The descriptions of such gruesome state murders are not isolated episodes. The ritual infliction of extreme pain calculated to spread terror among potentially “subversive” elements in the population who threaten its moral norms or institutional power has been a recurrent feature of the pre-modern state. At least within Christian culture, the crucifixion of Jesus Christ is the most famous historical example of how states in antiquity routinely deployed terror to counter the threat of popular sedition. Attempts by the Roman Empire to halt the spread of Christianity led to the even more exotic forms of public execution documented in the first chapter of Fox’s Book of Martyrs, “History of Christian Martyrs to the First General Persecutions Under Nero.”