Monday, May 02, 2005

Then and Now

Interesting how the past keeps trying to become the present, hmmmm?

The Spanish Inquisition was executed at the request of Isabella. She was a very pious and devout Catholic. One of her advisors, who would later become the first General Inquisitor, was Thomas de Torquemada........Besides, the queen had already said she wanted "one country, one ruler, one faith" (N. Dirksen and M. Johnson, The Spanish Inquisition's Effect on the Church, 1996).

The punishments and tortures used to gain confessions are the most famous parts of the Inquisition.
Because the trials were for spiritual matters, the Church handled them. However, the punishments were usually very much physical, so they were handled by the state.
(see Bush Administration,

There were many means of this physical torture for confession. The two most famous or infamous were the strappado or pulley, and the aselli or water torment. The strappado was a device that used ropes to strap a person in by their arms and legs, and then weights were attached to the ends of these ropes. The person was raised to a certain level and then the ropes were released. This created a situation where the body would be stretched painfully, sometimes enough to produce death (see Abu Ghraib,

The aselli was accomplished as a person was brought to lay down on a trestle with sharp-edged rungs and secured with an iron band. Their feet would be elevated above their heads. The accused then had a small piece of linen forced into the gullet. Using a jar (jarra), water would be poured into the mouth and nose producing a state of semi-suffocation. The process would be done repeatedly. While doing that process, the cords binding the limbs would be tightened until it would seem the very veins would explode. (see Gitmo, "Waterboarding",

The tortures were used on old and young alike to get confessions and to learn of accomplices. (see Guantanamo Bay,

Santayana's Maxim seems to apply here:

We didn't learn the moral lesson from this history, so we decided to repeat the immorality.

However we did learn some neat ways to torture people from this history, so we decided to repeat the methods.



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