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7 Topics of Persecution: Witchcraft Historiography in the Iberian World

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Chapter Summary

The historiography of witchcraft trials in southern Europe has been dominated by the study of trials in the various Inquisitions. The Inquisition looms very large in the historiography of Iberian witchcraft trials for several reasons, not the least of which is the great fascination that the Holy Office has held for modern researchers. Another reason is more pragmatic: nearly all the surviving sources from the Spanish Inquisition have been assembled in one central repository in the Archivo Historico Nacional (AHN) in Madrid, while all documents from the Portuguese Inquisition are kept in the Arquivo Nacional da Torre do Tombo (ANTT) in Lisbon. The archives of the Portuguese Inquisition are virtually intact and contain an unparalleled amount of information. Though much material from the Holy Office in Spain has been lost, the surviving archival holdings have been sufficient to keep several generations of historians busy.

Keywords: Iberian witchcraft trials; Portuguese Inquisition; southern Europe; Spanish Inquisition; witchcraft historiography



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