householder had driven his slave, bearing a yoke [furca], through the midst of the circus, scourging the culprit as he went. The games had then been begun, as though this circumstance had in no way affected their sanctity. Not long after, Titus Latittius, a plebeian, had a dream. He dreamt that Jupiter said that the leading dancer at the games had not been to his liking; that unless there were a sumptuous repetition of the festival the City would be in danger; that Latinius was to go and announce this to the consuls." (Livy, "History of Rome," 2.36, Foster, B.O., transl., Loeb Classical Library, Heinemann: London, Vol. I, 1919, Reprinted, 1957, p.337).
"I shall not see Appius Claudius and Quintus Fulvius, emboldened by their insolent victory, nor [B.C. 211] shall I be dragged in chains through the city of Rome as a spectacle in a triumph, so that I may then breathe my last in the prison, or else, bound to a stake [ad palum deligatus], with my back mangled by rods, may submit my neck to the Roman axe." (Livy, "History of Rome," 26.13.15, Moore, F.G., transl., Loeb Classical Library, Heinemann: London, Vol. VII, 1943, Reprinted, 1958, pp.51,53).
"The herald's voice was heard, calling out the: names of those condemned in the war-council. [B.C. 206] They were being dragged out into the centre stripped, and at the same time everything requisite for punishment was being brought out. Bound to a stake [Deligati ad palum] they were scourged and beheaded, while the spectators were so paralysed by fear that not only was no fierce protest against the severity of the punishment heard, but not even a groan." (Livy, "History of Rome," 28.29.11, Moore, F.G., transl., Loeb Classical Library, Heinemann: London, Vol. VIII, 1949, Reprinted, 1955, p.123).
"They agreed that both might reserve five of their most trusty eunuchs, but that from the rest the loser must give whichever one the winner might select, and on these conditions played their game. Parysatis took the matter much to heart and was in great earnest with her playing, and since the dice also fell in her favour, she won the game, and selected Masabates; for he was not among those who had been excepted. And before the king suspected her design, she put the eunuch in the hands of the executioners; who were ordered to flay him alive, to set up his body slantwise on three stakes [stauron], and to nail up his skin to a fourth." (Plutarch, "Artaxerxes," 17.5, in "Lives," Perrin, B., transl., Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press: Cambridge MA, Vol. XI, 1926, Reprinted, 1994, p.167).
"But during this time it chanced that Hephaestion had a fever; and since, young man and soldier that he was, he could not submit to a strict regimen, as soon as Glaucus, his physician, had gone off to the theatre, he sat down to breakfast, ate a boiled fowl, drank a huge cooler of wine, fell sick, and in a little while died. Alexander's grief at this loss knew no bounds. He immediately ordered that the manes and tails of all horses and mules should he shorn in token of mourning, and took away the battlements of the cities round about; he also crucified [anestaurosen] the wretched physician, and put a stop to the sound of flutes and every kind of music in the camp for a long time, until an oracular response from Ammon came bidding him honour Hephaestion as a hero and sacrifice to him." (Plutarch, "Alexander," 72.2-3, in "Plutarch's Lives," Perrin, B., transl., Loeb classical library, Harvard University Press: Cambridge MA, Vol. VII, 1919, Reprinted, 1971, p.425).
"A certain man had handed over one of his slaves to other slaves, with orders to scourge him through the forum, and then put him to death. While they were executing this commission and tormenting the poor wretch, whose pain and suffering made him writhe and twist himself horribly, the sacred procession in honour of Jupiter chanced to come up behind. Many of those who took part in it were, indeed, scandalized at the joyless sight and the unseemly contortions of the victim, but no one made any protest; they merely heaped abuse and curses on the head of the master who was inflicting such a cruel punishment. ... And it was a severe punishment for a slave who had committed a fault, if he was obliged to take the piece of wood [xulon] with which they prop up the pole of a waggon, and carry it around through the neighbourhood. For he who had been seen undergoing this punishment no longer had any credit in his own or neighbouring households. And he was called `furcifer'; for what the Greeks call a prop, or support, is called `furca' [phourkan] by the Romans." (Plutarch, "Coriolanus," 24.3-5, in "Lives," Perrin, B., transl., Loeb classical library, Harvard University Press: Cambridge MA, Vol. IV, 1916, Reprinted, 1959, pp.177, 179).
