The practice of Decimation is recorded to have been used as early as 471 BC, but the practice was stopped and replaced by other forms of punishment. The practice was resumed by Marcus Licinius Crassus during the Third Servile War. Historically, around 10,000 men returned to Crassus' camp. Crassus chose and decimated an entire cohort of 500 men. 50 men were killed, and the rest were sent outside the encampment.
In the episode Decimation, Marcus punishes his son and the rest of his surviving men of the Battle outside Sinuessa using this method. His son, Tiberius, was even ordered to prepare the stones that where going to be used as lots prepared himself. Five men, including Sabinus were killed.