The Witches of Durer and Hans Baldung Grien [*].
When a reasoned and quantitative study of the witchhunts in northern Europe is illustrated with Baldung's drawing of naked witches "playing leapfrog,"  the juxtaposition suggests that his art can serve as an insightful source for historians studying the witchcraft epidemic. Art historical studies that account for Durer's introduction of the witch in terms of the witchcraze assume a similar relation between actual events and these artistic creations and emphasize demonological texts, such as the misanthropic Malleus maleficarum,  that were important to the rabid witchhunters.
Timing, subject, and the audience for the art of Durer and Baldung all argue against the introduction of the witch in art as a reaction to witchhunts, trials for witchcraft or didactic treatises, and the purpose in this study is to suggest that this new and fantastic subject is better understood as a response to humanist interest in the literature of the ancient world. Durer's introduction of the young female witch in the Four Witches (fig. 1) of 1497 and the old and ugly witch in Witch Riding Backwards on a Goat (fig. 2) from around 1500,  precede by more than a generation the widespread persecution of witches and sorcerers.  Hans Baldung Grien's Bewitched Groom (fig. 3), the last work to be considered in this study, was probably created a year before his death in 1545, and it is only in the latter part of the sixteenth century and during the seventeenth century that witchhunting became widespread and virulent. The work of Durer and Baldung belong to an earlier era, they testify to a different sensibi lity and were produced by artists who could not have foreseen the terrible times to come. Their innovative images of the female witch make a significant contribution to the history of art. They are less useful as a guide to widely-held beliefs and their value for the historian studying the outbreak of the witchcraze in the years after 1560 is limited. Although one author has termed Durer's innovations "realistic pictures of witches"  they are more plausible as poetic contructions motivated by artistic goals and a fascination with the underside of the ancient world rather than an interest in witch manuals or a compelling concern with witchcraft as a punishable offense.
As many historians have observed European witch-hunting follows a somewhat surprising course. "Instead of slowly gathering strength and leading into the large panics of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, the number of trials leveled off during the first half of the sixteenth century and in certain areas actually declined."  This hiatus was even noted by contemporaries. Writing in 1516 Martin Luther observed that witches and sorcerers were "not so commonly heard of" anymore.  As there was "a lull in the production and publication of works of demonology," as well as "curiously little persecution in the first half of the sixteenth century," Briggs maintains that the "time-lag before really intensive persecution began is far too great to be disregarded" (1996b, 58). Although the Malleus maleficarum (Hammer of Witches), the virulent diatribe written by the Dominican monks Jacob Sprenger and Jacob Kramer, was published at Cologne in 1486 there is no evidence that the Malleus "generated any gr eater persecutions for witchcraft and magic than had already occurred by the end of the fifteenth century" according to Peters, and it "made no discernible impact on the prosecution of magicians and witches for nearly half a century."  Midelfort expresses a similar view and says that despite its subsequent fame the witch manual had relatively little impact early in the century with only "the rarest mention of the Malleus in German sermons and trial records of the period."  As the first significant witch hunt in the German southwest with twenty or more executed in one year did not occur until 1562,  and there are "only a handful" of witch trials for Germany in the fifteenth century and first half of the sixteenth,  "it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the early sixteenth century was a period of relative tranquillity as far as witchcraft was concerned." 
The dramatic escalation in the number of witch trials toward the end of the sixteenth century and the process by which the traditional maleficium of everyday village life was demonized is a problem that historians have approached from a variety of perspectives, often with conflicting results. The explanations advanced include crop failures and other traumatic calamaties,  the fusion of heresy with sorcery,  the role of torture in shaping confessions,  substitution of a written and secret procedure for an oral and public debate,  the difficulties of establishing a line between lick and illicit devotion,  the need for an antifigure (the Devil and his protege, the witch) to vouchsafe the existance of God,  the impact of the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic response.  Some studies have emphasized gender and power considerations including same-sex competition,  changes in medical professionalism that widened the gap between official and unofficial medicine,  male aggres sion heightened by excessive religious zeal and the requirement that priests be celibate,  the effects of Roman legal theories and the "demonical illusions of learned jurists."  Others have suggested that efforts by increasingly centralized governments to extend their control over the countryside disrupted the internal equilibrium of peasant villages and substituted a governmental system for the local and summary justice formerly meted out spontaneously with the peasants dispatching anyone they thought was using magic to kill their cattle or otherwise disrupt their lives.  Still others have countered that the instigation often came from below,  and the "active, dynamic force in most witchcraft persecutions were local authorities and members of local elites,"  with the greatest problems arising when the state administrations were unable to hold the populace in check.  The tendency in most recent studies is to avoid over-reliance on the Malleus maleficarum,  and "monocausal theories" that "simply do not work,"  and instead explore regional and temporal variations, emphasizing the interaction of a number of different factors and avoiding broad and inclusive generalizations.
Fewer explanations are advanced for the curious paucity of trials for witchcraft in the early years of the sixteenth century -- "explaining why things do not happen is inherently difficult"  as Briggs observes, and yet it is during this period of relative inactivity that Durer and Baldung made the witch a significant subject in northern art. Levack suggests that the "spread of Renaissance humanism throughout Europe" may have had an effect and that "learned scepticism," exemplified by writers such as Erasmus, Agrippa, and Alciati, created a climate of moderation.  Rummel's recent study, The Humanist-Scholastic Debate in the Renaissance and Reformation, is suggestive in this regard as it traces a progressive hardening of attitudes and shift from the use of wit and humor early in the century to a more violent and abusive adverserial style from about 1520, a change that reflects heightened tensions in the religious, political, economic, and academic spheres. Attitudes toward witchcraft may have evolved a long similar lines with the more temperate rhetorical strategies favored early in the century overshadowed by the use of harsh invective and the dangers of witchcraft made more palpable and public by one-sided polemics and an increase in sensationalist broadsheets, such as the Curious Execution of a Witch at Schilta (fig. 4) published at Zurich in 1533, that use picture and text to report in lurid detail actual witch trials, confessions, and burnings.
In the first quarter of the sixteenth century the humanists tend to take a moderate position, on occasion even ridiculing a belief in the efficacy of witchcraft as in the satires, Epistolae Obscurorum Virorum (Letters of obscure men), Eccius dedolatus, and Erasmus's Moriae Encomium (Praise of Folly). In general, a distinction is made between good and bad magic -- in 1516 the Strasbourg lawyer Sebastian Brant was "still arguing that white or harmless sorcery should not be punished"  -- and the majority continue to hold with the Canon episcopi, the tenth-century text that said no credence should be given to the dreams of woman "seduced by diabolical fantasies and deceits" (daemonum illusionibus et phantasmatibus seductae).  Women who believe "they ride at night-time with Diana, goddess of the pagans ... astride certain beasts, in a company of innumerable other woman, traversing immense spaces and obeying Diana's orders" are misguided and the witch, in this view, is a soul in thrall to the Devil that on ly "imagines that it is accomplishing in the body things that take place only in the mind." 
Witchcraft as a fantasy and mental abberation remained the dominant perspective among elites in the latter years of the fifteenth century and first half of the sixteenth. Johannes Nider's witchcraft treatise, Formicarium seu dialogus ad vitam christianam exemplo formicae incitativus, first appeared in 1437 with a second edition published at Strasbourg in 1517, and while Nider is credulous in many respects he favors the view that Diana and the night ride are delusional.  Ulrich Molitor's De laniis et phito nicis mulieribus published in 1489 and reprinted at Strasbourg in 1500 is constructed as a dialogue arguing such questions as whether a witch and enchanter ("lania et incentatricu") can take other forms, harm infants, cause impotence ("hominem sterilem facere"), predict the future and whether coitus with a demon can generate sons. Responding to this last question Lunardus cites the "alamanico ydeomate wechselbalg appellantur" (the German idiom that calls the deformed child produced of such a union a cha ngeling), but Ulrich, expressing Molitor's own viewpoint, takes a more skeptical position and counters by saying "ex incubo & muliere no creat homo." After debating whether "maleficarum mulierum" can provoke tempests and perturb the air ("tempestates et aeris turbationes provocare"), it is concluded that witches need divine permission and if they have any effect on the weather it is because God wishes to correct sin.  Classical literature plays an important part in Molitor's dialogue, and he refers to Socrates, Apulieus, Aristotle, Plautus,
Plato, Virgil "in bucolicis egloga octave," and Circe who uses "malefica" to change men into pigs. Even twenty-two years later, in the Lenten sermons delivered by Geiler von Kaysersberg in Strasbourg Cathedral and published as Die Emeis in 1511, the preacher adopts much the same view. It is "em fantasei" and a "traum" when women believe they ride out at night to meet with other women and dance and eat, and these fantastic dreams are caused by the devil.  Geiler is learned and familiar with ancient literature but as his sermons were delivered in German and directed at a broad audience he does not follow Molitor in identifying his classical sources aside from an occasional reference to Seneca. 
Peters questions the extent to which learned rhetoricians and monastic moralists writing in the eleventh and twelfth centuries actually depicted "popular or folk customs" and warns against "assuming a non-literary source for the marvelous when it is described by literary figures,"  and this caution applies with even greater force during the Renaissance of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Folklore appears to play a part in Geiler's Die Emeis, with one illustration showing a witch milking an axe,  another a werewol,  but the distinction between traditional natural magic and the conception of witchcraft derived in large part from classical sources is increasingly confounded. Like the witch, the werewolf appears in ancient poetry as in Petronius's satire where a soldier is transformed into a werewolf at Satyri con 62 -- in a graveyard about cockscrow with the moon still high the soldier strips naked, piddles all around his clothes, turns into a wolf, howls and runs off into the woods, and then ravishes a farm letting the blood of the sheep like a butcher,  or in Propertius where the bawd Acanthis can "hide her shape under the form of the night-prowling wolf."  As "self-confessed werewolves" were rare and the number of cases involving this accusation were small,  the illustration in Geiler's Die Emeis as well as Lucas Cranach's sensational print of an attack by a werewolf may owe as much to ancient poetry as they do to any oral tradition.  The maleficium of village life with its dead cows, spilt milk and mysterious illnesses can seem tame in comparison with the gruesome excesses and dramatic intensity of the poets as when the witch in Lucan vents her rage on the dead and mangles a carcass that dangles on the gallows -- "thrusting her fingers into the eyes, scooping out gleefully the stiffened eyeballs, and gnawing the yellow nails on the withered hand." 
THE WITCH AS INHERITED FROM THE ANCIENT WORLD
The revival of antiquity included Diana and her minions, Hecate and the underworld, witches and magic potions, miraculous transformations and night flights, the demonic and irrational as well as the idealized and heroic. "Witchcraft was frequently exploited in both Greek and Latin literature,"  and during the period when Durer was creating his engravings, The Four Witches and Witch Riding Backwards on a Goat, he had an audience deeply involved with this colorful and exciting literature. Although humanist fascination with the magic and occult has received much attention there is no detailed study of the female witch as inherited from the ancient world  and the influence of this voluminous and highly dramatic literature on Renaissance conceptions of witches and witchcraft is probably underestimated. 
Even a brief survey of the female witches in Greek and Roman literature underscores their potential as exciting, new subjects for an aspiring artist. Circe, the beautiful enchantress who turned the companions of Odysseus into swine by means of her drugs (book 10 of the Odyssey), and Medea, priestess of Hecate (the goddess often associated with witchcraft),  are examples of the seductive witch. Lucan's cannibalistic night-witch Erichto ("Terribilis Stygio") - "haggard and loathly with age ... her awful countenance overcast with a hellish pallor and weighed down by uncombed locks,"  is a memorable example of the horrible old hag. Ovid's Metamorphoses are filled with magical transformations and in book 6 of his Fasti Ovid tells of the striges, bloodthirsty birds, or old women transformed into evil owls. "They fly by night looking for children without nurses, snatch them from their cradles and defile their bodies."  Festus refers to the "night-roaming Syrnia" and "the savage strix," and attests that in antiquity, the Lamia, another ancient word for witch, was called Volatica (she who flies).  In Apuleius's Metamorphoses women change their shapes by rubbing themselves with ointment, there are lamiae noxiis (horrible witches), taeterrimaeque Furiae (hideous Furies),  cantatrices anus (old enchantresses),  Thessalian witches who bite the face of a corpse,  and have the supernatural power to bring down the sky, raise the spirits of the dead and make men fall in love with them.  In Propertius, the bawd Acanthis can make standing crops dissolve in water with her magical herbs, put spells on the bewitched moon, "hide her shape under the form of the night-prowling wolf," and affect love magic by gathering "the charm that drips from the pregnant mare."  Theocritus, in his second Idyll describes various kinds of magic incantations as the spurned woman prepares a magic ritual to bring her lover back -- "I'll bind him fast with my fire-sorcery. Shine clear, Moon ... Hail, dread Hecate! Attend us to the close, working direr magic than any Circe worked: than any of Medea, or blond-haired Perimede." 
Many of the most vivid descriptions of witchcraft and sorcery are found in ancient satire, a genre the early generation of German humanists found especially attractive.  Petronius in the Satyricon says -- "ah, yes, I would beg you believe there are wise [mulieres plussciae, sunt nocturnae] women and night-riders who can turn the whole world upside down,"  and his witches include the old woman (aniculam) who concocts an elaborate spell and reveals she is a sorceress employed by Circe (Petronius's ribald version of the beautiful Homeric witch) to restore the virility of Eumolpus.  Lucilius satirizes "Sharp-toothed Lamia and Bitto ... those wretched little gluttonous villainous stupid old hags,"  and Varro's cannibalistic witch says, "In my mystic caldron I shall cook pieces of flesh, with which I may satisfy everybody's hungry stomach." 
In Lucian's satires the witches are skilled at working love magic and this aspect of witchcraft is treated in great detail in his Dialogues of the Courtesans with one courtesan saying to another,
"Don't you know that her mother... is a witch who knows Thessalian spells, and can bring the moon down? Why, they say she even flies of a night. She's the one who's sent the fellow out of his senses by giving him a drink of her brew, and now they're making a fine harvest of him." 
In another dialogue Melitta asks Bacchis if she knows "any old woman of the kind called Thessalians" who "can make a woman to be loved, no matter how much she is hated before," and Bacchis refers "to a most useful witch ... who's still very fresh and firm," who brings lovers back by her magic spells using something belonging to the man himself, such as "clothing or boots or a few of his hairs," sprinkling salt on the fire, using her magic wheel and "rattling off an incantation full of horrible outlandish names" (371-79).
Poetic evocations of the witch in ancient poetry were familiar to all humanists. In the Praise of Folly Erasmus refers to Horace's eighth satire and "the nocturnal rites of Canidia and Sagana" (91), and has Folly claim for herself the powers of the witch. Folly mocks foolish mortals who "vainly seek for your Medeas and Circes and Venuses and Auroras, and the unknown fountain in which you may restore your youth" when "mine are those herbs (if they exist), mine that fountain, mine the spells which not only bring back departed youth but, still better, preserve it in perpetuity" (19-20). In his adage, "In tuum ipsius malum lunam deduces" (you will bring down the moon to your own hurt) Erasmus says it was "widely believed in Antiquity...that witches by the use of certain spells could bring the moon down to earth," and he quotes Horace and Juvenal as well as Virgil,
And Horace in the Odes, "And by your books of magic, which have power / To loose the stars and call them from the sky," and again in the Satires: "And the blushing moon, in fear to see such sights, lies hid behind the massive tombs." Juvenal too: "Unaided she will save the labouring moon.
