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76 thoughts on “How many people were killed as Witches in Europe from 1200 to the present?”
In the Pagan community, there’s a meme going around that the number of “witches” killed through the Inquisition was around 9 million. I’m not sure where the number originated, but I assume it counts every tangential death, and many that couldn’t be counted as witches by any standard. I think it’s been getting discredited as more people with educations are involved in Paganism. I used to be one of them, but the anti-intellectual & historical revisionism tendencies really chafed.
I’ve heard that. I think 9 million is high but 1 or 2 million would not surprise me too much. People need to remember, though, that the populations levels were low. I’d like to know how many Europeans above the age of 10 yers. old ever existed from 1200 to 1700. I think it would NOT be in the high tens of millions.
I dunno, Europe was pretty densely packed. I mean, that’s why the plagues hit so hard, Right? Because there were cities and towns and things and people lived very closely together with terrible hygiene.
How many were killed as witches?
About 666 % of them 🙁
Your passage on the Stedinger Crusades is complete rubbish. They were attacked as heretics not witches and sensible sources give the total death toll as 5000 and even that is probably too high as an estimate of the entire population of a largely marsh area in the 13th century. 19th century history books are unfortunately often closer to being fantasy novels than real academic history.
Artor: Do you pagan sources have any idea of the real population figures in the High Middle Ages in Europe when the majority of the witch executions took place? The figure 9 million is to put it mildly a joke.
That should read “your sources” and not “you sources”.
“witches and heretics” was the chrge used to justify torturing and killing people in the name of jesus – or the pope, to be honest.
do these figures include the ethnic cleansing of the Moors from Spain? they should.
and the crusades against the anabaptists, the free spirits, and christian communities that did not recognize the authority of the pope. i think the 1 – 2 million guestimate is a bit low. and maybe the 9 million is too high, but somewhere in the 4-6 million range sounds likely.
excellent article, especially now, when “christians” in the u.s. are so ready to start a religious, racial war.
I think Tony C. is right that the source cited in the article should be taken with a grain, or a handful, of salt. It´s some sort of leyenda nera. Even the Enlightenment wasn´t perfect 🙂
But then, population in western Europe, i.e. not counting Poland-Lithuania and Russia, was probabely like ~20 million during most of the Period 1300-1700, so overall number of adults (50%, or some such) and life expectancy of 30yrs gives +100 million adults during that time.
The charge of heresy became relevant in Europe in the 10th century as a way to destroy ones political foes. I wish the author of this piece well in his research of heresy and witchcraft.
After reading around a little, I´m convinced that my population numbers are far too low 🙁 Wrong guesstimate.
And then, its leyendanegra. Mixing Italian and Spanish is not recommended.
Even one person murdered for religious reasons was too many!
You do know that Mackay’s book is so old that it is horrendously wrong in many ways? It’s years since I had a look through it, and even then some errors were clear. I suppose I’ll have to go back and look at the alchemy section again, since I’m something of an expert at that now.
Certainly we need a cite from Mackay regarding the alleged accusations of witchcraft; you should also read some more modern sources on the topic, because as with everything else, there’s been a lot more found out in the last 30 years. (Including the destruction of the ‘persecuted witches were inheritors of ancient pagan religion’ idea)
On the demons being associated with witchcraft point you are likely on sounder ground. E.g. on page 604 of volume 2 of Throndike’s “History of magic and experimental science”, he writes about Thomas Aquinas writing that magic is really done by the use of demons. And for Aquinas to think that, it is likely that the idea goes back much earlier in the 13th century. I think it probably goes back to the 11/12th century and the absorption of Islamic learning in places like Sicily, which is one of the ways in which a belief in ‘magic’ of various types was modernised, i.e. they started to ask why and how instead of just accepting it.
Hah, found the section on alchemy, spelt “alchymy”. It is the greatest collection of half truths, fables, myths and legends I have seen since I last read something by a creationist.
One example – regarding Pope John 22nd, who in 1322 issued some piece of paper against alchemy and alchemists who defraud people, Mackay wrote:
“This Prelate is said to have been the friend and pupil of Arnold de Villeneuve, by whom he was instructed in all the secrets of alchymy.”
Which is of course totally wrong in every way, or at least, no modern researcher has ever published anything in support of such an assertion.
Of course Mackay didn’t know any better, and there are some facts in there, but I wouldn’t use the Memoirs etc. as anything more than a starting point.
Regarding the population of Europe, the internet is full of stuff, you just have to look it up.
