Witch Trials in Early Modern Europe and New England

The height of the witch frenzy was marked by the publication of the Malleus Maleficarum (“Hammer of Witches”). Legal Basis for Witch Trials Historians have identified a number of crucial legal developments that led to the panic surrounding— and subsequent trials of— witches in Early Modern Europe. One was the idea of “heretical fact,” put[…]

The European Witch-Hunts, 1450-1750

The witch-hunts of early modern Europe took place against a backdrop of rapid social, economic, and religious transformation. By Adam Jones Introduction For three centuries of early modern European history, diverse societies were consumed by a panic over alleged witches in their midst. Witch-hunts, especially in Central Europe, resulted in the trial, torture, and execution[…]

Witch Trial Hysteria in the Medieval and Early Modern Worlds

Natural events and pandemics contributed to the hysteria surrounding the witch trials of the 16th through 18th centuries. Introduction The witch trials in the early modern period were a series of witch hunts between the 15th and 18th centuries, when across early modern Europe, and to some extent in the European colonies in North America,[…]

Witchcraft in Shakespeare’s England

Boydell’s Collection of Prints illustrating Shakespeare’s works / British Library, Public Domain Did Shakespeare’s contemporaries believe in witches? Looking at witchcraft trials in the 16th century and considering their relation to the ‘weird sisters’ of Macbeth. By Dr. Carole Levin Willa Cather Professor of History Director of Medieval and Renaissance Studies Program University of Nebraska-Lincoln While king of Scotland,[…]