LESSON 22-The South-German Witchcraze

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What was the percentage of witchcraft prosecutions in Germany, France and Switzerland? & Where did most prosecutions take place?

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What was the percentage of witchcraft prosecutions in Germany, France and Switzerland? & Where did most prosecutions take place?

Some 75 percent of witchcraft prosecutions occurred in Germany, France, Switzerland and the Low Countries, an area comprising roughly half the population of Europe. During the sixteenth century, most prosecutions took place in France and Lorraine.

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What dates did the German witch hunts take place in Trier, Wurzburg, Bamberg and Cologne?

But by the late sixteenth century, Germany had become the centre of prosecutions. This section will examine four of the greatest German witch-hunts: those in Trier (1581– 93), Würzburg (1626– 31), Bamberg (1626– 31) and Cologne (1626-34

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Prince Bishops: number of victims, state, ruling bishop, and persecution period.

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What is a suffragen?

Suffragan- An assistant.

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TRIER: Who is Peter Binsfield?

Witch-hunting in the prince-bishopric of Trier is associated with the suffragan bishop Peter Binsfeld, who later wrote an influential book on the danger of witchcraft and how best to deal with it.

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TRIER: What three factors helped Peter Binsfield to persecute witches?

· In the 1580s, a series of poor harvests resulted in harsh economic conditions in the Trier region. People sought scapegoats for their misery. Pressure from the local population may have driven the authorities in Trier to act.

· A long-standing struggle for power between the Trier town council and the prince-bishop was decided in favour of the prince-bishop.

. A newly established Jesuit College enthusiastically supported Binsfeld’s campaign against witchcraft. From 1585, the Jesuits kept in custody young boys who claimed that they had attended sabbats and were able to recognise witches. Jesuit leaders used this source of information for their own political and religious ends.

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TRIER: What groups were not safe during these witchunts?

Most of the witches convicted initially conformed to the usual stereotype: female, old and relatively poor. But as the witch-hunt gathered momentum, not even the noble and rich were safe.

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TRIER: What was Dr Dietrich Flade accused of doing? & Who was he?

In 1587, Dr Dietrich Flade was accused by one of the Jesuit boys of presiding at a sabbat. Flade had served as councillor to the prince-bishop, as chancellor of the university and as chief-prosecutor

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TRIER: What happened to Dr Dietrich Flade? & What was another consequence of this?

It is possible that he had opposed the witch persecutions and was thus regarded by the Jesuits as an enemy. Flade, tortured until he confessed, was burned in 1589. In addition to Flade, the Trier persecution resulted in the burning of former lord mayors, councillors and scores of parish priests.

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TRIER: Why were there accusations of witchcraft? and How did the Trier authorities benefit?

Accusations of witchcraft could be turned into an instrument for political and social revenge. It may be that the Trier authorities also wished to make money by confiscating the possessions of their rich victims.

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TRIER: How many deaths did the Trier witch hunt and nearby monasteries lead to?

The Trier witch-hunt, including the actions of nearby independent monasteries, led to more than 1000 deaths.

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Würzburg: When did witch hunting reach its climax?

Witch-hunting in Würzburg reached its climax during the reign of Prince-Bishop Philipp Adolf von Ehrenberg (reigned 1623– 31).

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Würzburg: How many people were executed between the year 1626-1631? & What type of victims were they?

Between 1626 and 1631, some 900 people were executed. Victims came from all sections of society, regardless of age, profession or gender.

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Würzburg: Give examples of the types of people who were burned?

Those burned included nobles and mayors, Ehrenberg’s own nephew, nineteen Catholic priests and children of seven who were said to have had intercourse with demons.

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Würzburg:Why did the witch trials come to an end?

In 1631, Philipp Adolf died. When Würzburg was taken by King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden in the same year, the witch trials came to an end.

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Würzburg: Who was Friedrich Spee von Langenfeld?

