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Beginning in the Middle Ages and through the seventeenth centuries, an infiltration of witchcraft persevered throughout Europe. The witch craze resulted in the torture and persecution of witches. More than 100,000 of witches who were tried were centered in the area of southwestern Europe. The mass hysteria of witches was denounced because of their rejection of God and their pact with the devil, which resulted in harsh punishments and accusations. One reason for the persecution of witches was they were thought to be the cause of bad harvests, epidemics, natural disasters, and personal tragedies. Witches also had a part in the religious aspect of Europe. The witches were persecuted because of the lack of a main religion, which was significant to life during the Protestant and Catholic Reformations. At this time of the witch phenomena, Europe was in a state of instability and people in Europe looked to benefit from the persecution of witches in the form of goods and money. The persecution of individuals as witches in Europe was mainly a repercussion of economic circumstances, strong religious beliefs, and prejudices of the people. The economic scene at the time of the witch craze was very apparent during the period between 1480-1700. During this period Europe was in a state of instability, therefore money, and exploration was important to many. An eyewitness to persecutions, canon Linden of Trier, Germany states that people used the trials for economic enhancement. Linden wrote that the executioner made the most money and describes it “like a noble of the court”(Document A2). This is evidence that high ranked people or people in office were into the witch trials for their economic greed and desire for goods. Mayor of Bamberg, Germ... ... middle of paper ... high position in society drove the pandemonium around the witch craze. The Protestant and Catholic religions were major influences on the everyday life of people in Europe during the 16th century, and all believed in persecuted witches. During the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment, people began to realize that their superstition surrounding witches was ridiculous and when they used their reason over belief it didn’t make sense for witches to be a threat. In the late fifteenth through the seventeenth centuries it is evident that superstition and reason was pertained to the beliefs of influential people, resulting in the initial phase and final phase of the witch-hunt. The religious aspects, economic greed, and social stereotypes of the time influenced these beliefs. These three components led to the deaths of many so-called witches across Europe.
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