Old Thiess, a Livonian Werewolf

Old Thiess, a Livonian Werewolf

A Classic Case in Comparative Perspective

Carlo Ginzburg, Bruce Lincoln

$24.99

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Description

In 1691, a Livonian peasant known as Old Thiess boldly announced before a district court that he was a werewolf. Yet far from being a diabolical monster, he insisted, he was one of the “hounds of God,” fierce guardians who battled sorcerers, witches, and even Satan to protect the fields, flocks, and humanity—a baffling claim that attracted the notice of the judges then and still commands attention from historians today.

In this book, eminent scholars Carlo Ginzburg and Bruce Lincoln offer a uniquely comparative look at the trial and startling testimony of Old Thiess. They present the first English translation of the trial transcript, in which the man’s own voice can be heard, before turning to subsequent analyses of the event, which range from efforts to connect Old Thiess to shamanistic practices to the argument that he was reacting against cruel stereotypes of the “Livonian werewolf” a Germanic elite used to justify their rule over the Baltic peasantry. As Ginzburg and Lincoln debate their own and others’ perspectives, they also reflect on broader issues of historical theory, method, and politics. Part source text of the trial, part discussion of historians’ thoughts on the case, and part dialogue over the merits and perils of their different methodological approaches, Old Thiess, a Livonian Werewolf opens up fresh insight into a remarkable historical occurrence and, through it, the very discipline of history itself.


Author

Carlo Ginzburg:
Carlo Ginzburg is professor emeritus of history at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa. His many books include Fear, Reverence, Terror and Ecstasies: Deciphering the Witches’ Sabbath, the latter published by the University of Chicago Press. Bruce Lincoln is the Caroline E. Haskell Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago. His recent books include Apples and Oranges: Explorations In, On, and With Comparison and Between History and Myth: Stories of Harald Fairhair and the Founding of the State, both published by the University of Chicago Press.
 
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Carlo Ginzburg is professor emeritus of history at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa. His many books include Fear, Reverence, Terror and Ecstasies: Deciphering the Witches’ Sabbath, the latter published by the University of Chicago Press. Bruce Lincoln is the Caroline E. Haskell Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago. His recent books include Apples and Oranges: Explorations In, On, and With Comparison and Between History and Myth: Stories of Harald Fairhair and the Founding of the State, both published by the University of Chicago Press.
 

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