History of Medieval Inquisition Torture - Heresy
The Medieval Inquisition was the institution of the Roman Catholic Church for combating or suppressing heresy. Heresy is defined as an opinion or belief that which was held deliberately and with knowledge against orthodox church teachings. The Medieval Inquisition was a series of Inquisitions by the Catholic Church to suppress heresy. The first Medieval Inquisition was established in the year 1184 against the Cathar movement. Torture was used after 1252 when Pope Innocent IV issued a papal bull which authorized the use of torture by inquisitors.
Medieval Inquisition Torture Methods - No Bloodshed, Mutilation or Death
No torture methods were allowed in an Inquisition that resulted in bloodshed, mutilation or death. A common form of torture was hanging the accused by their wrists, hoisted above ground and then having weights hung from their ankles. This torture method was known as the Judas Cradle and a similar method was called the Strappado. The rules restricting bloodshed extended to the preferred execution method of men or women who were proclaimed as heretics by the Inquisition was therefore being burnt to death.
List of Medieval Inquisition Torture Methods and Devices
The following list of Medieval Inquisition Torture Methods provides an insight to the devices and methods used by the Medieval Inquisition:
- Judas Cradle
- The Boot or Spanish boot
- Branding Irons
- The Collar
- The Wheel
- Foot press
- Foot screw
- Heretic's fork
- Water Torture
Medieval Inquisition Methods of Torture and Execution
A skilled torturer would use methods, devices and instruments to prolong life as long as possible whilst inflicting agonising pain. The customs of the Medieval period dictated that prisoners were tortured before they were executed in order to obtain additional information about their crime or their accomplices. There were many forms of torture and execution. The execution method itself was part of the torture endured by prisoners. These final methods of torture and execution included the following methods:
- The Wheel
- The Fork
- The Gibbet
- Torture and execution by Fire
- Mechanical force
Famous Victims of a Medieval Inquisition
Many famous Medieval people were accused of heresy and subject to an inquisition. On Friday the 13th, in October 1307, Jacques de Molay, the Grand Master of the Knights Templar, and 60 of his senior knights were arrested in Paris. Joan of Arc was also subjected to a Medieval Inquisition and subsequently burnt at the stake.
The Law, Crime, Torture and Punishment - Medieval Inquisition Torture
There were no laws or rules to protect the treatment of prisoners who faced torture or punishment, such as the Medieval Inquisition Torture. Torture methods used during Inquisitions were seen as a totally legitimate means to extract confessions, obtain the names of accomplices, obtain testimonies or confessions.