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The plausibility of this method was tested on an episode of Myth Busters, and confirmed.In the late Isin/Larsa period, from about the same time, it seems that, in some city states, mere adultery on the wife's part (without murder of her husband mentioned) could be punished by impalement.A critical determinant for survival length seems to be precisely how the stake was inserted: If it went into the "interior" parts, vital organs could easily be damaged, leading to a swift death.However, by letting the stake follow the spine, the impalement procedure would not damage the vital organs, and the person could survive for several days.
For the Neo-Assyrians, mass executions seem to have been not only designed to instill terror and to enforce obedience, but also, it can seem, as proofs of their might that they took pride in.
From the royal archives of the city of Mari (at the Syrian-Iraqi border by the western bank of Euphrates), most of it also roughly contemporary to Hammurabi, it is known that soldiers taken captive in war were on occasion impaled.
Roughly contemporary with Babylonia under Hammurabi, king Siwe-Palar-huhpak of Elam, a country lying directly east of Babylonia in present-day Iran, made official edicts in which he threatened the allies of his enemies with impalement, among other terrible fates.
Offenders have also been impaled for a variety of cultural, sexual and religious reasons.
References to impalement in Babylonia and the Neo-Assyrian Empire are found as early as the 18th century BC.