16 th and 17 th centuries England, Scotland, Switzerland, Germany, France and the Low Countries Later, New England in America
Not new: idea of mother goddess (Minerva, Isis, Inanna), “wise women”, since first civilizations Even seen in the idea of Mary being a goddess to some, churches named after her Christianity connected women who were healers, midwives, cooks with the devil and called them witches. Seen as heretics and killed by the Inquisition
Increased number of trials and executions in 16 th and 17 th centuries (the Burning Times) Fear=of witches and of being accused of witchcraft Cities then rural areas “Evidence”=muttering, markings like a wart or mole called a “witch’s teat” from which she would feed blood to a “familiar” or the devil in the disguise of an animal, birthmarks called devil’s mark Torture to gain confession and expose your coven, then execution
Why? Explanation for the unknown Religious tension, turmoil and war following Reformation Society becoming increasingly more selfish in economics and politics Growing number of poor Scapegoating Crop fungus And……….
Misogyny Women are more susceptible to temptation Weaker in mind, body and spirit The elderly, women, poor and mentally ill were targeted (old widow?) Eve Women are inferior “Love carnal pleasure” Holocaust? 85% of those killed were women
Hysteria began to die down Some religious tolerance starting Relative stability of governments and economies for a time Scientific Revolution will bring about a change in thinking, need for evidence not superstition