Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Witchcraft And Demonology In Europe

Witchcraft And Demonology In atomic number 63The hagfish-hunts were one of the most beta events in the history of early modern Europe, taking place from the mid-15th century and ending in the mid-18th century. The get of entrancecraft evolved throughout the period, with the Canon Episcopi calling the handstal picture in witches a unorthodoxy, to Pope Innocent VIII issuing a bull in 1484 to denounce the practice of witchcraft as a heresy all in a span of about 500 years. On the topic of witchcraft, it is unavoidable that the issue of gender would be discussed. The central question of this explanation would be how historians account for the persecution of to a greater extent women than men in the witch-hunts in early modern Europe. The report will first outline the stereotype of a witch and discuss how this stereotype was promulgated. It will be concerned with two possible explanations that attempt to account for the persecution of more women than men firstly, how the persecu tions may be a results of a misogynistic and patriarchal culture, and secondly, how the hunts may be been a result of the lack of tolerance for kindly deviance of women.The Stereotype Of A WitchA collection of statistics bespeak that a majority of charge witches were women, with most estimates pointing to about 80% of all victims organism women (Ross, 1995 334). Levack (1987 142) provides a list of statistics indicating that in most regions in Europe, about three-quarters of the accused were women, with the figures being 90% in regions in Poland and England. Very evidently, the predominant nonion of a witch is that it is foremost a woman.In discussing the stereotype of a witch it is difficult not to make reference to the cumulative concept of witchcraft (Levack, 1987 32-51), which points to certain factors that would help in the identification of a witch. These include a witchs friendship with the Devil, the pact with the Devil, the Sabbath, nightflying and metamorphosis. Regin ald Scot in 1584 described witches as women who were commonly old, lame, blearie-eied, pale, fowle, and full of wrinkles, poore, sullen, and superstitious. This stereotype was promulgated by both genders. Women in early modern Europe were viewed as the weaker gender that was dependent on men in many ways, including for livelihood (Larner, 198486). Since the family was heavily patriarchal, women who did not fit in to the mould of a normal woman threatened the idea of females behaving in a imageicular manner. These women were nonconformists, and on that pointfore put the livelihoods of other women at risk. Hence, they were ostracised by normal women. In behaving in a manner that was different, these women also threatened male domination and therefore had to be condemned by men. Both genders fed the idea that a woman who looked and be pick outd in a certain manner was a witch, hence allowing the stereotype to persist and spread.In addition, the stereotype of a domestic witch could h ave been said to be reinforced by a reprehensible cycle. This is evident in just about cases, such as in that of Anna Schwayhofer, who confessed to stealing the Consecrated Host but dormant bothered to sweep up the crumbs after she had done so (Barry, Hester and Roberts, 1996 230). The association of witches and broomsticks or distaffs used for spinning also fed the stereotype. Women were mostly restricted to the restrict of their allotted spaces, and those practicing harmful magic would most likely be found in those spaces (Blcourt, 2000 303). Hence, it was not surprising that witchcraft was associated with the women and their domestic activities.Gendered Witchcraft And MisogynyThe elect(ip) group perception of women pointed to how they tended to be intellectually weaker than men, yet have more unsatisfied sexual appetites and a higher tendency to pursue the occult, a view propounded by 16th century friar Martin de Castaega and in the Malleus itself by Kramer and Sprenger. He nce, historical literature tended to point towards how women were the more inferior of the two genders, and therefore had the larger propensity to be driven towards becoming a witch. Without a doubt, the society in Europe at that point of time was one that was highly patriarchal in nature (Hufton, 1983, 125-141). While the society was essentially patriarchal in nature, there argon arguments as to whether this can be extended to be characterised as being misogynistic. Anderson and Gordon (1978) point to the innate inferiority that women possessed in the eyes of the Roman Catholic Church, the dominant religious authority in that time, saying that the Church maxim women as more amenable to the allures of Satan (Anderson and