• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

History of Witchcraft

Extracts from this document...


History of Witchcraft Early-European Witchcraft The earliest historical records of witchcraft in Europe [such as law codes, poems, heroic tales] reveal that it was divided into two distinct traditions of magical belief. In the far north, from Iceland eastward to the Baltic lands and Russia, magic was the preserve of specialists, the shamans, who drummed, danced, and chanted their way into trances in which their spirits left their bodies to accomplish the necessary work. Every tribe or clan needed to have one, and misfortune was blamed on hostile shamans. Most were male, but a female shaman was acceptable if no man with the necessary gift was available. ...read more.


They also featured prominently as natural healers; conversely, they were especially feared for their ability to use that innate power for evil purposes. Hence to most ancient Europeans witches were usually female. Hence, also, the pagan peoples of Europe regularly executed people for the alleged crime of witchcraft. This situation was ended by the coming of Christianity, which suppressed witch-hunting with a simple theological argument; if there was indeed a single all-powerful God, then no magic could be worked except by his will, and therefore witches were actually ineffective, and deluded. The result was an almost complete halt to executions for witchcraft in Europe for most of the Middle Ages. ...read more.


In 1542 a law was passed which said that witches should be punished by death. This law was abolished in 1547, when Henry VIII died. Elizabeths I [1558-1603] was persuaded by her fellow Protestants that she should introduce new and tougher laws against the act of Witchcraft. In 1563 a new law was introduced. This law said that death penalty will be sentenced if a witch kills a person using their magic. Witches who harmed people were put in prison for life. Many of James I's ministers were Puritans. They told the King that he should introduce new, harsher laws against witches. In 1604 who was seen of having contact with evil spirits could be hanged for witchcraft [it did not matter if they did no harm]. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Law section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a teacher thought of this essay

3 star(s)

A short but reasonable essay on witchcraft.

3 Stars.

Marked by teacher Edward Smith 23/07/2013

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Law essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    "Within the present system of precedent in the English legal system, judges have very ...

    4 star(s)

    In this sense, judges do have some discretion to upgrade and depart from the more archaic and/or orthodox principles as established in previous precedents such as in the case of R v. R [1991] (therefore overruling Miller) [1954]. A future tactic judges seem to use to overcome the doctrine of judicial precedent would be distinguishing.

  2. Marked by a teacher

    In order to decide whether or not trial by jury should or should not ...

    4 star(s)

    it allows ordinary members of the public to participate in the administration of justice. There are however a few holes in this argument in that in practice a jury is not always made up of a representative sample of the public.

  1. There are four different types of law, criminal, civil, common and statuate. In this ...

    This is because is bordering between going to a magistrate court and a crown court. Then again you have pleaded guilty so this could go in your favour. I will explain how your trial will work. First of all it will be taken to a crown court where although you

  2. Study the concept of Reasonable man and reasonability in tort law.

    this excellent but odious character stands like a monument in our Courts of Justice, vainly appealing to his fellow-citizens to order their lives after his own example. The Philosophy Behind The Concept of Reasonable Man The concept of reasonability or who is to be considered a reasonable man has always

  1. "Discuss the meaning and constitutional significance of the rule of law. Illustrate your answer ...

    In Entick V Carrington, two king's messengers were sued for having unlawfully broken and entered the plaintiff's house and seized his papers, the defendants relied on a warrant issued by the secretary of state ordering them to search for Entick and bring him with his books and papers before the secretary of state before the examination.

  2. Offences against the person act 1861; criticisms and reforms.

    One in five men said they would react violently every time to certain situations. The survey questioned women to find out how many had had violence used against them. Almost twenty-five per cent of women said their partner at some point had raped them, ten percent had suffered attempted strangulation

  1. Criminal Law (Offences against the person) - revision notes

    Both convicted M appealed - said judge didn't give Nedrick direction Judge was right - not exceptional case (not oblique intention) COA said this was not a rare and exceptional case where N direction was needed. In cases were there is a direct attack on victim, it was unlikely that

  2. There are two types of trusts , private and public trusts. A private trust ...

    In the case of Re Glyn's WT4 the phrase "aged, impotent and poor people" was read separately, as the relief of the aged was charitable without reference to poverty. In the view of the Charity Commissioners5, anyone who is not able to afford normal things in life which most people take for granted would be eligible for help.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work