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early 15c., "the scourging of Christ," from French flagellation or directly from Latin flagellationem (nominative flagellatio) "a scourging," from past participle stem of flagellare (see flagellum).
flagellation flag·el·la·tion (flāj'ə-lā'shən)
Whipping oneself or another as a means of arousing or heightening sexual feeling.
The flagellar arrangement on an organism.
in religion, the disciplinary or devotional practice of beating with whips. Although it has been understood in many ways-as a driving out of evil spirits, as purification, as a form of sadism, and as an incorporation of the animal power residing in the whip-none of these characterizations encompasses the whole range of the custom. In antiquity and among prehistoric cultures, ceremonial whippings were performed in rites of initiation, purification, and fertility, which often included other forms of physical suffering. Floggings and mutilations were sometimes self-inflicted. Beatings inflicted by masked impersonators of gods or ancestors figured in many Native American initiations. In the ancient Mediterranean, ritual floggings were practiced by the Spartans, and Roman heretics were whipped with thongs of oxtail, leather, or parchment strips, some being weighted with lead