What Was the Worst Way to Die in Ancient Times?

Death is an inevitable part of life, and throughout history, people have died in many different ways. In ancient times, death was often a brutal and gruesome affair, with many people meeting their end in horrific ways.

From execution by crucifixion to being thrown to wild animals, ancient civilizations had some of the worst ways to die imaginable. Here are just a few examples of the worst ways to die in ancient times.


One of the most infamous forms of execution in ancient times was crucifixion. This brutal method involved nailing or tying a person to a wooden cross and leaving them there until they died from starvation, dehydration, or suffocation. The pain and suffering endured by those who were crucified were immense, with victims often enduring hours or even days of agony before finally succumbing to their injuries.

Brazen Bull

The brazen bull was a particularly gruesome form of execution used by the ancient Greeks. The victim would be locked inside a large bronze statue resembling a bull and then slowly roasted alive as the metal heated up from beneath them. As the person inside screamed in agony, the statue’s hollow head would amplify their cries, creating an eerie sound that added to the horror of this method.


Scaphism is an ancient Persian method of execution that involved trapping a person inside two boats or hollowed-out tree trunks and then forcing them to ingest large amounts of milk and honey. The victim would then be left out in the sun where they would attract swarms of insects who would lay eggs on their exposed skin. As these eggs hatched into maggots, they would burrow into the victim’s flesh and eat them alive from within.

The Blood Eagle

The Vikings were known for their brutal methods of execution, but perhaps none were as horrifying as the Blood Eagle. This method involved cutting open a person’s back and breaking their ribs so that they resembled wings. The victim was then left to slowly die as their lungs collapsed, all while the executioner watched on.


These are just a few examples of the worst ways to die in ancient times. While modern society has largely moved away from such brutal forms of execution, it’s important to remember the cruelty that our ancestors were capable of. By studying these methods, we can gain a better appreciation for how far we’ve come and work towards building a more compassionate world for ourselves and future generations.