Cacatossici, Giorgio

Dizionario di eretici, dissidenti e inquisitori nel mondo mediterraneo
Edizioni CLORI | Firenze | ISBN 978-8894241600 | DOI 10.5281/zenodo.1309444

Giorgio Cacatossici da Casale (born ca. 1455, Casale Monferrato - died before 10 July 1523) was a dominican inquisitor. He is often reported simply as Giorgio da Casale.

He was born in Casale Monferrato but entered the Order of Praechers probably in the convent of S. Domenico in Bologna, the main center of the observant Congregation of Lombardy. During the late 1470s and in 1480s he studied theology in Bolognese studium generale. On 13 March 1482 he was ordained priest. In 1490 he was a socius of prior in the convent of S. Marco in Florence but then returned to Bologna and was promoted magister of theology in 1499. Then he was acribed to the theological faculty of University of Bologna and became its dean in 1504.

On 25 April 1502 Master General of the Order of Preachers Vincenzo Bandelli appointed him inquisitor of Piacenza (as primary seat) and Cremona (as secondary seat). These two subdistricts had been withdrawn at that time from the jurisdiction of the inquisition of Pavia. It is known that almost at once new inquisitor tried to initiate witch trials in his district but met with strong opposition of local elites. Prierias reported the opposition he met in Piacenza after burning certain young woman as witch in 1503, while his problems at Cremona turned even the attention of Pope Julius II. In an undated breve Julius II gave full support to Cacatossici's efforts. Umberto Locati reported, that during the first year in office Cacatossici condemned in Piacenza five witches to be burned and two other to banishment.

Giorgio Cacatossici established in Cremona the Society of the Holy Cross (crocesignati) and obtained for it some privileges from the Pope Julius II in January 1507.

On 5 August 1511 Cacatossici was named inquisitor of Brescia and Cremona, while Piacenza was attached to the inquisitor of Milan Silvestro Mazzolini da Prierio. On 19 June 1512 Cacatossici's inquisitorial district was further enlarged by adding the diocese of Bergamo. At the same time, in the years 1512-1514 he served also as vicar general of the Congregation of Lombardy. He also remained a member of the theological faculty on the University of Bologna and several times he served as its regent master.

Probably around 1515 Cacatossici was deprived of the districts of Brescia and Cremona, but retained the district of Bergamo. It is known that already in 1512 the comune of Bergamo protested against the unification of these three districts under one inquisitor and it seems that these protests were ultimately successful. In May 1515 Cremona was united again to Piacenza under inquisitor Crisostomo Iavelli and Brescia also obtained its own inquisitor around the same time, while in Bergamo Cacatossici served as inquisitor until 1520 (presumbly the year of his death). In February 1519 he unsuccesfully asked Venetian authorities for assistance in the witch trials.

He was a teacher of Leandro Alberti, who praised him in his works as a great theologian, philosopher and polyglot. He spoke, besides his native Italian, also Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Chaldean.

He died probably in 1520, and certainly was dead by 10 July 1523.


  • Michael Tavuzzi: Renaissance Inquisitors. Dominican Inquisitors and Inquisitorial Districts in Northern Italy, 1474–1527. Leiden – Boston: BRILL, 2007, p. 72-77. ISBN 978-90-04-16094-1.
  • Rainer Decker: Witchcraft & The Papacy. An account drawning on the formerly secret records of the Roman Inquisition. Charlottesville & London: University of Virginia Press, 2010, p. 62, 70. ISBN 978-0-8139-2748-0.
  • Vincenzo Maria Fontana: Sacrum theatrum dominicanum. Roma: 1666, p. 557.

Article written by Tomasz Karlikowski | © 2014

et tamen e summo, quasi fulmen, deicit ictos
invidia inter dum contemptim in Tartara taetra
invidia quoniam ceu fulmine summa vaporant
plerumque et quae sunt aliis magis edita cumque

[Lucretius, "De rerum natura", lib. V]

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