Magic and Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe

Although magic and witchcraft had existed since antiquity, early modern Europe underwent a growth in anxiety about witches and their practices. Introduction Historians have named the era in Europe that lasted from about 1500 to 1650 the age of the “Witch Hunts.” During this period approximately 100,000 people went on trial for the crime of[…]

From Ancient Rome to Hollywood: Witches as Figures of Fun

How Romans overcame their fear of witches by finding them funny. Introduction For centuries, when people thought of witches, they were evil or possessed by evil demons: think of the Salem witch trials or the 16th and 17th-century woodcuts depicting sinister women conjuring demons or flying on broomsticks. These were the sort of women who morphed in[…]

A Bit of Serendipitous Magic: The Sorcière of Conques and Grillot de Givry

Grillot de Givry’s discovery of this 18th-century manuscript from an alleged witch was serendipitous – twice over. I grimaced, examining the neat box of pale blue cardboard in front of me. Manuscript number 4171? This wasn’t the one I’d ordered, and I was conscious of my rapidly passing research week. With only a couple hours[…]