Corporal is derived from Latin, corporalis "pertaining to the body", so corporal punishment means - punishment of the body, and in the past this was a very common practise. For most of us though, we associate corporal punishment with our childhood, but in reality it was by no means limited to children, as it was used on adults as well.
Flogging, for example, has been a common punishment since ancient times. Jesus was flogged before he was crucified. From the Middle Ages in England whipping was a common punishment for minor crimes. In the 18th century whipping, or flogging, was a common punishment in the British Army and Navy. However it was abolished in 1881.
Among other commonly used forms of corporal punishment there was birching. This punishment meant beating a person across the backside with birch twigs, and once a common punishment in schools, it could also be imposed by the courts for minor offences.
Birching civilians was banned in Britain in 1948 (except in prisons where it was used until 1962).
For thousands of years until the late 20th century teachers beat children as a form of punishment, and in The Ancient World teachers were very strict and would often beat the pupils severely.
In the Middle Ages discipline was also severe. Boys were beaten with rods or birch twigs. Punishments in Tudor schools were also harsh, as the teacher often carried a stick with birch twigs attached to it. Boys who were punished were hit with the birch twigs on their bare buttocks.
Until the late 20th century teachers were still allowed to hit children, and it was in the 19th century that hitting boys and girls with a bamboo cane became popular. In the 20th century the cane was used in both primary and secondary schools.
The ruler was a punishment commonly used in primary schools in the 20th century. The teacher hit the child on the hand with a wooden ruler to reinforce a lesson.
The slipper was often used in secondary schools. The word 'Slipper' however is a euphemism. Normally it was a trainer or a plimsoll. Teachers (usually PE teachers) used a trainer to hit children on the backside.
The tawse was a punishment used in Scottish schools. It was a leather strap with two or three tails. It was used in Scotland to hit a child's hand, however the leather strap was used in some English schools as well. Children were either hit across the hands or the backside.
Outside of school in the 19th century children were hit at work. Early 19th century textile mills where children working who were lazy were hit with leather straps. These lazy children also sometimes had their heads ducked in a container of water.
By the late 1960s and early 1970s the cane was phased out in most primary schools. In England in 1987 the cane was banned in state-funded secondary schools. It was banned in private schools in 1999.
Throughout history until recently most parents hit their children, but by the late 20th and early 21st century public opinion has turned against corporal punishment and in several countries it has been banned.
This all being said, the longing to be punished continues.
Therefore I have devised a number of scenarios from this rich history in which CP would have been prevalent, and you can have a look at these scenarios here in the drop down menu...
Which one would you prefer?