Witches, Witch-Hunting and Magical Practice in Early Modern Europe

The Sheppy Dog Fund Lecture
A Discovery of Witchcraft
Witches, Witch-Hunting and Magical Practice in Early Modern Europe
Guest Lecturer: Dr. Justin Sledge

It has been argued that the “witch craze”—stretching from roughly the mid-15th to the mid-17th centuries and claiming the lives of over 50,000 people, overwhelmingly women—was the first concerted and thus truly pan-European cultural undertaking since the eclipse of the western Roman Empire. From colonial North and South America to Iceland, through western and central Europe, to the gates of Moscow, the witch trials of this period are marked by their historical, cultural, and religious complexity. What precipitated this continent-wide outbreak of violence? What did a witch-trial look like? How did called “witch-hunters” operate? Did witches even exist? How were these trials depicted in early printing? What did sorcery and magical practice actually look like in the medieval and early-modern European context? Join Dr. Justin Sledge as we explore these questions to better discover witchcraft together.

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