Cynophagy and anthropophagy in medieval Islamic North Africa as signs of hospitality

Mabrouk Mansouri*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


With reference to Arabic primary sources written in the middle ages, firstly, this paper will account for North African food as a symbolic cultural system expressing local values of hospitality, bravery and manhood. It will also explore the metaphoric and symbolic significance of cynophagy as a customary practice related primarily to the belief in magic by North African Amazigh, Arabs, Christians and Jews. Moreover, the paper will try to contextualise such a practice within the broader North African cultural framework, expressing an awareness of indigenous socio-cultural milieu. Secondly, the paper is designed to address the significance of North African body as an articulation of particular socio-cultural and aesthetic values. It will tackle North African gender and sex relations in a medieval Islamic context totally or partially different from the native milieu of Islam, namely Arabia. In this paper, studying and interpreting North African homosexuality as an act of hospitality will be of paramount importance. Finally, the paper will trace the links between anthropophagy, the offering of female flesh for cannibals and hospitality through scrutinising the ideological underpinnings and the socio-cultural interrelatedness. Medieval sub-Saharan anthropophagy is said to be a social behaviour that displays hospitality and kindness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-142
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of North African Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 15 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Amazigh culture
  • anthropophagy
  • cynophagy
  • hospitality
  • North Africa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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