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1 June 2010 Choosing human flesh? A few medieval peculiarities and the debates of contemporary research
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Abstract

Vandenberg V. 2010. — Choosing human flesh? A few medieval peculiarities and the debates of contemporary research. Anthropozoologica 45(1): 149-155.

For more than thirty years now, the research field of cannibalism has known many interesting developments and even sometimes a few bitter arguments. Far from intending to settle the matter, I would just like here to bring up a few medieval elements that could shed a new light on the long tradition and fascination with cannibalism in the West. The complex issue of survival cannibalism illustrates the particular meaning of the theme in a Christian context, while the case of a cannibal king of England underlines the possible existence of “good” cannibals. Such is also the conclusion when examining the strange story of a Christian Saint drinking the blood of her martyr children. But the most “usual” cannibal cannot be avoided, he who dwells in the most remote regions of the known world. A glance through the late medieval description of the world written by John of Mandeville shows how much cannibalism was a common feature of some barely known or completely imaginary people. Thus are created the different categories of cannibalism still widely used today (culinary, funerary, warfare, exo- and endocannibalism), long before Columbus knew of the Cariba.

© Publications Scientifiques du Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Paris.
Vincent Vandenberg "Choosing human flesh? A few medieval peculiarities and the debates of contemporary research," Anthropozoologica 45(1), 149-155, (1 June 2010). https://doi.org/10.5252/az2010n1a10
Received: 11 February 2009; Accepted: 1 July 2009; Published: 1 June 2010
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