European Witch Hunts

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The European Witch Hunts was a time that lasted between 1450-1750, these hunts incorporated a series of trials for the crime of “witchcraft” which primarily resulted in the accused’s execution. This time period has several names accommodated with it such as The European Witch Craze, The European Witch Trials, and several more. This period of time as well embarks many characteristics of Europe in a pre-enlightenment manner such as ignorance, belief in hearsay, and many others. Today, the european witch hunts are a controversial topic among scholars whilst their is only but few sources on this topic. Among these factors the witch hunts have been brought up with correlating issues in this day and age, prominently gender issues. Roughly, around…show more content…
The Devil would have people whom were called witches that made a vow to worship and serve him(Lambert). This derogatory term of witch soon spread around Europe among this time. The calumniation of fear was building up amongst local neighbors in fact. With these fearful terms and news about witches it was when the trials were soon to occur. Many books were created during the time period of the witch hunts, one book in particular which was created around 1486 named “Malleus Maleficarum” which translates to Hammer of Witches(University of Pennsylvania). This fifteenth century book was essentially a handbook for identifying witches. These witch trials would commonly occur in Central Europe, Germany, France, and Switzerland(Lambert). These frequencies of the trials varied overtime(Lambert). For example, “The Burning times” which had occurred during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and was the peak of the witch trial executions during the time compared to, the beginnings of the trials that occurred in France and Germany. Statistically, “The Burning Times” were a highly probable to be the peak of the european witch hunt death toll. According to a data chart found on “Estimates of Executions” the results come too 12,545 in the category of Death Toll and 35,184 - 63,850 for estimated death toll (Hutton). Compared to the…show more content…
The society in this time period was disoriented and in complete hysteria. The society around this time would usually base their accusations on hearsay, the act of basing information on word of mouth. In general, people would take advantage of this accusation of “witchcraft” for resources such as ones land. Commonly, these witch trials would be a popular event among a town. Usually, when one thinks of a “witch” they picture most of the time an old wretched women brewing potions, spells, etc. Comparatively, there is not that much of a difference from our depiction to the european society back then. Approximately, 75%-80% of accused “witches” were woman however, it varied dependent on the country i.e. Scandinavia whom had both men and women accused around an equal percentage(Gibbins). In reference to woman, the “Malleus Maleficarum” plays a role into this. The book gives insight on finding witches, what do to do, and several more. In particular, the article “ 'Where there are many women there are many witches ': The Social and Intellectual Understanding of Femininity in the Malleus Maleficarum (1486)” explains the definitive concept of femininity in the “Malleus Maleficarum”(O’Leary). In the textual analysis section of this article it mentions question one of the book and explains how women were considered an inferiority regarding their male counterparts which in turn with their cruelty gave
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