Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/573

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553
THE EXECUTION.

feared that realics of the martyr would be preserved, especial care was taken, after the fire was extinguished, to gather up the ashes and cast them in a running stream.[1]

There is something grotesquely horrible in the contrast between this crowning exhibition of human perversity and the cool business calculation of the cost of thus sending a human soul through flame to its Creator. In the accounts of Arnaud Assalit we have a statement of the expenses of burning four heretics at Carcassonne, April 24, 1323. It runs thus:

For large wood.... 55 sols 6 deniers.
For vine-branches..... 21 sols 3 deniers.
For straw............... 2 sols 6 deniers.
For four stakes.... 10 sols 9 deniers.
For ropes to tie the convicts.... 4 sols 7 deniers.
For the executioner, each 20 sols..... 80 sols.
———————
In all............ 8 livres 14 sols 7 deniers.

or, a little more than two livres apiece.[2]

When the heretic had eluded his tormentors by death and his body or skeleton was dug up and burned, the ceremony was necessarily less impressive, but nevertheless the most was made of it. As early as 1237 Guillem Pelisson, a contemporary, describes how at Toulouse a number of nobles and others were exhumated, when "their bones and stinking corpses" were dragged through the streets, preceded by a trumpeter proclaiming "Qui aytal fara, aytal perira" - who does so shall perish so - and at length were duly burned "in honor of God and of the blessed Mary His mother, and the blessed Dominic His servant." This formula was preserved to the end, and it was not economical from a pecuniary point of view. In Assalit's accounts we find that it cost five livres nineteen sols and six deniers, in 1323, for labor to dig up the bones of three dead heretics, a sack and cord in which to stow them, and two horses to drag them to the Grève, where they were burned the next day.[3]

The agency of fire was also invoked by the Inquisition to rid

  1. Mladenowic Narrat. (Palacky Monument, J. Huss II. pp. 321-4).-Landucci Diar. Fiorent. p. 178
  2. Coll. Doat, XXXIV. 189
  3. Guillel. Pelisso Chron. Ed. Molinier p. 4i.-Coll. Doat, XXXIV 189.