The Venetian Witch Trials Essay

The Venetian Witch Trials Essay

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Unlike the English penchant for confession by torture, Venetian inquisitors were restricted with both the type of evidence and what type of torture could be used against an accused witch. Venetian tribunals authorized to deal with witchcraft on any scope, this meant that the Inquisitors had total autonomy when it came to prosecuting suspected witches. The holy office had just jurisdiction over the magic only if heretical beliefs of devil worship were involved (Seitz, p. 35). Between the two “branches,” everything pertaining to anything even remotely considered witchcraft or heresy fell under their purview. Although the categories for determining criteria were broad, Inquisitors were more concerned soliciting testimony that established heresy more than proving the act of witchcraft. Unlike English persecution, evidence such as someone attending the Sabbath was not sufficient evidence in Venetian trials. Throughout the documentation of the Venetian witch trials, it 's noted that the Inquisitors were only allowed to use thirty minutes of torture to extract a confession. The theory behind this was that a person who maintained their innocence even under torture, further torture that resulted in a confession was not “reasonable” nor reliable under duress (Seitz, p. 42). Even though there were some fundamental differences between the English and the Venetian inquisitions, the ultimate power and authority over life, were very similar.


Power and Authority:
Although there were some basic procedural differences between the English and the Venetian standards, their final say was the law. Venetians addressed accusations of witchcraft in a much more through manner than the English, questioning witnesses as well as accusers...


... middle of paper ...


...r “little dog too.” The identity of which neighbors were witches were constantly changing. Since the definition of witch ranges – from young to old, ugly to beautiful – this left a large portion of the population, mainly women, that could conveniently fit into categories that would be applied for conviction. Instead of seeing just a grumpy old grandmother or a young, pretty, flirty girl, paranoid misinformed people just saw witches. The accusation of what determined a witch is reminiscent of a bad infomercial on a home shopping network, in this case instead of a one-size-fits-all sleep shirt in your choice of blue or green, it 's as if was a “one-size-fits-all” in your choice of “old and ugly” or “young and beautiful.” If only humans true nature was reflected in their physique – society would have a whole lot of “beautiful people” suddenly become “ugly old crones.”

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