Cannibalism Essay

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Pages: 7

Cannibalism is the consumption of human flesh by other human beings. The concept of people eating other people is highly debatable, but it has been proven to occur throughout history. The word “cannibalism” comes from the Carib Indians of the West Indies, which were called “Caribales" or “Canibales” (Spier 543). The Spanish word “canibales” translates to thirsty and cruel in English. Another known term for cannibalism is the Latin form “anthropophagy” (Bell). Anthropophagy derives from the Greek words “anthropos” meaning man and “phagein” meaning eat. The term anthropophagy was used in ancient times, which suggests that people from ancient times consumed other human beings (Spier 543).
The first documented encounter of cannibalism
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It’s also used in some cases to get rid of captured enemies or to send a message to an opposing group. The other form is endocannibalism which is the consumption of a deceased member within one’s group or tribe. It usually occurs during burial ceremonies and is seen as “compassionate cannibalism.” One of the beliefs is that by consuming the deceased group member, the spirit and the desirable traits of the person would be absorbed by the entire tribe. This was considered to be a very respectful way of worshipping the dead. Another belief was sacrificing, which was used by the ancient Aztecs. The Aztecs are believed to have practiced exo-, endo-, and survival cannibalism. They used sacrificing to please their gods, and cannibalism was used as a holy act. It allowed people to receive divine powers through communication with their gods (Bell).
Along with survival and spiritual cannibalism, there are also a few more forms of cannibalism. One form is gastronomic cannibalism which is when consumption is purposely done. The person uses human flesh as a routine food source; although, this method is not well documented. Another form is medicinal cannibalism which is when parts of the human body are consumed for medicinal purposes. Parts of the body consumed would be human tissues, blood, powdered bone, or dried tissues. The last form is sadistic cannibalism which is when the person has a psychiatric disorder which leads to