= = = =
I’d like to know how many Europeans above the age of 10 yers. old ever existed from 1200 to 1700. I think it would NOT be in the high tens of millions. = = =
So if we take the above statement at something approaching face value, you’d be completely wrong in every way. With Britain, France, Germany, etc, you’re looking at something like 22 to 35 million, depending on before and after the plague. That suggests that in a rather smaller area than is usually used as Europe, in your 500 years, assuming 50 year lifespan, which is sort of what you expect if you survive past early childhood, you’d be looking at 200 million or more people. But that’s a guestimate, you can do a lot better than that. It’ll certainly be over 150 million, I guarantee it.
Ok, I get that 19th century sources of earlier histories are problematic in a number of ways. What are the better, more reliable sources on this particular event? (If they exist?)
I’m seeing a lot of reasonable questions or cautions but I’m not seeing a lot of specifics. Why aren’t you people doing my homework for me???!!
There must be a couple of papers or chapters you can assign me. I do appreciate the comments.
Wikipedia has a page for Vox in Rama, the papal bull condemning the Stedingers. There are references to relatively recent books on the subject. I have no idea on the accuracy, although one note references a German translation of Papal bulls as a source.
I’m sure that better sources exist. The bibliography in the back of the British Library book on “Magic in medieval manuscripts” by Sophie Page includes
“Magic in the middle ages”, by R. Kieckhefer, Cambridge university press 1989, so it’s probably a solid book.
There might be something useful in “The occult in Mediaeval Europe” by P. G. Maxwell-Stuart,(Palgrave, 2005) although since his book on alchemy from which I am transcribing this reference isn’t that great, I have my doubts about his book on magic; although he has spent many years lecturing at the University of St Andrews on the topic of magic and the occult, and is up to date with the literature.
As a general rule, much more so than with science, it is best to start with books and sources from the last 30 years because so much rubbish was written in the past (and still is) and it took a disturbingly long time for people to really start mining the historical evidence that is now available.
Attribution of nine million likely considers the crusades against the Cathars as addressing witchcraft rather than heresy. Jeffrey Russell’s book Witchcraft in the Middle Ages, suggests a transistion in the Inquisition away from the Albigiansian heresy towards witchcraft in the late twelfth century.
Greg, on twitter you asked for a more detailed comment on your post and I have now found the time to fulfil your wish
Firstly I find that your comments on Darin Hayton and his article verge on an ad hominem. Darin is an excellent professional historian, with a very good reputation, who specialises in the history of the occult in the High and Late Middle Ages. His real speciality is the history of astrology but of necessity he knows his way round the history of magic. Your attempt to dismiss his figures shows signs of hubris. The figure of 50 to 60 000 executions for witchcraft between 1450 and 1750 is also that given by Jeffrey B. Russell, a leading historian of the subject, in his A New History of Witchcraft, (Thames & Hudson, 2007). To reject these figures out of hand, as you do, is totally insulting to all historians. These figures are based on serious academic research and are not the product of somebodies imagination as are those produced by several people in your comments. Given the difficulty of the sources the figures are not as certain as scientific data but even if they were off by 100%, highly unlikely, the death toll would only be a maximum of 120 000.
The figures are calculated for the given period because this is the period in European history of the so-called witch craze during which the hunting down, persecution and murder of people for witchcraft reached hysterical proportions. In fact the majority of these activities actually took place within the century between 1550 and 1650. The wider spectrum is to catch the beginnings and tailing off of this very strange historical phenomenon.
Naturally people were executed for witchcraft outside of the period but the occurrences of execution for witchcraft are in comparison to the witch craze period relatively seldom. Executions for witchcraft go back into the mist of time and are still going on today in West Africa.
We now turn to the story of the Stedinger, which is a story of a political and fiscal power struggle. These were Dutch settlers on the banks of the river Weser west of Bremen in Northern Germany. When the first settlers came in the eleventh century this was an unsettled area of marshland. They negotiated with the local feudal lord for permission to settle there. They received this permission, which included tax privileges, all of which was fixed in a written contract. Two centuries later the settlers had turned the area into a thriving agricultural settlement. This was a period in which the Catholic Church was trying to establish political dominance over Europe. One of the local Bishops tried to enforce new taxes and above all tithes on the Stedinger who quoting their contract told him to go take a jump. A local knight launched a punitive expedition against the Stedinger and got his arse kicked. At this point the Bishop realised that he needed support if his was going to subdue the Stedinger and wrote to the Pope denouncing them as heretics and requesting the official announcement of a crusade against them. The first crusade took place and also got its arse kicked at which point the Bishop turned up the heat denouncing the Stedinger as Satanists. Now within Christian persecution all witches are Satanists but not all Satanists are witches and the Stedinger were falsely accused of Satanism but not of being witches.