Friedrich Spee von Langenfeld, a Jesuit, was a confessor of condemned witches in Würzburg. The experience turned his hair prematurely white. He was convinced that not a single witch whom he had led to the stake had been guilty.

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Würzburg: What did Friedrich Spee von Langenfeld do?

Since he could not utter his thoughts about what he did (he feared suffering the witches’ fate) he wrote a book, Cautio Criminalis , condemning the activities in Würzburg. The book was printed anonymously in the Protestant city of Hamelin in 1631. It had considerable effect in halting witchcraft persecution in many parts of Germany.

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What is a Jesuit?

A member of the Roman Catholic Society of Jesus founded by St. Ignatius Loyola in 1534 and devoted to missionary and educational work.

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BAMBERG: What region was Bamberg in? & When did witch hunting happen?

Bamberg was a small, independent Catholic bishopric in the Franconia region of Germany. Witch-hunting began in Bamberg under Prince-Bishop Johann Gottfried von Aschhausen (reigned 1609– 22).

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BAMBERG: What did Prince Bishop Johann Gottfried do in terms of religion? & How many witches did he burn?

Determined to re-Catholicise his diocese, he invited Jesuits into Bamberg, founded new schools and tried to remove any taint of Protestantism. He also burned about 300 suspected witches, including 102 in 1617.

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BAMBERG: What prince bishop resumed witchunting after Prince Bishop Johann Gottfried? & How many witches did he persecute?

Witch-hunting resumed on an even greater scale under Prince-Bishop Johann Georg II Fuchs von Dornheim (reigned 1623– 33). Earning the nickname ‘Witch-bishop’, he took a leading role in the persecutions which resulted in the deaths of some 600 victims.

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BAMBERG: What did Prince-Bishop Johann Georg II Fuchs von Dornheim build for witches?

He even built a special ‘witch-house’ with room for 30 or 40 prisoners, complete with a torture chamber.

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BAMBERG: Who aided Prince-Bishop Johann Georg II Fuchs von Dornheim?

He was aided by his suffragan Bishop Friedrich Forner, several witch-commissioners, some recruited from other German territories, and a council of doctors of law.

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BAMBERG: Who was Bishop Friedrich Forner? & What was he the author of?

Forner, a leader of the Counter-Reformation in Germany, was an avid witch-hunter and author of a sermon collection, ‘A Display of the Weaponry against all Superstition, Divinations, Enchantments and Devil-Worship (1626).

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BAMBERG: What happened to Bamberg in the 1620s? and What did the people do?

In the mid-1620s, the Bamberg area of southern Germany had been devastated by war as well as a series of crop failures, famines, and plagues. People looked for supernatural explanations and accusations of witchcraft proliferated.

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BAMBERG: Who was Dr George Haan? & What happened to his daughter and wife?

The vice-chancellor of Bamberg, Dr George Haan, had served the bishops of Bamberg loyally for many years. But his relative leniency as a judge made him suspect as a witch sympathiser. His wife Ursula and daughter Maria were arrested in 1627.

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BAMBERG: What happened to Dr George Haan and his family?

Haan and his son Adam fled to the imperial court in Speyer and obtained an injunction forbidding the prince-bishop proceeding against Ursula and Maria. By the time they returned to Bamberg, Haan’s wife and daughter had been tortured, confessed to witchcraft and already burned. Father and son were now arrested and forced to confess that they too were witches. Both men were burned in 1628.

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BAMBERG: What did Dr George Haan confess when he was being tortured? & What happened to Junius?

During the course of torture, George Haan confessed to having seen five councillors at a sabbat: they too were burned. Johannes Junius, who had been lord mayor of Bamberg, was one of the men denounced by Haan. Junius, who was 55, was tortured so extensively that he eventually agreed to confess to whatever the witch-commissioners wanted.

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BAMBERG: What did Junius admit to doing? & What happened to his family?

Accordingly, he admitted to the Devil’s pact, having sex with a succubus and dancing at a sabbat. He also named fellow-witches, including relatives and friends. He and all his family, except one daughter, were executed in 1628. Junius himself was beheaded with a sword before his body was burned.

