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XIV. Anatomy, Zoology and Physiology Index
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King of the animals--as thou hast described him--I should rather say king of the beasts, thou being the greatest--because thou hast spared slaying them, in order that they may give thee their children for the benefit of the gullet, of which thou hast attempted to make a sepulchre for all animals; and I would say still more, if it were allowed me to speak the entire truth [5]. But we do not go outside human matters in telling of one supreme wickedness, which does not happen among the animals of the earth, inasmuch as among them are found none who eat their own kind, unless through want of sense (few indeed among them, and those being mothers, as with men, albeit they be not many in number); and this happens only among the rapacious animals, as with the leonine species, and leopards,

p. 131

panthers lynxes, cats and the like, who sometimes eat their children; but thou, besides thy children devourest father, mother, brothers and friends; nor is this enough for thee, but thou goest to the chase on the islands of others, taking other men and these half-naked, the ... and the ... thou fattenest, and chasest them down thy own throat[18]; now does not nature produce enough simples, for thee to satisfy thyself? and if thou art not content with simples, canst thou not by the mixture of them make infinite compounds, as Platina wrote 436 , and other authors on feeding?



131:436 21: Come scrisse il Platina (Bartolomeo Sacchi, a famous humanist). The Italian edition of his treatise De arte coquinaria, was published under the title De la honestra voluptate, e valetudine, Venezia 1487.

131:437 : We are led to believe that Leonardo himself was a vegetarian from the following interesting passage in the first of Andrea Corsali's letters to Giuliano de'Medici: Alcuni gentili chiamati Guzzarati non si cibano di cosa, alcuna che tenga sangue, ne fra essi loro consentono che si noccia ad alcuna cosa animata, come il nostro Leonardo da Vinci.

5-18. Amerigo Vespucci, with whom Leonardo was personally acquainted, writes in his second letter to Pietro Soderini, about the inhabitants of the Canary Islands after having stayed there in 1503: "Hanno una scelerata liberta di viuere; ... si cibano di carne humana, di maniera che il padre magia il figliuolo, et all'incontro il figliuolo il padre secondo che a caso e per sorte auiene. Io viddi un certo huomo sceleratissimo che si vantaua, et si teneua a non piccola gloria di hauer mangiato piu di trecento huomini. Viddi anche vna certa citta, nella quale io dimorai forse ventisette giorni, doue le carni humane, hauendole salate, eran appicate alli traui, si come noi alli traui di cucina appicchiamo le carni di cinghali secche al sole o al fumo, et massimamente salsiccie, et altre simil cose: anzi si marauigliauano gradem ete che noi non magiaissimo della carne de nemici, le quali dicono muouere appetito, et essere di marauiglioso sapore, et le lodano come cibi soaui et delicati (Lettere due di Amerigo Vespucci Fiorentino drizzate al magnifico Pietro Soderini, Gonfaloniere della eccelsa Republica di Firenze; various editions).

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