Rumours, Reputation and Justice in Eighteenth-century Scandinavia

  • Maria Østerby Elleby (Paneldeltager)

Aktivitet: Foredrag og mundtlige bidragKonferenceoplæg


Participant in panel debate with the paper:
Notorious for Witchcraft: Magic, Heresy and Contracts with the Devil in Early Eighteenth-century Denmark
At the end of the Seventeenth-century and the beginning of the Eighteenth, the witch trials in Denmark began to decline and ultimately ceased to be brought before the court of law. However, it was not until 1866 that the law changed. The Regulation against witches and those who privy to them of 1617 remained in place, so in theory it should have been possible to still persecute and execute suspected witches according to the law. Rumours began not to be conceived as solid evidence, yet the prominent role of one’s reputation continued to be significant.
Instead of witch trials, cases with people signing away their souls to the Devil started to become more prominent. Here where cases with solid evidence of the diabolical contract, yet the accused did not receive a conviction to be burned. Some were executed for heresy, but with decapitation and not by burning, and the general opinion of the signing away one’s soul cases seems to have been progressively milder. The exceptions were the cases in which the people had a reputation for witchcraft or were educated enough to be perceived to have known better. It therefore indicates that one’s rumour and reputation continued to influence how an accusation of witchcraft or heresy resulted.
Periode26. mar. 2021
BegivenhedstitelEuropean Social Science History Conference
Grad af anerkendelseInternational