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This article is about the ritual. You may be looking for the memory of Arno Dorian or the memory of Aguilar de Nerha.
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Aguilar de Nerha escaping an auto-da-fé

An auto-da-fé (English: act of faith) was a ritual of public penance of condemned heretics.

The auto-da-fé was originally a ritual used by the Spanish Inquisition, in which the accused would prove their good faith to fellow Christians. However, the proceedings often ended with the accused being condemned to death, in some cases by burning at the stake, and so the term therefore came to refer to the burning itself.[1]


In 1491, the Templar Gaspar Martínez planned to burn a captive Assassin alive.[2] Fortunately, the Italian Assassin Ezio Auditore assassinated Martínez and rescued the Assassin before the execution could be carried out.[3]

In 1492, a team of Spanish Assassins, led by Aguilar de Nerha, assassinated Gustavo Ramírez's executioner before he could perform an auto-da-fé.[4]

Later that year, Aguilar, María, and their Mentor Benedicto were subjected to an auto-da-fé in Seville by Tomás de Torquemada and the Spanish Inquisition, with King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile in attendance. Although Benedicto was executed, Aguilar and Maria were able to free themselves and fight their way out of Seville to escape.[1]

During the French Revolution, auto-da-fé took on the meaning of a revolutionary act of faith directed against Christian clerics.[5]

In 1683, Francisco Rizi made the oil painting entitled Grand Inquisition. In 2016, a copy of it hung in the Council of Elders' meeting room.[1]


Behind the scenes

Rizi's painting used in the film is a stylized version of his actual artwork, Auto de fe en la plaza Mayor de Madrid. Its most glaring difference is the replacement of the central, fenced-off, open-air court with the execution stakes shown in Sevendalino Khay's above three concept pieces for the film. The partial green crest with gold writing on the right hand bleacher in the original work is also missing.[6]

Further, it is not a representation of the film's location of the auto-da-fe, nor of any of the characters in that scene. As clearly stated in the title, the area depicted is Plaza Mayor in Madrid, not Seville, and instead features King Charles II, Queen Marie Louise d'Orléans, and queen mother Mariana of Austria in the background presiding over an auto-da-fe on 30 June 1680, with Grand Inquisitor Diego Sarmiento Valladares standing on the ground just left of their box holding a crozier. According to Alguacil Mayor (Chief Justice) José del Olmo, the stage architect and an Inquisition informant, the ceremony lasted all day, as recorded in great detail in his book, Relación histórica del auto general de fe, que se celebró en Madrid Este Año de 1680.[6]

In the movie novelization, a copy of the real painting hung in the Council of Elders' meeting room, where Ellen Kaye correctly named the piece and the date of the events depicted, with Alan Rikkin observing that he thought the queen looked too old to be Isabella I.[7]



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