Rategno, Bernardo

Dizionario di eretici, dissidenti e inquisitori nel mondo mediterraneo [ISBN 978-88-942416-0-0]

Bernardo Rategno da Como (born c. 1450 in Como, died c. 1513, probably in Como) was a dominican inquisitor and preacher.

He belonged to the Congregation of Lombardy, which represented the observant wing of the Order of Preachers (Dominicans). He was first mentioned in 1474 as lector of sentences in the Sacred Palace in Rome. Five years later he was recorded as member of the convent of S. Domenico in Bologna. Subsequently, he served as prior of the convents in Como (1490), Faenza (1493-1494), Cremona (1501-1502) and again in Como (1506).

On 20 May 1505 he was named inquisitor of Como. He was the first inquisitor appointed for the diocese of Como alone; before that date this diocese constituted a subdistrict dependent to the inquisitorial seat at Vercelli, which supervised also the dioceses of Novara and Ivrea. He occupied that post until his death. It is known that he conducted witch trials in Valchiavenna, Berbenno and Ponte in Valtellina from 1506 but little can be said about the details of these proceedings.

He is author of Lucerna Inquisitorum Haereticae Pravitatis, a handbook of inquisitorial procedure, as well as of Tractatus de Strigibus, a theological treatise in which he had argued for the reality of the crime of witchcraft. Both were printed in Milan (1566), Rome (1584) and Venice (1596). The last two editions were published with the comments of Francisco Peña.

He died certainly between 1511 and 1514, but the exact date cannot be fixed. Since the appointment of his successor is not recorded in the first register of the Dominican Master General Tommaso de Vio (which comprises the years 1508-13), it seems most likely that he died in 1513 or perhaps even early in 1514. In any case, Antonio da Casale was certainly inquisitor of Como at the turn of 1514/15.

Bibliography

  • Michael Tavuzzi, "Renaissance Inquisitors. Dominican Inquisitors and Inquisitorial Districts in Northern Italy, 1474-1527", Brill: Leiden - Boston 2007, p. 220-221
  • Giovanni Giorgetta, "I processi dell'Inquisizione in Valtellina e Valchiavenna nel XV secolo: dalla "buona societa" alla stregoneria", available on http://www.paoloportone.it/giorgetta3/giorgetta3.htm
  • Leandro Alberti: "De viris illustribus ordinis Praedicatorum", Bologna: 1517, p. 149

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