Skip to main content
Back to Results
Cover image of The Night Battles
Cover image of The Night Battles
Share this Title:

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. Tedeschi

Publication Date
Binding Type
Request Exam CopyRequest Review Copy

A remarkable tale of witchcraft, folk culture, and persuasion in early modern Europe.

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…

A remarkable tale of witchcraft, folk culture, and persuasion in early modern Europe.

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.

Jump to
Quick Add
The Night Battles

Carlo Ginzburg
with a new preface
translated by John and Anne C. Tedeschi

Publication Date
Binding Type
Request Exam CopyRequest Review Copy
Related

Related Books

Cover image of Inquisitorial Inquiries
Inquisitorial Inquiries

edited and translated by Richard L. Kagan and Abigail Dyer

second edition
$30.00
Quick Add
Inquisitorial Inquiries

edited and translated by Richard L. Kagan and Abigail Dyer

second edition
Publication Date
Binding Type
Cover image of The Cheese and the Worms
The Cheese and the Worms

Carlo Ginzburg
with a new preface
translated by John and Anne C. Tedeschi

$28.00
Quick Add
The Cheese and the Worms

Carlo Ginzburg
with a new preface
translated by John and Anne C. Tedeschi

Publication Date
Binding Type
Preorder
Cover image of Replayed
Replayed

Henry Lowood
edited by Raiford Guins
with a foreword by Matthew G. Kirschenbaum and an interview by T. L. Taylor

$50.00
Quick Add
Replayed

Henry Lowood
edited by Raiford Guins
with a foreword by Matthew G. Kirschenbaum and an interview by T. L. Taylor

Publication Date: June 6, 2023
Binding Type
Preorder
Cover image of Making Machines of Animals
Making Machines of Animals

Neal A. Knapp

$60.00
Quick Add
Making Machines of Animals

Neal A. Knapp

Publication Date: May 9, 2023
Binding Type
Preorder
Cover image of A Centaur in London
A Centaur in London

Fabian Kraemer

$60.00
Quick Add
A Centaur in London

Fabian Kraemer

Publication Date: April 25, 2023
Binding Type
Reviews

Reviews

A work of genuine intellectual distinction. It is an unusually original contribution to the study of witchcraft in early modern Europe, but its importance is far from being exhausted by that description.

A tour-de-force of reconstruction, building out of scattered and fragmentary sources a whole world for the reader to inhabit.

About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6.125
x
9.25
Pages
240
ISBN
9781421409924
Illustration Description
4 b&w illus., 4 halftones, 3 line drawings
Table of Contents

Preface to the 2013 Edition
Foreword by Eric J. Hobsbawm
Translators' Note
Preface to the English Edition
Preface to the Italian Edition
I. The Night Battles
II. The Processions of the Dead
III. The

Preface to the 2013 Edition
Foreword by Eric J. Hobsbawm
Translators' Note
Preface to the English Edition
Preface to the Italian Edition
I. The Night Battles
II. The Processions of the Dead
III. The Benandanti between Inquisitors and Witches
IV. The Benandanti at the Sabbat
Appendix
Notes
Index of Names

Author Bios
Featured Contributor

Carlo Ginzburg

Carlo Ginzburg has taught at the University of Bologna, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa. The recipent of the 2010 International Balzan Prize, he is author of The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller and Clues, Myths, and the Historical Method, also published by Johns Hopkins.
Featured Contributor

Carlo Ginzburg

Carlo Ginzburg has taught at the University of Bologna, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa. The recipent of the 2010 International Balzan Prize, he is author of The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller and Clues, Myths, and the Historical Method, also published by Johns Hopkins.