From the very beginning of what would become the Free Spirit Heresy its followers ran into trouble with the secular and religious authorities. BothAmaury de Bene and Giochinno de Fiori, whose ideas could be said to be at the fountainhead of the movement, underwent examination and persecution at the hands of the Church. Amaury’s writings were condemned in 1204, Amaury himself dying in 1207 having been forced to recant his views. In 1209 ten of his followers were burnt at the stake in Paris, Amaury’s body was exhumed, also burnt and the ashes scattered. By 1215 his work and followers were formally condemned by the Fourth Lateran Council and denounced as officially heretical.

In spite of the support of earlier Popes and his popularity among the people, in 1200 Gioacchino da Fiore submitted his works to Pope Innocent IIIfor examination but, like Eckhart after…

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