The City as Refuge

  • María Tausiet
Part of the Palgrave Historical Studies in Witchcraft and Magic book series (PHSWM)


With a migratory pattern the mirror image of that of the saludadores who travelled to rural areas in search of potential victims, many women identified as witches in their home villages ended up moving to Saragossa to avoid persecution. Not, of course, that the capital was some kind of ‘lawless city as far as magical practices were concerned. As we have seen, cases of witchcraft and sorcery could be heard by any of three different court systems, and, in the face of an influx of fugitive women coming to the city to escape their neighbours, Saragossa’s city council had in 1586 drawn up its own desaforamiento statute — legislation more characteristic of the mountainous areas of Aragon — which enabled it to impose sentences, up to and including the death penalty, without the need for proof, on ‘the abovementioned persons, witches and sorceresses, who are fleeing other places to come here to the great detriment of this Republic’.3


Seventeenth Century Corporal Punishment Home Village Native Village Lunatic Asylum 
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© María Tausiet 2013

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  • María Tausiet

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