The Inquisition! Such a thorny subject, isn’t it? It is an institution surrounded by legends, terror and a thousand exaggerations. Every time we speak of it, it seems to us it was something savage, barbaric and even primitive, but, actually, there is a lot of fake information around it. In this new blog entry, I’ll tell you 3 legends about the Inquisition you shouldn’t believe.
1. The Inquisition didn’t deal only with religious crimes.
If you steal a piece of bread today, are you committing a religious or a civil crime? Civil, right? But you must consider that, back in the day, civil and religious affairs were part of the same field. Remember, for instance, that one of the commandments is “You shall not steal.” The difference we make today didn’t exist before. That is why the Inquisition must be understood as a legal court, without drawing distinctions between civil or religious.
2. The Inquisition didn’t execute hundreds of thousands of people.
Every time someone mentions the Inquisition, the first thing we think of is how many people it condemned. Many would assure that hundreds of thousands or even millions, but, actually, experts estimate that the Spanish Inquisition only executed 3,000 people. Of course it is a considerable number of human lives, but not what we usually have in mind.
3. The Inquisition didn’t burn millions of witches.
Hollywood has made us think that the Inquisition burnt witches as if it were a weekend entertainment, but in Spain only 56 women were condemned to death under that charge. We must also consider that burning a witch was not understood as a brutal punishment, but as a way to liberate de soul of the witch.
These are only three facts that I learned along my tours through Madrid, especially in the ones about legends, mysteries and the Inquisition. Thanks to them, I understood how that court operated, how were the tortures applied and even why witches were burnt. Walking tours around the dark streets of Madrid are the best way to get to know its mysteries.