Katherine Wheel
by HIM

Album: Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice (2010)

Songfacts®:

  • The song's lyrics center on a metaphor based around a medieval torture device. In the chorus, lead singer Ville Valo croons, "Come on and break me a limb at a time/ wrap me around your spoke so tight." This is a reference to the martyrdom of the early fourth century saint, Catherine of Alexandra (d c310). An eighteen year old young lady of high rank and learning, Saint Catherine visited the Roman Emperor Maximinus and rebuked him for his persecution of Christians. When he ordered heathen philosophers to debate with her, the Christian teenager defended her faith with clear and lucid arguments. As a consequence Saint Catherine was condemned to death on a wheel like that of a chuff cutter. As the wheel turned the cords miraculously snapped, so the authorities instead beheaded her. The medieval breaking wheel used for capital punishment and torture in the Middle Ages came to be known as the Catherine wheel after the demise of the saint. The spinning wheel firework is also called a "Catherine wheel" from this unpleasant scenario, and there was an Alternative Rock band by that name in the '90s.

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