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The Spanish Inquistion: Debunking the Legends

Oberon

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The Spanish Inquisition: Debunking the Legends

The Spanish Inquisition: Debunking the Legends | Strange Notions


A quick summary:

Quick Summary

Modern historical research has uncovered facts that dismantle many of these centuries-old falsehoods. Here are some quick corrections concerning popular misunderstandings:
The Inquisition was originally welcomed to bring order to Europe because states saw an attack on the state’s faith as an attack on the state as well.
The Inquisition technically had jurisdiction only over those professing to be Christians.
The courts of the Inquisition were extremely fair compared to their secular counterparts at the time.
The Inquisition was responsible for less than 100 witch-hunt deaths, and was the first judicial body to denounce the trials in Europe.
Though torture was commonly used in all the courts of Europe at the time, the Inquisition used torture very infrequently.
During the 350 years of the Spanish Inquisition, between 3,000-5,000 people were sentenced to death (about 1 per month).
The Church executed no one.



Links of note in this paragraph on the page:

In recent years, however, the Vatican opened up its secret archives for historical investigation. Inquisition records that were made by and for the Inquisition were allowed to be researched for the first time in history. Since then, the above facts have been generally discoverable in modern history books (whether Catholic or not). Corrected Inquisition history can be found in sources such as Inquisition by Edward Peters and The Spanish Inquisition: An Historical Revision by Henry Kamen. Comparative secular documentaries include The Myth of the Spanish Inquisition (BBC) and the more sensationalistic The Spanish Inquisition (History Channel).

Even some 'Pagan' followers are in agreement with most of this, and admit witch burning is/was a pagan practice. Paganism was still a major force in medieval Europe, among the peasants and lower aristocracy

.Common Misconceptions: Chronology

Common Misconceptions: Chronology

Current scholarly estimates of the death toll in The Summerlands

Current scholarly estimates of the death toll in The Summerlands

Hear The Voice Paganism Australia: The Myth of the "BURNING TIMES"

Hear The Voice Paganism Australia: The Myth of the "BURNING TIMES"

Remember that the Witches that people hated and feared during the "Burning Times" are not Witches as we think of them today. Nor were they Pagans. People feared witchcraft because it was thought that those who practiced it could cause death and disease of people livestock and crops. For people who didn't have the scientific background we have today it was easy to blame witchraft for the unexplained. Think of the Black Death that killed nearly 1/3 of the population of Europe. If you didn't understand the idea of germs and disease transmission a frightened person would easily ascribe it to witchcraft. And if no way to stop the disease were known other than killing the witch before s/he killed you and your village think how easy it would be to do what you had to do in your fear to survive.

This stuff is old news to those who keep abreast of new historical research, but it will be new info to some who missed it the first time around.
 
Last edited:

Oberon

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hmmm ... why aren't http urls showing up as links? ...
 

Frank Apisa

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Monty Python's Flying Circus would have lots to say about this!
 

Oberon

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Monty Python's Flying Circus would have lots to say about this!

They have that skit in the first link. It's always funny. Stupid, but hilarious.
 

joG

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The Spanish Inquisition: Debunking the Legends

The Spanish Inquisition: Debunking the Legends | Strange Notions


A quick summary:

Quick Summary

Modern historical research has uncovered facts that dismantle many of these centuries-old falsehoods. Here are some quick corrections concerning popular misunderstandings:
The Inquisition was originally welcomed to bring order to Europe because states saw an attack on the state’s faith as an attack on the state as well.
The Inquisition technically had jurisdiction only over those professing to be Christians.
The courts of the Inquisition were extremely fair compared to their secular counterparts at the time.
The Inquisition was responsible for less than 100 witch-hunt deaths, and was the first judicial body to denounce the trials in Europe.
Though torture was commonly used in all the courts of Europe at the time, the Inquisition used torture very infrequently.
During the 350 years of the Spanish Inquisition, between 3,000-5,000 people were sentenced to death (about 1 per month).
The Church executed no one.



