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Then came into us these servants, bringing a great quantity of sea fish and lake fish on silver platters, so that we marvelled at the wealth displayed, and at the costliness of the entertainment, which was such that he seemed almost to have engaged the Nereids themselves as the purveyors. And one of the parasites and flatterers said that Neptune was sending fish to our Neptunian port, not by the agency of those who at Rome sell rare fish for their weight in money; but that some were imported from Antium, and some from Terracina, and some from the Pontian islands opposite, and some from Pyrgi; and that is a city of Etruria. For the fishmongers in Rome are very little different from those who used to be turned into ridicule by the comic poets at Athens, of whom Antiphanes says, in his Young Men—
I did indeed for a long time believe
The Gorgons an invention of the poets,
But when I came into the fish-market
I quickly found them a reality.
For looking at the fish women I felt
Turn'd instantly to stone, and was compelled
To turn away my head while talking to them.
For when I see how high a price they ask,
And for what little fish, I'm motionless.

[p. 356]

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