Horace is perhaps most surprising as an important source for vivid witch imagery. Horace's tone is moderate and reasonable in most of the satires, and this stance, as well as his statement that witches are merely figments of the imagination, tends to obscure his more horrific descriptions of the occult including the story of the pitiably boy who is murdered by witches in Epode 5. Horace refers to "Night and Diana...mistress of the silent hour when mystic rites are wrought,"  to the "dire philtres of the barbarian Medea" and her revenge with the gift of a robe steeped in poison gore,  Circe magically transforming men into "shapeless and witless vassals of a harlot mistress,"  the witch Sagana "who bristles with streaming hair" and Folio "the wanton hag...who with Thessalian incantation bewitches stars and moon and plucks them down from heaven." 
Horace's most striking creation, the fierce Canidia, the source for the goat-riding witch in the satire, Eccius dedolatus, is especially memorable. With poisons, malignancies and breath "more deadly than African serpents,"  "gnawing her uncut nail with malignant tooth,"  the witch Canidia is the principal witch in Horace's fifth Epode (Canidia's Incantation). Her "locks and dishevelled head entwined with short vipers," she uses "the blood of a hideous toad," bones, poisons, and deadly herbs to work her magic.  Featured again in Horace's eighth satire hideous, sallow-hued Canidia walks with "black robe tucked up, her feet bare, her hair dishevelled, shrieking with the elder Sagana."  Serpents and hell-hounds roam, the witches call on Hecate and Tisiphone, vex human souls with "spells and drugs," gather bones and harmful herbs by moonlight, throw wax images on the magic fire, and "bury in the ground a wolf's beard and the tooth of a spotted snake." The scene is treated humorously -- Horace uses hyperbole and the satire ends with the two witches frightened and sent flying by the loud noise when the buttocks of the wooden statue of Priapus crack open -- but his witches made a great impression on the humanists. Rabelais, for example, refers to Thessaly, traditional haunt of witches, in the third book of Pantagruel and to "Canidia, une Sagane, une phitonisse et sorciere" (chap. 16).
Images from ancient poetry are a staple in the literature on witchcraft published in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, repeated in great detail by writers no matter what their views on the witchcraft issue and often treated as more fact than fiction, a testament to the hold the ancients had on their imagination and the strength with which the humanists believed that "philosophy" -- that is, serious matter -- was hidden in the ancient poets.  In a work on demons and witchcraft Georg Pictorius, a doctor and a classicist in the arts faculty at Freiburg with 'interests ranging from folk medicine to mythology...drew largely on classical authors to prove that the devil did work true miracles and could actually subvert nature."  Bernard Basin, a noted preacher and a doctor of the University of Paris, expressed his belief that woman were more superstitous than men and more prone to engage in magic and he invoked "the authority of the pagan classics" in his De artibus magicis et magorum maleficiis, publi shed in 1483 and 15O6.  All those who remarked a resemblance between the deviant behavior of women in their own time and the ancient "game of Diana,"  and who argued about the existence and efficiacy of witches, were familiar with ancient descriptions of witchcraft, and no writer, not even Kramer and Sprenger, authors of the virulent Malleus maleficarum could do without them. The Bible and the Fathers are the primary authorities in the Malleus, but the German friars also quote Horace (25), cite misogynist passages from Cicero, Terence, Cato, Valerius Maximus, and Seneca, including Seneca's description of "raging Medea" (4346) refer to "Satyrs" -- called "Pans in Greek and Incubi in Latin" (24) -- and make comparisons between the pagan festivals of the Romans, the corrupt Carnival celebrations in their own time and "the revelries of witches." They castigate "bad Christians" who "imitate these corruptions, turning them into lasciviousness when they run about at the time of Carnival with masks and jests and other superstitions," adding that "witches use these revelries of the devil for their own advantage" (116). Dominican witchhunters were dearly familiar with ancient literature and Scobie makes the revealing observation that one supposedly authentic description of witchcraft appears for the first time in the north in the Malleus maleficarum and the only known source, oral or literary, is a fictional tale found in Apuleius (264-66).
This familiar process of appropriating ancient sources when engaged in a controversy about witchcraft is evident in many of the witchcraft treatises including Johannes Weyer, De praestigiis daemonum published in 1563, even though he adopts a very different position than the authors of the Ma/Zeus and favors a more moderate attitude toward witches. Weyer insists that credence should not be given to poetry such as the "metamorphosis" of Apuleius and Lucian (193), and describes the "people of Antiquity" who would have it that "many men are changed into beasts by the evil-doing of witches [sagae]," as "credulous and superstitious" (337), but in spite of his reservations he cites a wide range of ancient references to witches. Weyer says "You will find women magicians and poisoners mentioned everywhere in Horace" (560) and his own citations include Horace's "evil-doer" Canidia (168). He refers to Ovid's gruesome description of the Striges who fly by night and defile the bodies of young children "snatched from thei r cradles" (165). He quotes from Virgil in book 4 of the Aeneid and the priestess who works charms that can "stay the water in the streams, and turn the rivers back... stir the souls of the dead at night," and "make the earth groan underfoot," and refers to the charms of Circe that magically transform the companions of Ulysses into pigs as described in Virgil's eighth Eclogue (166-67). Although Weyer considers the eleven books of Apulelus's Metamorp hoses, or Adventures of an Ass as "stories more mythical than the myths themselves," deserving a place among poetic fictions, it does not prevent him from relying on Apuleius and describing the enchantments of the witch Meroe in graphic and colorful detail. 
When Weyer notes the scarcity of biblical evidence -- "one can find nothing definite and relevant on the subject of Lamiae in the true histories written at the time" -- it underlines the importance of the ancient poets in elaborating the image of the witch. Weyer contends that "Later poetic writing on the subject of Lamiae are for the most part empty fictions and pure fables -- or rather lies" -- but when his "evidence" includes Virgil, Aeneid 4, Ovid, Metamorphoses 7, Horace, Epode 5, and Tibullus, book 1, Elegy 2, he ends by perpetuating the fictions he deplores. And when Weyer explains these poetic fictions with Horace's proverbial line, "Painters and poets have always had equal power to dare whatever they please,"  the net result is to underline the importance of the ancient poets even as he questions their veracity. He may dismiss the images of the poets as fictions and say with Horace, "I accept with laughter the dreams, magical terrors, miracles, witches [sagae], nocturnal ghosts, and Thessalian p ortents"  -- but Weyer's descriptions of witches are colored with the imagety of the poets and at times his skepticism seems to falter. Explaining why Horace's witches in the eighth satire "began to dig the earth with their nails, and tear a dark-colored lamb apart with their teeth," he says Horace's "witches were wont to do sacrifice to the nether gods in pits, as we have it in Ovid" (168). For Renaissance humanists, even skeptics like Weyer, the line between fact and poetic fiction could be elusive.
Sermons delivered in the vernacular were composed by men like Geiler who were familiar with ancient literature and their sermons are an obvious route by which learned views could be assimilated into the belief systems of the general population.  Levack says "the belief that witches could fly had much more distinctly popular origins than the belief they made pacts with the Devil or participated in nocturnal assemblies,"  but when one of the ancient words for witch is Volatica (she who flies),  the flight of witches is a common theme in ancient poetry, the writers of medieval sermons knew (and used) this literature and much of what is known about popular culture comes through learned sources, even this "popular" aspect of the witchcraft question bears signs of being contaminated by ideas found in ancient literature.  And when the entry for "Lamia" in the Dictionarium seu Latine linguae thesaurus published by Robertus Stephanus in 1543, identifies them as witches who suck the blood of children, and his only sources are Horace, Juvenal, Apuleius, and Philostrarus, it seems clear that the poets served Renaissance writers as a primary source for their conception of the witch (2.823v.). The full-fledged and widely disseminated stereotype of the demonic female witch, with witch sects and "sabbats,"  is a relatively late development and in many respects these elaborations betray the literary character of their sources -- the fictions of ancient poetry accepted as fact by aggressive, fearful and humorless men -- rather than any genuine concern with actual folk beliefs and the traditional maleficium of village life.
A perceptible change occurs during the sixteenth century with the traditional authorities on witchcraft, the Bible and the Fathers, increasingly augmented by classical sources.  A comparison of Weyer's De praestigiis daemonum, written in 1563, with the Malleus written by the Dominican friars in 1486, suggests that during the relatively quiet period prior to the escalation of the witch trials in the second half of the sixteenth century classical conceptions of demonology, derived in large part from the poets and satirists, were being incorporated into the controversies about witchcraft. The diffusion of humanist interests throughout a much broader sector of society, the increased availability of ancient texts, and enthusiastic efforts to track down every reference to witchcraft in the literature of the ancient world,  made a whole array of ideas about magic, the occult, and witchcraft available to a larger segment of the population and were probably instrumental in the integration of ideas derived fro m books with traditional oral beliefs about natural magic, the learned infiltrating the folkloristic.
Inspired in large part by Conrad Celtis,  with the "the Poet's School" in Nuremberg one indication of its importance, poetry was a compelling interest for the German humanists in the years around 1500,  and this enthusiasm coincides with Durer's introduction of the witch as a subject in his art. Durer's participation in this humanist culture -- including his friendship with Celtis and Willibald Pirckheimer  -- the vivid descriptions of magic and witchcraft available in the poetry of the ancient world, and the scarcity of actual witch-hunting activity in these years, make the assumption that the Malleus maleficarum lies behind Durer's witches highly problematic. In the decade preceding 1497, the date on Durer's Four Witches (fig. 1), the accusations of witchcraft in Nuremberg have more to do with "natural magic," thwarted love and the animosities of neighbors rather than conspiracies instigated by the devil. In 1471 the municipal court banished a woman for sorcery (theft and poisoning), another was banished for love magic in 1474, while in 1477 a man was apprehended for "knowledge of [and presumably complicity in] his parents' magical theft of a neighbor's milk," and in 1486 two women were tried by the Nuremberg municipal court for "taking potententially magical pieces of clothing from people executed on the wheel."  The penalties were relatively light and this moderation continued into the sixteenth century with the anti-Dominican Nuremberg City Council refusing to respond to the witch-hunting mania when it was "stirred up in Cologne and elsewhere." 
During Durer's lifetime there were few witch trials, few witch manuals of any note, and as Davidson observes Durer's witch prints are "scarcely representative of the iconography which could have been suggested by contemporary literature such as the Malleus maleficarum or Molitor's De Lamiis."  The Malleus was available with two editions published at Nuremberg in the 1490's,  but if we accept the view that Durer could not read Latin and had to rely on the expertise of humanist associates we must imagine a friend such as Willibald Pirckheimer devoting time and effort to communicating the contents of the Malleus, a long-winded work written in a difficult, relatively inaccessible Latin,  when Pirckheimer's consuming interest lay in the literature of the classical world. Pirckheimer would certainly have been more interested in the witches described by Theocritus in his Idylls and Durer illustrated Pirckheimer's copy of Theocritus.  Molitor's De Lamiis was also available, and while it is smaller, i llustrated and easier to read than the unwieldly Malleus there are only ten crude woodcuts in Molitor's little book; they are executed in a summary fashion, males are as important as females,  and the female witches are fully dressed (fig. 5) while nudity is central to Durer's conception. Molitor's witches are similar to the "sorciere" in the woodcut from Guy Marchant's Grant danse macabre des femmes of 1491 (fig. 6), a woman of indeterminate age shown in a long gown, wearing a headdress and holding a broom. 
Durer's witches do not simply continue a medieval tradition. Examples in art are rare before 1500 and when the female witch appears, even in a late work such as the danse macabre des femmes, she is fully dressed.  Although a German misericord carving from around 1430 shows a young woman naked and riding backwards on a goat the association is with lust and adultery and there is no indication that witchcraft is involved.  A nude female on horseback illustrates an occult story in Hartmann Schedel's Liber chronicarum (Chronicle of the world) published at Nuremberg in 1493, and it is probable that Durer knew this woodcut because Michael Wolgemut, responsible in part for the illustrations, was Durer's master, the neighbor to whom he was apprenticed at age fifteen.  However, the ancient poets are well represented in Schedel's Chronicle and an innovative spirit is already in evidence. Schedel refers to Horace ("poeta laudatissimus"), Lucian, Varro ("erudite and ingenious"), Apuleius, Lucan, and Juvena l ("poeta satyricus"), and the woodcuts incorporate novel artistic ideas -- for example, "numerous city panoramas ... something new in the illustrations of world chronicles."  Durer's own innovations in the Four Witches and in Witch Riding Backwards on a Goat exhibit a similar desire to exploit ancient literature and break new ground. He later said that in this period of his life he loved "extraordinary and unusual designs,"  and as vivid descriptions of witches in ancient literature far outweigh those available in the witch manuals it suggests that the introduction of the witch as a subject in Durer's art owes more to humanist enthusiasm for classical literature -- in particular, the poets and satirists -- and here, by comparison, the number of imprints is significantly larger.
In Durer's first print with the witch as subject, his 1497 engraving of the Four Witches (fig. 1), a grotesque devil framed in the doorway to the left peers at four nude women. One woman is seen from back, the others face the viewer, and they stand with a skull and bone at their feet and an ornament resembling a pomegranate -- symbol of fertility in ancient literature  -- hanging above their heads. For Durer's audience the print was more evocative of the world of temptation and dreams rather than the courtroom, more plausible as a poetic fantasy representing the dark but fascinating underside of the ancient world, perhaps, more specifically, the image of Diana Triformis (Triplex Diana, Dea Triformis), or the triple Hecate (Trivia Hecate).  As Hecate's name on earth Diana had a close association with the underworld where she was identified with the goddess of hell, fertility; and death, patroness of evil magic and transformations, and the mother of lamias.  A triform conception is fundamental w ith Hecate represented as having three faces and three bodies to symbolize the three forms of Diana. Virgil refers to the "tria virginis Dianae,"  Propertius to Diana, the "goddess Trivia,"  Varro to "Trivia Diana,"  and Ovid to "triplici... Dianae" as well as Hecate's three faces.  For Horace Diana is "goddess of the triple form" (diva triformis),  and Weyer quotes a passage from Virgil in which the priestess invokes "Erebus and Chaos and triple Hecate -- the three countenances of the virgin Diana."  In the context of this ancient poetry the beautiful female seen from the back in Durer's print is plausible as a figure of Diana while her "three faces," visible to the viewer, expose her true nature, malevolent and dangerous. 
An interpretation such as this is consistent with the interest in Diana, Hecate, and in ancient triads evident among the German humanists, most especially Conrad Celtis, in the years around 1500. Celtis wrote a Ludus Dianae, replete with Bacchus, satyrs, fauns, and Silenus that he and members of the Danubian Sodality performed before the court of Maximilian in 1501.  As published under the auspices of the Sodalitatis Celticae in 1502 Celtis's Ludus Dianae indicates his familiarity with Horace's references to Diana,  and in addition, his Oeconomia XII is dedicated, "Ad Dianam"  Equally important, Celtis had a special interest in triads and in ancient triform images displaying his knowledge of the pagan trinities in "a tailpiece of Tritonius's Melopoiae, a book of songs composed for the scanning of Horace's meters, but supplied by Celtis with didactic illustrations, the printing of which he supervised."  Humanist participation was clearly a factor in artistic productions. Celtis composed th e Latin captions and helped create the decorations in Scheyer's house with its classical scheme of Muses and classical philosophers,  and when Celtis was cooperating with Hans Burgkmair on another tripartite image in honor of Maximilian he gave instructions to the artist in a letter written in 1495. Celtis said the figures should be rendered by the painter "in philosophic and poetic attitudes" corresponding to the inscriptions Celtis proposed "so that when I come to you I can pass judgment on what should be added or left out."  Durer's 1500 Self-Portrait and Celtis's epigram about the painting suggest a close relationship between the two men at this time, and if the great self-portrait is "the appropriate emblem for that great year" of 1500, as Koerner argues, a response to Conrad Celtis's fashioning of the year into a testament of the German artist's ability to appropriate the past,  Durer's Four Witches of 1497 may constitute an example of another such appropriation. It is the first of Durer' s prints to bear a date as well as a signature and the first in which his exploitation of the underside of the classical world can be reconstructed with so little difficulty.