Links of note in this paragraph on the page:

In recent years, however, the Vatican opened up its secret archives for historical investigation. Inquisition records that were made by and for the Inquisition were allowed to be researched for the first time in history. Since then, the above facts have been generally discoverable in modern history books (whether Catholic or not). Corrected Inquisition history can be found in sources such as Inquisition by Edward Peters and The Spanish Inquisition: An Historical Revision by Henry Kamen. Comparative secular documentaries include The Myth of the Spanish Inquisition (BBC) and the more sensationalistic The Spanish Inquisition (History Channel).

Even some 'Pagan' followers are in agreement with most of this, and admit witch burning is/was a pagan practice. Paganism was still a major force in medieval Europe, among the peasants and lower aristocracy

.Common Misconceptions: Chronology

Common Misconceptions: Chronology

Current scholarly estimates of the death toll in The Summerlands

Current scholarly estimates of the death toll in The Summerlands

Hear The Voice Paganism Australia: The Myth of the "BURNING TIMES"

Hear The Voice Paganism Australia: The Myth of the "BURNING TIMES"

Remember that the Witches that people hated and feared during the "Burning Times" are not Witches as we think of them today. Nor were they Pagans. People feared witchcraft because it was thought that those who practiced it could cause death and disease of people livestock and crops. For people who didn't have the scientific background we have today it was easy to blame witchraft for the unexplained. Think of the Black Death that killed nearly 1/3 of the population of Europe. If you didn't understand the idea of germs and disease transmission a frightened person would easily ascribe it to witchcraft. And if no way to stop the disease were known other than killing the witch before s/he killed you and your village think how easy it would be to do what you had to do in your fear to survive.

This stuff is old news to those who keep abreast of new historical research, but it will be new info to some who missed it the first time around.

That certainly contradicts research I had read on the German Inquisition and, if true is surprising how large an impact on the hearts and minds it has left to this day.
 

Oberon

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That certainly contradicts research I had read on the German Inquisition and, if true is surprising how large an impact on the hearts and minds it has left to this day.

The links to the books are on the first page I linked to. I don't like to link directly to Amazon, for a couple of reasons, but the reviews there add some things worth reading. As the links says, a lot of the claims of 'millions' being killed was merely Protestant propaganda against the Spanish at a much later time; just checking out the population of the various European kingdoms would make killing that many people absurd on its face.

I wasn't aware of a German Inquisition, just the Spanish, Portuguese, and Roman ones.
 

joG

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The links to the books are on the first page I linked to. I don't like to link directly to Amazon, for a couple of reasons, but the reviews there add some things worth reading. As the links says, a lot of the claims of 'millions' being killed was merely Protestant propaganda against the Spanish at a much later time; just checking out the population of the various European kingdoms would make killing that many people absurd on its face.

I wasn't aware of a German Inquisition, just the Spanish, Portuguese, and Roman ones.

They supposedly went overboard in some German towns killing more in relation to the population than the Cambodians did. This is not very scientific and it is in German, but the numbers for witches executed by the Inquisition seems near enough and shows the dimensions with countries and the number killed next to each other. Zahl der hingerichteten Frauen in Europa sortiert nach Ländern
This is women, don't forget.
 

Oberon

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They supposedly went overboard in some German towns killing more in relation to the population than the Cambodians did. This is not very scientific and it is in German, but the numbers for witches executed by the Inquisition seems near enough and shows the dimensions with countries and the number killed next to each other. Zahl der hingerichteten Frauen in Europa sortiert nach Ländern
This is women, don't forget.

there are a couple of scholars who found a geographical pattern to the witch burnings, and indeed they seemed much more a German phenomenon, or more accurately an eastern France/western Germany corridor. I'll see if I can find the study and post to it.

Thanks for the reference; I have a couple of friends who read and write German, and have them take a stab at translating it for me.
 

Oberon

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Well, still trying to find the study on the geographical distributions; in any case this article goes into more detail on the thesis, and has a few sources at the end of the article:

Who Burned the Witches?

