The New Student's Reference Work/Auto-da-fé

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Auto=da=fé (a̤′tṓ-dȧ-fā′) or Act of Faith, a ceremony, often of a hideously fantastic and inhuman kind, by which the guilt or innocence of a heretical human victim was inquired into or set forth by the Spanish Inquisition. During these ceremonies and processions, a large concourse of people were generally gathered together, to witness what mostly happened, the handing over of the victim to the secular power to be put to death at the stake. Autos-da-fé were, in the 17th century, of frequent occurrence in Seville and Madrid, as well as in some cities of Portugal.