Melita on the Cross - Part 2, Background The officer in charge was Braccus. He had received a bad leg wound in battle and had a limp. Being a good leader but no longer fit for front-line infantry duty he was assigned to supervise crucifixions.
He took the job seriously. Some soldiers on crucifixion duty became bored and impatient with the process. They would try to speed up death for the condemned – they could beat or stab the person, or build a bonfire below the cross and hope the smoke would speed up death.
Braccus did not approve of that sort of thing. He felt that high-quality crucifixions helped to reinforce the dignity and power of the government. So he never let his troops or anyone else try to speed up the process. Once the condemned was set up on their cross they wouldn’t get any aid to help them die – they would just have to endure as long as it took to expire naturally.
For a young, healthy person this could take quite a while.