HISTORY of the CHRISTIAN CHURCH*
HERESY AND WITCHCRAFT.
§ 57. Literature.
For § 58.—For the Brethren of the Free Spirit, Fredericq: Corpus doc. haer. pravitalis, etc., vols. I-III.—Haupt, art. in Herzog, III. 467–473, Brüder des Freien Geistes. See lit., vol. V., I. p. 459.—For the Fraticelli F. Ehrle: Die Spiritualen. Ihr Verhältniss zum Francis-kanerorden u. zu d. Fraticellen in Archiv f. K. u. Lit. geschichte, 1885, pp. 1509–1570; 1886, pp. 106–164; 1887, pp. 553–623.—Döllinger: Sektengesch., II.—Lea: Inquisition, III. 129 sqq., 164–175.—Wetzer-Welte, IV, 1926–1985.—For the Waldenses, see lit., vol. V., I. p. 459.—Also, W. Preger: Der Traktat des Dav. von Augsburg fiber die Waldenser, Munich, 1878.—Hansen: Quellen, etc., Bonn, 1901, 149–181, etc. See full title below.—For the Flagellants, see lit., vol. V., I. p. 876. Also Paul Runge: D. Lieder u. Melodien d. Geissler d. Jahres 1349, nach. d. Aufzeichnung Hugo’s von Reutlingen nebst einer Abhandlung über d. ital. Geisslerlieder von H. Schneegans u. einem Beitrage über d. deutschen u. niederl. Geissler von H. Pfannenschmid, Leipzig, 1900.
§ 59. Witchcraft.—For the treatments of the Schoolmen and other med. writers, see vol. V., I. p. 878.—Among earlier modem writers, see J. Bodin: Magorum Daemonomania, 1579.—Reg. Scott: Discovery of Witchcraft, London, 1584.—P. Binsfeld: De confessionibus maleficarum et sagarum, Treves, 1596.—M. Delrio: Disquisitiones magicae, Antwerp, 1599, Cologne, 1679.—Erastus, of Heidelberg: Repititio disputationis de lamiis seu strigibus, Basel, 1578.—J. Glanvill: Sadducismus triumphatus, London, 1681.—R. Baxter: Certainty of the World of Spirits, London, 1691.—Recent writers.—* T. Wright: Narrative of Sorcery and Magic, 2 vols., London, 1851.—G. Roskoff: Gesch. des Teufels, 2 vols., Leipzig, 1869.—W. G. Soldan: Gesch. der Hexenprocesse, Stuttgart, 1843; new ed., by Heppe, 2 vols., Stuttgart, 1880.—Lea: History of the Inquisition, III. 379–550.—*Lecky: History of the Rise and Influence of the Spirit of Rationalism in Europe, ch. I.—Döllinger-Friedrich: D. Papstthum, pp. 123–131.—a.d. White, History of the Warfare of Science and Theology in Christendom, 2 vols., New York, 1898.—*J. Hansen: Zauberwahn, Inquisition und Hezenprocess im Mittelalter und die Entstehung der grossen Hexenverfolgung, Munich, 1900; *Quellen und Untersuchungen zur Gesch. des Hexenwahns und der Hexenverfolgung im M. A., Leipzig, 1901.—Graf von Hoensbroech: D. Papstthum in seiner sozialkulturellen Wirksamkeit, Leipzig, 2 vols., 1900; 4th ed., 1901, I. 380–599.—J. Diefenbach: Der Hexenwahn, vor u. nach Glaubenspaltung in Deutschland, Mainz, 1886 (the last chapter—on the conciones variae—gives sermons on the weather, storms, winds, dreams, mice, etc.); also, Besessenheit, Zauberei u. Hexenfabeln, Frankfurt, 1893; also, Zauberglaube des 16ten Jahrh. nach d. Katechismen M. Luthers und d. P. Canisius, Mainz, 1900. Binz: Dr. Joh. Weyer, Bonn, 1885, 2d ed., Berlin, 1896. A biography of one of the early opponents of witch-persecution, with sketches of some of its advocates.—Baissac: Les grands jours de la sorcellerie, Paris, 1890.—H. Vogelstein and P. Rieger, Gesch. d. Juden in Rom, 2 vols., Berlin, 1895 sq.—S. Riezler: Gesch. d. Hexenprocesse in Baiern, Stuttgart, 1896.—C. Lempens: D. grösste Verbrechen aller Zeiten. Pragnatische Gesch. d. Hexenprocesse, 2d ed., 1904.—Janssen-Pastor: Gesch. d. deutschen Volkes, etc., vol. VIII., 531–751.—The Witch-Persecutions, in Un. of Pa. Transll. and Reprints, vol. III.
§ 60. The Spanish Inquisition.—See lit., V. I. p. 460 sqq. Hefele: D. Cardinal Ximines und d. Kirchl. Zustände in Spanien am Ende d. 15 u. Anfang d. 16. Jahrh., Tübingen, 1844, 2d ed., 1851. Also, art. Ximines in Wetzer-Welte, vol. XII.—C. V. Langlois: L’inq., d’après les travaux récents, Paris, 1902.—H. C. Lea: Hist. of the Inquisition of Spain, 4 vols., New York, 1906 sq. Includes Sicily, Sardinia, Mexico and Peru, but omits Holland.—E. Vacandard: The Inquisition. A criticism and history. Study of the Coercive Power of the Church, transl. by B. L. Conway, London, 1908.—C. G. Ticknor: Hist. of Spanish Literature, I. 460 sqq.—Pastor: Gesch. d. Päpste, III. 624–630.
Dr. Lea’s elaborate work is the leading modern treatment of the subject and is accepted as an authority In Germany. See Benrath in Lit-Zeitung, 1908, pp. 203–210. The author has brought out as never before the prominent part the confiscation of property played in the Spanish tribunal. The work of Abbé Vacandard, the author of the Life of St. Bernard, takes up the positions laid down in Dr. Lea’s general work on the Inquisition and attempts to break the force of his statements. Vacandard admits the part taken by the papacy in prosecuting heresy by trial torture and even by the death penalty, but reduces the Church’s responsibility on the ground of the ideas prevailing in the Middle Ages, and the greater freedom and cruelty practised by the state upon its criminals. He denies that Augustine favored severe measures of compulsion against heretics and sets forth, without modification, the unrelenting treatment of Thomas Aquinas.
§ 58. Heretical and Unchurchly Movements.
In the 14th and 15th centuries, the seat of heresy was shifted from Southern France and Northern Italy to Bohemia and Northern Germany, the Netherlands and England. In Northern and Central Europe, the papal Inquisition, which had been so effective in exterminating the Albigenses and in repressing or scattering the Waldenses, entered upon a new period of its history, in seeking to crush out a new enemy of the Church, witchcraft. The rise and progress of the two most powerful and promising forms of popular heresy, Hussitism and Lollardy, have already been traced. Other sectarists who came under the Church’s ban were the Beghards and Beguines, who had their origin in the 13th century,877 the Brethren of the Free Spirit, the Fraticelli, the Flagellants and the Waldenses.
It is not possible to state with exactness the differences between the Beghards, Beguines, the Brethren of the Free Spirit and the Fraticelli as they appeared from 1300 to 1500. The names were often used interchangeably as a designation of foes of the established Church order.878 The court records and other notices that have come down to us indicate that they were represented in localities widely separated, and excited alarm which neither their numbers nor the station of their adherents justified. The orthodox mind was easily thrown into a panic over the deviations from the Church’s system of doctrine and government. The distribution of the dissenters proves that a widespread religious unrest was felt in Western Christendom. They may have imbibed some elements from Joachim of Flore’s millenarianism, and in a measure partook of the same spirit as German mysticism. There was a spiritual hunger the Church’s aristocratic discipline and its priestly ministrations did not satisfy. The Church authorities had learned no other method of dealing with heresy than the method in vogue in the days of Innocent III. and Innocent IV., and sought, as before, by imprisonments, the sword and fire, to prevent its predatory ravages.
The Brethren of the Free Spirit879 were infected with pantheistic notions and manifested a tendency now to free thought, now to libertinism of conduct. At times they are identified with the Beghards and Beguines. The pantheistic element suggests a connection with Amaury of Bena or Meister Eckart, but of this the extant records of trials furnish no distinct evidence. To the Beghards and Beguines likewise were ascribed pantheistic tenets.
To the general class of free thinkers belonged such individuals as Margaret of Henegouwen, usually known as Margaret of Porete, a Beguine, who wrote a book advocating the annihilation of the soul in God’s love, and affirmed that, when this condition is reached, the individual may, without qualm of conscience, yield to any indulgence the appetites of nature call for. After having several times relapsed from the faith, she was burnt, together with her books, in the Place de Grève, Paris, 1310.880 Here belong also the Men of Reason,—homines intelligentiae,—who appeared at Brussels early in the 14th century and were charged with teaching the final restoration of all men and of the devil.881
The Fraticelli, also called the Fratricelli,—the Little Brothers,—represented the opposite tendency and went to an extravagant excess in insisting upon a rigid observance of the rule of poverty. Originally followers of the Franciscan Observants, Peter Olivi, Michael Cesena and Angelo Clareno, they offered violent resistance to the decrees of John XXII., which ascribed to Christ and the Apostles the possession of property. Some were given shelter in legitimate Franciscan convents, while others associated themselves in schismatic groups of their own. They were active in Italy and Southern France, and were also represented in Holland and even in Egypt and Syria, as Gregory XI., 1375, declared; but it would be an error to regard their number as large. In his bull, Sancta romana, issued in 1317, John XXII. spoke of "men of the profane multitude, popularly called Fraticelli, or brethren of the poor life, Bizochi or Beguines or known by other names." This was not the first use of the term in an offensive sense. Villani called two men Fraticelli, a mechanic of Parma, Segarelli and his pupil Dolcino of Novara, both of whom were burnt, Segarelli in 1300 and Dolcino some time later. Friar Bonato, head of a small Spiritual house in Catalonia, after being roasted on one side, proffered repentance and was released, but afterwards, 1335, burnt alive.882 Wherever the Fraticelli appeared, they were pursued by the Inquisition. A number of bulla of the 14th century attacked them for denying the papal edicts and condemned them to rigorous prosecution. A formula, which they were required to profess, ran as follows: "I swear that I believe in my heart and profess that our Lord Jesus Christ and his Apostles, while in mortal life, held in common the things the Scriptures describe them as having and that they had the right of giving, selling and alienating them."
In localities they seem to have carried their opposition to the Church so far as to set up a hierarchy of their own.883 The regular priests they denounced as simonists and adulterers. In places they were held in such esteem by the populace that the Inquisition and the civil courts found themselves powerless to bring them to trial. Nine were burnt under Urban V. at Viterbo, and in 1389 Fra Michaele Berti de Calci, who had been successful in making converts, met the same fate at Florence. In France also they yielded victims to the flames, among them, Giovanni da Castiglione and Francese d’Arquata at Montpellier, 1354, and Jean of Narbonne and Maurice at Avignon. These enthusiasts are represented as having met death cheerfully.
Early in the 15th century, we find the Fraticelli again the victims of the Inquisition. In 1424 and 1426, Martin V. ordered proceedings against certain of their number in Florence and in Spain. The vigorous propaganda of the papal preachers, John of Capistrano and James of the Mark, succeeded in securing the return of many of these heretics to the Church, but, as late as the reign of Paul II., 1466, they were represented in Rome, where six of their number were imprisoned and subjected to torture. The charges against them were the denial of the validity of papal decrees of indulgence other than the Portiuncula decree.884 In Northern Europe the Fraticelli were classified with the Lollards and Beghards or identified with these heretics. The term, however, occurs seldom. Walter, the Lollard, was styled, the most wicked heresiarch of the Fraticelli, a man full of the devil and most perverse in his errors."885
Of far more interest to this age are the Flagellants who attracted attention by the strange outward demonstrations in which their religious fervor found expression. Theirs was a militant Christianity. They made an attempt to do something. They correspond more closely to the Salvation Army of the 19th century than any other organization of the Middle Ages. There is no record that the beating of drums played any part in the movement, but they used popular songs, a series of distinctive physical gestures and peculiar vociferations, uniforms and some of the discipline of the camp. Their campaigns were penitential crusades in which the self-mortifications of the monastery were transferred to the open field and the public square, and were adapted to impress the impenitent to make earnest in the warfare against the passions of the flesh. The Flagellants buffeted the body if they did not always buffet Satan.
An account has already been given of the first outbreak of the enthusiasm in Italy in 1259, which, starting in Perugia, spread to Northern Italy and extended across the Alps to Austria, Prag and Strassburg.886 Similar outbreaks occurred in 1296, 1333, 1349, 1399, and again at the time of the Spanish evangelist, Vincent Ferrer.
From being regarded as harmless fanatics they came to be treated as disturbers of the ecclesiastical peace, and in Northern Europe were classed with Beghards, Lollards, Hussites and other unchurchly or heretical sectarists.
The movement of 1333 was led by an eloquent Dominican, Venturino of Bergamo, and is described at length by Villani. Ten thousand followed this leader, wearing head-bands inscribed with the monogram of Christ, IHS, and on their chests a dove with an olive-branch in her mouth. Venturino led his followers as far as Rome and preached on the Capitoline. The penniless enthusiasts soon became a laughing-stock, and Venturino, on going to Avignon, gained absolution and died in Smyrna, 1346.
The earlier exhibitions of Flagellant zeal were as dim candlelights compared with the outbursts of 1349, during the ravages of the Black Death, which in contemporary chronicles and the Flagellant codes was called the great death—das grosse Sterben, pestis grandis, mortalitas magna. Bands of religious campaigners suddenly appeared in nearly all parts of Latin Christendom, Hungary, Bohemia, Italy, France, Germany and the Netherlands. John du Fayt, preaching before Clement VI., represented them as spread through all parts—per omnes provincias—and their numbers as countless. The exact numbers of the separate bands are repeatedly given, as they appeared in Ghent, Tournay, Dort, Bruges, Liége and other cities.887 Even bishops and princes took part in them. There were also bands of women.
