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Agrippa, Heinrich Cornelius

(4,046 words)

Author(s): Valente, Michaela
Agrippa, Heinrich Cornelius, * 1486 (Nettesheim), † 1535 or 1536 (Grenoble) German Humanist and theoretician of → magic. Agrippa's family belonged to the middle nobility in Nettesheim, near Cologne. He studied in Cologne from 1499 to 1502, when he received the degree of magister artium, and later in Paris. During his studies in the latter city, Agrippa seems to have taken part in a secret circle or self-help society, the members of which were interested in studying res arcanae, and with whom he tried to remain in contact in later years. In 1508 he traveled to Spain, where…

Witchcraft (15th-17th centuries)

(2,515 words)

Author(s): Valente, Michaela
Witchcraft is the human exercise of supernatural powers for antisocial, evil purposes. The term also refers to the whole of beliefs in the existence of power by means of which someone can change nature or harm people. Over time, the idea of witchcraft has started to include the idea of a diabolical pact or at least an appeal to the intervention of the demons: supernatural aid is usually invoked to kill someone, to awaken the passion of love in others, to invoke the dead, to bring calamity upon e…