The Night Battles

English language

Published March 1, 1992


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The Night Battles: Witchcraft and Agrarian Cults in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries is a historical study of the benandanti folk custom of 16th and 17th century Friuli, Northeastern Italy. It was written by the Italian historian Carlo Ginzburg, then of the University of Bologna, and first published by the company Giulio Einaudi in 1966 under the Italian title of I Benandanti: Stregoneria e culti agrari tra Cinquecento e Seicento. It was later translated into English by John and Anne Tedeschi and published by Routledge and Kegan Paul in 1983 with a new foreword written by the historian Eric Hobsbawm. In The Night Battles, Ginzburg examines the trial accounts of those benandante who were interrogated and tried by the Roman Inquisition, using such accounts to elicit evidence for the beliefs and practices of the benandanti. These revolved around their nocturnal visionary journeys, during which they believed that their spirits traveled …

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