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Transcript of Spanish Inquisition
The heretics fork was used in the Middles Ages mainly during the Spanish Inquisition. The instrument consists of two forks set against each other that penetrated the flesh under the chin in one end and the upper chest in the other. As usual, this instrument didn't harm any vital points; thus avoiding death and prolonging pain. The victim's hands were tied behind his back to prevent any chance of escape. The Heretics Fork made speech and neck movement almost impossible and was used after a confession to avoid hearing the victim any further. As can be seen in the picture, a small collar supported the fork forcing the victim to hold his head erect. Sometimes the victim was incarcerated and subject to this instrument as well. This instrument often harmed the neck of the victim, as well as potentially spreading an infection or disease. Is that right? After we’d established national unity, Ferdinand and I thought we should also establish religious unity. How exactly would that be done? The Head Crusher (Torture)
The head crusher was widely used during most of Spanish Inquisition. With the chin placed over the bottom bar and the head under the upper cap, the torturer slowly turned the screw pressing the bar against the cap. This resulted in the head being slowly flattened. First the teeth are shattered into the jaw; then the victim would slowly die with agonizing pain, but not before his eyes were squeezed from his sockets. This instrument was a formidable way to abstract confessions from victims as the period of pain could be prolonged for many hours if the torturer chose to. This could be done by repeatedly turning the screw both ways. Torturers would usually use this method on a victim who would not eventually confess or cooperate with the torturer. If the torture was stopped midway, the victim often had irreparable damage done to the brain, jaw or eyes.
Well, my chief advisor, Tomás de Torquemada, was very involved in the Spanish Inquisition. He was the Grand Inquisitor! What was his job? The Grand Inquisitor is the one in charge of deporting heretics and identifying secret Jews. I’ve heard that finding the true identity of non-Christians was a tricky process. Is it true that torture was involved? Nicholas Burton, an English merchant, is being tortured by officers of the Spanish Inquisition while imprisoned in Cadiz of 1560. He converted several of his fellow prisoners to the Protestant faith before he was martyred at the stake. "Head Crusher." Old Speak. Web. 7 Apr 2011. .
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"Spain Flag, Flag of Spain." World Map, Map of the World. Web. 9 Apr. 2011. <http://www.mapsofworld.com/flags/spain-flag.html>. Yes, I am afraid so. I was very much against the thought of torture. But Torquemada convinced my husband that it was necessary. Some of the things they would do to people were just horrific. They would crush their skulls, flog them, or use the rack on them. And those are some of the less gruesome! That sounds a bit like overkill to me. What is your opinion? It was very horrible, yes, but what must be done must be done for the sake of unity. How many Jews left Spain in all after the whole Inquisition was over? I would say there were about 200,000 that left. Good riddance if you ask me. But some Jews and other heretics converted to Catholicism, is that right? It is very true. If a heretic decided to convert, we would welcome him in to our church. But we have to keep our eyes peeled for fakers. Thank you very much for the interview. So, Señor Tomas de Torquemada, what was your profession? I was the Grand Inquisitor of Spain. My goal in life was to rid our country of heretics. What is your definition of a heretic? Jews. Muslims. They’re all heretics. I see. So where did your journey with the church start? I joined the Dominican Monastery at Valladolid early. Later I became an important authority at the Monastery of Santa Cruz at Segovia. Where did you go then? After that, I became Queen Isabella’s chief advisor, for, you see, I am very wise. Mmmhmm… Not only am I wise, but I am very humble. Many times she offered me higher ranking positions, but I turned them down, choosing to remain a simple monk. But you didn’t stay a monk forever, am I right? You moved on to greater things. But you didn’t stay a monk forever, am I right? You moved on to greater things. That’s right. In 1483 I became the High Inquisitor of Spain! What a remarkable honor! I knew from then on that it was my civil duty to unify Spain under the one true religion: Catholicism. It was a hard job, and I ran into some difficulties along the way. Can we have an example? Well, first thing, I decreed that all Jews and Muslims must immediately convert, leave the country, or suffer the consequences. However, some rich Jews offered me 30,000 ducats if I would pardon them. That’s a lot of money! You must have been tempted! Not at all! However, King Ferdinand of Spain was very tempted. He was about to agree to their terms when I came to him with a crucifix and said, “Judas Iscariot sold Christ for 30 pieces of silver; Your Highness is about to sell him for 30,000 ducats. Here He is; take Him and sell Him." He changed his mind. Do you really believe that the Bible urges Christians to isolate non-Christians? Certainly! They deserve it. You mentioned earlier ‘suffering the consequences’. What exactly does that mean? I admit, torture was used on some who failed to admit their heresy, and