This chapter offers a brief survey of dismemberment from a historical perspective. It focuses on how dismemberment was meaningful in myth, warfare, ritual, punishment, western art and culture and crime. In recent decades, the dismemberment of humans has been a prominent topic among bioarchaeologists and anthropologists in the context of studies of extreme violence, cannibalism and ritual in prehistoric societies. Incidences of perimortem dismemberment associated with warfare vary considerably in prehistoric sites, but studies of skeletal remains in pre-Hispanic California and the American Southwest suggest significant levels of mutilation and dismemberment associated with warfare. Dismemberment, like serial killing, is both an age-old phenomenon and a modern social construction that makes sense to us through accepted discourses of crime and psychiatry. Dismemberment homicide is a prominent signature of serial killers of course, especially hedonistic murderers who are process focussed, rather than act focused.