Night Battles Witchcraft and Agrarian Cults in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries

ISBN-10: 1421409925

ISBN-13: 9781421409924

Edition: 2013

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Description:

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 benandati 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 even 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 cultural notions and historical generalizations.
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Book details

Copyright year: 2013
Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
Publication date: 11/15/2013
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 240
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.990
Language: English

Carlo Ginzburgis retired from Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa (Italy). He is the author of numerous books that have been translated into English includingThe Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller.

Preface to the 2013 Edition
Foreword
Translators� Note
Preface to the English Edition
Preface to the Italian Edition
The Night Battles
The Processions of the Dead
The Benandanti between Inquisitors and Witches
The Benandanti at the Sabbat
Appendix
Notes
Index of Names
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