“Medicinal” cannibalism

I don’t know why (possibly a ghoulish streak in my personality), but I found this story about Europe’s “medicinal” cannibalism fascinating.  In a nutshell, in the years between the Romans and the modern era, Europeans were “scientifically” convinced that the life force of someone whose life was terminated early (usually executed prisoners) could be passed on to the person lucky enough to dine on the dead person’s body and blood.  Creepy, but interesting.

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  • Charles Martel

    In the 21st century certain Americans were “scientifically” convinced that if they could feast endlessly on the wealth of rich people they would themselves become, if not rich, at least able to lead a comfortable life that included free healthcare, free education, abortion on demand, free childcare, six-week vacations and rent control.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    Europeans were mostly Pics and Keltics with a dashing of Spaniards (name of some tribe I forgot) and Germans (sweboi).

    They were real big on feudalism and mysticism. Like the Amerindians, if you can’t find a rational way to explain things, then you need the second best thing, which is ancestor worship.

  • Tonestaple

    So did you ever read “Deadly Feasts” by Richard Rhodes? The first chapter is all about similar notions, including a graphically depicted feast, in a remote tribe in New Guinea. Of course they ended up with “kuru” which we would call Creuzfeldt-Jakob Disease, aka Mad Cow Disease.

    If you’re going to indulge in sympathetic magic, cannibalism makes just as much sense as the rest of it. That is why I ate greens on New Years Day.

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    In a nutshell, in the years between the Romans and the modern era, Europeans were “scientifically” convinced that the life force of someone whose life was terminated early (usually executed prisoners) could be passed on to the person lucky enough to dine on the dead person’s body and blood. Creepy, but interesting.

    The Christians knew this. That’s why they turned it into something far less dangerous and far more productive. TUrning human fears and trials into strengths and courage is a good thing. Except to the Left.

  • suek

    >>That is why I ate greens on New Years Day.>>

    Well…ok.

    I understand the big southern staple for New Years Day is black eyed peas. Gotta eat them for good luck for the new year. I don’t understand that one either.

    We always have chili plus Honey baked Ham and roast beef for sandwiches. And a shrimp platter. Big mistake, starting that one! We always have too much. My husband is a worrier. I’m convinced it’s an inherited trait – we used to laugh about his mother…that if she didn’t have something to worry about, she worried that she must have forgotten something she was supposed to worry about. As hubby gets older, he gets more and more like her. Having company means he has to worry that I don’t have enough for everybody’s personal food idiosyncracy. My daughter (and his sister) is gluten intolerant – that’s real, and I accommodate the need. (By the way…that’s a clear indication that the gluten intolerance is genetic and probably a simple dominant) Everybody else better be able to find _something_ on the table, and if they can’t, they can go hungry. But if I have mustard, I better have hot and mild. If I have chile, I better find some hot peppers and chop some onions – oh and don’t forget the rice and the corn tortillas. If we have sandwiches, I better have some pickles – and 2-3 types of bread. And don’t forget the veggies in case someone is on a diet. 4 kinds of soft drinks…

    So I plan a basic spread and let him go at it. Whatever… the limit is the storage space in the ‘fridge when we’re done. The good news is that I don’t have to cook again for the next week!

  • http://ymarsakar.wordpress.com/ Ymarsakar

    I’m sure Book will find your story very familiar, suek ; )

  • Tonestaple

    Suek, you are supposed to eat the black-eyed peas and greens. Black-eye peas are the coin of the realm and the greens are folding money.