Historum - History Forums  

Go Back   Historum - History Forums > World History Forum > European History
Register Forums Blogs Social Groups Mark Forums Read

European History European History Forum - Western and Eastern Europe including the British Isles, Scandinavia, Russia


Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old May 6th, 2014, 11:20 AM   #1

Tercios Espanoles's Avatar
Gonfaloniere
 
Joined: Mar 2014
From: Beneath a cold sun, a grey sun, a Heretic sun...
Posts: 6,352
Blog Entries: 1
Ritual Cannibalism in Renaissance Europe


I came across the following in my reading on Renaissance Italy. The incident took place in Perugia in 1500 at the infamous "Nozze Rosse" (Red Wedding) between Astorre Baglioni and Lavinia Colonna. Excerpted from Early Modern Italy - A Social History by Christopher Black:

Quote:
Poorer or bastard members of the Baglioni (led by Grifonetto and Filippo di Braccio, bastard) turned on the leading clique, killing some of them including Guido and Astorre, whose heart was cut out and symbolically bitten by Filippo. In all, about 200 died...
This surprised me. I am aware of the practice in native North American cultures, but not in Europe. This was in 1500 - too soon I think for New World customs, especially such as this, to have infiltrated to the Old World. So what is the meaning of it? Was this in any way common? Are there other examples of this sort of behaviour from this period or earlier?
Tercios Espanoles is offline  
Remove Ads
Old May 6th, 2014, 11:48 AM   #2
KGB
Historian
 
Joined: Apr 2011
Posts: 3,292

This is probably a psychopathic and criminal case and not a practice in Europe - nor the Renaissance, neither other period.
KGB is offline  
Old May 6th, 2014, 12:00 PM   #3

Star's Avatar
Historian
 
Joined: Sep 2010
From: USA
Posts: 3,640

The Baglioni family were probably the most depraved of the noble families of Italy. I wouldn't use them to describe typical behavior of the elite, but every noble house has its very bad seeds. Some of these Renaissance individuals exhibited religious zeal, good works, and philanthropy. So, we see a range of activity from the very base to the very enlightened.

Seven years later, Grifonetto Baglioni was killed by another Baglioni in the streets of Perugia. His likeness was supposedly captured in this famous painting:

Click the image to open in full size.

The Entombment
1507
Oil on wood, 184 x 176 cm
Galleria Borghese, Rome

Quote:
Originally Posted by Web Gallery of Art caption
The panel was painted in 1507 in Perugia for Atalanta Baglioni as a votive offering in memory of her son, Grifonetto, killed in a piazza in Perugia in the course of a family feud.

Last edited by Star; May 6th, 2014 at 12:09 PM.
Star is offline  
Old May 6th, 2014, 12:00 PM   #4
Scholar
 
Joined: Sep 2013
From: Holland
Posts: 580

Surprising. Very much so.

This is something I'd expect in a South American tribe.

But interesting none the less.

Did the source specify anything as to WHY exactly they did this?
Obviously this can't have come from the Catholic faith (Unless it was some sort of devil worship).

Since so many people participated, I find it hard to believe this is just a "psychopathic" incident.
SimpleThunder is offline  
Old May 6th, 2014, 12:05 PM   #5

Tercios Espanoles's Avatar
Gonfaloniere
 
Joined: Mar 2014
From: Beneath a cold sun, a grey sun, a Heretic sun...
Posts: 6,352
Blog Entries: 1

Quote:
Originally Posted by SimpleThunder View Post
Did the source specify anything as to WHY exactly they did this?
Apart from the qualification of 'symbolically', no. The narrative carries on with other family feuds.

Apparently, this was no isolated incident. Excerpted from History Today, linked below:

Quote:
Elsewhere such savagery might be inspired by social antagonisms. Historian Piero Camporesi (1988) tells of violent aristocratic feuds in early-modern Italy. In one case, a victim’s disembowelled heart was bitten. In a second, the narrator tells us, ‘lucky was the man who might grind the entrails between his teeth’. In a third instance, a man was tortured and killed before being disembowelled. After gnawing his intestines, his attackers proceeded to ‘cut him up into small pieces to remove his fat because he was young, being probably twenty-eight years of age, tall and slim in build’. In Camporesi’s view, the emphasis on the victim’s youth and stature betrays an intention to sell this fat to ‘pharmacologist-doctors’ who would find it ‘beneficial to all nervous ailments’. Given the trade in cannibalistic medicine, the inference looks all too plausible.
In these incidents the aggressors do not actually eat, but enact their dominance by cannibalistic gestures. Such gestures violently break taboos, yet avoid the possibility of being contaminated by the substance of their victims. In a broadly similar way, selling Orsi’s fat is a form of derisive exploitation, and one that procures someone else to do the actual consumption.
http://www.historytoday.com/richard-...ing-your-enemy

And excerpted from The Incorruptible Flesh by Piero Camporesi:

Quote:
...they pierced his body with so many holes like a sieve, drew and quartered him, opened him and removed the fat and the intestine and strew them about the square; they then removed the entrails, one of those cur-like soldiers took the heart cut it off and threw the entrails in the middle of the square; then he put that bloody heart into his mouth and bit it as a cur would.