This blanket accusation of Satanism against supposed heretics is very common in the High Middle Ages. It’s part of a standard smear campaign that includes such socio-political gems as well poisoning and eating babies. One finds the same accusations being levelled at Jews and Muslims throughout European history.
Having whipped up the hatred against the Stedinger the Church launched the second crusade against them. This time a vastly superior force defeated the Stedinger militias at the battle of Altenesch and then carried out the massacre you reference. The contemporary accounts differ in the total number of people slaughtered giving figures of 6000, 4000 and 2000 somewhat different to the figures you juggle with in your post.
Thanks very much for the comments and for the info on the Stedinger. Is there a reference for any of that? It sounds like the accepted version is much the same as the version given in MacKay but for two points: The number involved and the satanist/witchcraft nomenclature.
For my purposes, looking at the traditions of using witchcraft in the manners discussed in the post, I would want to combine the two into one thing. I’m not sure that a distinction is helpful other than to add detail to the traditions. (My own fieldwork has been with folks making reference to both satanism, a concept introduced by missionaries, and witchcraft, in Central Africa.)
Regarding your initial remarks, they are very funny if you mean to be ironic about ad hominem! Of course I want to know what established historians say and I’ll figure they are probably right more often than wrong because of who they are. But that is still subject to documentation and verification.
Greg, I would not find the 40-50K too far off the mark if it were confined to a tight definition of witch where the accusers (and any behind them) truly believed the person accused was a witch casting spells. This eliminates all the village herbalists/healers that were condemned by the church for not letting God heal the sick with prayer etc. All the old crones who pissed someone off etc etc etc.
That’s the problem with this type of research – the term witch was used for so many different situations – it became a term of convenience for political control (secular and theocratic.) Another problem of course is how many “real” witches were there at the time – ones who used charms, potions and ritual to attempt to change the course of fate – a.k.a. hedge witches?
The concept of the coven was a figment of the church’s imagination, albeit a very convenient figment. Unfortunately people like Gerald Gardner imported that concept and bunch of stuff from 19th C.Masonry, Rosicrucian, Golden Dawn and other mystical sects to create the modern concept of Wicca and much nonsense has prevailed ever since.
The 9 million figure originates in 1970 era feminist critiques of traditional, and therefore male-dominated, Christianity. I wondered why that figure was picked, why not 90 million or 190 million ? people who comment on this subject need to be able to distinguish clearly in their minds the difference between medieval/catholic persecutions of. ‘heresy’ ( ie inquisitions) and early modern trials of witches ( virtually all conducted by civil courts in Protestant countries ) . Totally separate historical phenomena. The catholic church had officially suppressed witch hunting, a social problem that was inherited from pagan Rome, since the mid 5th century. Catholics could not hunt witches without formally breaking church law ; tho I do not know how exactly these laws were enforced, very few witches died in Mediterranean areas. Contemporary witch killing in Africa and Asia now exceeds any former European levels in intensity. The only third world areas which are spared seem to be in Latin America.
How have mass killing and murders been resolved over time? That was the question I was researching and a random question brought me to your link and comments of your followers. Please accept me as a follower too. Thanks for showing the way.
the 9 million came from the song , burning times http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeFHk4kqv1Q
I want to apologize in advance for hijacking this conversation. Sort of. And for an unreasonably long comment.
I will be making reference to the Nazi program of eliminating ‘undesirables’, to draw a parallel to this discussion, not to make facile comparisons of perpetrators of genocide or witch hunts, but rather to focus on our sense of the wider society in which such events occur.
Getting a handle on the true numbers, whatever they may be, is important in its own right. This is crucial work that historians, archaeologists, anthropologists and forensic investigators do for the rest of us. The point of obtaining better estimates, and greater clarity and consensus of terminology (i.e., what examples are to be included in the count, and which excluded), is to allow us to better comprehend not only what it might have been like to live in Europe of the middle ages (Pinochet’s reign in Chile comes to mind), but also, perhaps, to re-evaluate the institutions and traditions that have been carried forward to today, including conventional wisdom about the origins of contemporary social and economic hierarchies worldwide.
So, here’s the example of outstanding historical and archaeological inquiry reported last year:
“Researchers at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum spent 13 years analyzing evidence and cataloged some 42,500 ghettos and forced labor camps run by Hitler’s regime…
One of the lead editors in the project, called the Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, Geoffrey Megargee said when the study began in 2000, he had assumed they would find about 7,000 camps and ghettos.
But as their work continued and they discovered more and more camps, the numbers skyrocketed to 11,500, “then 20,000, then 30,000, and now 42,500.”