Our knowledge of the German and Lowland Flagellants is most extensive. While the accounts of chroniclers differ in details, they agree in the main features. The Flagellants clad themselves in white and wore on their mantles, before and behind, and on their caps, a red cross, from which they got the name, the Brothers of the Cross. They marched from place to place, stopping only a single day and night at one locality, except in case of Sunday, when they often made an exception. In the van of their processions were carried crosses and banners. They sang hymns as they marched. The public squares in front of churches and fields, near-by towns, were chosen for their encampments and disciplinary drill, which was repeated twice a day with bodies bared to the waist. A special feature was the reading of a letter which, so it was asserted, was originally written on a table of stone and laid by an angel on the altar of St. Peter’s in Jerusalem.888 It represented Christ as indignant at the world’s wickedness, and, more especially, at the desecration of Sunday and the prevalence of usury and adultery, but as promising mercy on condition that the Flagellants gather and make pilgrimages of penance lasting 33½ days, a period corresponding to the years of his earthly life.
The letter being read, the drill began in earnest. It consisted of their falling on their knees and on the ground three times, in scourging themselves and in certain significant gestures to indicate to what sin each had been specially addicted. Every soldier carried a whip, or scourge, which, as writers are careful to report, was tipped with pieces of iron. These were often so sharp as to justify their comparison to needles, and the blood was frequently seen trickling down the bodies of the more zealous, even to their loins.889 The blows were executed to the rhythmic music of hymns, and the ruddy militiamen, milites rubicundi,—as they were sometimes called, believed that the blood which they shed was one with Christ’s blood or was mixed with it. They found a patron in St. Paul, whose stigmata they thought of, not as scars of conscience but bodily wounds.890 At each genuflection they sang a hymn, four hymns being sung during the progress of a drill. The first calling to the drill began with the words: —
Nun tretet herzu wer buesen welle
Fliehen wir die heisse Hölle.
Lucifer ist bös Geselle
Wen er habet mit Pech er ihn labet.
Darum fliehen wir mit ihm zu sein.
Wer unser Busse wolle pflegen
Der soll gelten und wieder geben.
Now join us all who will repent
Let’s flee the fiery heat of hell.
Lucifer is a bad companion
Whom he clutches, he covers with pitch.
Let us flee away from him.
Whoso will through our penance go
Let him restore what he’s taken away.891
In falling flat on the ground, they stretched out their arms to represent the arms of the cross. The fourth hymn, sung at the third genuflection, was a lament over the punishment of hell to which the Usurer, the liar, the murderer, the road-robber, the man who neglected to fast on Friday and to keep Sunday, were condemned, and with this was coupled a prayer to Mary.
Das Hilf uns Maria Königin,
Dass wir deines Kindes Huld gewin.
Mary, Queen, help us, pray,
To win the favor of thy child.892
Each penitent indicated his besetting sin. The hard drinker put his finger to his lips. The perjurer held up his two front fingers as if swearing an oath. The adulterer fell on his belly. The gambler moved his hand as if in the act of throwing dice.
During the ravages of the Black Death a contingent of 120 of these penitential warriors crossed the channel from Holland and marched through London and other English towns, wearing red crosses and having their scourges pointed with pieces of iron as sharp as needles.893 But they failed to secure a following.
It was inevitable that the Flagellants should incur opposition from the Church authorities. The mediaeval Church as little tolerated independence in ritual or organization as in doctrine. In France, they were opposed from the first. The University of Paris issued a deliverance against them, and Philip VI. forbade their manoeuvres on French soil under pain of death. A harder blow was struck by the head of Christendom, Clement VI., who fulminated his sweeping bull Oct. 20, 1349. Flagellants starting from Basel appeared in Avignon to the number, according to one document, of 2000. Before issuing his bull, Clement and his cardinals listened to the sermon on the subject preached by the Paris doctor, John du Fayt. The preacher selected 13 of the Flagellant tenets and practices for his reprobation, including the shedding of their own blood, a practice, he declared, fit for the priests of Baal, and the murder of Jews for their supposed crime of poisoning the wells, in which was sought the origin of the Black Plague. Clement pronounced the Flagellant movement a work of the devil and the angelic letter a forgery. He condemned the warriors for repudiating the priesthood and treating their penances as equivalent to the journey to the jubilee in Rome, set for 1350.894 The bull was sent to the archbishops of England, France, Poland, Germany and Sweden, and it called upon them to invoke, if necessary, the secular arm to put down the new rebellion against the ordinances of the Church.
Against such opposition the Flagellants could not be expected to maintain themselves long. Sharp enactments were directed against them by the Fleming cities and by archbishops, as in Prag and Magdeburg. Strassburg forbade public scourgings on its streets. As late as 1353, the archbishop of Cologne found it necessary to order all priests who had favored them to confess on pain of excommunication.895
We are struck with four features of the Flagellant movement during the Black Death,—its organization, the part assumed in it by the laity, the use of music and, in general, its strong religious and ethical character. In Italy, before this time, these people had their organizations. There was scarcely an Italian city which did not have one or more such brotherhoods. Padua had six, Perugia and Fabiano three, but the movement does not seem to have developed opposition to Church authority. In some of the outbreaks priests were the leaders, and the permanent organizations seem to have formed a close association with the Dominicans and Franciscans and to have devoted themselves to the care of the poor and sick.
On the other hand, in the North, a spirit of independence of the clergy manifested itself. This is evident from the Flagellant codes of the German and Dutch groups, current at the time of the great pestilence and in after years. The conditions of membership included reconciliation with enemies, the consent of husband or wife or, in the case of servants, the consent of their masters, strict obedience to the leaders, who were called master or rector, and ability to pay their own expenses. During the campaigns, which lasted 33½ days, they were to ask no alms nor to wash their persons or their clothing, nor cut their beards nor speak to women, nor to lie on feather beds. They were forbidden to carry arms or to pursue the flagellation to the limit where it might lead to sickness or death.896
Five pater nosters and ave Marias were prescribed to be said before and after meals, and it was provided that, so long as they lived, they should flagellate themselves every Friday three times during the day and once at night. The associations were called brotherhoods, and the members were bidden to call each other not chum—socium — but brother, "seeing that all were created out of the same element and bought with the same price."897
The leaders of the fraternities were laymen, and, as just indicated, the equality of the members before God and the cross was emphasized. The movement was essentially a lay movement, an expression of the spirit of dissatisfaction in Northern Germany and the Lowlands with the sacerdotal class.898 Some of the codes condemn the worship of images, the doctrine of transubstantiation, indulgences, priestly unction and, in cases, they substituted the baptism of blood for water baptism. One of these, containing 50 articles, expressly declared that the body of Christ is not in the sacrament, and that "indulgences amount to nothing and together with priests are condemned of God." The 26th article said, "It is better to die with a skin tanned with dust and sweat than with one smeared with a whole pound of priestly ointment."899
The German hymns as well as the codes of the Flagellants urge the duty of prayer and the mortification of the flesh and the preparation for death, the abandonment of sin, the reconciliation of enemies and the restoration of goods unjustly acquired. These sentiments are further vouched for by the chroniclers.
To these religionists belongs the merit of having revived the use of popular religious song. Singing was a feature of the earliest Flagellant movement, 1259.900 Their hymns are in Latin, Italian, French, German and Dutch. In Italian they went by the name of laude, and in German leisen. The Italian hymns, like the German, agree that sins have brought down the judgment of God and in appealing to the Virgin Mary, and call upon the "brethren" to castigate themselves, to confess their sins and to live in peace and brotherhood. They beseech the Virgin to prevail upon her son to stop "the hard death and pestilence—Gesune tolga via l’ aspra morte e pistilentia.901 Most of these hymns are filled with the thought of death and the woes of humanity, but the appeals to Mary are full of tenderness, and every conceivable allegory is applied to her from the dove to the gate of paradise, from the rose to a true medicine for every sickness. The songs of the Italian and the Northern Flagellants seem to have been independent of each other.902
The cohorts in the North agreed in using the same penitential song at their drills, but they had a variety of scores and songs for their marches.903 While the most of the words of their songs have been known, it is only recently that some of the music has been found to which the Flagellants sang their hymns. A manuscript of Hugo of Reutlingen, dating from 1349 and discovered at St. Petersburg, gives 8 such tunes, together with the words and an account of the movement.904 The hearers, in describing the impression made upon them by the melodies, mention their sweetness, their orderly rhythm,—ordine miro hymnos cantabant,—and their pathos capable of "moving hearts of stone and bringing tears to the eyes of the most stolid."905
Altogether, the Flagellant movement during the Black Death, 1349, must be regarded as a genuinely popular religious movement.
The next outbreak of Flagellant zeal, which occurred in 1399, was confined for the most part to Italy. The Flagellants, who were distinguished by mantles with a red cross, appeared in Genoa, Piacenza, Modena, Rome and other Italian cities. A number of accounts have come down to us, now favorable as the account of the "notary of Pistoja," now unfavorable as the account of von Nieheim. According to the Pistojan writer, the movement had its origin in a vision seen by a peasant in the Dauphiné, which is of interest as showing the relative places assigned in the popular worship to Christ and Mary. After a midday meal, the peasant saw Christ as a young man. Christ asked him for bread. The peasant told him there was none left, but Christ bade him look, and behold! he saw three loaves. Christ then bade him go and throw the loaves into a spring a short distance off. The peasant went, and was about to obey, when a woman, clad in white and bathed in tears, appeared, telling him to go back to the young man and say that his mother had forbidden it. He went, and Christ repeated his command, but at the woman’s mandate the peasant again returned to Christ. Finally he threw in one of the loaves, when the woman, who was Mary, informed him that her Son was exceedingly angry at the sinfulness of the world and had determined to punish it, even to destruction. Each loaf signified one-third of mankind and the destruction of one-third was fixed, and if the peasant should cast in the other two loaves, all mankind would perish. The man cast himself on his knees before the weeping Virgin, who then assured him that she had prayed her Son to withhold judgment, and that it would be withheld, provided he and others went in processions, flagellating themselves and crying "mercy" and "peace," and relating the vision he had seen.906
The peasant was joined by 17 others, and they became the nucleus of the new movement. The bands slept in the convents and church grounds, sang hymns,—laude,—from which they were also called laudesi, and scourged themselves with thongs as their predecessors had done. Miracles were supposed to accompany their marches. Among the miracles was the bleeding of a crucifix, which some of the accounts, as, for example, von Nieheim’s, explain by their pouring blood into a hole in the crucifix and then soaking the wood in oil and placing it in the sun to sweat. According to this keen observer, the bands traversed almost the whole of the peninsula. Fifteen thousand, accompanied by the bishop of Modena, marched to Bologna, where the population put on white. Not only were the people and clergy of Rome carried away by their demonstrations, but also members of the sacred college and all classes put on sackcloth and white. The pope went so far as to bestow upon them his blessing and showed them the handkerchief of St. Veronica. Nieheim makes special mention of their singing and their new songs — nova carmina. But the historian of the papal schism could see only evil and fraud in the movement,907 and condemns their lying together promiscuously at night, men and women, boys and girls. On their marches they stripped the trees bare of fruit and left the churches and convents, where they encamped, defiled by their uncleanness. An end was put to the movement in Rome by the burning of one of the leading prophets.
The bull of Clement VI. was followed, in l372, by the fulmination of Gregory XI., who associated the Flagellants with the Beghards, and by the action of the Council of Constance. In a tract presented to the council in 1417, Gerson asserted that the sect made scourging a substitute for the sacrament of penance and confession.908 He called upon the bishops to put down its cruel and sanguinary members who dared to shed their own blood and regarded themselves as on a par with the old martyrs. The laws of the decalogue were sufficient without the imposition of any new burdens, as Christ himself taught, when he said, "If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments." This judgment of the theologians the Flagellants might have survived, but the merciless probe of the Inquisition to which they were exposed in the 15th century took their life. Trials were instituted against them in Thuringia under the Dominican agent, Schönefeld, 1414. At one place, Sangerhausen, near Erfurt, 91 were burnt at one time and, on another occasion, 22 more. The victims of the second group died, asserting that all the evils in the Church came from the corrupt lives of the clergy.
The Flagellant movement grew out of a craving which the Church life of the age did not fully meet. Excesses should not blind the eye to its good features. Hugo of Reutlingen concludes his account of the outbreak of 1349 with the words: "Many good things were associated with the Flagellant brothers, and these account for the attention they excited."
A group of sectaries, sometimes associated by contemporary writers with the Flagellants, was known as the Dancers. These people appeared at Aachen and other German and Dutch towns as early as 1374. In Cologne they numbered 500. Like the Flagellants, they marched from town to town. Their dancing and jumping—dansabant et saltabant — they performed half naked, sometimes bound together two and two, and often in the churches, where they had a preference for the spaces in front of the images of the Virgin. Cases occurred where they fell dead from exhaustion. In Holland, the Dancers were also called Frisker or Frilis, from frisch,—spry,—the word with which they encouraged one another in their terpsichorean feats.909
To another class of religious independents belong the Waldenses, who, in spite of their reputation as heretics, continued to survive in France, Piedmont and Austria. They were still accused of allowing women to preach, denying the real presence and abjuring oaths, extreme unction, infant baptism and also of rejecting the doctrines of purgatory and prayers for the dead.910
With occasional exceptions, the Waldensians of Italy and France were left unmolested until the latter part of the 15th century and the dukes of Savoy were inclined to protect them in their Alpine abodes. But the agents of the Inquisition were keeping watch, and the Franciscan Borelli is said to have burned, in 1393, 150 at Grenoble in the Dauphiné in a single day. It remained for Pope Innocent VIII. to set on foot a relentless crusade against this harmless people as his predecessor of the same name, Innocent III., set on foot the crusade against the Albigenses. His notorious bull of May 5, 1487, called upon the king of France, the duke of Savoy and other princes to proceed with armed expeditions against them and to crush them out "as venomous serpents."911 It opened with the assertion that his Holiness was moved by a concern to extricate from the abyss of error those for whom the sovereign Creator had been pleased to endure sufferings. The striking difference seems not to have occurred to the pontiff that the Saviour, to whose services he appealed, gave his own life, while he himself, without incurring any personal danger, was consigning others to torture and death.
Writing of the crusade which followed, the Waldensian historian, Leger, says that all his people had suffered before was as "flowers and roses" compared to what they were now called upon to endure. Charles VIII. entered heartily into the execution of the decree, and sent his captain, Hugo de la Palu. The crusading armies may have numbered 18,000 men.
