Eating human flesh was not an unusual custom among our ancestors. This book offers many surprises as it accompanies the reader in a journey to medieval Europe and sheds light on a variety of situations and reasons for which people of the Middle Ages engaged in anthropophagy. This sometimes occurred in emergency circumstances, for example during famines and prolonged sieges. But it was also a way to insult enemies or, vice versa, express reverence and love. Human remains were also widely used to prepare precious, sought-after medicaments. It is hardly remarkable that such a reality encouraged, as the author explains, some horrific aspects of the collective imagination: anthropophagic sects, voracious monsters, feeding on hearts, roasting children, witches’ macabre feasts.
Angelica Montanari holds a doctorate earned at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris and currently works in the University of Bologna’s Department of Cultural Heritage (Ravenna campus).