Philobiblon: How many witches?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

How many witches?

A fascinating debate is running on the Women's Studies list about witches - specifically the number executed in the last millennia in Europe, with estimates running from 20,000 to 200,000 - a figure of 9 million that has been floating round has been dismissed (it seems to me sensibly enough) as ridiculous.

One of the most debated books has been Robin Briggs. Witches and Neighbors: the Social and Cultural Context of European Witchcraft. For balance a broadly positive review and mainly negative one.

We were also directed to an online edition (with explanation) of the Malleus Maleficarum.

It is not a subject I've got into myself - it seems like such well-trodden ground.


Anonymous The Happy Feminist said...

I've been told that I descend from the a woman who was burnt as a witch in Bavaria in 1517. She was the aged widow of a mercenary soldier and her son was a forest warden. I don't know any more than that and I have always been curious as to why she was identified as a witch.

10/28/2005 01:44:00 am  
Blogger Natalie Bennett said...

Wow - that's a great piece of family history. Hope you can find out more some day.

10/28/2005 02:51:00 am  
Blogger pk said...

Wow...that would be enough to get me into some serious family tree history.

Just by the by, I came across Cornell's Witchcraft collection - it's quite sizeable but they only have scans rather than digital images unfortunately from my visual perspective ;-)

10/29/2005 05:01:00 pm  

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