Execution and torture was common throughout Europe in the 1700’s. However, with no fixed rate for their services, the executioners of the time were free to choose their own price. In 1757, with execution and torture fees rising to outrageous prices, several countries decided to put their foot down and provided a list with certain fixed rates for their services. Here is one such document translated to English (the fees were measured in local currency using reichsthalers, German empire coins containing an ounce of pure silver, and albus, which were worth one seventy-eighth of a reichsthaler):

Tariff of Torture 1757


Approved by the Archbishopric of Cologne

Even though the Archbishopric of Cologne has previously endowed the high excutioner with a permanent yearly income of eighty reichsthaler, twenty albus twelve malder of grain, and four cords of wood, never the less it has turned out that during and after performing executions and other matters connected with them, so many unsubstantiated and exaggerated claims for extra expenses have been made that it has become very costly for the chief court of the Elector Archbishop. Therefore, the archbishopric is compelled, in order to contain these demands, to set up the following rules in which every single operation has been given its due charge, which is forthwith promulgated.

  1. For pulling apart and quartering by four horses. 5r 26a
  2. For quartering. 4r 0a
  3. For the necessary rope for that purpose. 1r 0a
  4. For hanging the four quarters in four corner, the nesessary rope, nails, chains, and the transport included. 5r 26a
  5. For beheading and burying, everything included. 5r 26a
  6. For the necessary rope for this procedure, and for preparing and igniting the stake. 2r 0a
  7. For strangling and burning. 4r 0a
  8. For rope and for preparing and igniting the stake. 2r 0a
  9. For burning alive. 4r 0a
  10. For rope and for preparing and igniting the stake. 2r 0a
  11. For breaking alive on the wheel. 4r 0a
  12. For rope and chains for this procedure. 2r 0a
  13. For setting up the body which is tied to the wheel. 2r 52a
  14. For beheading only. 2r 52a
  15. For the necessary rope for this purpose, and for cloth to cover the face. 1r 0a
  16. For making a hole and disposing of the corpse. 1r 26a
  17. For beheading and tying the body on the wheel. 4r 0a
  18. For the necessary rope and chains, together with the cloth. 2r 0a
  19. For the cutting off of a hand or several fingers, and for beheading altogether. 3r 26a
  20. The same: in addition, for burning with a hot iron. 1r 26a
  21. For the necessary rope and cloth. 1r 26a
  22. For beheading and sticking head on a pole. 3r 26a
  23. For the necessary rope and cloth. 1r 26a
  24. For beheading and tying the body on the wheel and for sticking the head on a pole, all together. 5r 0a
  25. For the necessary rope, chains, and cloth. 1r 26a
  26. For hanging. 2r 52a
  27. For the necessary rope, nails, and chains necessary for that purpose. 1r 26a
  28. Before the actual execution starts for squeezing the delinquent with red hot tongs, apart from the above-mentioned fee for hanging , for every application. 0r 26a
  29. For cutting off the tongue entirely, or part of it, and afterwards for burning the mouth with a red-hot iron. 5r 0a
  30. For this procedure the usual ropes, tongs, and knife. 2r 0a
  31. For nailing to the gallows a cut-off tongue or chopped-off hand. 1r 26a
  32. For one who has hanged himself, or drowned him-self, or otherwise taken his own life: to take down , remove, and dig a hole to dispose of the corpse. 2r 0a
  33. For exiling a person from the city or country. 0r 52a
  34. For flogging in jail including the rods. 1r 0a
  35. For thrashing. 0r 52a
  36. For putting in the pillory. 0r 52a
  37. For putting in the pillory and for whipping, including the rope and rods. 1r 26a
  38. For putting in the pillory, branding, and whipping including coals, rope, and rods, also the branding ointment. 2r 0a
  39. For inspecting a prisoner after he has been branded. 0r 20a
  40. For putting the ladder to the gallows regardless of whether one or several are hanged the same day. 2r 0a

  41. Concerning torture
  42. For the first degree of torture. 1r 0a
  43. For terrorizing by showing the instruments of torture. 1r 26a
  44. For arranging and crushing the thumb for his degree. 0r 26a
  45. For the second degree of torture, including setting the limbs afterwards, and for salve which is used. 2r 26a
  46. Should, however, a person be tortured in both degrees of torture, the executioner is to get for both degrees performed at the same time, set the limbs afterward and for the use of the salve, for all this he should be paid. 6r 0a
  47. For the travel and daily expenses for everyday exclusive, however, of the days of execution or torture, regardless whether on these days one or several criminals are punished. 0r 48a
  48. For daily food. 1r 26a
  49. For each helper. 0r 39a
  50. For hiring a horse for fodder, and stabling, the daily fee. 1r 16a

If a torture of execution takes place in Cologne, the executioner shall receive for this procedure the execution fees, without any addition of other extra such as travel daily expenses , food, horse hay and fodder; and he has to be satisfied with the above-mentioned execution fee.

When he performs executions in Melaten and Deutz, he receives extra expenses for hay for his horse, and nothing else

Since items 15, 32, and 40 of the present rules fall within the province of the weapons maser, there for the weapons maser should receive the respective fees

Should the executioner perform functions for those who are vassals or sub-vassals of the archbishopric, he should receive on third more then before specified, the reason being that he enjoys his yearly investiture without any emolument from aforesaid vassals.

Only the executioner and no stranger shall be employed by the vassals or sub-vassals for whatever executions have to be done.

Because there have been many complaints that at an execution where an official of the archbishopric presides, the executioner, either in addition to accepting the fees or instead of accepting them dared to demand a certain sum of money, and since this demand is regarded as an abuse, it is once and for all forbidden, therefore, herewith we order that every official of the archbishopric keep strictly to the above- mentioned rules and pay the executioners only the stipulated fees and nothing else, any time there is an execution; and they are asked to submit afterward their accounts with their vouchers to the treasury of the archbishop.

Given at Bonn, January 15, 1757. L.S.

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