Text and Image in Ulrich Molitor's De lamiis et pythonicis mulieribus: A Bibliographic and Cultural Analysis
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In 1489 Ulrich Molitor wrote De Lamiis et phitonicis mulieribus at the request of Sigismund, the Archduke of Austria, in order to explain the realities of witchcraft within the region of Tyrol. Published just two years after the infamous Malleus Maleficarum, De Lamiis was meant to be an inexpensive publication that addressed Sigismund's concerns regarding witchcraft, while appealing to a more general public. As the first printed manual on witchcraft activity that was illustrated, it became an instant success and was subsequently published more frequently than the Malleus between 1489 and 1669. In this study, I: (1) determine the nature of the text - number of editions, details of each edition, etc., and (2) identify the book's legacy. Ultimately this study provides an analysis of the role that De lamiis played in the visual formation of the witch in Europe, from the late fifteenth-century to the seventeenth-century. Due to the wide dispersal of De lamiis between 1489 and 1669, the association of text and image within the book helped create what, by the mid sixteenth century, became the visual representation of the witch.