Durer's second print with the witch as subject, the Witch Riding Backwards on a Goat (fig. 2) from around 1500, is also appropriate as a response to humanist interests, her storm-raising powers (indicated in the upper left corner) owing as much to witchcraft descriptions in classical literature as to contemporary village beliefs.  Although a Lucianic spirit is rarely associated with Durer's art this second print was created at a time when the German humanists saw themselves as "Poets" pitted against the "Schoolmen," with satire one of their principal weapons and the satires of Lucian a recent enthusiasm.  Rudolf Agricola made Latin versions of Gallus and De calumnis as did Melanchthon and Petrus Moselanus, and Johannes Reuchlin wrote a German version of Dialogi mortuorum xii.  Durer's friend, Willibald Pirck-heimer, was particularly attracted to the satires of Lucian. He possessed the first Greek edition of Lucian's Opera (Florence, 1496), a copy "decorated with a Durer miniature,"  and P irckheimer translated six of Lucian's satires from the Greek as De ratione conscribedae historiae, Piscator seu reviviscentes, Fugitivi, Rhetorum praeceptor, Navis seu vota, and De luctu. 
Their enthusiasm for ancient satire inspired the German humanists to create new satires in which they freely appropriated the characters and strategies of the venerable genre. Ulrich von Hutten, "one of the most satirical members of one of Germany's most satirical generations,"  is indebted to Lucian's Charon in his satire Phalarismus and his Marcus heroicum is a mock-heroic satire with Venice personified as a megalomaniacal toad, an image he repeats in his satirical epigrams that include France portrayed as a cock (gallus).  The anonymous satire, the Eccius dedolatus, is described by Best as "a small satirical comedy, an Aristophanic play in prose," a satire formed in part "from the first half of Plutus."  It resembles the satires of Lucian in some of its dialogue as well as its dialogue form, includes lines from Seneca and Horace,  ancient proverbs such as Varro's, "like an ass to the flute,  a repulsive scene that recalls Apuleius' Metamorphoses,  and the witch Canidia, one of its principal characters, is obviously derived from Canidia, the infamous witch in Horace's satires.  Pirckheimer was considered responsible for the satire and threatened with excommunication in the bull Exsurge Domine,  and while the author of the Eccius dedolatus remains an open question a manuscript written in Pirckheimer's hand is, in fact, a continuation of the satire. 
As she clutches the horn of the goat the old woman in Durer's Witch Riding Backwards on a Goat evokes the inverted world of Lucian with Durer adding a witty and appropriate touch by reversing his own initials. Mesenzeva has related the old woman to Roman terra cottas and cameos in which Aprodite Pandemos is shown riding on a goat and accompanied by a winged Eros.  These are classical images with positive connotations and at odds with the ugliness and age of the woman in Durer's engraving, but if given a different generic orientation and related to ancient satire -- the genre in which it was traditional to parody the goddesses, show the bad rather than the good and a world upside down and out of joint -- Durer's witch is plausible as an upside down version of the beautiful Aphrodite. It would be consistent with the other reversals in the print and relate it to the riding backwards motif already established in northern art as a satirical subject. 
Rather than the dour seriousness of the witch manuals Durer's print exhibits the kind of ironic Lucianic humor that found favor with the German humanists and delighted the artist himself apparently as it is in this period that Durer was trying his hand at writing satirical and humorous poems.  Witch Riding Backwards on a Goat is related to satires such as the Eccius Dedolatus in which the witch Canidia is asked if she will "ride a fork, or a bundle of hay," and answers that she is "going to mount a hairy goat."  It is closer in spirit to the Epistolae Obscurorum Virorum with its mockery of lusty clergymen who think they can attain the object of their desire using witchcraft--waxen images woven with hair from the head of the beloved, incantations, magic names and other mumbojumbo.  Durer's innovative print had obvious attractions for humanists who enjoyed satires, ancient and contemporary, and the discrepancy between the witch as a folkloristic figure and the classical putti in the foreground o f Witch Riding Backwards on a Goat vanishes when the witch, like the putti, is understood as an inheritance from the ancient world.
The witches depicted in Durer's art are suitable for an audience with humanist interests. Lucilius, who established many of the themes in Latin satire, attacks the superstituous who are frightened by "Terriculas Lamias" when "these things are a painters' gallery, nothing real, all make-believe."  The witch was a classical subject fit for "the painters' gallery," and a Renaissance artist was fully justified in excercising the freedom of poets and painters and rendering his own poetic version of a subject found in ancient literature. In his analysis of the themes in Roman satire Rudd says it is well known that in "ancient poetry originality was achieved by making innovations within a traditional genre,"  and the same process of innovation within a traditional framework is evident in the Renaissance. Creativity was valued and slavish adherence to the ancients, as Erasmus pointed out, was not true to their spirit or their precepts.  When Sebastian Brant's readers understood the Ship of Fools as an original satire based on ancient models,  and the German humanists recognized the classical references in Eccius dedolatus, it is reasonable to assume that Durer's audience could recognize and appreciate the classical associations in his Four Witches and his Witch Riding Backwards on a Goat.
Although it is Durer who leads the way with this new subject the witch receives a more extensive and elaborate treatment in the work of Hans Baldung Grien. Two young and beautiful witches are the focus of one of his most striking paintings, the Weather Witches of 1523 (fig. 7), witches appear in many of his drawings and in two of his most remarkable prints, the Witches' Sabbath (fig. 8) of 1510, and the Bewitched Groom (fig. 3) probably created shortly before his death in 1545.
Like Durer, Baldung's interest in the witch as a subject is usually assumed to reflect folk sources and customs, the 1484 encyclical of Pope Innocent VIII, Summis Desiderantes, the Malleus maleficarum,  and actual incidents involving witches -- trials for witchcraft and the testimony they produced. These assumptions are at odds with the low level of witch-hunting activity during Baldung's lifetime and the fact that the bibliography of Strasbourg imprints prior to 1547 lists only four entries under the heading "Witchcraft" with not a single publication of the Malleus maleficarum.  In spite of the fact that Baldung was living and working in Strasbourg at a time when the city was renowned as a center for humanist activities -- Erasmus visited the city in 1514  and his work was frequently published there -- most studies of Baldung's witches focus on the witch manuals and folk culture rather than the significance of this humanist milieu. There is wit and humor in Baldung's drawings of witches, qual ities not characteristic of the witchcraft manuals and folklore stories although these have remained the focus of scholarly attention. Koerner remarks the "comic tone" of Baldung's witches and states that "few interpretative tasks are as necessary and as neglected as determining the tone of an image,"  but continues to favor the investigation of "popular culture" rather than "classical myths, humanists allegories, and 'high' literature."  Baldung's art has elicited phrases such as "satirists like Baldung,"  but his art is not related to the literature and traditions of ancient satire or the popularity of this genre in the north. The witches in Baldung's Witches' Sabbath (fig. 8) of 1510, for example, are assumed to have their source in folk stories rather than ancient literature even though they look much like the women in Baldung's Three Fates (fig. 9) where one woman holds a spindle while the other cuts the thread and the classical connection is inescapable.
Just as Durer's exploitation of the witch as a new subject is congruent with humanist interests in Nuremberg in the years around 1500, Baldung's innovations are consistent with the humanist climate in which he lived, worked, and found patrons. Even a brief survey of his art, early training, and the audience available to him make this humanist orientation apparent. Baldung was born around 1485  and raised in academic and intellectural circles with his family occupying an important place in Strasbourg society. His father was a university-trained jurist in the service of the Bishop of Strasbourg, his brother succeeded Sebastian Brant as city advocate in the same city, later becoming a judge in the Imperial Chamber Court, his uncle was a doctor of medicine and honorary personal physician to the emperor Maximilian I, his cousin taught law at Freiburg and by 1527 was chancellor of the Tyrol, and his brother-in-law was a mathematician and "long-time teacher in the new classical gymnasium of Strasbourg." 
As a young man Baldung worked with Durer at Nuremberg from around 1503 to 1507,  during a period when the "Poets" and humanist sodalities were active in the city, and Durer had just broken new ground with his witch prints. These were among the first of Durer's works to which the younger artist was exposed, a time when he might be especially susceptible to the older artist's influence, and Durer remained a central point of reference for Baldung,  an interest that was reciprocated as Durer gave away prints by "Hans Grien" during his visit to the Low Countries in 1520-1521 and when Durer died in 1528 it was thought appropriate to send Baldung a lock of his hair. 
After leaving Durer's workshop and returning to Srrasbourg Baldung prospered, purchasing annunities and speculating in real estate, and he remained an establishment figure throughout his lifetime. By 1527 at the latest, and for the next twenty years, he and his wife had a home in the Brandgasse with neighbors who were "the cream of Strasbourg society,"nobility, patricians, and wealthy merchants.  Working for "all sectors of of the urban and rural ruling classes" in this period of social upheaval, Baldung stood "on the side of property, respectability and order,"  and his prominent role in the guild, Zur Steltz, and election as their representative to the privy council in 1545,  as well as various economic documents, attest to his wealth, reputation, and prominence.
Chrisman has documented "the soaring humanist interest" in Strasbourg in the period 1508-1530 with dozens of humanist publications and a market for them that was not limited to scholars when a "furrier could own a Latin Virgil."  The Strasbourg humanists in these years included Jacob Wimpfeling, Sebastian Brant, Johann Geiler von Kaysersberg, preacher for the cathedral, Thomas Wolf, who received his degree in Italy, Thomas Vogler, Beatus Rhenanus, and Hieronymus Gebweiler, who became director of the cathedral school. Describing their activities Chrisman writes,
The group was scattered throughout the city in different posts, with diverse functions, but centered around Wimpfeling and Brant. A loosely organized sodalitas literaria was founded, modeled on that of Conrad Celtis, and it gave the humanists an opportunity to pursue their common interests. The group would gather at one place or another to read classical works, present their own poetry, or discuss new editions of classical authors to be brought out by one of the Strasbourg presses. 
The proselytizing efforts of the sodalitas literaria included bringing in scholars in 1509 to instruct members of the monastic orders. One humanist lectured on Latin literature, another gave instruction in Greek.  It was a culture in which one could learn by listening as well as reading.
This first generation of humanists were "primarily interested in poetry and literature"  and their output was prodigious, an indication of the vigor of the movement as well as "their efforts to reach beyond their own group to a larger audience."  In the earliest decades of the sixteenth century Latin literature was dominant in Strasbourg with vernacular books constituting only one-fifth of the output,  there was a large group familiar with the poetry of the ancient world,  and some knowledge of Latin remained important throughout the period when Baldung was working. "By 1538 the aristocracy and upper middle classes educated at the newly established humanist schools became deeply involved in the Latin culture," and one of their educational goals was to provide "two schools for young boys wherein two languages, Greek and Latin, are taught." 
Erasmus's Moriae encomium (Praise of folly) was published at Strasbourg in 1511, 1512, 1514, 1517, 1519, 1521, 1522, and 1523  -- hardly a year passed in which it did not appear -- and the ancient poets were a staple with the satirists represented by an edition of Juvenal "per Sebastianum Brant" in 1508, another edition of Juvenal Inter Latinos satyrographos consummatissimi Satyrae in 1513, 1518, and 1527, Persius's Satyrarum opus in 1517, and Martial's Epigrammata in 1515,  The complete works of Horace were published at Strasbourg in 1498, the satires and the Ars poetica in 1514, Horace's Sermonum seu Satyrarum Libri Duo in 1514, the Epodes and Ars poetica in 1515, 1516 and 1520, and the odes in 1516, 1517, and 1520.  Lucian's satires were much in demand with Latin editions in 1515, 1517, 1518, 1519, and 1530,  a German version in 1512,  and Lucian's Podagra Laus (In praise of gout), as translated by Pirckheimer, published in 1529.  Lucan's Pharasaliae seu billi civilis with it s horrible night-witch Erichto was published in 1509.  Apuleius was also represented with a German translation, Ein hubsche history von lucius apuleius, appearing in 1499, 1506, and 15O9  -- a small volume illustrated with crude woodcuts in which Meroe, the evil witch, is shown fully clothed and using a magic potion to turn her victim into an ass (fig. 10). 
These are local publications that do not take into account the activities of publishers in Nuremberg, Basel, Venice, or Paris, the enthusiasm for the poets and satirists throughout Europe, the international nature of the book trade and Srrasbourg's position on the Rhine, one of the great trading routes, or its proximity to Selestat one of the most important humanist centers in Europe. The popularity of ancient poetry suggests that although Wimpfeling proposed to "confine the study of Virgil, Lucian, and Horace to the elementary schools" because they were too sensual and would corrupt the thoughts of adolescents,  this restriction did not apply to sophisticated members of a sodalitas literaria. For men who felt themselves capable of ferreting out the "Wdden philosophy" in the ancient poets, and not above enjoying adult entertainment, there was clearly a high level of interest in these authors and ample opportunity to gratify it.
Throughout his lifetime Baldung was an active participant in this humanist culture.  His portraits of the Strasbourg humanists include a 1522 portrait of Johannes Indagine, author of a popular treatise on physiognomy,  the 1534 portrait of Johannes Rudaiphinger, chaplain at the Cathedral of Strasbourg, a well-known musican, composer and member of the Sodalitas Literaria Argentinensis,  and in 1543, his portrait of Caspar Hedio, an important theologian and moderate reformer who improved and reorganized the Strasbourg schools.  Baldung also designed a large number of woodcurs for the Strasbourg printers. For a volume by Laurentius Valla published at Strasbourg in 1521 Baldung illustrated "Hercules Gallicus" as described by Lucian.  For the title page of Pliny's De viris illustri bus, published in 1521, he created a border of playful putti, several wearing the traditional eared cap and and carrying the bauble of the fool (fig. 11). His frontispiece for Conrad Celtis's Libri odarum quatu or pictures the humanist in his study surrounded by pagan gods -- Mercury, Pallas Minerva, Hercules, and Bacchus -- with volumes by Virgil, Horace, Persius, and Ovid on the shelf behind him. 
Baldung's familiarity with ancient art and literature, and in particular the less heroic side of the classical world, is evident throughout his work and aside from biblical subjects the ancient world served as his primary source. His Centaur and Putti (fig. 12), a large drawing on tinted paper, is an example of the artist in his element depicting an ancient and poetic subject that gave scope to his imagination and allowed him to employ his calligraphic line with great economy and assurance. His 1533 drawing of Hercules and Omphale,  a subject popular with the ancient poets is a mock-heroic satire in which Hercules plays the part of a fool taken in by the wiles of a woman.  The sloe-eyed Omphale holds the hero's club and wears his lion's skin while the befuddled hero does "woman's work" pulling the thread of the distaff. Baldung decorated a page of the prayer book of Maximilian with a drunken Bacchus,  there are vomiting, gluttonous, combative putti in his chiaroscuro drawing Drunken Bacchus wi th Putti of 1517,  and in the Drunken Bacchus (fig. 13) Eros holds a burning brand and urinates on the head of the drunken god. Although this coarse detail may not amuse a modern viewer the emphasis on defecation and emasculation in a humanist satire such as Eccius dedolatus, and the coarse ribaldry of some of Durer's letters to Pirckheimer,  suggests that the underside of classical art was relished as much for its amusement value as for any serious, moralizing message.
