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Agnes Bernauer is unique in Witchcraft annals. Her killer was filled with remorse and erected a sepulchure testifying to her virtue.


anjeaunot

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“In one of the three chapels is the tomb of Agnes Bernauer, the lovely daughter of an Augsburg barber; on October the 12th 1435 Duke Ernst of Bavaria gave orders for her to be drowned in the Danube, on a charge of witchcraft, because she had married his son Albert and with this mesalliance threatened the policies of the dynasty and even the law and order of the state.”

 

“The tomb shows Agnes Bernauer with a rosary in her hands and two little dogs at her feet, a symbol of the conjugal fidelity which united this young woman of the people to her princely spouse. It was erected by Duke Ernst, her killer…. Duke Ernst profoundly admired the virtue and personality of Agnes and the pure love which bound her to his son; but he decided firmly and unwillingly to eliminate her in a brutal manner in view of the political consequences provoked by the marriage and later complications stemming from it – disorders, wars, uprisings, the division and collapse of the state fratricidal strife and general suffering… the duke paid homage to the victim’s moral constancy and innocence, now that she was no longer a danger by building her a sepulchre to keep her memory alive through the centuries, and by himself retiring to a monastery. His son Albert, who had taken up arms against him, first to defend and then to avenge his wife soon fell into line for dynastic and political purposes, and became reconciled for reason of state with the father who had made him a widower. He assumed the ducal sceptre, and later went on to contract a second marriage more appropriate to his position.”

 

“Agnes was drowned in the Danube refusing to the last to save her life by renouncing her husband. Because she floated on the surface, the duke’s hired thugs were forced to bind her legendary tresses round a long pole and hold her head under water until she was dead. The formal charge was witchcraft.”

 

Emmeram Rusperger was the jurist who concocted the charge of witchcraft which enabled Duke Ernst to rid the state of the unfortunate Agnes.

 

Source: "Danube Claudio Magris p110"

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I think that is sad but not unusual... throughout history humans have used whatever current fad or phobia is available for their own personal gain, no matter what the losses to others, including life. At one point there were Catholics burning Protestants - either way they were both xtians. Black people were considered "animals" and abused by their masters in ways that most people would be horrified to treat their actual pet aniamls (anyone tied their pet Labrador to a tree lately and whipped it with a horse whip becuase it slipped its leash?). Many humans seem to have a base nature of greed for power, particularly those who alreay have some bit of it - it appears addictive: once they have it they constantly want more and live in fear of losing it. Greed and fear are two things that seem to rule humans through history, much more so than their professed gods and morals.

 

M

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