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Anne the sword/Katherine the axe
June 2, 2011
3:31 pm
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Anyanka
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To be fair to Henry..it wasn't that he'd killed all of his previous wives by then……LOL!Laugh

It's always bunnies.

June 2, 2011
11:15 pm
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Melissa
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I’m not so sure the sword is better than the axe. With the axe the victim was likely to be knocked unconscious as the fatal blow was delivered. Quick beheading with a sword or guillotine might leave the victim conscious for a few seconds afterward, based on anecdotal evidence (including stories of Anne Boleyn’s lips moving after her head had been struck off as well as creepy experiments done during the French Revolution).

Ainsi sera, groigne qui groigne.

June 3, 2011
12:21 pm
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Bella44
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Anyanka said:

To be fair to Henry..it wasn't that he'd killed all of his previous wives by then……LOL!Laugh


No but they say it gets easier after the first one…. Laugh

It was reported that Mary Queen of Scots' lips moved after she was beheaded and she was decapitated by axe so I'm not sure that sword, axe or guillotine makes much difference.  Apart from sword being more efficient and possibly less painful.  Either way, it's an horrific way to go Frown
June 3, 2011
5:25 pm
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MegC
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I think the only difference between the axe and the sword is that with the sword you were virtually guaranteed a clean, one-hit decapitation whereas you were not at all guaranteed that the axe.  Didn't people tip the executioner to ensure they were beheaded quickly?  Clearly, that was an important concern in Tudor beheadings.  There is no way to know whether blinking eyes, moving lips, etc. post-decapitation is evidence of consciousness or merely the last of the neurons in the brain firing and the muscles in the face responding to the stimulation.  I mean, there is a reason why we have the saying “Running around like a chicken with their head cut off”.  But no one would suggest that the chicken is any longer conscious (although if you have never heard the story of Mike the Headless Chicken, you should visit the official website: http://www.miketheheadlesschic…..ndex.php ).

I sometimes wonder if the realization that you will be executed by decapitation and having to wait for that and walking up to the guillotine or the block or swordsman or what have you is worse than the actual act of being beheaded itself.  I know if I had to take that walk (heck, any walk to my execution), I'd be shaking like a leaf.  I'd probably be as messed up as Jane Parker was when she was executed.

"We mustn't let our passions destroy our dreams…"

June 4, 2011
3:53 pm
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DuchessofBrittany
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Anyanka said:

To be fair to Henry..it wasn't that he'd killed all of his previous wives by then……LOL!Laugh


LOLLaugh 

"By daily proof you shall find me to be to you both loving and kind" Anne Boleyn

June 4, 2011
9:45 pm
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Impish_Impulse
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MegC said:

I think the only difference between the axe and the sword is that with the sword you were virtually guaranteed a clean, one-hit decapitation whereas you were not at all guaranteed that the axe.  Didn't people tip the executioner to ensure they were beheaded quickly?  Clearly, that was an important concern in Tudor beheadings.  There is no way to know whether blinking eyes, moving lips, etc. post-decapitation is evidence of consciousness or merely the last of the neurons in the brain firing and the muscles in the face responding to the stimulation.  I mean, there is a reason why we have the saying “Running around like a chicken with their head cut off”.  But no one would suggest that the chicken is any longer conscious (although if you have never heard the story of Mike the Headless Chicken, you should visit the official website: http://www.miketheheadlesschic…..ndex.php ).

I sometimes wonder if the realization that you will be executed by decapitation and having to wait for that and walking up to the guillotine or the block or swordsman or what have you is worse than the actual act of being beheaded itself.  I know if I had to take that walk (heck, any walk to my execution), I'd be shaking like a leaf.  I'd probably be as messed up as Jane Parker was when she was executed.


Holy Toledo! The story of Mike is amazing. But I don't think there is any evidence with human decapitation, that blinking, lips moving, etc., isn't evidence of consciousness, either. It might just be what people prefer to believe. Referring to those creepy anecdotal stories from the French Revolution mentioned by Melissa, there was the tale of the intellectual sent to the guillotine who decided to make his death one last scientific experiment. He had a colleague attend, telling him that he would blink furiously as long as he could, and the colleague clocked him at 15-20 seconds. Another story had someone calling one dead man's name, and allegedly the eyes opened and focused on him for a few seconds before drifting closed again. And I've read (true or not) that the whole point of holding the head up after decapitation was as much to show the head its own corpse (and thereby show them that they were most certainly dead), as it was to show a recognizable face/head to the witnesses, and to prove there had been no last-minute switcheroo. I work in medicine and know the brain may survive several minutes without blood flowing, so it doesn't sound unlikely to me that consciousness could survive for seconds.

