The Witch-Hunts of the 16th Century in Pre-Modern Europe Essay

1564 WordsMay 18, 20127 Pages
The Witch-Hunts of the 16th century in pre-modern Europe, was a very gruesome time in human history. Countless people were executed as they were accused of being “witches”, primarily women. Through the decades, countless historians have been puzzled trying to find an explanation and answer the following question, were the Witch-Hunts in pre-modern Europe Misogynistic? Anne Llewellyn Barstow suggests in her paper “On Studying Witchcraft as Women’s History”, that during this time women were indeed accused and executed based off misogynistic views. She points out how women were singled out and targeted by a male dominant population based on their vulnerability and status. On the other hand historian Robin Briggs argues in his report, “Women…show more content…
Therefore they believed women used witchcrafts as the only way to protect themselves against their enemies, because they didn’t have position or power. This sort of profile of women is based off stories that people did not want to take the time fully evaluate. People accepted anything that seemed to have “evidence” supporting it, as true. Views of women just like these were what lead to the accusation of mid-wives being witches. Midwives were often accused of babies born deformed and causing miscarriages; when in fact the number of midwives that were actually convicted and executed is minimal. Records show that in Scotland only 14 out of 3,000 were mid-wives. Other areas such as England and France show similar statistics. In fact Briggs utilizes records from the Parlement of Paris in order to demonstrate that there was no concept of gender at the time. Records of trials brought to the Parlement of Parisshow that out of 1,300 witches whose case that were presented over 50% were men and out of the 500 that did not make it to the Parlement, 42% were men. Therefore, demonstrating that it was not just females that were accused and convicted, that there were massive amounts of men that were also accused. Briggs also brings forth the first hand record of Lancre that demonstrate that although a vast majority of accused “witches” accused were women in the east, a large amount of accused “witches” tended to be men in the western and central part of France. These men tended to

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