Susan Hampshire in Tomasina... Her character was accused of being a witch.
(I loved this Disney Movie when it came out. In fact, I think I kept my brother from watching the first set by the Beatles on Ed Sullivan because the movie was on the other channel. )
I wonder what British actors, today, have to put on their resume in the skills section, over and above horseback riding and swordplay.
I say that because I am watching the Tudors, in my quest to learn more about history before I die.
It isn't history, really. It isn't porn. It's something in between..pornory or something.
It's also fun to watch.
Right now, Anne Boleyn is pregnant with her second child. I guess that doesn't work out...
I understand she was beheaded, after her hubby accused her of witchcraft.
I guess she had 'bewitched' him. He founded a new church just to be able to marry her...
Anyway, that's all water under the early Renaissance bridge, except on HBO or Showtime, whatever.
I've also been reading up on Medieval texts, all available now on the Net, so you don't have to be a Medieval scholar to find them out.
The Hammer of Witches is one of these texts. It's a book written in 1487 by Papal Inquisitor Heinrich Kramer, and it's a real gem of misogyny, as one might expect. It's on Gutenberg.
But it's also a scholarly work, quoting Cicero, Aristotle and, of course, Augustine and The Garden of Eden Myth. It could be someone's Master's Thesis.
Of course, the first universities were built in the Medieval Era to educate church people and they set the standard, didn't they, stealing from antiquity.
But this particularly unpleasant scholarly tome paved the way for about one hundred years of horrendous, unspeakable human suffering.
Hopefully there was a special room in Hell reserved for this Kramer guy and maybe for Pope Not so Innocent the III who a few years earlier wrote an anti-witchcraft Bull (is that what they are called) permitting these zealous inquisitors to go forth and find witches.
Medieval witches were just poor old homeless ladies, or unmarried women with property, or medicine women or midwives or peasants employing agricultural rituals to coax food out of the ground in very difficult times. (And there were men witches, too.) After all, if they had any supernatural powers, you think they might have used them to protect themselves.
It's sad. Super sad, indeed. In the early days of Christianity, it was women who promoted the Catholic Church's cause. After all, there was no power in it in those days... It's like Fox or CNN in the early days. In the first years they were on the air, women ran the show because they accepted the little salaries...
Here's a bit from a chapter: Why is it that Women are chiefly addicted to Evil Superstitions?
As for the first question, why a greater number of witches is found in the fragile feminine sex than among men; it is indeed a fact (SIC) that is were idle to contradict, since it is accredited by actual experience (SIC again) apart from the verbal testimony of credible witnesses.
...For some learned men propound this reason; that there are three things in nature, the Tongue, an Ecclesiastic, and a Woman, which know no moderation in goodness and vice; and when they exceed the bounds of their condition they reach the greatest heights and the lowest depths of goodness and vice...
Now, the wickedness of women is spoken of in Ecclesiasticus xxv,. There is no head above the head of a serpent; and there is no wrath above the wrath of a woman. I had rather dwell with a lion and a dragon than to keep house with a wicked woman. All wickedness is but little to the wickedness of a woman. S Matthew xix: What else is woman but a foe to friendship, an inescapable punishment, a necessary evil, a natural temptation, a desirable calamity, a domestic danger, an evil of nature painted with fair colours....
Cicero in his second book The Rhetorics says: The many lusts of men lead them into one sin, but the lust of women leads them into all sins. Seneca says in his Tragedies: A woman either loves or hates, there is no third grade. And the tears of a woman are a deception, for they may spring from true grief., or they may be a snare. When a woman thinks alone, she thinks evil.
And then it goes on and on. Oh well. At one point it explains that Eve has become Ava, so be careful not to paint all women with the same brush. (One person's witch is another person's mystic, alas. And there's a powerful sexual component for both.)
The fact is, plenty of people today still believe this Goddess and Whore stuff. What can you do?
And yesterday, I listened the loveliest story about a knight and his lady written by Marie de France. The Lay of the Dolourous Knight... on Librivox.
I think it was called that. Lovely tale, and the love, in this particular instance, was of the requited kind...Indeed, a fair lady married to an old man (who keeps her prisoner) runs off with a handsome knight - and that is deemed OK.
I do believe I read that the rules about marriage were pretty loosy goosy up until Reformation and the Catholic church's subsequent reforms.