Flagellation in Barcelona and Paris

An interesting proscription is to be found in the description of a Barcelona Easter week pageant in Joseph Townsend’s A Journey Through Spain in the Years 1786 and 1787:

In the processions of the present day, practices which had crept in when chivalry prevailed, with all its wild conceits, practices inconsistent with sound morals, and offensive to humanity, are no longer to be seen. The civil magistrate, interposing his authority, has forbidden, under the severest penalties, abominations which, as the genuine offspring of vice, could not have ventured to appear, even in the darkest ages, unless in the disguise and under the sanction of religion. The adulterer, if he will court the affections of his mistress, no longer permitted publicly to avow his passion, to scourge himself in her presence, and by the severity of his sufferings to excite her pity, must now seek the shade, and if he feels himself inclined to use the discipline, it must be where no human eye can see him.

Those naughty Parisians kept on whipping, of course: check Ruben Dario’s amusing tabloid blast, Agencia (translated by Greg Simon on the same page as Wire Service).

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