The act of whipping the body with various tools, such as whips, canes, and other solid objects.
Where a person is struck by various devices, to inflict pain, in a whipping type of motion. Use of leather, canes, rods, and such are primary instruments used to inflict the blows, generally across the bare back, or buttocks.
Also used a form of judicial punishment, where flogging was a common penalty for assorted transgressions.
May have originated in the Far East, but is best known for its wide use by Military Forces, such as the Royal Navy and Army. It was mainly used as a disciplinary punishment for various offences.
The Jews used it in biblical times, was restricted to no more than 40 strokes, or lashes. A physician would be in attendance, to stop the punishment if it was endangering the life of the offender. In addition, as the amount was limited to 40, to insure that the punishment wasn't exceeded by miscount, the lashes ended at 39.
Muslin tradition also includes 'whipping or flogging' where the person administering the punishment, must have the Koran in one hand, in order to impede the person from being able to use their full force in administering the lashes.
In some Islam countries, flagellation is still practiced as a Judicial punishment, mainly for those who have sex out side of marriage, and other offences, such as drinking alcohol.
In Roman Times, it was used as a prelude to Crucifixion. Generally two persons administered the lashes, and their only real instructions were to not kill the victim. The number of lashes were left to them to determine. It also created a lot of outcry among the various Roman Laureates of the time, such as Horace and Cicero
Self Flagellation: A part of Christianity involves the self flagellation, using light chains with hooks on the ends. The purpose being to strike yourself, while praying.
Primarily common in the 13th Century, it is still common in Latin America and the Philippines.
Strict monastic orders, such as the Carmelites, still practice this, though they caution the practioners to not over do, or UNDER do the self whipping. A device, called the Discipline is used, which is a cattail whip. Light chain is used in place of leather strips, and metal hooks or spikes are attached on the end. The 'discipline' is flung over alternate shoulders, repeatedly, during prayer.
In a Judicial Use, the application is done for a set number of whacks, with force. However, in Impact Play, under BDSM guidelines, the force of the blows are generally considerably softer, less invasive, though repeated numerous times.
It is the repetition of blows, generally along the shoulder blades, buttocks, and other more fleshy, or fatty body parts, that generates the pain. These accumulated blows create a sensitivity on the skin, and can result in bruising, though not the breaking of the skin.
Used in many S/m role playing, flagellation or whipping is a form of punishment, where the submissive instigates a scenario, where the dominant must exert their role playing authority. This involves predetermined punishments, such as flogging.
Various tools are available for use in these 'impact play games' such as suede tendrils from a device resembling an old time 'cat o nine tails'. It is the multiple strips that add to the sensation of being whipped.
Use of other devices include rods made from Birch or other less rigid woods. These woods have some 'spring' to them, making them ideal punishment tools. This is generally referred to as 'caning'.
Practice (Associated Acts): Spanking and use of Paddles on the buttocks is a form of 'flagellation' in that it is the repeated blows, that create the pain. This is again generally part of 'impact play' and generally falls under the role playing rituals of BDSM activity.
Spanking is done with an open palm, with different degrees of force, as is paddling, however paddling most resembles 'caning'.
Noteworthy: During the Napoleonic Wars, the British Army recorded individual lashes, as punishment, of 1200 lashes. Records indicate that such high lashes were indeed ordered, and carried out. There are also records indicating other high numbers of lashes were ordered, and carried out, ranging from several hundred to a thousand.
Such punishments usually made the soldier unable to serve, obviously, as well as left him disfigured if not severely crippled.
These punishments were eventually stopped, and transportation to New South Wales was the replacement punishment.
During the American Civil War, the US Congress raised the maximum amount of lashed from 39 to 100, providing a Court Martial made the punishment determination, instead of the a local commander or officer.