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BAMBERG: What did prominent people do? & How did the prince bishop benefit?

As the burnings increased, some prominent people fled to Rome, Prague or the imperial court at Regensburg to plead for intervention. But the prince-bishop, who benefited hugely from the confiscated property of those condemned, cared little for Emperor Ferdinand II.

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BAMBERG: Timeline for Frau Anna Hansen’s imprisonment.

The speed of the trials was amazing. For example, the calendar of Frau Anna Hansen in 1629 reads as follows: imprisoned on suspicion of witchcraft

·        17 June- imprisoned on suspicion of witchcraft.

·         18 June- refused to confess: scourged.

·        20 June- tortured with the thumbscrews: confessed

·         28 June- her confession read to her

·         30 June - voluntarily confirmed her confession: sentenced

·         4 July- informed of the date of her execution

·         7 July- beheaded and burned.

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BAMBERG: Timeline of Johann Georg Fuchs von Dornheim.

  • 1586- Born in Wiesentheid in Germany

  • 1623- Elected prince bishop of Bamberg

  • 1626-31- Presided over the Bamberg witch trials

  • 1632- Advance of Swedish and Saxon armies forced him to flee from Bamberg

  • 1633- Died in exile in Spital am Phyrn

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METHODS OF TORTURE: What prison were most Bamberg witches held in?

Most Bamberg witches were kept in the Drudenhaus prison in Bamberg, which contained a special torture chamber.

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METHODS OF TORTURE: What were the walls of the Drudenhaus walls covered in? & What was witch hunting synonymous to?

The walls of the prison were covered in biblical texts, either for the edification of the prisoners or for the protection of the warders against the spells of the prisoners. Bamberg witch-hunting became synonymous with torture

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METHODS OF TORTURE: List the devices that were used to extract confessions.

Among the devices routinely employed in extracting confessions were:

  • thumbscrews

  • leg vices

  • scourging the stocks, furnished with iron spikes

  • the strappado

  • burning feathers held under the arms and groin

  • the prayer stool, a kneeling board with sharp wooden pegs

  • forcible feeding on herring cooked in salt and denial of water

  • scalding water baths to which lime had been added (in 1630, six people were killed at Zeil by this method)

  • The Linsten Chamber – a small room with small pyramids covering the floor, leaving nowhere for the accused to sit, stand or sleep without being impaled on one of the pyramids.

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METHODS OF TORTURE: What additional punishments could be opposed after sentencing?

After sentencing and on the way to being burned, additional punishment could be imposed, including cutting off the right hand and tearing the breasts of women with red-hot pincers. Victims were usually burned alive without the mercy of preliminary strangulation

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BAMBERG: Johann Georg Fuchs von Dornheim

What power did Dornheim hold in terms of the persecution of witches?

Dornheim, who held near absolute power, on both the ecclesiastical and secular fronts, in the prince-bishopric of Bamberg, played a crucial role in persecution of witches.

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BAMBERG: Johann Georg Fuchs von Dornheim

What did Dornheim oversee? & What happened to those who were brought into the investigation?

He oversaw the establishment of a network of informers and built the notorious Drudenhaus witches’ prison in 1627 to house a special torture chamber. Those brought in for investigation could suffer torture only with the personal consent of the prince bishop, consent which was usually freely given.

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BAMBERG: Johann Georg Fuchs von Dornheim

Why did Dornheim encourage persecution?

In part, Dornheim might have been reacting to pressure from the people who blamed witches for their economic distress. But his own religious zeal was certainly a factor in encouraging persecution.

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BAMBERG: Johann Georg Fuchs von Dornheim

What was he determined to do as a Catholic reformer?

An ardent Catholic reformer, he was determined to create a godly state in Bamberg. Convinced that the Devil was at work in his lands, he was also determined to pursue witches.

