In this period the question of how to prove the crime of witchcraft was the centre of a public debate and even those who strongly believed in the reality of witchcraft had considerable concerns regarding its proof. In a typical witchcraft crime there were no eyewitnesses, and since torture was not a standard measure in English criminal trials, confessions could not be easily obtained. The scarcity of evidence left the fact-finders with a pressing dilemma. On the one hand, using the standard evidentiary methods might have jeopardized any chance of prosecuting and convicting extremely dangerous criminals.
Burning at the Stake A common punishment for those who were convicted of withcraft was burning at the stake. Source Witchcraft of the early modern Europeans is not the witchcraft we know of today.
It was a world of prejudice, hatred, and ignorance, which ultimately led to the death of many people, especially women falsely accused of impossible things. The infamous witch-hunts throughout Europe were caused by intense feelings of fear, hopelessness, greed, and jealousy.
Europeans in the Early Modern period relied heavily on the courts and their religion to guide them in principles of right and wrong. Unfortunately there was a new shift in how people viewed religion, and it extended beyond God, focusing on the Devil and evil. With a new emphasis on Satan, churches began looking for a clear definition of witchcraft, legalizing the penance for such acts, and unknowingly pointing fingers at innocent people.
Then with the devastation of the bubonic plague, the courts became involved, not only as an ineffective means to eradicate witchcraft, but also as an inadvertent way of catapulting the witch-hunt craze through the use of torture in order to force confessions.
All of these combined is what led the witch-hunts in modern Europe. Witch Brewing Potion Single women were the most suspected of witchcraft due to the drain on society. Harmful Magic According to Levack, between andthousands of humans were burned for being witches, and thousands more accused.
Though black pointy hats and flying broomsticks symbolize the modern image of a witch, in the Early Modern period, witches were defined by other means. Levack, gave two concrete meanings. The first meaning was that a witch used magic to harm people.
This kind of magic is known as maleficium. What defined harmful magic was not always clear. Is a love potion harmful? If it causes infidelity, then some would argue yes. If the love potion was used on two single people and it benefited both parties, then one could argue a love potion is good.
Because of these discrepancies, there was a lot of grey area that was open for interpretation to the courts on whether a magic was good or evil.
Worshipping of Satan The second meaning of witches Levack addressed was those who worship Satan. The belief that witches participated in diabolism arose because the educated believed the only way that one could perform black magic was if that ability was given to them from Satan.
If you were among the Christian community, you must believe what the Catholic Church believed. Any other belief would be heresy and could be punishable; therefore, any act of diabolism was punishable by the Catholic Church, because it was heresy.
The Catholic Church believed that a witch not only worshiped Satan, but made a pact with him. As the Augustine Teachings suggest, an actual pact between a human and the Devil must take place in order for a witch to do black magic.
The educated of the time, believed that witches made these pacts for their own personal glorification. Hugh of St Victor had defined magic in the Didascalicon and listed twelve different kinds.
Among them, he listed fortune-telling and astrology along with others not as well-known today. This writing further clarified to the population what is meant by magic.
Source The Public Repulsed by Magic This was only the beginning of people becoming repulsed to the idea of magic, and seeing it as something horrendously wrong. Because it was seen as a way to go against divine religion, specifically Christianity, the church believed it was one of the most serious sins in which one could partake.
Therefore one needed to ask forgiveness for participating in any form of magic.
|German Witches | streetsofsalem||Burning at the Stake A common punishment for those who were convicted of withcraft was burning at the stake. Source Witchcraft of the early modern Europeans is not the witchcraft we know of today.|
|Theories of Origins about Witch Hunts||These are variously related to physical and mental conditions of people involved in the hunts. According to a Mass Hysteria Theory, peasants went a little wacky, becoming clinically neurotic and even psychotic, and in a group panic went after the witches.|
Each act of magic had a listed penance that one would be expected to do if they involved oneself in such an act. For instance a soothsayer, someone who does any type of divination, would need to do penance for five years, three in which they would only be allowed bread and water.
Though, the fact that there was written penances for such crimes is a small foreshadowing of the finger-pointing, torturing, and burning that lied ahead.Essay about Witch Hunt Mania - to - Witch Hunt Mania - to Many innocent women happily welcomed death by confessing to witchcraft in order to end their excruciating torture during the witch hunt craze between and Nov 10, · The witch craze resulted in the torture and persecution of witches.
More than , of witches who were tried were centered in the area of southwestern Europe.
The mass hysteria of witches was denounced because of their rejection of God and their pact with the devil, which resulted in harsh punishments and accusations. Witch Hunt Mania - to Many innocent women happily welcomed death by confessing to witchcraft in order to end their excruciating torture during the witch hunt craze between and Since many records were lost, destroyed or never kept, the best estimation of the total deaths is several million (4).
The witch hunts that swept across Europe between and are one of the most controversial and terrifying phenomena in history, resulting in the trial of around , people (most of them women), a little under half of whom were put to death.
Mar 29, · The infamous witch-hunts throughout Europe were caused by intense feelings of fear, hopelessness, greed, and jealousy.
but also as an inadvertent way of catapulting the witch-hunt craze through the use of torture in order to force confessions. All of these combined is what led the witch-hunts in modern Europe.
between and Reviews: Witch Hunting in Early Modern Europe ( - ) Report abuse. Transcript of Witch Hunting in Early Modern Europe ( - ) Witch Hunting ( - ) How was witchcraft defined? Black magic, or magic intended to harm other people Making a pact with the devil and owing him homage How did the witch craze begin?.