Based on research in the Inquisitorial archives of Northern Italy, The Night Battles recounts the story of a peasant fertility cult centered on the benandanti, literally, "good walkers." These men and women described fighting extraordinary ritual battles against witches and wizards in order to protect their harvests. While their bodies slept, the souls of the benandanti were able to fly into the night sky to engage in epic spiritual combat for the good of the village. Carlo Ginzburg looks at how the Inquisition's officers interpreted these tales to support their world view that the peasants were in fact practicing sorcery. The result of this cultural clash, which lasted for more than a century, was the slow metamorphosis of the benandanti into the Inquisition's mortal enemieswitches.
Relying upon this exceptionally well-documented case study, Ginzburg argues that a similar transformation of attitudesperceiving folk beliefs as diabolical witchcrafttook place all over Europe and spread to the New World. In his new preface, Ginzburg reflects on the interplay of chance and discovery, as well as on the relationship between anomalous cases and historical generalizations.
|Publisher:||Johns Hopkins University Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.56(d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
Table of Contents
Preface to the 2013 Edition ix
Foreword Eric J. Hobsbawm xiii
Translators' Note xv
Preface to the English Edition xvii
Preface to the Italian Edition xxi
I The Night Battles 1
II The Processions of the Dead 31
III The Benandanti between Inquisitors and Witches 65
IV The Benandanti at the Sabbat 93
Index of Names 203