"The Italian Inquisition" by Christopher F. Black

The Italian Inquisition Christopher F. Black

Publication date:
13 Oct 2015
Yale University Press
352 pages:
16 b+w
Sales territories:

The Italian Inquisition, or Holy Office, was established in 1542, stimulated partly by the earlier Spanish operation. Certainly Spain’s “black legend” affected opinions of the Inquisition in Italy, but as this pioneering book shows, there were significant differences between their operations, targets, and casualties.


In this pioneering history of the Italian Inquisition, Christopher F. Black charts how it developed and changed over time. He maps its cumbersome means of command, supervision, and action, as well as its role as a surprisingly approachable regulatory body working within communities. Ranging right across the Italian panorama, and rooting his enquiry in striking individual cases, Black uncovers Inquisitional procedure from denunciation to punishment. This scrupulous and richly rewarding book shows how the Inquisition shaped Italy’s religious and social worlds.


Christopher Black is professor of history at the University of Glasgow. His previous books include Early Modern Italy: A Social History and Church, Religion and Society in Early Modern Italy.

"Christopher Black has delivered the book that historians of early modern Europe have all been waiting for. Focusing on key aspects of the Inquisition's history, and illustrated with vivid case histories, it is a pleasure to read and will certainly live on as a significant contribution to a range of fields for many years to come." - David Gentilcore, University of Leicester

"Impressively comprehensive and up-to-date, this book is sure to become the fundamental point of reference for Anglophone readers interested in the Roman Inquisition during the period of its most important activity." - Simon Ditchfield, University of York

"A revealing picture of this famous and often infamous institution and its organization, procedures, and personnel. With a deft hand Black effectively melds traditional institutional history, religious history and the new social and cultural history to rethink the impact of the Italian Inquisition. The result is an important synthesis which is both path-breaking and very readable." - Guido Ruggiero, University of Miami