Dzieci w procesach o czary. Casus Prus Książęcych w XVII wieku
Children in witchcraft trials. Th e case of the Duchy of Prussia in the 17th century
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The article focuses on the presence of children in witchcraft trials in the Duchy of Prussia (Brandenburg-Prussia) in the 17th century – in the period when their participation and signifi cance increased rapidly. The chronology of children’s witchcraft trials in the Duchy of Prussia indicates that they did not appear until the last decades of the 17th century, which constituted a delay in comparison with the Reich, France and Sweden where the climax of witchcraft trials had already passed. Another aspect that diff ered the Duchy of Prussia from its western members was the low incidence of children’s trials (merely three) as compared with the general number of witchcraft trials in the years 1670–1700 in the area (seventy-two). The Royal Court contributed significantly to the fact of children’s trials being so infrequent mainly in the second half of the 17th century as its judges alleviated severe sentences given by the municipal courts. It should be noted that not even one case of a child’s being the initiator of a witchcraft trial in the Duchy of Prussia is known.
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