method of slow and painful execution in which skin is removed from the body

Flaying is a form of torture, mutilation, and execution. It is the act of stripping the skin and flesh from the bones. Flaying an enemy while alive is an ancient practice. Accounts attribute the practice to the ancient Assyrians, who were said to flay the skin from a captured enemy or rebellious ruler and nail it to the wall of his city, as warning to all who would defy their power. Searing or cutting the flesh from the body was sometimes used as part of the public execution of traitors in medieval Europe. A similar mode of execution was used as late as the early 18th century in France; one such episode is graphically recounted in the opening chapter of Michel Foucault's Discipline and Punish (1979).