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date: 11 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

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

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