‘A Company That Go the Course’
Many features of the ancient striges were carried into the late Middle Ages. There is a wide array of sources from those centuries that present motifs related to magic and witchcraft. As in the previous chapter, this one mainly tracks words related to the classical stryx: estries and sorcières populate French medieval literature, which most resisted the diffusion of classical authors like Ovid and Apuleius. Nonetheless, classical culture had a formative impact on Italian humanistic culture, with first-hand knowledge of classical sources becoming widespread among the elites at the very beginning of the fourteenth century: Dominican preachers such as Domenico Cavalca and Jacopo Passavanti both wrote about the ‘streghe’. In their texts, it is possible to see how cultivated ideas became entangled with popular beliefs about witchcraft. Secular culture, too, embraced those motifs: the works of authors as different as Albertino Mussato and Giovanni Boccaccio are equally rich with classical quotations and provide hints of popular beliefs having been folded into their narratives.