September 16, 2002

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Highlands Ranch High School - Mr. Sedivy
Highlands Ranch, Colorado

Mr. Sedivy's Tour of Rothenburg
Penalties of Shame and Honor


Mr. Sedivy's tour proceeds to the Medieval Crime and Punishment Museum in Rothenburg, Germany. After all, you can't really get to know what a Medieval town was like without seeing more than walls, buildings of Gothic and Renaissance styles, and Patrician houses.

Crime & Punishment MuseumHelmet
Outside the Crime and Punishment Museum; Executioner's Helmet

The Kriminal Museum displays Medieval through 18th-century forms of punishment and of shame. The Masks of Shame: Those being punished had to wear these masks for public displays of their shame. There was a "Flute of Shame" for bad musicians, "Swine Mask" for men treating women poorly, the "Hood of Shame" for bad students, and many more masks of shame.

Masks of Shame
Masks of Shame and Other Punishment Devices

The exhibits at the museum include instruments of torture, items used in the execution of sentences, books, and douments of emperors, nobility and towns. Here are just a few of the more common crimes of the period along with their punishments:

Baker's Baptism
The Baker's Baptism

"Baker's Baptism" was the common penalty of the day for a baker whose loaf of bread did not weigh enough. The baker was dunked in the central fountain until the punishment administer thought that the baker was out of breath. There was no standard amount of time; it was left up to the "Master of Ceremonies."

Neck ViolinWitch's Chair
Neck Violin for Feuding Women; Spiked Witch's Chair - Another Instrument of Torture

Axe with Chopping Block

Ultimately, if the penalties of shame and honor, other punishments, and various tortures didn't reform the offender, it was: "Off With Their Head!"

- A safe town is a happy town!

Penalties of Shame & Honor II -
The Devices of Torture

Penalties of Shame & Honor III -
The Crimes and Their Penalties

Mr. Sedivy's Tour of Rothenburg


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