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Ritual Group Violence

Seminar Questions

  • What effect did group participation have on acts of violence in the early modern period?
  • What role did gender play in the rituals of collective violence?
  • How was ritual group violence represented in contemporary sources?

Required Reading

All students should analyse EITHER


All students should also read


Further Reading


Almansa y Mendoza, Andres, Tvvo royall entertainments, lately giuen to the most illustrious Prince Charles, Prince of Great Britaine, by the high and mighty Philip the fourth King of Spaine (London, 1623)

Bale, Anthony, Feeling Persecuted: Christians, Jews and Images of Violence in the Middle Ages (London, 2010)

Broomhall, Susan, 'Reasons and identities to remember: composing personal accounts of religious violence in sixteenth-century France', French History 27/1 (2013), 1-20.

Davis, Robert C., 'The Trouble with Bulls: The Cacce dei Tori in Early Modern Venice', Histoire Sociale - Social History 29 (1996), 275-290.

Davis, Robert C., The War of the Fists: Popular Culture and Public Violence in Late Renaissance Venice (Oxford, 1994)

Hanlon, Gregory, 'Glorifying War in a Peaceful City: Festive Representation of Combat in Baroque Siena', War In History 11 (2004), 249-277

Muir, Edward, Ritual in Early Modern Europe, 2nd ed. (Cambridge, 2005)

Perry, Mary Elizabeth, Crime and Society in Early Modern Seville (Hanover, NH, 1980)

Roberts, Benjamin B., Sex and Drugs Before Rock 'n' Roll: Youth Culture and Masculinity During Holland's Golden Age (Amsterdam, 2014)

Roberts, Penny, Graeme Murdock and Andrew Spicer, eds, Ritual and Violence: Natalie Zemon Davis and Early Modern France (Oxford, 2012)

Rosenthal, David, 'Big Piero, the Empire of the Meadow, and the Parish of Santa Lucia', Journal of Urban History 32 (2006), 677-692

Rosenthal, David, ‘The Genealogy of Empires: Ritual Politics and State Building in Early Modern Florence’, I Tatti Studies 8 (1999), 197-234.

Rosenthal, David, 'The Spaces of Plebeian Ritual and the Boundaries of Transgression', in Roger J. Crum and John T. Paoletti, eds, Renaissance Florence: A Social History (Cambridge, 2006), pp. 161-181.

Salgado, James, An impartial and brief description of the plaza, or sumptuous market-place of Madrid, and the bull-baiting there (London, 1683)

Semmens, Justine, 'Plague, Propaganda and Prophetic Violence in Sixteenth-Century Lyon' in Jonathan Davies (ed.), Aspects of Violence in Renaissance Europe (Farnham, 2013), pp. 83-104.

Tilly, Charles, The Politics of Collective Violence (Cambridge, 2003)

Trexler, Richard C., Public Life in Renaissance Florence (Ithaca, 1991)

Williams, James, 'Sport and the Elite in Early Modern England', Sport in History 28 (2008), 389-413

Wood, Andy, 'Collective Violence, Social Drama, and Rituals of Rebellion in Late Medieval and Early Modern England', in Stuart Carroll, ed., Cultures of Violence: Interpersonal Violence in Historical Perspective (Basingstoke, 2007), pp. 99-116.


Bakhtin, Mihhail, Rabelais and his World, trans. Hélène Iswolsky (Bloomington, IN, 1984)

Carroll, Linda L., 'Carnival Rites as Vehicles of Protest in Renaissance Venice', Sixteenth Century Journal 16/4 (1985), 487-502

Ciappelli, Giovanni, Carnevale e Quaresima: comportamenti sociali e cultura a Firenze nel Rinascimento (Rome, 1997)

Kinser, Samuel, 'Presentation and Representation: Carnival at Nuremberg, 1450-1550', Representations 13 (1986), 1-41

Kott, Jan, The Bottom Translation: Marlowe and Shakespeare and the Carnival Tradition, trans. Daniela Miedzyrzecka and Lillian Vallee (Evanston, Ill., 1987)

Le Roy Ladurie, Emmanuel, Carnival: A People's Uprising at Romans 1579-1580, trans. Mary Feeney (London, 1980)

Plaisance, Michel, Florence in the Time of the Medici: Public Celebrations, Politics, and Literature in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries, trans. Nicole Carew-Reid (Toronto, 2008)


Beik, William, 'The Violence of the French Crowd from Charivari to Revolution', Past and Present 197 (2007), 75-110.

Cashmere, John, 'The Social Uses of Violence in Ritual: Charivari or Religious Persecution?' European History Quarterly 21 (1991), 291-319.

