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Foot roasting was a method of torture used from ancient times to the present. The Romans immobilized the prisoner and press red-hot iron plates to the soles of his feet. The Spanish Inquisition frequently employed an enhanced technique, binding the prisoner face-upward to the rack with his bare feet secured in a stocks. The soles of the feet were basted with lard or oil and slowly barbecued over a brazier of burning coals. A screen could be interposed between the feet and the coals to modulate the exposure, while a bellows controlled the intensity of the flame. Prisoners could also be suspended head-downwards from a stocks, with hot coals placed directly on the soles of the feet—held in place by gravity—while thin slivers of burning embers were slid between pairs of adjacent toes.

In Brittany, an enhanced interrogation chair was used (Abbott, G., Rack, Rope, and Red-Hot Pincers) that immobilized the feet and provided a movable tray of coals that could be cranked up and down, eventually making physical contact with the soles of the feet.

A form of torture called "star kicking" supposedly began with Countess Elizabeth Bathory, who would place oiled bits of paper or string between the prisoner's toes and light the material on fire.

The KGB uses foot-roasting to the current day, employing a flat, hot clothes iron that is held to the soles of the feet to loosen the prisoner's tongue.

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