Witchcraft in Europe and America
Burning and hanging were the most popular forms of executing witches. Between 1500 and 1660, between 50,000 and 80,000 accused witches were executed in Europe.
This comprehensive collection on witchcraft includes texts dating from the 15th century to the early 20th century. The majority of the material concerns the so-called "classic period" of the 16th to 18th centuries. In addition to these classic texts, the collection includes:
- Anti-persecution writings
- Works by penologists
- Legal and church documents
- Exposés of persecutions
- Philosophical writings
- Transcripts of trials and exorcisms
An intuitive platform makes it all cross-searchable by subject or collection.
Date Range: 1500 to 1930
Source Library: Cornell University Library
Witchcraft in Europe and America is a comprehensive collection offering a wide range of writings on the subject of witchcraft. As such, it affords scholars an invaluable opportunity to explore this intriguing historical phenomenon from a variety of perspectives. Included are many rare and fragile manuscripts containing eyewitness accounts and court records of the trials of witches, including harrowing original manuscript depositions taken from the victims in the torture chamber.
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These documents, in both original manuscript and in print, reveal the harsh outcome of the more remote doctrinal disputes. Perhaps the most significant of all manuscripts in the Witchcraft collection is the minutes of the witchcraft trial of Dietrich Flade, a sixteenth-century city judge and rector who spoke out against the cruelty and injustice of the persecutions in the 1580s.
The pronouncements of advocates of witch persecution – Binsfeld, Boguet, Del Rio, Remi – can be compared and contrasted to the courageous warning of Bekker, Löher, Loos, Scot, Spee – men who doubted the validity of witch believers and witch trials. Also, numerous dissertations and limited printed works examining theological, legal, social implications of witchcraft are reproduced in their entirety.
This collection unlocks much more than the world of witchcraft alone; spanning the 15th to 20th centuries, it also enables researchers
to trace the history and culture of European civilization during the Renaissance and Enlightenment.
The majority of texts are in Latin, English and German, although there are also selected items in French, Italian, Portuguese, Danish, Dutch and Spanish.