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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The book contains four chapters and an appendix with a few of the transcripts included for reference. When the inquisitors asks her if it is true that on a certain date she taught a certain local woman how to bttles the spirits of the dead, the accused tearfully replies that she did not teach the local woman anything, but that the woman came to her looking for help, because she saw ghosts but wanted to stop seeing them.

Ginzburg himself is unhappy with the uses to which his work has been put: It was supported by Eliade. It’s an interesting way to organize a book, but can be a little dizzying. In the first place, the Inquisition was, obviously, only concerned with what it held to be doctrinal deviance. In the case of the benandantiwhat the Inquisitors wanted to know, what indeed they seem to have set out to establish, was the association between these glnzburg anti-witches and the witches themselves.

People driven by faith or greed or a bit of both, sought witches and found them. They were often said to have gone to the witches sabbats and partaken in profane rites that blasphemed Christianity.

The Night Battles

John and Anne Tedeschi translators. Night Battles follows the fortunes of the benandanti through a series of Inquisition trials fromwhen they first appear in the records, untilwhen both they and the witches had ceased to be of much interest to the Church authorities. Doesn’t get much better than this. Even cooler, there is evidence elsewhere the Livonian werewolf is my favorite example of eerily similar rites occurring elsewhere ginznurg Europe at this time.

They keep the caul and have a priest say mass over it or a blessing.

He went on to note that The Night Battles should “fascinate and stimulate all historians of the popular mind. European Witch Trials Richard Kieckhefer. They insisted that they were good Christians. Night Battles is about a small society of people discovered and investigated by the religious authorities; a people who shared a bizarre set of spiritual beliefs.


The Night Battles : Carlo Ginzburg :

Ginzburg himself would note that this was not because of “neglect nor… faulty analysis”, but because in the recent oral history of nkght region, the two terms had become essentially synonymous.

Yet as Ginzburg admits there is little evidence that most benandanti did know each other; nor, except during the night battles themselves, do they seem to have thought of themselves as a ginznurg, much less as a sect with clearly prescribed rituals. Sometimes ginzburb information leaks through, particularly when the Inquisitor is not entirely sure what species of heterodoxy he is dealing with.

Of their mental world we know next to nothing, and most of what we do know comes from a single source: It had elements of witchcraft and the occult, along with broader social and political structures. The book opens with the introduction of the benandanti to the inquisitors, also suggesting links between them and older shamanic practices. In The Night Battles, Carlo Ginzburg looks at a small group of northeastern Italian people from the area of Friuli who ginzhurg to be ‘benandanti.

As time progressed, however, Ginzburg traces a subtle trend in inquisitorial questioning, suggesting that the Holy Office made increasing efforts to make these benandanti fit into the pattern that was then easily identifiable as witchcraft.

Neither was my point a popularist one. 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.

Learn more about Amazon Giveaway. Ginzburg would, of course, reply by assuming the existence of precisely the kind of self-identifying sect which he believes the benandanti to have been, and I do not.

Come sempre, quando un saggio storico riporta le voci dei ceti subalterni, come nei verbali di un processo dell’Inquisizione, mi piace moltissimo. The benandanti saw themselves as anti-witches, and soldiers of a sort, dedicated to identifying witches, curing their victims, gijzburg generally serving their communities against the forces of evil.

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Being a benandante

It was, once again, a statement about the nature of beliefs. On his last two points, I did not say that the beliefs of the benandanti with which he was concerned in his book provided the common man with explanations the Church could not. It has the perennial problem that microhistories tend to have – is any of this really applicable to anything, or is this just a minor little neat corner of history – but it does get one thinking.


Sometimes the Benadante ventured into Hell itself to rescue the seeds. Deciphering the Witches’ Sabbath. Since the appearance of his best-selling The Cheese and the Wormswhose material, the trial of a 17th-century Friulian miller with ccarlo idiosyncratic cosmological beliefs, comes from the same archive as the benandanti trials, Ginzburg has acquired an international reputation as one of the most interesting living historians of popular culture.

Often times the caul is worn on bight person in order for them to participate in the battle. Prior to Ginzburg’s work, no scholars had investigated the benandanti, and those studies which gizburg been made of Friulian folklore — by the likes of G. Hutton pointed out that Ginzburg’s argument that “ancient dream-worlds, or operations on non-material planes of consciousness, helped to create a new set of fantasies at the end of the Middle Ages” ginzbkrg strongly from Murray’s argument that an organised religion of witches had survived from the pre-Christian hinzburg and that descriptions of witches’ sabbaths were accounts of real events.

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. Like Margaret Murray had [postulated niyht therer was an ancient pagan religion of Europe that was goddess and agricultural based that prdated Christianity.

Some historians have described Ginzburg’s ideas as being connected to those ginzubrg Murray. Well then, let us see. We have learned to dismiss the Inquisition, to view its cases, its hundreds of years of history as a self-fulfilling prophesy gone terribly wrong. In another case, Ginzburg claims that the trances during which benandanti left their bodies were ointment induced or caused by illness Ginzburg then looks at the Canon Episcopia 9th-century document that denounced those women who believed that they went on nocturnal processions with the goddess Diana; the Canon’ s author had claimed that they were deceived by the Devil, but Ginzburg argues that it reflects a genuine folk belief of the period.

All benandanti insisted their bodies were left behind on their journeys.