AND when the Banquet was now finished, the cynics, thinking that the festival of the Phagesia was being celebrated, were delighted above all things, and Cynulcus said, —While we are supping, O Ulpian, since it is on words that you are feasting us, I propose to you this question,—In what author do you find any mention of the festivals called Phagesia, and Phagesiposia? And he, hesitating, and bidding the slaves desist from carrying the dishes round, though it was now evening, said,—I do not recollect, you very wise man, so that you may tell us yourself, in order that you may sup more abundantly and more pleasantly. And he rejoined, —If you will promise to thank me when I have told you, I will tell you. And as he agreed to thank him, he continued; —Clearchus, the pupil of Aristotle, but a Solensian by birth, in the first book of his treatise on Pictures, (for I recollect his very expressions, because I took a great fancy to them,) speaks as follows:—“Phagesia—but some call the festival Phagesiposia—but this festival has ceased, as also has that of the Rhapsodists, which they celebrated about the time of the Dionysiac festival, in which every one as they passed by sang a hymn to the god by way of doing him honour.” This is what Clearchus wrote. And if you doubt it, my friend, I, who have got the book, will not mind lending it to you. And you may learn a good deal from it, and get a great many questions to ask us out of it. For he relates that Calias the Athenian composed a Grammatical Tragedy, from which Euripides in his Medea, and Sophocles in his Œdipus derived their choruses and the arrangement of their plot.
And when all the guests marvelled at the literary accomplishments of Cynulcus, Plutarch said,—In like manner there used to be celebrated in my own Alexandria a Flagon-bearing festival, which is mentioned by Eratosthenes in his treatise entitled Arsinoe. And he speaks as follows:— “When Ptolemy was instituting a festival and all kinds of [p. 434] sacrifices, and especially those which relate to Bacchus, Arsinoe asked the man who bore the branches, what day he was celebrating now, and what festival it was. And when he replied, 'It is called the Lagynophoria; and the guests lie down on beds and so eat all that they have brought with them, and every one drinks out of his own flagon which he has brought from home;' and when he had departed, she, looking towards us, said, 'It seems a very dirty kind of party; for it is quite evident that it must be an assembly of a mixed multitude, all putting down stale food and such as is altogether unseasonable and unbecoming.' But if the kind of feast had pleased her, then the queen would not have objected to preparing the very same things herself, as is done at the festival called Choes. For there every one feasts separately, and the inviter only supplies the materials for the feast.”
But one of the Grammarians who were present, looking on the preparation of the feast, said,—In the next place, how shall we ever be able to eat so large a supper? Perhaps we are to go on “during the night,” as that witty writer Aristophanes says in his Aeolosicon, where however his expression is “during the whole night.” And, indeed, Homer uses the preposition διὰ in the same way, for he says— διὰ μήλων means “over all the sheep,” indicating the size of the giant. And Daphnus the physician answered him; Meals taken late at night, my friend, are more advantageous for everybody. For the influence of the moon is well adapted to promote the digestion of food, since the moon has putrefying properties; and digestion depends upon putrefaction. Accordingly victims slain at night are more digestible; and wood which is cut down by moonlight decays more rapidly. And also the greater proportion of fruits ripen by moonlight.
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.
Since then there are a great many different kinds of fish which we eat at different seasons, my most admirable Timocrates, (for, as Sophocles says—
A chorus too of voiceless fish rush'd on,The tails not fawning on their mistress, but beating against the dish. And as Achæus says in his Fates—
Making a noise with their quick moving tails.
There was a mighty mass of the sea-born herd—I will now recapitulate to you what the Deipnosophists said about each: for each of them brought to the discussion of the subject some contribution of quotation from books; though I will not mention the names of all who took part in the conversation, they were so numerous. Amphis says in his Leucas—
A spectacle which fill'd the wat'ry waste,
Breaking the silence with their rapid tails;)
Whoever buys some ὄψον for his supper,And that you may find it easy to remember what was said, I will arrange the names in alphabetical order For as [p. 436] Sophocles, in his Ajax Mastigophorus, called fish ἐλλοὶ, saying— ὀψοφαγίστατος [exceedingly fond of fish], (for that is a word which Xenophon has used in his Memorabilia, where he writes, “He is ὀψοφαγίστατος and the greatest fool possible,”) am well aware that the man who wrote the poem Titanomachia [or the Battle of the Giants], whether he be Eumelus the Corinthian, or Arctinus, or whatever else his name may chance to have been, in the second book of his poem speaks thus—
And, when he might get real genuine fish,
Contents himself with radishes, is mad.
Presently when the tunnies called Amiæ were put on the table, some one said,—Aristotle speaks of this fish, and says that they have gills out of sight, and that they have very sharp teeth, and that they belong to the gregarious and carnivorous class of fishes: and that they have a gall of equal extent with their whole intestines, and a spleen of corresponding proportions. It is said also that when they are hooked, they leap up towards the fisherman, and bite through the line and so escape. And Archippus mentions them in his play entitled the Fishes, where he says—
But when you were eating the fat amiæ.And Epicharmus in his Sirens says—
A. In the morning early, at the break of day,And Aristotle, inquiring into the etymology of the name, says that they were called amiæ, παρὰ τὸ ἅμα ἰέναι ταῖς παρα- [p. 437] πλησίαις (from their going in shoals with their companions of the same kind). But Icesius, in his treatise on the Materials of Food, says that they are full of a wholesome juice, and tender, but only of moderate excellency as far as their digestible properties go, and not very nutritious.
We roasted plump anchovies,
Cutlets of well-fed pork, and polypi;
And then we drank sweet wine.
B. Alack! alack! my silly wife detain'd me,
Chattering near the monument.
A. I'm sorry for you. Then, too, there were mullets
And large plump amiæ—
A noble pair i' the middle of the table,
And eke a pair of pigeons,
A scorpion and a lobster.
But Archestratus,—that writer so curious in all that relates to cookery,—in his Gastrology (for that is the title of the book as it is given by Lycophron, in his treatise on Comedy, just as the work of Cleostratus of Tenedos is called Astrology), speaks thus of the amia:—
But towards the end of autumn, when the Pleiad
Has hidden its light, then dress the amiæ
Whatever way you please. Why need I teach you?
For then you cannot spoil it, if you wish.
But if you should desire, Moschus my friend,
To know by what recipe you best may dress it;
Take the green leaves of fig-trees, and some marjoram,
But not too much; no cheese or other nonsense,
But merely wrap it up in the fig leaves,
And tie it round with a small piece of string,
Then bury it beneath the glowing ashes,
Judging by instinct of the time it takes
To be completely done without being burnt.
And if you wish to have the best o' their kind,
Take care to get them from Byzantium;
Or if they come from any sea near that
They'll not be bad: but if you go down lower,
And pass the straits into the Aegæan sea,
They're quite a different thing, in flavour worse
As well as size, and merit far less praise.
But this Archestratus was so devoted to luxury, that he travelled over every country and every sea, with great diligence, wishing, as it seems to me, to seek out very carefully whatever related to his stomach; and, as men do who write Itineraries and Books of Voyages, so he wishes to relate everything with the greatest accuracy, and to tell where every kind of eatable is to be got in the greatest perfection; for this is what he professes himself, in the preface to his admirable Book of Precepts, which he addresses to his companions, Moschus and Cleander; enjoining them, as the Pythian priestess says, to seek
A horse from Thessaly, a wife from Sparta,And Chrysippus, a man who was a genuine philosopher, and a thorough man at all points, says that he was the teacher of [p. 438] Epicurus, and of all those who follow his rules, in everything which belongs to pleasure, which is the ruin of everything. For Epicurus says, without any concealment, but speaking with a loud voice, as it were, “For I am not able to distinguish what is good if you once take away the pleasure arising from sweet flavours, and if you also take away amatory pleasures.” For this wise man thinks that even the life of the intemperate man is an unimpeachable one, if he enjoys an immunity from fear, and also mirth. On which account also the comic poets, running down the Epicureans, attack them as mere servants and ministers of pleasure and intemperance.
