The Night Battles: Witchcraft and Agrarian Cults in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries / Edition 1

The Night Battles: Witchcraft and Agrarian Cults in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries / Edition 1

ISBN-10:
0801843863
ISBN-13:
9780801843860
Pub. Date:
03/01/1992
Publisher:
Johns Hopkins University Press
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Overview

The Night Battles: Witchcraft and Agrarian Cults in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries / Edition 1

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 enemies—witches.

Relying upon this exceptionally well-documented case study, Ginzburg argues that a similar transformation of attitudes—perceiving folk beliefs as diabolical witchcraft—took 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780801843860
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date: 03/01/1992
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 232
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

Appendix 137

Notes 167

Index of Names 203

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