Rumors had been going around that the beautiful young woman was an illegitimate daughter of King Herod. It was not clear if Judith had ever claimed to be a Jewish princess, but the gossip produced much agitation in the royal court. On a visit with the old Roman governor, Queen Herodias and her daughter found some rather persuasive arguments to convince him to sentence Judith to the most atrocious Roman punishment...

*  *  *  *  *

The announcement of the sentence had hardly faded when Judith was stripped by the guards and led to the inner courtyard of the governor's palace. The men spent several hours amusing themselves with their young, innocent captive, first mocking her and fondling her most intimate parts, then slapping her face, scourging her beautiful body vigorously, and at last branding
her breastbone with the symbol of her further ordeal.

Even then she was not ready to serve the filthy desires of her torturers voluntarily. The men noticed her lack of cooperation. So they took a hammer and two nails, seized her breasts and brutally nailed her nipples to a heavy wooden table. After that, they took her from by one...again and again...

Hours later, the guardsmen released her from the table, but left the nails in her tender flesh. They laughed and told her this was the way she would have to carry the nails to her cross. Then they paused, as if they had to think about it intensely.

"Hm, well, a traditional crucifixion of course takes at least three nails..."

Again they laughed loudly and produced another nail. They showed it to her as if to demonstrate the quality of the wrought-iron work. Then they grabbed her smeary lower lips and...very, very slowly...drove the nail through the sore and swollen flesh.

When Judith's screams had subsided, the guards took a thin rope, made a loop and wound it around the third nail. Finally, they hung a wooden plate on their victim's neck.

"People say you are a princess, but you look like a common wench! Don't you think you need an outfit that looks more presentable?"

They dressed her in a crimson robe and put a crown of thorns on her head.

"Now everybody will be convinced of your royal blood!" they jeered.

They opened the heavy door leading to the forecourt of the palace, and Judith was faced with an enormous crowd. She was terrified by the eager display of contempt, rage and cruelty from her own people. She hesitated in the doorway, but knew it would be futile to struggle against the inevitable...

*  *  *  *  *

In the middle of the crowd, a young girl turned to her mother. Despite the veils, Herodias noticed the twinkling in her daughter's eyes.

"You were right, mother; crucifixion is so much more fun than beheading."



ecce.jpg, 126 KB



I was inspired by one of Zerosen's drawings: