Huesca temática

Number 143 - April of 2010Spanish language Principal menu

Rafael Salillas Panzano

A writer and a doctor,,
an authority in criminology.

     Mr. Rafael Salillas y Panzano was born in Angüés (Huesca) on March 26, 1854, being his parents Commander Mr. Ramón Salillas and Mrs Maria Panzano. He did his first studies in Huesca to begin the Medicine career in the University of Saragossa and to finish it in Madrid. For some years he exercised his doctor's profession in Huesca, until he decided to go to Madrid where he was established, beginning in 1880 a modest work as officer Conscripted in the Headquarter of Penal Establishments. But his brilliant work soon makes him stand out and in 1885 he is nominated a Chief of the Department of Hygiene and Anthropology of the Department of the Interior. His literary love impels him to write stage plays and manages to release "Two ideas" drama in three acts, in the Spanish Theater. But his first collaboration with Dr. Simarro specified in the book "Criminal mental hospitals", decides his definitive vocation.
     In 1887 he is entrusted to organize the Section of Penitentiary of the Universal Exhibition of Barcelona and he is present in 1890 at the Penitentiary International Congress of Saint Petersburg, what gives him the opportunity to visit the penitentiary establishments of Saint Petersburg, Moscow, Berlin and Paris.
     Attracted by the study of the regicides and his psychology, he writes a series of articles about the Merino Priest in "The New Juridical Science", obtaining of the proper Minister of this matter the permission to use papers reserved on this personage of his epoch
     His production is constant and publishes "The Criminal slang" and "The Heart in the tattoo", and a little later "Mrs Concepción Arenal in the Penitentiary Science" (1894), "roguish Psychology" (1895), "The ñáñigos in Cuba" (1895), "Underworld" (1898), "The Spanish Delinquent: The Language" (1896) and "The crazy delinquents in Spain" (1899). The same year Mr. Francisco Giner de los Rios, requests his contest to create in the Chair of Criminal Law a Seminar of Criminology", germ of the future School. His ideas on Criminal Anthropology developed in the diverse publications and studies culminate in his work in two volumes "The Basic Theory" (1901).
     After carrying out several administrative charges, he is named in 1902 Secretary of the Top Meeting of Prisons. The same year, Eduardo Dato, at that time, the Minister of Grace and Justice, names Member of the Commission of Social Reforms, promoting later Adviser and General Secretary of the Penitentiary Advice when he came to the Department Mr. Joaquín Sánchez Toca. It was then when he prepared his Report on the Penitentiary Reform.
     He publishes "The fascination in Spain (Bruges, Witchcrafts and Amulets)" (1905) and directs the "Penitentiary Magazine", in which he publishes a series of articles about the social causes of the crime. His works appear "Poesía rufianesca" (1905), "The Delinquency and Hardship in the Quixotic" (1905),"La Criminalidad y Penalidad en el Quijote" (1905), "Golfines y Golfos" (1905) y "Un gran inspirador de Cervantes: El Dr. Juan Huarte de San Juan y su Examen de Ingenios" (1905)

     He is present at several International Congresses like those of Liège and Turin on Criminal Anthropology, the last one presided by proper Cesare Lombroso, who distinguished him naming our compatriot Presidente Honorario of the same. In the fourth edition of his famous work "L'Uomo criminale" are mentioned the works of Salillas and his statistics on the tattoo.
      In 1906 he is nominated the Director of the Cellular Prison of Madrid. His kind and humanitarian politics provoked uprisings in several prisons, but his system of improving the feeding of the prisoners, as well as their hygiene and their garment would end up by being imposed in the whole Spain.
      He continues untiringly publishing articles in the "Penitentiary Magazine". And in 1906 it comes to the culmination of his work when there is nominated the Director of the School of Criminology, created by R.D. of March 12, 1903, charge that he would redeem up to his death.
      He publishes in this epoch his works on regicides: "La celda de Ferrer" (1907), "La ejecución de Angiolillo" (1908), "Morral el anarquista" y "Las Cortes de Cádiz" (1910). Orígenes de una tragedia" (1914),which continue to his previous work from several years "Capitán Clavijo" published in 1895.
      He directed the `Revista de Antropología Criminal y Ciencias Médico-Legales'. Liberal wrote numerous articles in `El Liberal', in `Revista de Jurisprudencia', in `Revista Popular', in `Revista de Antropología Criminal' and in `La España Moderna'.

  Mouse On, otra foto

     In 1918 his "Penitentiary Evolutionin in Spain" appears, in two volumes; and in 1920 he gives his conference in the Real Academy of Jurisprudence and Legislation "Inspirers of Mrs Concepción Arenal".
      In the last years of his life he intervened in the national politics being Delegated twice to Spanish Parliament. He belonged to the Real Patronage of the repression of the White Slave Traffic, Member of the Institute of Social reforms and of the Top Council of Protection to the Infancy.
      After such a prolific work he dies in Madrid on May 23, 1923, as a consequence of a surgical intervention.


 Some photographs of Angüés Museo de Antropología Médica-Forense, Paleopatología y Criminalística de la Escuela de Medicina Legal de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid.  Manuel Tomé *  Museo de Antropología Médica-Forense (Madrid)
** Manuel Tomé Bosqued

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