(a link to the center and it’s research can be found here: http://www.ushmm.org/research/publications/encyclopedia-camps-ghettos)
The issues raised, whether talking about witch hunts, or the Holocaust, or genocides of the modern era, include: the extent to which such brutality was a common part of everyone’s experience; the extent to which anyone might claim to be an ignorant or innocent bystander; the degree to which individuals and institutions might be viewed as culpable.
These are, of course, questions of moral judgement.
If the number of witch killings is closer to 2 million, or even 9 million, than to 50, 000 over a four hundred year period, it makes a big difference how we might understand the daily life of any individual living in this era: facing the very real prospect that they, or a loved one, might be fingered as a witch or a satanist, and summarily tried and executed. Talk about a terrorized populous!
I would suggest it is also important not to view the killing of accused witches, satanists, or heretics in isolation, but instead to see these actions within a broader framework of what today would be characterized as ‘crimes against humanity’, which include forced relocation, dispossession of property, forced labor and torture:
ESTIMATES OF THE NUMBER KILLED BY THE PAPACY IN THE MIDDLE AGES AND LATER
David A. Plaisted 2006
CHAPTER 2. The plausibility of massive persecution
“The following statement concerning England in about the year 1400 gives more insight into the extent of the persecutions.
By this it was enacted that any one whom an ecclesiastical court should have declared to be guilty, or strongly suspected, of heresy, should, on being made over to the sheriff with a certificate to that effect, be publicly burnt.
[footnote, page 298] It is remarked that England was the only country where such a statute was needed, as elsewhere the secular powers at once carried out the sentence.
— James C. Robertson, History of the Christian Church, The Young Churchman Co., 1904, p. 297.
These persecutions were not necessarily directed by the hierarchy of the church, but for the most part probably originated at a much lower level, from the “ecclesiastical feudalism” of the Middle Ages, as described by Williams:
Abbes and bishops in consequence became suzerains, temporal lords, having numerous vassals ready to take up arms for their cause, counts of justice – in fact all the prerogatives exercised by the great landlords. … This ecclesiastical feudalism was so extensive, so powerful, that in France and England it possessed during the Middle Ages more than a fifth of all the land; in Germany nearly a third.
— Williams, Henry Smith, The Historian’s History of the World, vol. 8, p. 487.
Probably the greatest number of those who perished by the Papacy in Europe did so at the hands of these local authorities, on the grounds of suspected heresy or opposition to the church, and not necessarily at the direction of the Pope, preceded by a trial, nor mentioned in records. Who would there have been to interfere with the actions of the local abbes and bishops? The constant elimination of a few heretics here and there, in many locations, continued for many years, could easily have added up to a total of millions without making much of an impression on recorded history. Throughout the Middle Ages as the possessions of the church increased, so would the number and power of these officials have increased, together with the number of their victims. During the Crusades, their attention may have been externally directed, but with these ending in about 1272, the number of martyrs within Europe could have greatly increased.
The persecutions were not at all limited to the Inquisition, but took many forms. Many of the victims were killed secretly and never brought to trial or sentenced. These deaths would never have appeared in the official records of the Inquisition. Such persecutions even continued until very recent times, as illustrated by the following (quoting Brownlee)…
But woe to the patriot who shall whisper an insinuation, or print an effusion of a noble spirit, bursting with holy indignation against the hypocrisy, the priestly espionage, and despotism of popery! This is the only unpardonable sin at Rome. It can never be forgiven him, either in this world, or in purgatory! The dungeon cells, placed by papal care, at the bishop’s service, in each cathedral; and the cells of the inquisition, and the agonies, and moanings, and shrieks of the oppressed, breathed only on the ear of heaven -these-these are the overwhelming proofs of popery’s deadly hostility to the freedom of speech, and the press!
This description of persecution derives from the testimony of many travelers to Catholic countries at that time. If such persecution took place in the early nineteenth century, how much more must it have occurred in the Middle Ages when the Papacy was at the height of its power! For example, M’Crie relates (The Reformation in Spain, pp. 181-188) how a Spaniard in the year 1546 converted to Protestantism and was in consequence killed by his brother, who never was punished for his deed. There must have been many such assassinations in the Middle Ages by loyal Catholics who were jealous for the reputation of the Virgin Mary. In fact, threats and persecution even took place in the United States, according to Brownlee, pp. 210-211”
(According to Prof. Plaisted’s UNC biography, he received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in computer science from Stanford University. He served on the faculty of the computer science department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign until 1984, and since then has been a full professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.)
You get the point.
