Witch Hunts: Betrayal by Peers. Witch hunting in early-modern Europe, the 15th-18th centuries, tales of prosecution and betrayal.

Essay by ash0leCollege, UndergraduateB-, November 2012

download word file, 8 pages 0.0

Downloaded 3 times

Witch Hunts: Betrayal by Peers

Early modern Europe, between the 15th-18th centuries was a time of fear, betrayal, and execution. This was the time when witch hunts had started to pick up, and thousands of innocent people, primarily poor, elderly, widowed women, had lost their lives either by hanging, burning, or other forms of painful torture. This essays purpose is to educate about what went on during this time period, and make apparent the unjust ways of persecution.


As already mentioned, the Witch Hunts in Early Modern Europe took place roughly from the 15th century up until the mid 17th century. During this time there was the Renaissance time period (1450-1600 CE), Charles V (r.1519-1556) as the Holy Roman Emperor, the belief that the religion of the ruler was the religion of the people, wars of religion between the Protestants and Catholics with the Thirty Years War, Martin Luther with his Reformation, as well as the persecution of heretics just to name a few events of the time.

It may have been during those persecutions that word of the Devil and his work may have sparked the belief in witches and witchcraft.


Of course to discuss these witch hunts it is necessary to have some formal basis of what it is exactly that is meant by that term. Generally the meaning of "magic", "witch", and "witch craft" varied from one culture to the next. Witchcraft, as defined by some anthropologists, is "an internal power some people possess, an inborn property which they inherit, just as they inherit the properties of being right-handed or snub-nosed."� One particularly common belief surrounding witch craft was the idea of the 'evil eye'. Basically to have this meant one could just look at a person or animal and cause harm to them.