In 1997, Stuart Clark published the first monograph since the time of Jules Michelet to focus on pre-modern ideas about witches. The language of belief in witchcraft studies betrays an anachronistic, modernist and dismissive approach to a mental universe quite different from our own. This book makes the male witch visible, to construct him as a historical subject, as a first step toward a deeper understanding of the functions and role of gender in pre-modern European witch-hunting and ideas about witches. The overtly political dimension to the study of witches in early modern Europe demands a high level of consciousness and reflexivity regarding language, representation, and meaning. William Monter provides a wealth of data about male witches, in an 'unremarkable province' close to 'the heart of northern and western Europe'. Here, men comprised the majority of those tried and executed for witchcraft. The book examines cases in which men were accused of witchcraft. The examples are drawn from several different regions, in order to test conventional generalisations about male witches. The agency theory posits that actors always have choices; 'agent-centred' morality proposes a novel twist on both traditional Kantian internalist categories. The problems of both male and female witches' agency and selfhood are discussed. The book also presents data compiled from ten canonical works, and a brief discussion of demonological illustrations. Finally, it addresses the question of what it means to label a man as a witch within a framework that explicitly and implicitly feminised witchcraft.
Given the widespread belief in witchcraft and the existence of laws against such practices, why did witch-trials fail to gain momentum and escalate into ‘witch-crazes’ in certain parts of early modern Europe? This book answers this question by examining the rich legal records of the German city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, a city that experienced a very restrained pattern of witch-trials and just one execution for witchcraft between 1561 and 1652. The book explores the factors that explain the absence of a ‘witch-craze’ in Rothenburg, placing particular emphasis on the interaction of elite and popular priorities in the pursuit (and non-pursuit) of alleged witches at law. By making the witchcraft narratives told by the peasants and townspeople of Rothenburg central to its analysis, the book also explores the social and psychological conflicts that lay behind the making of accusations and confessions of witchcraft. Furthermore, it challenges the existing explanations for the gender-bias of witch-trials, and also offers insights into other areas of early modern life, such as experiences of and beliefs about communal conflict, magic, motherhood, childhood and illness. Written in a narrative style, the study invites a wide readership to share in the drama of early modern witch trials.
This book explores two areas of interest: the Papal Inquisition in Modena and the status of Jews in an early modern Italian duchy. Its purpose is to deepen existing insights into the role of the former and thus lead to a better understanding of how an Inquisitorial court assumed jurisdiction over a practising Jewish community in the seventeenth century. The book highlights one specific aspect of the history of the Jews in Italy: the trials of professing Jews before the Papal Inquisition at the beginning of the seventeenth century. Inquisitorial processi against professing Jews provide the earliest known evidence of a branch of the Papal Inquisition taking judicial actions against Jews on an unprecedented scale and attempting systematically to discipline a Jewish community, pursuing this aim for several centuries. The book focuses on Inquisitorial activity during the first 40 years of the history of the tribunal in Modena, from 1598 to 1638, the year of the Jews' enclosure in the ghetto, the period which historians have argued was the most active in the Inquisition's history. It argues that trials of the two groups are different because the ecclesiastical tribunals viewed conversos as heretics but Jews as infidels. The book emphasizes the fundamental disparity in Inquisitorial procedure regarding Jews, as well as the evidence examined, especially in Modena. This was where the Duke uses the detailed testimony to be found in Inquisitorial trial transcripts to analyse Jewish interaction with Christian society in an early modern community.
This book explores how conceptions of episcopacy (government of a church by bishops) shaped the identity of the bishops of France in the wake of the reforming Council of Trent (1545–63). It demonstrates how the episcopate, initially demoralised by the Wars of Religion, developed a powerful ideology of privilege, leadership and pastorate that enabled it to become a flourishing participant in the religious, political and social life of the ancien regime. The book analyses the attitudes of Tridentine bishops towards their office by considering the French episcopate as a recognisable caste, possessing a variety of theological and political principles that allowed it to dominate the French church.
The Malleus Maleficarum is one of the best-known treatises dealing with the problem of what to do with witches. Written in 1487 by a Dominican inquisitor, Heinrich Institoris, following his failure to prosecute a number of women for witchcraft, it is in many ways a highly personal document, full of frustration at official complacency in the face of a spiritual threat, as well as being a practical guide for law-officers who have to deal with a cunning, dangerous enemy. Combining theological discussion, illustrative anecdotes and useful advice for those involved in suppressing witchcraft, the treatise's influence on witchcraft studies has been extensive. The only previous translation into English, that by Montague Summers in 1928, is full of inaccuracies. It is written in a style almost unreadable nowadays, and is unfortunately coloured by Institoris's personal agenda. This new edited translation, with an introductory essay setting witchcraft, Institoris and the Malleus into clear English, corrects Summers' mistakes and offers an unvarnished version of what Institoris actually wrote. It will undoubtedly become the standard translation of this controversial late medieval text.
French subsidies played a central role in European politics from Charles VIII’s
invasion of Italy in 1494 until the French Revolution. French kings attempted to
frustrate what they viewed as a Habsburg bid to pursue universal monarchy.
During the seventeenth century, the French monarchy would embrace the payment of
subsidies on a different scale than previously, using alliances in which
subsidies played a prominent role to pursue crucial aspects of royal policy.
Louis XIII made alliances promising subsidies to support the United Provinces’
resumed war against the king of Spain, and for the Danish, Swedish, and various
German princes to fight against the Holy Roman Emperor. Louis XIV continued some
of these subsidies and used subsidies as a tool in order to implement his own
politics. When Louis XIV appeared to Dutch and some English statesmen as
aspiring to Universal monarchy, the Dutch and particularly the English used the
tool of subsidies to frustrate the French monarch. During the eighteenth
century, principally the French and the British, but also the Austrians, used
subsidies to procure allies and attempt to maintain the balance of power. The
subsidy system prompted significant debates about the legal, political, and
moral implications, and was sometimes a source of political conflict between
competing power groupings within states. The book argues that participation in
the French system of subsidies neither necessarily accelerated nor necessarily
retarded state development; but such participation could undoubtedly change
political dynamics, the creation of institutions, and the form of states that
Seem , M. and
Lane , H.
R. ( Minneapolis,
MN : University of Minnesota
E. ( 2005 ), The Printing Revolution in EarlyModernEurope ( Cambridge :
implying sceptical distance in the sense that the ideas in question, while
sincerely held,were not only fallacious but also entirely subjective.We do
not mean to suggest that Satan-worshipping witches actually flew across the
earlymodernEuropean skies. Rather, we concur with anthropologist Gilbert
Lewis: ‘The very word “belief” often implies, in its use,
a judgement about the uncertain truth or reliability of that
speaking, is to impart too much significance to the often-cited fact that
women comprised 75 to 80 per cent of those tried for witchcraft in earlymodernEurope. This figure represents an estimate that covers continental
Europe, the British Isles, and the American colonies, over a period of
roughly three hundred years: it masks the crucial fact that ratios of male
to female witches were extremely
with Satan rather than reject him.
The idea of the Devil’s pact
The concept of the Devil’s pact was a prominent theme in earlymodernEuropean theology. Central to the debate was the idea that witches and
magical practitioners of all types gained their powers from selling their soul
to the Devil. According to learned doctrines no human being could possibly
possess any supernatural powers or occult knowledge.3 Only God could
The Devil’s pact
perform miracles, but the Devil’s exceeding knowledge of the world and the
hidden properties of nature enabled him to do