The personae of the ancient world appear throughout Baldung's work as in his paintings, Pyramus and Thisbe from around 1530, and Mucius Scaevola and Hercules and Antaeus, of 1531.  Phyllis and Aristotle, the satire of the old man who falls prey to the charms of a young lady, appears in two versions,  SATURN is written above the head of an old man with disheveled hair in Baldung's 1516 drawing in the Albertina,  and Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos appear in his print of The Fates (fig. 9) from 1513. The Fates are featured in Lucian's satire, Zeus Catechized, in which Lucian uses the dialogue to discuss the issue of free will and the role of Fate and Destiny. Debating whether the poets "talk nonsense," or tell the truth when they say that "nothing can come to pass outside the control of the Fates, nor beyond the thread they spin" (2:62-63), Lucian's satire raises questions about the veracity of the ancient poets, a matter of some moment to those arguing whether the poets were to be believed when they told their tales about witches.
The female witch makes an early appearance in Baldung's art with his woodcut, the Witches' Sabbath (fig. 8) of 1510, the impressive chiaroscuro woodcut created during his first working period in Strasbourg. It was a groundbreaking work for the artist, the first time his monogram appeared on a print and apparently his first published work as an independent master after leaving Durer's shop. His subject, following Durer, was suitably ancient and exotic,  his choice of a night scene was original, and his depiction of a witches' meeting or "sabbath" equally innovative unless Baldung knew Altdorfer's drawing, Hexensabbath of 1506.  Lucan's night-witch Erichto may have inspired the night setting as his Belli civili was published at Strasbourg just the year before,  and a new medium, the chiaroscuro woodcut, made it technically feasible. Invented just two years earlier and first seen in the color prints of Lucas Cranach the Elder and Hans Burgkmair,  the use of a second woodblock to add color t o the traditional black and white print made it possible to create a dramatic night scene that heightened the emotional charge of the print. Ambitious in composition and execution the Witches' Sabbath is an impressive, large woodcut, a virtuoso display appropriate for presenting the credentials of a newcomer and establishing his reputation. Baldung's choice of subject matter was also astute, his wild and lascivious nude females a guarantee that the woodcut would not go unnoticed by viewers more accustomed to the female nude presented as Eve or a classical figure such as Venus. Considerations such as these -- an artist establishing himself with a bravado presentation of an exciting and poetic subject with authorship clearly indicated -- have little to do with the inquisitors who authored the Malleus or events taking place in the courtroom, but they are matters of real concern to a young and ambitious artist.
As Gert von der Osten has pointed out Baldung treats his witches humorously, an attitude that reflects the dominant viewpoint of the humanists in Strasbourg at this time who viewed witchcraft as "lustig," a matter that was more amusing than serious (1983, 162). The Witches' Sabbath appeared during a period when there were few witch trials or burnings and witchcraft had yet to become a life-and-death issue. If Baldung's images intersect with the witchcraft issue at all it may be that his poetic fantasies had an influence on clerics and others whose involvement with the witchcraft issue was potentially more dangerous, men who were in positions of power and able to influence a larger segment of the population.  The first illustration of naked witches in a serious publication dealing with the witchcraft question appears in Die Emeis (fig. 14), the edition of the Lenten sermons of Geiler von Kaysersberg published at Strasbourg in 1511. This volume was published one year after Baldung's innovative woodcut of the Witches' Sabbath but there is no evidence that Baldung was the artist responsible for this illustration.  Baldung's monogram does not appear in Die Emeis although he signed the woodcuts he created for Geiler's Grantapfel (Pomegranate) published by Jean Knobloch in 1511, and compared with the fantastic and high-flying females in his 1510 print the nude witches in Die Emeis are relatively mundane. The anonymous artist has also added a voyeuristic male perched in a nearby tree,  and while the nudity of the witches may be derived from Baldung's 1510 woodcut the addition of a male onlooker suggests the influence of Erasmus's Praise of Folly. Geiler's Die Emeis and Erasmus's satire were both published at Strasbourg in 1511 and while Erasmus says nothing about nudity he does refer to the over-sexed male figure in Horace's eighth satire -- "shoddy Priapus who to his own great hurt witnessed the nocturnal rites of Canidia and Sagana." 
This does not preclude the possibility that in the course of pursuing goals that were primarily artistic, poetic, and perhaps personal (the freedom of poets and painters included the sexual, especially when construed as a dream, and was clearly within the domain of a humanist artist) Baldung may have furnished reformist preachers such as Geiler with new and provocative ideas for the visual presentation of "ein fantasei" and a "traum." The explicit sexuality of Baldung's witches, as in his 1515 pen and ink drawing, Witch and Dragon in Karlsruhe,  was suited to the interests of a male audience, and the ironic line at the bottom of his 1514 pen and ink drawing with its nude witches, DER COR CAPEN EIN GUT JAR (to the cleric a good year) (fig. 15), suggests that clerics were not excluded.  Generically, these drawings are a far cry from witch trials and a serious, legalistic concern with heresy. They have more in common with the mocking description of lusty witches in the Reformation satire Epistolae Obsc urorum Virorum -- "when wanton wenches see a proper man" they immediately desire him, but if he is "virtuous, and a man of learning ... who pays no heed to their follies and wiles" then, according to the text "they resort to magic arts, and at night, mounted on besoms, they ride thereon to the comely man of their heart, and visit him in his sleep -- but to him all is naught but a dream" (82).
Baldung's painting of the Weather Witches (fig. 7) of 1523, with its two beautiful, young witches, seductively posed and displaying their naked bodies against a dramatic and stormy sky, recall poetic descriptions of the beautiful witch in ancient literature and just as Baldung's old witches are reminiscent of such venerable models as Horace's Canidia, Lucan's Erichto, and Petronius's old hag, his young and beautiful witches evoke Circe and her kindred. In Petronius's Satyricon 126, the beautiful witch Circe is described as a woman "more perfect than any artist's dream," and after saying "there are no words that can include all her beauty," her enthralled admirer goes on at length about her wavy hair flowing over her shoulders, small forehead, nose with a little curve, eyes "brighter than stars when there is no moon," her mouth "the kind that Praxiteles dreamed Diana had," exquisite chin, neck, hands and so forth (328-31). Baldung follows Durer's example and takes his inspiration, and perhaps, on occasion, sp ecific details from poetic evocations of the witch in ancient literature. In the Weather Witches the witch on the right holds up a jar with a strange creature inside it and a similar image appears in a magical context in Petronius's Satyricon 48 where Trimalchio says he saw a Sibyl inside a jar -- "Yes, and I myself with my own eyes saw the Sibyl at Cumae hanging in a flask" (100-01).  As they contort their naked bodies, concoct their magic potions, conjure up their storms and fly through the air Baldung's witches capture the eroticism, liveliness, and ribald humor that characterizes much of this ancient literature.
Long before the sixteenth century the poets of Greece and Rome credited witches with power over the weather and Baldung had ample precedent for emphasizing this aspect of the occult in his Weather Witches. The power of the witch Medea makes "the grain, blasted by enchantment," change to hay."  Martial, in the Epigrams, refers to the cunning witch who "with Thessalian wheel" can "draw earthward the moon,"  Apuleius's witch can "bring down the sky, suspend the earth, harden fountains, melt mountains,"  Horace's Folio, "the wanton hag ... bewitches stars and moon and plucks them down from heaven,"  and in the seventeenth Epode Canidia with her "book of incantations has the power to unfix the stars and call them down from heaven."  Understood as a painted poem created for the "moderns" -- that is, an audience of Poets rather than old-fashioned Schoolmen -- Baldung's Weather Witches is consistent with the interests of his humanist contemporaries. In a perceptive study of Baldung's art Hult s emphasizes his concern with formal matters and relates the Weather Witches to an Italian work, Parmigianino's Cupid Carving a Bow of 1535, on stylistic grounds (1982, 128), but they may be related in other ways as well. The humorous tone of the Italian painting with its quarreling putti has all the hallmarks of poetry painted according to ancient criteria and its relation to Baldung's Weather Witches may be generic as well as stylistic.
Baldung's most striking innovation, the strange imagery of his woodcut The Bewitched Groom (fig. 3) is one of the more enduring enigmas in northern art and one of the last prints the artist made before his death in 1545. An entirely original creation for which there is no precedent in either northern or Italian art, The Bewitched Groom bears only a tenuous relation to Durer's prints. The incongruous association of groom, horse, and old woman has no place in the Malleus maleficarum, the pope's encyclical, or folk sources, and it does not lend itself to any obvious narrative interpretation. The arrangement with both groom and horse radically foreshortened is equally unusual, the visual information disquieting and in spite of the simple interior setting of the stable, somehow unreal. The groom lies on the floor apparently unconscious, a wooden pitchfork beneath him and a curry comb next to his hand, the comb replacing the hat lying next to the foreshortened figure in Baldung's drawing of 1544 (fig. 16), a sketch often considered a study for the Bewitched Groom.  The horse, his tail in motion, mane untended and in disarray, is framed in a doorway and looks back, wide-eyed at the viewer, as alert and active as the groom is immobile. On the right an old woman, one breast bared and scraggly hair visible beneath her headdress, leans in at the window. She holds aloft a flaming brand and looks down with apparent satisfaction at the prostrate groom, the corner of her mouth turned up in a macabre and toothy grin.
The Bewitched Groom is so exceptional it has led one scholar to conclude that "the meaning of this powerful image may never be adequately deciphered."  Hults has argued that "the form and iconography acquire new meaning when understood as Mannerist."  More recently, noting similarities with a woodcut in Olaus Magus's Historia de gentibus septentrionalibus published at Rome in 1555, she has suggested that Baldung was illustrating the "general idea of demons invoked by witches to harm people"  and couching ideas about melancholy "in the language of northern folklore" (278). Von der Osten suggests it may be an allegory of untamed lust and emphasizes its dreamlike quality (1973, 245). Koerner believes the woodcut represents "Baldung himself, placed within an assemblage of demonic motifs loosely culled from popular folklore, as well as other images by Durer and by Baldung himself."  Although suggesting classical sources for Durer's Witch Riding Backwards on a Goat, Mesenzeva proposes that Bald ung's Bewitched Groom illustrates a German legend,  and Hoak, adopts a similar view and sees Baldung's images as a "play upon the familiar folkloric figure of a shape-shifting sorceress who first appeared to men in the guise of a horse" (1985, 490-5 10). For Radbruch the subject is allegorical and the scene is an adaptation of a woodcut from a German edition of Petrarch's De remediis utriusque fortunae in which a figure identified as Anger enrages a horse and the horse throws its rider (39-41). None of these interpretations has produced a consensus, perhaps because no single interpretation accounts for all of the elements -- groom, horse, and old woman -- and relates them in a coherent way.
Restricting Baldung's options to folk tales, witchcraft treatises, and literature written in the vernacular underestimates the importance of the ancient poets in establishing stereotypes of the witch, the interests of the Strasbourg humanists, the availability of Latin literature, and the degree to which it dominated the publication lists in Strasbourg as elsewhere. The investigation of popular folklore continues to be the preferred research strategy although its potential is limited by the fact that classical and biblical subjects dominate in Baldung's art and conceptions of witchcraft in this period exhibit the influence of ancient literature rather than any close observation of folk customs and the malficium of village life. The mental condition of melancholia was certainly of interest to artists with Durer's great print of the allegorical figure of Melancholia the most important example, but witches have no part in Durer's conception and his gregariousness and the humorous letters he wrote during the tim e he was creating his witch prints "cast doubt," as Hutchison says, on the frequent portrayal of Durer "as a habitual melancholic himself" (121). On occasion, melancholia is linked with witchcraft, most notably in Lucas Cranach's paintings where the allegorical figure of Melancholy is accompanied by demonic dream riders in the sky, but these bear no resemblance to Baldung's Bewitched Groom.  A mental state is involved -- as Hults notes, it seems to be "the mind of the groom that is in danger" (1984, 273) -- but the visual information is ambiguous. There is no assurance that the groom is a melancholic or that the woman is a witch. The fact that she is old, ugly, and malevolent does not preclude other identifications. Baldung's allegorical use of old women as in the Three Fates suggests other possibilities. The pitchfork that lies beneath the groom relates to his duties -- a large amount of hay is visible beyond the horse -- and nothing suggests it has served as transportation for the old woman.
On the other hand, when the Bewitched Groom is considered within the context of Baldung's own time, place, the interests of his potential audience and his prior use of the three protagonists -- horse, groom, and old woman -- the literature of the ancient world provides a viable source for his highly original conception. Two fragments from an enigmatic ancient satire, Varro's Eumenides, describe the horse, groom, and old woman just as they appear in Baldung's extraordinary print and they even account for the setting and the position of the horse facing the interior of the stable.
Old women are given a variety of roles in Baldung's art and the woman in the Bewitched Groom continues Baldung's long-standing interest in depicting female figures. Old women have an allegorical role in paintings such as his Death and the Maiden from around 1510, and Death and the Ages of Woman, in the Prado from around 1542,  and an old woman cuts the thread of life in his woodcut of the Three Fates (fig. 9). The withered witch past her prime appears with younger and more attractive witches in his 1510 woodcut, the Witches' Sabbath (fig. 8), and in drawings such as his Witches' Sabbath of 1514 in the Louvre or, from the same year, the Witches' Sabbath in the Albertina.  Usually the old witch is shown naked, head bare and long hair streaming behind her, but in the Bewitched Groom there are significant differences -- the old woman's hair is covered, she is fully dressed although one breast is bared, and she holds a flaming brand.
The second major component in the Bewitched Groom, the wild-eyed horse, has an equally venerable place in Baldung's art, an interest that culminates in his depiction of wild horses in the three prints, "unprecedented both in form and iconography,"  created late in his career (for example, fig. 17). Comparing the passions to a "furious horse"  is frequent in ancient literature with a visitor to a whorehouse called a "horseman" and references to "shameless mounting and riding,"  and it is a commonplace in humanist writings. Erasmus refers to the Greek adage, "To go a-horsing," and says it is "a proverbial term of abuse applied to women with a strong sexual craving for men and exceptionally aroused by lust," and he cites Aristotole in book 6 of his On Animals -- "So mares go a-horsing in frenzy." This is the only animal, according to Erasmus, whose "name is used as a term of abuse applicable to human beings whose sexual appetites are under no control" (34:220), and it is this violent and sexual b ehavior of the horse that commands Baldung's attention. In his drawing for the Book of Hours of the Emperor Maximilian (1515) the horses bite and nip each other while a putto with a burning brand clutches the mane of one of the rearing animals.  A centaur -- half-horse, half-man -- prepares to attack, arms raised high and wielding a big branch while a putto clings precariously to his back in one of Baldung's drawings (fig. 12).  Four horses fight in a tangled pile in a 1531 drawing now in Karlsruhe,  and the three famous prints of wild horses from 1534 are a dynamic and explicit expression of the sexuality and violence that the ancients associated with the horse.
The horse as a metaphor for human passions is found throughout ancient literature and collecting references to a single subject was a characteristic humanist activity. Lazarus Spengler, writing to Durer around 1510, says that "Reason's rules are best deduced from classical examples and should be collected and published for the common good,"  and the work of collecting a wide range of references to the "furor" of the horse was already accomplished when Baldung was at the beginning of his career. On a single page in Sebastian Brant's edition of Virgil published by Gruninger at Strasbourg in 1502, the line -- "Furor est insignis equarum" -- from book 3 of the Georgics (xciii) is surrounded with an array of references to the horse. Aristotle and Pliny, Columella, and Varro are among those cited, and the central conception "ab equorum furore & insania" makes an explicit connection between horses, madness, and insanity with a woodcut on the following page showing one horse biting another.
