Guests: Jimmy Carr, Rich Hall, Phill Jupitus
Aired: 30th September 2011, BBC Two
Monty Python's Flying Circus notwithstanding, everybody expected the Spanish Inquisition. Inquisitors had to announce their appearance 30 days in advance so as to give their potential victims time to confess and receive a lighter punishment.
The Tribunal of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, as the Spanish Inquisition was properly known, was established in 1478 by the Spanish Ferdinand and Isabella to maintain Catholic orthodoxy in their kingdoms, and to replace the Medieval Inquisition, which was under papal control. It was intended in part to ensure that those who had converted from Judaism and Islam had stayed as Catholics. It got even worse after royal decrees were issued in 1492 and 1501 ordering Jews and Muslims to convert or leave the country, and was only abolished in 1834. Its agenda was anti-Semitic, in that its main purpose was to persecute ethnic Jews who had converted to Christianity but were suspected of apostasy.
The Catholic Church still has an inquisition. In 1542 Pope Paul III established the
Congregation of the Holy Office of the Inquisition as a permanent department. In 1908 the name of the Congregation became 'The Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office', which in 1965 further changed to 'Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith', which is what it is known as today. Its job is to promote and safeguard the Catholic doctrines. The current Pope was leader (Prefect) of this Inquisition under John Paul II; the current head of the Inquisition is an American named William Levada.
In ancient Ireland, if you didn't have any nipples, you couldn't become king. Sucking a king’s nipples was a gesture of submission for commoners and so cutting them off would make you incapable of kingship. According to Eamonn P. Kelly, keeper of Irish Antiquities at the National Museum of Ireland, this means that Oldcroghan Man, a bog-body found with his nipples pinched and cut, was either a failed king or failed candidate for kingship, who had been ritually deprived of this attribute of kingship. He was then killed and placed in the bog. Of course there are other possibilities, but Kelly’s account appears to be the mainstream one.
Oldcroghan man had very well manicured nails, and was preserved so perfectly that his discovery sparked a police murder investigation before archaeologists were called in. Radiocarbon dating showed that he lived somewhere between 362bc and 175bc. Another contemporaneous bog-body, Clonycavan man, was also well-preserved: he coiffed up his hair using an early hair gel made from
vegetable plant oil mixed with resin from pine trees found in Spain and south-west France.Stephen's Cards
There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision.
Alice, indecision may or may not be your problem.