And men who drink at Arethusa's fount.
Plato, in his Joint Deceiver, representing a father as indignant with his son's tutor, makes him say—
A. You've taken this my son, and ruin'd him,And in his play entitled the Homicide, the same Plato, laughing at one of those gentle philosophers, says—
You scoundrel; you've persuaded him to choose
A mode of life quite foreign to his nature
And disposition; taught by your example,
He drinks i' the morning, which he ne'er was used to do.
B. Do you blame me, master, that your son
Has learnt to live?
A. But do you call that living?
B. Wise men do call it so. And Epicurus
Tells us that pleasure is the only good.
A. Indeed; I never heard that rule before.
Does pleasure come then from no other source?
Is not a virtuous life a pleasure now?
Will you not grant me that?—Tell me, I pray you,
Did you e'er see a grave philosopher
Drunk, or devoted to these joys you speak of?
B. Yes; all of them.-All those who raise their brows,
Who walk about the streets for wise men seeking,
As if they had escaped their eyes and hid:
Still when a turbot once is set before them,
Know how to help themselves the daintiest bits.
They seek the head and most substantial parts,
As if they were an argument dissecting,
So that men marvel at their nicety.
The man who has a chance to pay his court[p. 439] And Hegesippus, in his Philetairi, says—
To a fair woman, and at eve to drink
Two bottles full of richest Lesbian wine,
Must be a wise man; these are real goods.
These things I speak of are what Epicurus
Tells us are real joys; and if the world
All lived the happy life I live myself,
There would not be one wicked man on earth.
That wisest Epicurus, when a man
Once ask'd him what was the most perfect good
Which men should constantly be seeking for,
Said pleasure is that good. Wisest and best
Of mortal men, full truly didst thou speak:
For there is nothing better than a dinner,
And every good consists in every pleasure.
But the Epicureans are not the only men who are addicted to pleasure; but those philosophers are so too who belong to what are called the Cyrenaic and the Mnesistratean sects; for these men delight to live luxuriously, as Posidonius tells us. And Speusippus did not much differ from them, though he was a pupil and a relation of Plato's. At all events, Dionysius the tyrant, in his letters to him, enumerating all the instances of his devotion to pleasure, and also of his covetousness, and reproaching him with having levied contributions on numbers of people, attacks him also on account of his love for Lasthenea, the Arcadian courtesan. And, at the end of all, he says this—“Whom do you charge with covetousness, when you yourself omit no opportunity of amassing base gain? For what is there that you have been ashamed to do? Are you not now attempting to collect contributions, after having paid yourself for Hermeas all that he owed?”
And about Epicurus, Timon, in the third book of his Silli, speaks as follows:—
Seeking at all times to indulge his stomach,For, on account of his stomach, and of the rest of his sensual pleasures, the man was always flattering Idomeneus and Metrodorus. And Metrodorus himself, not at all disguising this admirable principle of his, says, somewhere or other, “The fact is, Timocrates, my natural philosopher, that every investigation which is guided by principles of nature, fixes its ultimate aim entirely on gratifying the stomach.” For Epicurus was the tutor of all these men; who said, shouting it out, as I may say, “The fountain and root of every good is the pleasure of the stomach: and all wise rules, and all superfluous rules, are measured alike by this standard.” And in his treatise on the Chief Good, he speaks nearly as follows: “For I am not able to understand what is good, if I leave out of consideration the pleasures which arise from delicately-flavoured food, and if I [p. 440] also leave out the pleasures which arise from amatory indulgences; and if I also omit those which arise from music, and those, too, which are derived from the contemplation of beauty and the gratification of the eyesight.” And, proceeding a little further, he says, "All that is beautiful is naturally to be honoured; and so is virtue, and everything of that sort, if it assists in producing or causing pleasure. But if it does not contribute to that end, then it may be disregarded.
Than which there's no more greedy thing on earth.
And before Epicurus, Sophocles, the tragic poet, in his Antigone, had uttered these sentiments respecting pleasure—
For when a man contemns and ceases thusAnd Philetærus says, in his Huntress,—
To seek for pleasure, I do not esteem
That such an one doth live; I only deem him
A breathing corpse:—he may, indeed, perhaps
Have store of wealth within his joyless house;
He may keep up a kingly pomp and state;
But if these things be not with joy attended,
They are mere smoke and shadow, and contribute,
No, not one jot, to make life enviable.
For what, I pray you, should a mortal do,And the same poet says, in his Œnopion,—
But seek for all appliances and means.
To make his life from day to day pass happily?
This should be all our object and our aim,
Reflecting on the chance of human life.
And never let us think about to-morrow,
Whether it will arrive at all or not.
It is a foolish trouble to lay up
Money which may become stale and useless.
But every man who lives but sparingly,
Having sufficient means, I call and think
Of all men the most truly miserable.
For when you're dead, you cannot then eat eels;
No wedding feasts are cook'd in Pluto's realms.
And Apollodorus the Carystian, in his Stirrer-up of Law-suits, says—
O men, whoe'er you are, why do you nowAnd, presently afterwards, he says—
Scorn pleasant living, and turn all your thoughts
To do each other mischief in fierce war?
In God's name, tell me, does some odious fate,
Rude and unlettered, destitute of all
That can be knowledge call'd, or education,
Ignorant of what is bad and what is good,
Guide all your destiny?—a fate which settles
[p. 441] All your affairs at random by mere chance?
I think it must be so: for else, what deity
Who bears a Grecian heart, would ever choose
To see Greeks by each other thus despoil'd,
And falling dead in ghastly heaps of corpses,
When she might see them sportive, gay, and jesting,
Drinking full cups, and singing to the flute?
Tell me, my friend, I pray, and put to shame
This most unpolish'd clownish fortune.
Does not a life like this deserve the name
Of godlike?—Think how far more pleasant all
Affairs would be in all the towns of Greece
Than now they are, if we were but to change
Our fashions, and our habits, and our principles
One little bit. Why should we not proclaim,
"Whoe'er is more than thirty years of age,
Let him come forth and drink. Let all the cavalry
Go to a feast at Corinth, for ten days,
Crown'd with chaplets, and perfumed most sweetly.
Let all who radishes have got to sell
Come in the morning here from Megara.
Bid all th' allies now hasten to the bath,
And mix in cups the rich Eubœan wine? "—
Sure this is real luxury and life,
But we are slaves to a most clownish fortune.
The poets say that that ancient hero, Tantalus, was also greatly devoted to pleasure. At all events, the author of the book called The Return of the Atridæ says “that he, when he had arrived among the gods, and had begun to live among them, had leave given him by Jupiter to ask for whatever he wished; and that he, being a man quite insatiable in the gratification of his appetites, asked that it might be granted to him to indulge them to their full extent, and to live in the same manner as the gods. And that Jupiter was indignant at this request, and, according to his promise, fulfilled his prayer; but still, that he might not enjoy what he had before him, but be everlastingly tormented, he hung a stone over his head, on account of which he should be unable to get at any of the things which he had before him.” Some of the Stoics also were addicted to this kind of pleasure At all events, Eratosthenes the Cyrenean, who was a pupil of Ariston the Chian, who was one of the sect of the Stoics, in his treatise which is entitled Ariston, represents his master as subsequently being much addicted to luxury, speaking a follows: [p. 442] “And before now, I have at times discovered him breaking down, as it were, the partition wall between pleasure and virtue, and appearing on the side of pleasure.” And Apollophanes (and he was an acquaintance of Ariston), in his Ariston (for he also wrote a book with that title), shows the way in which his master was addicted to pleasure. And why need we mention Dionysius of Heraclea? who openly discarded his covering of virtue, and put on a robe embroidered with flowers, and assumed the name of The altered Man; and, although he was an old man, he apostatized from the doctrines of the Stoics, and passed over to the school of Epicurus; and, in consequence, Timon said of him, not without some point and felicity—
When it is time to set (δύνειν), he now begins
To sit at table (ἡδύνεσθαι). But there is a time
To love, a time to wed, a time to cease.
