Data on witchcraft trials in the Czech lands published online

Eva Brhelová, Veronika Praženková, Anna Bílková, Anna and David Zbíral have compiled the most comprehensive digital dataset of witchcraft trials in the Czech lands since the earliest case in 1491 until as late as 1785, which covers 257 cases.

12 Dec 2022

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It records the year, the suspects' names, their sex, places of residence (including geographic coordinates), charges, results of the trial, places of interrogation (including geographic coordinates), and the material substances they were charged of using to perform magic. The dataset allows researchers to perform systematic and quantitative research into early modern withcraft trials, crime and punishment, as well as the imagery of magic and evil-doing. It also allows to include the Czech lands in broader quantitative studies of European witchcraft trials on a large temporal and geographic scale. Five B.A. theses have been written at Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic on the basis of this dataset.

The dataset does not cover all known trials. Based on data availability, the authors did their best to cover what was published and reasonably accessible, but did not perform original archival research. They estimate that up to 100 further specific witchcraft trials in the Czech lands could be identified based in published material, and archival work could reveal further ca. 250-800 cases.

The dataset is available at Zenodo

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