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But since there were great many sorts of fish, and those very different both as to size and beauty, which had been served up and which were still being constantly served up for the guests, Myrtilus said,—Although all the different dishes which we eat, besides the regular meal, are properly called by one generic name, ὄψον, still it is very deservedly that on account of its delicious taste fish has prevailed over everything else, and has appropriated the name to itself; [p. 435] because men are so exceedingly enamoured of this kind of food. Accordingly we speak of men as ὀψοφάγοι, not meaning people who eat beef (such as Hercules was, who ate beef and green figs mixed together); nor do we mean by such a term a man who is fond of figs; as was Plato the philosopher, according to the account given of him by Phanocritus in his treatise on the Glorious: and he tells us in the same book that Arcesilas was fond of grapes: but we mean by the term only those people who haunt the fish-market. And Philip of Macedon was fond of apples, and so was his son Alexander, as Dorotheus tells us in the sixth book of his history of the Life and Actions of Alexander. But Chares of Mitylene relates that Alexander, having found the finest apples which he had ever seen in the country around Babylon, filled boats with them, and had a battle of apples from the vessels, so as to present a most beautiful spectacle. And I am not ignorant that, properly speaking, whatever is prepared for being eaten by the agency of fire is called ὄψον. For indeed the word is either identical with ἐψὸν, or else perhaps it is derived from ὀπτάω, to roast.
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