The Night Battles. Witchcraft and Agrarian Cults in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. Carlo Ginzburg with a new preface translated by John and Anne C. In The Night Battles, Carlo Ginzburg looks at a small group of northeastern Italian people from the area of Friuli who claimed to be ‘benandanti.’ The benandanti. The Night. Battles. Witchcraft & Agrarian Cults in the Sixteenth & Seventeenth Centuries. Carlo Ginzburg. Translated by John & Anne Tedeschi. On 21 March.

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We differ surely only over what counts as evidence. One of the major interests, in my opinion, of carli exceptional series of documents lies precisely in the way that it enables us to follow in detail the processes by which a belief transforms itself under pressure from outside forces.

Neither was my point a popularist one. As always, when a history book reports the voices of the people, such nkght verbal of inquiries of the Inquisition, I love it. They claimed that they were fighting to defend the harvest, and that if they lost to the witches the crops would fail.

Trivia About The Night Battles Hushour rated it it was amazing. Coming back from battle they would stop I houses and seek refreshment. He also noted that “almost identical” beliefs could be found in Livonia modern Latvia and Estoniaand that because of this geographic spread “it may not be too daring to suggest that in antiquity these beliefs may once have covered much of central Europe.

Ginzburg xarlo to show how the Church and Inquisition morphed an ancient agricultural folk cult into the traditional witches sabbath. This new identity was imposed, according to Ginzburg, by the inquisitors who used leading questions and other devices such as fear to convince the accused benandanti into altering their confessions to fit the new model of witchcraft, which can be traced through the confession transcripts.

It is one which Ginzburg barely notices, but it may help to explain why the later benandanti appear in carlp far more obviously diabolical light than their predecessors.


Ships from and sold by Amazon. In his analysis of these trials Ginzburg claims to have demonstrated two things. Come sempre, quando un saggio storico riporta le voci dei ceti subalterni, come nei verbali di un processo dell’Inquisizione, mi piace moltissimo. There work was connected primarily to the agricultural farming seasons.

Armed with fennel sticks the Benadante catlo ready to defendmean while the witches were armed with Sorghum stic In the area of Friuli Italy back during the medieval times there carll a group of people properly known as the Banadante. True, the Inquisitors were, at this period, more preoccupied with other matters: No matter who holds them, they cannot be assumed to be capable of unthinking transformation.

He initially discusses the interrogation of Anna la Rossaa self-confessed spirit medium who was brought before the Roman Inquisition in Friuli inbefore detailing two similar cases that took place later ignzburg year, that of Donna Bight and Caterina la Guercia.

They keep the caul and have a priest say mass over it or a blessing. It was, once again, a statement about the nature of beliefs.

A peasant as much as a philosopher has to have a reason to believe. When the Calabrian peasant or the Asturian or the Sardinian or the Polish, for the story is repeated again and again who, on being asked by a Jesuit missionary how many Gods there were, replied that he was uncertain but he thought possibly nine, he was not asserting his belief in an ancient polymorphic mystery cult.

The benandanti were members of an old fertility cult in northern Italy whose participants believed their souls left their bodies to fight witches at night, the victor determining whether the harvest succeeded or failed. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account.

Night Battles: How the Benandanti Fought Witches During the Sabbath

Used – Battlse Sold by: The author does a great job explaining the concepts that even a layman would find it comprehensible and enjoyable.

Here I agree with him.

Pages to import images to Wikidata Articles to be expanded from January All articles to be expanded Articles with empty sections from January All articles with empty sections Articles using small message boxes. Historian whose fields of interest range from the Italian Renaissance to early modern European History, with contributions in art history, literary studies, popular cultural beliefs, and the theory of historiography. In the 16th and 17th century a small group of people believed they left their bodies to fight in an astral war on behalf of God.


The definitive rejection of Murray’s Witch-Cult theories ignzburg academia occurred during the s, when her ideas were attacked by two British historians, Keith Thomas and Norman Cohnwho highlighted her methodological flaws.

Ginzburg, Carlo []. In their Translator’s Note to the English edition, they proclaimed that they were “very pleased” to have been given the opportunity to translate the book, opining that Ginzburg’s two works “represent only a small part of the best of the new social, cultural and religious history being written today bxttles a host of distinguished Italian scholars.

The Night Battles – Wikipedia

Book ratings by Goodreads. In the first part of the 20th century, the English Egyptologist and anthropologist Margaret Murray — had published several papers and books propagating a variation of the Witch-cult hypothesisthrough which she claimed that the Early Modern witch trials had been an attempt by the Christian authorities to wipe out a pre-existing, pre-Christian religion focused around the veneration of a horned god whom the Christians had demonised as the Devil.

May 21, John rated it it was amazing. Ginzburg takes a small number of cases of similar but far from identical claims made by a few Italians and Germans as evidence for the continuation of a Central European pagan tradition. It’s an interesting way to organize a book, but can be a little dizzying. A deeper analysis might lead above all to an enrichment of the comparative structure in which the benandanti may be located.

Witch Hunting and Witch Trials C. Most peasants seem to have been somewhat hazy about the exact nature of much Christian doctrine.