The Malleus Maleficarum

 (Latin for "The Hammer of Witches", German: Hexenhammer) 

The Folio Society, London, 1968.


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Malleus Maleficarum: The Hammer of Witches

SPRENGER, Jacobus & KRAMER, Heinrich 

Translated by Montague Summers and Edited with an introduction by Pennethorne Hughes.

The Folio Society, London, 1968.

(in the slip case)

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Malleus Maleficarum, first printed in 1486, perhaps the most important and terrible work on witchcraft ever written. Front boards have red and silver gilt decoration with silver gilt writing and decoration on the spine. Title page border by B S Biro. Written in three parts: Part 1 The treating of the three necessary concomitants of witchcraft, Part 2 Treating the methods by which the works of witchcraft are wrought and directed and Part 3 Relating to the judicial proceedings in both the ecclesiastical and civil courts against witches and all heretics. The Hammer of Witchcraft was translated by Montague Summers and edited by Pennethorne Hughes. Published in London by The Folio Society in 1968, First Folio edition.

Malleus Maleficarum (Latin for "The Hammer of Witches", or "Der Hexenhammer" in German) is a famous treatise on witches, written in 1486 by Heinrich Kramer and Jacob Sprenger, two Inquisitors of the Catholic Church, and was first published in Germany in 1487. The main purpose of Malleus was systematically to refute arguments claiming that witchcraft does not exist, refute those who expressed skepticism about its reality, to prove that witches were more often women than men, and to educate magistrates on the procedures that could find them out and convict them.

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Publishing of the Malleus Maleficarum in 1487 launched centuries of witch-hunts in Europe. Estimations of deaths have varied widely but numbered at least in the hundreds of thousands. According to MacCulloch, the Malleus was one of several key causes of the witch craze, along with popular superstition, jealously of witches' knowledge from humanist scholars, and tensions created by the Reformation.

The Malleus was used as a judicial case-book for the detection and persecution of witches, specifying rules of evidence and the canonical procedures by which suspected witches were tortured and put to death. Thousands of people (primarily women) were judically murdered as a result of the procedures described in this book, for no reason than a strange birthmark, living alone, mental illness, cultivation of medicinal herbs, or simply because they were falsely accused (often for financial gain by the accuser). The Malleus serves as a horrible warning about what happens when intolerence takes over a society. Often entire villages were emptied out
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