Last edited by Tercios Espanoles; May 6th, 2014 at 12:58 PM.
Tercios Espanoles is offline  
Old May 6th, 2014, 02:32 PM   #6
Historian
 
Joined: Nov 2010
From: Western Eurasia
Posts: 3,190

the execution of Dózsa György, the leader of the 1514 Hungarian peasant revolt, comes to my mind as a ritual cannibalism case

He was crowned with a heated iron crown (according to a later variant of the account he also had to sit on a heated iron throne) naked while his fellow rebels were ordered to bite him and swallow his flesh and other rebels had to dance and play music around him. Then when he died from the injuries he was of course also quartered. The quartering of the body after the execution was "normal" for a high profile rebel but the cannibalistic execution was an exceptional thing, i don't know any other similar event in Hungarian history.

some representations of it

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

Click the image to open in full size.

cannibalism was of course a taboo in christian Europe but there could be maybe also a pervert subconscious attraction to it in some circles. the regular symbolic consumption of the flesh of Christ, the recurring blood libels against the Jews... cannibalism could be prohibited and despised but the idea was around... I don't know if the "moral crisis" of the western christian church could also play a part in breaking this taboo at that time?
Tulun is offline  
Old May 6th, 2014, 02:56 PM   #7
Suspended indefinitely
 
Joined: Mar 2014
From: Canterbury
Posts: 8,881
Blog Entries: 2

Wasn't it believed someone who'd ingested human flesh couldn't be redeemed in the eyes of God?

Quote:
Since so many people participated, I find it hard to believe this is just a "psychopathic" incident
So many people participated in the massacre, not the heart-eating. That was just one guy. The massacre itself was fairly exceptional by the standards of any era, hence its infamy.

Last edited by Domhnall Balloch; May 6th, 2014 at 02:59 PM.
Domhnall Balloch is offline  
Old May 6th, 2014, 03:34 PM   #8

Tercios Espanoles's Avatar
Gonfaloniere
 
Joined: Mar 2014
From: Beneath a cold sun, a grey sun, a Heretic sun...
Posts: 6,352
Blog Entries: 1

Following this up, I found many references to the unrelated but even more disturbing practice of using human parts, especially fat, in medicines. It seems to have been quite common. I don't even want to know where they were getting their raw materials.
Tercios Espanoles is offline  
Old May 6th, 2014, 04:09 PM   #9

Tercios Espanoles's Avatar
Gonfaloniere
 
Joined: Mar 2014
From: Beneath a cold sun, a grey sun, a Heretic sun...
Posts: 6,352
Blog Entries: 1

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulun View Post
the execution of Dózsa György, the leader of the 1514 Hungarian peasant revolt, comes to my mind as a ritual cannibalism case...
I passed that as well, while I was searching, and meant to go back to it. Thanks for posting it. Very bizarre.
Tercios Espanoles is offline  
Old May 6th, 2014, 06:16 PM   #10

OldeEnglish40's Avatar
Archivist
 
Joined: May 2014
From: U.S.A.
Posts: 247

Is there any truth to any of the Bathory stuff?
OldeEnglish40 is offline  
Reply

  Historum > World History Forum > European History

Tags
cannibalism, europe, renaissance, ritual



Search tags for this page
Thread Tools
Display Modes


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Armies during Renaissance Europe. Azarius Balios Medieval and Byzantine History 44 October 7th, 2013 06:40 AM
Europa regina: Renaissance Concept of a Unified Europe? civfanatic European History 24 April 26th, 2013 10:37 AM
Your thoughts of the "Renaissance" in Europe. Azarius Balios Medieval and Byzantine History 0 March 11th, 2013 07:47 AM
Imperial Ritual.. jungleplanewreck Asian History 0 January 15th, 2012 10:27 AM
Ritual deaths at UR Pedro Ancient History 2 November 2nd, 2009 09:34 PM

Copyright © 2006-2013 Historum. All rights reserved.