Apollodorus the Athenian, in the third book of his treatise on a Modest and Prudent Man, which is addressed to those whom he calls Male Buffoons, having first used the expression, “more libidinous than the very Inventors themselves (ἄλφησται),” says, there are some fish called ἄλφησται, being all of a tawny colour, though they have a purple hue in some parts. And they say that they are usually caught in couples, and that one is always found following at the tail of the other; and therefore, from the fact of one following close on the tail of the other, some of the ancients call men who are intemperate and libidinous by the same name. But Aristotle, in his work on Animals, says that this fish, which he calls alphesticus, has but a single spine, and is of a tawny colour. And Numenius of Heraclea mentions it, in his treatise on Fishing, speaking as follows:—
The fish that lives in seaweed, the alphestes,And Epicharmus, in his Marriage of Hebe, says—
The scorpion also with its rosy meat.
Mussels, alphetæ, and the girl-like fish,Mithæcus also mentions it in his Culinary Art.
The dainty coracinus.
There is another fish called Anthias, or Callicthys; and this also is mentioned by Epicharmus, in his Marriage or Hebe:— [p. 443]
The sword-fish and the chromius too,And Ananius speaks as follows:—
Who, as Ananius tells us,
Is far the best of all in spring;
But th' anthias in the winter.
For spring the chromius is best;And I have quoted this piece of Ananius at length, thinking that it might give some suggestions to the present race of Epicures.
The anthias in winter:
But of all fish the daintiest
Is a young shrimp in fig leaves.
In autumn there's a dainty dish,
The meat of the she-goat;
And when they pick and press the grapes,
Young pigs are dainty eating.
Then, too, young puppies you may eat,
And hares, and also foxes.
But when the grasshopper does sing,
Just at the height of summer,
Is the best time for mutton fat;
Then, too, the sea-born tunny
Will many a savoury dish afford,
And beats his compeers all
With garlic seasoning richly drest;
Then, too, the fatted ox
Is sweet to eat both late at night,
And at a noon-day feast.
But Aristotle, in his treatise on the Habits of Animals, says—“They say that wherever the anthias is found, there there is no beast or fish of prey ever seen; and accordingly the collectors of sponge use him as a guide, and dive boldly wherever he is found, and call him the sacred fish.” And Dorion also mentions him in his book on Fishes, saying, “Some call the anthias by the name of callicthys, and also by that of callionymus and ellops.” And Icesius, in his treatise on Materials, says that he is called wolf by some authors, and by others callionymus: and that he is a fish of very solid meat, and full of delicious juice, and easy of digestion; but not very good for the stomach. But Aristotle says that the callicthys is a fish with serrated teeth, carnivorous and gregarious. And Epicharmus, in his Muses, enumerates the ellops among the fishes, but passes over the the callicthys or callionymus in silence as being identical with it; and of the ellops he speaks thus,—
And then the high-priced ellops.[p. 444] And the same poet says, subsequently—
He was the fish of which great JupiterBut Dorion, in his treatise on Fish, says that the anthias and the callicthys are different fish; and also that the callionymus is not the same as the ellops.
Once bought a pair for money, and enjoin'd
His slaves to give him one, and Juno t'other.
But what is the fish which is called the Sacred fish? The author of the Telchinian History, whether it was Epimenides the Cretan, or Teleclides, or any one else, says,—“What are called the sacred fish, are dolphins and pompili.” But the pompilus is a very amorous animal; as being sprung himself, at the same time with Venus, from heavenly blood. And Nicander, in the second book of his Œtaica, says—
The pompilus, who points the safest roadAnd Alexander the Aetolian, in his Crica, if indeed it is a genuine poem, says—
To anxious mariners who burn with love,
And without speaking warns them against danger.
Still did the pompilus direct the helm,And Pancrates the Arcadian, in his work entitled “Works of the Sea,” having first said—
Swimming behind, and guide it down the gulf,
The minister of the gods, the sacred pompilus.
The pompilus, whom all sea-faring menproceeds to say, “that the pompilus is not held in great esteem by Neptune only, but also by those gods who occupy Samothrace. At all events that some old fisherman once threatened to punish this fish, when the golden age still flourished among men; and his name was Epopeus, and he belonged to the island of Icarus. He therefore was one day fishing with his son, and they had no luck in their fishing, and caught nothing but pompili, and so did not abstain from eating them, but he and his son ate every one of them, and not long afterwards they suffered for their impiety; for a whale attacked the ship, and ate up Epopeus in the sight of his son.” And Pancrates states, "that the pompilus is an enemy to the dolphin; and even the dolphin does not escape with impunity when he has eaten a pompilus, for he becomes unable to exert himself and tremulous when he has eaten [p. 445] him; and so he gets cast on shore, and is eaten himself by the gulls and cormorants; and he is sometimes, when in this state, caught by men who give themselves up to hunting such large fish. And Timachides the Rhodian mentions the pom- pili in the ninth book of his Banquet, and says—
Do call the sacred fish;
The tench o' the sea, and then the pompili,And Erinna, or whoever it was who composed the poet which is attributed to her, says—
The holiest of fish.
O pompilus, thou fish who dost bestow
A prosp'rous voyage on the hardy sailor,
Conduct (πομπεύσαις) my dear companion safely home.
And Apollonius the Rhodian or Naucratian, in his History of the foundation of Naucratis, says, "Pompilus was originally a man; and he was changed into a fish, on account of some love affair of Apollo's. For the river Imbrasus flows by the city of the Samians,—
And join'd to him, the fairest of the nymphs,They say then that Apollo fell in love with her and endeavored to ravish her; and that she having crossed over to Miletus at the time of some festival of Diana, when the endeavour was about to be made to carry her off, being afraid of such an attempt being made, and being on her guard, entreated Pompilus, who was a seafaring man and a friend of her father, to conduct her safe back again to her own country, saying this,—
The young and noble Chesias, bore a daughter,
The lovely maid Ocyrhoe—her whose beauty
Was the kind Hours' heaven-descended gift.
O Pompilus, to whose wise breast are knownAnd they say that he led her down to the shore, and conducted her safely across the sea: and that Apollo appeared and carried off the maiden, and sunk the ship with stones, and metamorphosed Pompilus into a fish of the same name, and that he made
The rapid depths of the hoarse roaring sea,
Show that your mind doth recollect my sire,
Who was your friend, and save his daughter now.
The Pompilus an everlasting slave
Of ships that swiftly pass along the sea.
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).”
But Clitarchus, in the seventh book of his treatise on Dialects, says—“The nautical people call the pompilus the sacred fish, because it conducts ships out of the open sea into harbour, on which account it is called πόμπιλος from πέμπω, being the same fish as the chrysophrys.” And Eratosthenes in his Mercury says— [p. 447]
They left a share of all their booty there;Now after all this discussion of ours about fish, the excellent Ulpian may ask why Archestratus, speaking in those excellent suggestions of his of the cured fish on the Bosphoru, says—
Still living centipedes, the bearded mullet,
The sea-thrush, with dark spots embroider'd o'er,
Or the swift sacred fish with golden brows.
Those which do come from the Bosphoric seasWhat is the fish, which he says it is not proper to mention in poetry?
Are whitest; only let there be no sample
Of the hard meat o' the fish which grow around
The Lake Mæotis; not in verse can I
That fish correctly name.
