Running the gauntlet

Running The Gauntlet

Running the gauntlet

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Running the gauntlet (originally gantlet, and, rarely, gantlope or gantelope) is a form of physical punishment wherein a captive is compelled to run between two rows—a gauntlet—of soldiers who strike him as he passes.


The word "gauntlet" is derived from "gantelope", from the Swedish "gatlopp" (street run, street race); a loanword probably acquired by English soldiers during the Thirty Years' War. The modern spelling of "gauntlet" was influenced by the French-derived word used for a glove worn as protection or armour.

Roman predecessor

Fustuarium (a Latin abstraction from the Latin fustis, a branch or rod) was a Roman military form of execution by cudgeling (clubbing), the excruciating effects of which are comparable to running the gauntlet. Compare also to breaking on the wheel.

It could also be applied to every tenth man of a whole unit as a mode of decimation.

Post-Roman usage

A very similar military punishment found in later armies was known as "running the gauntlet". The condemned soldier was stripped to the waist and had to pass...
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