Cannibals in the Renaissance

Thomas Elyot, The Dictionary (London: Thomae Bertheleti, 1538):

 Anthropophagi, people in Asia, which eate men.

Sebastian Munster, “Of the people called Canibales or Anthropophagi, which are accustomed to eate mans fleshe” (1544), in The Newe India, trans. Richard Eden (London: S. Mierdman for Edward Sutton, 1553):

 Wheras the people of the forenamed Ilandes, fled at the sight of our menne, the cause thereof was, that they suspected them to haue been Canibals, that cruel & fearse people which eate mans fleshe, which nacion our men had ouerpassed, leaninge them on the southsyde. But after they had knowledge of the contrary, they made greuous complaynt to our men, of the beastly and fearse maners of these Canibales, which were no lesse cruel agaynst them, them the Tyger or the Lyon agaynste tame beastes. Declaring furthermore, yt when soeuer they take any of them vnder the age of .xiiij. yeares, they vse to gelde them, & francke them vntyll they be very fat, as we are wont to doe with capons or hennes: and as for suche as drawe towarde .xx. yeare olde, to kyll them forthwith and pull out theyr guttes, and eate the same freshe and newe, wyth other extreme partes of the bodye, poudering the residue with salte, or keping it in a certayne pickle as we do iegottes or sansages.

Peter Martyr, The Newe Worlde (1511), trans. Richard Eden (London: Guilhelmi Powell for Edwarde Sutton, 1555):

This Ilande he called Hispaniola….They sawe certayne men of the Ilande….The wylde and myscheuous people called Canibales, or Caribes, whiche were accustomed to eate mannes flesshe (and called of the olde writers, Anthropophagi) molest them excedyngly, inuadynge theyr countrey, takynge them captiue, kyllyng and eatyng them. (2-3)

The inhabitantes of these Ilandes haue byn euer soo vsed to liue at liberte, in playe and pastyme, that they can hardely away with the yoke of seruitude which they attempte to shake of by all meanes they maye. Surely if they had receaued owre relgion, I wolde thinke their life moste happye of all men, if they might therwith enioye their aunciente libertie. A fewe thinges contente them, hauinge no delite in suche superfluites, for the which in other places men take infinite paynes and commit manie vnlawfull actes, and yet are neuer satisfied, wheras many haue to muche, and none inowgh. But emonge these simple sowles, a fewe clothes serue the naked: weightes and measures are not needefull to such as can not skyll of crafte and deceyte and haue not the vse of pestifetous monye, the seede of innumerable myscheues. So that if we shall not be ashamed to confesse the truthe, they seeme to lyue in that goulden worlde of the whiche owlde wryters speake so much, wherin men lyued simplye and innocentlye without inforcement of lawes, without quarellinge Iudges and libelles, contente onely to satisfie nature, without further vexation for knowelege of thinges to come. Yet these naked people also are tormented with ambition for the desyre they haue to enlarge their dominions: by reason wherof they kepe warre & destroy one an other: from the which plage I suppoe the golden world was not free. (8)

They seeme to lyue in the goulden worlde, without toyle, lyuinge in open gardens, not intrenched with dykes, dyuyded with hedges, or defended with waules. They deale trewely one with an other, without lawes, without bookes, and without Iudges. (17)

Reginald Scot, “The Fifteene Crimes Laid to the Charges of Witches, by Witchmongers,” in The Discouerie of Witchcraft (London: Henry Denham for William Brome, 1584):

 They eate the flesh and drinke the bloud of men and children openlie.

  Ans.  Then they are kin to the Anthropophagi and Canibals. But I believe neuer an honest man in England nor in France, will affirme that he hath seene any of these persons, that are said to be witches, do so; if they should, I belieue it would poison them. (33)