Witch-Trials’, in Stuart Clark and Bengt Ankarloo (eds), Witchcraft and
Magic in Europe: The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries (London, 1999),
pp. 95–189, especially p. 106.
See Alf Lüdtke, The History of Everyday Life:
Reconstructing Historical Experiences and Ways of Life (Princeton,
1995); Richard van Dülmen, Historische Anthropologie. Entwicklung.
survive in Brixen’s episcopal archives; they have
been partially edited by Hartmann Ammann, “Der Innsbrucker Hexenprocess von
1485,” Zeitschrift des Ferdinandeums für Tirol und Vorarlberg 34 (1890): 1–87. See also Eric
Wilson, “Institoris at Innsbruck: Heinrich Institoris, the Summis Desiderantes and the
Brixen Witch-Trial of 1485,” in R.W. Scribner and Trevor Johnson, eds., Popular
Religion in Germany and Central Europe, 1400–1800 (New York: St. Martin’s Press,
2 “Pfie dich, du sneder minch, daz dich das fallend übel etc.” Ammann, “Innsbrucker
The Catholic challenge during the Thirty Years’ War
an admonition or punishment of Margaretha for defamation in keeping with the
more usual outcome of other Rothenburg witch-trials. At the very least, their
consistent denials of any involvement in witchcraft in the absence of any other
incriminating evidence against them would have rendered Margaretha’s story
less credible and the authorities less confident in dealing with it, as they had
been in 1587 in the face of Magdalena Gackstatt’s dogged refusal to admit that
she had taken her son Hans to a witches’ dance.82 In their absence Ursula and
), 41–56. For studies on witchcraft trials, see Richard Kieckhefer,
European WitchTrials: Their Foundations in Popular and Learned Culture 1300–1500 (Berkeley:
University of California Press, 1976); Carlo Ginzburg, The Night Battles, Witchcraft and Agrarian
Cults in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, trans. John and Anne Tedeschi (Baltimore, MD:
Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983); Giovanni Romeo, Inquisitori, esorcisti e streghe nell’Italia
della Controriforma (Florence: Sansoni, 1990); See also Ruth Martin, Witchcraft and the Inquisition in Venice 1550
Suspicions of witchcraft in Finland
did not die out with the witchtrials. 1 Traditional forms of magic and sorcery 2 continued to be not only suspected, but also
practised in the Finnish countryside some two hundred years after the last
witchcraft prosecutions in Finland, if we are to believe dozens of
eyewitness accounts from farmers and labourers in the early twentieth
century. 3 Although
of a word cannot, on its own,
have caused the preponderance of men among those accused; although for the
English-speaking world, the effects of the (implicitly) gendered word
‘witch’ on both the popular imagination and on scholarship
should not be underestimated.
The Icelandic witchtrials of the seventeenth century, as in
the Basque country studied by Henningsen, coincide with ‘a temporary
‘One cannot … hope to obtain
the slightest certainty from him’: the first
child-witch in Rothenburg, 1587
It is, of course, only with the benefit of hindsight that we can draw conclusions
about the relative restraint with which the council in Rothenburg treated witchcraft during the early modern period; this restraint was never a foregone conclusion in any particular witch-trial. The intricate web of factors which
accounted for it could be tested to the limits in certain cases when an individual’s
story of witchcraft and the manner in which the council chose
, as well as the ideas of both Protestant
and Catholic writers of the next century. It was just this consensus that
Institoris and Sprenger’s model of the demonic would provide.
1 Jeffrey Burton Russell, Witchcraft in the Middle Ages (Ithaca: Cornell University Press,
2 Richard Kieckhefer, European WitchTrials (Berkeley, University of California, 1976), 36.
See also David Gentilcore, From Bishop to Witch (Manchester: Manchester University
Press, 1992), 248.
3 For the late-medieval tendency “to grasp the transcendent by making it immanent,” see
most widely accepted, women should not have been singled out for persecution. Susanna Burghartz has compared the witch-trials in Lucerne and nearby
Lausanne during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, looking specifically for
gender bias.13 In Lucerne, where witches were tried by the secular authorities, over 90 percent of those accused of witchcraft between 1398 and 1551
were women. Judges in this region had a quite rudimentary knowledge of contemporary demonology, and focused principally upon the concerns of the
witnesses themselves, especially
Lodovico Cattaneo, Domino Castalutio and Alfonso Lovolo.
64 See Chapter 2, page 63.
65 ASMoFIP 20 f.14 (11v).
66 Ibid. (12v).
67 Richard Kieckhefer, European WitchTrials, p. 79.
68 ASMoFIP 20 f.14 (1v). Most denunciations for cursing were reported almost immediately
afterwards, while the curses were still clear in the mind of the delator. See for example, Ioly
Zorattini, Processi, vol. VI, pp. 101–13, Trial against Benedetto, 1584. The delator Francesco
Cali denounced the Jew a day after he had allegedly heard the Jew curse, as did the delators
of the Christians