Anchovies must be next considered. And, indeed, Aristonymus uses the word in the singular number, in his Shivering Sun— So that there really is not one anchovy. But of the anchovies there are many kinds, and the one which is called aphritis1 is not produced from roe, as Aristotle says, but from a foam which floats upon the surface of the water, and which collects in quantities when there have been heavy rains. There is also another kind called cobitis, and that is produced from some little worthless gudgeons which are generated in the sand; and from this anchovy itself another kind is produced, which is called the encrasicholus. There is also another anchovy which is the offspring of the sprat; and another which comes from the membras; and another still which comes from the small cestris, which is engendered in the sand and slime. But of all these kinds the aphritis is the best. But Dorion, in his treatise on Fishes, speaks of a fish called the cobites, as good boiled, and also of the spawn of the atherina; and atherina is the name of a fish; and some also call the triglitis an anchovy. But Epicharmus, in his Hebe's Marriage, enumerates the anchovies among the shrimps or membrades; making a distinction between this and what is called the seed. And Icesius says, “Of the anchovy, there is one sort which is white and very thin and frothy, which some people also call the cobitis. And there is another which is not so clean as that, and which is larger; but the [p. 448] clean and thin one is the better of the two.” And Archestratus the contriver of delicate dishes, says,—
Use all anchovies for manure, except
The Attic fish; I mean that useful seed
Which the Ionians do call the foam;
And take it fresh; just caught within the bays,
The sacred bays of beautiful Phalerum.
Good is it too, when by the sea-girt isle
Of Rhodes you eat it, if it's not imported.
And if you wish to taste it in perfection,
Boil nettles with it—nettles whose green leaves
On both sides crown the stem; put these in the dish
Around the fish, then fry them in one pan,
And mix in fragrant herbs well steep'd in oil.
But Clearchus the Peripatetic, in his treatise on Proverbs, speaks of the anchovy, and says—“Because they want very little fire for the frying-pan, Archestratus recommends people to put them into a pan which is already hot, and to take them off as soon as they hiss. And they are done, and begin to hiss in a moment, like oil; on which account it is said, 'Anchovy, look at the fire.'” And Chrysippus the philosopher, in his treatise on the Things which deserve to be sought for their own Sakes, says, “The anchovy which is found in the sea at Athens, men despise on account of its abundance, and say that it is a poor man's fish; but in other cities they prize it above everything, even where it is far inferior to the Attic anchovy. Moreover some people,” says he, “endeavour to rear the Adriatic fowls in this place, which are much less useful than our own kinds, inasmuch as they are smaller. But the people in the Adriatic, on the contrary, send for our breed from hence.” Hermippus, too, uses the word ἀφύη in the singular number, in his Demotæ, where he says,—
You seem not now to move even an anchovy.And Calcias, in his Cyclops, says—
In preference to the best anchovy.And Aristonymus, in his Shivering Sun, says—
So that there is not really one anchovy.But Aristophanes uses the diminutive form, and calls them ἀφύδια in his Friers, saying—
Nor these little Phaleric ἀφύδια.
But Lynceus the Samian, in his letter to Diagoras, [p. 449] praising the Rhodian anchovies, and comparing many of the productions of Attica to those of Rhodes, says—“We may compare to the anchovies of Phalerum those which are called the Aeniatides, and you may compare the ellops and the orphus with the glauciscus; and with the Eleusinian plaice and turbot, and whatever other fish there may be among them enjoying a reputation higher than that of Cecrops, Rhodes has the fox fish to compare.” But the author of the Delight of Life, exhorts the man who is unable to purchase enough to satisfy his appetite, to get fish to eat by robbery, rather than go without it. But Lynceus calls Archestratus an epicure, who in that much celebrated poem of his speaks thus of the shark:—
Are you at Rhodes? e'en if about to die,
Still, if a man would sell you a fox shark,
The fish the Syracusans call the dog,
Seize on it eagerly; at least, if fat:
And then compose yourself to meet your fate
With brow serene and mind well satisfied.
The acharnus is mentioned by Callias in his Cyclops—
A harp-fish roast, besides a ray,
The head too of a tunny,
And eel, some crabs, and this acharnus,
The great Aenean dainty.
The ray, roach, or sea frog may also be mentioned. They are mentioned under the two former names by Aristotle in his treatise on Animals, where he classes them under the head of cartilaginous fish. And Eupolis, in his Flatterers, says—
At Callias's house there is much pleasure,And Epicharmus says, in his Marriage of Hebe—
For he has crabs for dinner, rays besides,
And hares, and women with light twinkling feet.
And there were rays and sea-frogs, sawfish, sharks,And in his Megarian Woman he writes—
Camitæ, roach, and lobsters with hard shells.
Its sides were like a ray,And Sannyrion says, in his Laughter—
Its back was altogether like a roach,
Its head was long, far more like a stag's,
Its flanks were like a scorpion's, son of the sea.
O rays, O dainty grayling.And Aristotle in the fifth book of his treatise on the Parts of [p. 450] Animals, says that the following are cartilaginous fish; the ray, the turtle, the sea cow, the lamprey, the sea eagle, the sea frog, and the whole of the shark tribe. But Sophron in his Farces, gives one fish the name of botis, saying, “The cestres eat the botis,” though it is possible that he may be speaking of some herb. But with respect to the sea frog, the wise Archestratus gives us the following advice in his Apophthegms—
Whenever you behold a frog, why roast himAnd concerning the ray, he says—
* * * *
And . . . . prepare his stomach.
A boiled ray is good about midwinter.And Ephippus the comic poet, in his play called Philyra, (now Philyra is the name of a courtesan), says—
Eat it with cheese and assafœtida;
But all the sons o' the sea whose flesh is lean
Should, as a rule, be dress'd in such a fashion;
And thus I recommend you now again.
A. Shall I first cut a ray in slender slices
And boil it? aye? or like the cooks in Sicily
Shall I prefer to roast it?
B. Copy Sicily.
There are also fish called boaxes. Aristotle, in his treatise entitled Concerning Animals or Fish, says, “The following animals are marked on the back; the boax and others—the following are marked transversely, the kind of tunny fish called colias.” And Epicharmus in his Marriage of Hebe, speaks thus—
And in addition to all these the boax,And Numenius, in his Art of Fishing, calls them boeces, saying—
The smarides, anchovies, crabs and lobsters.
The white synodons, the boeces, and trinchi.But Speusippus and the rest of the Attic writers call them boaces. Aristophanes in his play called The Women who occupy Tents, says—
But having had a bellyful of boaces,And they derived their name from the noise (βοὴ) which they make, on which account it used to be said that the fish was sacred to Mercury, as the harp fish was to Apollo. But [p. 451] Pherecrates in his Ant-Men, saying—“They say that there is no other fish whatever, which has any voice at all;” ads afterwards,—“By Castor and Pollux, there is at least no other fish except the boax.” And Aristophanes the Byzantian says— “That we are wrong to call the fish boax, when we ought to call it boops, since, though it is but a little fish, it as very large eyes, so that it might be called boops, having bulls' eyes.” But we may reply to him, If we are wrong in naming him as we do, why do we say coracinus, not corocinus? For he derives his name from moving the pupils of his eyes (ἀπὸ τοῦ τὰς κόρας κινεῖν). And so too, why do we not call the fish σείουρος instead of σίλουρος̣ for he has his name from continually shaking his tail (ἀπὸ τοῦ σείειν τὴν οὐράν)?
I turn'd my steps towards home.
With respect to the small kind of anchovy called membras, Phrynicus, in his Tragedians, says—
O golden-headed membrades, sons of the sea.But Epicharmus in his Hebe's Wedding, calls them bambradones, and says—
Bambradones and sea-thrushes, and hares,And Sophron in his Manly Qualities, says—“The bambradon, and the needle fish.” And Numenius says, in his Treatise on Fishing,
And furious dragons.
Or a small sprat, or it may be a bembras,And Dorion in his book on Fishes, says—"Having taken off the head of a bembras, if it be one of a tolerable size, and having washed it with water, and a small quantity of salt, then boil it in the same manner as you do a mullet; and the bembras is the only kind of anchovy from which is derived the condiment called bembraphya; which is mentioned by Aristonymus in the Sun Shivering—
Kept in a well; you recollect these baits.
