Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)

The assembly at which the Witches persecuted by the Inquisition were alleged to meet (> Witchcraft). The mythology of the sabbat was largely constructed by Pierre de Lancre (circa 1550-1630), who extracted extraordinarily elaborate descriptions of such assemblies from his Basque informants (most of whom were children) and summarized his "findings" in Tableau de l'Inconstance des Mauvais Anges et Demons (1612), whose oft-reprinted and semipornographic frontispiece provided a paradigmatic visual representation of the monstrous acts supposedly practised at the sabbat. The sabbat is sometimes confused with the Black Mass, although the two notions have distinct histories and different implications. Literary descriptions of sabbats can be found in Harrison Ainsworth's The Lancashire Witches (1849), The Fiery Angel (1908; trans 1930) by Valeri Briussov (1873-1924), The Last Devil (1927) by Signe Toksvig (1891-1983), Melusine, or Devil Take Her (1936) by Charlotte Haldane (1894-1969) and in Part I of The Witches (coll 1968; trans 1969) by Françoise Mallet-Joris. [BS]

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.