The mountaineer heretics fled to the almost inaccessible platform called Pré du Tour, where their assailants could make no headway against their arrows and the stones they hurled. On the French side of the Alps the crusade was successful. In the Val de Louise, 70, or, according to another account, 3000, who had fled to the cave called Balme de Vaudois, were choked to death by smoke from fires lit at the entrance. Many of the Waldenses recanted, and French Waldensianism was well-nigh blotted out. Their property was divided between the bishop of Embrun and the secular princes. As late as 1545, 22 villages inhabited by French Waldenses were pillaged and burnt by order of the parliament of Provence. With the unification of Italy in 1870, this ancient and respectable people was granted toleration and began to descend from its mountain fastnesses, where it had been confined for the half of a millennium.
in Austria, the fortunes of the Waldensians were more or less interwoven with the fortunes of the Hussites and Bohemian Brethren. In parts of Northern Germany, as in Brandenburg in 1480, members of the sect were subjected to severe persecutions. In the Lowlands we hear of their imprisonment, banishment and death by fire.912
The mediaeval horror of heresy appears in the practice of ascribing to heretics nefarious performances of all sorts. The terms Waldenses and Waldensianism were at times made synonymous with witches and witchcraft. Just how the terms Vauderie, Vaudoisie, Vaudois, Waudenses and Valdenses came to be used in this sense has not been satisfactorily explained. But such usage was in vogue from Lyons to Utrecht, and the papal bull of Eugenius IV., 1440, refers to the witches in Savoy as being called Waldenses.913 An elaborate tract entitled the Waldensian Idolatry,914 — Valdenses ydolatrae,—written in 1460 and giving a description of its treatment in Arras, accused, the Waldenses with having intercourse with demons and riding through the air on sticks, oiled with a secret unguent.
§ 59. Witchcraft and its Punishment.
Perhaps no chapter in human history is more revolting than the chapter which records the wild belief in witchcraft and the merciless punishments meted out for it in Western Europe in the century just preceding the Protestant Reformation and the succeeding century.915 In the second half of that century, the Church and society were thrown into a panic over witchcraft, and Christendom seemed to be suddenly infested with a great company of bewitched people, who yielded themselves to the irresistible discipline of Satan. The mania spread from Rome and Spain to Bremen and Scotland. Popes, lawyers, physicians and ecclesiastics of every grade yielded their assent, and the only voices lifted up in protest which have come down to us from the Middle Ages were the voices of victims who were subjected to torture and perished in the flames. No Reformer uttered a word against it. On the contrary, Luther was a stout believer in the reality of demonic agency, and pronounced its adepts deserving of the flames. Calvin allowed the laws of Geneva against it to stand. Bishop Jewel’s sermon before Queen Elizabeth in 1562 was perhaps the immediate occasion of a new law on the subject.916 Baxter proved the reality of witchcraft in his Certainty of the World of Spirits. On the shores of New England the delusion had its victims, at Salem, 1692, and a century later, 1768, John Wesley, referring to occurrences in his own time, declared that "giving up witchcraft was, in effect, giving up the Bible."
In the establishment of the Inquisition, 1215, Innocent III. made no mention of sorcery and witchcraft. The omission may be explained by two considerations. Provision was made for the prosecution of sorcerers by the state, and heretical depravity, a comparatively novel phenomenon for the Middle Ages, was in Innocent’s age regarded as the imminent danger to which the Church was exposed.
Witchcraft was one of the forms of maleficium, the general term adopted by the Middle Ages from Roman usage for demonology and the dark arts, but it had characteristic features of its own.917 These were the transport of the bewitched through the air, their meetings with devils at the so-called sabbats and indulgence in the lowest forms of carnal vice with them. Some of these features were mentioned in the canon episcopi,—the bishop’s canon,—which appeared first in the 10th century and was incorporated by Gratian in his collection of canon law, 1150. But this canon treated as a delusion the belief that wicked women were accustomed to ride together in troops through the air at night in the suite of the Pagan goddess, Diana, into whose service they completely yielded themselves, and this in spite of the fact that women confessed to this affinity.918 The night-riding, John of Salisbury, d. 1182, treated as an illusion with which Satan vexed the minds of women; but another Englishman, Walter Map, in the same century, reports the wild orgies of demons with heretics, to whom the devil appeared as a tom-cat.919
From the middle of the 13th century the distinctive features of witchcraft began to engage the serious attention of the Church authorities. During the reign of Gregory IX., 1227–1241, it became evident to them that the devil, not satisfied with inoculating Western Europe with doctrinal heresy, had determined to vex Christendom with a new exhibition of his malice in works of sorcery and witchcraft. Strange cases were occurring which the inquisitors of heresy were quick to detect. The Dominican Chantimpré tells of the daughter of a count of Schwanenburg, who was carried every night through the air, even eluding the strong hold of a Franciscan who one night tried to hold her back. In 1275 a woman of Toulouse, under torture, confessed she had indulged in sexual intercourse with a demon for many years and given birth to a monster, part wolf and part serpent, which for two years she fed on murdered children. She was burnt by the civil tribunal.
But it is not till the 15th century that the era of witchcraft properly begins. From about 1430 it was treated as a distinct cult, carefully defined and made the subject of many treatises. The punishments to be meted out for it were carefully laid down, as also the methods by which witches should be detected and tried. The cases were no longer sporadic and exceptional; they were regarded as being a gild or sect marshalled by Satan to destroy faith from the earth.
It is probable that the responsibility for the spread of the wild witch mania rests chiefly with the popes. Pope after pope countenanced and encouraged the belief. Not a single utterance emanated from a pope to discourage it.920 Pope after pope called upon the Inquisition to punish witches.
The list of papal deliverances opened in 1233, when Gregory IX., addressing the bishops of Mainz and Hildesheim, accepted the popular demonology in its crudest forms.921 The devil, so Gregory asserted, was appearing in the shapes of a toad, a pallid ghost and a black cat. In language too obscene to be repeated, he described at length the orgies which took place at the meetings of men and women with demons. Where medicines did not cure, iron and fire were to be used. The rotting flesh was to be cut out. Did not Elijah slay the four hundred priests of Baal and Moses put idolaters to death?
Before the close of the 13th century, popes themselves were accused of having familiar spirits and practising sorcery, as John XXI., 1276, and Boniface VIII. Boniface went so far, 1303, as to order the trial of an English bishop, Walter of Coventry and Lichfield, on the charge of having made a pact with the devil and habitually kissing the devil’s posterior parts. Under his successor, Clement, the gross charges of wantonness with the devil were circulated against the Knights of the Temple. In his work, De maleficiis, Boniface VIII.’s physician, Arnold of Villanova, stated with scientific precision the satanic devices for disturbing and thwarting the marital relation. Among the popes of the 14th century, John XXII. is distinguished for the credit he gave to all sorts of malefic arts and his instructions to the inquisitors to proceed against persons in league with the devil.922
Side by side with the papal utterances went the authoritative statements of the Schoolmen. Leaning upon Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, d. 1274, accepted as real the cohabitation of human beings with demons, and declared that old women had the power by the glance of their eye of injecting into young people a certain evil essence. If the horrible beliefs of the Middle Ages on the subject of witchcraft are to be set aside, then the bulls of Leo XIII. and Pius X.923 pronouncing Thomas the authoritative guide of Catholic theology must be modified.
The definitions of the Schoolmen justified the demand which papal deliverances made, that the Church tribunal has at least equal jurisdiction with the tribunal of the state in ferreting out and prosecuting the adepts of the dark arts. Manuals of procedure in cases of sorcery used by the Inquisition date back at least to 1270.924 The famous Interrogatory of Bernard Guy of 1320 contains formulas on the subject. The canonists, however, had difficulty in defining the point at which maleficium became a capital crime. Oldradus, professor of canon law in turn at Bologna, Padua and Avignon, sought, about 1325, to draw a precise distinction between the two, and gave the opinion that, only when sorcery savors strongly of heresy, should it be dealt with as heresy was dealt with, the position assumed before by Alexander IV., 1258–1260. The final step was taken when Eymericus, in his Inquisitorial Directory and special tracts, 1370–1380, affirmed the close affinity between maleficium and heresy, and threw the door wide open for the most rigorous measures against malefics.
To such threefold authorization was added the weight of the great influence of the University of Paris, which, in 1378, two years after the issue of Eymericus’ work, sent out 28 articles affirming the reality of maleficium.
Proceeding to the second period in the history of our subject, beginning with 1430, it is found to teem with tracts and papal deliverances on witchcraft.
Gerson, the leading theologian of his age, said it was heresy and impiety to question the practice of the malefic arts, and Eugenius IV., in several deliverances, beginning with 1434, spoke in detail of those who made pacts with demons and sacrificed to them.925 Witchcraft was about to take the place in men’s minds which heresy had occupied in the age of Innocent III. The frightful mania was impending which spread through Latin Christendom under the Renaissance popes, from Pius II. to Clement VII., and without a dissenting voice received their sanction. Of the Humanist, Pius II., better things might have been expected, but he also, in 1459, fulminated against the malefics of Brittany. To what length the Vatican could go in sanctioning the crassest superstition is seen from Sixtus IV.’s bull, 1471, in which that pontiff reserved to himself the right to manufacture and consecrate the little waxen figures of lambs, the touch of which was pronounced to be sufficient to protect against fire and shipwreck, storm and hail, lightning and thunder, and to preserve women in the hour of parturition.926
Among the documents on witchcraft, emanating from papal or other sources, the place of pre-eminence is occupied by the bull, Summis desiderantes issued by Innocent VIII., 1484. This notorious proclamation, consisting of nearly 1000 words, was sent out in answer to questions proposed to the papal chair by German inquisitors, and recognizes in clearest language the current beliefs about demonic bewitchment as undeniable. It had come to his knowledge, so the pontiff wrote, that the dioceses of Mainz, Cologne, Treves, Salzburg and Bremen teemed with persons who, forsaking the Catholic faith, were consorting with demons. By incantations, conjurations and other iniquities they were thwarting the parturition of women and destroying the seed of animals, the fruits of the earth, the grapes of the vine and the fruit of the orchard. Men and women, flocks and herds, trees and all herbs were being afflicted with pains and torments. Men could no longer beget, women no longer conceive, and wives and husbands were prevented from performing the marital act. In view of these calamities, the pope authorized the Dominicans, Heinrich Institoris and Jacob Sprenger, professors of theology, to continue their activity against these malefics in bringing them to trial and punishment. He called upon the bishop of Salzburg to see to it that they were not impeded in their work and, a few months later, he admonished the archbishop of Mainz to give them active support. In other documents, Innocent commended Sigismund, archbishop of Austria, the count of the Tyrol and other persons for the aid they had rendered to these inquisitors in their effort to crush out witchcraft.
The burning of witches was thus declared the definite policy of the papal see and the inquisitors proceeded to carry out its instructions with untiring and merciless severity.927
Innocent’s communication, so abhorrent to the intelligent judgment of modern times, would seem of itself to sweep away the dogma of papal infallibility, even if there were no cases of Liberius, the Arian, or Honorius, the Monothelite. The argument is made by Pastor and Cardinal Hergenröther that Innocent did not officially pronounce on the reality of witchcraft when, proceeding upon the basis of reports, he condemned it and ordered its punishment.928 However, in case this explanation be not regarded as sufficient, these writers allege that the decision, being of a disciplinary nature, would have no more binding force than any other papal decision on non-dogmatic subjects. This distinction is based upon the well-known contention of Catholic canonists that the pope’s inerrancy extends to matters of faith and not to matters of discipline. Leaving these distinctions to the domain of theological casuistry, it remains a historic fact that Innocent’s bull deepened the hold of a vicious belief in the mind of Europe and brought thousands of innocent victims to the rack and to the flames. The statement made by Dr. White is certainly not far from the truth when he says that, of all the documents which have issued from Rome, imperial or papal, Innocent’s bull first and last cost the greatest suffering.929 Innocent might have exercised his pontifical infallibility in denying, or at least doubting, the credibility of the witnesses. A simple word from him would have prevented untold horrors. No one of his successors in the papal chair has expressed any regret for his deliverance, much less consigned to the Index of forbidden books the Malleus maleficarum, the inquisitors’ official text-book on witchcraft, most of the editions of which printed Innocent’s bull at length.
Innocent’s immediate successors followed his example and persons or states opposing repressive measures against witches were classed with malefactors and, as in the case of Venice, the state was threatened by Leo X. with the fulminations of the Church if it did not render active assistance. At the papal rebuke, Brescia changed its attitude and in a single year sentenced 70 to the flames.
Next to Innocent’s bull, the Witches Hammer,—Malleus maleficarum,—already referred to, is the most important and nefarious legacy the world has received on witchcraft. Dr. Lea pronounces it "the most portentous monument of superstition the world has produced."930 These two documents were the official literature which determined the progress and methods of the new crusade.
The Witches Hammer, published in 1486, proceeded from the hands of the Dominican Inquisitors, Heinrich Institoris, whose German name was Kraemer, and Jacob Sprenger. The plea cannot be made that they were uneducated men. They occupied high positions in their order and at the University of Cologne. Their book is divided into three parts: the first proves the existence of witchcraft; the second sets forth the forms in which it manifested itself; the third describes the rules for its detection and prosecution. In the last quarter of the 15th century the world, so it states, was more given over to the devil than in any preceding age. It was flooded with all kinds of wickedness. In affirming the antics of witches and other malefics, appeal is made to the Scriptures and to the teachings of the Church and especially to Augustine and Thomas Aquinas. Witches and sorcerers, whose father is the devil, are at last bound together in an organized body or sect. They meet at the weekly sabbats and do the devil homage by kissing his posterior parts. He appears among them as a tom-cat, goat, dog, bull or black man, as whim and convenience suggest. Demons of both sexes swarm at the meetings. Baptism and the eucharist are subjected to ridicule, the cross trampled upon. After an abundant repast the lights are extinguished and, at the devil’s command "Mix, mix," there follow scenes of unutterable lewdness. The devil, however, is a strict disciplinarian and applies the whip to refractory members.
The human members of the fraternity are instructed in all sorts of fell arts. They are transported through the air. They kill unbaptized children, keeping them in this way out of heaven. At the sabbats such children are eaten. Of the carnal intercourse, implied in the words succubus and incubus, the authors say, there can be no doubt. To quote them, "it is common to all sorcerers and witches to practise carnal lust with demons."931 To this particular subject are devoted two full chapters, and it is taken up again and again.
In evidence of the reality of their charges, the authors draw upon their own extensive experience and declare that, in 48 cases of witches brought before them and burnt, all the victims confessed to having practised such abominable whoredoms for from 10 to 30 years.