The combination of horse and groom also has a precedent in Baldung's art with his print, Groom Bridling a Horse (fig. 18) from around 1510-1511. A study in ideal proportions with the horse seen from the side and the inclusion of a single, auxiliary figure it is similar to Durer's Small Horse of 1505 although Baldung has replaced Durer's fantastic figure with a groom, or trainer, in conventional dress. Horse and groom together is an unusual subject that has no place in the Malleus and other witch manuals and aside from the ancient satirists and the elder Pliny who places them in an art-historical context the combination is rare in ancient literature. In his Natural History Pliny relates the story of Apelles outdoing his rivals by painting a horse and says that for the artist the horse is "a sound test of artistic skill."  Pliny also identifies a painting by Athenion that especially contributed to the fame of the artist as a "Groom with a Horse" (agasonem cum equo).  Varro uses a related image in his satires when he writes "I have never given free rein to my anger, nor failed to put a curb on [my] passions,"  and Horace, taking his cue from Varro, uses the same imagery to convey a similar message. Horace begins with the much quoted phrase -- "Anger is a short-lived madness" (Ira furor brevis est)  -- and follows it with the image of a groom bridling a horse.
Anger is short-lived madness. Rule your passions, for unless it obeys, it gives commands. Check it with bridle -- check it, I pray you, with chains. While the colt has a tender neck and is able to learn, the groom trains him to go the way his rider directs. 
Horace's "anger is a short-lived madness," is proverbial in the Renaissance and his horse-taming image a commonplace with Spengler, in his letter to Durer, likening "inner desires" to the "untamed horse" and claiming that one can tame desire as one can tame a wild horse.  As Baldung's Groom Bridling a Horse was created during his first period in Strasbourg when there was a particularly high level of interest in the writings of Horace,  his viewers could understand the print as the visual counterpart for Horace's well-known lines in which groom and horse, bridle and chain, are used as metaphors for training and controlling the passions. Horace uses real-life experiences to make his satire salient for the reader and Baldung's print, Groom Bridling a Horse is similarly grounded in reality. The groom, one hand on the horse's muzzle, the other grabbing his mane, digs his heels into the earth in his effort to bridle and control a young and obviously unruly horse. The bridle is prominently displayed and a length of chain hangs down loosely,  a detail that may have been suggested by Horace's catena or, equally appropriate, the short chain attached to the bridle, image of restraint, in Durer's Nemesis.
When horse, groom, old woman, and the stable setting itself are considered within the context of Baldung's own art and the interests of his audience -- contemporaries fascinated by ancient poetry and energetically engaged in combing ancient literature for every phrase relevant for their concerns -- ancient satire again suggests a plausible explanation for Baldung's extraordinary conception. All three appear in Varro's Eumenides, his famous although fragmentary satire about "furor" and madness. The Eumenides of the title is the euphemistic name the ancients gave to the Erinyes, the spirits of punishment that work by disturbing the mind (Odyssey 15. 233-34), and they appear in a tragedy by Aeschylus that had a long history of being adapted by satirists and comic writers. 
Two fragments from Varro's Eumenides are placed in close proximity in most reconstructions of the text, and they include the combination of groom, horse, and evil woman that appears in Baldung's Bewitched Groom. The first fragment reads: "nor will the groom who excercises the horses ever lead out a wild Damacrine colt since the groom is insane from the very disturbances of disease."  The second fragment reads: "third of the Furies, Infamy, standing striving in the crowd with loose flowing breast, uncut hair, soiled garb [and] severe mien. " 
The probability of finding groom, horse, and an evil woman in a single source is sufficiently remote that the similarity between Varro's Eumenides and Baldung's print cannot simply be dismissed as a coincidence. And when the groom is "insanus" and unable to care for the horse, the horse is "wild" (furentem), and Infamia, the vengeful Fury, is described with "loose flowing breast and uncut hair," dressed, with a "severe" expression, and the verb "educet" -- leading out -- refers to the horse that will not be led out of its stable,  when even the interior setting of Baldung's print is suggested, the resemblance is remarkable. In a highly specific way these two fragments from Varro's Eumenides evoke the setting, the personae, and the arrangement of the figures in Baldung's extraordinary print.
Holding aloft her burning brand the old woman in Baldung's Bewitched Groom is fitting as a Fury, a witch-like creature of the night, and her fierce expression is appropriate for the vengeful Infamia, the spirit of punishment who disturbs the mind and causes insanity. Although the expression on the old woman's face bears a resemblance to the nude female Fate who cuts the thread of life in Baldung's print of the Three Fates (fig. 9), here she is shown clothed and only a figure wearing a garment could meet Varro's requirement that Infamy appear with "one breast bared." In Baldung's drawing Study of an Old Woman,  the old woman has one breast bared, but her air of quiet resignation, reticient and with downcast eyes, makes her a pathetic figure in contrast to this aggressive old hag in the Bewitched Groom with her malevolent leer and flaming torch.
There was ample reason for Baldung to be attracted to these fragments from Varro Eumenides. First, there was simply the coincidence, the extraordinary conjunction of horse, groom, and malevolent female figure in a single source, three subjects that had engaged the artist's attention on earlier, and separate, occasions. Second, Varro was an important author for the humanists. Petrarch had placed Varro among the three most important Roman writers, and Varro's De lingua latina continued to be a staple in humanist libraries.  His De re rustica (On agriculture) was an essential text on farming and published frequently in the sixteenth century.  Most important for Baldung, Varro was an author with special significance for artists and those who patronized them. "Humanitas," in Varro's view, presumed an understanding and appreciation of art. Aulus Gellius quotes from the first book of Varro's Rerum humanarum --"Praxiteles, who because of his surpassing art is known by everyone of any liberal culture [human iori]"  -- and Varro was a primary source for information about the art of the ancient world, the authority cited most frequently in Pliny's books on the history of art, and the ancient author whose name was associated with the first illustrated volume, the Imagines vel Hebdomades. 
A third consideration is Baldung's long-standing interest in psychological states. It is one of the dimensions on which his work differs most markedly from that of Durer. The accurate portrayal of the human body remains a primary focus for Durer with his scientific concerns tempering his early enthusiasm for the fantastic and unusual, while Baldung is equally concerned with emotional states and psychological interactions communicated through facial expression, gestures, and physical relationships.  His drawing of a fool is a subtle study that suggests both stupidity and aggression.  The face of "Doubting Thomas" in his drawing at Strasbourg captures an emotion in the process of change -- skepticism on the verge of belief. Lot (or "Lott" as it is written on the painting in Berlin) with its sly old man is a disquieting and perceptive study in lechery.  His various images of Adam and Eve elicit a complex response, raising psychological issues  and often evoking emotionally descriptive adject ives, as when Adam is described as "satyr-like" and Eve "sly and knowing."  Responses such as these are not solely the imposition of a modern viewpoint on a sixteenth-century work of art. Physiognomy, understood as the relationship between outward appearance and inner state, was an important subject for Renaissance humanists. The many editions of the physiognomy books of Indagine and Codes testify to a high level of interest,  and one of Baldung's most compelling portraits is of Johannes Indagine, author of a famous physiognomy book published at Strasbourg in 1522. Pirckheimer translated Theophrastus's Characteres ethici in 1527 inscribing the work to
Durer in his dedication and recommending it for "the masterly way in which Theophrastus has depicted human appetites and propensities."  A deliberate effort on Baldung's part to engage the viewer in a complex, psychologically oriented dialogue would be entirely consistent with humanist interests in this period.
More specifically, Varro's subject in the Eumenides -- madness and insanity -- had a special claim on Baldung's attention. He had personal experience with the condition of insanity. His print of the Margrave Christoph I. von Baden, one of his most important patrons in his early years, was done in 1511 when the Margrave was sane, but when Baldung painted his portrait in 1515 the Margrave had begun to go mad, abdicating to his sons the same year and dying in 1527 without regaining his sanity.  Irrationality and madness ("furor") are central to Baldung's conception of the violent, sexually aroused horses in his three late prints and an interest in this extreme mental and emotional state was shared by many of Baldung's contemporaries especially those attracted to ancient Stoicism.  For the Stoics madness resulted from a failure to control the passions and for Varro, as for Horace -- satirists often admired for their Stoic perspective -- madness and folly are central issues they explore throughout their satires. Horace's phrase aut fanaticus error et iracunda Diana (a fit of madness and Diana's wrath) in the Ars poetica,  for example, associated madness with the moon and moon-goddess Diana and in the Eumenides Varro "deals in large part ... with the Stoic idea of universal madness." 
One of his most important works, Varro's Saturae Menippeae, consisted of 150 books of which 90 titles and around 600 fragments survive.  By the early years of the sixteenth century the Satires were well known with some of Varro's titles and phrases acquiring proverbial status -- in his Adages Erasmus refers to the Satires of Varro over 30 times.  The majority of these fragments are found in the writings of Nonius Marcellus,  and the enigmatic fragments from the Eumenides received particular attention because in it are preserved the largest number of fragments from Varro -- 49 in all.  When Stephanus published his Fragmenta poetarum veterum latinorum quorum opera non extant in 1564, which included the first attempt to publish Varro's Saturae Menippeae in their entirety, he was putting in order fragments already assembled by his father Robertus.  As this was often a competitive enterprise it suggests that Robertus was not alone and other humanists were also collecting and arranging the se fragments during the period in which Baldung was creating his unprecedented print.
Considering the importance of Varro for the humanists and the fascination with which they studied each fragment of ancient literature it is reasonable to conjecture that a friend or acquaintance, remembering Baldung's long-standing interest in horses and witches -- perhaps even aware of his earlier print The Groom Bridling a Horse as a Horatian satire on the passions -- brought these fragments to the artist's attention. Erasmus, in his edition of St. Jerome, includes a story that illustrates how powerfully these remnants of the past affected the humanists. Erasmus's friend Pietro Santeramo, "a man whose wit was not less than his learning," related how he composed a fake epigram, even leaving "some letters mutilated, as if they had been damaged by the passage of time," and presented it to Fausto Andrelini who lectured on the art of poetry in Paris, explaining that he found that "small, fragment among some very old remains of antiquity." Erasmus says,
Fausto read it again and again, and it is difficult to describe the amazement he experienced and the admiration he felt and the feeling, almost of adoration, with which he viewed that learned and inimitable relic of antiquity. There was no end or limit to his admiration of antiquity, until Santeramo, giving himself away, turned it all into a laughing matter (61:85).
As the humanists discovered the enigmatic fragments from Varro's Eumenides and puzzled over their meaning they must have elicited a similar response although, in this instance, their excitement and enthusiasm was more justified.
Locating an ancient source that can account for the setting and three principal images in Baldung's Bewitched Groom still leaves unanswered the provocative question -- was there a personal motive that might have led Baldung to create a print on the basis of these fragments from Varro's Eumenides? Was the Bewitched Groom created for a humanist working on the fragments of the satire, or to satisfy a patron, perhaps someone with an interest in Stoicism and the relation between the passions and madness, or did it have some personal meaning for the artist? The precise meaning of the wild horse, insane groom, and Infamy (third of the Furies) is enigmatic in Varro's Eumenides, and they remain mysterious in Baldung's print.
One detail tends to support the hypothesis that this late print had a personal meaning for Baldung. The shield with the unicorn that appears on the wall above the figure of the old woman is an extraneous element not found in Varro's satire and much scholarly attention has focused on this detail because the unicorn appears in the coat-of-arms of Baldung's family,  and a graceful unicorn is the subject of Baldung's late drawing dated 1544 (fig. 19). Bold in execution and large in scale the Bewitched Groom has much in common with his earlier, self-advertisement in The Witches' Sabbath, and as a recapitulation of three subjects Baldung had exploited previously the artist may have intended the print as a summation, a reminder to his audience of the important contributions he had made to the art of his time. This hypothesis would account for the tour-de-force nature of the print with its demanding artistic problems and calculated construction. Foreshortening was a challenging problem for all Renaissance artis ts with many examples including the extreme foreshortening in Durer's chalk drawing, the Dead Christ of 1505.  The technical aspects of the Bewitched Groom certainly engaged Baldung's attention because there is not just one example of radical foreshortening, but two -- horse and human figure -- and the entire print is executed with a powerful sense of compression and control with the artist exhibiting an authoritative command of his medium. Baldung, in this interpretation, has no surrogate in the print -- neither groom, horse, or Fury -- he is present as himself, the artist, with his family emblem, the unicorn, affirming his prestigious place in society; and his initials in the cartouche communicating with pride that I, Hans Baldung Grien, created this extraordinary work of art.
THE WITCH IN ART AND LIFE
Our response to the witches of Durer and Baldung is conditioned by our knowledge of later events, the terrible epidemic of witchhunting that escalates at the end of the sixteenth century, but at the moment of creation these artists could not foresee the future. Durer could not predict what would happen in Germany eighty years later anymore than he could control the afterlife of his art or anticipate that English witches in the twentieth century would know his engraving of the Four Witches from reproductions and tell the social anthropologist studying their occult practices that the nudity of the witches was a device for "stripping away signs of social differentiation."  Baldung could not know that his pornographic drawings of female witches would be available to a much larger audience than the one or two men, or at most a small group, for which they were invented, or predict their use as evidence of witchcraft beliefs in the sixteenth century.
It is understandable when the witches of Albrecht Durer and Hans Baldung Grien are chosen to illustrate a quantitative study of the witchhunts as real and terrible events. The author's first concern is with actual incidents involving witchcraft rather than the genesis of an artistic creation, and the drawings and prints of Baldung and Durer are aesthetically pleasing and more attractive than the crude woodcuts in Molitor's De lamiis (fig. 5) or a hastily drawn broadsheet such as Erhard Schoen's Curious Execution of a Witch at Schilta (fig. 4) or the burning of three witches at Derneburg in 1555,  the kind of imagery generated by specific events.
There is less justification for accepting the Malleus and witchhunts and witchtrials as the impetus behind the introduction of the witch in the art of Durer and Baldung, or favoring folkloric sources over the literature of the ancient world. Durer's naked women in his Four Witches and his Witch Riding Backwards on a Goat, and Baldung's elaboration of the subject in 1510 were introduced in a period in which witchhunting activity was minimal, the witch beliefs of village life were filtered through, and affected by, familiarity with the ubiquitous and marvelous witch of ancient literature,  and witchcraft was still considered a dream and an illusion by most writers and dangerous primarily as evidence of the Devil's power to deceive. For the "moderns" in Durer's time poetry was a passion to be defended, poetry and painting were sister arts, and artists were empowered and encouraged to "dare whatever they please."  The audience for art was growing in size and increasing in sophistication with one art-lo ver writing Durer in 1507 to plead for a "drawing which tastes a little of Antiquity,  and Baldung's audience was, if anything, even more knowledgeable about the ancient world, more impressed by displays of skill and imagination and more cognizance of the ancient standards by which art should be judged. For Baldung and Durer the witch was a dramatic and attention-getting subject and in her various permutations she provided new opportunities for displaying the imagination, erudition and artistry expected of an aspiring Renaissance artist.
