The Evil DM

The Evil DM
The Evil DM

Monday, January 20, 2014

6000 Were Captured and Crucified Along the Whole Road from Capua to Rome

The movie Spartacus was one. At the end of the movie, Crassus orders his troops to crucify the six thousand captured slaves along the whole road from Capua to Rome. Only an empire as vast as Rome could handle such an order.

The problem of the logistics of crucifying six thousand is staggering. The Romans believed in order. It would be unthinkable for the troops to run out of captives to crucify. It is also unthinkable for them to have too many captives left when they reach Rome. The order implies the captives are to be equally spaced along the entire way.

According to Google Maps, the distance from Capua to Rome is 118.8 miles. This means they crucified a slave approximately every 105 feet. The Romans did not have Global Positioning Systems. The Romans created itinerarium, which listed all the cities, villages, and stops and the distance between them. Consider the simple problem of determining how far apart to space the captives. The Romans did not use Arabic Numbers. They used Roman Numerals. Someone had to add up all the distances then divide by the number of captives. Someone did the calculation without the aid of an abacus or calculator and using Roman Numerals.

If you need to crucify six thousand captives, you need to cut down six thousand trees. It requires four nails for each captive. Based on historical evidence, the nail went through the heel of the victim. The Romans nailed each foot on opposite sides of the wooden upright. One nail through the left wrist, one through the right wrist, one through the left heel, and one through the right heel. Nails were expensive in the ancient world. We know the Romans recycled the nails between crucifixions. The order required crucifying all six thousand.

A table of organization and equipment defines the organization, staffing, and equipment assigned to a military unit. The organization of legions varied greatly over time. Legions typically had 4,800 soldiers. Each legion had ten cohorts each with 480 soldiers. Each cohorts had 6 centuries of 80 men each. We can assume a century would routinely carry enough nails to handle ten crucifixions. Each legion had sixty centuries. A legion may have routinely had enough nails for six hundred crucifixions. Crassus came to the battle with ten legions. That means Crassus would probably had enough nails on hand only needing the tree trunks, which they could cut down along the way.

Normally crucifixion victim died in a few days. The legions of Crassus needed to take the bodies down in order to collect the valuable nails. The Romans dug pits called puticuli for the dead bodies.

I patterned the Marazzer after the ancient Assyrians in my World of Tiglath campaign. The Assyrians were very cruel compared to the Romans. Ashurnasirpal, one of the rulers of ancient Assyria, says, "In strife and conflict I besieged and conquered the city. I felled 3,000 of their fighting men with the sword. I captured many troops alive. I cut off some of their arms and hands; others I cut off their noses, ears, and extremities. I gouged out the eyes of many troops. I made one pile of the living and another one of heads. I hung their heads on trees around the city."

In the World of Tiglath the Marazzer are cruel like the Assyrians, but organized like the Romans. After the battle on the Plains of Lethe, the commanders of the Marazzer ordered the flaying of five thousand soldiers of Greth as part of a competition. The rules were simple. Your victim had to survive the process of removing all their skin. The victim that lived the longest won the prize.

The Marazzer methodically planned the competition. They executed five thousand soldiers. They promptly tanned the hides of all the victims. They turned the leather into numerous items. The Nazis made lampshades from the skin of human victims. Marazzer made Elf-Skin boots. They have similar magical properties to Elven Boots, but are make from the skins of dead elves.