In response to The Hammer of Witches and the papal bull issued by Pope Innocent VIII, major witch hunts broke out in Europe. Moreover, these were aided by new technology, the printing press, which helped to spread the mania, even across the Atlantic to America. It is not surprising that the witch hunt started around the13-15th century. During this time, Europe was overpopulated and in a poor condition with dirty streets, crime and diseases everywhere. There had to be a scapegoat for all of the mess which the church decided was witchcraft. A complex social matrix was created once an accusation was made: the accusers would try to prove the source of what had been troubling them, and ideally to gain control over that source by forcing her to back away and remove the
The evidence of witchcraft and related works has been around for many centuries. Gradually, though, a mixture a religious, economical, and political reasons instigated different periods of fear and uncertainty among society. Witchcraft was thought of as a connection to the devil that made the victim do evil and strange deeds. (Sutter par. 1) In the sixteenth, seventeenth, and twentieth century, the hysteria over certain causes resulted in prosecution in the Salem Witch Trials, European Witchcraft Craze, and the McCarthy hearings. These three events all used uncertain and unjustly accusations to attack the accused.
During the late fifteenth through the seventeenth centuries, thousands of individuals were persecuted as witches. It was thought that these individuals practiced black magic and performed evil deeds, the deeds of the devil. This all happened during a time of great change in Europe, during the time of the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic Reformation, the Scientific Revolution, and the consolidation of national governments. They were persecuted for a variety of reasons, but three major ones were religious reasons, social prejudices, and the economic greed of the people. Religious leaders such as Martin Luther and John Calvin influenced the ideas of their followers. Religion dominated the time period and it’s easy to see how many opinions
Witch hunts blazed across Europe over the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries not just killing innumerable innocent people, but stripping women of much of the power they had once held, and changing society's perceptions of women all together. The economic hardships, religious rivalries, and troubled politics of the time made accusing your neighbors of witchcraft convenient. Where there was war and poverty, or merely bad luck, peasants would assume witchcraft and rush to blame an old, defenseless woman in trials which involved unbelievable cruelty and horrible sadism. As religion and the Catholic Church began to complement and perpetuate the increasing hysteria, European society as a whole could do nothing but
For more than two hundred years, individuals were persecuted as witches throughout the continent of Europe, even though the witch hunt was concentrated on Southwestern Germany, Switzerland, England, Scotland, Poland, and parts of France. In a collective frenzy. witches were sought, identified, arrested, mostly tortured, and tried for a variety of reasons. The total number of witches tried exceeded 100,000 people. This essay is supposed to identify three major reasons for the witch craze in sixteenth and seventeenth century Europe.
Witchcraft wasn't new to the world, it had been occurring in Europe for hundreds of years. From the 14th-16th century, 40,000- 50,000 individuals in Europe were executed for the suspicion of witchcraft. Religion was very pertinent to the people of this era. Anything that was written in the bible or created by the church was law, it says in Exodus 22:18, "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." By the year of 1231, Pope Gregory IX declared that it was legal to expose and punish any belief different from Roman Catholic doctrine. Pope Innocent the VIII deemed witchcraft a heresy, with the punishment being death. Everyone followed this decree as witchcraft was wrongful in the eyes of the church. ("Search")
From the 1400’s to the 1800’s, around forty thousand individuals were executed for witchcraft, most of which occurred throughout central Europe. Constant religious and political upheaval caused elites to attempt to harness control over populations, which led to multiple laws being passed in regards to witchcraft. Torture was allowed and women and children were called to testify in the court room. Individuals who were seen to be outcasts on the outer edge of society were immediately targeted and easily suspected of sorcery. The Trial of Tempel Anneke: Records of Witchcraft Trial in Brunswick, Germany, 1663 gives its readers an inside perspective of the many different attitudes that existed towards witchcraft at the time. Because 17th century Brunswick townspeople were driven by deep Christian beliefs, they greatly feared all forms of magic, thinking them to come from the devil. Yet despite these fears, they did not completely reject witchcraft as they often sought out purported “witches” for magical solutions.
Furthermore, another cause for the witchcraft frenzy was religious uncertainty (Spielvogel 439). There were numerous witchcraft trials in the region where “Protestant-Catholic” arguments still fumed (Spielvogel 439). According to Spielvogel, “[a]s religious passions became inflamed, accusations of being in league with the devil became common on both sides” (Spielvogel 439). Additionally, another contributing factor to the widespread witchcraft hysteria was the escalating amount of trials and executions of alleged witches (Spielvogel 437).
It is important to understand the meaning of witchcraft to be able to identify what caused the massive witch-hunt in Europe. During the medieval to the early modern period witchcraft was identified as the practice of harmful, black or maleficent magic caused by a witch (Levack, 1987, p. 4). They also describe them as evildoers that associate with the Devil, kidnap children, and murder others. These accusations were untrue rumors made by the Catholic Church to promote Christianity and punish those who did not follow the church beliefs. (Levack, 1987, p. 7)
During the 1600’s there were many opinions and lifestyle changes because of witches, this time period is slightly before and during the Salem Witch Trials. In any group of people with large numbers, there are always going to be outcast, whether it’s just a birthmark or a personality tweak. That’s just life. Well in the 1600’s if you were born with red hair and freckles and both ur parents were brunette and brown eyes, then you were considered and outcast and possibly even referred to as a witch. If you were socially awkward in any way or any kind of a social outcast then you would fall into the category of a witchcraft person. If accused of being a with many things were possible to happen, killed banished. Neither are very good alternatives but it is a choice. Most people think of a witch as an older women with a huge wart, tall black hat, and riding on a broom. However this is not
Society was intolerable of witchcraft in any way, although a multitude of people acknowledged it as logic and a way of life. If someone contradicted with what was ordinarily accepted, they were said to be associated with the devil. The devil’s assistance was always available to those who were willing to pay a price. The dissemination of witchcraft in England was affected by the production inflation of Bibles which incorporated knowledge about witchcraft, the need for someone to hold accountable for plagues and disasters, and having access to medicines and herbs with techniques that have been passed down through generations.
Witch trials are not new to people who know or enjoy history, in fact, they are a staple of Early Modern European history. It is a common misconception that witch trials were nothing but an excuse to hunt shadows and get back at people they did not like, that there was a sense of mad hysteria like in The Crucible. The Trial of Tempel Anneke is a trial record from 1663 that on the surface does not have much too it, but in fact shows the reader a lot of the inner psyche of common people from this time as well as how empirical the courts were in these court trials
When analyzing all of the information provided in the two books, Witchcraft in Europe by Alan Charles Kors and Edward Peters and Magic and Superstition in Europe by Michael D. Bailey, there are a multitude of common themes that appear repeatedly in both pieces of work on the topic of witchcraft. These common themes vary in topic with some relating to the stereotypical appearance of witches, the actions witches performed, or even the legal procedures involving the conviction of witches. These themes do not only show themselves in those two pieces of work, but also in The Trial of Tempel Anneke by Peter A. Morton. While common themes can be seen in reference to Tempel Anneke’s trial, there are also many
In the mid-seventeenth century there was a great increase in the number of witchcraft accusations, more precisely in a little country located in southern Europe called Malta. At this time in Europe there was a system of tribunals, a court of justice, created by the Catholic Church called the Roman Inquisition (Carmel. 1993: 316-317). According to Caramel Cassar, the purpose of these tribunals at first was to keep the Catholic faith alive and to eliminate the spread of the Protestant faith (Carmel. 1993: 316-317). Unfortunately at the start of the seventeenth century the Catholic Church had a bigger