I think you're right about the anticipation being as bad or worse than the actual execution (if you were lucky enough to go in one chop; otherwise I disagree). Witnesses to Jane Grey's execution remarked on the enormous amount of blood – her blood pressure must have been sky-high waiting for the blow. And Katheryn Howard was shaking like a leaf – by accounts, so weak with fear she could barely walk, and had to be helped up the steps of the scaffold – although NOT (yes, I'm talking to you, Michael Hirst!) barefoot and pissing herself.

                        survivor ribbon                             

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          Ring the bell and run. He hates that."    

June 5, 2011
9:38 am
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Thanks Sharon and Anyanka.. It gives me a whole new perspective on Anne's execution- I'll have to pay closer attention when rereading Weir's The Lady in The Tower! Her execution was definitely a foregone conclusion. What a terrible thing for Henry to do- after all, he persued her. Is it uncouth of me to wish to go back in time, kick him in the nuts and then run off? Surprised

"A fresh young damsel, who could trip and go"

June 5, 2011
12:29 pm
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Bella44
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^ Uncouth?  No, sounds entirely reasonable to me.  Just watch out for that cod-piece is all – I'm sure he wore it for a reason!!!!  LaughLaugh

June 5, 2011
1:41 pm
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Sophie1536
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The awful thing is that I've always worried that Anne didn't die instantly and that for a moment a two she was fully aware of the situation (so awfully sorry if that sounds weird at all ) and that she felt pain.
I read her still warm body was put in that awful arrow chest (totally despicable for a Queen of England) and I do panic at the thought that she wasn't dead or it took more than a few minutes…..I totally apologize for the delicate nature of the post but I really have worried over this for years Cry

Reading previous posts and all the things about beheading has made me more concerned than ever.

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June 5, 2011
4:07 pm
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Neil Kemp
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Sophie, please don't apologise for the nature of your post, your concern does you great credit, shows your calibre as a person and is not in the least bit weird. For my own part I prefer not to think or speculate on Anne's end as I believe it is an issue from which no conclusion can be reached which would give comfort or peace of mind to anyone, such as yourself Sophie, with a compassion to her welfare. Better I believe to think of the living, vibrant Anne, who met this undeserved and undignified end in a calm, regal and proud manner, as befitting of a Queen of England. As I said Sophie, the fact you feel as you do is not weird or silly, It shows you to be a caring and warm human being who is capable of feeling the pain of others sufferings, a rare and wonderful thing in this modern world.

There must also be some comfort in the fact that, 475 years on, Anne is revered whilst Henry is seen for what he was (no further explanation needed).

Take care.

June 5, 2011
5:28 pm
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MegC
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Bella44 said:

^ Uncouth?  No, sounds entirely reasonable to me.  Just watch out for that cod-piece is all – I'm sure he wore it for a reason!!!!  LaughLaugh

Haha!  I'd forgotten about those codpieces!  Ew :-{


"We mustn't let our passions destroy our dreams…"

June 5, 2011
6:13 pm
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Anyanka
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Sophie1536 said:

The awful thing is that I've always worried that Anne didn't die instantly and that for a moment a two she was fully aware of the situation (so awfully sorry if that sounds weird at all ) and that she felt pain.

I read her still warm body was put in that awful arrow chest (totally despicable for a Queen of England) and I do panic at the thought that she wasn't dead or it took more than a few minutes…..I totally apologize for the delicate nature of the post but I really have worried over this for years Cry

Reading previous posts and all the things about beheading has made me more concerned than ever.


{Hugs} I'm the same way when I read about WWI gas attacks and the whole Holocaust in WWII.

 

However I feel that Anne was happy to die. She knew she was innocent and was sure of her eternal salvation.Perhaps part of her was accepting that she was going to be a martyr for her faith.

It's always bunnies.

June 5, 2011
6:30 pm
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Bella44
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There's absolutely no need to apologize for the tone of your post Sophie; as Neil said your feelings and sympathy for Anne in her last moments are a credit to you.  I think its something we've all felt horrible about at one point or another, not just for Anne but for everyone who suffered such an end.  I can't even watch things like Anne's execution in movies; it always upsets me and I always have to look away even if I've seen it before and they don't really show that much!  

I like to think that the swordsman felt compassion for Anne too and distracted her so that she didn't suffer too greatly.  Not much I know, but I hope it helps a little.

Now I'll go back to thinking about REALLY kicking the crap out of Henry!!!!!!!

