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European Witch Hunts 1350 Present Essay

1459 words - 6 pages

In order for history to repeat itself, it has to start somewhere right? The European witch hunts can be traced back to around 1450 and last well into the 18th century. The European witch hunts, much like the Salem witch trials happened because of rejection of rapid social, economic, and religious transformation. (Jones Gendercide Watch: European Witch Hunts). Often during times of rapid change it takes a while for reforms to be made or for citizens to adjust to the new arrangement. The result of the rejection of change during this time period was mass hysteria and moral dilemmas. European witch hunt trials were based off of opposing views, ignorance, and used to get back at people, which ultimately led to death and destruction, and still impacts the world today.
The European witch hunts began shortly after the Renaissance, which started in Florence Italy in mid 12th century and was the move from magical and spiritual answers to rational and scientific answers to reality. This was ultimately the rejection of the dominance of the church. During this time there were new patterns of thought, different literature, a flourishing of art, science, and the formation of skepticism and secular thinking (Butler The Flow Of History). Many new thinkers and philosophers such as Leonardo Da Vinci became prominent and influenced the thought during this time. Although it appeared that during this time the changes made had been new and gave Europe a fresh face it was in fact, “paradoxically, somewhat out of date. On the Continent, fashion had turned the clock back to imitate the antique styles of ancient Greece and Rome. The Renaissance was not a new, fresh start, - it was backward looking and conservative.” (Jones Gendercide Watch: European Witch Hunts). Because of the seemingly rapid pace of change during this time and the changing of thought, once the Renaissance was over and reached its peak in 1550, social changes were slow to follow. While many people accepted the change that was brought during the Renaissance, many Catholic conservatists, mostly male rebelled against the changes. Many of the ideas to persecute supposed witches were made by people in the nobility and the papal society. The beginning of the witch-hunts become apparent during the first half of the 15th century in south-eastern France and western Switzerland, in communities of the Western Alps, in what was at the time Burgundy and Savoy. (Jones Gendercide Watch: European Witch Hunts). Soon the persecution of witches spread throughout most of Europe and extended into some parts of North America. Although in total there were the estimated executions of40,000, with only 12,454 recorded deaths. The witch hunts reached their peak after the biggest witch trials were held in Europe, notably the Trier witch trials (1581–1593), the Fulda witch trials (1603–1606), the Würzburg witch trial (1626–1631) and the Bamberg witch trials (1626–1631). (Hutton Counting the Witch Hunt).
In the witch hunts most...

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