Tomás de Torquemada

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Tomas de Torquemada)
Jump to: navigation, search
Tomás de Torquemada
Torquemada.jpg
Tomás de Torquemada
Born 1420
Torquemada or Valladolid, Spain
Died September 16, 1498 (aged 77–78)
Ávila, Spain
Occupation Grand Inquisitor
Religion Roman Catholic
Relatives Juan de Torquemada (cardinal) (uncle)

Tomás de Torquemada (Thomas of Torquemada), O.P. (1420 – September 16, 1498) was a Spanish Dominican friar and the first Grand Inquisitor in Spain's movement to restore Christianity among its populace in the late 15th century. He was one of the chief supporters of the Alhambra Decree, which expelled the Jews from Spain in 1492.

Torquemada's manual of instructions to the Inquisition (Copilación de las Instruciónes del Offico de la Sancta Inquisición) did not appear in print publicly until 1576, when it was published in Madrid.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Torquemada was born in 1420 in either the small village of Torquemada near Valladolid, Castile-León, Spain[1][2] or directly in Valladolid.[3] He was the nephew of a celebrated theologian and cardinal, Juan de Torquemada,[4] whose grandmother was a converso (someone who had converted to Christianity from Islam or Judaism); the contemporary historian Hernando del Pulgar (himself a converso) recorded that his uncle, Juan de Torquemada, had an ancestor Álvar Fernández de Torquemada married to a first-generation Jewish conversa:[citation needed]

"Sus abuelos fueron de linage de los convertidos a nuestra santa fe católica" (translates as "His grandparents were of the lineage of those converted to our Holy Catholic faith").

Tomás entered the local San Pablo Dominican monastery at a very young age. As a zealous advocate of church orthodoxy, he earned a solid reputation for the triple virtues of learning, piety and austerity. As a result, he was promoted to prior of the monastery of Santa Cruz at Segovia. Around this time, he met the young Princess Isabella I and the two immediately established religious and ideological rapport. For a number of years, Torquemada served as her regular confessor and personal advisor. He was present at Isabella’s coronation in 1474, and remained her closest ally and supporter. He had even advised her to marry King Ferdinand of Aragon in 1469, in order to consolidate their kingdoms and form a power base he could draw on for his own purposes.

Establishment of the Holy Office of the Inquisition[edit]

Torquemada's concern about Spanish Jews grew as he perceived them to be gaining increasing religious influence on, and economic domination of, Spain. He became convinced they were trying to undermine the sovereign couple’s power and, even more importantly, Roman Catholicism. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella concurred, and soon after their accession to power petitioned the Pope to grant their request for a Holy Office to administer an inquisition in Spain. The pope granted their request, and established the Holy Office for the Propagation of the Faith in late 1478.

Grand Inquisitor[edit]

The Gothic entry way of IE University, Segovia, was formerly at the Dominican convent of la Santa Cruz (the Holy Cross), where Torquemada served as a prior.

The Pope went on to appoint a number of inquisitors for the Spanish Kingdoms in early 1482, including Torquemada. A year later he was named Grand Inquisitor of Spain, which he remained until his death in 1498. In the fifteen years under his direction, the Spanish Inquisition grew from the single tribunal at Seville to a network of two dozen 'Holy Offices'.[5] As Grand Inquisitor, Torquemada reorganized the Spanish Inquisition (originally based in Castile in 1478), establishing tribunals in Sevilla, Jaén, Córdoba, Ciudad Real and (later) Saragossa. His quest was to rid Spain of all heresy. The Spanish chronicler Sebastián de Olmedo called him "the hammer of heretics, the light of Spain, the savior of his country, the honor of his order".

Under the edict of March 31, 1492, known as the Alhambra Decree, approximately 200,000 Jews left Spain. Following the Alhambra decree of 1492, approximately 50,000 Jews took baptism so as to remain in Spain; however, many of these—known as "Marranos" from Corinthians II, a contraction of anathema—were "crypto-jews" and secretly kept some of their Jewish traditions.[6]

Torquemada made the procedures of prior inquisitions somewhat less brutal by moderating the use of torture, limiting its use to suspects denounced by two or more "persons of good nature."[citation needed]; and by cleaning up the Inquisitorial prisons. The condemned were made to wear a sanbenito, a penitential garment worn over clothes and of a design that specified the type of penitence. One type, worn by those sentenced to death, had designs of hell’s flames or sometimes demons, dragons and/or snakes engraved on it. Another type had a cross, and was worn instead of imprisonment, then hung in the parish church.[clarification needed]

Forced conversions by large numbers, often ordered by Cardinal Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros, took place under significant government pressure. The Treaty of Granada (1491), as negotiated at the final surrender of the Muslim state of Al-Andalus, clearly mandated protection of religious rights,[citation needed] but this was reversed by the Alhambra Decree of 1492.

There is some disagreement as to the number of victims of the Spanish Inquisition during Torquemada's reign as Grand Inquisitor. Some scholars[specify] believe that he was responsible for the death of 2,000 people. Hernando del Pulgar, Queen Isabella’s secretary, wrote that 2,000 executions took place throughout the entirety of her reign, which extended well beyond Torquemada's death.

Death[edit]

During his final years, Torquemáda's failing health, coupled with widespread complaints, caused Pope Alexander VI to appoint four assistant inquisitors in June 1494 to restrain the Spanish Inquisition. After fifteen years as Spain's Grand Inquisitor, Torquemáda died in the monastery of St. Thomas Aquinas in Ávila in 1498 and was interred there. His tomb was ransacked in 1832—two years before the Inquisition was disbanded. His bones were stolen and ritually incinerated as though an auto-da-fé took place.[7]

In fiction[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Gerli, E. Michael (2013). Medieval Iberia: An Encyclopedia. Routledge. p. 794. ISBN 9781136771620. 
  2. ^ Whitechapel, Simon (2003). Flesh Inferno: Atrocities of Torquemada and the Spanish Inquisition. Creation Books. p. 52. ISBN 9781840681055. 
  3. ^ von Dehsen, Christian (2013). Philosophers and Religious Leaders. Routledge. p. 188. ISBN 9781135951023. 
  4. ^ "Meditations, or the Contemplations of the Most Devout". World Digital Library. 1479. Retrieved 2013-09-02. 
  5. ^ The Age of Torquemada, by John Edward Longhurst (1962), from vlib.iue.it (European University Institute)
  6. ^ Wolf, A (1909). Life of Spinoza (Spinoza's Short Treatise on God, Man and his Well Being. London: Adam and Charles Black. pp. 4–5. 
  7. ^ Cullen Murphy, God's Jury: The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012

References[edit]

  • Duran, Alphonsus Maria, Why Apologize for the Spanish Inquisition?, (Eric Gladkowski, Ed., 2000). ISBN 0-9702235-0-1.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
New Office
Grand Inquisitor of Spain
1483–1498
Succeeded by
Diego Deza