Alia terra alios mores postulat. Asijští lidojedi ve vokabuláři zvaném Lactifer
ALIA TERRA ALIOS MORES POSTULAT. ASIAN CANNIBALS IN THE VOCABULARIUS DICTUS LACTIFER
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The dictionary Vocabularius dictus Lactifer was written at the brink of the 16th century by the preacher and author of religious texts Jan Bosák Vodňanský (Iohannes Aquensis). It is the latest bohemical source of excerption for entries in the Latinitatis medii aevi lexicon Bohemorum. The author provided the description of nouns and adjectives, verbs and adverbs in the first three books of the Vocabulary. Its second part is a form of encyklopaedia of natural sciences which lists, within nine books, various human monsters, illnesses, trees, herbs, stones, birds, four-legged animals, fish and, finally, snakes and worms. The fourth book (De monstruosis hominibus) is a rich source of various names as it is dedicated to humans, individuals and exotic peoples, mythological characters, who differ, in their appearrances of behaviour, from what was perceived as normal in the Middle Ages. Amongst all the deviations listed by the author, based on classical and medieval sources, the most interesting are the descriptions of unusual eating habits in certain Asian and African peoples. Besides describing fantastic peoples who, according to Jan Vodňanský, survive on the odour of flowers and fruits alone, consume wheat seeds through an opening above the mouth, or eat the meat of rather unusual animals (these peoples are the topic of my first study, cf. Listy filologické 134, 2011, pp. 341–366), Jan Vodňanský also speaks of various kinds of cannibals in his Vocabulary. He found mentions of these peoples in the works of ancient historiographers as well as in reports of medieval merchants, diplomats, and missionaries who had visited distant lands in Asia. Vodňanský’s texts reflect Herodotus’ remarks on Scythian anthropophagists, information gathered by medieval historians on the Mongolian and Cuman invasions into Europe, as well as mentions in the works of Odoric of Pordenone and Marco Polo of cannibals living on the islands of Java, Sumatra, and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. These peoples had the distasteful habit of eating the flesh of foreigners as well as members of their own tribe which persisted until modern times and became the topic of modern anthropological study.
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