De Praestigiis Daemonum

Early Modern Witchcraft: Some Philosophical Reflections
  • Graham Solomon
Part of the The Western Ontario Series in Philosophy of Science book series (WONS, volume 65)


The year is 1600. Much of importance is happening. Rubens is at work in Italy. Frescobaldi composes. The harp begins to be used in orchestras. Hundreds are entertained by Shakespeare’s Hamlet and others of the Bard’s plays. Construction of the Royal Palace in Naples begins. The recorder, wigs, and dress trains become fashionable. Henry IV of France marries Marie de Medici. The British East India Company is established. In Sweden, Catholics are persecuted. Half of Frankfurt’s elementary schools are operated by women. In England, tobacco sells for its weight in silver shillings. Snuff and clay pipes become popular. The renewed interest in the consumption of tobacco saves the Colony of Virginia from financial ruin. French fur traders establish a post on the St. Lawrence. Three years later Champlain will occupy Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and New France. Science and technology continue their painful births. While Francis Bacon ponders the wonders of the methodology of the new science, Tycho Brahe and Johannes Kepler collaborate on matters astronomical in Prague. William Gilbert publishes his soonto-be celebrated De magnete. Dutch opticians invent the telescope; the German Athanasius Kircher invents the magic lantern. Descartes, who will later — but perhaps too late? — introduce the new scientific rationalism, now in the care of his grandmother, is four years old. The event takes place that will serve as the emblem of the struggle between science and religion that contiunes to this day: Giordano Bruno is burnt at the stake for supporing the heliocentric hypothesis.


Semantic Stability Clay Pipe Royal Palace British East India Company Early Modem 
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  1. 1.
    Popular Culture and Elite Culture in France, 1400–1750, translation by Lydia Cochrane (Baton- Rouge: Louisiana State Press, 1985).Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    A Distant Mirror: the Calamitous Fourteenth Century (New York: Knopf, 1978), p. 27.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Satanism and Witchcraft: A Study in Medieval Superstition, translation by A. R. Allinson (New York: Citadel Press, 1962), p. xii.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Graham Solomon
    • 1
  1. 1.Wilfrid Laurier UniversityWaterlooCanada

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