Tomás de Torquemada

Tomás de Torquemada

Birth
Death 16 Sep 1498 (aged 77–78)
Burial Cremated, Ashes scattered, Specifically: Bones stolen.
Memorial ID 8153480 · View Source
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Inquisitor. He was born during the reign of John II, and being a nephew to a well-known cardinal of the same name, he displayed an attraction for the Dominican order. As soon as he was allowed, he joined the convent at Valladolid. Valladolid was the capital at the time, and in due course, dignities were offered to him, but he gave signs of a determination to lead a simple life. His superiors, however, obliged him to head the convent of Santa Cruz in Segovia, where he ruled for twenty-two years. The royal family, especially the queen and the infant Isabella, often stayed at Segovia, and Torquemada became confessor to Isabella, who was then very young. Torquemada made her promise that when she became queen, she would make it her principal business to chastise and destroy heretics. He then began to teach her the political advantages of religion to prepare the way for that tremendous engine in the hands of the state, the Inquisition. Isabella succeeded to the throne in 1474, on the death of Henry IV. Torquemada had always been strong in his advice that she should marry Ferdinand of Aragorn and thus consolidate the kingdoms of Spain. The friar saw Jews, Saracens, heretics and apostates roaming through Spain as the main obstacle to the political union of the kingdoms of Spain. In 1473, Torquemada and Gonzalez de Mendoza, archbishop of Toledo, approached Isabella and Ferdinand. With their sanction, a petition was addressed to Pope Sixtus IV for the establishment of a new form of Inquisition; and in 1479, a papal bill authorized the appointment of two inquisitors at Seville. Commissaries of the Holy Office were sent into different provinces, and ministers of the faith were established in the various cities. In order not to confound the innocent with the guilty, Torquemada published a declaration offering grace and pardon to all who presented themselves before the tribunal and avowed their fault. Some fled the country, but many offered themselves for reconciliation. In 1483, Torquemada was appointed the sole inquisitor-general over all Spanish possessions. In the next year he ceded to Diego Deza, a Dominican, his office of confessor to the king and queen, and gave himself up to the congenial work of eradicating heretics. Among these rules Torquemada issued were that Heretics were allowed thirty days to declare themselves. Those who availed themselves of this grace were only fined, and their goods escaped confiscation. Those who were reconciled were deprived of all honorable employment, and were forbidden to use gold, silver, jewelry, silk or fine wool. If a heretic in the Inquisition asked for absolution, he could receive it, but would be subject to a life imprisonment; if his repentance were feigned he could be at once condemned and handed over to the civil power for execution. When serious proof existed against one who denied his crime, he could be submitted to the question by torture; and if under torture he avowed his fault and confirmed his guilt by subsequent confession he was punished as one convicted; but should he retract, he was again submitted to the tortures or condemned to extraordinary punishment. Even the dead were not free from the Holy Office; processes could be instituted against them and their remains subjected to punishment. During the eighteen years that Torquemada was inquisitor-general it is said that 10,220 people were burnt, 6860 others were condemned to be burnt in effigy, and 97,321 were reconciled, thus making an average of some 6000 convictions a year. The constant stream of petitions to Rome opened the eyes of the pope to the effects of Torquemada's severity. On three separate occasions he had to send Fray Alfonso Badaja to defend his acts before the Holy See. The king and queen, too, saw the stream of money, which they had hoped for, diverted to the coffers of the Holy Office, and in 1493 they made a complaint to the pope; but Torquemada was powerful enough to secure most of the money for the expenses of the Inquisition. But in 1496, when the royals again complained that the inquisitors were, without royal knowledge or consent, disposing of the property of the condemned and thus depriving the public the revenues, Alexander VI had the case examined to make the Holy Office disgorge the plunder. For many years Torquemada had been persuading the sovereigns to make an attemptto rid the country of the hated Moors, and at Toledo, merciless severity was shown to the Jews who had lapsed from Christianity. For a long time, Torquemada had tried to get the royal consent to a general expulsion; but the royals hesitated, and, as the Jews were the backbone of the commerce of the country, they instead proposed a ransom of 300,000 ducats instead. The indignant Torquemada would hear of no compromise. "Judas," he cried, "sold Christ for 30 pence; and you wish to sell Him again for 300,000 ducats?" Unable to bear up against the Dominican's anger, Ferdinand and Isabella issued a decree that ordered every Jew to either embrace Christianity or leave the country, four months being given to make up their mind. But this was not enough for the inquisitor-general, who issued orders that forbid Christians, under severe penalties, to have any communication with the Jews or, after the period of grace, to supply them even with the necessaries of life. The former prohibition made it impossible for the Jews to sell their goods, which hence fell to the Inquisition. The numbers of Jewish families driven out of the country by Torquemada is stated to around 800,000. The loss to Spain was enormous. Torquemada, although aging, would never would allow his misdirected zeal to rest. He took up his residence in Avila, where he had built a convent; and here he resumed the common life of a friar, leaving his cell in October 1497 to visit, at Salamanca, the dying infant, Don Juan, and to comfort the king and queen in their parental distress. They often used to visit him at Avila, where in 1498, still in office as inquisitor-general, he held his last general assembly to complete his life's work. Soon afterwards he died, and was buried in the chapel of the convent of St Thomas in Avila. However, in 1836, two years after the Inquisition was officially abolished, vengeful grave robbers broke into Torquemada's tomb at Avila. They took his bones, burned them on the spot where his victims had perished before him, and scattered his ashes to the winds.

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Mongoose
  • Added: 3 Dec 2003
  • Find A Grave Memorial 8153480
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Tomás de Torquemada (1420–16 Sep 1498), Find A Grave Memorial no. 8153480, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Cremated, Ashes scattered, who reports a Bones stolen..