Author Topic: Raw meat eaters in high Greek and Chinese antiquity  (Read 5177 times)

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Offline Bookworm

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Raw meat eaters in high Greek and Chinese antiquity
« on: July 15, 2016, 03:24:43 pm »
According to Thucydides "History of the Peloponnesian war"  in Etolie,  a region in central Greece (north of the Peloponnese )  where aurochs and wild  boars used to roam the countryside, there was a ethnic group  called the Eurythanians.

According to the greek historian, these were one of the most powerful and ancient ethne. They spoke an "incomprehensible language" and "ate their meat raw". They were considered  barbarians.

 I was surprised to learn recently  that our modern european  language still bears the stigmatization  of raw meat eaters in ancient Greece

The word "Atrox"  in ancient greek  gave us  the words "atrocious" ( "atroce" in french ) : it literaly means "that which I can not eat" ( a -trophein ) and it was ALSO  synonymous with "raw"

So in ancient Greece a raw meat diet must have been an atrocious diet !
The association of "raw meat" with "barbarians"  also exists in Chinese antiquity and language.

Here is what can be found on the subject of "barbarians" as seen in the eyes of the Chinese people (From article "Barbarians" in Wikipedia )

 Two millennia before the French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss wrote The Raw and the Cooked, the Chinese differentiated "raw" and "cooked" categories of barbarian peoples who lived in China. The shufan ?? "cooked [food eating] barbarians" are sometimes interpreted as Sinicized, and the shengfan ?? "raw [food eating] barbarians" as not Sinicized.[61] The Liji gives this description.

The people of those five regions – the Middle states, and the [Rong], [Yi] (and other wild tribes around them) – had all their several natures, which they could not be made to alter. The tribes on the east were called [Yi]. They had their hair unbound, and tattooed their bodies. Some of them ate their food without its being cooked with fire. Those on the south were called Man. They tattooed their foreheads, and had their feet turned toward each other. Some of them ate their food without its being cooked with fire. Those on the west were called [Rong]. They had their hair unbound, and wore skins. Some of them did not eat grain-food. Those on the north were called [Di]. They wore skins of animals and birds, and dwelt in caves. Some of them did not eat grain-food.[62]

Dikötter explains the close association between nature and nurture. "The shengfan, literally 'raw barbarians', were considered savage and resisting. The shufan, or 'cooked barbarians', were tame and submissive. The consumption of raw food was regarded as an infallible sign of savagery that affected the physiological state of the barbarian."[63]


Unfortunately, this article does not mention the fact that the non-grain eating tradition and the raw meat eating tradition in China are both linked to the history of taoism.

Offline goodsamaritan

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Re: Raw meat eaters in high Greek and Chinese antiquity
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2016, 04:57:15 pm »
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