Gordon, 1978 174). The paper also highlights the bureau of the Malleus Maleficarum (1486), that was anti-feminist and very popular, reprinting fourteen editions. The Malleus essentially highlights women as creatures possessing insatiable lust, yet not having the strength of mind to counter the temptations of the Devil.However, statistics also show that women were not the only ones who were victims of the witch-hunts. In several regions, men were the ones who were heavily persecuted instead. Regions such as Finland show a relatively even number of male and female persecutions, while in areas such as Normandy and Iceland, the number of accused male witches faraway exceeded the number of female ones. This clearly shows that if there had been a culture of misogyny, it was not uniformed throughout Europe. Monter (1964 563) points out that the stereotypical witch in the French commonwealth of Normandy was not a poor, old woman, but a shepherd who may be a youth or an old man. Similarly, in Iceland, only 8% of all the accused witches were women (Levack, 1987 142). The analysis and discussion of these statistics count to point to the fact that there were differences in societal perspectives towards women and the differences in questioning techniq ues (Monter, 1964 588). Monter (1964 589) suggests that women were treated with leniency during the trial, and some were kept in prison alive for interrogation, even while the men were being executed. The reasons behind why men were more persecuted in some societies and women in others are unclear, but most historians point to the fact that it was impossible to pinpoint a particular reason in every society why this was so. frequently of the reasons behind the gender imbalances must be attributed to the culture and views of the society itself, but what can be certain is that the witch-hunt was not strictly gender-specific. Without a doubt, a society that places emphasis on patriarchal values cannot be dismissed as misogynistic simply based on statistics alone.At this point it is relevant to note that there were differences between the elite and peasant conceptions of witchcraft, and this extended to the persecution of women. For the peasantry, the persecution of witches was less of the pact with the Devil and more of practical concerns such as the failure of crops or the death of livestock (Laurence, 1995 216-218). Similarly, with the persecution of women, the concerns circled around the fact that babies and young children were being victims of maleficia, rather than the witch being a Devil-worshipper per se. Unsurprisingly, therefore, a large number of women who were accused of being witches were the lying-in maids for more privileged families, who looked after the newborns and had direct contact with them, as in the case of Anna Ebeler of Augsburg (Roper, 1991 19). Roper (1991 23) also points to how this may be a result of the association of femineity and maternity. common women were able to have children, yet witches were unable to, leading to a sense of envy that bred the feeling of hatred towards mothers and their babies.Strands Of DevianceOne of the central themes occurring in the witch-hunts would have to be the fact that the society in early modern E urope had very little tolerance for those who were different from them. Jews and homosexuals were persecuted, and the society was predominantly peasant, poor and part of the Roman Catholic Church. Those who were different were frowned upon. Women principally married and had children at a young age, were uneducated and viewed as weak. Their primary purpose was to be subservient to their husbands and act their families, keeping the household. This view of women can be contrasted to the stereotype of a witch, as mentioned above. Being old and unmarried, as well as being socially isolated, these alleged witches were evidently different from the general conception of a woman in society.Larner (198192) puts forward the idea that witches were persecuted not because they were women, but because they were non-women who did not fit into the societal view of a woman. While a typical woman was maternal, witches were unable to have children where typical women stayed home at nights, witches f lew to remote locations to join Sabbaths. This fit in with the elite conceptions that the reality in which witches lived in was essentially one that was an anti-society. Blcourt (2000 300) explains that God was a guardian of social norms, while the Devil was just the very opposite. These non-women were persecuted for disobeying the social norms, and some historians even argue that women accused other women of being witches because they felt threatened by an individual who did not conform to the male image of them (Larner, 1981 102). The role of