Witches Everywhere

The 30,000 to 50,000 casualties of the European witch-hunts were not distributed uniformly through time or space, even within particular jurisdictions. Three-quarters of Europe saw not a single trial. Witch persecution spread outward from its first center in alpine Italy in the early 15th century, guttering out in Poland, where witchcraft laws were finally repealed in 1788. The center had generally stopped trying witches before the peripheries even started.

The Spanish Road stretching from Italy to the Netherlands was also a "witch-road." The Catholic-ruled Spanish Netherlands (today's Belgium) saw far worse persecutions than the Protestant-ruled United Provinces of the Netherlands, which had stopped burning convicted witches by 1600. There were early panics in the German cities of Brandenburg and Mecklenburg, as well as in Lorraine, France, and parts of Switzerland and Scotland. The Rhineland and Southwest Germany suffered severe outbreaks, with German ecclesiastical territories hit hardest. Three-quarters of all witchcraft trials took place in the Catholic-ruled territories of the Holy Roman Empire. But Catholic Portugal, Castile and Spanish-ruled Italy, and the Orthodox lands of Eastern Europe saw virtually none. The panic in Salem, Massachussetts, was as bad as anything in England, but there seem to have !been no executions in the Latin colonies of the New World.

The regional tolls demonstrated the patchwork pattern of witch-hunting. The town of Baden, Germany, for example, burned 200 witches from 1627 to 1630, more than all the convicted witches who perished in Sweden. The tiny town of Ellwangen, Germany, burned 393 witches from 1611 to 1618, more than Spain and Portugal combined ever executed. The Catholic prince-bishop of Würzburg, Germany, burned 600 witches from 1628 to 1631, more witches than ever died in Protestant Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Iceland combined. The Swiss canton of Vaud executed about 1,800 witches from 1611 to 1660, compared with Scotland's toll of between 1,300 and 1,500 and England's toll of 500. The claim of some Catholic apologists that Elizabeth I executed 800 witches a year is gross slander. In Southwest Germany alone, 3,229 people were executed for witchcraft between 1562 and 1684!ash more than were executed for any reason by the Spanish, Portugese, and Roman Inquisitions between 1500 and 1800. (All three of these Inquisitions burned fewer than a dozen witches in total.)

The most-dreaded lay witch-hunter was Nicholas Rémy, attorney general of Lorraine, who boasted of sending 900 persons to the stake in a single decade (1581-1591). But the all-time grand champion exterminator of witches was Ferdinand von Wittelsbach, Catholic prince-archbishop of Cologne, Germany, who burned 2,000 members of his flock during the 1630s.

Let no one argue that witch-hunting was a predominantly Protestant activity. Both Catholic and Protestant lands saw light and heavy hunts. Demonologists and critics alike came from both religious camps.


I personally don't buy the '40,000' number, based on the research of another scholar, who came up with some 12,500 tops. Now I have to try to find one ... lol
 

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Well, still trying to find the study on the geographical distributions; in any case this article goes into more detail on the thesis, and has a few sources at the end of the article:

Who Burned the Witches?

Witches Everywhere

The 30,000 to 50,000 casualties of the European witch-hunts were not distributed uniformly through time or space, even within particular jurisdictions. Three-quarters of Europe saw not a single trial. Witch persecution spread outward from its first center in alpine Italy in the early 15th century, guttering out in Poland, where witchcraft laws were finally repealed in 1788. The center had generally stopped trying witches before the peripheries even started.

The Spanish Road stretching from Italy to the Netherlands was also a "witch-road." The Catholic-ruled Spanish Netherlands (today's Belgium) saw far worse persecutions than the Protestant-ruled United Provinces of the Netherlands, which had stopped burning convicted witches by 1600. There were early panics in the German cities of Brandenburg and Mecklenburg, as well as in Lorraine, France, and parts of Switzerland and Scotland. The Rhineland and Southwest Germany suffered severe outbreaks, with German ecclesiastical territories hit hardest. Three-quarters of all witchcraft trials took place in the Catholic-ruled territories of the Holy Roman Empire. But Catholic Portugal, Castile and Spanish-ruled Italy, and the Orthodox lands of Eastern Europe saw virtually none. The panic in Salem, Massachussetts, was as bad as anything in England, but there seem to have !been no executions in the Latin colonies of the New World.

