Witchcraft Mythologies and Persecutions

(Demons, Spirits, Witches, Volume III)
$100.00 / €90.00 / £79.00
Publication date: 
360 pages

This third, concluding volume of the series publishes 14 studies and the transcription of a round-table discussion on Carlo Ginzburg’s Ecstasies. The themes of the previous two volumes, Communicating with the Spiritsand Christian Demonology and Popular Mythologyare further expanded here both as regards their interdisciplinary approach and the wide range of regional comparisons. While the emphasis of the second volume was on current popular belief and folklore as seen in the context of the historical sources on demonology, this volume approaches its subject from the point of view of historical anthropology. The greatest recent advances of witchcraft research occurred recently in two fields: (1) deciphering the variety of myths and the complexity of historical processes which lead to the formation of the witches’ Sabbath, (2) the micro-historical analysis of the social, religious, legal and cultural milieu where witchcraft accusations and persecutions developed. These two themes are completed by some further insights into the folklore of the concerned regions which still carries the traces of the traumatic historical memories of witchcraft persecutions.

Introduction by Gábor Klaniczay and Éva Pócs


Martine Ostorero, The Concept of the Witches’ Sabbath in the Alpine Region (1430-1440) Text and Context
Round-table discussion on Ecstasies by Carlo Ginzburg (with the participation of Wolfgang Behringer, Carlo Ginzburg ,Gustav Henningsen, Gábor Klaniczay, Giovanni Pizza and Éva Pócs)
Gábor Klaniczay, Learned Systems and Popular Narratives of Vision and Bewitchment
Adelina Angusheva, Late Medieval Witch Mythologies in the Balkans
Per Sörlin, Child-Witches and the Construction of the Witches´Sabbath: The Swedish Blåkulla Story

Legal mechanisms, social contexts

Péter Tóth G., River Ordeal–Trial by Water–Swimming of Witches: Procedures of Ordeal in Witchcraft Trials
Ildikó Kristóf, How to Make a (Legal) Pact with the Devil? Legal Customs and Literacy in Witch Confessions in Early Modern Hungary
Anna Brzezińska, Healing at the Jagiellonian Court
Polina Melik Simonian, Following the Traces of Xenophobia in Muscovite Witchcraft Investigation Records
Judit Kis-Halas, Trial of an Honest Citizen, Nagybánya 1704-5: The social and cultural context of witchcraft accusations - a tentative microanalysis
Daniel Ryan, Boundaries and Transgressions: Witchcraft and Community Conflict in Estonia During the Late Nineteenth Century

Witchcraft and folklore

Francisco Vaz da Silva, Extraordinary Children, Werewolves and Witches in Portuguese Folk-Tradition
Ülo Valk, Reflections of Folk Belief and Legends at the Witch Trials of Estonia
Iveta Todorova-Pirgova, Witches and Priests in the Bulgarian Village: Past and Present
Mirjam Mencej, Witchcraft in Eastern Slovenia

"an accessible and stimulating collection of essays, and a fitting conclusion to a fine trilogy. These essays would serve as an excellent introduction to current trends in European social and interdisciplinary history, and to a group of authors whose works are far too seldom translated into English."