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Thread: Witch Trials 15th-18th century

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    Witch Trials 15th-18th century

    Why am I not surprised about where there was more of it?




    We quite like our streghe and always did, and while there were stories even in relatively modern times that some of them performed abortions and might blight an enemy's cow or something, they were mostly quite benign; healing, love potions, telling you who was giving you the evil eye etc. Certainly I never heard anything of those perverse sexual practices you can see even in the transcripts of the Salem witch trials in the U.S., but then the attitude toward sexuality is different altogether.

    Amusingly enough, I got some little training from my Neapolitan grandmother in law, despite my protestations. All transmitted on Christmas Eve and all. :)
    All benign stuff: how to get someone to leave the house, how to take away the evil eye, how to keep my husband tied to me, herbs which have healing properties. All very useful stuff! :)


    Non si fa il proprio dovere perchè qualcuno ci dica grazie, lo si fa per principio, per se stessi, per la propria dignità. Oriana Fallaci

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    One thing strikes me: in popular literature and in movies, when they talk about the persecution of witches, they inevitably talk about "The Spanish Inquisition."
    I see that in Spain, compared to other countries, these processes were very few.
    Another thing: my paternal grandmother (Uruguayan, with her four Italian grandparents), also did some "spells" to cure the "evil eye" ... :)

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    The Inquisition did persecute witches, in Italy too, but the numbers don't begin to compare with what happened in other countries.

    In one place they were particularly well known, and thus drew unwanted attention. That place happens to be Benevento in Campania, near where my grandmother in law was born.

    See:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Witches_of_Benevento

    Maybe I shouldn't have been so dismissive of Nonna Anna's chants and potions. :)

    She did do the following and told me to do it too: put a broom near the front door. She told me it was to make unwanted people leave, not that it was to keep out witches and evil spirits. She also was big on spilling salt around.

    "The janaras, because of their incorporeal consistency, entered a house by passing under the door (corresponding with another possible etymology of the term: ianua, 'door'. For this reason a broom or some salt was usually left on the threshold; the witch would have to count all the fibers of the broom or grains of salt before entering, but in the meantime the day would arrive and they would be compelled to go away. The two objects have a symbolic value: the broom is a phallic symbol opposed to the sterility brought by the witch; the salt was connected through a false etymology to salus ('safety').'

    Much of all of this is a holdover from the pagan religions of the pre-Christian Era. Nonna Anna did believe that the spirits of her ancestors were in the house, perhaps harkening back to the lares and penates of Roman times, and when she was cooking in the outdoor stone oven, would put flowers on the flames for them.

    An article was written not all that long ago about the remaining "practitioners" of "magia" or magic in the Lunigiana. Most of them, but not all, seem indeed very benign. One old woman makes a point of saying that one has to be very careful to whom one passes on the "old wisdom"; it must not only be someone who has the "gift", but also someone one trusts will not abuse the "power" to do harm.

    Sorry, but there's no English translation.
    http://www.lunigiana.net/magia/magia1.htm


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    I read that women with green eyes were often persecuted as witches. So I assumed Scotland would be the top of the list, also because in the South of US there were witchcraft conspiracy theories.

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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by ihype02 View Post
    I read that women with green eyes were often persecuted as witches. So I assumed Scotland would be the top of the list, also because in the South of US there were witchcraft conspiracy theories.

    really

    my family ancestry is full of green eyes .............

    1 x grandson
    my sons no.....all have blue
    me green
    father green
    grandfather green
    1st cousin ( my father brother daughter ) she has green
    her daughter no...grey eyes
    my great great ...grandmother b. 1858 .....green eyes

    i must be a witch
    Fathers mtdna ... T2b17
    Grandfather mtdna ... T1a1e
    Sons mtdna ... K1a4p
    Mum paternal line ... R1b-S8172
    Grandmum paternal side ... I1-CTS6397
    Wife paternal line ... R1a-Z282

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    Quote Originally Posted by torzio View Post
    really

    my family ancestry is full of green eyes .............

    1 x grandson
    my sons no.....all have blue
    me green
    father green
    grandfather green
    1st cousin ( my father brother daughter ) she has green
    her daughter no...grey eyes
    my great great ...grandmother b. 1858 .....green eyes

    i must be a witch
    my mother is a Saint, ... my aunt is the Witch :)

    ... both have green eyes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by italouruguayan View Post
    One thing strikes me: in popular literature and in movies, when they talk about the persecution of witches, they inevitably talk about "The Spanish Inquisition."
    I see that in Spain, compared to other countries, these processes were very few.
    Another thing: my paternal grandmother (Uruguayan, with her four Italian grandparents), also did some "spells" to cure the "evil eye" ... :)
    Inquisition didn't bother only with witches, they tortured all the heretics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Salento View Post
    my mother is a Saint, ... my aunt is the Witch :)

    ... both have green eyes.

    lol

    by % and not by numbers, they say that Hungarians have the highest % of green eyes

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    Quote Originally Posted by italouruguayan View Post
    One thing strikes me: in popular literature and in movies, when they talk about the persecution of witches, they inevitably talk about "The Spanish Inquisition."
    I see that in Spain, compared to other countries, these processes were very few.
    Another thing: my paternal grandmother (Uruguayan, with her four Italian grandparents), also did some "spells" to cure the "evil eye" ... :)
    Plenty of executions in Belgium by the duke of Alva, the regent for Felipe II.
    They didn't bother about withces though.
    It was to oppress free spirits.
    Many of these free spirits fled to Holland, where the helped to create their golden century.

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    In popular literature and in movies, when they talk about the persecution of witches, they inevitably talk about "The Spanish Inquisition."

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    Well, Bill, anyone who expects to get historical fact from movies or tv is bound to be deluded, yes?