The regional tolls demonstrated the patchwork pattern of witch-hunting. The town of Baden, Germany, for example, burned 200 witches from 1627 to 1630, more than all the convicted witches who perished in Sweden. The tiny town of Ellwangen, Germany, burned 393 witches from 1611 to 1618, more than Spain and Portugal combined ever executed. The Catholic prince-bishop of Würzburg, Germany, burned 600 witches from 1628 to 1631, more witches than ever died in Protestant Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Iceland combined. The Swiss canton of Vaud executed about 1,800 witches from 1611 to 1660, compared with Scotland's toll of between 1,300 and 1,500 and England's toll of 500. The claim of some Catholic apologists that Elizabeth I executed 800 witches a year is gross slander. In Southwest Germany alone, 3,229 people were executed for witchcraft between 1562 and 1684!ash more than were executed for any reason by the Spanish, Portugese, and Roman Inquisitions between 1500 and 1800. (All three of these Inquisitions burned fewer than a dozen witches in total.)

The most-dreaded lay witch-hunter was Nicholas Rémy, attorney general of Lorraine, who boasted of sending 900 persons to the stake in a single decade (1581-1591). But the all-time grand champion exterminator of witches was Ferdinand von Wittelsbach, Catholic prince-archbishop of Cologne, Germany, who burned 2,000 members of his flock during the 1630s.

Let no one argue that witch-hunting was a predominantly Protestant activity. Both Catholic and Protestant lands saw light and heavy hunts. Demonologists and critics alike came from both religious camps.


I personally don't buy the '40,000' number, based on the research of another scholar, who came up with some 12,500 tops. Now I have to try to find one ... lol

Okay. Now reconcile that with:
"Even some 'Pagan' followers are in agreement with most of this, and admit witch burning is/was a pagan practice. Paganism was still a major force in medieval Europe, among the peasants and lower aristocracy"

The Catholic Bishop was a pagan?

I live in southern Mexico and we haven't a witch burned in our state in a few years. It is my opinion that if you are an Indian in a remote village and too many people are indebted to you, you are a great risk of being found to be a witch.

The last time I saw an article in the paper about a witch being killed in a village I had a Zapotec friend read it. I said, "What do you think?" "Well, you know, Pat, if a witch is doing bad things and won't stop, what else can you do?"

It's no joking matter.
 

Oberon

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Okay. Now reconcile that with:
"Even some 'Pagan' followers are in agreement with most of this, and admit witch burning is/was a pagan practice. Paganism was still a major force in medieval Europe, among the peasants and lower aristocracy"

The Catholic Bishop was a pagan?

I live in southern Mexico and we haven't a witch burned in our state in a few years. It is my opinion that if you are an Indian in a remote village and too many people are indebted to you, you are a great risk of being found to be a witch.

The last time I saw an article in the paper about a witch being killed in a village I had a Zapotec friend read it. I said, "What do you think?" "Well, you know, Pat, if a witch is doing bad things and won't stop, what else can you do?"

It's no joking matter.

I linked to other articles in the OP to pagan opinions. The article in the above post is from a Catholic. I don't have a problem with them contradicting each other, as I was trying to find a specific study on the geography of wicthburnings for another poster. you're conflating unrelated issues.
 

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The Spanish Inquisition: Debunking the Legends

The Spanish Inquisition: Debunking the Legends | Strange Notions

A quick summary:

Quick Summary

Modern historical research has uncovered facts that dismantle many of these centuries-old falsehoods. Here are some quick corrections concerning popular misunderstandings:
The Inquisition was originally welcomed to bring order to Europe because states saw an attack on the state’s faith as an attack on the state as well.
The Inquisition technically had jurisdiction only over those professing to be Christians.
The courts of the Inquisition were extremely fair compared to their secular counterparts at the time.
The Inquisition was responsible for less than 100 witch-hunt deaths, and was the first judicial body to denounce the trials in Europe.
Though torture was commonly used in all the courts of Europe at the time, the Inquisition used torture very infrequently.
During the 350 years of the Spanish Inquisition, between 3,000-5,000 people were sentenced to death (about 1 per month).
The Church executed no one.



