The inside of a jail of the Inquisition, with a priest supervising his scribe while men and women are suspended from pulleys, tortured on the rack or burnt with torches. Etching.
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The Spanish Inquisition was a council to combat heresy, authorized by a papal bull in 1478 and established by King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella in 1480 as responsible to the Crown, not the Church. It used secret procedures and judicial torture, and burning its victims in public ceremonials. With its independence from papal interference, the Inquisition soon became an instrument of the Spanish Crown's build-up of absolute power in the 16th and 17th century. It was finally abolished in 1834