June 6, 2011
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Bella44 said:

^ Uncouth?  No, sounds entirely reasonable to me.  Just watch out for that cod-piece is all – I'm sure he wore it for a reason!!!!  LaughLaugh


I was worried about the cod piece! Do you think it would echoe?LaughLaugh

"A fresh young damsel, who could trip and go"

June 6, 2011
1:58 am
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Sophie1536 said:

The awful thing is that I've always worried that Anne didn't die instantly and that for a moment a two she was fully aware of the situation (so awfully sorry if that sounds weird at all ) and that she felt pain.
I read her still warm body was put in that awful arrow chest (totally despicable for a Queen of England) and I do panic at the thought that she wasn't dead or it took more than a few minutes…..I totally apologize for the delicate nature of the post but I really have worried over this for years Cry

Reading previous posts and all the things about beheading has made me more concerned than ever.


Sophie, it is wonderful that you feel this empathy for Anne and I hope you don't mind my sharing with you my thoughts on her passing. This is from my own empathy, and nothing I have read. Just my own logical conclusions based on documented evidence of how the nerves feel when being severed by a sharp blade, how long the brain stays alive without oxygen etc… Not to say it is right or wrong, just wanted to share..

Anne had prepared for her death and become reconciled to it. She had said her piece to ensure Elizabeth's safety. She had worn red, the colour of martyrs, this, with her words and demeanor proclaimed her innocence. All that was left to do was to die.

“Father have mercy on my soul, Father have mercy on my soul,-” “Knave, bring me my sword!” “Father have mercy-” The blow, she gasps, but cannot draw air into her lungs. What a strange sensation, her whole head like pins and needles as it knocks on the boards of the scaffold- for a moment seeing her body from a never before seen angle.. Suddenly lifted a slight nausea at the lightness. She looks sadly at the gathering, then down to her body. Her eyes close. And her spirit is free to meet with her brother and from there to the side of her daughter Elizabeth…

I have not shared this point of view before as it is something close to my heart.. Sigh.CryCryCry

"A fresh young damsel, who could trip and go"

June 6, 2011
11:13 am
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Sharon
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Impish_Impulse said:

MegC said:

I think the only difference between the axe and the sword is that with the sword you were virtually guaranteed a clean, one-hit decapitation whereas you were not at all guaranteed that the axe.  Didn't people tip the executioner to ensure they were beheaded quickly?  Clearly, that was an important concern in Tudor beheadings.  There is no way to know whether blinking eyes, moving lips, etc. post-decapitation is evidence of consciousness or merely the last of the neurons in the brain firing and the muscles in the face responding to the stimulation.  I mean, there is a reason why we have the saying “Running around like a chicken with their head cut off”.  But no one would suggest that the chicken is any longer conscious (although if you have never heard the story of Mike the Headless Chicken, you should visit the official website: http://www.miketheheadlesschic…..ndex.php ).

I sometimes wonder if the realization that you will be executed by decapitation and having to wait for that and walking up to the guillotine or the block or swordsman or what have you is worse than the actual act of being beheaded itself.  I know if I had to take that walk (heck, any walk to my execution), I'd be shaking like a leaf.  I'd probably be as messed up as Jane Parker was when she was executed.


Holy Toledo! The story of Mike is amazing. But I don't think there is any evidence with human decapitation, that blinking, lips moving, etc., isn't evidence of consciousness, either. It might just be what people prefer to believe. Referring to those creepy anecdotal stories from the French Revolution mentioned by Melissa, there was the tale of the intellectual sent to the guillotine who decided to make his death one last scientific experiment. He had a colleague attend, telling him that he would blink furiously as long as he could, and the colleague clocked him at 15-20 seconds. Another story had someone calling one dead man's name, and allegedly the eyes opened and focused on him for a few seconds before drifting closed again. And I've read (true or not) that the whole point of holding the head up after decapitation was as much to show the head its own corpse (and thereby show them that they were most certainly dead), as it was to show a recognizable face/head to the witnesses, and to prove there had been no last-minute switcheroo. I work in medicine and know the brain may survive several minutes without blood flowing, so it doesn't sound unlikely to me that consciousness could survive for seconds.

I think you're right about the anticipation being as bad or worse than the actual execution (if you were lucky enough to go in one chop; otherwise I disagree). Witnesses to Jane Grey's execution remarked on the enormous amount of blood – her blood pressure must have been sky-high waiting for the blow. And Katheryn Howard was shaking like a leaf – by accounts, so weak with fear she could barely walk, and had to be helped up the steps of the scaffold – although NOT (yes, I'm talking to you, Michael Hirst!) barefoot and pissing herself.


Okay….Well….Can I just say, Ewwwwww!!!

Big hug to you Sophie.   

Believe me, you are not the only person to have thought these things.  Your concern  shows your compassion for a fellow human being. You need not apologise for the way you feel. 

 It is incomprehensible for us to imagine the amount of anxiety Anne must have felt from the time of her arrest to the day of her execution.  It would have taken every ounce of will power she possessed to be strong and calm as she walked up those steps to the scaffold. Then she had to give a speech in praise of the bastard who sent her there!   She did all of this with a dignity that defied her enemies. Having to think that after her head came off, she may still have been aware…**big sigh**  I believe she found peace before she died, and I choose to believe her spirit was long gone before her head was on the ground seperated from her body.  

