Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, (1983). 0801826055. First English edition. Large 8vo. 9-7/16" x 6-1/2". Green paper covered boards textured to look like buckram. Spine stamped in silver. 209 pp. including index. Book is tight and clean and unmarked. But, the page edges of the text block show some splatter spots and the top edge looks a little foxed. / Dust jacket is fine. Item #887
The Night Battles is a remarkable tale of witchcraft, folk culture, and persecution in early modern Europe. First published in an Italian edition some fifteen years ago, the book has been widely (and highly) regarded as one of the most important works on the subject. . . . . .the benandanti (literally, "well-farers") were a small group of men and women who, because they happened to have been born in a caul, were regarded (and regarded themselves) as professional anti-witches. They confessed to the Inquisitors that, probably in dream states, they fought ritual battles against witches and wizards to protect their villages and harvests from har,. If they won these symbolic conflicts, the harvest would be good; if the witches won, there would be famine. The Inquisitors listened with genuine amazement to the benandanti's extraordinary stories, which seemed to fit more and more into their pre-existing images of witches' sabbaths and sorcery. The result of this cultural clash, which lasted more than a century, was the slow metamorphosis of the benandanti into their enemies -- the witches.