One of the most accepted form of punishment during Medieval times
And one of the most painful.
Which is saying a lot considering how many forms of torture there is in the planets history.
The victim was positioned on the frame, his ankles were fastened to one roller and the wrists to another. It was designed to stretch the victim’s body, eventually dislocating the limbs and ripping them from their sockets.
A fire was lit beneath the wheel, adding to the torture. Eventually, the fire was extinguished by the downpour of blood as the victim's limbs were torn free.
The rack was used throughout Europe for centuries. It came in many forms, but here's the basic idea: The victim is tied down while some mechanical device, usually a crank or turning wheel, tightens the ropes, stretching the victim's body until the joints are dislocated. Continued pressure could cause the limbs to be torn right off. Such torture was known as being "broken on the rack," "racked," or "stretched on the rack." It could be combined with other forms of torture to make things even more painful. (wernt we imaginitive)
In the middle ages torture was used to extract information, force confessions, punish suspects, frighten opponents, and satisfy personal hatred.
Historically, ancient Greeks and Romans used torture for interrogation. Until the second century AD, torture was used only on slaves.. A slave's testimony was admissible only if extracted by torture.
The word 'torture' comes from the French torture, originating in the Late Latin tortura and ultimately deriving the past participle of torquere meaning 'to twist'. Many characteristically Christian tortures rely on a twisting of the limbs, twisting ligatures, or turning screw mechanisms as the Church discouraged the shedding of blood
A particular type of the rack was called “The Duke of Exeter’s daughter“, also known as “the brake“. This was a torture rack used in the Tower of London, a well-known place of imprisonment, torture and execution over the centuries, which is said to have been introduced by John Holland, the 2nd Duke of Exeter and the constable of the Tower in 1447. It was reserved for those identified as having committed the most serious of crimes against the state.
Another type of rack was known as the Horse. It was a wooden device that vaguely resembled an actual horse in shape. The victim was tied to a beam on the top (the horse's "back"), facing up. Pulleys below tightened ropes affixed to the victim's hands and feet. He or she was stretched until his or her joints dislocated, then left there or slackened and allowed to hang underneath the horse while an inquisitor or judge questioned the victim and tried to get a confession.
The prisoner was shown the rack first and then questioned; if the prisoner refused to answer, the rack was used. Famous victims who were stretched on the rack in England include Guy Fawkes, William Carter, Thomas Kyd and William Wallace (Braveheart).