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Ecstasies: Deciphering the Witches' Sabbath Paperback – 26 Nov 1992


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Paperback, 26 Nov 1992
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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd; New edition edition (26 Nov. 1992)
  • ISBN-10: 0140173137
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140173130
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,408,112 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Carlo Ginzburg is the Franklin D. Murphy Professor of Italian Renaissance Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of The Cheese and the Worms, The Night Battles, and Myths, Emblems, and Clues. Raymond Rosenthal (1922-2002) received the Present Tense Award for his translation of Primo Levi's The Periodic Table and was twice nominated for the National Book Award for his translations.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Tania Poole on 17 Dec. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been hearing lots about this book from friends and academics and am glad to now own it! Its got all the interesting kinds of information I have been wanting to read.
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By Debora on 22 Jan. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Super essential and good
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4 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A. Stone on 4 Jan. 2009
Format: Paperback
This latest edition is a fascinating and involving modern insight into an area of the witch-hunt I simply didn't know even existed.

Would keenly recommend to any academic, historian or simply someone interested in reading something a little bit different about our understanding of witchcraft.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 10 reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Shamanism In Europe 15 Oct. 2002
By Zekeriyah - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Yes, Ginzburg actually contends that the so-called "witches" of old Europe were in fact remanents of the old Shamanic cultures of Europe, and he does make an excellent arguement for it. I will admit, I do agree with him on some points. Shamanism is a universal phenomena, and yet (with the notable exception of the Lapps in Scandinavia and a few scattered myths and legends like Orpheus and Odin) Shamanism seems to have all but been absent in Europe, and this has always puzzled me. Certainly, had Shamanism been widespread in Europe, it probably would have survived well into the Christian era, just as it has in other parts of the world. As such, Ginzburg may be right on the money about the witch hunts and such. Regardless of your thoughts on the subject, this remains an excellent book. And if you like it, he has another book, entitled "Night Battles" about a community of Shaman in northern Italy.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Missing Link 5 Jan. 2007
By Aziliz - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It is easy to be acquainted with the mainstream Greek, Roman, Norse and Egyptian mythologies that are so easily acquired from any mythology shelf in library or bookstore but the mainstream doesn't talk about the deities and their mythologies discussed in Carlo Ginzburg's books although his research shows they were obviously widely worshipped just didn't make it into the 'official' pantheons of Rome.

It is also easy to pick up a book on modern paganism/shamanism or on pagan/shamanic religions of exotic cultures--far harder to find anything on European shamanic roots.

Research in many books also too often divorce the mythology from religion; rituals, customs and practices from their adherents and their geographical locations; and don't quote their original sources. Carlo Ginzburg puts this all together and the depth and breadth of the research in this book is fabulous.

The book is a feast for anyone interested in mythology, folklore, old religions, the history of witchcraft, werewolves, history of shamanism or medieval history.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
A Post-modern analysis of the Witchcraze of the Middle Ages 11 Aug. 2001
By Tribe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Ginzburg is one of the first historians who has come forward with a convincing theory that there may well have been pagan sects during the Middle Ages that were the focus of persecutions and regionalized hunts and crazes. This is a fascinating analysis of the legendary Witchs' Sabbath and its mythical foundations, as well as a convincing theory of what led localities to persecute those suspected of being witches.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Complementary readings to Ginzburg's interesting book 7 Jun. 2009
By César González Rouco - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
There are already several fine reviews, so I will only suggest reading the following works (all of them sound anthropology, good to understand ourselves) in addition to Ginzburg's book: a) "Understanding Early Civilizations" by Bruce Trigger (a great comparative review of early civilizations); b) "Sick Societies: Challenging the Myth of Primitive Harmony" by Robert B. Edgerton (on primitive societies and their discontents); c) "Vampires, Burial, and Death: Folklore and Reality" by Paul Barber (persuasive explanation of why people believe in vampires); and d) "When They Severed Earth from Sky: How the Human Mind Shapes Myth" by Paul and Elizabeth Barber (myths lest we forget natural disasters).
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Another good job, Ginzburg 4 May 2014
By VanEzzania - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book can best be considered a sequel of sorts to Ginzburg's previous works "The Night Battles". It looks more in-depth at folklore, religion, and possible shamanic beliefs of the various cults that the Inquisition encountered in the early modern period. Ginzburg did good research and was able to find links to the various beliefs and possible, if not conclusive, connections. Some of these connections did seem plausible, I am not entirely sure about some of them. Nevertheless, Ginzburg gives extensive detail for his findings and they are trustworthy.
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