"Thus this undertaking of the Hellenes came to naught after a war of six years; and but few out of many, making their way through Libya into Cyrene, escaped with their lives; the most of them perished. And all Egypt again came under the King's dominion, except Amyrtaeus, the king of the marshes; for the Persians were unable to capture him, both on account of the extent of the marsh and because the marsh people are the best fighters among the Egyptians. Inaros, however, the king of the Libyans, who had been the originator of the whole movement in Egypt, was taken by treachery and impaled [anestaurothe]." (Thucydides, "History of the Peloponnesian War," 1.110.3, Smith, C.F., transl., Loeb Classical Library, Heinemann: London, Vol. I, 1923, Reprinted, 1928, pp.183,185).
"After a criminal's condemnation, it was the custom for a victim to be scourged with the flagellum, a whip with leather thongs, which in our Lord's case doubtless greatly weakened him and hastened eventual death. He was then made to carry the cross-beam (patibulum) like a slave to the scene of his torture and death, always outside the city, while a herald carried in front of him the `title', the written accusation. It was this patibulum, not the whole cross, which Jesus was too weak to carry, and which was borne by Simon the Cyrenian. The condemned man was stripped naked, laid on the ground with the cross-beam under his shoulders, and his arms or his hands tied or nailed (Jn. 20:25) to it. This cross-bar was then lifted and secured to the upright post, so that the victim's feet, which were then tied or nailed, were just clear of the ground, not high up as so often depicted. The main weight of the body was usually borne by a projecting peg (sedile), astride which the victim sat. There the condemned man was left to die of hunger and exhaustion. Death was sometimes hastened by the crurifragium, breaking of the legs, as in the case of the two thieves, but not done in our Lord's case, because he was already dead. However, a spear was thrust into his side to make sure of death, so that the body could be removed, as the Jews demanded, before the sabbath (Jn. 19:31ff.)." (Torrance, J.B., 1982, "Cross, Crucifixion," in Douglas, J.D., et al., eds., "New Bible Dictionary," , InterVarsity Press, Leicester UK, Second edition, Reprinted, 1988, p.253).
"In the classical Greek the word stau-ros' meant merely an upright stake, or pale, or a pile such as is used for a foundation. The verb stau-ro'o meant to fence with pales, to form a stockade, or palisade, and this is the verb used when the mob called for Jesus to be impaled. It was to such a stake, or pale, that the person to be punished was fastened, just as the popular Greek hero Prometheus was represented as tied to rocks. Whereas the Greek word that the dramatist Aeschylus used to describe this simply means to tie or to fasten, the Greek author Lucian (Prometheus, I) used a·na·stau·ro'o as a synonym for that word. In the Christian Greek Scriptures a·na·stau·ro'o occurs but once, in Heb 6:6. The root verb stau-ro'o occurs more than 40 times, and we have rendered it `impale,' with the footnote: `Or, `fasten on a stake (pole).'" (WBTS, 1984, "New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures: With References," , Watchtower Bible & Tract Society of New York: Brooklyn NY, p.1577).
"In the classical Greek the word stau·ros' meant merely an upright stake, or pale, or a pile such as is used for a foundation. The verb stau·ro'o meant to fence with pales, to form a stockade, or palisade. The inspired writers of the Christian Greek Scriptures wrote in the common (koi·ne') Greek and used the word stau·ros' to mean the same thing as in the classical Greek, namely, a simple stake, or pale, without a crossbeam of any kind at any angle. There is no proof to the contrary. The apostles Peter and Paul also used the word xy'lon to refer to the torture instrument upon which Jesus was nailed, and this shows that it was an upright stake without a crossbeam, for that is what xy'lon in this special sense means. (Acts 5:30; 10:39; 13:29; Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24) In LXX we find xy'lon in Ezra 6:11 (1 Esdras 6:31), and there it is spoken of as a beam on which the violator of law was to be hanged, the same as in Acts 5:30; 10:39." (WBTS, 1985, "The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures," , Watchtower Bible & Tract Society: Brooklyn NY, Second edition, p.1149).