    Did you see the latest abominations on Netflix? I'm one step away from cancelling my subscription.

    As for "witches", or any old woman who worked with herbs to try to heal people, it's indisputable they were far more in danger in northern Europe than in Spain or Italy.

    Even in terms of "heretics", no one ever mentions the Catholics killed in certain parts of Germany, or what they did in England once the Reformation took hold in England.

    It's so much easier to see evil in other people, not one's own.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post

    As for "witches", or any old woman who worked with herbs to try to heal people, it's indisputable they were far more in danger in northern Europe than in Spain or Italy.
    that's correct, but only for the time period 15th-18th century
    the trigger seems to have been the 30 year war, allthough I don't understand the connection

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    Certainly, in times of devastation, people look for scapegoats. In certain time periods and places a kind of blood lust takes over, as with the Crusaders during the Middle Ages. Indeed the kind of behavior attributed to witches has the same "flavor" as the stories circulated in Germany about Jews poisoning wells (that's always a big one for witches too), or using and drinking the blood of Christian children in their rites. Jews, who drain all the blood out of animals before eating the meat. Sometimes one's mind is boggled by the stupidity of commonly held ideas.

    However, The Thirty Years War took place during the 17th century. What about the 15th, 16th and 18th?

    Perhaps it had something to do with the religious conflicts. The Inquisition wasn't the only institution looking for "heretics"; it's just that the "heretics" of Protestant controlled areas were the Catholics. In such an atmosphere things can get out of hand, although I'm still unsure why it was so much worse in the north. Perhaps because in southern Europe the Counter-Reformation wiped out the fires pretty quickly?

    What people often forget is that most revolutions don't seek an era of toleration; they just want to establish their own orthodoxy with their own "heretics" of various kinds, which is indeed what happened with the Protestant Reformation.

    Perhaps in France, for example, it arose out of the turmoil of the religious conflicts, but some of it was perhaps fed by proclamations like this by Martin Luther:

    "MARTIN LUTHER: EXECUTE ADULTERERS, WITCHES, FRIGID WIVES, & PROSTITUTES"

    "http://www.pagadiandiocese.org/2017/10/30/martin-luther-execute-adulterers-witches-frigid-wives-prostitutes/

    Now, this site has its own ax to grind, but the quotes are real enough. Maybe I'm wrong, but so far as i know there wasn't this kind of rhetoric from the papacy at this time, so that may have something to do with it.

    And I must speak plainly. If I were a judge, I would have such a poisonous, syphilitic whore tortured by being broken on the wheel and having her veins lacerated, for it is not to be denied what damage such a filthy whore does to young blood, so that it is unspeakably damaged before it is even fully grown and destroyed in the blood. (Table-Talk, WA, TR, IV, no. 4857, pp. 552-554; cited in Susan C. Karant-Nunn & Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks [editors and translators], Luther on Women: a Sourcebook, Cambridge University Press, 2003, pp. 157-158)
    Concerning the female sorcerer. . . . Why does the law name women more than men here, even though men are also guilty of this? Because women are more susceptible to those superstitions of Satan; take Eve, for example. They are commonly called “wise women.” Let them be killed. (Sermon on Exodus 22 “You shall not permit a female sorcerer to live,” 1526, WA XVI, p. 551; in Susan C. Karant-Nunn & Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks, ibid, p. 231)
    August 25, 1538, the conversation fell upon witches who spoil milk, eggs, and butter in farm yards. Dr. Luther said: “I should have no compassion on these witches; I would burn all of them.

    Cultural factors in those centuries may be at play, because as regards Italy, (and France, and also perhaps Spain, although in the latter case I don't know that for certain) while a man or woman could get away with killing a partner caught "in the act", I've never heard of anyone in authority proposing that prostitutes or adulterers be killed. Prostitutes were rather regarded as a "safe outlet" in an era where women had to remain chaste till marriage and adultery carried a high cost.

    Sexuality is indeed the undercurrent I see in the witch trials. Poisoning someone's cow wasn't what really incensed them; it was the idea of women dancing naked in the forest, of orgies, of "familiars" sucking at their breasts. Sick, all of it. Maybe a problem of sexual dysfunction because of repression at the time? I don't know.

    Of course, today, in the case of economic meltdown, it would be immigrants or people of the opposite party I suppose. People don't change.

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    one theory is that the catholic church and the protestants tried to show each other and the common plebs who fights heretics better and so they started to compete in witch hunting in places where those churches were in proximity.
    i could also imagine that in a region that was gained or regained by a different denomination, they tried to show how infested the region is with sin. maybe a lot of those witches that were killed where also just part of the wrong denomination?

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    Marthin Luther anti-Semitic rant was worse than any of Hitler's.
    Germany was always the anti-Jewish capital of Europe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ihype02 View Post
    Marthin Luther anti-Semitic rant was worse than any of Hitler's.
    Germany was always the anti-Jewish capital of Europe.
    People don't like minorities
    And they indeed are an easy target
    When you are looking for a scapegoat to blame
    It could happen from some reasons:

    1) Relgious tension
    2)Bad economic situation of the majority
    Etc.........
    https://www.yfull.com/tree/E-FGC7391/

    https://yfull.com/mtree/H3ap/

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    ^^That's when it bursts into flames, but the underlying fear and hatred of outsiders, foreigners, those who are "different", while it may exist in all societies to some degree, is at higher levels in some societies than in others.

    We can't ignore history just because it's unpleasant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    ^^That's when it bursts into flames, but the underlying fear and hatred of outsiders, foreigners, those who are "different", while it may exist in all societies to some degree, is at higher levels in some societies than in others.

    We can't ignore history just because it's unpleasant.
    don't worry
    not all people have short memory
    and some of us remember .......
    i believe history goes in circle and repeat itself

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