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How far do these sources support the idea that witchcraft was an essentially female crime?

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How far do these sources support the idea that witchcraft was an essentially female crime? All the sources support the idea that witchcraft was essentially a female crime but some to a lesser extent. However there is one exception, source 10, which states that in some countries for example Russia, Estonia and Scandanavian countries, the prosecution of men was nearly on par with women. Source 1 strongly agrees with the question 'that witchcraft was an essentially female crime'. The source is an extract from the malleus maleficarum, which was written by two monks in 1486. The malleus maleficarum was a very influential piece of literature in much of Europe. It spread the message throughout much of Europe to be wary of witchcraft and warned people that witches lived amongst them in their very villages. The malleus maleficarum was very mysogenistic, for example, "But the natural reason is that she is more carnal than man". This quote showed that them monks believed that women tended to have more sexual partners than men. ...read more.


Source 3 is perhaps the most strongly agreeging source in relation to the question, "was witchcraft an essentially female crime?". It states the definition of a witch, "a women that hath a familiar spirit" (I Samuel 28:7). This quote came from the King James translation of the bible. Later it is seen that the quote was a mistranslation and that it did not condenm witchcraft as only a female crime. This is very interesting as it shows that the idea that witchcraft was a female only crime was already deep set inside the minds of the people at the time, and this source exposes the popular prejudice. The source is also another example showing how mysogenistic christian writings were at the time. Source 4 also agrees with the question that witchcraft was a female crime, however it also shows other prejudices that people associated with witchcraft. The source discusses the arraignment and execution of Mary Barber, written by the famous historian Sharpe as part of "The Northamptonshire Witch Trials". ...read more.


It is a primary source therefore a piece of research and it clearly shows that witchcraft was mostly a female crime, however there are some exceptions. For example Russia, Estonia which are mentioned in source 10. Source 7 is also an extract from Levack. It states that in Geneva and the County of Essex over 75% of the women accused were over 50. This could be down to many reasons for example, women lived longer than men so there would be more females over 50 in the population compared to males. Also older women are much more likely to act senial compared to younger women and this would lead to accusations. In conclusion, when looking at all the sources I can fairly confidently state that witchcraft was an essentially female crime. Also it is clear that both the catholic and protestant chruches were very mysogenistic and clearly believed that witchcraft was exclusively a female crime. With exception of Russia and Estonia every other region in source 6 had accusation levels aimed at women at over 50% which strongly agrees with the original question. Wordcount = 1062 ...read more.

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