European History Pt. 21 — Cultural Changes

Now we’ve done a lot. We have surveyed western europe from the rise of Spain, through the 30 years war and all the way to the aftermath of the war of Spanish succession. We also looked at the East, and saw how the Prussian, Russian, and Austrian empires became dominant in Europe.

The book I’m reading now stops to take stock of some of the cultural changes that took place at this time. It’s very interesting. People started reading more, and using forks, and all sorts of subtle changes that would bring society to what we think of as modern.

I’m not going to list them out, as the book does. It’s also hard because the book doesn’t give exact dates, but kind of laundry lists what’s going on in the course of 2 centuries.

I do want to focus on one thing, which I think is fascinating: witchcraft. I think charting the history of this concept and belief in it says a lot about what it means to become modern. To become scientific, which is a labor that has taken humankind centuries and centuries, and is still ongoing.

The book makes the point that belief in witchcraft was largely dying by 1700, especially among elites. Judges refused to sit at witchcraft trials. However, if my memory serves (not sure if I read it in this book or another), the last major witch trial was in 1707 in, I want to say, Ireland.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: