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6 The Holy Office in the Marche of Ancona

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines the history of the inquisition in a little-known area of the Papal States, the Marche of Ancona, where political and religious dissent had spread since the late Middle Ages leading to the introduction of judges delegated by the pope to oppose “heresy.” Focusing mainly on the sixteenth and seventeenth century, the chapter will address some issues: the beginnings of anti-heretical repression under Paul IV and Pius V; the relationship between the Jesuits and the inquisition; the direct intervention of Rome by some commissarii and the organization of the local court; the network of 
the vicariates of the Holy Office; the second phase of the inquisition of Ancona under Sixtus V, born in the Marche; the role of the shrine of Loreto and of its Penitentiary in the reconciliation of the repented; the control of the port, and the surveillance of book trade and religious minorities (Jews, Muslim slaves, the Orthodox); the process of Catholic discipline in the seventeenth century; the familiari and their role in the social context; the status of the surviving documentation. The chapter aims to provide a detailed fresco of how a local office of the Roman Inquisition worked in the Papal States during the early modern period.



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