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Open AccessArticle

Treasure Hunt—Roman Inquisition and Magical Practices Ad Inveniendos Thesauros in Southern Tuscany

Scuola Superiore di Studi Storici, University of the Republic of San Marino, Salita alla Rocca, 44, 47890 San Marino (RSM), San Marino
Religions 2019, 10(7), 444; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10070444
Received: 5 June 2019 / Revised: 5 July 2019 / Accepted: 18 July 2019 / Published: 22 July 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Witchcraft, Demonology and Magic)
Resorting to the supernatural to find something lost is a practice that can be observed over a very large range of times and places. With the affirmation of Christianity, these kinds of habits and beliefs were considered superstitious by the Church. During the early modern era, the institution appointed to control the integrity of the faithful in the Italian peninsula was the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition, which had a significant number of local tribunals spread over the territory. This essay aims to study the diffusion of the practice of finding treasures by using magical items and rituals in the area under the jurisdiction of the Sienese tribunal of the Holy Office (approximately the entire southern Tuscany), whose trial sources are preserved in the Archive of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (Vatican City). The research, based on around seventy individual cases, shows an interesting belief from a historical–anthropological point of view, namely: although in most cases people were looking for everyday objects that they had lost, sometimes, they used the same rituals to search for ancient treasures that they heard were buried or hidden in a particular place (church, field, or cellar), with the presence of guardians like spirits or demons, that had to be driven away with a prayer or an exorcism before taking possession of the treasure. View Full-Text
Keywords: treasure hunting; Inquisition; Holy Office; heresy; sorcery; magic; divination; devil; Early Modern History treasure hunting; Inquisition; Holy Office; heresy; sorcery; magic; divination; devil; Early Modern History
MDPI and ACS Style

Tedesco, V. Treasure Hunt—Roman Inquisition and Magical Practices Ad Inveniendos Thesauros in Southern Tuscany. Religions 2019, 10, 444. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10070444

AMA Style

Tedesco V. Treasure Hunt—Roman Inquisition and Magical Practices Ad Inveniendos Thesauros in Southern Tuscany. Religions. 2019; 10(7):444. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10070444

Chicago/Turabian Style

Tedesco, Vincenzo. 2019. "Treasure Hunt—Roman Inquisition and Magical Practices Ad Inveniendos Thesauros in Southern Tuscany" Religions 10, no. 7: 444. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10070444

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