By Laura Patricia Stokes
A comparative research of early witch trials in Lucerne, Nuremberg and Basel, in the context of legal justice and social keep watch over. The case of Lucerne presents a desirable interaction among witch trials and a metamorphosis within the city's legal process on one hand, and among witchcraft fears and social keep an eye on at the different.
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Extra info for Demons of Urban Reform: Early European Witch Trials and Criminal Justice, 1430-1530 (Palgrave Historical Studies in Witchcraft and Magic)
31 Margreth’s anonymous companion did not escape. 32 The first witch burning within the city of Basel took place in the summer of 1487. An expense entry from late June of that year indicates costs to bind and torture two witches. Two weeks later, a witch expert called a Hexenmeister was summoned and sent into the tower to see the witches. 33 The practice of burning those convicted of crimes of magic was thus established in the city of Basel. Is it possible that the witch burnings in Basel territory were the result of a split policy?
37 Anabaptism had a strong following, mostly outside of the city of Basel in the same territories which had earlier given rise to witchcraft prosecution. The Basel authorities initially responded by arresting known or suspected Anabaptists and imprisoning them until they confessed, recanted, and swore loyalty to the city. This response, however, failed to curb the problem. Many recanted Anabaptists lapsed shortly after being released and were brought before the Basel authorities twice or even three times within one year.
Its emancipation from these overlords was effected primarily during the late fourteenth century through the gradual acquisition of rights and privileges. As part of this process, in 1386 the city council purchased the main organ of criminal justice, the Schultheissengericht, from the bishop. The city councilors became the lords of the city and its growing territories. The late fourteenth century also witnessed Basel’s growing independence from the Holy Roman Empire, a process which was not formally completed until the mid-seventeenth century, although the city joined the Swiss Confederation in 1501.