Among the precautions which the book prescribed against being bewitched, are the Lord’s Prayer, the cross, holy water and salt and the Church formulas of exorcism. It also adds that inner grace is a preservative.932
The directions for the prosecution of witches, given in the third part of the treatise, are set forth with great explicitness. Public rumor was a sufficient cause for an indictment. The accused were to be subjected to the indignity of having the hair shaved off from their bodies, especially the more secret parts, lest perchance some imp or charm might be hidden there. Careful rules were given to the inquisitors for preserving themselves against being bewitched, and Institoris and Sprenger took occasion to congratulate themselves that, in their long experience, they had been able to avoid this calamity. In case the defender of a witch seemed to show an excess of zeal, this was to be treated as presumptive evidence that he was himself under the same influence. One of the devices for exposing guilt was a sheet of paper of the length of Christ’s body, inscribed with the seven words of the cross. This was to be bound on the witch’s body at the time of the mass, and then the ordeal of torture was applied. This measure almost invariably brought forth a confession of guilt. The ordeal of the red-hot iron was also recommended, but it was to be used with caution, as it was the trick of demons to cover the hands of witches with a salve made from a vegetable essence which kept them from being burnt. Such a case happened in Constance, the woman being able to carry the glowing iron six paces and thus going free.
Of all parts of this manual, none is quite so infamous as the author’s vile estimate of woman. If there is any one who still imagines that celibacy is a sure highway to purity of thought, let him read the testimonies about woman and marriage given by mediaeval writers, priests and monks, themselves celibate and presumably chaste. Their impurities of expression suggest a foul atmosphere of thought and conversation. The very title of the Malleus maleficarum—the Hammer of the Female Malefics—is in the feminine because, as the authors inform their readers, the overwhelming majority of those who were behagged and had intercourse with demons were women.933 In flat contrast to our modern experience of the religious fidelity of women, the authors of this book derive the word femina — woman—from fe and minus, that is, fides minus, less in faith. Weeping and spinning and deceiving they represent as the very essence of her nature. She deceives, because she was formed from Adam’s rib and that was crooked.
A long chapter, I. 6, is devoted to showing woman’s inferiority to man and the subject of her alliance with demons is dwelt upon, apparently with delight. The cohabitation with fiends was in earlier ages, the authors affirm, against the will of women, but in their own age it was with their full consent and by their ardent desire. They thank God for being men. Few of their sex, they say, consent to such obscene relations,—one man to ten women. This refusal was due to the male’s natural vigor of mind, vigor rationis. To show the depravity of woman and her fell agency in history, Institoris and Sprenger quote all the bad things they can heap up from authors, biblical and classic, patristic and scholastic, Cato, Terence, Seneca, Cicero, Jerome. Jesus Sirach’s words are frequently quoted, "Woman is more bitter than death." Helen, Jezebel and Cleopatra are held forth as examples of pernicious agency which wrought the destruction of kingdoms, such catastrophes being almost invariably due to woman’s machinations.
It was the common representation of the writers of the outgoing century of the Mediaeval Age that God permits the intervention of Satan’s malefic agency through the marriage bed more than through any other medium, and for the reason that the first sin was carried down through the marital act. On this point, Thomas Aquinas is quoted by one author after the other.934 Preachers, as well as writers on witchcraft, took this disparaging view of woman. Geiler of Strassburg gave as the reason for ten women being burnt to one man on the charge of witchcraft, woman’s loquacity and frivolity. He quoted Ambrose that woman is the door to the devil and the way of iniquity—janua diaboli et via iniquitatis. Another noted preacher of the 15th century, John Nider, gave ten cases in which the cohabitation of man and woman is a mortal sin and, in a Latin treatise on moral leprosy, included the marriage state.935 A century earlier, in his De planctu ecclesiae, written from Avignon, Bishop Alvarez of Pelayo enumerated 102 faults common to women, one of these their cohabitation with the denizens of hell. From his own experience, the prelate states, he knew this to be true. It was practised, he says, in a convent of nuns and vain was his effort to put a stop to it.
Experts gave it as their opinion that "the new sect of witches" had its beginning about the year 1300.936 But the writers of the 15th and 16th centuries were careful to prove that their two characteristic performances, the flight through the air and demonic intercourse, were not illusions of the imagination, but palpable realities.937 To the testimonies of the witches themselves were added the ocular observations of church officials.938 Other devilish performances dwelt upon, were the murder of children before baptism, the eating of their flesh after it had been consecrated to the devil and the trampling upon the host.939 One woman, in 1457, confessed she had been guilty of the last practice 30 years.
The more popular places of the weekly sabbats were the Brocken, Benevento, Como and the regions beyond the Jordan. Here the witches and demons congregated by the thousands and committed their excesses. The witches went from congregation to congregation as they pleased940 and, according to Prierias, children as young as eight and ten joined in the orgies.
Sometimes it went hard with the innocent, though prurient, onlookers of these scenes, as was the case with the inquisitor of Como, Bartholomew of Homate, and some of his companions. Determined to see for themselves, they looked on at a sabbat in Mendrisio from a place of concealment. As if unaware of their presence, the presiding devil dismissed the assembly, but immediately calling the revellers back, had them drag the intruders forth and the demons belabored them so lustily that they survived only 15 days.941 The forms the devil usually assumed were those of a large tom-cat or a goat. If the meeting was in a building, he was wont to descend by a ladder, tail foremost. The witches kissed his posterior parts and, after indulging in a feast, the lights were put out and wild revels followed. As early as 1460, pictures were printed representing women riding through the air, straddling stocks and broomsticks, on goats or carried by demons. In Normandy, the obsessed were called broom-riders—scobaces.942 Taught by demons, they made a salve of the ashes of a toad fed on the wafer, the blood of murdered children and other ingredients, which they applied to their riding sticks to facilitate their flights. According to the physician, John Hartlieb, who calls this salve the "unguent of Pharelis"—Herodias—it was made from seven different herbs, each gathered on a different day of the week and mixed with the fat of birds and animals.943
The popularity of the witch-delusion as a subject of literary treatment is shown by the extracts Hansen gives from 70 writings, without exhausting the list.944 Most of the writers were Dominicans. The Witches Hammer was printed in many editions, issued 13 times before 1520 and, from 1574–1669, 16 times. The most famous of these writers in the earlier half of the 15th century was John Nider, d. 1438, in his Formicarius or Ant-Industry. He was a member of the Dominican order, professor of theology in Vienna and attended the Council of Basel. Writers like Jacquier were not satisfied with sending forth a single treatise.945 Writers like Sylvester Prierias, d. 1523, known in the history of Luther, and Bartholomew Spina, d. 1546, occupied important positions at the papal court.946 These two men expounded Innocent VIII.’s bull, and quote the Witches Hammer. Geiler of Strassburg repeated from the pulpit the vilest charges against witches. Pico della Mirandola, the biographer of Savonarola, filled a book with material of the same sort, and declared that one might as well call in question the discovery of America as the existence of witches.947
The prosecution of witches assumed large proportions first in Switzerland and Northern Italy and then in France and Germany. In Rome, the first reported burning was in 1424.948 In the diocese of Como, Northern Italy, 41 were burnt the year after the promulgation of Innocent VIII.’s bull. Between 1500–1525 the yearly number of women tried in that district was 1000 and the executions averaged 100. In 1521, Prierias declared that the Apennine regions were so full of witches that they were expected soon to outnumber the faithful.
In France, one of the chief victims, the Carmelite William Adeline, was professor in Paris and had taken part in the Council of Basel. Arraigned by the Inquisition, 1453, he confessed to being a Vaudois, and having habitually attended their synagogues and done homage to the devil. In spite of his abjurations, he was kept in prison till he died.949 In Briançon, 1428–1447, 110 women and 57 men were executed for witchcraft in the flames or by drowning.
In Germany, Heidelberg, Pforzheim, Nürnberg, Würzburg, Bamberg, Vienna, Cologne, Metz and other cities were centres of the craze and witnessed many executions. It was during the five years preceding 1486 that Heinrich Institoris and Sprenger sent 48 to the stake. The Heidelberg court-preacher, Matthias Widman, of Kemnat, pronounced the "Cathari or heretical witches" the most damnable of the sects, one which should be subjected to "abundance of fire and without mercy." He reports that witches rode on broomsticks, spoons, cats, goats and other objects, and that he had seen many of them burnt in Heidelberg. In 1540, six years before Luther’s death, four witches and sorcerers were burnt in Protestant Wittenberg. And in 1545, 34 women were burnt or quartered in Geneva. In England the law for the burning of heretics, 1401, was applied to these unfortunate people, not a few of whom were committed to the flames. But the persecution in the mediaeval period never took on the proportions on English soil it reached on the Continent; and there, it was not the Church but the state that dealt with the crime of sorcery.
According to the estimate of Louis of Paramo, himself a distinguished inquisitor of Sicily who had condemned many to the flames, there had been during the 150 years before 1597, the date of his treatise on the Origin and Progress of the Inquisition, 30,000 executions for witchcraft.950
The judgments passed upon witches were whipping, banishment and death by fire, or, as in Cologne, Strassburg and other places, by drowning. The most common forms of torture were the thumb-screw and the strappado. In the latter the prisoner’s hands were bound behind his back with a rope which was drawn through a pulley in the ceiling. The body was slowly lifted up, and at times left hanging or allowed to suddenly drop to the floor. In our modern sense, there was no protection of law for the accused. The suspicion of an ecclesiastical or civil court was sufficient to create an almost insurmountable presumption of guilt. Made frantic by the torture, the victims were willing to confess to anything, however untrue and repulsive it might be. Death at times must have seemed, even with the Church’s ban, preferable to protracted agonies, for the pains of death at best lasted a few hours and might be reduced to a few minutes. As Lecky has said, these unfortunate people did not have before them the prospect of a martyr’s crown and the glory of the heavenly estate. They were not buoyed up by the sympathies and prayers of the Church. Unpitied and unprayed for, they yielded to the cold scrutiny of the inquisitor and were consumed in the flames.
Persons who took the part of the supposed witch, or ventured to lift up their voices against the trials for witchcraft, did so at the risk of their lives. In 1598, the Dutch priest, Cornelius Loos Callidus, was imprisoned at Treves for declaring that women, making confession under torture to witch devices, confessed to what was not true. And four years before, 1589, Dr. Dietrich Flade, a councillor of Treves, was burnt for attacking the prosecution of witchcraft.951
The belief in demonology and all manner of malefic arts was a legacy handed down to the Church from the old Roman world and, where the influence of the Northern mythologies was felt, the belief took still deeper roots. But it cannot be denied that cases and passages taken from the Scriptures, especially the Old Testament, were adduced to justify the wild dread of malign spirits in the Middle Ages. Saul’s experience with the witch of Endor, the plagues brought by the devil upon Job, the representations in Leviticus and Deuteronomy, incidents from the Apocrypha and the cases of demonic agency in the New Testament were dwelt upon and applied with literal and relentless rigor.
It is a long chapter which begins with the lonely contests the old hermits had with demons, recounts the personal encounters of mediaeval monks in chapel and cell and relates the horrors of the inquisitorial process for heresy. Our more rational processes of thought and our better understanding of the Christian law of love happily have brought this chapter to a close in enlightened countries. The treatment here given has been in order to show how greatly a Christian society may err, and to confirm in this generation the feeling of gratitude for the better sentiments which now prevail. It is perhaps also clue to those who suffered, that a general description of the injustice done them should be given. The chapter may not unfitly be brought to a close by allowing one of the victims to speak again from his prison-cell, the burgomaster of Bamberg, though he suffered a century after the Middle Ages had closed, 1628. After being confronted by false witnesses he confessed, under torture, to having indulged in the practices ascribed to the bewitched and he thus wrote to his daughter: —
Many hundred good nights, dearly beloved daughter, Veronica. Innocent have I come into prison, innocent must I die. For whoever comes into a witch-prison must become a witch or be tortured till he invents something out of his head and—God pity him—bethinks himself of something. I will tell you how it has gone with me .... Then came the executioner and put the thumbscrews on me, both hands bound together, so that the blood ran out at the nails and everywhere, so that for four weeks I could not use my hands, as you can see from the writing .... Then they stripped me, bound my hands behind my back and drew me up. I thought heaven and earth were at an end. Eight times did they do this and let me drop again so that I suffered terrible agony .... [Here follows a rehearsal of the confessions he was induced to make.] ... Now, dear child, you have all my confessions for which I must die. They are sheer lies made up. All this I was forced to say through fear of the rack, for they never leave off the torture till one confesses something .... Dear child, keep this letter secret so that people may not find it or else I shall be tortured most piteously and the jailers be beheaded .... I have taken several days to write this for my hands are both lame. Good night, for your father Johannes Junius will never see you more.952
Innocent VIII’s Bull, Summit desiderantes. December 5, 1484: In Part:953
Innocentius episcopus, servus servorum dei, ad perpetuam rei memoriam. Summis desiderantes affectibus, prout pastoralis sollicitudinis cura requirit, ut fides catholica nostris potissime temporibus ubique augeatur et floreat ac omnis haeretica pravitas de finibus fidelium procul pellatur, es libenter declaramus ac etiam de novo concedimus per quae hujusmodi pium desiderium nostrum votivum sortiatur effectum; cunctisque propterea, per nostrae operationis ministerium, quasi per providi operationis saeculum erroribus exstirpatis, eiusdem fidei zelus et observantia in ipsorum corda fidelium fortium imprimatur.
