a form of punishment employed in the British Navy in the late 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries which involved the whole crew of the ship. In the most serious cases the man under punishment was drawn in a sawn-down cask through a double line of the ship's company, each man armed with a nettle, and lashed as he passed. For minor offences the man under punishment ran through a double line up to three times. Originally it was a punishment for stealing from messmates, but it was occasionally awarded for the more serious forms of naval crime. It was known as ‘running the gantlope’, and was abolished by order of the British Admiralty in 1806. It has given its name to the expression ‘running the gauntlet’, usually used today in reference to sustained criticism. See also cat-o'-nine tails; cobbing.
Subjects: Maritime History.