The Spanish Inquisition

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The Spanish Inquisition

  • Lasted for 300 years
  • Interrogation  often went on for hours
  • Questions during interogantion started of as seemingly innocent about lifestyle- trying to discover  accomplices
  • Model has lived on e.g Gestapo , Starzi 
  • Herecy – unrepented couldn’t go to heaven
  • Many ways worse then murder – they  felt it was catching
  • Bewildering effect on Peasant communities – they didn’t understand the extreme rules of the Spanish inquisition ( prematerital sex between two single people was forbidden )
  • Torture – feet/ hand bound
  • Strain on sholder hosited up
  • And then dropping
  • To dislocate shoulders
  • Then questioning continues
  • Modern academia says that there was no alternative to torture in  medieval times  
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Rising hatred against the jewish community in 13/1

  • Being Jewish –medieval Europe tensions between Jews and Christians at time
  • After new Testement – blamed from crucifiction of Chriest
  • 14 century –used as scapegoats ‘ignite fuse of hatred’
  • Seville violence in 13 century against Jews ,series of assaults organised by priest – caused waves against Spain
  • Brooding anti-semitism
  • Power of Catholic church grew
  • Over a quarter of a million jews remained and renounced cultural heritage, whislt over 15000 fled .
  • Convorsos able to take up positions in society that they had previously been banned from( reserved for Christians) - exploited benefit
  • In one case a Rabbi became a Bishop
  • Sincerity questions – suspicious
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The Effect of Converses and the early days of the

  • Rivalry /animosity towards  jewish  community 
  • Competition for jobs and status
  • Successful old jews under most suspicious- it was believed that their faith was a sham
  • First target of Inquisition were these former jews- conversos
  • The inquisition was the first mechanism in Spain to clense Spain of false belief
  • Organised and methodical
  • Trubinals sent all over spain –by grand inquisitors
  • At disposal was scribe and doctor
  • Torturer also with them
  • Suspects – heresy how to find them
  • Ask for volunteers – old Catholics came forward to show what good religious people they were – receiving small fines in return for repentance
  • Worked well for petty offenses


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Catching heritics

  • ‘Christian duty’ to betray friends and family
  • informants used – inquisition spies ‘familiaries’ – given elevated social standing
  • scruntised lifestyle of neighbours and evesdropped
  • ingenious and effective methods – public participated
  • Christianity has no room for other religions
  • It was thought it was  a Christian duty to convert everyone to Christianity
  • Whilst Ferdinand and Isabella were good Catholics they also craved political power
  • They underestimated volitle hatred between Catholics and Jews  threated instability and unity but  couldn’t loss spain’s most outstanding citizens – many of them of jewish ancenstary
  • 1492 – 6 months ultimatum  convert or leave
  • dilemma  for jewish –betray or loss indentity/ country
  • didn’t work – so resentment grew
  • motivates of new Christians not trusted – they were hated
  • refusal to believe in sincere conversion
  • kept Jewish sabberts and festivials /kept kosher laws on hygiene and food
  • threw pork under table after pretending to eat – if refused to eat caused suspicion-hung pork  from shop windows could fall under suspicion by handing laundry out to dry on wrong day 
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The technicalities of torture and the Inquisition

  • Seville –reached boiling point
  • Under enormous political pressure dreams nearly goneof stability and Christian orthodox
  • Could’t create body without permission from Church on November the 1 Pope Sixtus the ii gave his permission to create itu
  • Papal ball appointed Thomas  Del camper – confessioner of Queen and anti-semitic as grand inquisition- vast majority of victims jewish
  • Instructions he set out
  • Controllable bureaucratic body followed his roles for next 100 yrs
  • Didn’t differiceiate between women and men
  • No quarms about torturing women as much as men
  • Stripped before torture – ( women)
  • Secured to rack or vertical pole –tortured
  • Torture not  to be used to punish or kill victim under instructutions
  • Clerk took every scream down –hand shaking 
  • Record show how effective torture was at extracting confessions 
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The End

  • Pass sentence after confession ‘Auto de faith’ -Act of faith
  • Circus / court- theatrical display of power of Inquisition
  • Variety of punishments at disposal from imprisonment / banishment /death
  • Diagonal red cross –heritic –had to wear at all times humiliation- in some places
  • Ultimate penalty was death by fire –burning at stake
  • Obsonent heritices and repeat offenders –two strikes and you were burnt
  • Inquistion didn't inflict sentence, civil authoirties did
  • If they confessed could escape but would be strangled to death instead








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