As poetic contructions motivated by artistic goals, the witches of Durer and Baldung represent an appropriate response to humanist fascination with the underside of the classical world -- the magical and occult, the world of dream and fantasy -- and it is unlikely that an urbane viewer such as Pirckheimer found them truly frightening and demonic. The fantastic devil who peers at the women in Durer's Four Witches, and the goat who peeks from under one of Baldung's "weather witches" are more comical than threatening, and while a superstitious peasant felt real terror when his cow sickened after being cursed by an irrasible woman, it is unlikely that a voyeuristic male felt anything more disturbing than a frisson of anxiety and excitement when he encountered a seductive and nubile young "witch" safely confined to the printed page or the framed painting. Durer uses his new subject as the occasion to display the provocative female nude and create playful putti and clever and witty allusions. Baldung's witches, na ked and in titillating and contorted poses, dramatically brewing their love potions, flying through the air, or creating turbulent weather are hardly designed to inspire genuine fear and loathing. They are dramatic and exciting, seductive and amusing, Intriguing to look at and fearful only to the degree that they could arouse a male viewer and remind him of his own lust, his susceptibility to the dangerous attractions of the female and potential for losing control.
The witches of Durer and Baldung were at home in the private study or shared at a dinner party for male guests with an interest in poetry and art -- as Hults observes the women in Baldung's painting of the Weather Witches function "not only on an erotic level, but also as a careful figure study to be appreciated by a cultivated patron" (1982, 129) -- and while they reveal something about the interests of the two artists and those relatively few people in a position to enjoy their art they tell us little about the witch persecutions that grew to such calamitous proportions in the decades after Durer and Baldung had died. Baldung' conception of the Witches' Sabbath cannot serve as a reliable guide to actual practices and any claim that his artistic creations are "insightful comments on the mentality of witch-hunting officialdom,"  should be carefully qualified.
The witches of Durer and Baldung make a significant contribution to the history of art as examples of the way in which the underside of the ancient world was creatively and opportunistically exploited by northern artists, but they are less relevant for larger questions about real events. They can do no more than suggest that the poetry of the ancient world that served to inspire new subjects in art also made the misogyny of the ancient world and ancient ideas about female witches more widely available.  Males were often the victims in actual witch hunts with Lamer estimating that about 20 per cent of the suspects were male (1984, 87), but females bore the brunt of these calamities it is the female witch, her dangerous sexuality and her magical powers, that is so prominent in ancient poetry. In his study of magic in the ancient world Graf makes the important point that "in Theocritus as well as Virgil, or in the elegiac poets, and generally in the great majority of the (ancient) literary texts, it is wo men who practice magic, whether erotic or of another kind" (185). Barstow maintains it was the Malleus that "launched the witch persecutions as an attack on women" even though she recognizes that "the major persecutions did not begin until about seventy years after its publication" (172), but when "many inquisitors and secular courts disdained the Malleus maleficarum,"  witch manuals comprise a small portion of what was being bought and read while ancient authors such as Horace, Lucian, Juvenal, Petronius, Theocritus, Lucan, Ovid, and Apuleius were reaching a much larger group of readers than formerly, the emphasis on this single text oversimplifies a complex situation. The ongoing argument among Renaissance humanists over the veracity of the poets cautions against underestimating the influence of ancient poetry for when imaginative descriptions of witchcraft are treated as serious insights into the nature of the world and fantasy is perceived as fact, the vivid evocations of the female witch in ancient literature had the potential to fuel anxieties about women and their influence over men and adversely affect the attitudes of those who persecuted witches.
The relationship between this new and fantastic art and the witchcraft manuals may be limited to the fact that both are reactions to the same stimuli, authors as well as artists responding to the same literature and as men of the Renaissance sharing the same willingness to appropriate the images and ideas of the ancient world deemed relevant for their own concerns. If the results were aethetically satisfying in terms of an artistic outcome, leading to the development of an imaginative and entertaining new kind of subject matter, and at the same time were instrumental in altering male attitudes and creating a climate that could culminate in a tragedy of immense proportions, it would be an outcome both ironic and terrible.
(*.) I wish to express my gratitude to Miriam Usher Chrisman for reading an earlier version of this article and to Jane Hutchison and the anonymous reader for the Renaissance Quarterly for their perceptive and useful comments.
(1.) See Levack, 1996b, pl. 10, and also pl. 5 where the woodcut by Hans Baldung Grien is described as the "death of a stable hand by witchcraft." The latter illustration appears as the frontispiece for Brauner's study with Baldung's Weather Witches also illustrated (94), and Barstow reproduces Baldung's, Witches' Sabbath with a caption in which it is claimed that, "Fear of the magical powers of village midwives and healers led to the demonization of curative skills" (108). Baldung's "leapfrog" print is illustrated by Clark in his recent book, and used to support generalizations about the intellectual tradition and the "idea of witchcraft" (fig. 1, p. 12 and pp. 11-30). Muchembled includes a print by Durer and one by Baldung but identifies them simply as examples of a "tradition picturale" (1991, figs. 15-16).
(2.) Panofsky, 71. Or more recently, the sources for the witch in the art of Durer as identified by Anzelewskycc, 1983, 102-04.
(3.) Mesenzeva prefers a date between 1502 and 1505 (1983, 187). Zika between 1500 and 1507 (118).
(4.) Briggs says, "Virtually everywhere it was the half-century between 1580 and 1630 which included the great majority of all trials" (1996b, 292).
(5.) Monter, 29.
(6.) Levack 1996b, 186 and Quaife, 132. See also Larner, "During the first half of the sixteenth century it looked as though witch-hunting might have been dying out" (1984, 41), and Hillerbrand, 258 who notes that, "the real wave of persecution of witches and witchcraft did not come until the middle of the sixteenth century." Clark considered a large number of texts in his effort to make witchcraft beliefs of early modern intellectuals more intelligible, and it is significant that most are from 1550 on and the few examples from the first half of the century are principally catechisms in which a belief in witchcraft is condemned. (See Clark, esp. 501)
(7.) Levack 1996b, 186.
(8.) Peters, 173-74. See also Hillerbrand who writes that "it took until the middle of the sixteenth century for the pleadings of the Malleus to become operational and...for the criminalization of witchcraft to begin in earnest throughout Europe" (258). Although Anglo says it "seems to becoming fashionable to suggest that the Malleus maleficarum has been accorded an exaggerated significance "(1977, 31 n. 36) he presents no counter evidence for the early period beyond the assertion that there were "at least eight editions of the Malleus maleficarum before the close of the fifteenth century" (14-15).
(9.) Midelfort, 1972, 5. Also 1981, 29.
(10.) Ibid., 9.
(11.) Ibid., 67. In other areas of Europe the situation was similar. At Malines, for example, the secular judges did not take the crime of sorcery seriously in the fifteenth century nor in the major part of the sixteenth century, and from 1416 to 1592 judged only four women (Muchembled, 1987, 98). In the first half of the sixteenth century 16 women were accused of witchcraft and 7 men, while in the first half of the seventeenth century the figures rise remarkably to 97 women and 13 men (107).
(12.) Levack, 1996b, 187. Hults arrives at a similar conclusion and notes that although the two fanatic Dominicans, Kramer and Sprenger executed 48 witches between 1482-1486, this was exceptional, and there was no large witch-hunt in southwestern Germany until the 1560's (1978, 127).
(13.) Behringer, 92. For Levack it is "perhaps decisive" that the late sixteenth century saw the "onset of one of the most economically volatile and politically unstable hundred-year period of European history" (1996b, 189).
(14.) See Belien 56-59 and Scarre, 18. Russell is emphatic, "where heresy was absent, witchcraft -- as distinct from simple sorcery -- was either wholly absent or appeared only in rare and peculiar cases (268-69). For examples of sixteenth-century writers equating witchcraft with the "demonic Jew" see Overfield. Jewish synagogues are called "witches temples" (261), and the Talmud is described as "immoral ... and filled with magic and sorcery" (261). See also, 254-55.
(15.) "See for example. Kieckhefer, 88-89 and Quaife, 137-38.
(16.) "Muchembled, 1987, 95.
(17.) Bonney demonstrates that clerics who condemned sorcery in general could have difficulty with the details (95), and Scribner notes Geiler von Kaysersberg's recommendation of sacramentals as a "form of countermagic" in his collection of sermons, Die Emeis (261-62).
(18.) Stephens argues it was not fear but hope that motivated the persecutors. 'The inquisitor's goal was not to eliminate demonic and Satanic activity, but to prove it existed" (50). Evidence that the Devil is active in the world would prove the existence of God.
(19.) Levack, 1996b, 189.
(20.) See Willis and also Roper's study where maternity is seen as the central issue and not simply female roles and gender conflicts (Roper, 212). Although more work is being done on the fundamental question -- why women became the primary objects of persecution -- the explanation remains elusive (see Lamer, 1984, 61-63, Monter, 197-98, and Barstow).
(21.) Gijswijt-Hofstra, 17.
(22.) Behringer, 87.
(23.) Midelfort, 1981, 30 and Larner, 1981, 36. Behringer makes the opposite position and says there is no "direct connection between the intensity of persecution and Roman law, inquisitorial procedure and a developed demonology" (90).
(24.) Muchembled, 1987, 244-45. This position is summarized in Ankerloo (10). In a related point, and while recognizing that it needs more investigation, Preaud notes that the culminating point in governmental attacks on popular festivals that were seen as pagan survivals coincides with the escalation in the witchhunts (66).
(25.) Briggs, 1996a, 54. For the development of this view see Briggs, Witches and Neighbours.
(26.) Levack, 1996a, 99.
(27.) See Behringer, 88-90.
(28.) Clark, for example, faults "over-reliance on this one text" especially in relation to gender issues contending that in general the "literature on witchcraft conspicuously lacks any sustained concern" with the question (115-16).
(29.) Behringer cites a number of examples to demonstrate that "monocausal theories based on confession or other singular factors simply do nor work" (75), and Briggs expresses the view that historians are in general agreement that, "any serious interpretation of European witchcraft must be multifacrorial, relating it to a number of discrete, or at least separable, causes" (1996a, 51).
(30.) Briggs, 1996b, 200.
(31.) Levack, 1996b, 187. Their participation was sometimes active as well as literary. Agrippa defended an accused witch at Metz in 1519 (Monter, 28). Levack also suggests that "the initial shock of the Reformation" distracted elites (1996b, 187-88) but this is not relevant for the early years of the sixteenth century.
(32.) Monter, 169. For the distinction between white and black magic and the relevant woodcut by Hans Burgmaier in Weiss Kunig (1514), see Lorenz and Schmidt, 1:34. Black magic is represented by an old, bent-over woman, fully clothed, leaning on a stick and clutching a money-bag with a devil perched on her head, White magic is a handsome young man, robed, with a book under his arm and an angel above his head.
(33.) For example, in 1516 Martin Luther was still treating witchcraft as a figment of the imagination and preaching that it was forbidden to believe that witches could ride and "riot togather" although, like many others, his views underwent a progressive change. Six years later he was ready to believe they "could change things into different shapes," and by 1541 Luther was willing to approve the execution of four witches at Wittenberg (Monter, 30-31).
(34.) Translated in Baroja, 1990, 26. For the Latin see Russell, 292-93 ("daemonum illusionibus et phantasmatibus seductae, credunt se et profitentur nocturnis horis cum Diana paganorum dea et innumera multitudine mulierum equitare super quasdam bestias ...") One of the oldest books on witchcraft from the Northern Netherlands was written in 1559 by a pastor who agrees with the "physicians who place witchcraft in the realm of sickness: through melancholy and madness sick people are deluded into thinking that they are possessed or bewitched by the devil." (Frijhoff, 169)
(35.) Russell, 235.
(36.) Molitoris, unpaginated.
(37.) Geiler von Kaysersberg, xxxvi v (Bib1iotheque Universitaire de Strasbourg, R10700). For an example of this procedure in the writings of Calvin see Higman who notes that "the elimination of classical allusions un Calvin's Latin works] generally leads to a weakening in the French...compensated by an increased energy in the vituperation" (128).
(38.) Ibid., xxxiiii r for an example of his reference to Seneca. Latin insertions appear throughout the book -- for example, "proprer Salamonem, propter doctorem scribentam Thomas brabantinum," "proprer viros maximos" -- and terms are arranged in tandem as "Diabolus" opposite "Der teuffel" and "Caro mundus" with "fleisch die welt."
(39.) Peters, 24. He emphasizes the handbooks of the preachers as a "vehicle for the transmission" of ancient ideas of the demonical (142).
(40.) Geiler von Kaysersberg, Die Emeis, liiii r.
(41.) Ibid., xli r.
(42.) Petronius, Satyricon 62, 136-37.
(43.) Propertius, 4.5.17-18.
(44.) "Briggs, 1996b, 87-88. "Werewolves were rare in fifteenth-century demonologies and trials" and the Malleus has "nothing to say about them" (Monter, 151).
(45.) Cranach's print is reproduced in Muchembled, 1991, fig. 4. See also Preaud, 85-86.
(46.) Lucan, 4.540 ff.
(47.) Panayotokis, 171.
(48.) Luck includes a number of the relevant texts, See also Lowe, Tupet and Graf (esp. 36-43) on magic in the ancient world.
(49.) Kieckhefer is concerned with the imposition of learned notions on popular belief, but there is little mention of classical literature and no reference to the poets and satirists, in his discussion of "love magic" and "weather magic," for example, they are treated solely as "popular phenomenon" (56-63). In Thinking with Demons Clark examines how witchcraft intersected with various areas of intellectual interest, but he does not include humanist interest in ancient poetry.
(50.) Circe was certainly familiar to Durer's audience (see, for example, Roberts, 187-94), and Circe and Medea have been proposed as Durer's subject in this engraving (Preaud, 16).
(51.) Lucan, 6.515 ff.
(52.) Ovid, Fasti, 6.131-140.
(53.) Weyer, 165-66. Weyer makes extensive use of ancient literature (particularly the poets). In a typical example, he begins this chapter on "Lamia" with a long quotation from Ovid.
(54.) Apuleius 5.11-12.
(55.) Ibid., 2.20.
(56.) Ibid., 21.
(57.) Ibid., 1.8. For the power to command a man's love or transform them into animals, see 5. 68-69.
(58.) Propertius, 4.5. 11-18. Also 2.1. 53-4, "though I have to die of Circe's herbs, or the Colchian witch heat for me her cauldron..." Zika notes that "the cauldron, which was to become representative of witchcraft activity in the sixteenth century ... was virtually unused before 1489" (128), an observation that suggests that references in ancient poetry may have led to to its introduction. For another example see n. 62 below.
(59.) Rist, 39. The magic objects include the "iynx-wheel," a word derived from the "wryneck, a bird whose peculiar mating habits may have suggested its use in love charms" (34). Pindar says that Aphrodite "gave the iynx to men" (Graf. 93).
(60.) Best describes Ulrich von Hutten as "one of the most satirical members of one of Germany's most satirical generations" (1969, 1). See also Gaier, Mehl, and below, especially the importance of Lucian in Germany and the publications in Strasbourg.
(61.) Petronius, Satyricon 63, 140-41. The fragments of Petronius's Satyricon aroused the intense interest of many humanists. In 1420 Poggio Bracciolini discovered a manuscript of Petronius in England, an exciting find that he sent to Niccolo Niccoli, and in "the fifty year period between 1475 and 1525 seven editions of Petronius's writing were published," and the complete edition "in the form it existed at the time" was published at Venice in 1499 (Sochatoff, 316-18).
(62.) Petronius, Satyricon 131, 342-43. Priapus's priestess, Oenothea, is an extremely old hag with an enormous cooking pot (134-35, 352-57).
(63.) Lucilius, Satires 30, nos. 1028-9.
(64.) Varro, Satires 401 (Lee, 69). Also Cebe, 10:1675.
(65.) Lucian, "Glyceta and Thais" in Dialogues of the Courtesans 7:359.
(66.) Erasmus, 1975-, 34: 225, no. 2.
(67.) HoraceEpodes 5. 51-52.
(68.) Ibid., 5. 61-62.
