Anti-Witches I: The Benandanti and the Inquisition in Renaissance Italy

Happy Halloween! This new series is related to witches but not witches – it’s the Anti-Witches! What was up with the Benandanti of Renaissance Italy? Why did they use fennel stalks to fight witches armed with sorghum sticks? And what did the Inquisition have to do with it? All this and more today on Dead Ideas!

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Co-hosts: Nick (lead host) with Anna and B. T. Newberg (co-hosts)

Time/place: The Friuli, Italy, 1575 CE

Dead idea: The Benandanti

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Main Sources

Ginzburg, C. (1983). The Night Battles: Witchcraft and Agrarian Cults in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. Trans. Tadeschi, J. and Tadeschi, A. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Zika, C. (2015). “Witches as ‘Others’: Mobilizing Emotion in 16th and 17th Century Images.” Lecture distributed via Emotions Make History (podcast), Episode 15, October 22nd.


Maps, pics, references, and more at Music and graphic design by Rachel Westhoff.


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