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Echoes and Mirrors» Blog Archive

Of Cannibals by Michel de Montaigne.

When King Pyrrhus invaded Italy, having viewed and considered the order of the army the Romans sent out to meet him: “I know not,” said he, “what kind of barbarians,” (for so the Greeks called all other nations) “these may be; but the disposition of this army, that I see, has nothing of barbarism in it.” As much said the Greeks of that which Flaminius brought into their country; and Philip, beholding from an eminence the order and distribution of the Roman camp formed in his kingdom by Publius Sulpicius Galba, spake to the same effect. By which it appears how cautious men ought to be of taking things upon trust from vulgar opinion, and that we are to judge by the eye of reason, and not from common report.

Man, now that’s an introduction. The whole thing is quite enlightening and can shed some light on aspects of sociological and philosophical differences you may be at odds with. If you have any interest at all in the cannibalistic tribes of the Pacific rim (or any sort of interest in savages in general) or a taste for well-written essays, then read it.

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