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

The unrest caused by the religious wars and thereformers exaggerated church with the devil in Europe, stirred up arenewed fear of witches among Protestants and Catholics.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

When Europe is discussed, the Crusades, World Wars, Shakespeare, Kings and Queens and the massacre of the Jews comes into mind. However, Europe also had the worst history of witchcraft persecution and deaths during the Middle Ages. The early persecution of witches took place against a backdrop of rapid social, economic and religious transformation. The unrest caused by the religious wars and the reformers exaggerated church with the devil in Europe, stirred up a renewed fear of witches among Protestants and Catholics. Furthermore, belief in witchcraft has existed for many ages, even before the Christian period in Europe. Pagan religion, believing in multiple Gods, also contributed to the start of witchcraft in Europe (Middle Ages 168). European witchcraft was a mix of pagan folklore and ancient sorcery, "Ancient sorcery involved the practice of folk medicine and the belief in spirits" (Middle Ages 168). The term "witch" was used instead of "sorcerer" at the start of the middle ages. A witch was said to have at first performed spells that were used to heal and wipe out warts. Spells could also be used to make a person less significant; to do this one would recite, May you become as small as a linseed grain, and ...read more.

Middle

Women were accused and prosecuted of witchcraft more likely than men. " Women are considered to be evil due to their debased history, (The first temptress, Eve, and her imitators)" (Hoyt). The medieval witch-hunts have long been depicted as part of a "war against women" conducted exclusively or overwhelmingly be men, especially those in positions of authority (Salzman). According to the Malleus Maleficarum, women by nature are more evil than men and in order to accept their mental, moral, and physical handicaps, they turn to Satan to satisfy their needs (Mar). In the case of Lady Alice, her son William was not persecuted for witchcraft even though he was accused of it, He denied any knowledge of his mother's wicked deeds, condemned her for them, and promised compensation to all who claimed she had harmed them... the judge ordered the charges against William to be dropped (Meltzer 74). However, when Lady Alice's maid denied any knowledge of her witchcraft and had seen her do strange things though, she was still executed. Women were slaughtered for all kinds of futile reasons, from having freckles, a birthmark, living longer than some expected, or paying tribute to Mother Earth and the goddess of religions. ...read more.

Conclusion

their own children into the marriage and when they died, his children did not get any of their father's property or money (Meltzer 65). The same can be said about Joan of Arc. It was not until she crowned the Charles VII and defeated many of the English armies that she was considered a witch and heretic. Joan was feared because of her military and political powers that raised the cry of "witch" (Meltzer 75). In addition to that, the priests, clergy men, and other members of the church also feared Joan because she was the one hearing voices from saints and God, and they were not. They could have started to believe that she would be able to take over their positions in society and the only way to secure their positions was to get rid of her. In summation, witchcraft was an offense to society during the Middle Ages. Being accused of witchcraft would ultimately lead to ones demise. A witch can be identified as the visible agent of evil on earth, and someone who goes against the church and the sayings of the Bible. Many of the accusations against people were due to the church reforms and religious wars, and society itself. ...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 Places of Worship section.

Found what you're looking for?

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

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 Places of Worship essays

  1. Describe the development of the doctrines of Christ and of the Trinity during the ...

    (340-397). Ambrose and Basil effectively achieved agreement between East and West with their acceptance from the Catholic Emperors Theodosius and Gration. It was Theodosius who called the Council of Constantinople in 381. The second Ecumenical Council. It was this Council that agreed the wording of the Creed that is almost as it is today.

  2. The Role of Women in the Church With the ...

    to ask what it means that men and women are one in Christ Jesus? It must certainly mean that there is not one sex inferior to the other. Beyond this, their are clear examples in the book of Acts that may shed some light by way of documented practice, on the command not to have authority over men.

  1. The Role of Women in the Church

    Women should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.

  2. Describe the disadvantages that black Americans faced in the early ...

    He saw that the same struggles Geneva was going through at this time were identical with other areas of the European Reformation. This made his influence at large more helpful. His greatest influence was his Institutes, which at this time had gone through three major revisions.

  1. ''Luther, more than anyone, was to blame for the schism.''

    Document 35: This source is highly critical of the Catholic church pre 1519. The writer describes how very few of the lower clergy were well educated and ridicules their 'lack of studying' and 'practice of all luxuries'. He details the numerous abuses within the churches, where holy morals had deteriorated into perversion.

  2. Christianity - history and beginings

    Jesus had chosen 12 men, known as the apostles, to preach the gospel after His death. About 50 days after the Crucifixion, the apostles and other followers of Jesus claimed that the Holy Spirit had entered them and given them the ability to speak foreign languages.

  1. Get Rich Quick

    The naivety shown be the people left him elated but dumbstruck He realized quickly that he could prey on these peoples needs to believe in something. As joyful as he was ,he knew he had not gotten away with it yet.

  2. Using all the Evidence available what can be learned about medieval Saffron Walden up ...

    This source is from a book written in 1557, the author is not biased because he has no connection to the town. The author might be relying on rumours though because that's one of the ways in which he could have come by the information.

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