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Title: The suspension of the Portuguese Inquisition 1674-81 : trade, religion and cross-cultural political networks in early modern Europe
Author: Lloyd, Ana-Paula
ISNI:       0000 0004 8499 9009
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2018
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How can the papal decision to suspend the Portuguese Inquisition in 1674-1681 be explained? In October 1674 Pope Clement X took the unprecedented step of halting trials of the Portuguese Inquisition, striking at the heart of its core values of secrecy and autonomy, questioning the methods used against its primary victims, the New Christians, descendants of Jews forcibly converted in 1497. But how was the disruption of such a powerful disciplinary institution possible? What motivated the decision-making processes? I argue that the suspension of the Inquisition was political and should be understood in terms of different groups' abilities to engage in 'cross-cultural' politics, between Portugal, London and Rome. In a period where politics cannot be separated from religion and economics, the study of the suspension shines new light on the reach and potential transformative power of border-crossing mercantile, religious and political networks. The Inquisition was suspended because New Christians, acting 'altruistically' in response to severe repression, galvanised an anti-Inquisition pressure group using connections made and skills gained through decades of cross-cultural trade. While faced with the exigencies of reasons of state, the Inquisition was vulnerable and initially unable to rally effective support. When negotiators came to Rome -theatre of the world - the situation called for new skills and alliances, testing the ability of both groups to maintain relevance. Ultimately the Inquisition was re-instituted thanks to the changing political situation in Rome and the shifting position of the Portuguese Regent. Tracing opposition and support to the suspension, I will seek new definitions of politics, looking particularly at the way informal networks interacted with formal structures and vice versa. In this 'political laboratory' of early modern Europe, the suspension of the Portuguese Inquisition offers a prism through which to make a more complex analysis of political manoeuvring and the myriad thrusts and influences at play between institutions, networks and individual agents.
Supervisor: Bethencourt, Francisco Tristao Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available