inquisition manual

Normally I’ll read any kind of rubbish, but this has got me defeated and puzzled. It’s a collection of instructions dating from 1484 to 1576 on how to run an inquisition (there’s some Torquemada in there) that belonged to one Doctor Martín Yánez de Padilla. However, not only are there no bloodstains on the pages but there doesn’t seem to be one single gruesome picture of how to win souls while loosening toenails. Did they get the illustrated German interpretation down from the bookshelf when they couldn’t figure out the instructions, or were things less gruesome here than we were told at school?

These papers are part of a large collection of books belonging to the Rioja monasteries of Suso and Yuso that have been digitalised (scans, no text search, silly people) as part of a interesting but bureaucratic-looking Spanish language portal. Before you get excited, remember that Spanish monasteries weren’t very interesting places once the thought police took charge. However, for the all the large quantities of quite boring stuff, it’s still very welcome. My biggest question is, however, who the hell is going to integrate collections like this with all the other little ones currently being digitalised. It’s fine when Mr Bezos comes along and says he’s just going to publish everything published in the X years, but these treasures all have a well plated (and fed) Smaug of a foundation committee sitting on top of them.

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