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Lecture 7

HST 111 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Pectin, Inquisitorial System, High Standard Manufacturing Company

Course Code
HST 111
John Morgan

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Probably more non sense written about historical witchcraft. Also strange
topic for historians trying to explain things happen
Witchcraft consider difficult topic, we study something that didn’t happen
We are studying not the thing itself, we are studying people belief in
something that existed
Witchcraft= pursuit of witches, witch hunt. We trying to explain why
western society associate with superstitions and magic with the concept of
Witches view as a threat so they have to be found and eliminated (burn)
200 years later with notion of witchcraft: why does it die away
Why people target this idea and practition and why 200 years later, it
becomes something
Witchcraft define as attribution of misfortune to occult/agency. Not always
2 kinds of witchcraft: 1) evil kind (known as black witchcraft) 2) good kind
(known as white witchcraft)
2 problems with magical powers:
1) Source of these powers. Any kind of witch craft (black or white),
powers came from the doubt. Anyone who possess these powers

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must have made deal with the devil. To turn back from God was an
act of heresy. Renouncing God and signing on with the devil.
2) The damage witches can do. Known as “Maleficium” which means
harm and evil. It could be personal injury, death, damage to property
but also often call what we might a frustration of process. Things
didn’t happen as they naturally should’ve. Norms no longer continue
and people suggest evil spirit causing interruption or ending of
natural process. It was more common in England. It is argue that may
be well in England because England has different legal system.
England has never had a branch of inquisition.
1486: book published “Malleus Maleficarum” which means the hammer of
evil. Find and smash witchcraft. Published by catholic priest named Kramer
and Sprenger. Continued to be emphasize in Roman countries after
After Reformation, emphasis on heresy
The extent of witchcraft is astonishing. We now believe that approximately
110,000 prosecutions across England and approximately 60,000 executions.
60,000 people could’ve been killed while innocence.
Mass trials and mass executions. Late 16th century (1589), 133 witches
executed in one day in one area.
Highest execution rates was in France (90-95%). In England, 15%. Geneva
Once witch hunt started, more intensive in towns than countryside. More
intense in towns because towns are more densely populations and more
tension. Towns have more transitory populations. Fear of witch can do
more damage in town.

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Witchcraft known as one of most prominent crimes. Over 70% of the
accused are women. Not gender specific but gender related.
Factors of women accused:
1) Depends on which court system you are place in. (church court
and secular courts which trials in criminal law). The courts of the
church, including inquisition, tend to be less violent to the accused
than the state courts because purpose of church was to reconcile the
accused with the Church. Get accused to give up sinning. Secular
courts took different approach, if found guilty then greater chance
of. Women are accused because of the views of stereotypes. Witches
were usually portrayed as women in stories, view as cultural
2) Women were consider to be morally weaker than men. Satan
tempted Eve first then get Eve to tempt Adam.
3) Men view of women sexuality goes through various phases.
Women thought as must more lustful and sexually driven than men
were. Women did not had the same allowance for sexual elements as
men did. It was much less damaging for a man to have multiple
affairs than women. Many of the accused witches were single
women who did not had a legitimate sexuality and the devil provide
Women engage in tasks that put them in risks. They serve as household
cook, healers in society, midwives. All of these things made them
acceptable to suspicion if something went wrong. Women could be
targeted because they are very likely to be close to something going wrong.
(bad food, bad medicine, someone dying)
Witches were usually older, as well as female because if they are going to
be accused as cunning women, it takes a while to gain knowledge.
Secondly, very frequently it took years to build up common suspicion in
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