Domini canes, or the hounds of the Lord. This celebrated pun alludes to Dominicans’ role as guardians of the Roman Catholic faith. The Order of Preachers was established by the Castilian Domingo de Guzmán within the context of religious and doctrinal struggles occurring during the first two decades of the 13th century. Dominicans devoted themselves to the study and teaching of theology in order to preach the Gospel. During the Middles Ages and the modern era, this led them to participate in the Inquisition courts and the struggle against heresy, although Dominicans proved themselves willing to criticize Papal prerogatives, as shown by the parable of Girolamo Savonarola. Later, Dominicans were also major actors in American and African missionary activities. After a stretch of diminished influence, at the end of the 19th century the preaching friars found a new role thanks to theological scholarship and the practice of evangelism.
Massimo Carlo Giannini teaches Institution of History and History of Political Communication at the University of Teramo.