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The Superstitions of Witchcraft   By: (1837-1931)

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Transcriber's notes

The "oe" ligature is represented as [oe].

The footnotes have been moved and renumbered for easier reading.

A list of corrections is included at the end of the book.

SUPERSTITIONS OF WITCHCRAFT.

London Printed by Spottiswoode and Co. New Street Square

THE SUPERSTITIONS OF WITCHCRAFT.

by

HOWARD WILLIAMS, M.A.

St. John's College, Cambridge.

'Somnia, terrores magicos, miracula, sagas, Nocturnos lemures, portentaque Thessala rides?'

London: Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, & Green. 1865.

PREFACE.

'THE SUPERSTITIONS OF WITCHCRAFT' is designed to exhibit a consecutive review of the characteristic forms and facts of a creed which (if at present apparently dead, or at least harmless, in Christendom) in the seventeenth century was a living and lively faith, and caused thousands of victims to be sent to the torture chamber, to the stake, and to the scaffold. At this day, the remembrance of its superhuman art, in its different manifestations, is immortalised in the every day language of the peoples of Europe.

The belief in Witchcraft is, indeed, in its full development and most fearful results, modern still more than mediæval, Christian still more than Pagan, and Protestant not less than Catholic.

CONTENTS.

PART I.

CHAPTER I.

The Origin, Prevalence, and Variety of Superstition The Belief in Witchcraft the most horrid Form of Superstition Most flourishing in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries The Sentiments of Addison, Blackstone, and the Lawyers of the Eighteenth Century upon the Subject Chaldean and Persian Magic Jewish Witchcraft Its important Influence on Christian and Modern Belief Greek Pharmacy and Sorcery Early Roman Laws against Conjuration and Magic Charms Crimes perpetrated, under the Empire, in connection with Sorceric Practices The general Persecution for Magic under Valentinian and Valens German and Scandinavian Sagæ Essential Difference between Eastern and Western Sorcery The probable Origin of the general Belief in an Evil Principle PAGE 3

PART II.

CHAPTER I.

Compromise between the New and the Old Faiths Witchcraft under the Early Church The Sentiments of the Fathers and the Decrees of Councils Platonic Influences Historical, Physiological, and Accidental Causes of the Attribution of Witchcraft to the Female Sex Opinions of the Fathers and other Writers The Witch Compact 47

CHAPTER II.

Charlemagne's Severity Anglo Saxon Superstition Norman and Arabic Magic Influence of Arabic Science Mohammedan Belief in Magic Rabbinical Learning Roger Bacon The Persecution of the Templars Alice Kyteler 63

CHAPTER III.

Witchcraft and Heresy purposely confounded by the Church Mediæval Science closely connected with Magic and Sorcery Ignorance of Physiology the Cause of many of the Popular Prejudices Jeanne d'Arc Duchess of Gloucester Jane Shore Persecution at Arras 84

PART III.

CHAPTER I.

The Bull of Innocent VIII. A new Incentive to the vigorous Prosecution of Witchcraft The 'Malleus Maleficarum' Its Criminal Code Numerous Executions at the Commencement of the Sixteenth Century Examination of Christian Demonology Various Opinions of the Nature of Demons General Belief in the Intercourse of Demons and other non human Beings with Mankind 101

CHAPTER II.

Three Sorts of Witches Various Modes of Witchcraft Manner of Witch Travelling The Sabbaths Anathemas of the Popes against the Crime Bull of Adrian VI... Continue reading book >>




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