Lloyd George

Topics: World War I, Europe, Modern history Pages: 13 (3859 words) Published: April 9, 2013
Assignment 1

Word Count = 378 1. Original First Draft Précis

Precis: Zika, Charles (1997), ‘Cannibalism and Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe: Reading the Visual Images

This précis of ‘Cannibalism and Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe: Reading the Visual Images’ discusses how cannibalism first became entangled with witchcraft at the beginning of the sixteenth century in Modern Europe, along with the cultural impact this has had. Charles Zika depicts witchcraft and cannibalism to be frequently used in all areas of popular culture including storytelling and art between the fifteenth and seventeenth century within Western Europe. Zika supports this by choosing the fairy tale, ‘Hansel and Gretel’ which describes a witch preparing a child for consumption. “Stick out your finger Hansel, asks the witch in order to test whether she might begin to prepare or the feast of human flesh” The quote from the popular fairy take supports his argument that witchcraft and cannibalism was a popular subject in the Modern Europe, due to thefairy tale originating from the period in question. Charles Zika then suggests a growing popularity for portraying witches as cannibals at the start of the sixteenth century is a result of the discovery of the New World, this due to the possible cannibalistic acts of the American – Indians during the period making cannibalism a popular subject. Zika shows this belief when describing the artist’s ideology during sixteenth-century Modern Europe. “Both Crispin de Passe and Henri Leroy follow the common sixteenth-century iconography of the American Indian culture.” Zika displays his argument here by stating that the common sixteenth century idea of artists during the sixteenth century was that American Indians were cannibals, as this would influence them into creating paintings and prints that included images of cannibalism. A central cultural meaning of cannibalism and witchcraft is then described by Zika, “It signified a growing fear or the disintegration and loss of Christian community and identity” This demonstrates that he views cannibalism and witchcraft to be representing the anxiety that the Christian community of Modern Europe could possibly loose it’s identity and fall apart, in a mixture of cultures from the New World. In conclusion Charles Zika views cannibalism and witchcraft as signifying the possibility that the maily Christian Modern Europe could lose its self in a mixture of other cultures from the New World. This is in addition to it displaying how American Indians myths/ culture could influence artists in Modern Europe.


C Zika, 1997, Cannibalism and Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe: Reading the Visual Images. History Workshop Journal, no 44, pp.77-106

Word Count = 373 Final Edited Précis Précis: Zika, Charles (1997), ‘Cannibalism and Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe: Reading the Visual Images Cannibalism was first attached to the witch during the early modern period; this came about through the use of visual images, theological treaties and folklore. This drew upon various European traditions such as tales of blood sucking vampires and early Christian anti-heretical polemics to create the “cannibalistic witch” which Zika describes. This is then repeated within European culture through the story tale Hansel and Gretel, playing on the disturbing fantasy of being cooked alive.

Zika describes how during the sixteenth century references to females being witches originated from the increasing number of women during the period that were being accused of witchcraft on the basis of harming children. This is displayed through images by Agostino Veneziano showing witches sacrificing children to Satan.

During the latter part of the century Zika goes on to explain how witchcraft has evolved to include cannibalism with them becoming representative of anxieties towards the New...
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