By Friedrich Spee, Marcus Hellyer
In 1631, on the epicenter of the worst excesses of the ecu witch-hunts, Friedrich Spee, a Jesuit priest, released the Cautio Criminalis, a e-book talking out opposed to the pains that have been sending hundreds of thousands of blameless humans to grotesque deaths. Spee, who had himself ministered to girls accused of witchcraft in Germany, had witnessed firsthand the twisted common sense and brutal torture utilized by judges and inquisitors. mixed, those harsh prosecutorial measures led necessarily not just to a confession yet to denunciations of intended accomplices, spreading the circle of torture and execution ever wider.
Driven by way of his priestly cost of enacting Christian charity, or love, Spee sought to show the wrong arguments and strategies utilized by the witch-hunters. His good judgment is relentless as he unearths the contradictions inherent of their arguments, displaying there's no manner for an blameless individual to turn out her innocence. And, he questions, if the condemned witches really are responsible, how might the testimony of those servants and allies of devil be trustworthy? Spee’s insistence that suspects, regardless of how heinous the crimes of which they're accused, own sure inalienable rights is a undying reminder for the current day.
The Cautio Criminalis is without doubt one of the most crucial and relocating works within the historical past of witch trials and a revealing documentation of 1 man’s unforeseen humanity in a brutal age. Marcus Hellyer’s obtainable translation from the Latin makes it to be had to English-speaking audiences for the 1st time.
Studies in Early smooth German History
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Additional resources for Cautio Criminalis, or a Book on Witch Trials
Whether one may therefore conduct trials arbitrarily in excepted crimes? i answer, it is not permitted. the reason is that even if they are excepted from what human positive laws prescribe,† as I have already said, nevertheless they are not excepted from what human reason or natural law prescribes. So in the end, whatever kind of trial is conducted against them, either inside or outside standard legal procedure, it is nonetheless necessary that nothing in the way it is conducted be contrary to sound reason.
He will hear these spiteful words: this grants liberty to the most atrocious crimes; this accuses many great princes; this condemns and defames the public courts as unjust. * In the territories of the archbishop-elector of Cologne, for example, witchhunting commissioners were paid one thaler for each arrest, one for each decree of torture, another two on the day of torture, and two for each death sentence. They also had their food, drink, and horse feed paid for. Rainer Decker, “Die Hexenverfolgungen im Herzogtum Westfalen,” Westfälische Zeitschrift 131/32 (1981–82): 349–50.
21. The volume, published by Constantus Munich, was titled Diversi Tractatus de Potestate Ecclesiastica: Coercendi Daemones circa Energumenos & Maleﬁcatos, de Potentia ac Viribus Daemonum. De Modo Procedendi adversus Crimina Excepta; Praecipue contra Sagas & Maleﬁcos . . 22. An exception would be Question 30, which offers practical advice to confessors and does not directly contribute to the development of the argument. 23. Although the ratio of male to female victims varied from region to region, modern scholarship suggests that in Germany around 75 percent of victims on average were female.