Wednesday, 22 September 2010

The Cruellest Book In The World?

In 1487 a book was published which gave rise to such human misery and dissension that it might well be termed the cruellest book in the world. Unknown now, save to scholars, the "Malleus Maleficarum," written by a German, was the great authority on witchcraft and contained every possible reference to witches that a vindictive mind could find. Thousands of old women throughout Europe were put to death because of this learned proof that in all probability they were in league with the Devil.
It is amazing nowadays to read of this enormous controversy which raged over a continent and only subsided towards the end of the seventeenth century. We must remember that Shakespeare and Milton, in common with the rest of mankind at the time, believed in witchcraft.