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BAMBERG: Johann Georg Fuchs von Dornheim

How did Dornheim benefit from persecutions?

Many rich and powerful people, who were executed for witchcraft, had their property and assets confiscated. This made Dornheim very rich and may have encouraged his passion for witch hunting. Anyone who questioned his actions was likely to be arrested tortured and burned alive.

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BAMBERG

THE CHAIN REACTION: What did torturing make the suspects do? & What did happened to the traditional stereotype?

The practice of torturing suspects to name their accomplices had a cumulative effect, driving up the number of accused. As this occurred, the witches conformed less and less to the traditional stereotype and a host of prominent citizens were arrested, tortured and burned.

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BAMBERG

THE CHAIN REACTION: What was confiscated from the victims by the prince bishop ? & What did the families do?

The victims’ assets were confiscated by the prince-bishop and their families were responsible for all the costs of their imprisonment and executions, including paying for the fees of the torturers, executioners and even the wood used at the stake.

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BAMBERG

THE CHAIN REACTION: What did Dornehim fiercely oppose?

Although Dornheim fiercely opposed Protestantism, there was no correlation, positive or negative, between the areas of substantial Protestant presence in Bamberg and the areas of intensive witch-hunting.

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BAMBERG

IMPERIAL OPPOSITION: What did the imperial court do? & What did Emperor Ferdinand II want to do about George Haan?

The imperial court attempted to restrain Dornheim’s zeal. Emperor Ferdinand II (reigned 1616– 37) had ordered the release of George Haan on the grounds that ‘the arrest was a violation of the law of the Empire not to be tolerated’.Dornheim ignored the emperor.

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BAMBERG

IMPERIAL OPPOSITION: & What did the emperor have to do about the Dorothea Flack case?

The emperor was also forced to intercede in the case of Dorothea Flock, an accused witch. .

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BAMBERG

IMPERIAL OPPOSITION: What did Doreatha Flock’s husband do about her case? & What happened in April 1630?

Her husband, a Bamberg official, managed to escape to the imperial city of Nuremberg. From here, he appealed to both the emperor and the pope. In April 1630, Ferdinand II issued a directive calling on Dornheim to account for the charges against him. Again the prince-bishop paid little heed to the emperor.

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BAMBERG

IMPERIAL OPPOSITION: What did imperial officials want to do about the Dorothea Flock’s case? & What did Dornheim do instead?

A stronger imperial directive forbidding all future proceedings against Dorothea was issued and the pope also seemed prepared to intervene. Before official messages from the emperor and the pope arrived, Dornheim had Dorothea executed (May 1630), enraging imperial officials.

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BAMBERG

IMPERIAL OPPOSITION: What did Ferdinand’s Jesuit confessor and other Jesuit’s say about the trials?

As the situation in Bamberg deteriorated, Emperor Ferdinand II was under increased pressure to do something. His Jesuit confessor told him: ‘It was horrifying what prominent men everywhere were thinking and saying about the procedure in the courts.’ Another Jesuit questioned whether ‘the numerous persons who perished in the flames were really guilty and deserved so horrible a death’.

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BAMBERG

IMPERIAL OPPOSITION: What did Dornheim do about the witchcraft situation? & Who did they condemn?

Dornheim sent representatives to a diet(meeting) of the empire at Regensburg at which the Bamberg witchcraft situation was due to be discussed. They pleaded in vain. The imperial court condemned the prince-bishop’s actions. Other refugees from Bamberg continued to add their complaints.

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BAMBERG

IMPERIAL OPPOSITION: What did a man do when he escaped the witches’ prison?

One man who had escaped from the witches’ prison presented a written petition from Barbara Schwarz, tortured eight times without confessing, and confined for three years in a dungeon.

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BAMBERG

IMPERIAL OPPOSITION: What happened in September 1630 and June 1631?

In September 1630, Ferdinand’s confessor told the emperor that if he continued to ignore the lawlessness of the Bamberg courts, he could hardly give him absolution.