Links of note in this paragraph on the page:

In recent years, however, the Vatican opened up its secret archives for historical investigation. Inquisition records that were made by and for the Inquisition were allowed to be researched for the first time in history. Since then, the above facts have been generally discoverable in modern history books (whether Catholic or not). Corrected Inquisition history can be found in sources such as Inquisition by Edward Peters and The Spanish Inquisition: An Historical Revision by Henry Kamen. Comparative secular documentaries include The Myth of the Spanish Inquisition (BBC) and the more sensationalistic The Spanish Inquisition (History Channel).

Even some 'Pagan' followers are in agreement with most of this, and admit witch burning is/was a pagan practice. Paganism was still a major force in medieval Europe, among the peasants and lower aristocracy

.Common Misconceptions: Chronology

Common Misconceptions: Chronology

Current scholarly estimates of the death toll in The Summerlands

Current scholarly estimates of the death toll in The Summerlands

Hear The Voice Paganism Australia: The Myth of the "BURNING TIMES"

Hear The Voice Paganism Australia: The Myth of the "BURNING TIMES"

Remember that the Witches that people hated and feared during the "Burning Times" are not Witches as we think of them today. Nor were they Pagans. People feared witchcraft because it was thought that those who practiced it could cause death and disease of people livestock and crops. For people who didn't have the scientific background we have today it was easy to blame witchraft for the unexplained. Think of the Black Death that killed nearly 1/3 of the population of Europe. If you didn't understand the idea of germs and disease transmission a frightened person would easily ascribe it to witchcraft. And if no way to stop the disease were known other than killing the witch before s/he killed you and your village think how easy it would be to do what you had to do in your fear to survive.

This stuff is old news to those who keep abreast of new historical research, but it will be new info to some who missed it the first time around.

Much of the Hyperbole about the Inquisition was promoted by Protestant England.

The Inquisition was meant to salvage souls, not kill people. If you burned someone it was an admission you had failed to restoring one to the true faith (in their opinion).

Even the Spanish don't like to talk about it.
 

Oberon

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Much of the Hyperbole about the Inquisition was promoted by Protestant England.

The Inquisition was meant to salvage souls, not kill people. If you burned someone it was an admission you had failed to restoring one to the true faith (in their opinion).

Even the Spanish don't like to talk about it.

I think for the Spanish and Portuguese it was about a very real existential threat of enemies within their midst. I agree with your post re the Roman Inquisition, which didn't execute hardly anybody, at least after the Cathars, anyway; it was widely condemned within the Church itself, as were 'witch burnings' by mobs; witchcraft was considered an ignorant peasant superstition, and nonsense. It's important to note that the Chruch in Rome didn't have absolute power over the entire European continent, and many of the local clerics were appointed by the feudal lords and crowns themselves, not Rome, so the best they could hope to do was influence them via education; they had no political power in most cases to overrule whatever some local feudal ruler, Bishop, or church official did. They had the rather weak and ineffective club of 'excommunication', but that's about it.
 

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I think for the Spanish and Portuguese it was about a very real existential threat of enemies within their midst. I agree with your post re the Roman Inquisition, which didn't execute hardly anybody, at least after the Cathars, anyway; it was widely condemned within the Church itself, as were 'witch burnings' by mobs; witchcraft was considered an ignorant peasant superstition, and nonsense. It's important to note that the Chruch in Rome didn't have absolute power over the entire European continent, and many of the local clerics were appointed by the feudal lords and crowns themselves, not Rome, so the best they could hope to do was influence them via education; they had no political power in most cases to overrule whatever some local feudal ruler, Bishop, or church official did. They had the rather weak and ineffective club of 'excommunication', but that's about it.

The Spanish were originally concerned with "conversos". Those Jews who converted rather than leave Spain during and after the recoquista.

Many charges of heresy (in the upper classes) were satisfied by paying a fine or turning over properties to the Church.

This goes hand in hand with the issuance of "indulgences" for cash.
 
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