Who Were The Flagellants?


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E Jacobson Profile
E Jacobson answered
The Flagellants were a fourteenth century religious sect which had strong links to sado-masochistic rituals.
The name is derived from the Latin verb flagellare, which basically means to flog, which we would now understand as 'whipping'.
The flagellants believed that the Black Death which had killed many within Britain and the rest of Europe was actually a punishment from God and that God was actually very angry with mankind.
This was actually a belief held by many in the difficult years after the Black Death, when people were trying to make sense of such a terrible disaster.
However, the flagellants believed that the only way to please God was to scourge themselves and others. So they would walk the streets with each man whipping the back of the person in front of them, in order to rid them of their sins. Self flagellation would also be carried out to rid oneself of one's sins.
Selie Visa Profile
Selie Visa answered
Flagellation in religion is the disciplinary or devotional practice of beating with whips. This practice of the flagellants was to seek by their own efforts to mitigate or dispel impending divine judgment.

Many theories have been offered to explain the phenomenon. It has been interpreted as a driving out of evil spirits, as purification, as a form of sadism, and as an incorporation of the animal power residing in the whip, but none of these hypotheses encompasses the whole range of the custom.

In antiquity, ceremonial whippings or beatings were primarily concerned with rites of initiation, purification, and fertility, which often included other forms of physical suffering. Floggings and mutilations might or might not be self-inflicted. Beatings done by masked impersonators of gods are a feature of many North American Indian initiations. Ritual floggings are also known from antiquity among the Spartans and in Rome.

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