In September 1630 and June 1631, Ferdinand issued strong directives opposing the persecution in Bamberg. The emperor ordered that in future trials the basis for accusations be made public, legal counsel be allowed to the defendants and confiscation of property cease. He also appointed an official, known to be opposed to the witch-hunts, as head of the Bamberg witch commission.

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BAMBERG

THE END OF THE BAMBERG TERROR: When did the Bamberg terror end?

The terror in Bamberg receded in the summer of 1631, owing partly to the opposition of Emperor Ferdinand II, partly to the death of Bishop Forner in December 1630, and partly to the threats of Swedish King Gustavus, who entered Leipzig in September.

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BAMBERG

THE END OF THE BAMBERG TERROR: What happened in February 1632? & What happened to Dornheim and his cousin the Bishop of Wurzburg?

In February 1632, Swedish and Saxon troops occupied Bamberg, forcing Fuchs von Dornheim to flee. He died in exile in 1633. With his death and that of his cousin, the Bishop of Würzburg in 1631, two of the fiercest promoters of persecution were gone.

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COLOGNE WITCHUNT: How many witches were burned in Cologne from 1626-1634? & here was Ferdinand educated?

Cologne in the Duchy of Westphalia, subject to Prince-Elector Ferdinand, Archbishop of Cologne (reigned 1612– 50), about 2000 people were burned for witchcraft between 1626 and 1634. Ferdinand had been educated in Trier during the witch-hunt of the 1590s.

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COLOGNE WITCHUNT: What was is like when Ferdinand first ruled Cologne? & What led to the Cologne witch hunt?

However, during the first fifteen years of his rule there were few witchcraft prosecutions. A series of devastating crop failures seem to have led to the Cologne witch-hunt

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COLOGNE WITCHUNT: Why did Ferdinand intervene? & What did the commissioner do?

Only after the persecution of witches had gathered momentum at local level did Ferdinand intervene, appointing witch-commissioners to establish control over the situation. The commissioners soon got out of control, implementing their own policies and terrorising whole regions.

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THE WITCHCRAZE IN SOUTHERN GERMANY CONCLUSION: Was witchcraft a major concern in the Holy Roman Empire? & What did Bavarian politicians do?

Witchcraft was not a major source of concern in the principal Catholic states in the Holy Roman Empire. Bavarian politicians, for example, stopped the witch persecutions which threatened to take off, and ensured the maintenance of regular legal procedure.

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THE WITCHCRAZE IN SOUTHERN GERMANY CONCLUSION: In which countries were there no major witch hunts? & Which countries became a refuge for witch suspects?

In Bohemia and Austria, where governments had a firm grip on the lower criminal courts, there were no major witch-hunts. The Habsburg capitals Prague and Vienna, centres of the Counter-Reformation, became a refuge for witch suspects from the prince-bishoprics.

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THE WITCHCRAZE IN SOUTHERN GERMANY CONCLUSION: What does diet mean?

KEY TERM

Diet- A meeting of the states that made up the Holy Roman Empire.

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THE WITCHCRAZE IN SOUTHERN GERMANY CONCLUSION: Were small Catholic ecclesiastical territories affected by witch hunts? & Where were some of the trials?

Moreover, not all small Catholic ecclesiastical territories were affected by witchhunts: The majority of the imperial abbacies avoided persecutions. There were only a few trials in some of the prince-bishoprics, for example, Passau, Regensburg, and Münster.

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THE WITCHCRAZE IN SOUTHERN GERMANY CONCLUSION: How many deaths were prince bishops responsible for?

But the fact remains that Catholic prince-electorates, prince-bishoprics, and prince-abbacies within the empire were particularly susceptible to witch-hunts. Nine Catholic prince-bishops (see Table 3.2, page 74) were responsible for over 6000 deaths – a quarter of all those who died in Germany in this period. Some made a career out of witch-hunting.

