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The eel is well known: and Epicharmus mentions sea-eels in his Muses; but Dorion, in his treatise on Fishes, mentioning those which come from the lake Copais, extols the Copaic eels highly; and they grow to a great size. At all events, Agatharchides, in the sixth book of his history of the Affairs of Europe, says that the largest eels from lake Copais are sacrificed to the gods by the Bœotians, who crown them like victims, and offer prayers over them, sprinkling them with meal; and that once, when a foreigner was astonished at the singular kind of victim and sacrifice, and asked a Bœotian whence it originated, the Bœotian answered, That he only knew one thing; that it was right to maintain the customs of one's ancestors, and that it was not right to make any excuses for them to foreigners. But we need not wonder if eels are sacrificed as victims, since Antigonus the Carystian, in his treatise on Language, says that the fishermen celebrate a festival in honour of Neptune when the tunnies come in season, and they are successful in their pursuit of them; and that they sacrifice to the god the first tunny that is caught; and that this sacrificial festival is called the Thunnæum.
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