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UT Knoxville HIST 262 - History Lecture – September 17.2

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History Lecture – September 17, 2013“The Other” of Early Modern Europe: Witches and Witch-huntsWitches and Witch hunts in Early Modern EuropeEarly Modern Time between the: Age of exploration & the French revolutionFocus Questions:1. What was the link between misfortune and witchcraft?2. What circumstances led to a witch trial? How did the trials typically play out?3. Why were 75% of accused witches female?- “Witch hunt” = the “witch craze”- uncoordinated, spread out geographically- spread out through centuriesBetween 1400s – 1700s – A Magical World- 100,000 on trial and 50,000 are exaccuted – 75% are female- would have been common sense to most Europeans in this time that magic was real- crossed class lines, peasents and rich thought it was real- the distinction between religion and magic is cloudy, more closely related then now- mothers were worried they would not be able to nurse, a common practice would be to pray that you would be able to nurse. Also commonly, people put charms around their necks and recited a chant. These two worlds overlapped- Maleficium (Harmful Magic) – Terrified common people. if livestock die from a weird illness, he may suspect that someone cast a spell…especially if him and his neighbor had previous disagreements. The kind of magic that can make you sick, make you fall off a ladder, kill a loved one, or you. - Diabolism and the Sabbat – Witches obtain their powers through paradox with the devil. Sabbat – where they would sell their souls to the devil. Where they would sacrifice new born babies, cannibalism, kill people, have orgies. Satan was a bull. Sabbats were inversions of cultural norms. Witches wouldkiss the devil on butt, kill babies instead of take care of them. They could cause changes in the weather, out breaks of hunger. Witches were an enemy of the people, the church, god, and a stable and orderly society.Who were thought to be witches? - People outside the city limits, beggers, drunks, whores, older if not elderlysingle women without children. Once one was accused of being a witch, one was thought to be one and accused of being one again.Limited Medical Explanations- The person who was accusing a person of being a witch did use this to just attack people they didn’t like.- The person who you suspect is a witch is near by, and you truly believe in witchcraft, you would break out into a scarred fit.- Things they didn’t know that we do now: you can worry yourself sick, fever leads to hallucination, we know what erectile dysfunction is, we know what sleep apnea is, panic attacks, psycho illnesses- Furthering the beliefs in witch craft: There were people who DID believe in witchcraft and believed they could cast spells and create hexes with hexbags. - The overwhelming mast majority of people accused of practicing, however were not practicing witchcraft. Line between poisons and potions- Salem is just one of the larger scale witch crazes or witch trials of the time.- Entire villages would believe this because they followed larger scale misfortunesWeather, Hunger, and Fear – NECESSARY TO UNDERSTAND THE WITCHHUNTS- 1560- 1630 the height of the witch craze in Europe- this period follows a little “ice Age” in weather, which leads to poor harvests, disease, sickness, poor economies- People are aware that things are different within these 70 yrs. People who have lived through these years are looking for explanations- soon witches began to be blamed for this- it’s the combonination of external factors (weather, etc) along with theculture this is happeneing in- The state will try to reign in withc hunts and witch trials – areas with weak central governments will have more trials and witch hunts. Local population and local security, who also believe in witches, is to blame. - The overwhelming amount of burnings of people is going to be through the courts, bringing the court into things pulls in more fear.- These witch hunts do become like media events are to usCrimen Exceptum (Exceptional Crime) – What the European Courts called witch craft- Judges and jury would look for god to help them decide if someone was a witch- Would burn them then if they healed slowly, they were a witch, if they healed quickly, god was healing themThe Devils mark and the witches Teet- Anything abnormal on the body, rashes, bug bites, birth marks- Children were allowed to testify in trial- Torture Techniques lead not only to false convections and false accusations and increased witch hunts. First questions: are you a witch and who are the other witches. Often you have to accuse someone else of being a witch- Often a convection of being a witch, means death. This means often in eaurope, witches will be burned at the stake. Salem meant hangingEnding 3 Things of a Witch hunt- It becomes obvious innocent people are being tried or killed- When fraud or purgery was uncovered- When the trials and hunts became so disruptive the carrying on of everyday lives was being disrupted5 reasons witch hunts as a whole came to end-Improvememtn in judicial standards- as more time was spent on witch trials the courts decided they should have more control over smaller courts- raise standards on what was evidence, torture was out lawed- the enlightment, the disenchantment of the world. People look to natural reasons for things instead of witch things- Religious changes, reformation and counter reformation, a decline in religiouszeal, that with time trickles to the common people- Social and economic developments, this applies to the common people. The iceage ends and things get better.- European kings at the end of the thirty years war: stability and order. This kind of society was wanted. Higher government would take a bigger role in smaller government.Why were witches mostly women…. Witch hunting = women hunting- Women were mostly likely to be accused Because….1. Gender Biases. Women who spoke out or lived against social norm were thought to be witches. Strong willed, abrasive, outspoke women. Women were also thought to be the weaker sex, theyd be less likely to withstand the devils advances. Adversion also plays a role, strong menvs strong women2. Motherhood. Who would have the ability to take babies to the witches Sabbath? Witchcraft = why some women could conceive. Women werealso responsible for the medical well being of their family. Handled themedicine and the food, who would have the opportunity and ability to poison someone?3. Literature.


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