 Witch hunt/craze? Esp. S.W. Germany (10-20% total)
 Most involve isolated trials and executions e.g. England & France
 Role of judges e.g. Matthew Hopkins (Essex, 1640s), Nicolas Rémy (Lorraine, C16th)
 Spain, Italy & Russia low-key, despite inquisition
 Salem (1690s) = exception in New England, only 19 died
 Legal system: England no torture cf Scotland, but Paris parlement lenient too. Elsewhere
in France significant, + possessed convents e.g. Loudun (1620s)
 Only 40-50% execution rate, indicate leniency rather than panic, cf plaguespreaders in
Geneva – 40% rate of conviction vs 20% for witchcraft; infanticide – Paris parlement –
70% vs 20%
1) Religious division
By-product of Reformation (Trevor-Roper), role of Devil/demonology (Clark).
2) Socio-economic disaster/crisis
General vs specific, weather magic (Behringer), against nature (Roper).
3) ‘Charity’
Thomas, Macfarlane, Briggs. Refusal > tension & guilt > accusation of maleficia.
Misfortune associated with related individual, wiseperson common suspect.
Various remedies pursued, judges last resort.
4) Legal changes
Prosecution easier. Permission to torture for heinous crime > name accomplices.
5) Popular vs elite?
Role of diabolism e.g. Malleus Maleficarum c. 1486 > stereotypes e.g. sabbat. Some
accepted guilt & readily confessed, = shared mental world.
Tracts: Jean Bodin, Demonomanie (1580); James VI & I, Daemonologie (1597)
Sceptics: Michel de Montaigne, Reginald Scot, Johann Weyer.
Much overlap – maleficia & diabolism common to both.
6) Prosecution of women
80% vs 20% male (cf Russia & Normandy), yet men more likely to be executed.
gender-related vs gender-specific.
Roper – fit with stereotype, Clark – polarity; role as nurturers, healers etc
Worsening economic & social situation for single women
1) Increasing scepticism/more rational? = cultural/intellectual
Weyer & others in C16th + influence of early Enlightenment in C17th
2) Increasing scepticism/more doubt? = practical experience
Paris parlement – 1600 vs swimming test; 1624 automatic appeal; 1640 ceased
3) Causing increasing disorder = socio-economic
More ordered society?
Animal history = our history, not just for animal rights groups and environmentalists.
Treatment cf traditionally oppressed/marginal groups, as too discussion of rights.
Dependent on hierarchy of status, as useful contributors to human society (good/bad).
Hunting vs poaching – hierarchical.
Value economic, emotional and even devotional.
Also whether posed threat, dangerous, destructive, demonic.
Symbolic use in rituals, as portents and analogies; monsters.
Role whether tamed or wild; mistreatment widespread; entertainment.
Anthropomorphism – treated like humans by judiciary and church.
Trials, excommunications and executions.
Theologically erroneous (no souls) and judicially suspect (re criminal responsibility).
Role in demonic activities: actual and symbolic; werewolves and other shapeshifters.
Witches as familiars and transform into (devil too).
Role/treatment much to tell us about human society/culture: preoccupations, fears.