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These, then, are the things, said Democritus, which I myself have brought in the way of my contribution, not going to eat fish myself, for the sake of my excellent friend Ulpian; who, on account of the national customs of the Syrians, has deprived us of our fish, continually bringing forward one thing after another. And Antipater of Tarsus, the Stoic philosopher, in the fourth book of his treatise on Superstition, tells us that it is said by some people that Gatis, the queen of the Syrians, was so exceedingly fond of fish, that she issued a proclamation that no one should eat fish without Gatis being invited (ἄτερ γάτιδος); and that the common people, out of ignorance, thought her name was Atergatis, and abstained wholly from fish. And Mnaseus, in the second book of his History of Asia, speaks thus—“But I think that Atergatis was a very bad queen, and that she ruled the people with great harshness, so that she even forbad them by law to eat fish, and ordered them to bring all the fish to her, because she was so fond of that food; and, on account of this order of hers, a custom still prevails, when the Syrians pray to the goddess, to offer her golden or silver fish; and for the priests every day to place on the table before the god real fish also, carefully dressed, both boiled and roasted, which the priests of the goddess eat themselves.” And a little further on, he says again—“But Atergatis (as Xanthus the Lydian says), being taken prisoner by Mopsus, king of Lydia, was drowned with her son in the lake near Ascalon, because of her insolence, and was eaten up by fishes.”
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