MERGED:100 Million Killed/Looking for "The Myth of the Spanish Inquisition"


I’ve read about a BBC documentary that was produced, I believe, in 1994, called “The Myth of the Spanish Inquisition”. I understand that it was one of the few times that a balanced history of the Catholic Church was presented.
I’m trying to locate a copy of this video, preferably for sale.
Does anyone have any leads?


I’ve been wondering about that one as well. Since it was first done in 1994 is probably why it is not available. Newer shows replace the older ones.

There is “The Inquisition” DVD from the A&E TV store. Error: Torquemada did not send 15,000 to their deaths, the estimate by Kamen/Peters is closer to 2000.

There is History’s Mysteries: The Inquisition from History Channel (2005) available from

There is Secret Files of the Inquisition from PBS Home Video (2007) available from

Phil P


Well, being 14 years old isn’t THAT old.

There is “The Inquisition” DVD from the A&E TV store. Error: Torquemada did not send 15,000 to their deaths, the estimate by Kamen/Peters is closer to 2000.

There is History’s Mysteries: The Inquisition from History Channel (2005) available from

There is Secret Files of the Inquisition from PBS Home Video (2007) available from

Phil P

Phil, any idea if any of these are of the same tenor as the 1994 one?


I do not know about the A&E program or the “History’s Mysteries” program, but the “Secret Files of the Inquisition” can best be described as a prurient hack job.


So… I hear VERY FREQUENTLY that the inquisition killed as many as 100 million…

But I am curious about something… How is this possible…

Here are my reasons…

  1. The Black Plague (~1350)- Europe had just come off the Black Plague when the inquisition ‘started’. Between 1/3 to 1/2 if Europe’s population was decimated, or an estimated 25-50 million people. If this represented even a third of the population, that would mean that Europe’s Population had roughly 66 million people left AT BEST. It is estimated that it took upwards of 300 years to recover to previous population numbers… this would mean an average of 10 million people added each century…
  2. The Inquisition started roughly 1450… about 100 years later…This would mean AT BEST Europe had only regrown to about 75 million. If the Inquisition really did kill 100 million over the course of 3 centuries, this would mean an average of 33 million people killed each year.
  3. If 33 million people were killed, but 10 million were added each year, this would mean minimum of an extra 44 million people had to be born each century… but no such amazing birth rate is recorded…
  4. If 10 million people were net produced excluding the inquisition for every 33 million killed… the population of Europe would have actually dropped. by the end of the inquisition, the European population would have had to drop to nearly nothing…
  5. The Black plague by killing only 30 million created extreme social disorder. No such disorder is reported (other than religious CHANGES) occurred. Black Death completely restructured social structure… no such event occurred when 3X’s that many where killed. We see upheaval due to changes in religious structure, bnut nothing attributed to the drastically reduced work force
  6. On top of the 100 million killed, there are those also killed by war, which was replete during this period…
  7. In order to come to the population it was at the end of the inquisition, including those killed by war and other plagues that came through, this would actually mean roughly 200 to 300 million would need to be born. Such a birth rate would have naturally continued after the inquisition, but now without the canceling effect of the inquisition…, and due to the parabolic curve of population growth, the population of Europe would be several billion by now. However, the population currently is only around 700 million for ALL Europe…

Were people killed in the inqisition… yes. don’t argue that… But to say 100,000,000 people were killed?

no support in historical data what so ever.

In Christ


They had to import people from Asia and kill them too. :rotfl:


There weren’t even 100 million people there.

Most people killed for heresy and witchcraft were killed by civil justice anyway.


If the Inquisition was so blood-thirsty, why were the numerous occasions of defendants in secular courts asked to be tried in an inquisitional court?

BTW, I’ve heard the numbers were roughly 3-5,000 over 100 years.


No, it’s not possible and thinking people know this.


It isn’t possible, but the overinflation, exaggeration, distortion might for some (not all) satisfy a deep ‘need’ to justify themselves in their virulent anti-Catholicism.


Actually, the Atheistic governments of the Communist Soviet Union and in Asia have killed more than 250,000,000 since their inception.

Don’t forget Pol Pot killed over a million himself. Stalin ordered the deaths of 10,000,000 Ukrainians to liquidate them as a people.


You won’t hear this from scholars. It’s sheer nonsense. There is no way to be sure how many were killed in the various Inquisitions, but it’s certainly in the thousands, not the millions (and probably the relatively low thousands at that). Of course, that’s bad enough!

The Inquisition was actually relatively slow to condemn people to death compared to most medieval or early modern courts. The areas where the Inquisition was active generally did not have widespread massacres of accused witches. Some people try to explain this on the ground that people’s persecuting impulses were satisfied in other ways (I may be unfairly caricaturing this argument, since I find it completely unconvincing!). I think the more reasonable explanation is that the methods of the Inquisition didn’t lend themselves to that kind of mass hysteria.



The Inquisition killed the combined populations of Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, the Americas, and Antartica, and because no one was left on earth, and GOD instituted the Inquisition, GOD had to replenish the entire population of earth ex nihilo, which in turn led the Inquistion to again exterminate the combined populations of earth. This happened about 25 times from the years 500 AD to 2000 AD the years the Inquisition was in place. People finally got fed up being killed over and over again and simply said “this has got to stop.” Thank you.

