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The Gemara in Megillah 16b here mentions that the ten sons of haman were hung simultaneously and on the same beam.

Question: Was the beam positioned lengthwise or widthwise?

i.e Were they hanging one next to each other or one on top of the other?

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From Rashi it would seem that is was vertical

זקיפא - פורק"א בלעז בצד אחד זה למטה מזה

זקיפא - Forche in [old French]. On one side [of it], one below the other.

Exploring this a little bit further, this topic makes an appearance in Tosafos s.v. "b'rum shalosh amos" on Chagigah 11a which discusses that a person is 3 amos in height, not including their head.

It writes there:

וכן מוכח בעובדא דבני המן בתרגום של מגילת אסתר שנסדר על פי המדרש שגובה קומתן ג' אמות לבד הראש דקחשיב ואזיל על רום חמשים אמות לפי תליית כל העשרה והיו נהרגים כבר קודם התלייה וכן משתעי קרא בשושן הבירה הרגו היהודים ואבד חמש מאות איש ואת עשרת בני המן משמע שבכלל הריגה היו וגם הפייט יסד בסליחה אדם בקום חיש בשלש אמות והרביעית (וחמישית) אויר מגולה

This is clear from the episode with Bnei Haman in the Targum of Megilas Esther; it is arranged according to the Midrash that their height was three Amos without the head, for it calculates up to the height of 50 Amos based on the hanging of all 10, and they were already killed before the hanging; The verses say so. "In Shushan the capital alone, the Jews have killed a total of five hundred men, as well as the ten sons of Haman (Esther 9:12) This connotes that they were among those killed. Also the Payat, in the Selichah "Adam b'Kum" (that Ashkenazim say on Ta'anis Esther, wrote) "[each] man occupied three Amos, and the fourth Amah was exposed air."

The Targum helps to explain it even clearer:

המן איצטלב על תלתא אמין פרשנדתא רחיק מיניה אמתא חדא. פרשנדתא איצטלב על תלת אמין דלפון רחיק מיניה אמתא חדא. דלפון איצטלב על תלת אמין אספתא רחיק מיניה אמתא חדא. אספתא איצטלב על תלת אמין פורתא רחיק מיניה אמתא חדא. פורתא איצטלב על תלת אמין אדליא רחיק מיניה אמתא חדא. אדליא איצטלב על תלת אמין ארידתא רחיק מיניה אמתא חדא. ארידתא איצטלב על תלת אמין פרמשתא רחיק מיניה אמתא חדא. פרמשתא איצטלב על תלת אמין אריסי רחיק מיניה אמתא חדא. אריסי איצטלב על תלת אמין ארידי רחיק מיניה אמתא חדא. ארידי איצטלב על תלת אמין ויזתא רחיק מיניה אמתא חדא דהוא עשיראה. עשרתי בנוי דהמן איצטלבו על צליבא. והוא צליבא משקע בארעא תלת אמין ובריח הוה רם תלת אמין מן ארעא והוה אורכיה דצליבא ארבעין וארבעה אמין. והמן צליב ברישיה הוה סכום דצליבא חמשין אמין

Haman was hanged in a space of 3 amos, with Parshandasa a distance of one amah away from him. Parshandas was hanged in a space of 3 amos, with Dalfon a distance of one amah away from him. Dalfon was hanged in a space of 3 amos, with Aspasa a distance of one amah away from him. Aspasa was hanged in a space of 3 amos, with Porasa a distance of one amah away from him. Porasa was hanged in a space of 3 amos, with Adalia a distance of one amah away from him. Adalia was hanged in a space of 3 amos, with Aridasa a distance of one amah away from him. Aridasa was hanged in a space of 3 amos, with Parmashta a distance of one amah away from him. Parmashta was hanged in a space of 3 amos, with Arisai a distance of one amah away from him. Arisai was hanged in a space of 3 amos, with Aridai a distance of one amah away from him. Aridai was hanged in a space of 3 amos, with Vayzasa a distance of one amah away from him. Vayzasa was hanged in a space of 3 amos, with an amah distance after him - which completes the 10 sons. The 10 sons were hanged on a gallow, and this gallows was submerged into the ground 3 amos, and the beam had a clearance of 3 (additional) amos from the ground, meaning that the length of the (occupied) beam was 44 amos. And Haman was hanged at the top which completes the measurement of 50 amos.

Please find a somewhat crude graphical representation of the orientation as follows:

enter image description here

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  • I think you mean 42, I mean don't count the space under the last one assuming one's at the tippy top. Does anyone say the remaining 8 amot are reserved for .. two more? Nov 27, 2023 at 4:07
  • I think the Targum says that a certain amount was submerged into the ground - need to check it again...
    – Dov
    Nov 27, 2023 at 6:35
  • @NissimNanach - "והוא צליבא משקע בארעא תלת אמין ובריח הוה רם תלת אמין מן ארעא והוה אורכיה דצליבא ארבעין וארבעה אמין" - "And the gallows were submerged in the ground 3 amos, and the beam/post came up to height (at the bottom where no-one was hanging) from the ground another 3 amos, meaning the length of the gallows (that was occupied by people hanging on it) was 44 amos"
    – Dov
    Nov 27, 2023 at 6:48
  • Yes Haman was at the top - "והמן צליב ברישיה הוה סכום דצליבא חמשין אמין"
    – Dov
    Nov 27, 2023 at 6:48
  • If they were hung in the space of 3 amos, and someone is 3 amos tall without their head what happened to their heads? (or feet) Given that all in, the average person is closer to 3.5 amos tall.
    – Separatrix
    Nov 27, 2023 at 11:20

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