In my view, of trying to achieve a more accurate accounting of atrocities by the collaborative efforts of religious institutions, governing authorities, and local officials, allows us to better grapple with these same atrocities being carried out to this day around the world; carried out, I might add, by an uncannily similar group of institutions and individuals, for much the same religious, political, and economic reasons as they were six hundred years ago.
We also might begin to look more critically at the deference and moral authority historically granted these institutions, and those fortunate enough to occupy positions of status and privilege within them.
Yes, but how many of the murdered were WOMEN? That’s really what the witch hunts were all about – the RCC in it’s fanatical misogyny feared those women who were medically knowledgablek who clung to the old ways and didn’t accept their sacred MALE god and this after centuries of wiping out all Goddess worshiping peoples. . Why this evil entity still continues to exist, still holds sway over so many weak minds, I’ll never understand.
check out the book “Women Church and State” by Gage (who actually lived in the small NE town I live in)–it is another 19th century book. it is a feminists take on the oppression of women by the church. she says the number of women killed as witches were 6 million. i don’t remember if she justified that number in any way. http://www.amazon.com/Woman-Church-Classics-Womens-Studies/dp/1591020077
This whole post is, I believe, based on the misnomer that burning at the stake was the punishment for ‘witchcraft’ when in reality it was the punishment for heresy.
Heresy was actually much broader than witchcraft, and could involve such offenses as denying the authority of the Pope, or sexual immorality as part of a religious ritual. Many people were killed for heresy, but I think the number who were accused of ‘witchcraft’ was actually far lower. I think the problem is that people today have conflated the two, and think that everyone who was ever burned was burned as a ‘witch’. This was not the case.
The Lollards, Hussies and Albigenses were not ‘witches’, nor were they accused of being such. Nor were the likes of William Tyndale and Thomas Cranmer. Indeed, the vast majority of people killed for heresy in the Middle Ages would probably have considered themselves to be Christians, not witches or neo-pagans……
Heresy certainly is a broader category. Historians rarely look to before 1300 for Witchcraft/Witches in Europe. What I’m proposing here, essentially, is that there are pre 1300 precursors or even,simply, early examples.
According to the contemporary pope, “The Stedinger, seduced by the devil, have abjured all the laws of God and man, slandered the Church, insulted the holy sacraments, consulted witches to raise evil spirits, shed blood like water, taken the lives of priests, and concocted an infernal scheme to propagate the worship of the devil, whom they adore under the name of Asmodi.”
Allow me to elaborate further on my previous comment. I am inclined to suspect that the extremely high figures, in the millions quoted here, do not take account of the difference between witchcraft and heresy.
Witchcraft and devil worship were considered a form of heresy, but a very specific form, and many people who were accused, convicted or executed for heresy were, I think not accused of practicing anything remotely related to witchcraft or occultism.
Some of the Lollards of England, for instance, seem to have been considered especially dangerous because of some of their teachings on property ownership and temporal authority. This was a prime example of a ‘heretical’ sect which had little or nothing to do with ‘witchcraft’, but one of whom some members were executed for heresy.
Herein is the point- as related before- heresy was in fact, much broader than witchcraft, but both could carry the same penalty. Yet they were not the same.
Hence, I believe that that those who claim ‘millions’ were executed as ‘witches’ are in fact, lumping together all those accused or executed for heresy. Most ‘heretics’ were not ‘witches’ are were not probably, accused of being such.
It would be rather like taking all the figures for vehicle and driving related offenses in the US, and compiling them together to claim that the figures Grand Theft Auto are in fact, far higher than is generally believed.
That makes sense.
…I also wonder at the correlation between convictions for heresy/witchcraft and actual executions. To my knowledge, one did not necessarily follow the other, and its was often only ‘obdurate’ heretics who suffered the death penalty.
This was those tho refused to recant, or who had recanted (perhaps repeatedly) but subsequently ‘lapsed’ back into ‘heresy’ again.
Many, however, do seem to have recanted and been spared- even Joan of Arc was not initially condemned to death but to life imprisonment.
Thus, I think if account is taken of how many witches and heretics who went through the courts actually escaped with a non-capital punishment such as penance, imprisonment or fines the figures of execution would again be lower.
…as for those like Ginger who claim the ‘witch-hunts’ were some misogynistic crusade on the part of the Catholic Church- they may wish to note that a number of historians today recognize not actual ‘witch-hunts’ in the Middle Ages. These began in the 16th and 17th century, after the Renaissance, Reformation and even at the beginning of the Enlightenment.
Nor were the ‘witches’of the past ‘witches’ in the sense that we would know them today. As much as modern pagans and Wiccans might like to wallow in a collective persecution complex over their supposed forbears, the vast majority of Medieval Heretics were not almost certainly not goddess worshipers or practitioners of the ‘old religion’.