The carcinobates of SicilyStill the Attic writers often call them bembrades. Aristomenes says in his Jugglers—
Resembles the bembraphya.
Bringing some bembrades purchased for an obol.And Aristonymus in his Sun Shivering, says—
The large anchovy plainly is not now,[p. 452] And Aristophanes says in his Old Age—
Nor e'en the bembras, quite unfortunate.
Fed on the hoary bembrades.And Plato in his Old Men, says—
O Hercules, do just survey these bembrades.But in the Goats of Eupolis we may find the word written also with a μ (not βεμβρὰς but μεμβρὰς). And Antiphanes says, in his Cnœsthis;—
They do proclaim within the fishmarketAnd Alexis in his Woman leading the Chorus, writes the word with a μ—
The most absurd of proclamations,
For just now one did shout with all his voice'
That he had got some bembrades sweet as honey;
But if this be the case, then what should hinder
The honey-sellers crying out and saying,
That they have honey stinking like a bembras?
Who to the young folks making merry, thenAnd in his Protochorus he says—
Put forth but lately pulse and membrades,
And well-press'd grapes to eat.
No poorer meal, by Bacchus now I swear,
Have I e'er tasted since I first became
A parasite; I'd rather sup on membrades
With any one who could speak Attic Greek;
It would be better for me.
There is also a fish called the blennus, and it is mentioned by Sophron, in his play entitled The Fisherman and the Countryman, and he calls it the fat blennus. It is something like the tench in shape. But Epicharmus in his Hebe's Wedding speaks of a fish which he calls baiones, where he says—
Come now and bring me high-backed mullets,And among the Attic writers there is a proverb, “No baion for me; he is a poor fish.”
And the ungrateful baiones.
There is also a shell-fish called buglossus. And Archestratus, the Pythagorean, says, because of his temperate habits,
Then we may take a turbot plump, or e'enAnd Epicharmus, in his Hebe's Wedding, says—
A rough buglossus in the summer time,
If one is near the famous Chalcis.
There were buglossi and the harp-fish there.[p. 453] But the fish called cynoglossus differs from the buglossus. And of them too Epicharmus speaks—
There were the variegated plotides,But the Attic writers call the buglossus the psetta.
And cynoglossi, and sciathides.
There are also fish called congers. Icesius says that these are coarser than the common eels; and that their flesh is less firm and less nutritious, and that they are very deficient in palatable juice; but still, that they are good for the stomach. But Nicander, the epic poet, in the third book of his Treatise on Dialects, says that they are also called grylli. But Eudoxus, in the sixth book of his Circuit of the Earth, says that there are numbers of congers caught off Sicyon, each large enough to be a load for a man; and some of them even big enough to be a load for a cart. And Philemon, the comic poet, himself mentioning the extraordinary congers at Sicyon, represents a cook as priding himself on his skill, and saying in the play entitled the Soldier,—
How great a wish has now come over me[p. 454]
To tell to heaven and earth the way in which
I did prepare that supper. Aye, by Pallas,
How sweet it is when everything goes right!
How tender was my fish! and how I dress'd it!
Not done with cheese, or powder'd o'er with dyes,
But looking as he did in life, though roasted.
So mild and gentle was the fire which I
Did to the fish apply, you'd scarce believe it.
It was as when a hen does seize some food,
And carries it away to eat at leisure:
She runs all round with care; another sees her,
And straightway follows her to take it from her.
So here, the man who first found out the pleasure
Of dainty eating, sprang up high and ran
All round and round, with his dish in his hand.
The rest pursued him—it was fine to see them:
Some got a little, some got nothing, some
Got all they wanted. Well, as I was saying,
I took some river fish, eaters of mud.
What if I'd had a scare, or blue-back'd fish
From Attic waters, O thou saving Jupiter!
Or boar from Argive woods, or noble conger
From Sicyon's bay, the conger which the god
Of the deep sea doth bear aloft to heaven,
Fit banquet for his brethren. Then no doubt
The guests who ate would all have seem'd like gods;
I should have been immortal, since the dead
By the mere smell of my meat I bring to life again.
I swear by Minerva that Menecrates the Syracusan himself would not have made such a boast as that, he who was nick-named Jupiter—a man who gave himself airs as being, by his skill in medicine, the only person who could cause man to live. Accordingly he compelled all who came to be cured by him of what is called the sacred disease, to enter into a written agreement that if they recovered they would be his slaves. And they followed him, one wearing the dress of Hercules, and being called Hercules, (and the man who was so called was Nicostratus, an Argive, who had been cured of the sacred disease, and he is mentioned by Ephippus, in his Peltast, where he says—
Did not Menecrates call himself a god,and another followed him in the dress of Mercury, having on a cloak and bearing a caduceus, and wings besides. As Nicagoras of Zelia did, who also became afterwards the tyrant of his country, as Baton relates in the history of the Tyrants at Ephesus. And Hegesander says that he called Astycreon, who had been cured by him, Apollo. And another of those who had been cured by him, went about with him to his cost, wearing the dress of Aesculapius. But Jupiter Menecrates himself, clad in purple, and having a golden crown upon his head, and holding a sceptre, and being shod with slippers, went about with his chorus of gods. And once, writing to Philip the king, he began his letter thus—
And Nicostratus of Argos a second Hercules?)
"Menecrates Jupiter to Philip greeting. “You, indeed, are king of Macedonia, but I am king of medicine; and you are able, when you please, to put men to death, who are in health.; but I am able to save those who are sick, and to cause those who are in good health, if they only follow my advice, to live to old age without being attacked by disease. Therefore the Macedonians attend you as body-guards; but all who wish to live attend me; for I, Jupiter, give them life.” And so Philip wrote back to him as to a man out of his senses,—“Philip wishes Menecrates soundness.” And he wrote in similar style to Archidemus, also the king of the Lacedæmonians, and to every one else to whom he wrote at all; never omitting to give himself the name of Jupiter. And once Philip invited him and all his gods to supper, and [p. 455] placed them all on the centre couch, which was adorned in the loftiest and most holy-looking and beautiful manner. And he had a table placed before them on which there was an altar and first-fruits of the different productions of the earth. And whenever eatables were placed before the other guests, the slaves placed incense before Menecrates, and poured libations in his honour. And at last, the new Jupiter, with all his subordinate gods, being laughed at by every one, ran away and fled from the banquet, as Hegesander relates. And Alexis also makes mention of Menecrates in his Minos.
And Themiso the Cyprian, the friend of Antiochus the king as Pythermus the Ephesian relates in the eighth book of his History, not only used to have his name proclaimed in the public assemblies, “Themiso, the Macedonian, the Hercules of Antiochus the king;” but all the people of that country used to sacrifice to him, addressing him as Hercules Themiso; and he himself would come when any of the nobles celebrated a sacrifice, and would sit down, having a couch to himself, and being clad in a lion's skin, and he used also to bear a Scythian bow, and in his hand he carried a club. Menecrates then himself, though he was such as we have said, never made such a preposterous boast as the cook we have been speaking of,—
I am immortal, for I bring the dead,
By the mere smell of my meat, to life again.
But the whole tribe of cooks are conceited and arrogant, as Hegesander says in his Brothers. For he introduces a cook, saying—
A. My friend, a great deal has been said alreadyNow, I beg you, tell me, in the name of all the gods at once, in what respect this man appears to you to differ from the Celedones in Pindar, who, in the same manner as the Sirens of old, caused those who listened to them to forget their food through delight, and so to waste away?
By many men on the art of cookery,
So either tell me something new yourself,
Unknown to former cooks, or spare my ears.
