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219 Conclusion In this book I have taken a somewhat unusual angle of vision and emphasized the degree to which politics affected the Roman Inquisition’s development, sometimes almost to the exclusion of other factors. The big trials covered—of Tommaso Campanella, Giordano Bruno, Cesare Cremonini, Marcantonio De Dominis and the two Alidosi—have almost nothing in common except the degree to which politics determined the outcome. Thus the nearly permanent jurisdictional disputes in Naples between the Roman Inquisition, the archbishop’s Inquisition and the viceregal authorities almost by themselves account for the length of Campanella’s nearly thirty-year processo. Similarly, Venetian subject De Dominis’s ideas on the limited nature of papal power would have suited the Venetians nicely during the interdict crisis in 1606–1607, but they came to public notice more than a decade too late, when the Venetians no longer needed them (or him). While nearly all those who had written in defense of Venice remained safe within its borders, two who left, De Dominis and Fulgenzio Manfredi, were also the only two to be executed, albeit De Dominis only symbolically. Likewise, Giordano Bruno, who might have hoped for protection from the Venetians when he chose the republic as his point of reentry to Italy in 1591, had insufficient standing in it to merit such protection and wound up relatively easily extradited to Rome, where he too would be executed. Finally, the Alidosi. Their interlinked trials lasted nearly as long as Campanella’s, as the grand dukes successfully protected one of their symbolically more important vassals—who also attracted strong backing from France and the Empire—and his son. In order to achieve his goal of dispossessing the son, Urban VIII had to abandon the Inquisition and use other papal bureaucracies. Despite Urban’s marked propensity to use the Inquisition for any and all purposes, it failed him in the case of Castel del Rio, as it had Paul V against Venice. conclusion 220 When their beautiful new instrument turned under their hands, the popes had little choice but to revert to one of their oldest tools, diplomacy. The papal diplomatic apparatus had undergone an evolution similar to the Inquisition’s, if longer, becoming steadily both more subordinate to the pope and also more bureaucratized. Until the late sixteenth century, the popes had relied on direct personal representatives, legates, to stand in for them on important missions. Most were designated a latere, literally “from [the pope’s] side,” and thereby became for all practical purposes the pope himself. For example, Reginald Pole (1500–1558), during his final legation for the reconciliation of England (1553– 57), was another pope and could do whatever Julius III might have done, with Julius’s full backing.1 While legates did hold an office in the sense of a formalized post, it retained important overtones of the classical sense of officium, an obligation incumbent on a particular individual, rather than the modern one of a post that anyone might occupy. Their appointments were never permanent , and their legatine staff, as in Pole’s case, were almost indistinguishable from the members of their households. In short, the institution of legate was never fully bureaucratized, and a powerful legate could challenge the pope, as Paul IV, the moving force behind the establishment of the Roman Inquisition, feared Pole intended to do. It was not until the early seventeenth century that the office of legate fell increasingly into desuetude, replaced by that of nuncio, a lower-ranking but permanent representative, entirely beholden to the pope and to the rules of his office, by then highly routinized.2 It is a tell-tale coincidence that Giovanni Garzia Millini, later the Inquisition’s secretary, early in his career exercised one of the last legations.3 His junior status clearly indicates how the position had declined in importance. When the pope used diplomacy in preference to the Inquisition, he exercised his will through one bureaucracy at the expense of another. As in Florence, so in Venice and Naples. Despite the best efforts of the popes and the Roman Inquisition to build out to the localities its fully bureaucratized and professionalized institution, thereby creating a unified tool for an “absolutely monarchical” papacy. But local forces put up enough obstacles that the Roman Inquisition was often forced to go around its own local agents and deploy papal diplomats instead.4 This pattern manifests itself clearly in Galileo’s case, the subject of my next book, but this one...


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