728. Place of Capital Punishment

 •  1 min. read  •  grade level: 9
Matthew 27:3333And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull, (Matthew 27:33). When they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull.
This is supposed to have been the spot where capital executions for Jerusalem usually took place. It was customary to have certain places set apart for such purposes by the different cities. Rosenmüller (Morgenland, vol. 5, p. 117) gives several illustrations of this. The Mamertins had such a one on the Pompeian Way, behind their city. The Romans also had a particular place for the crucifixion of slaves. Descriptive names were given to these places. The Romans called their place of execution Sestertium, because it was two and a half miles from the city. The Thessalians called theirs Korax, the Raven; which is similar to the German Rabenstein, (raven-stone,) a name given to a place of execution, because the ravens resort there when a criminal is executed and exposed. “To the ravens!” was a very significant ancient curse. The name of the place when Jesus was executed was Golgotha, a corrupt form of the Chaldee name for a skull. This would be a significant title for a place of execution, and many suppose that this is the reason of the name. Others, however, think the name may have been given to the place because of its rounding, skull-like form; and some authorities assert that the Romans had no particular places for crucifixion near Jerusalem, but executed this mode of punishment anywhere outside the walls. Even if this were so, there may have been reasons why one place should be more frequently used than others, and this might properly be known as the “place of a skull.”