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THE WITCHCRAZE IN SOUTHERN GERMANY CONCLUSION: Who was Johann Christoph von Westerstetten?& What did Friedrich Spee von Langenfeld say?

Johann Christoph von Westerstetten, who cut his teeth in the witch-hunts in Ellwangen, went on to preside over a major persecution as Bishop of Eichstatt (see page 67). Much depended on the personality and religious zeal of the ruler. Friedrich Spee von Langenfeld (see page 75), writing around 1630, interpreted the hunts as ‘the disastrous consequence of Germany’s religious zeal’.

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<p><mark data-color="red">THE WITCHCRAZE IN SOUTHERN GERMANY CONCLUSION: SUMMARY DIAGRAM WITCH HUNTS IN TRIER, WURZBURG, BAMBERG AND COLOGNE</mark></p>

THE WITCHCRAZE IN SOUTHERN GERMANY CONCLUSION: SUMMARY DIAGRAM WITCH HUNTS IN TRIER, WURZBURG, BAMBERG AND COLOGNE

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65

Which magicians flourished in the 16th century?

Indeed Germany was alive with learned magicians in those years, men whose neo-Platonic convictions led them to harness the magical forces of the cosmos. Henry Cornelius Agrippa of Nettesheim and Theophrastus Bombasts von Hohenheim, known more simply as Paracelsus, flourished in the early sixteenth century and tried to bring magic to the aid of philosophy and medicine.

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66

What did Dr. Johann Georg Faust do to firmly link Germany and the Devil?

Dr Johann Georg Faust may even have given himself to the Devil before his death in 1540, thereby engendering a myth that has firmly linked Germany and the Devil together ever since. And yet it is worth noting that none of these magicians was ever even prosecuted for witchcraft.

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67

What did magicians deviate from? & What happened to David Leipzig?

Theologically they all deviated from Christian orthodoxy, but even dabbling with demons did not endanger their lives. Later in the century, David Leipzig might actually sign a pact with the Devil and receive a punishment no more severe than expulsion from his university.

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68

Why did nothing happen to the magicians? & What did Johann Weyer complain about?

In a court of law all of these men might have been convicted of witchcraft, but the interesting point is that no-one thought of bringing charges against them. In 1563, in his famous De Praestigiis Daemonum, Johann Weyer complained bitterly that these ‘magi infames’ got off scot free while deluded old women were convicted  and executed by the hundreds.

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69

What did John Weyer’s outrage illustrate?

Weyer's sense of outrage illustrates the important point that, regardless of what the theologians and jurists might say, witchcraft in Germany was not simply a crime of mental or spiritual deviation; it was not primarily heresy or apostasy or learned diabolism. Rather, witchcraft was mainly a social offence: the use of harmful magic by a secret conspiracy of women.

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70

What did German prosecutors do to the German speaking territories?

The German prosecutors who assumed the task of rooting out the godless witches knew whom they were looking for. And they were so successful that they made the German-speaking territories the classic land of the witch-hunt.

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71

How can we account for the executions in the Holy Roman Empire and Germany?

It is certain that the Holy Roman Empire and Switzerland executed far more witches than any other parts of Europe. How can we account for this? Recent studies have illuminated the important extent to which witchcraft trials remained popular in inspiration or became subject to learned influence and interference.

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72

Why did common folk fear witchcraft?

It has become clear that down to 1550, and probably much later the common folk of the village feared witchcraft not as a demonic conspiracy but as a practical threat to the fertility of their fields, flocks and families.

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73

How were witches popularly imagined as?

Witches were popularly imagined as solitary sorcerers, practising their malefic magic through the manipulation of cursing tablets, ointments, charms, and all the mysterious rubbish that could be combined in a Hexentopf.

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74

What did common folk believe that witches poisons could do? & Who did common folk accuse of being a witch?

Their baneful poisons could cause hailstorms and untimely frosts; sickness in man and beast; impotence miscarriage and death. These were everyday threats to country life, and it is not surprising that common people accused the local crone of enviously casting evil spells.

