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Gastvortrag von Dr. Giorgio Rota (Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Wien)

„Shamanic traces in Safavid Persia? The case of cannibalism“

(Vortrag ist in deutscher Sprache)

Persian historical sources from the Safavid period (1501-1736) record several cases of cannibalism on the part of followers of the dynasty during the 16th and the early 17th centuries. Such episodes are of course particularly difficult to explain in an Islamic context, and have usually been ascribed either to "fanaticism" or to the persistence of "shamanistic beliefs".

After reviewing scholararly opinion on this topic, I will place these acts of cannibalism in the wider context provided by a number of other instances of destruction or desecration of dead bodies that took place in other parts of Eurasia during the same period or later.

The conclusion of this brief survey is that these episodes are not due to a vague notion of "fanaticism" but to the survival of very ancient beliefs in the bones as the abode of the soul (or souls) of living beings, and therefore in the necessity to either preserve or destroy the skeleton of the victim in order to ensure or deny his resurrection, whichever was desired.

Mittwoch, 1. Februar 2012, 18:15 Uhr
Seminar für Turkologie und Zentralasienkunde
Waldweg 26, 7. Stock, Raum N 716