In this intriguing series, "History" examines the impact of the seven deadly sins on mankind from before the dark ages through current times. We learn how the concept originated - as a way to keep a lustful fourth-century monk from sinning again - and how the sins were pared down from eight to the seven we recognise today: gluttony, lust, greed, anger, sloth, envy, and pride. For the Catholic faithful they became a guide on the path to Heaven. To repeat offenders, they promised damnation in Hell and very specific, very gruesome punishments. Gluttons, for instance, would be force-fed rats, toads and snakes! The warnings couldn't be clearer: succumb to any of the seven deadly sins and God's judgment will be severe.