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75

What harm did some of the accused do?

Indeed it is probable enough that some of the locally accused were guilty as charged of at least trying to harm a neighbour or secure his affection with love magic.

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76

What continued to be common in sorcery trials? & What was the typical result of these trials?

Throughout the centuries of the witch-hunt these locally inspired and locally controlled sorcery trials continued to be common.They usually ended as abruptly as they had begun, with the execution or banishment of one or two witches.

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77

Why did this procedure not cause a great panic?

There was nothing peculiarly German in this procedure and nothing to cause the panic that the great witch-hunt inspired. But the true panic did not remain rooted in these rural concerns and did not rest content with the extermination of one or two geriatric (old) outcasts.

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78

What witch hunts did Archbishop Elector of Trier sponsor between 1587-1593?

To have some understanding of the difference we may look with profit at some of the frightful trials that became characteristic of Germany, especially in the prince-bishoprics and ecclesiastical states of central Germany, Between 1587 and 1593 the Archbishop-Elector of Trier sponsored a witch-hunt that burned3 68 witches from just twenty-two villages.

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79

Why was this witch hunt so horrible?

So horrible was this hunt that two villages in 1585 were left with only one female inhabitant a piece. In the lands of the Convent of Quedlinburg, some 133 witches were executed on just one day in 1589.

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80

What did the Abbey of Fulda conduct? & What did his minister Balthasar Ross boast?

At the Abbey of Fulda, Prince Abbot Balthasar von Dernbach conducted a reign of terror in the first decade of the seventeenth century: his minister Balthasar Ross boasted of having sent over 700 witches to the stake, no less than 205 of them in the years 1603-05 alone.

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81

How many witches burned at the Furstprobstei of Ellwangen? & How many witches were executed in the Teutonic Order at Mergentheim?

At the Furstprobstei of Ellwangen, ecclesiastical officials saw to the burning of some 390 persons between 1611 and 1618, while the Teutonic Order at Mergentheim executed some 124 in the years 1628-30.

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82

How many people were executed in just eight years because of the Bishop Philipp Adolf von Ehrenberg?

The Prince-Bishopric of  Würzburg endured a frightful panic during the 1620s: in just eight years Bishop Philipp Adolf von Ehrenberg executed some 900 persons including his own nephew, nineteen Catholic priests, and several small children.

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83

How many witches did the Prince-Bishopric execute? & Who did the Archbishop Elector of Cologne execute?

The Prince-Bishopric of Eichstatt some 274 witches were executed in 1629. At Bonn, the Archbishop Elector of Cologne supervised the execution of his own Chancellor, his wife, and his secretary's wife.

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84

What was the worst ecclesiastical excess in Germany? & How many witches were killed?

The worst ecclesiastical excesses may well have occurred in the Bishopric of Bamberg, where Bishop Johann Georg I Fuchs von Dornheim is said to have eliminated 600 witches during his reign of ten years (1623-33), including his own Chancellor and one of the burgermeisters of Bamberg, Johann Junius.

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85

How many witches were killed in the tiny county of Hellenstein between the year 1562-1563?

Although these ecclesiastical territories were the most ferocious exterminators of witches, secular territories were not always far behind them in their zeal to purge the commonwealth. The tiny county of Hellenstein killed sixty-three witches in 1562-63.

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86

In what other small territories were witches persecuted? & How many were killed?

The Duchy of Braunschweig-Wolfenbuttel executed 53 between 1590 and 1620, while Duke August of Braunschweig-Luneberg eliminated seventy between 1610 and 1615 in the tiny district of Fitzacker. The County of Lippe tried 221 witches between 1550 and 1686 and another 209 in the town of Lemgo.

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87

How many witches were executed at the Duchy of Bavaria? & Were there witch hunts in imperial cities (a city that is an immediate vassal of the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire)?

