Page:A History of the Inquisition of the Middle Ages-Volume I .pdf/344

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series of laws instituting an episcopal Inquisition of the severest character, to be supported by the royal officials ; in this appears for the first time a secular prohibition of the Bible in the vernacular. All possessing any books of the Old or New Testament, "in Romancio," are summoned to deliver them within eight days to their bishops to be burned, under pain of being held suspect of heresy. Thus, with the exception of farther Spain and the Northern nations, where heresy had never taken root, throughout Christendom the State was rendered completely subservient to the Church in the great task of exterminating heresy. And, when the Inquisition had been established, the enforcing of this legislation was the peculiar privilege of the inquisitors, whose ceaseless vigilance and unlimited powers gave full assurance that it would be relentlessly carried into effect.[1]

Meanwhile zeal or jealousy led, in the confusion and uncertainty of this transition period, to the experiment, in several parts of Italy, of a secular Inquisition. In Kome, in 1231, Gregory IX. drew up a series of regulations which was issued by the Senator Annibaldo in the name of the Roman people. Under this the senator was bound to capture all who were designated to him as heretics, whether by inquisitors appointed by the Church or other good Catholics, and to punish them within eight days after condemnation. Of their confiscated property one third went to the detector, one third to the senator, and one third to repairing the city walls. Any house in which a heretic was received was to be destroyed, and converted forever into a receptacle of filth. "Credentes" were treated as heretics, while fautors, receivers, etc., forfeited one third of their possessions, applicable to the city walls. A fine of twenty lire was imposed on any one cognizant of heresy and not denouncing it ; while the senator who neglected to enforce the law was subject to a mulct of two hundred marks and perpetual disability to office. To appreciate the magnitude of these fines we must consider the rude poverty of the Italy of the period as described by a contemporary — the squalor of daily fife

  1. Archives Nat. de France, J. 436, No. 4. — Martene Ampliss. Collect. VII. 123-4.— Bernard. Guidon. Practica P. iv. (Coll. Doat, XXX.).— Clem. PP. IV. Bull. Pre cunctis, 23 Feb. 1266.
    In 1229 the Council of Toulouse had already prohibited all laymen from possessing any of the Scriptures, even in Latin (Concil. Tolosan. ann. 1229, c. 14).