Not least because modern paganism is just that- a modern religion- many of the rites and rituals of ancient paganism would not be legal in the Western world today, and many of the underpinning beliefs (ensuring the fertility of the land, hastening the return of the spring etc) are obsolete today.
Also, because such practices as astrology and herbalism were technically quite legitimate and even sometimes recognized as such by the church- herbalists were not closet pagans brewing spells in cauldrons- they were probably more like Brother Cadfael…..and like as not invoked the name of the Christian God and the Saints in their charms or rites.
Little off topic, but if you are still interested in that painting, i found out some things. It depicts a tree from which dozens of exceptionally realistic penises hang like enormous pieces of fruit. At the foot of the tree is a group of women waiting for them to fall; two of them squabble over one. A group of crows threatens to attack the “fruit”; a large eagle is a symbol of Pisa and the emblem of the Holy Roman Empire. Ehm… Anyway pardon my English. I am not native speaker.
Draak, is there a high resolution version of this picture somewhere?
OK, I found one. Inserted above. Apparently penis trees were a thing.
Simple arithmetic will tell us that the figures in the area of 10,000 are an insulting patriarchal/catholic perpetuated joke. Just to take the number of 400 (years) multiplied by say 300 (towns across Europe), equals 12,000.
That means if ONE “Witch/Woman/Pagan’ were killed in each of 300 towns, in the span of 400 years, the total killed/tortured/burned would be 12,000 thru out the whole European Burning Times.
BUT one “Witch” killed in each town across Europe for the whole of 400 years is obviously a joke… “The Malleus Maleficarum lay on the bench of every judge, on the desk of every magistrate, and was second only to the bible in popularity. The Witch killing craze spread with the frenzy of wildfire.
This was not just males being violent/misogynist … it was the church/govts/good old boys club, destroying a culture where people were still independent to a degree. The male dominated institutions wanted to CONTROL people, and so the pagan way of life, where WOMEN were Healers, midwives, where men knew how to grow enough food for their families etc, where people WERE independent, had to be destroyed.
It is NO coincidence that destruction of an Earth Centered way of life, made way for the Industrial Revolution. Now ONLY males were Doctors. Women went from being Mystics and Healers to being a man’s property. . Now people lost their wisdoms of living on the land. People were now moving away from the country, to live in cities, dependent on “jobs” and buying food and fuel… which were controlled by the “system”.
Also not coincidentally, the VERY same slaughter of a natural, Earth-based way of life was happening in North America.
To have some understanding of the horrific implications of the Burning Times, we need to know where and how it fits into HIS-story. This was NO small event by any means. This was enormous… enough so that it (intentionally) changed the course of HIS-story more than any other single event.
witches were mostly burnt alive
THE PENIS TREE:
“The tree of fertility” is painted on a wall of public sources in the city of Massa Marittima (in Italy, Tuscany, province of Grosseto). Online you will find many articles on this subject
WATER TEST FOR WITCH………….DEAD BLACK CATS. TOSSED IN YARDS………….MORMON WITCHCRAFT……..CRIMINAL GANG STALKING OF ALL VETERANS……………………3348874342
Witches and ghosts belong to a particular period. That can’t be compared with savage acts of beheading and immolation. Obama’s father was a Muslim and he was brought up in Muslim Indonesia. That’s why he is comparing events that happened 800 years ago with the barbarism committed by terrorists in 21st century. He has purposely omitted shocking barbarous acts such as Armenian genocide, Christian genocide in Mosul today and beheading spree of jihadists. Crusade, inquisition Jim Crow, KKK and slavery were stray, topical, thematic and regional incidents. Christian culture has changed incidents of a particular period into an all embracing culture of tolerance and love. That’s how a slave descendant like Obama could occupy the highest office in a Christian country. Conversely, from the day Islam was born in 7th century.,we see violence, bloodshed and terror on its trail.. Even after enjoying all the pleasures of Christian lifestyle in western countries such as education, health care,and jobs, their ingratitude is shown in terrorist acts like 9/11 inside the country that has reared them.
6 million, 6 million is always a good number …and it works even if its a deceit…so forget all other estimates …if you really want to know here it is: 6 Million women were executed for witchcraft in the past 10 centuries.
