By M. Tausiet
Drawing at the image and revealing proof recorded through the various courts in early smooth Saragossa, this booklet captures the spirit of an age whilst spiritual religion vied for people's hearts and minds with centuries-old ideals in witchcraft and superstition.
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Extra info for Urban Magic in Early Modern Spain: Abracadabra Omnipotens
Be expelled and thrown out of it [ . . 23 As the statute text makes all too clear, no written proof of any kind was required to banish all those women held to be witches (brujas, the feminine form of the word, appeared in the statute’s title, despite the use of the neutral plural form brujos in the text itself), which explains the lack of surviving evidence on such matters. Equally unsurprising is the absence of witchcraft trials, bearing in mind the steps put in place enabling legal proceedings to be carried out ‘swiftly’, ‘without the ﬁgure of a judge’ and based only on ‘intimations, arguments, presumptions or conjecture’.
40 They then opened ‘the doors of every locked chamber throughout the tower’ and called out to the priest, in loud voices [ . . ] asking the prisoners [ . . 41 Having searched the tower from top to bottom and found no trace of the escapee, they went back ‘to investigate and examine the said chamber in which he had been held’, and discovered ‘on the ﬂoor a document containing threats against the inquisitors [ . . ] written in the hand of the said fugitive Father Joan Vicent’. As it turned out, the priest did more than threaten: having gained his freedom, he ended up in Rome where, three years later, he succeeded in having the death sentence imposed at his trial overturned.
For the crime of necromancy [ . . ] broke out of the Aljaferia jail and did leave and ﬂee the highest chamber in the great tower of the said Aljaferia to which he had been taken and locked away in this manner: that, at ora capta and by night, he had dislodged some sturdy poles that were acting as a grate and holding shut the window of said chamber, which did face the moat of the Aljaferia. 39 The next morning, three jailers, ‘having taken up his food’, called to him from outside the door as usual, ‘thinking he was there’, and when ‘he made no reply, unlocked the chamber door [ .