B. I'll not fatigue you; know that I alone
Of present men have sounded all the depths
Of culinary science and invention;
For I have not been just a short two years
Learning my art with snow-white apron girt,
But all my life I have devoted anxiously
To the investigation of each point
Of moment; I have inquired into all
The different kinds of herbs and vegetables;
I know the habits of the bembrades,
I know the lentils in their various sorts;
In short, this I can say—Whene'er I am
[p. 456] At a funereal feast as minister,
As soon as men come back from the funeral,
Clad in dark garments, I take off the lids
Of all my saucepans, and the weeping guests
I clothe with smiling faces in a moment;
And such a joy runs through each heart and frame
As if they were a marriage feast attending.
A. What! serving up lentils and bembrades?
B. These are some accidental dishes only;
But when I've got my necessary tools,
And once have properly arranged my kitchen,
That which in old time happen'd with the Sirens
You shall again behold repeated now.
For such shall be the savoury smell, that none
Shall bring themselves to pass this narrow passage;
And every one who passes by the door
Shall stand agape, fix'd to the spot, and mute,
Till some one of his friends, who's got a cold
And lost his smell, drags him away by force.
A. You're a great artist.
B. Do not you then know
To whom you speak? I do declare to you
I have known many of the guests, who have,
For my sake, eaten up their whole estates.
But Nicomachus, in his Ilithyia, himself also introduces a cook, who in arrogance and conceit goes far beyond the artists on the stage. This cook then speaks to the man who has hired him in this way,—
A. You do display a gentlemanlike taste
And kind; but one thing still you have omitted.
B. How so?
A. You never have inquired it seems
How great a man I am. Or had you heard it
From some one else who was acquainted with me,
And so was that the reason you engaged me?
B. By Jove I never heard or thought about it.
A. Perhaps you do not know how great the difference
Is that exists between one cook and another?
B. Not I, but I shall know now, if you tell me.
A. To take some meat that some one else has bought,
And then to dress it tolerably, is
What any cook can do.
B. O Hercules!
[p. 457] A. A perfect cook is quite another thing.
For there are many admirable arts,
All of which he must master thoroughly
Who would excel in this. He first must have
A smattering of painting; and indeed
Many the sciences are which he must learn
Before he's fit to begin learning cookery,—
And you should know them ere you talk to me,—
Astrology, and Medicine, and Geometry.
For by these arts you'll know the qualities
And excellences of the various fish.
You'll learn to guide your dishes by the seasons;
And when this fish is in, and this is out,
For there is great variety in the pleasures
That from the table spring. Sometimes, for instance,
A boax will be better than a tunny.
B. Perhaps; but what on earth has that to do
With your geometry
A. Why this. We say
The kitchen is a sphere; this we divide,
And take one portion, as may suit our art,
Borrowing the principles of mensuration.
B. I understand; that's quite enough of that.
Where does your medical skill display itself?
A. Know there are meats hard, indigestible,
Pregnant with flatulence, causing only torture
To the unhappy eater, and no nourishment.
Yet those who sup at other folks' expense
Are always greedy and not temperate.
For these and similar viands, remedies
Must come from the resources of our art;
And how to marshal everything in order
With wisdom and propriety, we learn
By borrowing from the science of the General.
To count the guests requires arithmetic.
And no one else has all these parts of knowledge
B. Now in your turn, awhile
Listen to me.
A. Say on.
B. Give no more trouble
To me nor to yourself: but just keep quiet,
And rest yourself all day for all I care.
And the cook in the Younger Philemon wishes to be a sort of tutor, and speaks in this fashion—
There, let things be as they are. Only take care
The fire may not too small be or too slow
To roast the joints. (As a fire like that
Makes meat not roast but sodden.) Nor too fierce.
(For that again does burn whate'er it catches,
[p. 458] And yet is far from cooking the meat through.)
It is not every one who has a spoon
And knife about him that we call a cook,
Nor every one who puts his fish in a pan;
There is more wit and reason in the business.
And the cook in Diphilus's Painter tells us also to whom he thinks it worth his while to hire himself, saying—
A. I will not use your meat, nor give my aid
Unless I'm sure that I shall have all means
Which needful are to make a proper show;
Nor do I e'er go anywhere till first
I know who 'tis who makes the sacrifice,
Or what the cause may be which prompts the banquet,
,Or who the guests are who have been invited.
For I have got a regular list at home
Of where I choose to go, and where I don't.
As first, to speak of the commercial class;
Some captain of a ship may take a sacrifice
Just to discharge some vow, made when he lost
His mast, pr broke the rudder of his vessel,
Or, having sprung a leak, threw overboard
His cargo. I'll have nought to do with him:
For he does nothing willingly, but only
Just so much as he thinks he cannot help.
And every time a cup is fill'd with wine,
He makes a calculation of the sum
Which he can charge his owners or his passengers,
And thinks that what his guests do eat and drink
Is his own flesh and blood. Another came,
But three days since, from the Byzantine port,
Safe and successful; joyful in a profit
Of ten or twelve per cent; talking of nothing
But freight and interest, spending all his love
On worn-out panders. Soon as he did quit
The ship and set his foot upon the land,
I blew my nose, gave him my hand, and utter'd
Audible thanks to saving Jupiter,
And hasten'd forth to wait on him. For this
Is always my way; and I find it answer.
Again, an amorous youth will feast and squander
His sire's estate; to him I go at call.
But those who feast in shares, and throw together
Into one dish their petty contributions,
Though they may tear their clothes, and cry aloud,
“Come, who will cook us our new-purchased supper.”
I let bawl on. For if you go to them,
First there is language hard and blows to bear;
Secondly, one must slave the livelong night;
And when at last you ask them for your pay,
“First bring the pot,” say they. "There was no vinegar
[p. 459] In all that salad." Ask again. "Aye, you
Shall be the first to be well beaten here."
I could recount ten thousand facts like this.
B. But where I take now is a rich brothel,
Where a rich courtesan with other friends
Desires to celebrate with great abundance
A joyous feast in honour of Adonis,
And where you may enjoy yourself in style.
And Archedicus, in his Treasure, another philosophical cookling, speaks in this way—
In the first place the guests invited cameAnd Philostephanus, in his Delian, gives a catalogue of the names of some celebrated cooks in these lines, and those which follow them—
While still the fish lay on the dresser raw.
“Give me some water.”“Bring the fish up quick.”
Then placing all my pans upon the fire,
I soak'd the ashes well with oil, and raise
A rapid heat. Meantime the fragrant herbs
And pleasant sharpness of the seasonings
Delight my master. Quickly I serve up
Some fish exactly boiled; retaining all
His juice, and all his unextracted flavour;
A dish which any free-born man must know
How to appreciate rightly. In this manner
At the expense of one small pot of oil
I gain employment at full fifty banquets.
In my opinion you, O Dædalus,
Surpass all cooks in skill and genius,
Save the Athenian Thimbron, call'd the Top.
So here I've come to beg your services,
Bringing the wages which I know you ask.
And Sotades, not the Maronite poet, who composed Ionian songs, but the poet of the middle comedy, in the play entitled The Shut-up Women, (for that was the name which he gave to it,) introduces a cook making the following speech,—
First I did take some squills, and fried them all;
Then a large shark I cut in slices large,
Roasting the middle parts, and the remainder
I boil'd and stuff'd with half-ripe mulberries.
Then I take two large heads of dainty grayling,
And in a large dish place them, adding simply
Herbs, cummin, salt, some water, and some oil.
Then after this I bought a splendid pike,
To boil in pickle with all sorts of herbs.
Avoiding all such roasts as want a spit,
[p. 460] I bought too some fine mullet, and young thrushes,
And put them on the coals just as they were,
Adding a little brine and marjoram.
To these I added cuttle-fish and squills.
A fine dish is the squill when carefully cook'd.
But the rich cuttle-fish is eaten plain,
Though I did stuff them all with a rich forced meat
Of almost every kind of herb and flower.
