Author Topic: Balthasar Gerard  (Read 203 times)

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Balthasar Gerard
« on: October 03, 2017, 09:26:36 pm »
At his trial, Gerard was sentenced to be brutally – even by the standards of that time – killed. The magistrates decreed that the right hand of Gerard should be burned off with a red-hot iron, that his flesh should be torn from his bones with pincers in six different places, that he should be quartered and disemboweled alive, his heart torn from his bosom and flung in his face, and that, finally, his head should be taken off.

Gerard's torture was also very brutal. On the first night of his imprisonment Gerard was hung on a pole and lashed with a whip. After that his wounds were smeared with honey and a goat was brought to lick the honey off his skin with his rough tongue. The goat however refused to touch the body of the sentenced. After this and other tortures he was left to pass the night with his hands and feet bound together, like a ball, so sleep would be difficult. During the following three days, he was repeatedly mocked and hung on a pole with his hands tied behind his back. Then a weight of 300 metric pounds (150 kg) was attached to each of his big toes for half an hour. After this half hour Gerard was fitted with shoes made of well-oiled, uncured dog skin; the shoes were two fingers shorter than his feet. In this state he was put before a fire. When the shoes warmed up, they contracted, crushing the feet inside them to stumps. When the shoes were removed, his half-broiled skin was torn off. After his feet were damaged, his armpits were branded. After that he was dressed in a shirt soaked in alcohol. Then burning bacon fat was poured over him and sharp nails were stuck between the flesh and the nails of his hands and feet.
La Tristesse Durera Toujours                                  (The Sadness Lasts Forever ...)
-van Gogh.

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Re: Balthasar Gerard
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2017, 06:34:22 am »
It is difficult to have pity for a mercenary, one who commits murder for money.

William of Orange, born in Germany in 1533 and brought up as a Lutheran, had become trusted by the Catholic King Philip II of Spain to the extent of being appointed governor general of Spain’s possessions in the northern parts of the Low Countries, which roughly equate to today’s Netherlands. Philip’s attempt to force Catholicism on a Protestant people was what led to rebellion and William’s silent refusal to continue to act as his agent.

Many acts of violence and cruelty followed, leading eventually, in 1580, to Philip putting a price on William’s head, namely 25,000 gold crowns to whoever might “deliver him unto us quick or dead”.

While I of course have sympathy for the kind of indescribable agony Balthasar Gerard experienced, my instincts tell me that this man was greedy for the 25,000 gold crowns offered by the King of Spain.

Balthazar Gerard was a fanatical Catholic who had managed to gain employment in William’s household.

After the murder, the reward was duly paid by King Philip to Gerard’s family.  Blood money.

I suppose there are at least two sides to every story.

It is not wise to do the dirty work of princes.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2017, 09:37:26 pm by { { } } »
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