In its interpretation of Latin and Greek culture, Christianity contends that Satan is behind all classical deities, demi-gods, and spiritual creatures, including the gods of the household, the lares and penates. But Armando Maggi, an expert in Renaissance demonology, argues throughout In the Company of Demons that the great thinkers of the Italian Renaissance had a more nuanced and perhaps less sinister interpretation of these creatures or spiritual bodies.
Through close readings of Giovan Francesco Pico della Mirandola, Strozzi Cigogna, Pompeo della Barba, Ludovico Sinistrari, and others, Maggi reveals that these demons speak through their sudden and striking appearances—their very bodies seen as metaphors to be interpreted. But the core trait of these spirits is compassion, and sometimes their odd, eerie arrivals are seen as harbingers or warnings to protect us. It comes as no surprise then that when spiritual beings distort the natural world to communicate, it is vital that we begin to listen.
“Maggi gives us an original and penetrating interpretation of Renaissance demonology, with a brilliant analysis and with a challenge to the reader for deeper thoughts on a theme that attracts scholars, but has still some new views.”—Michaela Valente, Renaissance Quarterly