(69.) Horace, Epistles 1.2.23-25.
(70.) Horace's Epodes 5.25-47. Sagana also appears in Horace Satires 1.8. 71 Satires 2.8.95. See also Horace Satires 2.1.48.
(72.) Horace's Epodes 5.48-9.
(73.) "Ibid., 15-24.
(74.) Horace, Satires, 1.8.23-6.
(75.) "Anglo notes how frequently "poets such as Homer, Virgil and Ovid were regularly cited as having historical validity" and invoked in writings on witchcraft (1976, 210).
(76.) "Midelfort, 1972, 59. For an Italian example of the dialogue and for the complexity of the humanist viewpoint see Peter Burke's analysis of Pico's Strix (The Witch), the "elegant and lively little dialogue" written by the humanist Gianfrancesco Pico della Mirandola (1469-1533) and published in 1523 (34). Phronimus the pious, representing Pico's own viewpoint (42), succeeds in persuading the skeptical Apistius that witches are a reality. Both men are humanists, interested in antiquity and well-read in the classics and they assume that the Greek and Roman poets are a source of "hidden philosophy." Burke notes that Pico was using literature available and of interest to his audience since Apuleius' Golden Ass was enjoying considerable popularity at the court of Ferrara when he composed his dialogue (38).
(77.) Baroja, 1990, 33.
(78.) The "Society of Diana" was an "event immortalized in Boccaccio's Decameron (8.7) in the mid fourteenth century," and "during the Renaissance the literary tradition dealing with magic continued to flourish," and it includes Cellini's Vita, Ariosto's Orlando furioso, and Tasso's Gerusalemme liberata (Weyer, 758)
(79.) "Weyer, 170.
(80.) Horace, Ars poetica, 9-10, Weyer, 546.
(81.) "Weyer, 583, a slightly altered version of Horace, Epistulae 2.2.208-9.
(82.) Frijhoff traces how a poetical work gradually changed from high literature to low with the consequence that a century later it was considered an old "folktale" (175-76). See also Sullivan on Bruegel's proverb painting for the thesis that many ancient proverbs became "folk" proverbs by means of a similar process of acculturation (1991: 441). The importance of the clergy in this process is suggested by Stuart Clark's observation that, "What is striking about books on witchcraft and magic from the early modern period is how many of them were produced by clergymen or by those trained or advised by clergyman" (437).
(83.) Levack, 1996b, 44. As this statement is followed by references to "strigae," "lamiae," and "Diana's wild hunt," they tend to compromise the "popular origins" of this idea.
(84.) Weyer, 166.
(85.) Flint, 37-38. Flint also notes the importance of the poets and their use as schools texts as a means by which ancient ideas were transmitted (49).
(85.) Russell says "the term 'sabbat,' used so promiscuously by modern writers on witchcraft, appears only twice in the fifteenth-century literature" (237-38).
(87.) Peters emphasizes this process noting that the "learned magic of the world of late antiquiry disappeared. . . until the recovery of much classical literature in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries," and "Renaissance humanism with its passionate and indiscriminate zest for classical information retrieval, also revived much of ancient magic"(xii).
(88.) In 1515 Alciati cited Horace as well as St. Augustine when countering the belief that witches could appear to be in bed and yet be physically present at a sabbat (Monter 28-29), and this process of integration continued into the seventeenth century with the chief judge in witch trials at St. Cloud in Franche-Comte, for example, quoting, "Virgil, Horace, Apulieus" as well the Malleus (Barstow, 173).
(89.) For Celtis see Spitz.
(90.) See Pfanner, 129-30. Due to the efforts of the humanists the four Latin schools in Nuremberg were augmented with a "poets school" designed to suit "modern literary taste, and after its demise Durer's friend, Willibald Pirckheimer, turned his attention to improving the older schools along similar lines (Strauss, 235). The satire, Epistolae Obseurorum Virorum (Letters of obscure men), is extreme in the degree to which it polarizes positions, contrasting new and old, "Poets" versus the "Schoolmen," but in general it accords with the humanist tendency in the early years of the century to exaggerate the differences. For the Epistolae Obscurorum Virorum see Holborn (vii), Mehl, and Overfield's chapter on "The Reuchlin Affair (247-97).
(91.) Celtis described Pirckheimer's house as a "poet's refuge" (Smith, 1983, 41). For Pirckheimer see Rupprich (380-435). Panofsky describes Pirckheimer as "one of the most learned men in an extremely learned period ... witty ... and far from virtuous," and he credits him with initiating Durer "into the Greek and Roman classics," assisting Durer in his literary labors and "suggesting amusing or cryptic subjects" for Durer's prints (7), although for Panofsky these subjects do not include Durer's witch prints. For Durer's relation to the humanists see Bialostocki (15-20), and for the Latin elegy Pirckheimer composed as a response to Durer's death see 23-25.
(92.) Kieckhefer, 137-43.
(93.) Hutchison, 110.
(94.) Davidson, 18. Zika also doubts the influence of the Malleus on Durer's conception although he considers Molitor's De Lamiis (130-32) important. See also Anzelewsky who makes the point that Durer's Pour Witches must have been intended for a "restricted market" as its "obscure subject matter" "presupposed an understanding of allegorical ideas in the buyer as well as the artist" (1980, 61).
(95.) The Malleus maleficarum was published by Koberger at Nuremberg in 1494 and 1496 (Hain, 2: 139, nos. 9245 and 9246).
(96.) Midelfort, 1972, 5. It is usually assumed that Durer's knowledge of Latin was very limited (Hutchison 23, for example), although in his projected work giving instruction to young artists Durer states that an artist should also be "instructed in Latin so far as to understand certain writings" and he lamented the loss of books on art written by the ancients (Ibid., 111).
(97.) Durer illustrated Pirckheimer's copy of Theocritus Idyl1s (see Anzelewsky, 1980, fig. 75 and 87) and there are beautiful witches and magic rituals and incantations in the poetry of Theocritus. See also Graf, 176-86. Graf emphasizes that references in ancient literature, such as the appearance of Hecate in Theocritus, are constructions rather than "actual ritual scenarios"(184).
(98.) Zika observes that the "gender link" was not yet clearly established in this period, and "the Molitor woodcut which depicts a witch riding an animal represents the rider as a woman in only one of the almost twenty versions produced in the 1490's" (132-33).
(99.) "See also "la sorciere" from a manuscript version of this subject (Ms. fr. 995, 39v in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris (Reprod. in Harrison who describes her as "an unattractive woman in a baggy undistinguished gown, with dishevelled hair unbound and uncombed" (110, n. for lines 1-8).
(100.) In Pinson's survey of the witch in art there are many Greco-Roman examples but witches are conspicuous by their absense in the medieval period. Russell says the earliest picture of a witch riding a broom dates from about 1280 and is in the cathedral at Schleswig (164). An example from a fifteenth-century manuscript shows a frilly dressed woman astride a broom (Reprod. in Muchembled, 1991, fig. 13), and Hoak reproduces a manuscript illustration from around 1460 with fully dressed witches (male and female) surrounding a goat (1981, 26 fig. 9). Hindman refers to "late medieval traditions depicting witchcraft" but the only example cited is from Molitor's De Lamiis of 1489 (Harrison, 22), and the manuscript illumination of Waldensians worshipping the devil reproduced in Zika (fig. 6.7) is dated ca. 1470. The subject is extremely rare before 1500, a point made in Marrow and Shestack (114) and the female witch is presented differently.
(101.) Mellinkoff, 168. The carving is reproduced as fig. 8.
(102.) Schedel, 190. Wilson believes the manuscript of the Chronicle provides "clear evidence" of Durer's collaboration (9). See also Poesch for the relation between this woodcut and other works by Durer, and for Wolgemut see Hutchison, 24-26. Durer painted Wolgemut's portrait in 1516.
(103.) Gothic and Renaissance Art in Nuremberg, 234. The Chronicle also includes many portraits of the ancient poets.
(104.) Bialostocki, 34.
(105.) 1n Hesychius, for example, pomegranate seed has a sexual meaning (Henderson, 134, no. 123) In Latin, pomegrate is "malum granatum.
(106.) Tupet, 15. Wind says "respect shown to the triple Hecate was not surprising, in view of her association with Diana" (1968, 251).
(107.) Lowe, 57 and 102, n. 1.
(108.) Tupet, 15. Ennius speaks of a divinity named Trivia who seems to be confounded with Diana, and Virgil cites Trivia nine times in the Aeneid (254). Russell suggests it was the "pedants, learned in classical literature, who introduced the name and figure Diana" into northern fertility rites during the late medieval period (48).
(109.) Propertius, 2. 32. 10.
(110.) Varro, De lingua latina 7.16. This passage is followed by a reference to "Apollo and Diana," the gods that are the subject of Durer's print of 1505 (Panofsky 70 and fig. 124).
(111.) Ovid, Fasti 1.387 and 1.141.
(112.) Horace, Odes 3.22.
(113.) Weyer, 274. These pagan divinities are discussed in Lorenz and Schmidt although they are not related specifically to Durer and his portrayal of witches (17).
(114.) The pomegranate with its three letters -- O. G. H. -- is also a tri-form conception and among the various conjectures Panofsky's "Orcus, Gehenna, Hades," seems particularly apt (71). For alternative interpretations that depend on classical sources see Dwyer who emphasizes foursomes -- the four seasons, four temperaments and four elements -- and Poesch who says it is more accurate to see this as "a central figure with three attendants." Poesch interprets Durer's print as a synthesis of the related themes of Venus, the Three Graces, and the classical story of the Judgment of Paris (78-79), but does not account for the infernal elements in the print.
(115.) Spitz, 74-76.
(116.) Celtis, 1966, 86. He also had Horace's Odes set to music (Spitz, 81), and Spitz says Horace's real rise to fame in German humanism is owed to Celtis (90).
(117.) Ibid., 39. See also Spitz for Celtis's interest in triads such as three sacred languages and three-fold philosophy (49).
(118.) Wind, 1968, 252, n. 44.
(119.) Smith, 1983, 40 and Hutchison, 70.
(120.) Spitz, 252-53, n. 45.
(121.) Koerner, 39. See also Wuttke,73-129.
(122.) For the storm-raising powers of the witch in ancient literature see the discussion of Baldung's painting of the Weather Witches, and notes 201-04.
(123.) Holzberg, 200-03.
(124.) Thompson, xxii. Erasmus in the Adages (31:349) notes that Agricola "translated some of Lucian's dialogues."
(125.) Rupprich, 429-30, n. 39. Rupprich maintains that Lucian was the inspiration for Durer's Family of the Satyr, countering Panofsky who says Durer's Family of Satyrs was "developed from one of Durer's most enticing drawings, a hasty sketch inspired by Philostratus's description of a family of Centaurs" (87). The centauress appears in small artifacts such as a first century Roman cameo (see, for example, Mesenzeva, 1983, 202), but Lucian was probably even more important for Durer because the nursing centauress appears as a central figure in a discussion of painting in one of Lucian's satires. In Zeuxis or Antiochus Lucian says that Zeuxis, "that pre-eminent artist," was attracted to novel subjects and avoided those that were vulgar and too well known such as heros, gods, or battles, and when Zeuxis had conceived some extraordinary or surprising subject "he showed the precision of his craftsmanship by depicting it." Among these was a picture of a Centauresse suckling her children (3-4, vol. 6, 156-59). For Durer's versions of Lucian's Calumny of Apelles see his drawing in the Albertina and his painting for the Nuremberg Rathaus (Reproduced in Cast, figs. 27 and 28), and Rupprich 432, n. 65.
(126.) Rupprich, 403 and 409-10.
(127.) Best, 1969, 1.
(128.) Ibid., 44-46. For the influence of Lucian and Juvenal see 66-67.
(129.) Ibid., 1971, 20. For the connections with Aristophanes see Best, 31, n. 9; 32, n. 11; 39, nn. 33, 38; 65, nn. 88, 90.
(130.) Best notes the influence of Lucian's Gout, lines 14-26 (Ibid., 28, n. 2). The opening lines are from Seneca, Hercules furens 205-06 (Ibid., 27), and Horace's Canidia is a central character in the dialogue.
(131.) Ibid., 35. Erasmus says the proverb is a title of one of Varro's satires (31:344-45, no. 35) The proverb also appears in Lucian, On Salaried Posts (3: 455). Best describes it simply as a "Greek proverb" (n. 21).
(132.) Best, 1971, 69. For Apuleius see 1:14 where witches urinate on the faces of their victim.
(133.) Ibid., 40. See Horace Satires I.8.24; 2.1.48; 2.8.95., and his Epodes 3.8 and 5.17.
(134.) Ibid., 35-36, n. 22. For the question of authorship see Rupprich, 432, n. 63.
(135.) For the continuation of Eccius deodolatus and Pirckheimer's interlinear additions in the original satire see ibid., 75-84 and 78, n. 6.
(136.) Mesenzeva (1983) cites Pausanius, Plato, and Plutarch, but none of the poets associated with satire such as Horace, Juvenal, Petronius, or Lucian. For Zika's response to Mesenzeva's argument see 124.
(137.) Mellinkoff, 153-76. Also Zika who sees the "riding woman" as a reversal of male/female roles and a threat to the moral and social order (137-40).
(138.) Hutchison, 120-21.
(139.) Best, 1971, 40.
(140.) Letter 42, Holborn, 188-89. First published in 1515, the satire was augmented in 1516 and in 1517, and published at Strasbourg by J. Gruninger around 1517 (for the latter see Chrisman, 1982a, 137).
(141.) Lucilius Satires, 15, fragments 524-29.
(142.) Rudd 101.
(143.) Sullivan, 1994, 96-97.
(144.) Gaier, 266-70
(145.) For example, Marrow and Shestack, 114. Also Koerner (327), and Hoak who says Baldung is giving "visual form" to "cultural myths" already "well-developed in fifteenth century demonic tracts" and his "Hexenbilder stand as brilliantly insightful comments on the mentality of witch-hunting officialdom" (1985, 490).
(146.) Chrisman, 1982a, 280-81.
(147.) Chrisman, 1967, 14.
(148.) Koerner 1993, 346. For Koerner's view of Baldung's witches see also his introduction to the 1992 exhibition, 5-8.
(149.) Ibid., 1993, 527, n. 48. The investigation of "'high' literature," is appropriate when hunting for the sources of "Durer's secular prints," according to Koerner, hut is not relevant for the art of Baldung.
(150.) Talbot 30. See also Hoak who notes their "erotically humorous, even satirical overtones" (1985, 490), a statement somewhat at odds with his view that "perhaps nowhere is a contemporary's acceptance of this system [witchcraft] stated mote forcefully" than in Baldung's Bewitched Groom.
(151.) The date is based on a self-portrait done when Baldung was 49 (reproduced in vonder Osren, 1983, 313, fig. 15). For the documents relevant for Baldung's life and work see 289-322.
(152.) Brady, 1975, 303-04, and 1978, 142-43.
(153.) Although undocumented this sojourn is generally accepted. See Oettinger and Knapp.
(154.) For Koerner, "Baldung's artistic vision" is "always in dialogue with the art of Durer" (1993, 253).
(155.) Shestack, 5-6.
(156.) Brady, 1975, 298-301.
(157.) Ibid., 314-15.
(158.) Ibid., 307.
(159.) Chrisman, 1982b, 75.
(160.) Chrisman, 1967, 51; see also 1982b, 44-45.
(161.) Ibid., 1967, 66.
(162.) Chrisman, 1982b, xxii. The early humanists "poured most of their energy into poetry . . . and editions of ancient and contemporary poets flowed from the presses" (45).
