Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe

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  1. Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe

  2. What is a witch? • “A person who hath conference with the Devil to consult with him or to do some act” ~ Chief Justice Coke (England, 1620s)

  3. Origins • Ancient beliefs of witches • Medieval superstitions • Christian beliefs

  4. Changing ideas on witchcraft • Women became increasingly identified with witchcraft and magic • Groups targeted: • More concern with power of the devil and his influence in daily life • Use of magic increasingly connected to demonology and thus heresy

  5. The Study of Demonology • From Greek “Daimon” meaning supernatural spirit unrelated to a god • From Christianity – fallen angel who is not part of heaven • Relationship between demonology and witchcraft is crucial

  6. What could witches do? • Control the weather • Create love spells • Cause death • Create potions and ointments

  7. Portrayal of Witches

  8. When a witch is caught

  9. Witch Hunts • What accounts for the growing persecution of witchcraft? • Reformation • Religious instability leads to persecution • Leaders prove piety through persecution • Socioeconomic • Inflation • War • Famine • Demographic • Late marriages and unmarried women leave many outside male control • Intellectual • More religious and lay leaders concerned with finding witches • Awareness of devil in everyday life • Legal • Prosecution is easier