The "witch craze" was a period in European history during the late Middle Ages and early modern period when persecution of individuals accused of witchcraft was widespread. This period is also known as the "Burning Times," as accused witches were often burned at the stake. The witch craze began in the 14th century and reached its peak in the 16th and 17th centuries, before eventually declining in the 18th and 19th centuries.
During the witch craze, people were accused of practicing witchcraft for a variety of reasons. Some were accused because they were considered to be outsiders of mainstream society, such as beggars, widows, and elderly people who were seen as a burden on the community. Others were accused because they were thought to have unusual abilities, such as the ability to heal or predict the future, and were therefore seen as a threat to the established order. Still others were accused simply because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time and were easy targets for accusations.
The witch craze was fueled by a variety of factors, including social, economic, and political changes that were occurring in Europe at the time. The late Middle Ages saw significant social upheaval, with many people feeling a sense of uncertainty and fear about the future. The witch craze can be seen as a way for people to cope with this fear by blaming and punishing those who were seen as a threat to society.
The witch craze also had a strong religious component, with many people accusing witches of worshipping the Devil and participating in satanic rituals. This fear of the Devil and the belief in his ability to influence people's lives was fueled by the teachings of the Catholic Church, which saw the Devil as a real and present threat.
The persecution of accused witches was often carried out by the Church and secular authorities, who used a variety of methods to identify and punish those accused of witchcraft. These methods included torture, trial by ordeal, and the use of witch-hunters, who were paid to find and prosecute accused witches.
The witch craze eventually began to decline in the 18th and 19th centuries, as scientific and rational thinking began to replace superstition and fear as the dominant way of explaining the world. However, the legacy of the witch craze lives on, as the persecution and execution of accused witches remains a dark chapter in the history of Europe.
The History of Witch Craze & Witch Hunters
I remember feeling so frustrated but I later articulated to him the importance of this study. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Author information Name: Prof. Witches and Witch Hunts: A Global History. . Lastly, Barstow justly, in part also attributes the criminalization of women to their professional overlap with that of male doctors and clergymen. To add to the fire, he preached to everyone in the city, telling them all about the threat of witches.
Witch Craze: Terror and Fantasy in Baroque Germany by Lyndal Roper
In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries thousands of women confessed to being witches—of making pacts with the Devil, causing babies to sicken, and killing animals and crops—and were put to death. The Pope signed the famous Summis Desiderantes if you were there, you would have thought it was famous a edict recognizing the existence of witchcraft, the existence of witches and he gave the church power to hunt witches. Drawing on hundreds of original trial transcripts and other rare sources in four areas of Southern Germany, where most of the witches were executed, Lyndal Roper paints a vivid picture of their lives, families, and tribulations. Although he, who is educated and literate, would be expected to have no religious bias is this case, he forgets about all his learning and reverts to religion, which was so influential at the time. Retrieved 21 December 2021.
Major Reasons For the Persecution of Witches in Europe Essay Example
New Delhi: Concept Publishing Company. Retrieved 8 January 2019. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan. Hammer of the Witches title page, 1669 edition. The villagers related that the witch-finders were always right because the witches they found were always the people whom the village had feared all along.
The Sabbat, as it was known, was a gathering of other witches. Hans Kung provides a summary of scholarly opinions: —reactions to bitterness and cursing of individual women from the peasantry; —patriarchal anxieties about solitary women and their often quite real knowledge of medicine and contraception; —the hostile attitude of the trained doctors who first appeared with the universities , as opposed to popular medicine and the midwives and healers with no professional training who had been available to the people all down the centuries, with their often well-tried and traditional 'secret knowledge' especially about giving birth, birth control and healings of all kinds ; —women as scapegoats for impotence and barrenness, for the failure of harvests, disease among cattle and catastrophe, sickness and death; —a general xenophobia replacing hostility to the Jews which after all the expulsions largely lacked any focus ; —the sexual obsessions and fantasies of celibate church inquisitors who showed interest in the alleged perversions, obscenities and orgies even with demons of women with an insatiable lust, vilifying the witches as followers of Satan, so that they became a dark feminine principle this was compensated for on the other side by the idealization of women in Mary—above the senses, pure and conceived without a stain ; —the reaction of the church hierarchy and the absolutist authorities to an underground, uncontrollable popular culture; —the confessionalizing which was interested in a far-reaching disciplining of the thought and behavior of subjects. The question whether the Pope himself believed in them has nothing to do with the subject. The Lancashire Witches: Histories and Stories. Another reason why people were persecuted as being witches was because of their sex.
In 1542 Parliament passed the Witchcraft Act which defined witchcraft as a crime punishable by death. There the unclean spirits, who beheld them as they wandered through the wilderness, bestowed their embraces upon them and begat this savage race, which dwelt at first in the swamps, a stunted, foul and puny tribe, scarcely human, and having no language save one which bore but slight resemblance to human speech. Retrieved 6 February 2011. This week I based most of the writing off the work of Hans Peter Broedel and his work The Malleus Maleficarum: and the Construction of Witchcraft- Theology and Popular Belief. Witchcraft in Early Modern England.
One study finds that witchcraft beliefs are associated with antisocial attitudes: lower levels of trust, charitable giving and group participation. Once Kramer got what he imagined a witch was, from his first victim, he would torture the others until they gave him the same answers, and then he would mark down their confessions. Whereas witchcraft cases in the colonial era, especially in former British Central Africa, were based on the official dogma that witchcraft is an illusion so that people invoking witchcraft would be punished as either impostors or slanderers , in contemporary legal practice in Africa witchcraft appears as a reality and as an actionable offence in its own right. Retrieved 6 February 2011. Also in 2007, Abdul Hamid Bin Hussain Bin Moustafa al-Fakki, a Sudanese national, was sentenced to death after being convicted of producing a spell that would lead to the reconciliation of a divorced couple.
It was his obsession. From the Middle Ages until the 1700s, a fevered witch craze was spread throughout Europe. The frequency of persecutions and witch-hunts were not constant throughout, again leading one to question the reasoning behind this fluctuation. The Witchcraft Trials in Finnmark, northern Norway. That is dark magic, or Maleficium. This is during a time where your church leaders were your judge, jury and executioner.
The Major Reasons Of The Witch Craze In Europe: Free Essay Example, 1410 words
California: Stanford University Press, 1972. The beliefs were held as such truth that these innocent individuals would most likely by the end of their torture end up believing what they were charged with. Witches and Witch-Hunts: A Global History. Retrieved 13 September 2013. You might also be familiar with the centuries-long history of ongoing witch hunts in early modern Europe, which most scholars agree began with the widespread persecution of heresy during the medieval Inquisition and continued up until the 18th century.