the Roman Church was also not to be ignored in the reinforcement of this stereotype. Women had an increased likelihood to practice love magic as compared to men (Blcourt, 2000 303), and since only priests of the Church could legally practice magic, they were more likely to be persecuted as a result.Remote PossibilitiesWhile the possible presence of a inhibitory patriarchy or a societal aversion to deviant behaviour have often been cited as t he reasons behind the gender imbalance during the witch-hunts, there are a few other remote possibilities that will be mentioned in the passing. Scully (1995 857-858) points to how Venetian witches could choose witchcraft as a career option as opposed to being married or forced into prostitution, and this could be an escape from a possibly malevolent life, thereby proving to be a popular resource for women in the region at that time. In his paper, Goodare (1991 291-292) argues that economic factors could have been one of the reasons for the witch-hunts. Since the people had fallen upon hard times, those dependent upon charity handouts were hostile to others who were their competition and these were chiefly women. Another article by Ross (Ross, 1995 333-337) draws an interesting correlation between the outbreak of syphilis in the 16th century and the persecution of more women than men. He posits that women, being the symbols of fertility, could be shunned due to syphilis as they w ould be spreading the venereal disease. Further, much of the witchs behaviour, he says, could be attributed to the madness that is a symptom of the disease.While fascinating, these observations by historians seem to be unique suggestions that do not appear in the literature as main causes for the increased persecution of women.ConclusionTo conclude, this report has outlined the stereotype of a witch and what perpetrated this stereotype throughout early modern Europe. It seems persuasive to argue that although there was a strong patriarchal society in those days, this culture did not amount to being misogynistic in nature. The stereotype of the witch that emerge during this period and that was adopted by most modern historians emphasise a few features of witches that generally seem to be a result of the lack of tolerance for social deviant behaviour, and simply reinforced time and again in a vicious cycle. The trend points to the fact that there are a variety of factors that resulted in more women being persecuted than men. Often, this phenomenon can only be attributed to the differences in the various societies in Europe, and the culture of the region or country. Ultimately, it can be concluded that a combination of factors led to more women being persecuted than men.ReferencesAnderson, Alan and Gordan, Raymond. 1978. Witchcraft and the Status of Women The Case of England. The British diary of Sociology, Vol. 29, No. 2 171-184.Barry, Jonathan, Hester, Marianne and Roberts, Gareth. 1999. Witchcraft in archaean Modern Europe Studies in Culture and Belief (Past and Present Publications). Melbourne Cambridge University Press.de Blcourt, Willem. 2000. The Making of a distaff Witch. Gender and History, Vol. 12, No. 2 125-141.Goodare, Julian. 1998. Women and the Witch-Hunt in Scotland. Social History, Vol. 23, No. 3 288-308.Hufton, Olwen. 1983. Women in History. Early Modern Europe. Past Present, No. 101 125-141.Larner Christina. 1981. Enemies of God The Witch-H unt in Scotland. London Chatto Windus.Larner, Christina. 1984. Witchcraft and Religion The Politics of Popular Belief. New York Basil Blackwell.Laurence, Anne. 1995. Women in Engliand, 1500-1760, A Social History. London Weidenfeld Nicolson Illustrated.Levack, Brian. 1987. The Witch-hunt in Early Modern Europe. Harlow Pearson fostering Limited.Monter, Williams. 1997. Toads and Eucharists The Male Witches of Normandy, 1564-1660. French Historical Studies, Vol. 20, No. 4 563-595.Ross, Eric B. 1995. Syphilis, Misogyny, and Witchcraft in 16th-Century Europe. Current Anthropology, Vol. 36, No. 2 333-337.Sawyer, Ronald C. 1989. Strangely Handled in All Her Lyms Witchcraft and mend in Jacobean England. Journal of Social History, Vol. 22, No. 3 461-485.Scully, Sally. 1995. Marriage or a Career? Witchcraft as an Alternative in Seventeenth-Century Venice. Journal of Social History, Vol. 28, No. 4 857-876.Primary sourcesDarst, David H. 1979. Witchcraft in Spain the Testimony of Martin de Cas taegas Treatise on Superstition and Witchcraft (1529).Kramer, Heinrich and Sprenger James. 1484. Malleus Maleficarum. Accessed 6 October 2009. Available at http//www.malleusmaleficarum.org/.Scot, Reginald. 1584. The Discoverie of Witchcraft. Retrieved from Early English Books Online.The practice of harmful magic

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