Sane nuper ad nostrum non sine ingenti molestia pervenit auditum, quod in nonnullis partibus Alemaniae superioris, necnon in Maguntinensi, Coloniensi, Treverensi, Saltzumburgensi, et Bremensi, provinciis, civitatibus, terris, locis et dioecesibus complures utriusque sexus personae, propriae salutis immemores et a fide catholica deviantes, cum daemonibus, incubis et succubis abuti, ac suis incantationibus, carminibus et coniurationibus aliisque nefandis superstitiosis, et sortilegis excessibus, criminibus et delictis, mulierum partus, animalium foestus, terra fruges, vinearum uvas, et arborum fructus; necnon homines, mulieres, pecora, pecudes et alia diversorum generam animalia; vineas quoque, pomeria, prata, pascua, blada, frumenta et alia terra legumina perirs, suffocari et extingui facere et procurare; ipsosque homines, mulieres, iumenta, pecora, pecudes et animalia diris tam intrinsecis quam extrinsecis doloribus et tormentis afficere et excruciare; ac eosdem homines ne gignere, et mulieres ne concipere, virosque, ne uxoribus, et mulieres, ne viris actus coniugales reddere valeant, impedire; fidem praeterea ipsam, quam in sacri susceptione baptismi susceperunt, ore sacrilego abnegare, aliaque quam plurima nefanda, excussus et crimina, instigante humani generis inimico, committere et perpetrare non verentur in animarum suarum periculum, divines maiestatis offensam ac perniciosum exemplum ac scandulum plurimorum. Quodque licet dilecti filii Henrici Institoris in praedictis partibus Alemaniae superioris ... necnon Iacobus Sprenger per certas partes lineae Rheni, ordinis Praedicatorum et theologiae professores, haeretics pravitatis inquisitores per literas apostolicas deputati fuerunt, prout adhuc existunt; tamen nonnulli clerici et laici illarum partium, quaerentes plura sapere quam oporteat, pro eo quod in literis deputationis huiusmodi provinciae, civitates dioeceses terrae et alia loca praedicta illarumque personae ac excessus huiusmodi nominatim et specifice expressa non fuerunt, illa sub eisdem partibus minime contineri, et propterea praefatis inquisitoribus in provinciis, civitatibus, dioecesibus, terris et locis praedictis huiusmodi inquisitionis officium exequi non licere; et ad personarum earundem super excessibus et criminibus antedictis punitionem, incarcerationem et correctionem admitti non debere, pertinaciter asserere non erubescunt ... Huiusmodi inquisitions officium exequi ipsasque personas, quas in praemissis culpabiles reperierint, iuxta earum demerita corrigere, incarcerare, punire et mulctare .... Quotiens opus fuerant, aggravare et reaggravare auctoritate nostra procuret, invocato ad hoc, si opus fuerit, auxilio brachii saecularis.
§ 60. The Spanish Inquisition.
Torquemada’s name, with clouds o’ercast,
Looms in the distant landscape of the past
Like a burnt tower upon a blackened heath,
Lit by the fires of burning woods beneath.
The Inquisition of Spain is one of the bywords of history. The horrors it perpetrated have cast a dark shadow over the pages of Spanish annals. Organized to rid the Spanish kingdoms of the infection of heresy, it extended its methods to the Spanish dependencies in Europe, Sicily and Holland and to the Spanish colonies of the new world. After the marriage of Philip II. with Mary Tudor it secured a temporary recognition in England. In its bloody sacrifices, Jews, Moors, Protestants and the practitioners of the dark arts were included. No country in the world was more concerned to maintain the Catholic faith pure than was Spain from the 15th to the 18th century, and to no Church organization was a more unrestricted authority given than to the Spanish Inquisition. Agreeing with the papal Inquisition established by Innocent III. in its ultimate aim, the eradication of heresy, it differed from that earlier institution by being under the direction of a tribunal appointed by the Spanish sovereign, immediately amenable to him and acting independently of the bishops. The papal Inquisition was controlled by the Apostolic see, which appointed agents to carry its rules into effect and whose agency was to a certain extent subject to the assent of the bishops.
Engaged in the wars for the dispossession of the Pagan Moors, the Spanish kingdoms had shown little disposition to yield to the intrusion of Catharan and other heresy from the North. The menace to its orthodox repose came from the Jews, Jews who held firmly to their ancestral faith and Jews who had of their own impulse or through compulsion adopted the Christian rites. In no part of Europe was the number of Jews so large and nowhere had they been more prosperous in trade and reached such positions of eminence as physicians and as counsellors at court. The Jewish literature of mediaeval Spain forms a distinct and notable chapter in Hebrew literary history. To rid the land of the Jews who persisted in their ancestral belief was not within the jurisdiction of the Church. That belonged to the state, and, according to the canon law, the Jew was not to be molested in the practice of his religion. But the moment Jews or Moors submitted to baptism they became amenable to ecclesiastical discipline. Converted Jews in Spain were called conversos, or maranos — the newly converted—and it was with them, in its first period, that the Spanish Inquisition had chiefly to do. After Luther’s doctrines began to spread it addressed itself to the extirpation of Protestants, but, until the close of its history, in 1834, the Jewish Christians constituted most of its victims.
From an early time Spanish legislation was directed to the humiliation of the Jews and their segregation from the Christian population. The oecumenical Council of Vienne, 1312, denounced the liberality of the Spanish law which made a Jewish witness necessary to the conviction of a Jew. Spanish synods, as those of Valladolid and Tarragona, 1322, 1329, gave strong expression to the spirit of intolerance with which the Spanish church regarded the Jewish people. The sacking and wholesale massacre of their communities, which lived apart in quarters of their own called Juderias, were matters of frequent occurrence, and their synagogues were often destroyed or turned into churches. It is estimated that in 1391, 50,000 Jews were murdered in Castile, and the mania spread to Aragon.954
The explanation of this bitter feeling is to be sought in the haughty pride of the descendants of Abraham according to the flesh, their persistent observance of their traditions and the exorbitant rates of usury which they charged. Not content with the legal rate, which in Aragon was 20% and in Castile 331/3% they often compelled municipalities to pay even higher rates. The prejudice and fears of the Christian population charged them with sacrilege in the use of the wafer and the murder of baptized children, whose blood was used in preparations made for purposes of sorcery. Legislation was made more exacting. The old rules were enforced enjoining a distinctive dress and forbidding them to shave their beards or to have their hair cut round. All employment in Christian households, the practice of medicine and the occupation of agriculture were denied them. Scarcely any trade was left to their hand except the loaning of money, and that by canon law was illegal for Christians.
The joint reign of Ferdinand, 1452–1516, and Isabella, 1451–1504, marked an epoch in the history of the Jews in Spain, both those who remained true to their ancestral faith and the large class which professed conversion to the Christian Church.955
In conferring the title "Catholic" upon Ferdinand and Isabella, 1495, Alexander VI. gave as one of the reasons the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, 1492. The institution of the Spanish Inquisition, which began its work twelve years before, was directed primarily against the conversos, people of Jewish blood and members of the Church who in heart and secret usage remained Jews.
The papal Inquisition was never organized in Castile, and in Aragon it had a feeble existence. With the council of Tortosa, 1429, complaints began to be made that the conversos neglected to have their children baptized, and by attending the synagogues and observing the Jewish feasts were putting contempt upon their Christian faith. That such hypocrisy was practised cannot be doubted in view of the action of the Council of Basel which put its brand upon it. In 1451 Juan II. applied to the papal court to appoint a commission to investigate the situation. At the same time the popular feeling was intensified by the frantic appeals of clerics such as Friar Alfonso de Espina who in his Fortalicium fidei — the Fortification of the Faith—brought together a number of alleged cases of children murdered by Jews and argued for the Church’s right to baptize Jewish children in the absence of the parents’ consent.956 The story ran that before Isabella’s accession her confessor Torquemada, that hammer of heretics, secured from her a vow to leave no measure untried for the extirpation of heresy from her realm. Sometime later, listening to this same ecclesiastic’s appeal, Ferdinand and his consort applied to the papal see for the establishment of the Inquisition in Castile.
Sixtus IV., who was then occupying the chair of St. Peter, did not hesitate in a matter so important, and on Nov. 1, 1478, issued the bull sanctioning the fell Spanish tribunal. It authorized the Spanish sovereigns to appoint three bishops or other ecclesiastics to proceed against heretics and at the same time empowered them to remove and replace these officials as they thought fit. After a delay of two years, the commission was constituted, 1480, and consisted of two Dominican theologians, Michael de Morillo and John of St. Martin, and a friar of St. Pablo, Seville. A public reception was given to the commission by the municipal council of Seville. The number of prisoners was soon too large for the capacity of St. Pablo, where the court first established itself, and it was removed to the chief stronghold of the city, the fortress of Triana, whose ample spaces and gloomy dungeons were well fitted for the dark work for which it had been chosen.
Once organized, the Inquisition began its work by issuing the so-called Edict of Grace957 which gave heretics a period of 30 or 40 days in which to announce themselves and, on making confession, assured them of pardon. Humane as this measure was, it was also used as a device for detecting other spiritual criminals, those confessing, called penitentes, being placed under a vow to reveal the names of heretics. The humiliations to which the penitents were subjected had exhibition at the first auto de fe held in Toledo, 1486, when 750 penitents of both sexes were obliged to march through the city carrying candles and bare-headed; and, on entering the cathedral, were informed that one-fifth of their property had been confiscated, and that they were thenceforth incapacitated to hold public office. The first auto de fe was held in Seville, Feb. 6, 1481, six months after the appointment of the tribunal, when six men and women were cremated alive. The ghastly spectacle was introduced with a sermon, preached by Friar Alfonso de Hojeda. A disastrous plague, which broke out in the city, did not interrupt the sittings of the tribunal, which established itself temporarily at Aracena, where the first holocaust included 23 men and women. According to a contemporary, by Nov. 4, 1491, 298 persons had been committed to the flames and 79 condemned to perpetual imprisonment.958 The tribunal established at Ciudad Real, 1483, burnt 52 heretics within two years, when it was removed, in 1485, to Toledo. In Avila, from 1490–1500, 75 were burnt alive, and 26 dead bodies exhumed and cast into the flames. In cases, the entire conversos population was banished, as in Guadalupe, by the order of the inquisitor-general, Deza, in 1500. From Castile, the Inquisition extended its operations to Aragon, where its three chief centres were Valencia, Barcelona and Saragossa, and then to the Balearic Islands, where it was especially active. The first burning in Saragossa took place, 1484, when two men were burnt alive and one woman in effigy, and at Barcelona in 1488, when four persons were consumed alive.
The interest of Sixtus IV. continued to follow the tribunal he had authorized and, in a letter addressed to Isabella, Feb. 13, 1483, he assured the queen that its work lay close to his heart. The same year, to render the tribunal more efficient, it was raised by Ferdinand to the dignity of the fifth council of the state with the title, Concejo de la Suprema y General Inquisicion. Usually called the suprema, this body was to have charge of the Holy Office throughout the realm. The same end was promoted by the creation of the office of inquisitor-general, 1483, to which the power was consigned of removing and appointing inquisitorial functionaries. The first incumbent was Thomas de Torquemada, at that time prior of Santa Cruz in Segovia. This fanatical ecclesiastic, whose name is a synonym of uncompromising religious intolerance and heartless cruelty, had already been appointed, in 1482, an inquisitor by the pope. He brought to his duties a rare energy and formulated the rules characteristic of the Spanish Inquisition.
With Torquemada at its head, the Holy Office became, next to royalty itself, the strongest power in Spain. Its decisions fell like the blow of a great iron hammer, and there was no power beneath the sovereign that dared to offer them resistance. In 1507, at the death of Deza, third inquisitor-general, Castile and Aragon were placed under distinct tribunals. Cardinal Ximenes, 1436–1517, a member of the Franciscan order and one of the foremost figures in Spanish church history, was elevated to the office of supreme inquisitor of Castile. His distinction as archbishop of Toledo pales before his fame as a scholar and patron of letters. He likewise was unyielding in the prosecution of the work of ridding his country of the taint of heresy, but he never gave way to the temptation of using his office for his own advantage and enriching himself from the sequestrated property of the conversos, as Torquemada was charged with doing.
Under Adrian of Utrecht, at first inquisitor-general of Aragon, the tribunals of the two kingdoms were again united in 1518, and, by the addition of Navarre, which Ferdinand had conquered, the whole Iberian peninsula, with the exception of Portugal, came under the jurisdiction of a single supreme official. Adrian had acted as tutor to Charles V., and was to succeed Leo X. on the papal throne. From his administration, the succession of inquisitors-general continued unbroken till 1835, when the last occupant of the office died, Geronimo Castellan y Salas, bishop of Tarazona.959
The interesting question has been warmly discussed, whether the Inquisition of Spain was a papal institution or an institution of the state, and the attempt has been made to lift the responsibility for its organization and administration from the supreme pontiff. The answer is, that it was predominantly an ecclesiastical institution, created by the authority of Sixtus IV. and continuously supported by pontifical sanction. On the other hand, its establishment was sought after by Ferdinand and Isabella, and its operations, after the papal authorization had been secured, was under the control of the Spanish sovereign. So far as we know, the popes never uttered a word in protest against the inhuman measures which were practised by the Spanish tribunals. Their only dissent arose from the persistence with which Ferdinand kept the administrative agency in his own hands and refused to allow any interference with his disposition of the sequestrated estates.960 The hearty approbation of the Apostolic see is vouched for in many documents, and the responsibility for the Spanish tribunal was distinctly assumed by Sixtus V., Jan. 22, 1588, as an institution established by its authority. Sixtus IV. and his successors sought again and again to get its full management into their own hands, but were foiled by the firmness of Ferdinand. When, for example, in a bull dated April 18, 1482, the pope ordered the names of the witnesses and accusers to be communicated to the suspects, that the imprisonments should be in episcopal gaols, that appeal might be taken to the Apostolic chair and that confessions to the bishop should stop all prosecution, Ferdinand sharply resented the interference and hinted that the suggestion had started with the use of conversos gold in the curia. This papal action was only a stage in the battle for the control of the Holy Office.961 Ferdinand was ready to proceed to the point of rupture with Rome rather than allow the principle of appeals which would have reduced the power of the suprema to impotence. Sixtus wrote a compromising reply, and a year later, October, 1483, Ferdinand got all he asked for, and the appointment of Torquemada was confirmed.
The royal management of the Inquisition was also in danger of being fatally hampered by letters of absolution, issued according to custom by the papal penitentiary, which were valid not only in the court of conscience but in stopping public trials. Ferdinand entered a vigorous protest against their use in Spain, when Sixtus, 1484, confirmed the penitentiary’s right; but here also Sixtus was obliged to retreat, at least in part, and Alexander VI. and later Clement VII., 1524, made such letters invalid when they conflicted with the jurisdiction of the Spanish tribunal. Spain was bent on doing things in its own way and won practical independence of the curia.962
The principle, whereby in the old Inquisition the bishops were co-ordinate in authority with the inquisitors or superior to them, had to be abandoned in Spain in spite of the pope’s repeated attempts to apply it. Innocent VIII., 1487, completely subjected the bishops to the inquisitorial organization, and when Alexander, 1494, annulled this bull and required the inquisitors to act in conjunction with the bishop, Ferdinand would not brook the change and, under his protection, the suprema and its agents asserted their independence to Ferdinand.
Likewise, in the matter of confiscations of property, the sovereign claimed the right to dictate their distribution, now applying them for the payment of salaries to the inquisitors and their agents, now appropriating them for the national exchequer, now for his own use or for gifts to his favorites.
