Ranging from half-page morality tales to hilarious bawdy stories several pages long, these centuries-old narratives offer revealing glimpses into many elements of medieval culture. Witchcraft, magic, Crusaders, astrology, alchemy, pacts with the Devil, chivalry, and trial by torture are here, along with church councils, mercantile life, such famous figures as Abelard, Dante, and Giotto, and much more.
Chosen from ten well-known medieval collections (Disciplina clericalis, Dolopathos, Il Novellino, Gesta Romanorum, Il Pecorone, Les cent nouvelles nouvelles, etc.), almost all the pieces included here are hard to find in any language, and only a handful have been translated into English previously. These are stories that influenced many later writers, including Boccaccio, Shakespeare, Cervantes, and Flaubert, among others. Newly translated from Latin, Italian, Spanish, French, and German originals, they are sure to delight today’s readers, and to provide fascinating insights for the scholar, student, or historian.