Head-Hunting in Europe


From the 19th century onwards, Western travelers paid full attention to the custom of cutting-off human heads in the Balkans which they perceived as a clear-cut line between civilised and barbarian forms of existence. The image of the Balkans and its people in these travel reports was seasoned with a liberal measure of partiality and biases, for it was not unimportant at all who did it. Montenegrins head-cutters were heroes, “Turkish” head-cutters were the barbarians. On the other hand, the vivid interest by Westerners showed for the “barbarous custom” in the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries indicate that in the West the barbarian “Other” had been but repressed rather than completely eliminated.

How to Cite

Jezernik, B., (2001) “Head-Hunting in Europe”, Ethnologia Europaea 31(1), p.21-36. doi: https://doi.org/10.16995/ee.912

Publisher Notes

  • This article was previously published by Museum Tusculanum Press.



Bozidar Jezernik (University of Ljubljana)



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