It is likely that the number of executions was significantly lower than that of the inquisition.
Estimates of the number of executions carried out by the Inquisition range from several thousand to tens of thousands. However, it is important to note that the inquisition's focus was mainly on rooting out heretics and apostates, not on executing people. Many people arrested by the inquisition were not executed, but rather were subjected to penances, fines, imprisonment, or public humiliations.
However, it is difficult to compare this to the number of people executed during the time of the Protestant Reformation, as the execution of individuals accused of witchcraft and heresy was not limited to the followers of Luther and Calvin, and occurred in many parts of Europe.
It is important to note that both Protestant and Catholic authorities were responsible for the persecution and execution of individuals accused of witchcraft and heresy.
The inquisition's involvement in witch-hunting varied by region and over time, with the most intense hunts occurring in the 14th to 17th centuries, particularly in Germany and Italy.
The region of Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Netherlands had high numbers of executions because they were a big part of the Holy Roman Empire in between the 15th and 17th century. The Catholic Church played a central role in these witch hunts through its promotion of the belief in witchcraft, investigations and trials. The Church taught that witchcraft was a form of heresy, and that it was a serious crime that needed to be punished.
The Church also played a central role in promoting the idea of the witches' Sabbath, a supposed gathering of witches and demons, which was used to justify the persecution of those accused of witchcraft.
- "Witchcraft and Magic in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Europe" edited by Geoffrey Scarre
- "The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe" by Brian Levack
The number of those persecuted and executed for witchcraft and heresy during the time of the Protestant Reformation is not well-documented, and estimates vary widely.
The exact number of executions may never be known as records were not always kept, or have been lost or destroyed over time. Historians estimate for the inquisition thousands to several hundred thousands, spanning several decades in between 13-19th century. The Protestant Reformation spanning the 16th century is estimated in thousands, and few historians put it in the ten thousand.
The average historian would agree the inquisition as a group of institutions by the Catholic Church would have generally higher estimates, due to the timespan, and sheer size of the campaigns.
"The Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity" edited by John
"The Oxford Illustrated History of Medieval England" edited by Nigel
"Reformations: The Early Modern World, 1450-1650" by Carlos M. N.
"A World Made by Hand: A Simple Path from the Preindustrial Age" by
"The Reformation: A History" by Diarmaid MacCulloch