In the early seventeenth century, people's ideas about themselves and the world were shaped by certain assumptions. They were in the center, and at the focus of a universe designed for humanity on God's plan, that women were by nature physically similar, but mentally and emotionally very different from men, the magic and witchcraft were real forces in the world. Belief in magic and witchcraft had existed in Europe throughout the Middle Ages, but the Reformation gave it new emphasis. All faiths emphasized the role of Satan in deceiving God's faithful, and civil and religious authorities who preached so vigorously against the works of the devil on Sundays had no difficulty in believing in Satan's presence during the rest of the week. This new phenomenon was shaped as much by the legal apparatus as by the belief in witches by itself.