The trial of Giorgio Moreto before the Inquisition in Venice, 1589
in Judicial tribunals in England and Europe, 1200–1700

This chapter illustrates the day-to-day workings of one tribunal, in the hope that readers will draw their own conclusions about the judges, the prisoner and the society in which they were placed. It presents in English translation the record of the trial of an obscure person who was arrested by the Inquisition in Venice. The tribunal which inquired into the misconduct of Giorgio Moreto, 'Swarthy George', was one of some forty Italian branches of the Roman Inquisition, responsible to the Holy Office created in 1542 and the Congregation of the Index of 1571. The ecclesiastical judges of the Inquisition functioned with the collaboration, sometimes grudgingly and sometimes enthusiastically given, of the lay authorities in the states and cities which housed their tribunals. Giorgio's offence was to challenge, perhaps unthinkingly, the orderly scheme which authorities, both clerical and lay, were seeking to impose upon Venice as upon other Catholic cities.

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