Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Theatre of Cruelty!

Rarely have the torture techniques of ages past been rendered with such loving attention to detail as in Richard Verstegan's 16th century engravings - the 'Theatrum Crudelitatum' or Theatre of Cruelty - subject of a recent post at the always-fascinating BibliOdyssey.

Quoth peacay:

Verstegan's book attempted to record, in gruesome detail, the cruelty, torture and murder of Catholic martyrs in Europe - including English victims under the reigns of Mary I and Elizabeth I - at the hands of Protestant heretics. Upon publication, the author was arrested and imprisoned for libel against the Crown and all books were confiscated and destroyed (a single page has been saved). Through the intervention of friends in the clerical hierarchy, Verstegan was able to secure his release and he fled the country, ultimately settling in Antwerp... (there, he) became a very prolific and influential author and publisher in his adopted city. One of his early works was the expanded and definitive version of 'Theatrum Crudelitatum' which was published in Latin in 1587.

So take that, you Papist bastards!

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