The Popes insistence on religious orthodoxy meant that freethought and secular values were increasingly challenged in the aftermath of the Sack of Rome. The Inquisition became more active, as the Pope sought to stamp out every sign of free thought or ideas that were contrary to the teachings of the Church. The growing fear of Protestantism was also instrumental in the new climate, but the fear of the Emperor after the Sack and the Spanish meant that the Inquisition became all-pervasive in Italian society. This was to have a devastating impact on the Renaissance. This cultural flourishing was premised on an attempt to reproduce the classical world. It was mostly humanistic, secular and often overtly pagan and this was no longer possible in the aftermath of the capture of Rome in 1527.
It became increasingly difficult for the humanist who was once so influential in expressing their views and instead of studying the ancient classics they were expected to study religious works.<ref> Burckhardt, p. 120</ref> No longer could they think and write freely as by the mid-1500s they were intimidated by the Inquisition. The new emphasis on religious orthodoxy meant that many noble patrons were unwilling to subsidize the works of humanists who expressed ‘pagan’ ideas.