Worms and Cheese

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The Worms and the Church

For decades historians have created pictures for us today of how ancient and past civilizations lived. They have used ancient artifacts, science for dating, and more importantly the record keeping of those who lived during those times. Such as in 1976, Carlo Ginzburg has done just that in The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth Century Miller, he has shed light on the peasant culture of the sixteenth century and is successful at analyzing the power relationship between the dominant classes and the subordinate classes. Ginzburg utilizes all of the written documents and texts possessed by Menocchio, his thoughts and recollections of the events, and court inquisitions at the time of the trial with the help of other relevant texts to successfully illustrate a general picture about sixteenth century life and the differences between the high and low culture; and it is with those tools that he shows that the church felt that it had the right, even the duty, to discriminate against those who differed in the views of the church and by doing that using it as a tool to maintain power, however eventually failing to maintain its traditional power in society as the corruption of the church became more obvious and the popular culture of literature became more widespread.

During the sixteenth century, the church was in power. Not only does it becomes evident that the church was corrupt, but the peasants of society during this time were becoming aware of the situation. Ginzburg quotes Menocchio where he paints a clear picture of what power the church had and how they maintained that power. According to Menocchio, “they make a business of burying the dead As though they were a sack of wool, or peppercorns: In these matters they are very shrewd in not wanting to receive the deceased if first the money is not delivered into their hands; then they go to eat and drink it up laughing about those who made such payments and enjoying good beds...
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