phalaris

phalaris

noun
a genus of grasses with broad leaves and a dense spike of flowers 
WordNet® 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University.
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

phalaris

tyrant of Acragas (modern Agrigento), Sicily, notorious for his cruelty. He is alleged to have roasted his victims alive in a bronze bull, their shrieks representing the animal's bellowing. A statue of a bull of some kind seems to have existed, but the facts surrounding its use have been embellished. For example, the supposed designer of the bull, Perilaus, or Perillus, was said to have been the first man executed in it.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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