Intermediate groups in the Portuguese dominions: the ‘familiares’ of the Holy Office (c. 1570 -1773)




Start . 2012

Duration . 43 months

Principal Investigator . Fernanda Olival (CIDEHUS / UÉ)



Funding Entity

Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia

Main Research Unit

Centro Interdisciplinar de História, Culturas e Sociedades / Universidade de Évora

Universidade de Évora


CHAM — Centro de Humanidades



The aim of this project is to analyse the ways in which the intermediate groups (those situated between the popular groups and the nobility) struggled to obtain the right to serve as ‘familiares’ of the Inquisition; how they capitalised on this singular distinction in different contexts, and what kind of social profiles they have.




We would like to stress 5 core objectives:

- To increase existing knowledge on intermediate groups during the Portuguese Ancien Régimen;

- To investigate in depth one of the most important institutions in Italian and Iberian societies, the Inquisition, where all social strata played a part;

 - To answer the question of how the right to apply for a ‘familiatura’ could be obtained in Portugal, by carefully looking at different periods; 

 - To trace the social profile and the activity of the ‘familiares’ of the Holy Office, by comparing different areas of Portugal with some of its colonies, and with Spain;

- To develop knowledge on prosopographic databases that are able to respect the complexity and dynamics of historical data.






Fernanda Olival   .   Coordenator 
Albertina Ferreira (ESAS)
Aldair Rodrigues
Ana Isabel López-Salazar (UCLM)
Bruno Feitler (UFBA)
Bruno Lopes
Carlos Caldeira (UÉ)
João de Figueirôa-Rêgo (CHAM)
Nuno Camarinhas (CEDIS / FD/NOVA)
Tiago C. P. dos Reis Miranda