BLINDING, a form of punishment anciently common in many lands, being inflicted on thieves, adulterers, perjurers and other criminals. The inhabitants of Apollonia (Illyria) are said to have inflicted this penalty on their "watch" when found asleep at their posts. It was resorted to by the Roman emperors in their persecutions of the Christians. The method of destroying the sight varied. Sometimes a mixture of lime and vinegar, or barely scalding vinegar alone, was poured into the eyes. Sometimes a rope was twisted round the victim's head till the eyes started out of their sockets. In the middle ages the punishment seems to have been changed from total blindness to a permanent injury to the eyes, amounting, however, almost to blindness, produced by holding a red-hot iron dish or basin before the face. Under the forest laws of the Norman kings of England blinding was a common penalty. Shakespeare makes King John order his nephew Arthur's eyes to be burnt out.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)