No concern of his reign, except the extension of his dominions, received from Ferdinand more constant and sympathetic attention than the deletion of heresy. With keen delight he witnessed the public burnings as adapted to advance the Catholic faith. He scrutinized the reports sent him by inquisitors and, at times, he expressed his satisfaction with their services by gifts of money. In his will, dated the day before his death, he enjoined his heir, Charles V., to be strenuous in supporting the tribunal. As all other virtues, so this testament ran, "are nothing without faith by which and in which we are saved, we command the illustrious prince, our grandson, to labor with all his strength to destroy and extirpate heresy from our kingdoms and lordships, appointing ministers, God-fearing and of good conscience, who will conduct the Inquisition justly and properly for the service of God and the exaltation of the Catholic faith, and who will also have a great zeal for the destruction of the sect of Mohammed."963 Without doubt, the primary motive in the establishment of the tribunal was with Ferdinand, and certainly with Isabella, religious.
There seems at no time to have been any widespread revolt against the procedure of the Inquisition. In Aragon, some mitigation of its rigors and rules was proposed by the Cortes of Barcelona, 1512, such as the withdrawal from the inquisitors of the right to carry weapons and the exemption of women from the seizure of their property, in cases where a husband or father was declared a heretic, but Ferdinand and Bishop Enguera, the Aragonese inquisitor-general, were dispensed by Leo X., 1514, from keeping the oath they had taken to observe the rules. At Charles V.’s accession, an effort was made to have some of the more offensive evils abolished, such as the keeping of the names of witnesses secret, and in 1520 the Cortes of Valladolid and Corunna made open appeal for the amendment of some of the rules. Four hundred thousand ducats were offered, presumably by conversos, to the young king if he would give his assent, and, as late as 1528, the kingdom of Granada, in the same interest, offered him 50,000 ducats. But the appeals received no favorable action and, under the influence of Ximines, in 1517, the council of Castile represented to Charles that the very peace of Spain depended upon the maintenance of the Inquisition. The cardinal wrote a personal letter to the king, declaring that interference on his part would cover his name with infamy.964
The most serious attempt to check the workings of the Inquisition occurred in Saragossa and resulted in the assassination of the chief inquisitor, Peter Arbues, an act of despair laid at the door of the conversos. Arbues was murdered in the cathedral Jan. 25, 1485, the fatal blow being struck from behind, while the priest was on his knees engaged in prayer. He knew his life was threatened and not only wore a coat of mail and cap of steel, but carried a lance. He lingered twenty-four hours. Miracles wrought at the coffin vouched for the sanctity of the murdered ecclesiastic. The sacred bell of Villela tolled unmoved by hands. Arbues’ blood liquefied on the cathedral floor two weeks after the deed. Within two years, the popular veneration showed itself in the erection of a splendid tomb to the martyr’s memory and the Catholic Church, by the bull of Pius IX., June 29, 1867, has given him the honors of canonization. As the assassination of the papal delegate, Peter of Castelnau, at the opening of the crusade against the Albigenses, 1208, wrought to strengthen Innocent in his purpose to wipe out heresy, even with the sword, likewise the taking off of Arbues only tightened the grip of the Spanish Inquisition in Aragon. His murderers and all in any way accessory to the crime were hunted down, their hands were cut off at the portal of the cathedral and their bodies dragged to the market-place, where they were beheaded and quartered or burnt alive.965
Next to the judicial murders perpetrated by the Inquisition, its chief evil was the confiscation of estates. The property of the conversos offered a tempting prize to the cupidity of the inquisitors and to the crown. The tribunal was expected to live from the spoils of the heretics. Torquemada’s Instructions of 1484 contained specific rules governing the disposition of goods held by heretics. There was no limit put upon their despoilment, except that lands transferred before 1479 were exempted from seizure, a precaution to avoid the disturbance of titles. The property of dead heretics, though they had lain in their graves fifty years, was within the power of the tribunal. The dowries of wives were mercifully exempted whose husbands were adjudged heretical, but wives whose fathers were found to be heretics lost their dowries. The claims of the children of heretic fathers might have been expected to call for merciful consideration, but the righteousness of their dispossession had no more vigorous advocates than the clergy. To such property, as the bishop of Simancas argued, the old Christian population had a valid moral claim. The Instructions of 1484 direct that, if the children were under age at the time of the confiscation, they were to be distributed among pious families, and announced it as the king’s intention, in case they grew up good Christians, so to endow them with alms, especially the girls, that they might marry or enter religion.966
The practice of confiscation extended to the bedding and wearing apparel of the victims. One gracious provision was that the slaves of condemned heretics should receive freedom. Lands were sold at auction 30 days after their sequestration, but the low price which they often brought indicates that purchasers enjoyed special privileges of acquisition. Ferdinand and his successor, Charles, were profuse in their disposition of such property. Had the moneys been used for the wars against the Moors, as at first proposed by Torquemada, the plea might be made that the tribunal was moved by unselfish considerations, but they were not. Not only did Ferdinand take money for his bankrupt treasury, but he appropriated hunting horses, pearls and other objects for his own use. The Flemish favorites of Charles V., in less than ten months, sent home 1,100,000 ducats largely made up of bequests derived from the exactions of the sacred court.967 Dr. Lea, whose merit it is to have shown the vast extent to which the sequestration of estates was carried, describes the money transactions of the Inquisition as "a carnival of plunder." It was even found to be not incompatible with a purpose to maintain the purity of the faith to enter into arrangements whereby, for a sufficient consideration, communities received protection from inquisitorial charges. The first such bargain was made at Valencia, 1482. The king, however, did not hesitate on occasion to violate his pact and allow unfortunate conversos, who had paid for exemption, to be arraigned and condemned. No law existed requiring faith to be kept with a heretic. It also happened that condemned conversos purchased freedom from serving in the galleys or wearing the badge of heresy, the sanbenito.968
As early as 1485, Ferdinand and Isabella were able to erect a royal palace at Guadalupe, costing 2,732,333 maravedis, with the proceeds of sequestrated property and, in a memorial address to Charles V., 1524, Tristan de Leon asserted that these sovereigns had received from the possessions of heretics no less than 10,000,000 ducats. Torquemada also was able to spend vast sums upon his enterprises, such as the conventual building of St. Thomas at Avila, which it was supposed were drawn from the victims whom his religious fervor condemned to the loss of their goods and often of their lives.969 When the heretical mine was showing signs of exhaustion in Spain, the Spanish colonies of Mexico and Peru poured in their spoils to enable the Holy Office to maintain the state to which it had been accustomed. At an early period, it began to take care for its own perpetuation by making investments on a large scale.970
After Ferdinand’s death, the suprema’s power increased, and it demanded a respect only less than that which was yielded to the crown. Its arrogance and insolence in administration kept pace with the high pretension it made to sacredness of aim and divine authority. The institution was known as the Holy Office, the building it occupied was the holy house, casa santa, and the public solemnity at which the tribunal appeared officially before the public and announced its decisions was called the act of faith, auto de fe.
The suprema acted upon the principle started by Paramo, that the inquisitor was the chief personage in his district. He represented both the pope and king.971 On the one hand, he claimed the right to arrest at will and without restriction from the civil authority; on the other, he demanded freedom for his officials from all arrest and violence.
In trading and making exports, the Holy Office claimed exemption from the usual duties levied upon the people at large. Immunity from military service and the right to carry deadly weapons by day and night were among other privileges to which it laid claim. A deliverance of the Apostolic see, 1515, confirmed it in its right to arrest the highest noble in the land who dared to attack its prerogatives or agents and, in case of need, to protect itself by resort to bloodshed. Its jurisdiction extended not only to the lower orders of the clergy, but also to members of the orders, a claim which, after a long struggle, was confirmed by the edicts of Pius IV. and V., 1559, 1561. A single class was exempted from the rules of its procedure, the bishops. However, the exemption was rather apparent than real, for the Holy Office exercised the right of arraigning bishops under suspicion before the papal chair. The first cases of this kind were prelates of Jewish extraction, Davila of Segovia, 1490, and Aranda of Calahorra, 1498. Both were tried in Rome, the former being exonerated, and Aranda kept in prison in S. Angelo, where he is supposed to have died, 1500. The most famous of the episcopal suspects, the archbishop of Toledo, Bartholomew of Carranza, 1503–1576, was kept in prison for 17 years, partly in Spain and partly in Rome. The case enjoyed a European reputation.
Carranza had the distinction of administering the last rites to Charles V. and was for a time a favorite of Philip II., but that sinister prince turned against him. Partly from jealousy of Carranza’s honors, as has been surmised, and chiefly on account of his indiscretions of speech, the inquisitor-general Valdes decided upon the archbishop’s prosecution, and when his Commentary on the Catechism appeared in Spanish, he was seized under authorization from the Apostolic see, 1559. For two years the prelate was kept in a secret prison and then brought to trial. After delay, Pius IV., 1564, appointed a distinguished commission to investigate the case and Pius V. forced his transfer in 1567 to Rome, where he was confined in S. Angelo for nine years. Under Pius V.’s successor, Gregory XIII., Carranza was compelled to abjure alleged errors, suspended from his seat for five years and remanded to confinement in a Roman convent, where he afterwards died. The boldness and vast power of the Inquisition could have no better proof than the indignity and punishment placed upon a primate of Spain,
The procedure of the Holy Office followed the rules drawn by Torquemada, 1484, 1485, called the Instructions of Seville, and the Instructions of Valladolid prepared by the same hand, 1488 and 1498. These early codes were afterwards known as the Instructiones antiguas, and remained in force until superseded by the code of 1561 prepared by the inquisitor-general, Valdes.
Torquemada lodged the control of the Inquisition in the suprema, to which all district tribunals were subordinated. Permanent tribunals were located at Seville, Toledo, Valladolid, Madrid (Corte), Granada, Cordova, Murcia Llerena, Cuenca, Santiago, Logroño and the Canaries under the crown of Castile and at Saragossa, Valencia, Barcelona and Majorca under the crown of Aragon.972
The officials included two inquisitors an assessor or consulter on modes of canonical procedure, an alguazil or executive officer, who executed the sentences of the tribunal, notaries who kept the records, and censors or califadores who pronounced elaborate opinions on points of dispute. To these was added an official who appraised and took charge of confiscated property. A large body of subordinates, such as the familiars or confidential agents, complete the list of officials. Laymen were eligible to the office of inquisitor, provided they were unmarried, and a condition made for holding any of these places was parity of blood, limpieza, freedom from all stain of Morisco, Jewish or heretic parentage and of ancestral illegitimacy. This peculiar provision led to endless investigation of genealogical records before appointments were made.973
Each tribunal had a house of its own, containing the audience chamber, rooms for the inquisitors, a library for the records, le secreto de la Inquisicion,—a chamber of torture and secret prisons. The familiars have a dark fame. They acted as a body of spies to detect and report cases of heresy. Their zeal made them the terror of the land, and the Cortes of Monzon, 1512, called for the reduction of their number.
In its procedure, the Inquisition went on the presumption that a person accused was guilty until he had made out his innocence. The grounds of arrest were rumor or personal denunciation. Informing on suspects was represented to the people as a meritorious act and inculcated even upon children as a duty. The instructions of 1484 prescribed a mitigated punishment for minors who informed on heretical fathers, and Bishop Simancas declared it to be the sacred obligation of a son to bring his father, if guilty, to justice.974 The spiritual offender was allowed an advocate. Secrecy was a prime feature in the procedure. After his arrest, the prisoner was placed in one of the secret prisons,—carceres secretas,—and rigidly deprived of all intercourse with friends. All papers bearing upon his case were kept from him. The names of his accusers and of witnesses for his prosecution were withheld. In the choice of its witnesses the Inquisition allowed itself great liberty, even accepting the testimony of persons under the Church’s sentence of excommunication, of Jews who remained in the Hebrew faith and of heretics. Witnesses for the accused were limited to persons zealous for the orthodox faith, and none of his relatives to the fourth generation were allowed to testify. Heresy was regarded as a desperate disorder and to be removed at all costs. On the other hand, the age of amenability was fixed at 12 for girls and 14 for boys. The age of fourscore gave no immunity from the grim rigors of the exacting tribunal.975
The charges, on which victims were arraigned, included the slightest deflection in word or act from strict Catholic usage, such as the refusal to eat pork on a single occasion, visiting a house where Moorish notions were taught, as well as saying that the Virgin herself and not her image effected cures, and that Jews and Moors would be saved if they sincerely, believed the Jewish and the Moorish doctrines to be true.976 Recourse was had to torture, not only to secure evidence of guilt. Even when the testimony of witnesses was sufficient to establish guilt, resort was had to torture to extract a confession from the accused that thereby his soul might be delivered from the burden of secret guilt, to extract information of accomplices, and that a wholesome influence might be exerted in deterring others from heresy by giving them an example of punishment. The modes of torture most in use were the water ordeal and the garruche. In the water-cure, the victim, tightly bound, was stretched upon a rack or bed, and with the body in an inclined position, the head downward. The jaws were distended, a linen cloth was thrust down the victim’s throat and water from a quart jar allowed to trickle through it into his inward parts.977 On occasion, seven or eight such jars were slowly emptied. The garrucha, otherwise known as the strappade, has already been described. In its application in Spain it was customary to attach weights to the feet and to suspend the body in such a manner that the toes alone touched the ground, and the Spanish rule required that the body be raised and lowered leisurely so as to increase the pain.
The final penalties for heresy included, in addition to the spiritual impositions of fasting and pilgrimage, confiscation of goods, imprisonment, public scourging, the galleys, exile and death. Confiscation and burning extended to the dead, against whom the charge of heresy could be made out. At Toledo, July 25, 1485, more than 400 dead were burnt in effigy. Frequently at the autos no living victims suffered. In cases of the dead their names were effaced from their tombstones, that "no memory of them should remain on the face of the earth except as recorded in our sentence." Their male descendants, including the grandchildren, were incapacitated from occupying benefices and public positions, from riding on horseback, carrying weapons and wearing silk or ornaments.
The penalty of scourging was executed in public on the bodies of the victims, bared to the waist, by the public executioner. Women of 86 to girls of 13 were subjected to such treatment. Galley labor as a mode of punishment was sanctioned by Alexander VI., 1503. The sentence of perpetual imprisonment was often relaxed, either from considerations of mercy or for financial reasons. Up to 1488, there had been 5000 condemnations to lasting imprisonment.978
The saco bendito, or sanbenito, another characteristic feature of the Spanish Inquisition, was a jacket of gray or yellow texture, furnished before and behind with a large cross as prescribed by Torquemada. This galling humiliation was aggravated by the rule that, after they were laid aside, the sanbenitos should be hung up in the churches, together with a record of the wearer’s name inscribed and his sentence. To avoid the shame of this public display, descendants often sought to change their names, a practice the law soon checked. The precedent for the sanbenito was found in the covering our first parents wore to hide their nakedness, or in the sackcloth worn in the early Church as a mark of penance.
