Graffiti found at ancient Italian prison

Graffiti left by prisoners held by the Inquisition in Sicily more than 200 years ago have been found on the walls of an ancient prison.

The Steri, the Inquisition's headquarters, is being converted into a museum, the Italian news agency ANSA reported. Between 1601 and 1782, hundreds of people the Catholic Church suspected of heresy or witchcraft were held there for questioning and torture, few of them emerging alive.

Historians have been able to identify some of the prisoners from information they left behind on the wall. Archaeologists have also discovered elaborate artwork, including an entire wall depicting the Battle of Lepanto.

"Many of the victims were simply intellectuals or artists whom the church considered a threat to its power," Domenico Policarpi, who heads the project, told ANSA.

The graffiti provide a window into a world that is little-known because the viceroy in Palermo in 1782 ordered Inquisition documents burned.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Citation: Graffiti found at ancient Italian prison (2006, June 16) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2006-06-graffiti-ancient-italian-prison.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
0 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more