She had such a zest for living, for learning, and for loving.  She gave the world Elizabeth.  Her life and her death were both jobs well met. 

June 6, 2011
2:08 pm
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Claire-Louise
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Definitely lots of big hugs for Sophie, as everyone has said your empathy is a credit to you.

Bella, I am exactly the same as you and cannot watch Anne's execution in movies/TV shows. I must confess that there are episodes of 'The Tudors' that I haven't even seen in full because of things like this. I remember reading in a TV guide a review on one of the episodes of 'The Tudors' and the un-sympathetic sarcastic way the author wrote about an execution scene disgusted me! Cry I know some people say, “Oh it's only a TV show” but it is based on real historical events and it's just so disturbingly upsetting.

Neil, what a lovely post, spoken like a true gentlemen!

June 7, 2011
9:32 am
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Neil Kemp
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Thank you Claire-Louise, what a nice thing to say in conclusion to your fine post. I shall try to live up to the billing!

June 8, 2011
1:50 am
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i'm not sure we will ever know what was going through Kathryn's head. i don't think she would have given the whole axe/sword thing a second thought. sadly, it seems pretty obvious that she went quite mad during her holding at the tower, don't think she was thinking straight anymore.

 

Also, perhaps the way they both entered the tower is a clue – anne was kept in the same rooms that she stayed in before her coronation, but kathryn was taken via traitor's gate in a boat. this must have left her in no doubt about her fate.

 

perhaps henry decided not to have any involvement in kathryn's fate after he sighned her death warrant, and just left it up to others. it's no secret that kathryn made a lot of enemies at court, so maybe it was due to the way other people treated her that the too executions were so different (even though it was for the same thing – in fact, surely anne's was worse as they accused her of incest as well as infedelity/treason!)

June 11, 2011
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Sharon said:

Impish_Impulse said:

MegC said:

I think the only difference between the axe and the sword is that with the sword you were virtually guaranteed a clean, one-hit decapitation whereas you were not at all guaranteed that the axe.  Didn't people tip the executioner to ensure they were beheaded quickly?  Clearly, that was an important concern in Tudor beheadings.  There is no way to know whether blinking eyes, moving lips, etc. post-decapitation is evidence of consciousness or merely the last of the neurons in the brain firing and the muscles in the face responding to the stimulation.  I mean, there is a reason why we have the saying “Running around like a chicken with their head cut off”.  But no one would suggest that the chicken is any longer conscious (although if you have never heard the story of Mike the Headless Chicken, you should visit the official website: http://www.miketheheadlesschic…..ndex.php ).

I sometimes wonder if the realization that you will be executed by decapitation and having to wait for that and walking up to the guillotine or the block or swordsman or what have you is worse than the actual act of being beheaded itself.  I know if I had to take that walk (heck, any walk to my execution), I'd be shaking like a leaf.  I'd probably be as messed up as Jane Parker was when she was executed.


Holy Toledo! The story of Mike is amazing. But I don't think there is any evidence with human decapitation, that blinking, lips moving, etc., isn'tevidence of consciousness, either. It might just be what people prefer to believe. Referring to those creepy anecdotal stories from the French Revolution mentioned by Melissa, there was the tale of the intellectual sent to the guillotine who decided to make his death one last scientific experiment. He had a colleague attend, telling him that he would blink furiously as long as he could, and the colleague clocked him at 15-20 seconds. Another story had someone calling one dead man's name, and allegedly the eyes opened and focused on him for a few seconds before drifting closed again. And I've read (true or not) that the whole point of holding the head up after decapitation was as much to show the head its own corpse (and thereby show them that they were most certainly dead), as it was to show a recognizable face/head to the witnesses, and to prove there had been no last-minute switcheroo. I work in medicine and know the brain may survive several minutes without blood flowing, so it doesn't sound unlikely to me that consciousness could survive for seconds.
I think you're right about the anticipation being as bad or worse than the actual execution (if you were lucky enough to go in one chop; otherwise I disagree). Witnesses to Jane Grey's execution remarked on the enormous amount of blood – her blood pressure must have been sky-high waiting for the blow. And Katheryn Howard wasshaking like a leaf – by accounts, so weak with fear she could barely walk, and had to be helped up the steps of the scaffold – although NOT (yes, I'm talking to you, Michael Hirst!) barefoot and pissing herself.


Sharon- I remember having heard of that! The dead mans name being called and his eyes opening for a while before drifting closed again- Do you by any chance own a copy of Public Executions? I think this may be where I read the info..

"A fresh young damsel, who could trip and go"

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