The auto de fe, the final act in the procedure of the Inquisition, shows the relentlessness of this tribunal, and gave the spectators a foretaste of the solemnities of the day of judgment. There heretics, after being tried by the inquisitorial court, were exposed to public view,979 and received the first official notice of their sentence. The ceremonial took place on the public squares, where platforms and staging were erected at municipal expense, and such occasions were treated as public holidays. On the day appointed, the prisoners marched in procession, led by Dominicans and others bearing green and white crosses, and followed by the officials of the Holy Office. Arrived at the square, they were assigned seats on benches. A sermon was then preached and an oath taken from the people and also from the king, if present, to support the Inquisition. The sentences were then announced. Unrepentant heretics were turned over to the civil officers. Wearing benitos, inscribed with their name, they were conducted on asses to the brasero, or place of burning, which was usually outside the city limits, and consigned to the flames. The other heretics were then taken back to the prisons of the Inquisition. Inquisitorial agents were present at the burnings and made a record of them for the use of the religious tribunal. The solemnities of the auto de fe were usually begun at 6 in the morning and often lasted into the afternoon.
Theoretically, the tribunal did not pass the sentence of blood. The ancient custom of the Church and the canon law forbade such a decision. Its authority ceased with the abandonment—or, to use the technical expression, the relaxation—of the offender to the secular arm. By an old custom in passing sentence of incorrigible heresy, it even prayed the secular officer to avoid the spilling of blood and to exercise mercy. The prayer was an empty form. The state well understood its duty, and its failure to punish with death heretics convicted by the spiritual court was punishable with excommunication. It did not presume to review the case, to take new evidence or even to require a statement of the evidence on which the sentence of heresy was reached. The duty of the secular officer was ministerial, not judicial. The sentence of heresy was synonymous with burning at the stake. The Inquisition, however, did not stop with turning heretics over to the state, but, as even Vacandard admits, at times pronounced the sentence of burning.980
So honorable to the state and to religion were the autos de fe regarded that kings attended them and they were appointed to commemorate the marriage of princes or their recovery from sickness. Ferdinand was in the habit of attending them. On the visit of Charles V. to Valencia, 1528, public exhibition was given at which 13 were relaxed in person and 10 in effigy. Philip II.’s marriage, in 1560, to Isabella of Valois was celebrated by an auto in Toledo and, in 1564, when this sovereign was in Barcelona, a public exhibition was arranged in his honor, at which eight were sentenced to death. Such spectacles continued to be witnessed by royal personages till 1701, when Philip V. set an example of better things by refusing to be present at one.
The last case of an execution by the Spanish Inquisition was a schoolmaster, Cayetano Ripoll, July 26, 1826. His trial lasted nearly two years. He was accused of being a deist, and substituting in his school the words "Praise be to God" for "Ave Maria purissima." He died calmly on the gibbet after repeating the words, "I die reconciled to God and to man."981
Not satisfied with putting heretical men out of the world, the Inquisition also directed its attention to noxious writings.982 At Seville, in 1490, Torquemada burnt a large number of Hebrew copies of the Bible, and a little later, at Salamanca, he burnt 6000 copies. Ten years later, 1502, Ferdinand and Isabella promulgated a law forbidding books being printed, imported and sold which did not have the license of a bishop or certain specified royal judges. All Lutheran writings were ordered by Adrian, in 1521, delivered up to the Inquisition. Thenceforth the Spanish tribunal proved itself a vigorous guardian of the purity of the press. The first formal Index, compiled by the University of Louvain, 1546, was approved by the inquisitor-general Valdes and the suprema, and ordered printed with a supplement. This was the first Index Expurgatorius printed in Spain. All copies of the Scriptures in Spanish were seized and burnt, and the ferocious law of 1558 ordered booksellers keeping or selling prohibited books punished with confiscation of goods or death. Strict inquisitorial supervision was had over all libraries in Spain down into the 19th century. Of the effect of this censorship upon Spanish culture, Dr. Lea says: "The intellectual development which in the 16th century promised to render Spanish literature and learning the most illustrious in Europe was stunted and starved into atrophy, the arts and sciences were neglected, and the character which Spain acquired among the nations was tersely expressed in the current saying that Africa began at the Pyrenees."
The "ghastly total" of the victims consigned by the Spanish Inquisition to the flames or other punishments has been differently stated. Precise tables of statistics are of modern creation, but that it was large is beyond question. The historian, Llorente, gives the following figures: From 1480–1498, the date of Torquemada’s death, 8800 were burnt alive, 6500 in effigy and 90,004 subjected to other punishments. From 1499–1506, 1664 were burnt alive, 832 in effigy and 32,456 subjected to other punishments. From 1507–1517, during the term of Cardinal Ximines, 2536 were burnt alive, 1368 in effigy and 47,263 subjected to other penalties. This writer gives the grand totals up to 1524 as 14,344 burnt alive, 9372 in effigy and 195,937 condemned to other penalties or released as penitents. In 1524, an inscription was placed on the fortress of Triana Seville, running: "In the year 1481, under the pontificate of Sixtus IV. and the rule of Ferdinand and Isabella, the Inquisition was begun here. Up to 1524, 20,000 heretics and more abjured their awful crime on this spot and nearly 1000 were burnt." From records still extant, the victims in Toledo before 1501 are found to have numbered 297 burnt alive and 600 in effigy, and 5400 condemned to other punishment or reconciled. The documents, however, are not preserved or, at any rate, not known from which a full estimate could be made. In any case the numbers included thousands of victims burnt alive and tens of thousands subjected to other punishments.983
The rise of the Spanish Inquisition was contemporary with Spain’s advance to a foremost place among the nations of Europe. After eight centuries, her territory was for the first time completely free from the government of the Mohammedan. The renown of her regiments was soon to be unequalled. Spanish ships opened the highways of the sea and returned from the New World freighted with its wealth. Spanish diplomacy was in the ascendant in Italy. But the decay of her vital forces her religious zeal did not check. Spain’s Catholic orthodoxy was assured, but Spain placed herself outside the current of modern culture and progress. By her policy of religious seclusion and pride, she crushed independence of thought and virility of moral purpose. One by one, she lost her territorial acquisitions, from the Netherlands and Sicily to Cuba and the Philippines in the far Pacific. Heresy she consumed inside of her own precincts, but the paralysis of stagnation settled down upon her national life and institutions, and peoples professing Protestantism, which she still calls heresy, long since have taken her crown in the world of commerce and culture, invention and nautical enterprise. The present map of the world has faint traces of that empire on which it was the boast of the Spaniard of the 16th century that the sun never set. This reduction of territory and resources calls forth no spirit of denunciation. Nay, it attracts a sympathetic consideration which hopes for the renewed greatness of the land of Ferdinand and Isabella, through the introduction of that intellectual and religious freedom which has stirred the energies of other European peoples and kept them in the path of progress and new achievement.
* Schaff, Philip, History of the Christian Church, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1997. This material has been carefully compared, corrected¸ and emended (according to the 1910 edition of Charles Scribner's Sons) by The Electronic Bible Society, Dallas, TX, 1998.
877 See vol. V., 1. 489 sqq.
878 Haupt, pp. 467, 471. Bezold: Gesch. d. deutschen Reform., p. 120 sqq.
879 Secta spiritus libertatis, liberi spiritus, etc.
880 Fredericq, I. 155-160, II. 63 sqq. Another writer of the same clan was Mary of Valenciennes, whose book was condemned by the Inquisition, about 1400, as a work of "incredible subtlety." It was mentioned by Gerson in his tract on false and true visions. Fredericq, II. 188.
881 For a list of their errors, see Fredericq, I. 267-279. A sect of free thinkers known as the Loists flourished in Antwerp in the 16th century. Döllinger, II. 664 sqq., gives one of their documents.
882 Lea: Span. Inq., III. 190.
883 Wetzer-Welte, IV. 1931, quoting Mansi-Miscell. IV. 595-610.
884 Lea: Inquis., III. 178; Aur. Conf., III. 377.
885 Döllinger, II. 381, 407 sq. The first three volumes of Fredericq contain the term Fraticelli only twice, III. 17, 225.
886 Vol. V., 1, p. 876 sqq. The Flagellants were also known as Flagellatores, Cruciferi, Paenitentes, Disiciplinati, Battisti, etc., and in German and Dutch as Geissler, Geeselaars, Cruusbroeders, Kreuzbrüder, etc. The references under Geeselaars in Fredericq fill four closely printed pages of the Index, III. 297-300.
887 Fredericq, II. 120, III. 19, 21, 33, etc. Also Förstemann, pp. 74 sqq. Runge, 99-209.
888 Fredericq, II. 119, III. 22, etc. Runge, 152 sqq.
889 Pointillons de fer; aculeis ferreis; habentes in fine nodos aculeatos; quasi acus acuti infixi. Fredericq, I. 197, II. 120 sqq., III. 19, 20, 35, etc. Le sang leur couloit parmy les rains, Fredericq, III. 19. Hugo of Reutlingen speaks of the sharp iron tips. Runge, p. 25.
890 Si sanguis istorum militum est justus, et unitus cum sanguine Christi, etc. Fredericq, III. 18. Dicebant quod eorum sanguis per flagella effusus cum Christi sanguine miscebatur, II. 125.
891 Hugo von Reutlingen, p. 36.
892 · Hugo von Reutlingen, in Runge, p. 38.
893 · So Robert of Avesbury, Rolls Series, p. 407 sqq.
894 Clement’s bull is given by Fredericq, I. 199-201, and in translation by Förstemann, p. 97 sqq. Du Fayt’s sermon is full of interest, and is one of the most important documents given by Fredericq, III. 28-37. Du Fayt ascribed the Black Death to an infection of the air due to the celestial bodies—infectionem aeris creatam a corporibus coelestibus. The deliverance of the University of Paris is lost. See Chartul. III. 655 sqq.
895 Fredericq, II. 116, etc. The magistrates, as at Tournay, sometimes found it necessary to repeat their proclamations against the Flagellants as often an three times.
896 Usque ad mortem vel infirmitatem. See especially the 35 articles of Bruges, Fredericq, II. 111 sqq.; 50 articles given by Förstemann, p. 164 sqq. and the several codes given by Runge, 115 sqq. Hugo of Reutlingen, in Runge, 27, mentions the strict prohibition against bathing, balnea fratri non licet ulli tempore tali.
897 Fredericq, III. 15, Runge, pp. 25, 41, 118, etc.
898 Runge, pp. 130, 215.
899 · Förstemann, p. 165 sqq.
900 Schneerganz speaks of the number of their hymns in manuscript in Italian libraries as "exceedingly large." He gives a list of such libraries and also a list of the published laude. See Runge, pp. 50-64. It is not, however, to be supposed that more than a few were in popular use and sung.
901 See, for example, Runge, p. 68 sqq.
902 Schneerganz, p. 85, emphatically denies all connection.
903 Fr. Chrysander as quoted by Runge, p. 1. For specimen of the hymns and accounts of the singing, see Runge, Förstemann, p. 255 sqq., Fredericq, I. 197; II. 108, 123, 127-129, 137-139, 140; III. 23-27.
904 This most interesting document, edited by Runge, gives the original music. Here are two lines with a translation of the German words:—
[Fig. 6-06 musical staff for words below. Edit.]
Now let us all lift up our hands
And pray to God this death to a vert.
905 See Runge, pp. 27, 140, 157.
906 See Förstemann, p. 111 sqq.
907 Omnem populum mirabiliter deceperunt. De schismate, II. 26. Erler’s ed., p. 168 sq.
908 Contra sectam flagellantium. Du Pin’s ed., 659-664. Van der Hardt, III. 99 sqq.
909 The bad effects of the delusion upon morals is given by chroniclers, one of whom says that during one of the epidemics 100 unmarried women became pregnant. See Fredericq, I. 231 sq., III. 41, etc. Other names given to the Dancers were Chorizantes and Tripudiantes.
910 Döllinger, II. 365 sqq. Here the barbs,—uncles,—the religious leaders of the Waldenses, are represented as making affidavit of the tenets of their people.
911 The bull is given by Comba: The Waldenses of Italy, p. 126 sq.
912 Fredericq, I. 26, 50, 351 sqq.; 501 sq., 512; II. 263 sqq.; III. 109. This author, I. 357 sqq., gives a sermon by a canon of Tournay against Waldensian tenets, which was much praised at the time. A French translation by Hansen, Quellen, p. 184 sq.
913 See the bull in Hansen, Quellen, p. 18, and an extended section, pp. 408 sqq., on the use of the term Vauderie for witchcraft. In the 14th century it was used to designate the practice of unnatural crimes, just as was the term Bougerie in France, which, at the first, was applied to the Catharan heresy.
914 This document is given in part by Fredericq, III. 94-109, and in full by Hansen, pp. 149-182. Its details are as disgusting as the imagination could well invent.
915 Lempens pronounces the prosecution of witchcraft the greatest crime of all times, das grösste Verbrechen aller Zeiten. Witches were called fascinaret, strigimagae, lamiae, phytonissae, strigae, streges, maleficae, Gazarii, that is, Cathari, and Valdenses, etc. For the derivation of the German term, Hexe, see J. Francke’s discussion in Hansen, Quellen, pp. 615-670.
916 In Protestant Scotland the iron collar and gag were used. The last trial in England occurred in 1712. A woman was executed for witchcraft in Seville in 1781 and another in Glarus in 1782. Dr. Diefenbach, in his Aberglaube, etc., attempts to prove that the belief in witchcraft was more deepseated in Protestant circles than in the Catholic Church. Funk, Kirchengesch., p. 419, Hefele, Kirchengesch., p. 522, and other Catholic historians take care to represent the share Protestants had in the persecution of witches as equal to the share of the Catholics.
917 Alexander Hales distinguished eight sorts of maleficium. Martin V. and Eugenius IV. call the workers of the dark arts sortilegi, divinatores, demonum invocatores, carminatores, conjuratores, superstitiosi, augures, utentes artibus nefariis et prohibitis. See Hansen, Quellen, p. 16 sqq. Henry IV.’s council of bishops, met at Worms, 1076, in deposing Gregory VII., accused him of witchcraft and making covenant with the devil.