Then there were several dishes of boil'd meats,
And sauce-boats full of oil and vinegar.
Besides all this a conger fine and fat
I bought, and buried in a fragrant pickle;
Likewise some tench, and clinging to the rocks
Some limpets. All their heads I tore away,
And cover'd them with flour and bread crumbs over,
And then prepared them as I dress'd the squills.
There was a widow'd amia too, a noble
And dainty fish. That did I wrap in fig-leaves,
And soak'd it through with oil, and over all
With swaddling clothes of marjoram did I fold it,
And hid it like a torch beneath the ashes.
With it I took anchovies from Phalerum,
And pour'd on them one cruet full of water.
Then shredding herbs quite fine, I add more oil,
More than two cotylee in quantity.
What next? That's all. This sir is what I do,
Not learning from recipes or books of cookery.
However, this is enough about cooks. But we must say something about the conger. For Archestratus, in his Gastronomy, tells us how every part of it should be treated, saying—
In Sicyon my friend you best can getAnd after this he goes through the whole country of Italy, saying where the congers are best, describing them like a regular writer of an Itinerary, and he says—
A mighty head of conger, fat, and strong,
And large; and also take his entrails whole,
Then boil him a long time, well-soak'd in brine.
There too fine congers may be caught, and theyAnd Alexis, in his Seven against Thebes, says—
Are to all other fish as far superior
As a fat tunny is to coracini.
And all the parts of a fine conger eelAnd Archedicus, in his Treasure, introduces a cook speaking of some fish which he has been buying in the following terms— [p. 461]
Well hash'd together, overlaid with fat.
Then for three drachmas I agrayling bought.
Five more I gave for a large conger's head
And shoulders. (Oh, how hard a thing is life!)
Another drachma for the neck. I swear
By Phoebus, if I knew where I could get
Or buy another neck myself, at once
I'd choke the one which now is on my shoulders,
Rather than bring these dishes to this place.
For no one ever had a harder job
To buy so many things at such a price;
And yet if I have bought a thing worth buying
May I be hang'd. They will devour me.
What I now say is what concerns myself.
And then, such wine they spit out on the ground!
There is a kind of shark called γαλεὸς, which is eaten. And Icesius, in his treatise on Materials, says that the best and tenderest kind of galei are those called asteriæ. But Aristotle says that there are many kinds of them—the thorny, the smooth, the spotted, the young galeus, the fox shark, and the file shark. But Dorion, in his Book on Fishes, says that the fox shark has only one fin towards his tail, but has none along the ridge of his back. But Aristotle, in the fifth book of his Parts of Animals, says that the centrines is also a kind of shark, and also the notidanus. But Epænetus, in his Cookery Book, calls the latter the enotideus, and says “that the centrines is very inferior to him, and that it has a bad smell; and that the one may be distinguished from the other by the fact of the centrines having a sort of spur on his first fin, while the rest of the kinds have not got such a thing.” “And he says that these fishes have no fat or suet in them, because they are cartilaginous.” And the acanthias, or thorny shark, has this peculiarity, that his heart is five-cornered. And the galeus has three young at most; and it receives its young into his mouth, and immediately ejects them again; and the variegated galeus is especially fond of doing this, and so is the fox shark. But the other kinds do not do so, because of the roughness of the skins of the young ones.
But Archestratus, the man who lived the life of Sardanapalus, speaking of the galeus as he is found at Rhodes, says that it is the same fish as that which, among the Romans, is brought on the table to the music of flutes, and accompanied with crowns, the slaves also who carry it being [p. 462] crowned, and that it is called by the Romans accipesius. But the accipesius, the same as the acipenser, or sturgeon, is but a small fish in comparison, and has a longer nose, and is more triangular than the galeus in his shape. And the very smallest and cheapest galeus is not sold at a lower price than a thousand Attic drachmæ.2 But Appian, the grammarian, in his essay on the Luxury of Apicius, says that the accipesius is the fish called the ellops by the Greeks. But Archestratus, speaking of the Rhodian galeus, counselling his companions in a fatherly sort of way, says—
Are you at Rhodese'en if about to die,Lynceus, the Samian, also quotes these verses in his letter to Diagoras, and says that the poet is quite right in advising the man who cannot afford the price for one, to gratify his appetite by robbery rather than go without it. For he says that Theseus; who I take to have been some very good-looking man, offered to indulge Thepolemus in anything if he would only give him one of these fish. And Timocles, in his play called The Ring, says—
Still, if a man would sell you a fox shark,
The fish the Syracusans call the dog,
Seize on it eagerly; at least, if fat:
And then compose yourself to meet your fate
With brow serene and mind well satisfied.
Galei and rays, and all the fish besides
Which cooks do dress with sauce and vinegar.
There is also the sea-grayling. Epicharmus, in his Hebe's Wedding, says—
There is the variegated scorpion,And Numenius, in his Treatise on Fishing, says—
The lizard, and the fat sea-grayling too.
The hycca, the callicthys, and the chromis,And Archestratus, praising the head of the glaucus, says—
The orphus, the sea-grayling too, who haunts
The places where seaweed and moss abound.
If you're at Megara or at Olynthus,And Antiphanes, in his Shepherd, says—
Dress me a grayling's head. For in the shallows
Around those towns he's taken in perfection.
Bœotian eels, and mussels too from Pontus,[p. 463] And the same writer, in his Philotis, speaks thus—
Graylings from Megara, from Carystus shrimps,
Eretrian phagri, and the Scyrian crabs.
A. What shall be done with the grayling?
Now, as at other times, boil him in brine.
A. What with the pike?
B. Why roast him whole, and dish h m.
A. What with the galeus?
B. Do him up with stuffing,
And serve him hot.
A. How will you have the eels!?
B. Cook them with salt, and marjoram, and water.
A. The conger?
B. Do the same.
A. The ray?
B. Take herbs
And season him with them.
A. There is besides
Half a large tunny.
B. Roast it.
A. Some goat's venison.
B. Roast that.
A. How will you have the rest o' the meat?
B. All boil'd.
A. The spleen?
B. Stuff that.
A. The paunch and trail?
And Eubulus says, in his Campylion,—
There was a beautiful dish of the sea-grayling,And Anaxandrides, in his Nereus, says—
And a boil'd pike served up i' savoury pickle.
The man who first discover'd all the goodAnd Amphis, in his Seven against Thebes, says—
Of the most precious head of a large grayling,
And then how dainty was the tunny's meat,
Caught where the waves are by no tempests tost,
How good in short is the whole race of fish,
Nereus his name, dwells in this place for ever.
Whole graylings, and large slices of the head.And in his Philetærus, he says—
Take a small eel, and a fine grayling's head,And Antiphanes, in his Cyclops, out-heroding even the epicure Archestratus, says—
And slices of a pike fresh from the sea.
Give me an Hymettian mullet,
And a ray just caught, a perch
Split open, and a cuttle-fish,
And a well-roasted synodon;
[p. 464] A slice of grayling, and a head
Of mighty conger, luscious food;
A frog's inside, a tunny's flank,
A ray's sharp back, a cestra's loin,
Sea-sparrows, and sea-thrushes too,
Sprats, and anchovies, let me not
Complain of any want.
And Nausicrates says, in his Captains of Ships,—
A. They say there are two kinds of fish most tenderAnd Theolytus, the Methymnæan, in his Bacchic Odes, says that Glaucus the deity of the sea became enamoured of Ariadne, when she was carried off by Bacchus in the island of Dia; and that he, attempting to offer violence to her, was bound by Bacchus in fetters made of vine-twigs; but that when he begged for mercy he was released, saying—
And beautiful to see, which oft appear
To sailors wandering o'er the spacious plains
Of ocean. And they say that one foretells
To mortals all the evils which hang o'er them.
