From Iceland to Russia, witch hunting engulfed Europe, eventually spreading to the New World. Why did Europeans believe witches flew to Sabbats, signed pacts with Satan, practiced cannibalism, and worked evil magic to overthrow Christian society? Why were thousands of people persecuted, tortured, and burned for the crime of diabolical witchcraft?
The definitive compilation on witchcraft and witch hunting in the early modern era exploring significant people, places, beliefs, and events.
Encyclopedia of Witchcraft: The Western Tradition is the definitive reference on the age of witch hunting (approximately 1430–1750), its origins, expansion, and ultimate decline. Incorporating a wealth of recent scholarship in four richly illustrated, alphabetically organized volumes, it offers historians and general readers alike the opportunity to explore the realities behind the legends of witchcraft and witchcraft trials.
Over 170 contributors from 28 nations provide vivid, documented descriptions and analyses of witchcraft trials and locations, folklore and beliefs, magical practices and deities, influential texts, and the full range of players in this extraordinary drama—witchcraft theorists and theologians; historians and authors; judges, clergy, and rulers; the accused; and their persecutors. Concentrating on Europe and the Americas in the early modern era, the work also covers relevant topics from the ancient Near East (including the Hebrew and Christian Bibles), classical antiquity, and the European Middle Ages.
• Over 750 A–Z signed entries
• More than 170 contributors include the most distinguished scholars working in the field of witchcraft studies
• Illustrations and artwork, including prints, drawings, paintings, and maps
• Extensive end-of-entry references
• The definitive work on witch hunts and witchcraft in Western civilization
• Unprecedented topical and geographical scope, ranging across Europe and its New World colonies and covering significant people, places, events, beliefs, practices, and lore
• Contributors include the most distinguished scholars working in the field of witchcraft studies
• Reflects the tremendous recent surge in witchcraft scholarship