And that they used to eat fish, Sarpedon proves plainly, when he compares the being taken prisoner to fish caught in a large net. Yet Eubulus, jesting in the way that the comic writers allow themselves, says—
I pray you, where in Homer is the chiefNor did those heroes allow the birds the free enjoyment of the air; setting traps and nets for thrushes and doves. And they practised the art of taking birds, and, suspending a dove by a small string to the mast of a ship, then shot arrows at it from a distance, as is shown in the book describing the funeral games. But Homer passed over the use of vegetables, and fish, and birds, lest to mention them should seem like praising gluttony, thinking besides there would be a want of decorum in dwelling on the preparation of such things, which he considered beneath the dignity of gods and heroes. But that they did in reality eat their meat boiled as well as roasted, he shows when he says—
Who e'er eat fish, or anything but beef?
And, though so much of liberty they boasted,
Their meat was never anything but roasted.
But as a caldron boils with melting fat[p. 42] and the foot of the ox which was thrown at Ulysses proves it too, for no one ever roasts oxen's feet. And the line too-
Of well-fed pig;
Then many a well-fill'd dish was duly setas this not only speaks of the variety of meats, such as birds, pigs, kids, and beef; but it also speaks of the way in which they were dressed as having varied, and not having been all of one kind, but carefully arranged. So that you may see here the origin of the Sicilian and Sybaritic and Italian ways of giving feasts, and the Chian fashion also. For the Chians are reported not to have been less studious than the other nations just mentioned in the art of dressing their meat. Timocles says—
On the full board, with every kind of meat;
The ChiansAnd in Homer, not only the young men, but the old men too, such as Phœnix and Nestor, sleep with the women; and Menelaus is the only man who has no woman allotted to him, inasmuch as he had collected the whole expedition for the sake of his wife, who had been carried away from him.
Are splendid hands at dressing viands.