In chapter 8 (‘Threads’), Casanova and Stefano interrogate a captured spy by tying his wrists together behind his back and hoisting him up high into the air using a beam and pulley mechanism, threatening to drop him and then stop his fall abruptly in mid-air.  This was the strappado, a technique invented by the Catholic church and used by the inquisition.  It was an agonising torture, perhaps most famously employed against the Florentine monk Girolamo Savonorola in 1498 and was still going strong in eighteenth-century France.  Its effect was to dislocate the shoulder and damage nerves and muscles.  It might also cause paralysis.  Weights could be attached to the feet of the victim to increase the pain.

Geri Walton has published a compelling contemporary account by an appalled Irishman who describes a range of tortures carried out in France at the time, including the strappado – here

  

‘Casanova in Paris: The Shadows of the King – part 1’  is now freely available in its entirety here.

6 long form articles on Casanova’s life and times are freely available here.

 

#torture #europe #eighteenthcentury #strappado #casanova