Medieval Witchcraft

When it comes to medieval witchcraft, it refers to the time period also known as the Middle Ages. And it spans a sizable chunk of history, roughly between the 5th and 15th centuries. Since that means a period of around 1,000 years, there is no way to really describe what medieval witchcraft was like. There was just too much going on.

This time period was before the famous witchcraft frenzy that took over Europe and North America. That nonsense was roughly between the 1500s and 1700s. This is where the Salem witchcraft trials took place as well.

But most people tend to lump the witchcraft hysteria period into the Middle Ages anyway. In a sense they are connected, because it was the growing influence of the church during the Middle Ages that finally exploded into the persecution and murder of thousands of people in the name of "witchcraft".

Before witchcraft become demonized (literally), it was a relatively common practice, and most villages had a wise woman who would dole out herbal remedies and cast spells for their neighbors. Unfortunately, much of the practices from this time have been lost due to the decades of hunting for witches and the obvious fear that went along with it.

All of the negative aspects that were attached to the practice of witchcraft began to develop during the medieval period. Associations with Satan and that witches caused disease and destruction in their villages started to become common ideas even though there were never any facts to back them up. And of course, the idea that they flew around on brooms in the night while causing their hellish mischief.

So really, the concept of witchcraft in the Middle Ages is a difficult one. Much accurate information was lost and many new fictional tales were created in its place. Many of those misconceptions persist today.


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