ABSTRACT

The persecution of heresy in the thirteenth century led to the formation of a specific institutional structure dedicated to inquiring into these crimes of opinion and belief that offended the doctrine desired by God. The seriousness inherent in contradicting or attacking the divine will required a strong response to avoid God from interpreting this as tolerance of evil and thus prevent his wrath from falling on society as a whole. On this basis, everyone was soon familiar with the harsh punishments derived from the work of the Inquisition. Its later evolution at the end of the Middle Ages would place this punitive power among the instruments with which society was unified. However, the focus of this was not so much on erroneous beliefs but more on the behaviour of the marginal and weak sections of society.