Classical Culture and Witchcraft in Medieval and Renaissance Italy

  • Marina Montesano

Part of the Palgrave Historical Studies in Witchcraft and Magic book series (PHSWM)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Marina Montesano
    Pages 1-10
  3. Marina Montesano
    Pages 11-35
  4. Marina Montesano
    Pages 37-66
  5. Marina Montesano
    Pages 99-131
  6. Marina Montesano
    Pages 133-171
  7. Marina Montesano
    Pages 173-211
  8. Marina Montesano
    Pages 213-246
  9. Back Matter
    Pages 247-278

About this book


This book explores the relationships between ancient witchcraft and its modern incarnation, and by doing so fills an important gap in the historiography. It is often noted that stories of witchcraft circulated in Greek and Latin classical texts, and that treatises dealing with witch-beliefs referenced them. Still, the role of humanistic culture and classical revival in the developing of the witch-hunts has not yet been fully researched. Marina Montesano examines Greek and Latin literature, revealing how particular features of ancient striges were carried into the Late Middle Ages, through the Renaissance and into the fifteenth century, when early Italian trials recall the myth of the strix common in ancient Latin sources and in popular memory. The final chapter also serves as a conclusion, to show how in Renaissance Italy and beyond, classical accounts of witchcraft ceased to be just stories, as they had formerly been, and were instead used to attest to the reality of witches’ powers.


myths Ancient Greece folklore Ancient Rome religion

Authors and affiliations

  • Marina Montesano
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MessinaMessinaItaly

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2018
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-92077-1
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-92078-8
  • Buy this book on publisher's site