Witchcraft Trials in France

William Monter

in The Oxford Handbook of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe and Colonial America

Published in print March 2013 | ISBN: 9780199578160
Published online May 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

 Witchcraft Trials in           France

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  • European History
  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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The most noteworthy feature of the history of witchcraft in France is that, throughout Europe’s most populous kingdom, this crime was judged in secular rather than ecclesiastical courts from the fifteenth century until the end of the Old Regime. One court dominated all others: the Parlement of Paris, Europe’s oldest and largest appellate court, whose ressort or judicial district covered about half of a kingdom boasting approximately twenty million subjects around 1600. This article discusses late-medieval legal anticlericalism; the increase in witch-trials between 1560–1624; Parlementary scepticism; and the official ‘decriminalization’ of witchcraft in France.

Keywords: witchcraft; witch trials; Parlement of Paris; decriminalization; anticlericalism

Article.  6640 words. 

Subjects: History ; European History ; Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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