Instrument of torture

Spanish Boot, 16. - 18. Jahrhundert

About the object

Until well into the 18th century the torture or »painful interrogation« remained a tried and tested means of the justice system. Even in the »Constitutio Criminalis Theresiana«, the judicial order issued in 1768 under Maria Theresa for the whole of Austria, methods and instruments of torture were meticulously catalogued. The »Spanish boots« from the Freiburg town hall, which could be used to inflict pain by clamping and squeezing the lower legs, were made exactly according to the specifications and drawings in the »Theresiana«. Nevertheless, the description of the »tortures« led to a discussion among lawyers and finally to the abolition of torture in Austria in 1776 by decree of the ruler. In Emperor Joseph II’s Criminal Code, which replaced the »Theresiana« in 1787, torture became a thing of the past.

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