The tip of the nail was bent, perhaps because of striking a knot in the upright beam, which prevented it being extracted from the foot.
A first inaccurate account of the length of the nail led some to believe that it had been driven through both heels, suggesting that the man had been placed in a sort of sidesaddle position, but the true length of the nail, 11.5 cm (4.53 inches), suggests instead that in this case of crucifixion the heels were nailed to opposite sides of the upright.
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Crucifixion was most often performed to dissuade its witnesses from perpetrating similar (usually particularly heinous) crimes.
Victims were sometimes left on display after death as a warning to any other potential criminals.
The condemned would therefore have to draw himself up by his arms, leading to exhaustion, or have his feet supported by tying or by a wood block.
When no longer able to lift himself, the condemned would die within a few minutes.
But in Greek the word "χείρ", usually translated as "hand", could refer to the entire portion of the arm below the elbow, showed that nailed feet provided enough support for the body, and that the hands could have been merely tied.