Phil P


That’s the problem; we don’t hear this from scholars. . .we hear it from people who are, for the most part, absolutely convinced it is the gospel truth that ‘everybody knows’ (unless the evil Catholic Church managed to suppress it in their brainwashing of helpless little Catholic school kids :smiley: ), and utterly convinced that any Catholic who questions it **in any way **is hopelessly under the “Great Whore” and thus needs to be metaphorically thrown to the lions, burnt at the stake, and condemned by ‘the righteous’ into eternal damnation for not immediately leaving that ‘evil Catholic Church.’

Heck, Edwin, a lot of the ‘high Church’ Anglicans are considered suspect for their ‘Romish’ ways. If suddenly all Catholics were banished onto some desert continent (I vote for Australia), dollars to doughnuts you’d start hearing pretty soon that unless those under the ‘spell’ got rid of the bells and smells and even the Book of Common Prayer (why ain’t “The Good Book” enough for you?), etc., that while Catholics had the Inquistion, the “high church” Anglicans were the ones really responsible for the persecution of ‘real Christians’ in the 1600s and thus were ‘closet Catholics’. You’d been joining us in Australia before you knew it.


Oh, I know this. My conservative Baptist friends always had trouble figuring out if they should be more upset that I had become Episcopalian or that I talked about becoming Catholic!

The point is that this view is pure popular mythology and there’s no way to “refute it,” because there’s no evidence or argument to be refuted in the first place. Unfortunately, the folks who believe it don’t listen to scholars. All you can do is point out to them that lots of people who are not Catholics know that this is nonsense, and if they choose to believe that this is because they’re part of the One World Religion Conspiracy, there’s really nothing you can do!



My whole thing about this is, regardless of if there is a cover up…

Where did all these people come from that were killed…
Not only that…

Why if 33 million people killed created some of the most radical social changes, why is ti that 3X that number produced NO cultural affects…

(As an aside… Edwin, though i disagree with you at times… I always love seeing you involved in threads I create… sorta gives the over all discussion more credibility :smiley: )

In Christ


I think your math is a bit off.

In order to kill 100,000,000 people in 350 year, you would only need to kill 285,714.29 people per year. Even the more “moderate” estimate of 30 million, referenced in Dan Brown’s book, The Da Vinci Code, would require about 85,714.29 people put to death a year. Keep in mind that this is above and beyond those who die from natural causes and war and other judicial punishments.

While possible, the logistics of disposing of the bodies would turn most of Western Europe into a huge mass grave.

Clearly this was not the case.

The meticulous records kept by the Spanish Inquisition, considered the most bloodthirsty, record the execution of only a 2,000 to 3,000 or so people in the 350 years it was in existence. That is an average of 5.71 to 8.57 people a year in all of Spain; similar to the number people executed in Texas in a typical year.

For more information about the Spanish Inquisition, here is a brief video and another video detailing their methods and efficiency. Warning! These contains a graphic depictions of arrest and torture of heretics.


As a note… i was simply going off of per century numbers… not per year ;)… but thanks for the added info

I’M sure the numbers weren’t perfect… but an average of 33 million every 100 years is the average over 300 years:)

that being said… even your smaller numbers are a logistic nightmare

In Christ


Yes, it is the logistics which demonstrate this is false. The Nazis managed to kill about million people per year at the height of their terror. For them, it was extremely costly and difficult, using technology unavailable to those in the Middle Ages, to manage the remains. In the Middle Ages, an entire industry and technology would have had to have been developed to cope with the number if what is asserted by so many were correct.


I had another thought. Let’s do some more math.

Using Dan Brown’s number of 30 million people in 350 years, let look at the load on the judiciary.

According to Church law, there can only be 4 Inquisitors in one country at a time. Therefore only four Inquisitional courts for each country.

So we had inquisitions in Spain, France and Italy. There were no inquisitions in Germany, Portugal, England, or in the East. Now of course, the French (Albigensian) Inquisition only lasted about 20 years. Also, there are no records that the Italian inquisition sentenced anyone to death. But to be generous we will assume that all three Inquisitions lasted 350 years each.

So we only had 12 Inquisitors active at any one time. Now let’s have some fun with math.

Let us assume a 10% conviction rate. That is, 10% of people brought before the Inquisitor refused to recant and therefore knowingly brought the death penalty upon themselves. That means 300 million people were tried. That is nearly every man and woman who lived during those years. It certainly exceeds the population of Europe at any given moment during this period in history.

So how many trial would each of these 12 Inquisitors have to hear? Each Inquisitor would need to hear about 71,428 trial each year. Assuming that no trials would be held on Sundays or Holy Days of Obligation and that the Inquisitors take the cannonical 28 day vacation, that leaves approximately 277 days per year that trials could be held. That works out to just under 258 trials a day. Assuming a 12 hour work day, and subtracting breaks, meals, waiting for prisoners, etc, that leaves about 10 hours each day for trials. That means that the inquisitors would only be able to spend about **2 minutes and 30 seconds **on each case. 6 days a weeks, 12 hours a day. It would also result in between 2 and 3 death sentences per inquisitor each day. This pace would need to be sustained, unbroken, for 350 years.

Of course there are real problems with this math. For example, there were never 12 inquisitors acting simultaneously. The Albigensian Inquisition ended before the Spanish started.

So again, this is sort of possible, but completely unreasonable.

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