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Ottoman Age Notables... Catherine Howard (152? - 1542); immortalized here by Hans Hobein, fifth wife to die at the hands of Henry VIII
Ottoman Age Martyr
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Habibullah's
Encyclopedia of the Ottoman Empire
AND HER TIMES
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Sultans and Concubines and Eunuchs, oh my...!


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W
Term Meaning Comments
Waldenses Members of a Christian sect that grew in opposition to the ecclesiastical establishment. The sect was originated by a wealthy French merchant, Peter Waldo, of Lyon, in the second half of the 12th century. Waldo's followers were known as the "poor men of Lyon." The Waldenses spread through Europe, but a conspicuous group settled in secluded areas in the Cottian Alps, on the border between France and Italy. In 1487 Pope Innocent VIII organized a crusade against them causing many Waldenses to flee to Switzerland and Germany. The group became openly Calvinistic during the Reformation. In 1535, they paid for the publication in Switzerland of the first French Protestant version of the Bible.18
white eunuch Emasculated white male slave(s) in the service of the Sultan at the Palace. Usually obtained from slave dealers in Christian Europe and Circassia. (Vienna in France was the main center of 'eunuch production', because laws of Islam forbid castration at the hands of a Muslim.) In early Ottoman days, 'white eunuchs' were influential in administration of the growing Empire. But, their influence on the Sultan(s) declined after 1541 because they were not allowed near the Harem. Their emasculation was usually not as complete as black eunuchs (whose influence increased as white eunuchs gradually lost theirs). See Kapı Ağası.
Witchcraft

David Teniers The Witches' Sabbath (1650?)
Archiv Für Kunst und Geschicte Berlin
---
One of the last outbreaks of witch-hunting took place in colonial Massachusetts in 1692, when belief in diabolical witchcraft (sorcery in league with the Devil) was already declining in Europe. Twenty people were executed in the wake of the Salem witch trials, which took place after a group of young girls became hysterical while playing at magic and it was proposed that they were bewitched.
The practice of magic or sorcery by those outside the religious mainstream of a society.
In the years of the witch-hunting mania between 1450-1700, people were encouraged to inform against one another. Professional witch finders identified and tested suspects for evidence of witchcraft and were paid a fee for each conviction. The most common test was pricking: All witches were supposed to have somewhere on their bodies a mark, made by the Devil, that was insensitive to pain; if such a spot was found, it was regarded as proof of witchcraft. Other proofs included additional breasts (supposedly used to suckle familiars), the inability to weep, and failure in the water test. In the latter, a woman was thrown into a body of water; if she sank, she was considered innocent, but if she stayed afloat, she was found guilty.
In early Christian centuries, the church was relatively tolerant of "witchcraft". "Witches" were only required to do penance. In the late Middle Ages (13th and 14th centuries) opposition to alleged witchcraft hardened. "Sorcerers", such as village wise women, were increasingly regarded as practitioners of diabolical witchcraft (sorcery practiced in allegiance with the Devil). Most "witches" at the time were women -- thought to be more susceptible to Satan's wiles. Practices of witchcraft emerged in the popular mind, including Satanic covens and pacts; flying broomsticks; and animal accomplices, or familiars. The popular image was inflamed by inquisitors and was confirmed by statements obtained under torture. The picture of diabolical witchcraft arose from several causes -- not the least among them were the Reformation and the rise of science. These challenges to traditional religion caused deep anxieties in the orthodox population. At the outset of the Renaissance some of these developments led to a "witch craze" -- that continually possessed Europe from about 1450 to 1700. Thousands of people, mostly women, were executed on the basis of "proofs" or "confessions" of diabolical witchcraft obtained by torture. A major cause for the hysteria was the papal bull Summis Desiderantes issued by Pope Innocent VIII in 1484 -- included in the book Malleus Maleficarum (The Hammer of Witches), published by two Dominican inquisitors in 1486. This distinctly anti-feminine work vividly describes the satanic and sexual abominations of witches. The book was translated into many languages and went through numerous editions in both Catholic and Protestant countries, outselling all other books except the Bible!18

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