This article is from the Wicca FAQ, by firstname.lastname@example.org (Rain of Teleport) with numerous contributions by others.
"The Burning Times" is the term used by many modern Neo-Pagans and
feminists to refer to the great European witch-hunts of the early modern
period, coincident with the time of the reformation and seen by many as a
crucial step in Christianity's crushing of the Pagan religions, driving
these underground. Some authors claim as many as ten million people were
killed in these hunts, while more recent scholarship puts the number of
documented deaths at 20-100 thousands, 80-90% of these women. Sometimes
these numbers are doubled to account for non-judicial killings and deaths
from torture, suicide, etcetera. Whatever the numbers, however, victims
of these hunts are perceived as martyrs by Wiccans today, with the lessons
of intolerance, misogyny and religious terror clearly noted.