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Witchcraft Craze History

Witchcraft in Germany

1486 Publication of Malleus Maleficarum (Hammer of Witches) by Jakob Sprenger, Dean of Cologne University, and Prior Heinrich Kramer: a code for witch-hunters
1532 Issue of the Carolina Code. This code imposed torture and death for witchcraft. The code was technically adopted by the 300-odd small independent states which then comprised the Holy Roman Empire
1563 Council of Trent resolves to win back Germany from Protestantism to the Catholic Church: intensification of religious struggles and persecutions
1590 William .V begins witch hunt in Bavaria
1618 Start of the Thirty Years War (1618-1648) during which the witch hunt throughout Germany was at its height
1628 Trial of Johannes Junius, Burgomaster of Bamberg, for witchcraft
1631 Publication of Cautio Criminalis by Friedrich von Spee opposing the witch hunt
1632 Death of the Prince-Bishop of Bamberg marks the end of the terrible persecutions in this large principality ( 1609-1632)
1655 Last execution for witchcraft in Cologne (where persecution less severe)
1775 Last official execution for witchcraft in Germany (of Anna Maria Schwiigel at Kempten in Bavaria)
1787 All witchcraft laws in Austria repealed

Source: Roger Hart, "Witchcraft" (London: Wayland Publishers, 1971)
Page Updated 7th April, 2000
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