I have an group of people at Sutherland Global Services at 1180 Jefferson rd in Henrietta, Ny gang stalk, harassing and using satanic practices against me and my 6 year old son!! They’ve changed us from head to toe the both of us lost EVERYTHING. Physically!! Some of their names are Thomas Levans, Jean Massey, Dilip Vellodi, Bret, Brennan, Abdul, Ryan Porteus, Nancy Ott, Kamisha and there are more!! They’ve been doing this since, May 27, 2014!! I use to work with them and they planned this!! They uad tried getting my son kidnapped, had tried getting me hit by an car 3 times in 1 night and had my house burned down!! My nee number is (585)520-2132!! Me nor, my son look the same at all in any kind of way, shape or, form!! They’ve been adding me on Facebook and stalking me around the city as well as, slandering my name!! I’m from Michigan ad I don’t speak to anyone in Rochester, Ny so, NO ONE should know anything about me!! Your help is highly appreciated and I’m NOT the only one their doing this to!! These people all work together and they’ve been doing this to me and my son a year now!! THEY NEED TO BE DEALT WITH FOR THIS!! ALL OF THEM!! They do this to people and get away with it because, people are scared of them but, I’M NOT I JUST NEED MORE HELP TO GET RID OF THEM!! I have the horrible pictures of what they’ve done to me and my son!!
European males feared the intelligence of women because of their male chauvinist, maladjusted mindsets. Any woman that should that they were smarter than a male were considered witches, and burned to the stake. Its a sad truth, but I do give some encouraging words in my book, “7 Types of Queens, Kings Desire.”
I believe the catholic church has made many stupid decisions in the past witches being a very shameful one’ and The Pope complaining about One Of The Harry Potter movies is another stupid case,’ BUT Other Religions have killed in the name of their God and are still killing today,’ at least the Catholic Church stopped killing decades ago and is changing slowing with the times.
(I do wish they would speed it up a little though!!!!!!!)
Not very scientific here. For a reasonable and documented aspect of this part of depraved human history, recommend:
Note: Stalin 20 million, Mao 50 million dead….for really good killers you have to look at current history….not 4 or 5 centuries ago.
presumably NO persons were killed for witch craft, because witchcraft doesnt exist. it was a made up accusation to get the neighbour up the road with the wonky eye or aunt mary who would be a good scapegoat for that baby john ate last week. so the only thing you can measure is who was officially recorded as accused, and who was killed therafter. if the records arent there, then anything you do is conjecture. imagination. and if you are going to base your imagination as close to reality as possible, then you would have to study individual sources of other indicators, and put those together. and do that for each year. you need to take at least those places where records were carefully kept, and extrapolate fromt here to palces or times when little or no records are available, including any other information that might affect the data, plagues local disasters, effecting the population. you would also have to i assume remove all men from the equation, or were men accused too? im assuming its a woman thing. so if you take half the population and extrapolate from places nad times that were recorded and include other contra indications that would lower those extrapolated numbers, like for example times when no local law enforcement agency was in operation due to the hangman having died and the new guy not arrived yet. or the likelihood of such events based on other data that you do have. what i mean is you have to based your ideas on what you do know. and if that is slim, then you have to take in more data about other things to make your conjecture more accurate, but it has to be based on what you do know. like a soduko puzzle with few numbers filled in, you have to fill in other numbers first, does that make sense. but you cant leave those feilds blank and say well its likely this is a six, because theres an infinite number of things we do know, about now about here about this about that, so altho we may not know how many were killed we should in theroy be able to calculate it by filling in as many blanks as possible that we DO know. that would be my thinking anyway. and without seeing the things we do know, or the things any other historian based his conjectures on then theres no way for any of us to improve on that by adding in other known variables. and the more known variables that would be added would better serve the purpose i think. the acedemic world better just give up its goodies and stop hoarding all those little trinkets away and only showing us their findings.
Per legend, rural people were still practicing the old ways of the pagan religions. Like indigenous people everywhere, those who did not convert to the new religion, i.e. Christianity, had to be eliminated. Medieval Christianity declared the pagan gods to be evil/devil. For example Satan got his horns from Cerunnos the Horned God. In addition, women were the healers and their natural methods and medicines were declared to be evil spells and dangerous potions. “Modern scientific” medicine was a patriarchal realm where only men were doctors. It’s possible cats were considered familiars (links to Satan) of so-called witches and were probably eliminated with the “witches”. Cats killed rats. Without cats the rat population increased. As rats became abundant so did fleas. Fleas, as we know, spread the plague to humans.
We were taught in School (1994/5) that this number was in the millions.
We were taught that the genocide was due to the patriarchal organisers of the ‘Medical revolution’ who actively killed women who were suspected and accused of witchcraft.
