Posthumous execution explained
Posthumous execution is the ritual or ceremonial execution of an already dead body.
- Leonidas of Sparta was beheaded and crucified following his death in the battle of Thermopylae.
- Li Linfu, Chancellor of Tang China during the reign of Emperor Xuanzong (712-756) in the latter years, was exhumed and executed for crimes of high treason by his rival Yang Guozhong for his implication in the An Lushan Rebellion.
- Harold I Harefoot, king of the Anglo-Saxons (1035-1040), illegitimate son of Canute, died 1040 and his half-brother, Harthacanute, on succeeding him, had his body taken from its tomb and cast in a fen with animals.
- John Wycliffe (1328–1384), was burned as a heretic 45 years after he died.
- Vlad the Impaler (1431–1476), who was beheaded following his assassination.
- King Richard III of England (1452–1485), who was hanged by his successor King Henry VII following his death at the Battle of Bosworth Field. His body was further desecrated following the Dissolution of the Monasteries and, according to legend, thrown into the River Soar.
- Jacopo Bonfadio (1508-1550) was beheaded for sodomy and then his corpse was burned at the stake for heresy.
- Pietro Martire Vermigli (1500–1562) was burned as a heretic following his death.
- Nils Dacke, leader of a 16th century peasant revolt in southern Sweden.
- A number of the regicides of Charles I of England had died before the Restoration of King Charles II. Parliament passed an order of attainder for High Treason on the four most prominent deceased regicides: John Bradshaw the court president, Oliver Cromwell, Henry Ireton and Thomas Pride. The bodies were exhumed and the first three were hanged, drawn and quartered at Tyburn. The most prominent was the former Lord Protector Cromwell, whose body - after said "punishment" - was thrown, minus its head, into a common pit. The head was finally buried in 1960. The body of Pride was not "punished" perhaps because it had decayed too much. Of the regicides still alive then, some were executed and others either fled or were imprisoned. For a full list see List of regicides of Charles I.
- In 1917 the body of Rasputin, the Russian mystic, was exhumed from the ground by a mob and burned with gasoline.
- In 1945 the body of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was lynched, hung (upside down), and shot several times after his execution by a firing squad.
- General Gracia Jacques, a supporter of François Duvalier ("Papa Doc") (1907–1971), Haitian dictator, whose body was exhumed and ritually beaten to 'death' in 1986.
Dissection as a punishment in England
Formerly, many Christians believed that the resurrection of the dead on judgement day required that the body be buried whole facing east so that the body could rise facing God.  If dismemberment stopped the possibility of the resurrection of an intact body, then a posthumous execution was an effective way of punishing a criminal. 
Notes and References
- [Encyclopaedia Britannica]
- http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=26189#s10 Journal of the House of Commons: volume 8: 1660–1667 (1802), pp. 26-7
- http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/leisure/museums/cromwell/online/ Cambridgeshire Museums Online
- Barbara Yorke (2006), The Conversion of Britain Pearson Education, ISBN 0582772923, 9780582772922. p. 215
- Fiona Haslam (1996),From Hogarth to Rowlandson: Medicine in Art in Eighteenth-century Britain,Liverpool University Press, ISBN 0853236402, 9780853236405 p. 280 (Thomas Rowlandson, " The Resurrection or an Internal View of the Museum in W-D M-LL street on the last day", 1782)
- Staff. Resurrection of the Body Catholic Answers, Retrieved 2008-11-17
- Mary Abbott (1996). Life Cycles in England, 1560-1720: Cradle to Grave, Routledge, ISBN 041510842X, 9780415108423. p. 33