Man's Inhumanity towards his Fellow Men
Ky. Col. | 08/12/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It was around Easter when I saw this history channel documentary discussing one of the supreme symbols of man's inhumanity towards his fellow men. This is not a program for those easily disturbed by depictions of violence and I would not recommend it to anyone with a hint of sadistic tastes.
The documentary follows the cruel punishment from Assyrian, some Persian, and Macedonian forerunners. Most of the documentary focuses on Roman crucifixion (especially Christ's crucifixion but also Spartacus's Rebellion, Varus putting down a Jewish revolt, Nero's persecution of Christians, and the fall of Jerusalem). Finally the martyrdoms of Japanese Christian converts in the sixteenth century, Nazi concentration camp hangings, and the genocide in Darfur are mentioned. Also mentioned are the symbolic uses of the cross ranging from a symbol of Christian love to the terror symbol of the kkk.
Left out are a number of post-Roman European uses and the extensive Islamic use of crucifixion (though Darfur is mentioned) and likely a number of others.
The actors and make-up team did a good job at hammering their point home and the reinactments are rather disturbing to watch. The opinions of the medical experts seemed very plausible. I should mention that some of the historical battle scenes come from other history channel documentaries but they are generally put in effectively.
Overall, a brutal but informative account of a symbol of both sacrifice and human evil. A friend of mine who saw the program agreed that it was interesting but very graphic. This is certainly not for everyone.