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The Humiliati (Italian Umiliati) were an Italian religious order of men formed probably in the 12th century. It was suppressed by a
Its origin is obscure. According to some chroniclers, certain noblemen of
At this time they were often called "Barettini", from their beret-shaped head-dress. Their acquaintance with the German woollen manufactures enabled them to introduce improved methods into Italy, thus giving a great impetus to the industry, supplying the poor with employment and distributing their gains among those in want.
Returning to their own country, the Humiliati had contact with
At that time there were certain citizens of Lombard towns who lived at home with their families, chose a distinctive form of religious life, refrained from lies, oaths and law suits, were satisfied with plain clothing, and argued for the Catholic faith. They approached the pope and besought him to confirm their way of life. This the pope granted them, provided that they did all things humbly and decently, but he expressly forbade them to hold private meetings or to presume to preach in public. But spurning the apostolic command, they became disobedient., for which they suffered excommunication. They called themselves Humiliati because they did not use colored cloth for clothing, but restricted themselves to plain dress.
The fraternity spread rapidly and gave rise to two new branches, a "second order" composed of women, and a "third order" composed of priests. The order of priests, once formed, claimed precedence over the other branches, and on the model of