The Brazen Bull

Man’s ingenuity knows no bounds, but he seems especially clever at devising ways to inflict pain and suffering. This device, also known as the Bronze Bull or Sicilian Bull, was invented by a Greek metal worker named Perillos in the first century A.D. Criminals were placed inside and a large fire was built underneath which cooked them alive. Later refinements added a system of acoustical tubes and stops inside the bull’s head that turned the screams of its victims into musical bellowing. The story goes that Phalaris, the Tyrant of Akragas, rewarded its creator with the honor of the first test run. Phalaris himself was later killed inside the bull by Telamachus, his usurper. Other famous victims include Saint Eustace (allegedly roasted with his wife and child by the Emperor Hadrian) and Saint Antipas, the Bishop of Pergamum.