1231 POPE GREGORY IX
Instituted the papal inquisition. The inquisitional court was set up to look into the large scale heresies (i.e. Cathari and Waldenses) which arose during the 11th and 12th centuries. Until that time, most treatment of heretics was dealt with locally, usually by burning. The name "Inquisition" is derived from the Latin verb "inquiro" (inquire into), and at lest at the beginning, inquisitors traveled from town to town looking into individual cases and pronouncing judgment. According to Gregory's decree any heretic who confessed and repented only received imprisonment with penance. The heretic who persisted received capital punishment. The inquisitors - or judges - of this medieval Inquisition were recruited almost exclusively from the Franciscan and Dominican orders. There were three inquisitions. The first started in 1231. The second, which was against Conversos, started in 1478. It was known as the Spanish Inquisition (also see 1461). The third, which started in 1542, was for the most part was against the protestants, and was known as the Roman inquisition.