Did you know that on 18thConnect, you can not only search the local database, but also the NINES (Networked Infrastructure for Nineteenth-Century Electronic Scholarship) and MESA (Medieval Electronic Scholarly Alliance) databases as well?
This week’s image, courtesy of the MESA database, comes from the French historical collection Chroniques de France by Saint-Denis in the 13th century. Entitled “Detail of a miniature of witches being burnt and tortured, Mummolus hanged, and Fredegunda melting her child’s plate”, this illustration conveys the bitter sentiment towards witches and traitors during the Middle Ages.
Women deemed as ‘suspicious’ or ‘peculiar’ could be tried as a witch and executed in a number of ways, as depicted above. Witch-hunts first appeared in large numbers in southern France and Switzerland during the 14th and 15th centuries, rooted in sexist and religious beliefs holding that women were “the weaker vessel” (St. John, KJV). Witch hunting is argued to have been a way to openly denigrate and vilify women, enforced by the Catholic Church. Though not restricted to execution by fire, burning accused witches was common and seen as a spiritual purification of the devil and destruction of the evil.
To view more images, stories, and witch trials, be sure to check all of the databases for further resources.