On October 2, 1576, Boniface Lasse, a judge in Lapurdi in the Northern Basque Country, ordered the execution of a woman from the town of Uztaritze, Marie de Chorropique, who was prosecuted for witchcraft. In particular, Chorropique was accused of committing infanticide and using children’s bodies to prepare magical potions. The judge condemned her to be hanged and burned. Besides Chorropique, another forty Basque women were accused of witchcraft and burned to death too. Thirty four years later, in 1610, the case of those Basque women went to trial and a new judge validated and reaffirmed the decision of the previous judge. In the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, Protestant and Catholic churches alike hunted and persecuted alleged witches, who were accused of serving the Antichrist.
Engraving of two witches preparing a potion
Check out Begoña Echeverria’s historical novel The Hammer of Witches, which will immerse you into early seventeenth-century problems, religious and spiritual issues, and court procedures concerning witchcraft in the Basque Country.
Every Friday we look into our Basque archives for interesting historic events that happened on the same day.
The Center is proud to announce that the Historical Novel Society has chosen Begoña Echeverria’s The Hammer of Witches as one of its Editor’s Choice selections for the May issue of its online magazine.
According to the review:
“This is the first book I’ve ever read that made me feel what it must have been like to be a victim of unfounded suspicion, forced to reply on personal faith, or recant all one holds true. It also shows the other side of the story, what it is like to be faced with judging guilt or innocence when the expectation of superiors and neighbors is clear.
In addition to being a riveting story, this book is important as a cultural resource in that it preserves many of the traditional stories of the Basque people about witches. It also serves as a reminder that such blind hatred is possible, even today, if we allow ourselves to be swayed to anger, without deep thought and consideration for the humanity of all involved. Highly recommended.”
Read the full review here.