c. 1560: Witch hunts

Witch-burning in Saxony-Anhalt, 1555. Woodcut after original leaflet, Germanisches Nationalmusem in Nuremberg (Public Domain)


In the late 1500s, Europe is gripped with witch hysteria. An estimated 100,000 are accused. 40,000 are tortured and killed, acording to a conservative estimate.


The witch fever seems to follow the advent of print. Many of the world’s first best-sellers deal with witchcraft, demonology and witch hunting. The best selling book after the Bible is the ‘Hammer of Witches’ from 1487.