Finnicella, began witch hunting
Gregorovius said that June 28, 1424 on the Capitol Square was burned alive the sorceress Finnicella; it started so right from Rome the witch hunt that would bloodied all over Europe also end up in the New World.
Until then the Church did not have a coded position toward those who professed so-called magic rites; the story of Finnicella marks the turning point in the attitude of the church towards that set of beliefs, superstitions and behaviors that were listed as witchcraft.
During the first medieval period the Church did not deal with witchcraft because it had other problems such as internal heresies and the need to eradicate paganism still widespread in all territories of Europe. St. Augustine also said that witchcraft was a childish superstition and his opinion was ratified by the Canon Episcopi who defined the witches as poor women victims of satanic deception and that the priests had to help them to repent and redeem himself.
In the XII century the rules contained in the Canon were inserted in the Decree of Gratian but in the second half were reported too all texts condemning witchcraft and all decisions taken in the various councils against wizards, witches and those who procured abortions that were generally the ban on communion, penance, fines and long periods of fasting on bread and water.
This moderate attitude changed following the papal bull Super illius specula of Pope John XXII who stigmatized witchcraft by identifying all the facts and phenomena that were considered signs of obvious sorcery or witchcraft, pacts evil and profanation; this papal bull already did no longer distinguish the magic by the heresy . At the time they were indicated as magical those rites of pagan origin that now emptied by religious meanings were only prayers or offers not well identified to malevolent spirits to propitiate them; the church ends with the identification of malevolent spirits with the demons and then the magic with heresy.
With the bull Summis desiderantes, promulgated by Pope Innocent VII in 1484 was declared that the crimes of witches were different from those in the past and that had to be identified and punished, for this purpose, two years later, the Dominican Heinirich Kramer wrote the Malleus maleficarum the first manual inquisitorial entirely devoted to witchcraft.
One of the first victims of the new Inquisition was Joan of Arc; after the process in that she was condemned for heresy and then burned alive on the square of Rouen in May 1431; five years later the process was declared void and Joan of Arc declared saint and patron of France.
But the first woman condemned for witchcraft was just Finnicella. Our word "witch" comes from the Latin word strix, striga, who according to myth was a hideous bird, with sharp claws, sharp beak hook-shaped breasts and similar to those of women, containing a poisonous substance that monsters gave to the newborns to kill them and then suck their blood.
According to the legends witches were making their rites against children and the people of Rome murmured about the misdeeds that the woman would have turned thirty newborns killed to drink the still warm blood and own son that Finnicella would kill and then do not know how get to make powder to ingest for dark and nefarious magical rites ...
by M.L. ©ALL RIGHTS RESERVED (Ed 1.0 - 14/12/2016)