previous next

When all this had been said about this nice dish of fish, one of the cynics coming late in the evening said, "My friends, are we, too, keeping a fast, as if this were the middle day of the Thesmophoria, since we are now fasting like cestres For, as Diphilus says, in his Lemnian Women—
These men have supp'd, but I, wretch that I am,
Shall be a cestreus through th' extreme of fasting.
And Myrtilus answering, said—
But stand in order—
as the Hedychares of Theopompus says—
hungry band of cestres,
You who are fed, like geese, on vegetables.
For you shall not take a share of any of these things before either you, or your fellow-pupil Ulpian, tell me why the cestreus is the only fish which is called the faster. And Ulpian said,—It is because he never takes any living bait; and when he is caught, it is neither effected by any meat nor by any living animal; as Aristotle tells us, when he says “perhaps his being hungry makes him lazy;” and also that “when he is frightened he hides his head, as if by so doing he concealed his whole body.” But Plato, in his Holidays, says—
As I was going out I met a fisherman,
And he was bringing me some cestres, and
He brought me all those worthless starving fish.
But do you tell me, O you Thessalian wrestler, Myrtilus! why it is that fish are called by the poets ἔλλοπες̣ And he said,—It is because they are voiceless; but some insist upon it that, by strict analogy, the word ought to be ἴλλοπες, because they are deprived of voice: for the verb ἴλλεσθαι [p. 484] means to be deprived, and ὄψ means voice.1 And are you ignorant of this, when you are an ἔλλοψ yourself? But I, as the wise Epicharmus says, when this dog makes me no answer,—
Am by myself enough well to reply
To what two men have lately said before me.
And I say that they are called ἔλλοπες from being covered with scales, [the word coming from the same root, and being equivalent to λεπιδωτός]. But I will tell you (though that is not a question which has been asked) why the Pythagoreans, who do touch other living creatures, though sparingly, and who allow themselves even to sacrifice some, absolutely abstain altogether from fish alone. Is it because of their silence for they think silence a very divine quality. Since, then, you, O you Molossian dogs, are always silent, but are still not Pythagoreans, we will now go on to the rest of the discussion about fish.

1 Schweighaeuser thinks that something has dropped out of the text here; and proposes to insert, “And Ulpian said.”

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Greek (Kaibel)
load focus Greek (Charles Burton Gulick, 1927)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: