[Dan] Brown states that five million women were killed by the Church as witches. In fact, modern research has shown that the witch hunts began in the sixteenth century in Europe and that between 30,000 and 50,000 men and women were burned to death for the crime of witchcraft. However, 90 per cent of those trials took place before secular tribunals in countries such as Germany and France where by the 1500s the Church had lost most of its influence in judicial matters. Indeed, it was precisely in countries like Spain and Italy where the Catholic Church still had influence that there were almost no witchcraft trials.
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