Nowdays, whip is used as an instrument to keep animals under control, but through History it has become a very well-known icon, above all in Middle Age, when its main function was to punish slaves, toture and or killing thieves or people who broke the law.
Some whips had a name, usually given by its owner, the torturer or executioner. We could see so crrepy names as “nine tails cat”or “scorpions”; they were made of musk leather and sometimes of iron tips, this pieces of metal caused severe injuries, trauma and even the lost of vital organs.
Flagellation was incredibly common in Ancient Rome but also in British Army, where crimes depending on their degree had less or more whippings. Besides, cities had an specific place in their Major Square to show citizens lashes to criminals. Such as, deserters, thieves, traitors…who suffered this torture method, some historians called this punishment “half death” due to the high number of people who died by infections, lack of blood, a damaged organ…caused by lashes.
Lashes were usually given in victim’s back, except when crime comitted was considered extremely serious; the victims were hit in their chests, what was really painful.
Fortunately, currentyl whip has other purposes, except for taming animals. For example, a riding crop is normally used to ride a horse in the proper way. Riding crops are a reinforcement of hand, legs and body in order to control a horse, it should never be conceived as an element to punish. It is made of a glass or cane fibre, covered by leather or other similar material, this stick ends with a thin and flexible lock or leather tongue. Length’s riding crop is designed to allow wrist’s horseman movement withouth causing balancing problems, that’s why is always short.