All told, the Duchy of Bavaria probably executed close to 2,000 witches, and the secular (not subject to or bound by religious rule) territories of south-western Germany very likely accounted for another 1,000, Even the imperial cities hunted witches in sizeable numbers, both among their own burghers and among the peasants of their out lying hinterlands.

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88

What type of person was typically executed in Germany? What was the percentage of that group’s persecution?

When we ask who these witches were, the German evidence agrees closely with that from most of the rest of Europe: they were women, usually old and poor, often widows. Overall, some 80 to 90 per cent of the accused were female, and one cannot begin to understand the European witch-hunt without recognising that it displayed a burst of misogyny without parallel in Western history.

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89

What is clear about the major trials?

Scholars are still far from agreement as to the sources of this hatred and fear of women, but it is clear that the major trials sprang from fears that were no longer rooted merely in the vagaries of peasant misfortune.

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90

What did the executed have to confess in these chain-reaction trials?

The thousands executed in these chain-reaction trials may have had to confess to harmful magic, but their chief crime was one of which peasants were generally unaware: the obscene worship of the Devil.

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91

Where and how had this idea penetrated the German-speaking lands?

The first massive persecutions in Germany are inseparably connected to the author of the famous Malleus Maleficarum, the Hammer of Witches, published in 1487: Heinrich Institoris, OP.

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92

What did Heinrich Institoris obtain from the pope? & What did it urge to do?

In 1484 Institoris obtained from Pope Innocent VIII a bull (Summi desiderantes) urging German secular and ecclesiastical officials to co-operate with Institoris and his associate, Jacob Sprenger, OP, in the hunting of witches.

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93

Why was the bull Summi desiderantes important?

Theologically, this bull contained nothing that previous popes had not said; but the bull had considerable importance because it seemed to sanction the subsequent activities of these two Dominican inquisitors.

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94

Why was the bull a successful advertising strategy?

Reprinted with every edition of their Malleus, the bull seemed to bestow papal approval on their inquisitorial theories as well. So successful was this stroke of advertising strategy that the authors hardly even needed the approval of the Cologne University theologians, but just for good measure Institoris forged a document granting their apparently unanimous approbation.

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95

Due to the bull, what did Heinrich Institoris do in the diocese of Constance? Who opposed this?

Armed with the bull, Institoris began a campaign in the diocese of Constance and executed forty-eight witches between1481 and 1486. Although these efforts finally ran into the elective opposition of the bishop of Bressanone, Institoris assembled enough practical experience to enliven the manual he and Sprenger composed in 1486.

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96

Why is the Malleus Maleficarum a remarkable treatise? What did the authors inject into their pages?

The Malleus Maleficarum is a remarkable treatise that actually reveals how far Germany still was from a full-fledged witch-hunting panic. True enough, the two Dominicans injected so much misogynist venom into their pages as to construe witchcraft  almost exclusively as a crime of female lust.

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97

What did the Malleus recommend? & What does it help us understand?

True, too, the Malleus recommends a degree of judicial terror and deception that helps us understand why those accused of witchcraft often found that they had no real chance to defend themselves.

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98

What did the Malleus repeatedly mention? & What were the Germans unanimous about?

But it is also true that the Malleus repeatedly mentions popular incredulity. In the late fifteenth century Germans were still far from unanimous in their acceptance of the fine points of demonology.

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99

What important detail did the Malleus not have?

In fact, the Malleus itself is innocent of the most important detail of late medieval witchcraft theory: witches' dance or sabbath, Institoris and Sprenger spent so much time working out the way that witches co-operated with the Devil that they neglected to spend any attention on the single feature that made massive, chain-reaction trials possible.

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100

What took another 75-100 to get popular in the stereotype for witches? & What was Germans artists representations of witchcraft in the late fifteenth century?

Indeed it was another 75 to 100 years before the orgiastic ritual of the sabbath had worked its way into the obsessions of the learned and the imagery of the artists. It is noteworthy that German artistic representations of witchcraft in the late fifteenth century agree with the Malleus in portraying a basically solitary crime.

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