The composer who mutilated his wife also tortured his mistress

More psychoanalytic reflections on the troubled life of Carlo Gesualdo, Prince of Venosa. Dr Ruth McAllister, a forensic psychoanalyst, thinks he had relationship difficulties.

gesualdo torture


Aurelia d’Errico, a former mistress of his, was brought to trial with an associate in 1603, accused of witchcraft against him. Gesualdo was chronically unwell. His doctors gave evidence that, as his illness did not respond to normal remedies, it must be supernatural. Aurelia confessed, but under torture, which of course means no reliance can be placed on a single thing she said.

Inquisition torture

She claimed she had been involved with the Prince for ten years but he had given her up. She used sorcery to try to get him back. She claimed she had given him a love potion of her menstrual blood to drink, among other things. This was believed to be a poison at the time. The women were convicted in an ecclesiastical court.

Read the full essay here.

And the first part here.

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