WITCHCRAFT IN THE MIDDLE AGES
In the Middle Ages witchcraft was feared throughout Europe. People thought that magic was an illusion created by the devil and was associated with worship of the devil. Some say that there are two different kinds of magic: Black Magic and White Magic. Black magic was associated more with the devil and had satanic symbols. People thought that witches caused harm to society by causing accidents, bad luck, illnesses, or death. Witches got a lot of blame if someone fell ill of unknown causes.
White magic had Christian symbolism that had more to do with nature and herbs. White magic was believed to be used for such spells as love, health, good luck, and wealth. Astrology and alchemy, which is about making potions such as turning metal into gold and searching for a cure for deadly illnesses, are considered to be a part of magic.
Images of what poeple thought witches were like
The Witch Hunt
Witchcraft was hated mostly by the Christians and their church. They considered them as diabolical and evil. As always they thought that witches had to do with the devil. Not soon after, the Christian church started a campaign to get rid of these so called ³witches² and started the witch hunt. It lasted for over 75 years.
The witches went on trial for heresy (rejection of the church) and witchcraft. They wanted to get rid of them so they burned them at stake if found guilty. Some other punishments were banishment, imprisonment, and mutilation, but mostly execution. Almost everyone that was accused was tortured and beaten until they confessed. Many people gave their lives to false confession.
Almost 80% of the people accused were women. It was believed that the devil succumbed people who weren¹t strong enough to resist him and thought women were not as strong as men.
The Witches¹ Hammer or The Hammer of the Witches was a book that was published in 1486. It put major impact on the hysteria of witches. Joan of Arc was burned as a witch at the stake for heresy and witchcraft. The crusades and contact with Islam brought new interest in astrology and alchemy. Alot of people blamed witches for The Black Death.
Bunsen, Matthew. Encyclopaedia of the Middle Ages. New York: Facts on File,Inc. 1995
Guiley, Rosemary Ellen. World Book Encyclopaedia. United States of America:World Book Inc. 1997
Friedman, Emanuel. Merit Students Encyclopaedia. New York:MacMillan Educational Company. 1982