But Theocritus the Syracusan, in his poem entitled [p. 446] Berenice, calls the fish which is called leucus the sacred fish, speaking thus—
And if a mortal seeks the gods with prayerBut Dionysius, who was surnamed the Iambic, in his treatise on Dialects, writes thus—“We have heard accordingly an Eretrian fisherman, and many other fishermen, too, of other countries, call the pompilus the sacred fish. Now the pompilus is a sea fish, and is very commonly seen around ships, being something like the tunny called pelamys. However, some one spoken of by the poet catches this fish;—
For a successful hunt, or plenteous gold,
A man who lives by the sea, whose nets he makes
His ploughs to raise his crops; then let him come,
And just at nightfall sacrifice with prayer
To this same goddess the most sacred fish,
Which men call leucus, (loveliest he of fish,)
Then let him bend his nets; and soon he shall
Draw them back from the waters full of prey.
Sitting upon a high projecting rockUnless, indeed, there be any other kind which is likewise called the sacred fish. But Callimachus in his Galatea calls the chrysophrys the sacred fish, where he says—
He caught the sacred fish.
Or shall I rather say the gold-brow'd fish,But in his Epigrams the same poet says—
That sacred fish, or perch, or all the rest
Which swim beneath the vast unfathom'd sea.
The sacred sacred hyca.But some understand by the term sacred fish, one let go and dedicated to the god, just as people give the same name to a consecrated ox. But others consider that sacred is here only equivalent to great, as Homer speaks of
The sacred might of Alcinous.And some think that it is only called ἱερὸς as ἱέμενος πρὸς τὸν ῥοῦν (going down stream).”