some were killed. Exactly how many were killed? How many did you deport? All Jews were deported by 1492. As for deaths, I’d say about 8,800 were burned alive and 9,654 were killed in other ways. And you believe this to be fair? Yes. Speaking of death, when did you die? September 16, 1498. So you are Antonio José da Silva? Yes, that’s me! I hear you have quite an interesting story. Do you mind telling? Not at all. I grew up during the Spanish Inquisition, and my parents were successful Conversos. What exactly is a Converso? Conversos are basically secret Jews, pretending to be Catholics to avoid possible torture. I see. And you must be one as well. Yes. If your parents were pretending to be Catholics, what went wrong? Well, my mother was discovered and they accused her of Judaizing, which I guess she was. They deported her to Portugal and my father and I naturally moved with her. Tell me about your father. He was a lawyer, but also a poet. I also love poetry and followed in his footsteps. But before you became a famous poet, disaster struck. Well, the disaster was prompted by my writing. I wrote a satire making fun of Spanish government, and that was enough to get me imprisoned. I did penance and was eventually released, but by then I was partially crippled because of all the torture they inflicted. Yikes! But you went back to writing? Yes. But this time I was a little more careful and published my plays anonymously. Then what? Then, all of a sudden, my mother, wife, and I were all arrested again. They let my mother and wife go, but I eventually had to join a monastery to stop people’s suspicion. That must have been hard since you weren’t Christian. No, I wasn’t. But it was a life and death situation and it was the decision I had to make to stay alive. I suppose everything went well from there? No, I’m afraid not. There was a servant girl who noticed some funny practices of mine. Funny practices? Like what? Well, I still followed Jewish customs. I fasted and observed certain solely-Jewish holidays. At one point a little servant girl ratted me out and next thing you know, off with my head. They had you killed? Unfortunately, yes. And that’s the end of my story. Queen Isabella Tomas de Torquemada Antonio Jose de Silva Citations Terror Grips Spain as Murders Continue! By Reed The Roman Catholics of Spain are continuing to persecute and question their fellow countrymen regarding religious beliefs. Ties of patriotism are forgotten, as these terrible inquisitions are allowed to continue. Terror continues to grow in Spain, and rightfully so, because these accused heretics are often tortured into confessing. This gruesome inquisition began in 1478 with King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. The attitude of Spain at the time was very against Jewish and Muslim converts, and some believed their conversions were not valid. The Inquisition thrived on this national feeling, and it was established under the guise of making sure that conversions into the Catholic Church were legitimate. This reporter suspects that this was not the sole cause of the inquisitions, however. Many suspect that political power and other motives contributed to the establishment of the Inquisition. Having this gruesome political power allows the royal family to severely punish political and personal enemies. The Pope realized too late the immense amount of power that had been given to the crown. In 1483, Tomás de Torquemada was named High Inquisitor of Spain. His opinions and treatment of accused heretics are suspiciously in the favor of the crown, and it is known that he was previously advisor to Isabella. For those lucky enough to escape the grips of this inquisition, here is how a trial might work. Two informants who go to the court and accuse one of being a heretic are enough to cause a trail to occur. Then the interrogation will begin, and if the accused admits to the charges and is willing to submit, the punishments are mild. Fasting and fines are common punishments for accused heretics who admit to their deeds. If they refuse to admit to the charges, physical torture is often used. These tortures vary from burning with coals to having limbs stretched on a rack. If the heretic admits to the crime, they will be required to admit again when they are not undergoing torture. If the accused heretic will not admit to the charges, the torture methods are often deathly, and the men and women who are loyal to their faith are killed. The church refuses to admit to this obvious cruelty, defending their position with interpretations of the Bible. These horrifying inquisitions have been occurring since 1478, when the Pope formally established the Inquisition. These horrors have occurred in Italy and Portugal as well, they exist predominately here in our homeland of Spain. The Spanish Inquisition is an established royal court, and power is with the rulers. Therefore, these are the people responsible for the horrors that occur behind the closed doors of the Inquisition. The Grand Inquisitor and all in the group are certainly to blame, as well. In the near future, one can only imagine what may occur. Word about the horrors of this Inquisition is finally getting out, and people are learning the truth about what the real motives might be. I believe these terrible deeds will continue for a long time and get worse before they get better. We must work together as one country, because with the education of people about these horrors, they simply won’t be able to continue to exist. By Moira By Clarissa