(163.) Chrisman, 1967, 51; see also 1982b, 44-45.
(164.) Chrisman, 1982b, xx.
(165.) Ibid., table 9, 38-39. Chrisman's divides this list of over 100 names according to criteria such as "theologians," "classical humanists," and "men of science," but for the present purpose it is reasonable to assume that all of them had some familiarity with the works of ancient poets such as Horace, Juvenal, Virgil, and Ovid.
(166.) Ibid., xx and 1967, 267.
(167.) Chrisman, 1982a, 153. There were many publications of Erasmus's other writings with his Collectanea adagiorum veterum enjoying great popularity (153-55).
(168.) Ibid., 64-65.
(169.) Ibid., 63-64.
(170.) Ibid., 72-73.
(171.) Ibid., 76.
(172.) Ibid., 79.
(173.) Ibid., 64-65.
(174.) Ibid., 76.
(175.) The help of Francis Gueth, Conservator-General for the Bibliotheque de la ville de Colmar, in making these illustrations available is gratefully acknowledged.
(176.) Chrisman, 1967, 51-52. Wimpfeling considers Horace (except the Odes) suitable for the student while Juvenal was too lewd, but as Overfield remarks, "Wimpfeling's deep piety and strict moral temperament caused him to see more dangers in pagan literature than most of his humanist contemporaries" (85-86).
(177.) See von der Osten who emphasizes Hans Baldung Grien as "ein Freund der Humanisten," and pays particular attention to works with humanist subjects (1973, 242-44).
(178.) Reproduced in Karlsruhe fig. 81, p. 379. For the importance of Indagine's physiognomy book see Sullivan, 1994, 78.
(179.) Reproduced in Marrow and Shestack, 259, and Karlsruhe fig. 82, p. 283.
(180.) The woodcut is reproduced in Marrow and Shestack, pl. 82, 262, the drawing at 82a, 263. Hedio "like other Strasbourg theologians ... tried to mediate between Lutheran and Zwinglian factions" (261). For the view that Baldung may have been somewhat indifferent to the religious crisis, see von der Osten, 1973, 219.
(181.) "See Karlsruhe, XXXV, pp. 372-73.
(182.) Ibid, XXII, pp. 348-49. His many other contributions include the title page of Valerii Maximi dictorum, & factorum memorabilium that includes portraits of Virgil, Horace, Cicero, and Ovid (XXVIII, pp. 361-62).
(183.) Reproduced in Koch, pl. 135 (Paris, Eco1e des Beaux-Arts).
(184.) For example, Propertius, 3.11.17-20 and 4.9.45-50; Ovid, Fasti 2.310-31.
(185.) Koch, pl. 53 (Besancon, Biblioteque).
(186.) Ibid, pl. 104 (Kupferstichkabinett, Berlin).
(187.) See, for example, Hurchison, 92-95.
(188.) Reproduced in Karlsruhe, pl. 24-26.
(189.) There is an early drawing done in 1503 (Koch, plate 1) and a woodcut from 1513 (Karisruhe, fig. 71, p. 272).
(190.) Reprod. in Koch, 48. Koerner considers Saturn the "presiding deity of Baldung's art" in his role as the god of time (314), but Saturn had other associations, for example with sexuality in Propertius, book 2.31 (Propertius: Elegies, 49 ff.) and although it was created later a print by Martin de Vos identifies witches as the children of Saturn (Davidson, 36-37). See also Zika, 126-28 for a discussion of Saturn in the context of Durer's witches.
(191.) Details, as well as the depiction of the witches themselves, may have been suggested by ancient literature. In Lucian's satire the love spell required something belonging to the man himself such as "clothing or boots or a few of his hairs" ("Melitta and Bacchis," in Dialogues of the Courtesans, 7:377) and the hat lying in the foreground may have been included for its role in a magic spell designed to bring back an erring lover. For publications of Lucian in Strasbourg see Chrisman, 1982a, 72-73.
(192.) Midelfort, 1981, 30. Muchembled says the "sabbat" was "an alien notion to the peasant." The "nocturnal, demoniac meeting of witches and warlocks -- is simply and solely a figment created by theologians. . . stereotypes that had no popular basis" and "few authors at the present day maintain that the sabbat was a reality in any shape or form" (1990, 139-42). For this belief in the witches sabbath as a late development see Clark who states that, "During the fifteenth century the sabbat was not a prominent feature of demonology, being neglected in the Malleus maleficarum and altogether denied by other authors" (139) a point that underscores the fictional and poetic basis of Baldung's print.
(195.) This seems to be the first time that the night-witch appears in art. For the night-witch as a creature of the imagination, see Gordon's discussion of Lucan's Erichto, especially 239-41.
(194.) For the development of the color print see Landau and Parshall 179-202, where it is described as "as an elite form of Renaissance woodcut and a collector's item" as indicated by the the "relative frequency of classical and other esoteric subjects . . . subjects that lie outside the normal iconographic repertoire of the period" (184).
(195.) Peters observes that rhetoricians in the eleventh and twelfth centuries "did precisely what engravers and painters of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries did; they chose bizarre and often occult subjects for their art precisely because these subjects offered them with an opportunity to demonstrate their talents upon subjects that were uncommon, fearsome, and unusual. What others might and did make of the images they thus ordered and gave versimilitude to, was not their affair (Peters, 22-23).
(196.) Hoak's assumption that Baldung was the artist is exceptional (1981, 23).
(197.) The woodcut appears in Die Emeis under the heading "Am mitwoch nach Reminiscere/ Von den Unholden oder von den hexen" (xxxvi v).
(198.) Erasmus, Praise of Folly (91).
(199.) Reproduced in Koch, pl. 65.
(200.) Clark discusses the drawing at length in support of his thesis that inversion is important in conceptions of witchcraft. He says witches "disrupt the idea of orderly conduct ... and suggest instead the power of fantasy and passion, and the dangers of sexuality"(11). Some scholars consider this a copy -- for example Koerner (1993: 330), and also Talbot (31) although he says the "inscription rings true" -- but it has affinities with Baldung's Doubting Thomas in Strasbourg, a drawing that also incorporates a New Year's greeting. At the bottom it reads HBG 1512, and at top left "Em Gut NW IAR."
(201.) Davidson believes the flask contains urine to be used in weather making (25), but this does not account for the small figure inside the glass. Hults see the figure as a demon (1982, 124).
(202.) Weyer, 167.
(203.) Martial, 9.29. See also 12.57.17.
(204.) Weyer, 170.
(205.) Horace, Epode 5. 42-46.
(206.) Ibid., 17. 4-5.
(207.) Baldung's usually adroit hand/eye coordination is noticeably lacking and the drawing is in marked contrast to his gracefully executed unicorn drawing also dated 1544 (fig. 19 in the present study) but even though the authenticity of the drawing has been questioned (see Marrow and Shestack, 271) there is general agreement that the Bewitched Groom is a late work that postdates the three horse prints of 1534.
(208.) Shestack, 18.
(209.) Hults 1978, 23. In this earlier study, Hults adopts the position that Baldung's art is best understood as a self-conscious reaction to the Renaissance and in particular the forms of Durer.
(210.) Ibid., 1984, 261-2, fig. 2. The woodcut in Claus Magus is later than Baldung's Bewitched Groom and lacks the horse.
(211.) Koerner 1993, 439. See also Hartlaub who considers the groom a surrogate for the artist (22-4).
(212.) Mesenzeva 1981, 57-61. This interpretation is questioned by Hults who argues that Baldung had something more than story-telling in mind (1984, 261).
(213.) Hoak, 1981, 22-23, where Cranach's Melancholy of 1528 is reproduced as fig. 1.
(214.) The Vienna painting is reproduced in Marrow and Shestack, fig. 5(10), the Prado painting as fig. 34 (35).
(215.) The Louvre drawing is reproduced in Marrow and Shestack, fig. 18c (119), and the drawing in the Albertina as fig. 18 d (119).
(216.) Hults, 1978, 121.
(217.) Cebe, 4: 723-24. See also Wind, 1968, 145, n. 15 and fig. 41, "The Taming of the Passions," from Bocchi's Symbolicae quaestiones of 1574. This is Italian and late, but Wind also mentions a painting by Piero di Cosimo (National Gallery of Art, Washington, no. 271) as "a witty allegory of horse-taming."
(218.) Henderson, 165.
(219.) Reproduced in Koch, pl. 51 (Besancon, Bib1iotheque).
(220.) In another example the centaur appears as an architectural motif placed appropriately beneath a vignette of an amorous man and woman while a glowering man in a fool's cap (perhaps the cuckholded husband?) stands behind the seated lovers (Ibid., plates 79, 79a, Coburg, Kunstsammlungen der Veste).
(221.) Ibid., pl. 131 (Karlsruhe Staatl. Kunsrhalle).
(222.) Quoted in Koerner, 1993, 430.
(223.) Pliny's story of Apelles and the horse was well-known (35.36.94-95. (330-31).
(224.) Pliny, 35.40.134.
(225.) Varro, Satires, frag. 177 (Lee, 39). Also Cebe, 5:808.
(226.) This passage from Horace's satires is the most probable source for Petrarch's imagery cited by Radbruch in his study of Baldung's Bewitched Groom.
(227.) Horace, Epistles 1.2. 62-65 (1978, 267). Horace's use of "magister" rather than "agaso" tends to elevate the status of the trainer. "Ira furor brevis est: animum rege; qui nisi paret / imperat; hunc frenis, hunc tu compesce catena. / Fingit equum tenera docilem cervice magister / ire viam qua monstret eques."
(228.) Quoted in Koerner, 1993, 430. Spengler's metaphor suggests that Horace's imagery may also lie behind Durer's conception in the Small Horse.
(229.) Chrisman, 1982a, 63-64. The satires and the Ars poetica were published in 1514, the Epodon Liber. Eiusdam, de arte Poetica. Epistolarum Libri Duo in 1515, 1516, and 1520, and Odarum. Libri IV in 1516, 1517, and 1520.
(230.) One might expect to find a similar chain in Baldung's drawing for a saddler in which equipment for the horse is detailed in four different scenes (Reproduced in Koch, pl. 73, Kunstsammlungen der Vesre, Coburg), but it does not appear.
(231.) Ennius had given a translation, or Latin adaptation of it that evokes the insanity of Orestes tortured by the vengeful Furies, it was a source for Timocles, poet of Middle Greek Comedy, and Menippus appears to have created a pastiche of the drama in one of his Menippean satires. "Nothing remains, but its existance is known from Varro's Eumenides and one of the Menippean satires of Lucian, Piscator (the Fisherman)," according to Cebe, "although it is only the allusion of the tide and a few elements that suggests it is a parody of Aesehylus" (Cebe, 4: 544-45). Pirckheimer's translation of Lucian's Piscator was published at Strasburg by Matthias Schurer in 1518 (Chrisman, 1982a, 72)
(232.) Varro, Satires, fragment 118 (Lee, 32). Also Cebe, 4: 538."neque furentem eculeum Damacrinum insanus / equiso ex hebetis morbi fluctibus educet umquam."
(233.) Ibid., fragment 123, 33. Also Cebe 4: 542. "Tertia poenarum Infamia stans nixa in vulgi pectore / fluctanti intonsa coma, sordida vestitu, ore severo."
(234.) The general description of Infamia -- her dirty garments, unkempt hair, and severe expression -- is clear, but it is difficult to make sense of the phrase in which "vulgus" occurs. Cebe, for example, translates this as "appuyee" sur la poitrine agitee de la foule."
(235.) Reprod. in Marrow and Shesrack, fig. 89, 278.
(236.) For Petrarch, Varro was third after Virgil and Cicero (Brown, 456). For De lingua latina in the Renaissance see Ibid., 457-59. For the importance of Varro including his contribution to humanist proverb collections see Sullivan, 1994, n. 162, 150-51.
(237.) Brown, 457-59. Also BMGCPB, 246: col. 633.
(238.) Gellius, Bk, XIII. xvii, 3-4 (2: 457).
(239.) Brown, 453-4.
(240.) Hults, 1981, figs. 50 and 51 (56-7) are examples of their respective interests.
(241.) Marrow and Shestack, cat. 54, 216. See also the fool from the Freiburg Altarpiece, cat. 54a, 217.
(242.) Reprod. in von der Osten, 1983, pl. 156.
(243.) For example, in Marrow and Shestack the woodcut Fall of Man dated 1519 is described an "an ambivalent image of mutual attraction and psychological distance," with Adam and Even "shown as if already reflecting upon the implications of their act" (243).
(244.) Hults, 1981, 54. See also von der Osten who says that Adam's hair is arranged like the "horns of Pan" (1973, 243 and 1983, pls. 125 and 128), and Marrow and Shestack for examples in which "Baldung gives his Adam the facial characteristics of a satyr" (122).
(245.) See Sullivan, 1994, 166, n. 62, and also pp. 77-90.
(246.) Rupprich, 420-21. Pirckheimer's Greek text, with its Latin translation, was the first printed version of this work.
(247.) Marrow and Shesrack, figs. 79 and 79a, and pp. 254-55.
(248.) See Cebe, 4: 723. The Stoic literature published at Strasbourg includes Hieroclis stoici in aurea Pythagorae in 1511, and Plutarch's Stoici ac viri clarissimi in 1514 (Chrisman, 1982a, 71-72).
(249.) Horace, Ars poetica 453. Horace's reference occurs in the context of a "crazy poet" being pursued and teased by children, an image indebted to Varro's Eumenides.
(250.) Sigsbee, 245. Sigsbee also see similiarities between Varro's Eumenides and Horace in the Satires (246).
(251.) Brown, 452.
(252.) Erasmus, 31:12 and n. 60.
(253.) Brown, 458. Nonius Marcellus was available in a'1510 edition of Varro's De lingua latina that included the works of Festus and Nonius Marcellus (ibid., 458), and in Perottus' Cornucopiae published at Basel in 1527 (ibid., 457).
(254.) Sigsbee, 245.
(255.) Brown, 459.
(256.) See Marrow and Shesrack, fg. 87a, 274.
(257.) Smith, 1974, 239-48.
(258.) Luhrmann, text under pl. I.
(259.) Reprod. in Barstow, 146.
(260.) For an example of the integration of the two spheres see the relation between ancient literature and Renaissance proverb collections discussed in Sullivan, 1991.
(261.) Horace Arts poetica, 9-10 (1978, 450-51). Brann notes how the "literary images of the rhetoricians and poets are easily translatable into the visual and tactile images of the painters, sculptors and architects" (124). However, he restricts the meaning of "classical" to formal characteristics such as "clarity, balance and proportion" and excludes the grotesque and distorted although they are equally an inheritance from the ancient world.
(262.) Bialostocki. 27.
(263.) Hoak, 1985, 490. Hults believes Baldung' drawings of witches "shed light on the witchcraze," and can serve as "sources of information supplementing demonological literature and trial records," but is cautious about their use as historical evidence when they represent a highly individualized response (1987, 276).
(264.) As noted above the authors of the Malleus were not immune to the drama, excitement and sensuality of this poetry. Lamer says it seem probable that the witchcraft manuals had some effect in increasing the likelihood of trials as "some of the most extensive witch trials in the seventeenth century occured in Mainz and Bamberg which were early centers of printing" (1984, 57), but it is worth noting that the ancient poets were published more frequently than witch manuals in these centers and the contribution of the printing press to the dissemination of ideas about witches may go much beyond the witch manuals.
(265.) Purkiss (8) says the Malleus is still the main source for the view that witch-hunting was women-hunting.
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|Author:||SULLIVAN, MARGARET A.|
|Article Type:||Critical Essay|
|Date:||Jun 22, 2000|
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