The daily struggles of two very different women and the man who connects them.
Runtime: 30 minutes
A Saint and a Witch - Witch trials in the early modern period - Netflix
The period of witch trials in Early Modern Europe were a widespread moral panic suggesting that malevolent Satanic witches were operating as an organized threat to Christendom during the 16th to 18th centuries. Those accused of witchcraft were portrayed as being worshippers of the Devil, who engaged in such acts as malevolent sorcery at meetings known as Witches' Sabbaths. Many people were subsequently accused of being witches, and were put on trial for the crime, with varying punishments being applicable in different regions and at different times.
Though some of the earliest trials are from the Late Medieval period following Pope Innocent VIII's issue of the Summis desiderantes affectibus, which recognized the existence of witches and gave full papal approval for the inquisition to move against witches, the peak of witch hunting was during the European wars of religion, climaxing from 1580 to 1630. The witch hunts declined in the early 18th century, culminating with the British Witchcraft Act of 1735, but there were sporadic witch-trials during the second half of the 18th century, the last known dating to 1782 (though a prosecution was commenced in Tennessee as recently as 1833). An estimated total of 40,000-60,000 people were executed during the witch trials. Among the best known of these trials were the Scottish North Berwick witch trials, Swedish Torsåker witch trials and the American Salem witch trials. Among the largest and most notable were the Trier witch trials (1581–1593), the Fulda witch trials (1603–1606), the Würzburg witch trial (1626–1631) and the Bamberg witch trials (1626–1631). The sociological causes of the witch-hunts have long been debated. Mainstream historiography sees the reason for the witch craze in a complex interplay of various factors that mark the early modern period, including the religious sectarianism in the wake of the Reformation, besides other religious, societal, economic and climatic factors.
A Saint and a Witch - Magic and witchcraft - Netflix
Early Modern Europe and its North American colonies were replete with a belief in the reality of magic and witchcraft. Belief in the witch, an individual who practiced malevolent magic, was not new to Modern Europe. Witches had appeared both in literature – most prominently with the character of Circe in Homer's Odyssey – and in reality, with many individuals writing curses on leaden tablets across the Roman Empire. In parts of Early Medieval Europe there was a widespread and long-lasting belief in witches who rode out with a goddess, varyingly known as Diana, Herodias, Holda, or Perchta; in the Canon Episcopi, the Roman Catholic Church maintained that cavalcade did not really happen, and that instead it was an erroneous superstition caused by the Devil. Many Early Modern communities contained professional or semi-professional practitioners of folk magic; in England they were known as “cunning folk” although other terms were used elsewhere. They were believed to be able to cure disease, counter malevolent sorcery, identify enemies, foretell the future, and locate treasure and lost property, and would offer their services in these areas for a fee. In contrast to this low magic was the high magic practiced by learned men of the Renaissance. Advocated by the likes of Marsilio Ficino and Pico della Mirandola, this Renaissance high magic was influenced by ancient philosophies like Neoplatonism and Hermeticism and was theoretically complex, seeing the practice of magic as part of a wider spiritual system. Historians like Carlo Ginzburg and Éva Pócs have suggested that various beliefs pertaining to magic and witchcraft in Early Modern Europe represented a survival of shamanistic pre-Christian beliefs about visionary journeys. For instance, Emma Wilby has argued that the Early Modern accounts of familiar spirits represent a survival of pre-Christian animism, and has drawn comparisons between alleged witches' Sabbath journeys and the spirit-visions found in ethnographically-recorded shamanic societies in Siberia and North America.
A Saint and a Witch - References - Netflix