Ingram, Martin, 'Charivari and Shame Punishments: Folk Justice and State Justice in Early Modern England', in Herman Roodenburg and Pieter Spierenburg, eds, Social Control in Europe: 1500-1800 (Ohio, 2004), pp. 288-308

Ingram, Martin, 'Ridings, Rough Music and the "Reform of Popular Culture" in Early Modern England', Past and Present 105 (1984), 79-113

Thompson, E. P., 'Rough Music Reconsidered', Folklore 103 (1992), 3-26


Beaver, Daniel C. 'The Great Deer Massacre: animals, honor, and communication in early modern England,' Journal of British Studies 38 (1999), 187-216

Carroll, Stuart, 'Political Justice and the Outbreak of the Wars of Religion', French History 33/2 (2019), 177–198

Crouzet, Denis, La nuit de la Saint-Barthélemy: un rêve perdu de la Renaissance (Paris, 1994)

Darnton, Robert, The Great Cat Massacre (Harmondsworth, 2001)

Diefendorf, Barbara, Beneath the Cross: Catholics and Huguenots in Sixteenth Century Paris (Oxford, 1991)

Goethals, Jessica, 'Spectators of the Sack: Rhetorical ‘Particularity’ and Graphic Violence in Luigi Guicciardini’s Historia del sacco di Roma', Italian Studies 68/2 (2013), 175-201.

Jenner, Mark S. R., 'The Great Dog Massacre' in William G. Naphy and Penny Roberts, eds, Fear in Early Modern Society (Manchester, 1997), pp. 44-61.

Kingdon, R.M., Myths about the Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacres, 1572-76 (Cambridge, Mass., 1988)

Levene, Mark, and Penny Roberts, eds, The Massacre in History (New York, 1999)

Roberts, Penny, 'Violence by Royal Command: A Judicial 'Moment' (1574-1575)', French History 33/2 (2019), 199–217

Rollo-Koster, Joëlle, 'The Politics of Transition: Pillaging and the 1527 Sack of Rome', in Jonathan Davies (ed.), Aspects of Violence in Renaissance Europe (Farnham, 2013), pp. 41-60.

Soman, Alfred, (ed.), The Massacre of Saint Bartholomew: Reappraisals and Documents (The Hague, 1974)

Witchcraft and the Witch-Hunts

Apps, Lara, and Andrew Gow, Male Witches in Early Modern Europe (Manchester, 2003)

Barry, Jonathan, and Owen Davies, eds, Palgrave Advances in Witchcraft Historiography (Basingstoke, 2007)

Bever, Edward Watts Morton, ‘Witchcraft, Female Aggression, and Power in the Early Modern Community’, Journal of Social History 35 (2002), 955-88.

Briggs, Robin, Witches and Neighbours : the Social and Cultural Context of European Witchcraft (London, 1996)

Clark, Stuart, ed., Languages of Witchcraft: Narrative, Ideology, and Meaning in Early Modern Culture (Basingstoke, 2001)

Clark, Stuart, Thinking with Demons: the Idea of Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe (Oxford, 1997)

Ferber, Sarah, Demonic Possession and Exorcism in Early Modern France (London, 2004)

Jackson, Louise, ‘Witches, Wives and Mothers: Witchcraft Persecution and Women’s Confessions in Seventeenth-Century England’, Women’s History Review 4 (1995), 63-83.

Kors, Alan Charles, and Edward Peters, eds, Witchcraft in Europe, 400-1700: A Documentary History (Philadelphia, 2001)

Levack, Brian P., ed., New Perspectives on Witchcraft, Magic, and Demonology, 6 vols (London, 2001)

Levack, Brian P., The Witch-Hunt in Early Modern Europe, 3rd ed. (London, 2006)

MacMillan, Ken, (ed.), Stories of True Crime in Tudor and Stuart England (London, 2015)

Oldridge, Darren, ed., The Witchcraft Reader, 2nd ed. (London, 2008)

Purkiss, Diane, The Witch in History: Early Modern and Twentieth-Century Representations (London, 1996)

Purkiss, Diane, ‘Women’s Stories of Witchcraft in Early Modern England: The House, the Body, the Child’, Gender and History 7 (1995), 408-32.

Roper, Lyndal, Witch Craze: Terror and Fantasy in Baroque Germany (New Haven, 2004)

Walinski-Kiehl, Robert, ‘Males, “Masculine Honor,” and Witch Hunting in Seventeenth-Century Germany’, Men and Masculinities 6 (2004), 254-71.

Whitney, Elspeth, ‘International Trends: The Witch “She”/The Historian “He”: Gender and the Historiography of the European Witch Hunts’, Journal of Women’s History 7 (1995), 77-101.

Willis, Deborah, Malevolent Nurture: Witch-Hunting and Maternal Power in Early Modern England (Ithaca, 1995)