We were told that to pave the way for the new sciences, the plan was to eradicate the ‘old ways’ and to remove the status of female healers undermining their practices/suspected practices by vilifying them and murdering them, their female family members and associates. We were told that Men suffered and the hands of the Lynch mobs and organisers of the mass genocide, but ultimately, this was more about Old practices being wiped out entirely to make way for the apparent ‘new, improved’ medicine/science/healthcare. This made being female incredibly tricky in Europe throughout the middle ages.
I know not how much of this is ‘fact’ as we all know history is constantly re-written, but it is a subject I am very interested in that seems to have little available information..
To expand upon Lilly Tilly’s previous comment, let’s do some math:
300 towns x 400 years x 1 “witch”/year/town
= 120,000 “witches”
That’s assuming they only killed one witch per year in each of these towns, which is ridiculously low.
300 towns x 400 years x 100 “witches”/year/town
= 12 million “witches”
And even this number is conservative:
-more than 300 European towns had witch trials (Eastern Europe had huge numbers too)
-the European witch trial craze lasted for more than 400 years
-we’re not even counting any miscellaneous genocides and heresy accusations that came under the umbrella of witchcraft
-why stop at Europe, when people are still being killed in various places around the world for witchcraft today?
-why stop at Christianity? Islam has persecuted “witches” with very similar motivations, and let’s not forget the slew of non-monotheistic cults that did so since times immemorial
but yes… as far as the number of people, especially women, that Christianity killed for “witchcraft”, it would seem the answer is in the MILLIONS.
#70, doubt that massively. Especially the wording you used, which is more a tumblr feminist post than anything real by a teacher.
My youngest sister and brother never found anything like that and they were about that time.
I don’t think the Stedinger can be classed as witches. I’m pretty skeptical of the language attributed to Gregory IX in the 19th century text you quote too, but accepting it as genuine for purposes of this question I think that any attempt to account for the numbers of people killed for alleged witchcraft should be focused on cases where the real cause of enmity was the belief that the victim was practicing witchcraft. The Stedinger were very unlikely to have been 8,000 in number altogether in 1234. The population of Europe at that time was about 60,000,000 and they inhabited the Weser marshes about 40 years before meeting their demise. There were five of them, or five families at that time, who executed a charter with the Archbishop of Bremen agreeing to certain tithes. When they didn’t pay decades later, things got ugly, but I don’t think it can be proven that it did so because they were believed to be practicing witchcraft.
A reason I don’t think defining witchcraft as some antipathy to the Catholic Church is helpful in considering the question, is that my understanding is that documented cases of persecution of witchcraft were more common in Protestant societies after the Reformation at least. The Inquisition, or at least the Holy Office in Spain which is most notorious, was ironically generally skeptical of charges of witchcraft at least according to Richard Kagen recently and other historians before him. Kagen’s work is perhaps revisionist, but not on this point, which is pretty well documented, something unfortunately rare in so many of these cases. Specifically, the Inquisition’s investigations of charges of witchcraft seem to have resulted in acquittals on those charges most of the time, and their minions were instructed to be skeptical of such charges from 1500 or so on at least.
The case of Joan of Arc is certainly interesting, as she was surely charged with consorting with the devil. Several decades later, after one of the most thorough investigations of which we still possess the records, the Vatican made her a saint though. I think even in the 15th century everyone would have agreed she was burned for being a French patriot by the English. While it is surely true that unscrupulous people like King Phillip of France made use of such charges to justify their persecution of all sorts of people like the Templar warrior-monks, what is interesting from the perspective of recent times is the extent to which a genuine fear of witchcraft and magic motivated popular hysteria or legal actions that led to such killings. No one believes that Phillip went after the Templars because he thought they were consorting with Satan.
The bottom line on this question is that the sources we have are inadequate to answer it with any real certainty. Mortality came quicker in the medieval world, as did violent death, but the motives of the killers will forever be obscure in most cases. It can be said that many people found such charges credible, and attributed things they could not understand to the practice of witchcraft in those times. It is hard to conclude, however, that the victims were actually a group of people who would understand why those people in our times who call themselves pagans or wiccans claim them as martyrs. Their doing so seems mostly related to the modern understanding that being a member of victim class can often be turned to account in argument or making claims. I don’t think the people who were burned would have had much desire to be classed as anti-Christian, and probably died saying Christian prayers in the overwhelming majority of such cases.
Just a But I’d education, I’m not in the position to estimate any numbers of pagans burnt but plenty of reformist Christians were, at least they hated everyone. Witch is a mistranslation in the English bible. Witches as we would know them are not referenced in the bible at all. Second, education comes into play, no one today in the church thinks the church has power to kill anyone.
why woudnt the witch hunt times happening in europe be called the burning times