918 Sceleratae mulieres ... credunt se et profitentur nocturnis horis cum Diana paganorum dea et innumera multitudine mulierum equitare super quasdam bestas, etc. Hansen, Quellen, p. 88 sq.
919 See Vol. V., I. 889-897, and Hansen, Zauberwahn, p. 144.
920 Michelet, p. 9, says: "I unfalteringly declare that the witch appeared in the age of that deep despair which the gentry of the Church engendered. The witch is a crime of their own achieving." Döllinger, Papstthum, p. 123, says that witchcraft in its different manifestations, from the 13th to the 17th century, is "a product of the faith in the plenary authority of the pope. This may seem to be a paradox, but it is not hard to prove." Hoensbroech’s language, I., 381, is warm but true, when he says, "In all this period the pope was the patron and the prop of the belief in witchcraft, spreading it and confirming it."
921 A translation of Gregory’s bull, Vox rama, is given by Hoensbroech, I. 215-218. See Döllinger: Papstthum, pp. 125, 144.
922 So, In 1326, John inveighed against those who cum morte foedus ineunt et pactum faciunt cum inferno. For the text of this and other papal documents, see Hansen, Quellen, pp. 1-37.
923 In his bull Pascendi gregis, 1907.
924 Hansen: Zauberwahn, pp. 241, 263 sq., 271.
925 Principis tenebrarum suasus et illusiones caecitate noxia sectantes demonibus immolant, eos adorant, etc. illis homagium faciunt, etc. Hansen, Quellen, p. 17.
926 Cereae formae innocentissimi agni, Hansen, etc.: Quellen, p. 21 sq.
927 See Hansen, p. 27-29. Döllinger-Friedrich, p. 126, says, "Mit Inn. VIII. beginnt das regelmässige Verbrennen der Hexen."
928 Gesch. der Papste, III. 266 sqq., Hergenröther-Kirsch, II. 1040 sq. Vacandard, Inquisition, p. 200, takes the same view and says "Innocent assuredly had no intention of committing the Church to a belief in the phenomena he mentions in his bull; but his personal opinion did have an influence upon the canonists and Inquisitors of his day," etc.
929 Warfare of Science and Theology, I. 351.
930 Inquisition, III. 543.
931 Hoc est commune omnium maleficarum spurcitias carnales cum daemonibus exercere, Malleus II. 4. The author goes into all the details of the demon’s procedure, the demon as he approaches men being known as the succubus, and women as the incubus. Many of the details are too vile to repeat. Such passages of Scripture are quoted as Gen. vi. 2 and 1 Cor. xi. 10, which is made to teach that the woman wears a covering on her head to guard herself against the looks of lustful angels. The demons, in becoming succubi and incubi, are not actuated by carnal lust, so the author asserts, but by a desire to make their victims susceptible to all sorts of vices.
932 Many cases are given to show the efficacy of these preservatives. For example, a man in Ravensburg, who was tempted by the devil in the shape of a woman, became much concerned, and at last, recalling what a priest had said in the pulpit, sprinkled himself with salt and at once escaped the devil’s influence.
933 Haeresis dicenda est non maleficorum sed maleficarum, ut fiat a potiori denominatio. See Hansen: Quellen, 416-444, and Zauberwahn, 481-490.
934 Com. ad Sent., IV. 34, qu. I. 3, quia corruptio peccati prima ... in nos per actum generantem devenit, ideo maleficii potestas permittitur diabolo adeo in hoc actu magis quam aliis. See Hansen: Quellen, pp. 88-99. In answering the question why more women were given to sorcery than men, Alexander Hales declared that it was because she had less intellectual vigor than man, minus habet discretionem spiritus.
935 See Hansen: Quellen, p. 423 sqq. Wyclif does not seem to have had so low an opinion of woman as did the writers of the century after him. And yet he says, Lat. Serm. II. 161, Femina super in malicia multos viros ... veritas est quod natura feminea est virtute inferior, etc.
936 Ista secta strigiarum. So Bernard of Como, who was followed by Nicolas Jacquier, Prierias, etc. Hansen: Quellen, pp. 282, 319.
937 Turrecremata, the Spanish dogmatician and canonist, dissents from the opinion that the flying women were led by Diana and Herodias, on the rational grounds that Diana never existed and Herodias probably was never permitted to leave hell.
938 See the realistic language of Jacquier, Prierias, Bartholomew of Spina, etc. Quellen, p. 136, etc.
939 Jacquier, Widman of Kemnat, Barthol. of Spina, etc., Quellen, pp. 141, 234, 327, sq.
940 Valdenses ydolatrae, Quellen, pp. 157, 165. The poet Martin la Franc, secretary to Felix V., in his Champion des dames, about 1440, speaks of 10,000 witches celebrating a sabbat in the Valley of Wallis. Six hundred of them were brought to confess they had cohabited with demons. Quellen, 99-104.
941 The incident is told by that famous witch-inquisitor, Bernard of Como, in his De strigiis. Hansen: Quellen, pp. 279-284.
942 From scoba, meaning broom. So in the tract Errores Gazariorum seu illorum qui scobam vel baculum equitare probantur, Quellen, pp. 118-123.
943 Quellen, p. 131 sq. This medical expert declared that women and men were often turned into toads and cats. When such a cat’s paw was cut off, it was found that the foot of the suspected witch was gone. With his own eyes, this mediaeval practitioner says he saw such a woman burnt in Rome, and he states that many such cases occurred in the papal metropolis. Hartlieb was medical adviser to Duke Albert III. of Bavaria. His Buch aller verbotenen Kunst, Unglaubens u. d. Zauberei, was written 1456.
944 Hansen devotes 60 pages of his Quellen to the title, date and authors of the Malleus. An excellent German translation is by J. W. R. Schmidt: Der Hexenhammer, Berlin, 3 vols., 1906.
945 Flagellum haereticorum fascinariorum, The Heretics’ Flail. Extracts in Hansen, 133-144. Tract. de calcinatione daemonum seu malignorum spirituum, still in MS. in Brussels.
946 De strigmagarum daemonumque mirandis, Rome, 1521, and De strigibus et lamiis, Venice, 1535. Hansen, pp. 317-339.
947 Strix sive de ludificatione daemonum, 1523. See Burckhardt-Geiger: Renaissance, Excursus, II. 359-362. The official papal view at the close of the 16th century was set forth by the canonist, Francis Pegna, d. in Rome 1612. He held an appointment on the papal commission for the revision of Gratian’s Decretals, and asserts that the aerial flights and cohabitation of witches could be proved beyond all possible doubt. See extracts from his Com. on Eymericus Directorium. Hansen: Quellen, p. 358 sq.
948 Infessura, Tommasini’s ed., p. 25. For another burning in Rome, 1442, Burckhardt-Geiger, II. 359. For witchcraft in Italy, see this author, II. p. 255-264. Also the extensive lists of trials, 1245-1540, noted down in Hansen’s Quellen; the ecclesiastical trials, pp. 445-516; the civil, pp. 517-615. In 1623 Gregory XV. renewed the penalty of lifelong imprisonment for making pacts with the devil.
949 Hansen: Quellen, pp. 467-472. For the notorious case of Gilles de Rais, the reputed original Bluebeard, see Lea: Inq., III. 468-487.
950 For other figures, see Hansen: Zauberwahn, p. 532 sqq., Hoensbroech, I. 500 sqq., and Lecky, I. 29 sqq. Seven thousand are said to have been burnt at Treves. In 1670, 70 persons were arraigned in Sweden and a large number of them burnt.
951 Döllinger-Friedrich, pp. 130, 447. For Loos’ recantation as given by Delrio, see Phil. Trsll. and Reprints, III. In a letter, written in 1629, the chancellor of the bishop of Würzburg states that the week before a beautiful maiden of 19 had been executed as a witch. Children of three and four years, he adds, to the number of 300, were reported to have had intercourse with the devil. He himself had seen children of seven and promising students of 12 and 16 put to death. Phil. Trsll., etc., III.
952 The transation taken from the Phila. Trsll. and Reprints, vol. III.
953 Reprinted from Hansen: Quellen, pp. 25-27. The Latin text is also found In Soldan, p. 215, and Mirbt, p. 171 sq. Germ. trsl in Schmidt, pp. xxxvi-xli, and Hoensbrooch, I, 384-386. Engl. trsl. in Phila. Trsll. and Reprints,. vol. III
954 Lea, I. 100 sqq., 107 sq.
955 Ferdinand was associated with his father, John of Navarre, in the government of Aragon from the year 1469. The same year he was married to Isabella, sister of Henry IV., king of Castile. At Henry’s death, Isabella’s title to the throne was disputed by Juana who claimed to be a daughter of Henry, but was popularly believed to be the child of Beltram de la Cueva and so called La BeltraneJas. The civil war, which followed, was brought to a close in 1479 by Juana’s retirement to a convent, and the undisputed recognition of Isabella. Ferdinand and Isabella’s reign is regarded as the most glorious in Spanish annals. Ferdinand’s grandson, through his daughter Juana, Charles V., succeeded to his dominions.
956 Lea, I. 15.
957 Lea, II. 457-463.
958 Lea, I. 165.
959 The list is given by Lea, I. 556-559.
960 Hefele, in his Life of Cardinal Ximenes, p. 265 sqq., took the position that the Spanish Inquisition was a state institution, Staatsanstalt, pointing out that the inquisitor-general was appointed by the king, and the Inquisitors proceeded in his name. Ranke, Die Osmanen u. d. span. Monarchie inFürsten u. Völker, 4th ed., 1877, calls it "a royal institution fitted out with spiritual weapons." On the other hand, the Spanish historians, Orti y Lara and Rodrigo take the position that it was a papal institution. Pastor takes substantially this view when he insists upon the dominance of the religious element and the bull of Sixtus IV. authorizing it. So, he says, erscheint d. span. Inquisition als ein gemischtes Institut mit vorwiegend kirchlichem Charakter, 1st ed., II. 542-546, 4th ed., III. 624-630. Wetzer-Welte, VI. 777, occupies the same ground and quotes Orti y Lara as saying, "The Inquisition fused into one weapon the papal sword and the temporal power of kings." Dr. Lea emphasizes the mixed character of the agency, and says that the chief question is not where it had its origin, but which party derived the most advantage. It is, however, of much importance for the history of the papacy as a divine or human institution to insist upon its responsibility in authorizing and supporting the nefarious Holy Office. Funk says that "the assumption that the Spanish Inquisition was primarily a state institution does not hold good."
961 Lea, I. 235; II. 103 sqq.
962 Lea, II. 116, etc., insists upon the double-dealing of the papacy, from Sixtus IV. to Julius II., "who with one hand sold letters of absolution and with the other declared them invalid by revocation." Sixtus’ bull of 1484 was confirmed by Paul III., 1549. Its claim, an infallible papacy cannot well abandon.
963 Lea, I. 214. For Ferdinand’s expressions of satisfaction with the zeal shown in the burning of heretics, as after a holocaust at Valladolid, September, 1509, see Lea, I. 189, 191, etc.
964 Lea, I. 217.
965 Lea, I. 250 sqq.; Wetzer-Welte, Petrus Arbues, vol. IX.
966 Lea, II. 336
967 Peter Martyr, as quoted by Lea, II. 381.
968 Lea, I. 217; II. 353, sq., 400-413.
969 Lea, II. 363.
970 Lea: The Inq. in the Span. Dependencies, p. 219.
971 Lea heads a chapter on this subject, Supereminence, I. 350-375.
972 For list of temporary tribunals, see Lea, I. 541-555.
973 Lea devotes a whole chapter to the subject, II. 285-314. In time limpieza was made a condition of holding church offices of any sort in Spain.
974 Lea, II. 485.
975 Lea, II. 137, gives cases of accused women, respectively 78, 80 and 86.
976 · Lea, III. 8, 14, etc.
977 In Paris the usual method was to inject water into the mouth, oil and vinegar also being used. The amount of water was from 9 to 18 pints. La Croix: Manners, Customs and Dress of the M. A., N. Y. 1874, chapter on Punishments, pp. 407-433.
978 Lea, III. 140-159.
979 For a description of an auto, see Lea, III. 214-224.
980 Lea, III. 185 sq., quotes the sentence upon Mencia Alfonso, tried at Guadalupe, 1485, which runs: "As a limb of the devil, she shall be taken to the place of burning so that by the secular officials of this town justice may be executed upon her according to the custom of these kingdoms." Paul III., 1547, and Julius III., 1550, conferred upon clerics the right of condemning to mutilation and death in cases where, as with the Venetian government, delays were interposed in the execution of the ecclesiastical sentence. Vacandard says, p. 180: "Some inquisitors, realizing the emptiness of the formula, ecclesia abhorret a sanguine, dispensed with it altogether and boldly assumed the full responsibility for their sentences. The Inquisition is the real judge,—it lights the fires .... It is erroneous to pretend that the Church had absolutely no part in the condemnation of heretics to death. Her participation was not direct and immediate, but, even though indirect, it was none the less real and efficacious." This author, p. 211, misrepresents history when he makes the legislation of Frederick II. responsible for the papal treatment of heresy. Innocent III. had been punishing the Albigenses to death long before the appearance of Frederick’s Constitutions.
981 The Spanish Inquisition was introduced into Sicily in 1487, where it met with vigorous resistance from the parliament, and in Sardinia, 1492. In the New World its victims were Protestants, conversos, bigamists and fornicators. The Mexican tribunal was abolished in 1820, and that of Peru, the same year. As late as 1774 a Bogota physician was tried "as the first and only one who in this kingdom and perhaps in all America" had publicly declared himself for the Copernican system.
982 Lea, chapter on Censorship, III. 481-548; Ticknor: Span. Lit., I. 461 sqq.
983 See Hoensbroech, I. 139, quoting Llorente. Dr. Lea speaks of the apparent tendency of early writers to exaggerate the achievements of the "Holy Office," and calls in question, though with some hesitation, Llorente’s figures and the figures given by an early secretary of the tribunal, Zurita, who records 4000 burnings and 30,000 reconciliations in Seville alone before 1520. See Lea’s figures, IV. 513-624. Father Gams, in his Kirchengesch. Spaniens, reckons the number of those burnt, up to 1604, at 2000, but he excludes from these figures the burnings for other crimes than heresy. See Lea, IV. 517.
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