The Dog-Headed Cannibals of John Mandeville’s Travels

Keywords: Cynocephali, Monstrous Races, Cannibalism, John Mandeville, Age of Discovery Depictions of man-eating cynocephali appear in late-fifteenth-century German printed editions of John Mandeville’s Travels, embedded in the texts of a 1481 Basel edition and a copy in a 1499 Strasbourg edition. In the Basel edition, a cynocephalus is depicted on his hands and knees biting… Continue reading The Dog-Headed Cannibals of John Mandeville’s Travels

Did Martin Waldseemüller’s Carta marina (1516) portray Mongols as dog-headed Cynocephali?

Keywords: Cynocephali, Monstrous Races, Mongols, Primitiveness, Otherness The post-Columbus period marked a shift from representing the monstrous races as more abstract ‘wonders’ or ‘marvels’ from its medieval tradition to being representations of the knowable foreign ‘Other.’ On Martin Waldseemüller’s Carta marina (1516), the cynocephali are located between northern India and the territory labelled ‘Mongal’ and… Continue reading Did Martin Waldseemüller’s Carta marina (1516) portray Mongols as dog-headed Cynocephali?

The Canine Motif and the Dehumanisation of Foreigners

Keywords: Monstrous Races, Cynocephali, Human-animal hybrids, Cannibalism, Dehumanisation That all races, ethnicities, man and woman all belong to the same species sounds like a truism. However, this was of some point of contention during the sixteenth century. The discussion surrounding non-European foreigners paralleled with the discussion involving the mythological monstrous races, including hybrid canine creatures.… Continue reading The Canine Motif and the Dehumanisation of Foreigners

Cynocephali in the Caribbean: An English Translation

Translation of Lorenz Fries, Uselegung der mercarthen oder carta marina, Strasbourg: Johannes Grieninger, 1525, leaf XVI Unknown Artist, ‘Cannibals on the Caribbean Island’, in Lorenz Fries, Uslegung der Mercarthen oder Carta Marina, Strasbourg: Johannes Grüninger 1525, leaf XVI,Woodcut, handcolouring, 10.5 x 14.4 cm,Rhode Island, Archive of Early American Images, The John Carter Brown Library, Brown University. ©John… Continue reading Cynocephali in the Caribbean: An English Translation

Cynocephali – The Dog-Headed Race: A Brief Introduction

Keywords: Monstrous Races, Cynocephali, Muslims, Jews, Stereotypes The earliest sources of monstrous races, including the dog-headed cynocephali, derived from Greek geographers such as Megasthenes (c.350-290 B.C.), who travelled to India and reportedly witnessed monstrous races firsthand (Williams, 1996, p. 13). The Greek explorer and ethnographer was sent as an ambassador to the court of Sandracottus… Continue reading Cynocephali – The Dog-Headed Race: A Brief Introduction