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 There are also other small islands around Britain; but one, of great extent, Ierna,1 lying parallel to it towards the north, long, or rather, wide; concerning which we have nothing certain to relate, further than that its inhabitants are more savage than the Britons, feeding on human flesh, and enormous eaters, and deeming it commendable to devour their deceased fathers,2 as well as openly3 to have commerce not only with other women, but also with their own mothers and sisters.4 But this we relate perhaps without very competent authority; although to eat human flesh is said to be a Scythian custom; and during the severities of a siege, even the Kelts, the Iberians, and many others, are reported to have done the like.5
1 Called by Cæsar, Hibernia; by Mela, Juverna; and by Diodorus Siculus, Iris.
2 This custom resembles that related by Herodotus (lib. i. c. 216, and iv. 26) of the Massagetæ and Issedoni. Amongst these latter, when the father of a family died, all the relatives assembled at the house of the deceased, and having slain certain animals, cut them and the body of the deceased into small pieces, and having mixed the morsels together, regaled themselves on the inhuman feast.
4 Herodotus, (l. iv. c. 180,) mentioning a similar practice amongst the inhabitants of Lake Tritonis in Libya, tells us that the men owned the children as they resembled them respectively. Mela asserts the same of the Garamantes. As to the commerce between relations, Strabo in his 16th Book, speaks of it as being usual amongst the Arabs. It was a custom amongst the early Greeks. Homer makes the six sons of Æolus marry their six sisters, and Juno addresses herself to Jupiter as ‘Et sorer et conjux.’ Compare also Cæsar, lib. v.
5 An extremity to which the Gauls were driven during the war they sustained against the Cimbri and Teutones, (Cesar, lib. vii. c. 77,) and the inhabitants of Numantia in Iberia, when besieged by Scipio. (Valerius Maximus, lib. vii. c. 6.) The city of Potidea in Greece experienced a similar calamity. (Thucyd. lib. ii. c. 70. )
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