USUALLY TRANSLATED AS HAMMER OF WITCHES
What was the Malleus Maleficarum? Who wrote the book and what was behind the ideas of the time?
Witch hunts come in many during this period in history created a hysteria that anyone could be accused of witchery or socery and anyone could be listened to who accused
WITCRAFT, SORCERY AND MAGIC IN THE 15TH -17TH CENTURY
In a period of two hundred years, eighty to one hundred thousand innocent victims were tried, tortured, and executed for the crime of witchcraft. Eighty percent of them were women. Many were social outcasts, or just different in the eyes of society, or did not follow religious ideas of that time. To even have the accusation of witchcraft pointed at someone, was enough for many to believe the accused must be guilty.
INTRODUCTION TO MALLEUS MALEFICARUM
The book Malleus Maleficarum was written in 1487 by the Catholic clergyman, Heinrich Krame. The Malleus Maleficarum, usually translated as Hammer of Witches. The book supports the killing of witches and develops a detailed legal and theological theory. The book became second most popular book of its time, the first being the bible. It remained in favoured for over two hundred years, after being published.
The book promotes torture as a way to extract the confession from the accused witches and also those who believed to have practised magic. At that time, it was typical to burn heretics alive at the stake. The Malleus teaches to use the same treatment with witches.
In 1519, thirty-three years after the book’s publication, Jacob Sprenger's man from Austria, name was added as an additional author to the book. All editions after this time named him as Heinrich Kramer's collaborator. This was Twenty -four years after Jacob’s death and thirty- three years after the book’s original publication.
The book was used as a huge influence in the Royal Court, during the Renaissance, and contributed to the increasingly brutal prosecution of witchcraft during the 16th and 17th centuries.
Heinrich Kramer was born in 1430 in Sélestat Alsace. In 1474, Heinrich Kramer was made the right-hand man of the Archbishop of Salzburg.
In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII issued a papal bull. The bull was written in response to the request of Heinrich Kramer, for explicit authority to prosecute witchcraft in Germany. This was called “Summis Desiderantes Affectibus”, and was acknowledges the existence of witches. It explicitly empowers the inquisition to prosecute witches and sorcerers. This bull was incorporated in Kramer's book Malleus Maleficarum.
In 1484, Heinrich had a failed attempt at prosecuting accused witches in the Tyrol region. In the end, Heinrich was asked to leave the city. Writing his book, was possibly a justification and revenge act against what happened. His book was used to express his views, and encourage his methods.
The University of Colognem did not support Kramer's work and said it was unethical and had illegal procedures, as well as being inconsistent with Catholic doctrines of demonology. In 1495 he was summoned to Venice to give public lectures, which became very popular. By 1500 he was enough empowered to proceed against the Waldensians and Picards. Heinrich Kramer died in 1505 in Moravia.
BOOK MALLEUS MALEFICARUM
The Malleus Maleficarum asserts that three elements are necessary for witchcraft:
(I) THE EVIL INTENTIONS OF THE WITCH.
(II) THE HELP OF THE DEVIL.
(III) PERMISSION OF GOD.
The treatise is divided into three sections:
It was aimed at the clergy and tries to refute critics who deny the reality of witchcraft. Therefore saying that their attitude hinders a successful prosecution.
It Lays the foundation for the next section by describing the actual forms of witchcraft and its remedies.
This Helps judges confronting and combating witchcraft and to aid the inquisitors by removing the burden from them
This section has a philosophical and theological approach to witchcraft. It Questions how real witchcraft is, or pure fantasies of a woman, The conclusion drawn is that witchcraft must be real because the Devil is real. And goes on to explain, witches, enter a pact with the devil in order to perform harmful magic acts.
This section talks about the cases of where the strength of a witches methods in recruiting others. It details how witches cast their spells and the remedies that can be taken to prevent witchcraft, or help those who have been affected by it.
This is the legal part of the Malleus Maleficarum that describes how to prosecute a witch. a step-by-step guide to the conduct of a witch trial. That starts with the method of initiating the process and assembling accusations, to the interrogation (including torture) of witnesses and the formal charging of the accused. It also states that if the accused does not cry or show emotion during a trial, this is evidence of their guilt of being witches.
Jakub Sprenger, founded an association of the Confraternity of the Holy Rosary in Strasbourg in 1474. This was also a Roman Catholic Archconfraternity or spiritual association. Jakub was also a Master of Theology. He was appointed Inquisitor for the Provinces of Mainz, Trier and Cologne. Jakub was named in the 1484 papal bull Summis desiderantes of Pope Innocent VIII.
Popular opinion makes Sprenger the co-author of the Malleus Maleficarum. All editions after 1519 named him as Heinrich Kramer's joint associate.
The book, The Malleus Maleficarum was intended to implement Exodus 22:18: "You shall not permit a sorceress to live.
The Malleus Maleficarum, spread very quickly through Europe, due to the innovation of the printing press . The press was invented in the middle of the fifteenth century by Johannes Gutenberg. The Malleus was heavily influenced by the subjects of divination, astrology, and healing rituals the Church inherited from antiquity.
Between 1487 and 1520, twenty editions of the Malleus were published, and another sixteen editions were published between 1574 to 1669