B. You mean the grayling.
A. You are right, I do.
There is a place, Anthedon is its name,And Promathides of Heraclea, in his Half Iambics, traces the pedigree of Glaucus as being the son of Polybus, the son of Mercury, and of Eubœa, the daughter of Larymnus. But Mnaseas, in the third book of his history of the Affairs of Europe, calls him the son of Anthedon and Alcyone; and says that he was a sailor and an excellent diver, and that he was surnamed Pontius; and that having ravished Syme, the daughter of Ialemus and Dotis, he sailed away to Asia, and colonised a desert island near Caria, and called that Syme, from the name of his wife. But Euanthes, the epic poet, in his Hymn to Glaucus, says that he was the son of Neptune and the nymph Nais; and that he was in love with Ariadne, in the island of Dia, and was favoured by her after she had been left there by Theseus. But Aristotle, in his Constitution of the Delians, says that he settled in Delos with the Nereids, and gave oracles to all who wished for them. But Possis, the Magnesian, in the third book of his Amazonis, says that Glaucus was the builder of the Argo, and that he was [p. 465] her pilot when Jason fought the Etrurians, and was the only person unwounded in that naval battle; and that by he will of Jupiter he appeared in the depths of the sea, and so became a sea deity, but was seen by Jason alone. But Nicanor the Cyrenæan, in his Changes of Names, says that Melicerta changed his name and assumed the name of Glaucus.
On the seaside, against th' Eubœan isle,
Near to the stream of the still vext Euripus—
Thence is my race; and Copeus was my sire.
Alexander the Aetolian also mentions him in his poem entitled the Fisherman, saying that he
First tasted grass,(and then was immersed in the sea and drowned,)
The herb which in the islands of the blest,But Aeschrion the Samian, in some one of his Iambic poems, says that Glaucus the sea-deity was in love with Hydna, the daughter of Scyllus, the diver of Scione. And he makes particular mention of this herb, namely, that any one who eats of it becomes immortal, saying—
When first the spring doth beam upon the earth,
The untill'd land shows to the genial sun.
And the sun gives it to his weary steeds,
A most refreshing food, raised in the shade.
So that they come in vigour back renew'd
Unto their daily task, and no fatigue
Or pain can stop their course.
And you found too th' agrostis of the gods,And Nicander, in the third book of his Europe, says that Glaucus was beloved by Nereus. And the same Nicander, in the first book of his history of the Affairs of Aetolia, says that Apollo learnt the art of divination from Glaucus; and that Glaucus when he was hunting near Orea, (and that is a lofty mountain in Aetolia,) hunted a hare, which was knocked up by the length of the chance, and got under a certain fountain, and when just on the point of dying, rolled itself on the herbage that was growing around; and, as it recovered its strength by means of the herbage, Glaucus too perceived the virtues of this herb, and ate some himself. And becoming a god in consequence, when a storm came, he, in accordance with the will of Jupiter, threw himself into the sea. But Hedylus, whether he was a Samian or an Athenian I know not, says that Glaucus was enamoured of Melicert, and threw himself into the sea after him. But Hedyl, the mother of this poet, and daughter of Moschine of Atica, a [p. 466] poetess who composed Iambics, in her poem which is entitled Scylla, relates that Glaucus being in love with Scylla came to her cave—
The sacred plant which ancient Saturn sow'd.
Bearing a gift of love, a mazy shell,
Fresh from the Erythrean rock, and with it too
The offspring, yet unfledged, of Alcyon,
To win th' obdurate maid. He gave in vain.
Even the lone Siren on the neighbouring isle
Pitied the lover's tears. For as it chanced,
He swam towards the shore which she did haunt,
Nigh to th' unquiet caves of Aetna.
There is also a fish called the fuller. Dorion, in his treatise on Fish, says that the juice which proceeds from the boiling of a fuller will take out every kind of stain; and Epænetus also mentions it in his Cookery Book.
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.
But among the people of Phaselis, even salt-fish are offered in sacrifice. At all events, Heropythus, in his Annals of the Colophonians, speaking of the original settlement of Phaselis, says that “Lacius, having conducted the colony, gave as the price of the ground to Cylabras, a shepherd who fed sheep there, some salt-fish, as that was what he asked for. For when Lacius had proposed to him to take as a price for [p. 467] the soil either barley-cakes, or wheat-cakes, or salt-fish, Cyla- bras chose the salt-fish. And, on this account, the people of Phaselis every year, even to this day, sacrifice salt-fish to Cylabras.” But Philostephanus, in the first book of his treatise on the Cities of Asia, writes thus:—“That Lacius the Argive, being one of the men who had come with Mopsus, whom some say was a Lindian, and the brother of Antiphemus who colonized Gela, was sent to Phaselis by Mopsus with some men, in accordance with some directions given by Manto the mother of Mopsus, when the sterns of their ships came in collision off the Chelidoniæ, and were much broken, as Lacius and the vessels with him ran into them in the night, in consequence of their arriving later. And it is said that he purchased the land where the city now stands, in obedience to the prophetic directions of Manto, from a man of the name of Cylabras, giving him some salt-fish for it; for that was what he had selected from all the ships contained. On which account, the people of Phaselis sacrifice salt-fish to Cylabras every year, honouring him as their hero.”
But concerning eels, Icesius, in his treatise on Materials, says that eels have a better juice in them than any other fish; and in the quality of being good for the stomach, they are superior to most, for they are very satisfying and very nutritious: though he classes the Macedonian eels among the salt-fish. But Aristotle says that eels are fond of the very purest water; on which account, the people who feed eels pour clean water over them; for they get choked in muddy water. For which reason, those who hunt for them make the water muddy, in order that the eels may be choked; for, having very small gills, their pores are almost immediately stopped up by any mud or disturbance in the water: on which account, also, they are often choked during storms, when the water is disturbed by heavy gales. But they propagate their species being entwined together, and then they discharge a sort of viscous fluid from their bodies, which lies in the mud and generates living creatures. And the people who feed eels say that they feed by night, but that during the day they remain motionless in the mud; and they live about eight years at most. But in other places, Aristotle ells us again, that they are produced without either their progenitors laying eggs or bringing forth living offspring, and also that [p. 468] they are not generated by any copulation, but that they are propagated by the putrefaction which takes place in the mud and slime—as it is said of those things which are called the entrails of the earth. From which circumstance, he says that Homer distinguishes between their nature and that of other fish; and says—
The eels and fish within the briny deep,
Were startled at the blaze.
But a certain Epicurean,3 who was one of our party, when an eel was served up, said,—Here is the Helen of the feast; I therefore will be the Paris! And, before any one else could stretch out a hand towards it, he seized hold of it and split it up, tearing off one side down to the backbone. And the same man, when presently a hot cheese-cake was set before him, and when all refused it, cried out,
I will attack it were it hot as fire;and then, rushing upon it eagerly, and swallowing it, he was carried out severely scalded. And Cynulcus said,—The cormorant is carried out from his battle of the throat! Moreover, Archestratus thus speaks of the eel:—
I praise all kinds of eels; but far the best
Is that which fishermen do take in the sea
Opposite to the strait of Rhegium.
Where you, Messenius, who daily put
This food within your mouth, surpass all mortals
In real pleasure. Though none can deny
That great the virtue and the glory is
Of the Strymonian and Copaic eels.
For they are large, and wonderfully fat;
And I do think in short that of all fish
The best in flavour is the noble eel,
Although he cannot propagate his species.
But, as Homer has said,
The eels and fish were startled,Archilochus has also said, in a manner not inconsistent with that—
And you received full many sightless eels.But the Athenians, as Tryphon says, form all the cases in the singular number with the υ, but do not make the cases in the [p. 469] plural in a similar manner. Accordingly, Aristophanes, in his Acharnensians, says—
Behold, O boys, the noble eel (ἔγχελυν);and, in his Lemnian Women, he says—
The tunny, orphus, grayling, eel, and sea-dog.But the Attic writers do not form the cases in the plural number as Homer does. Aristophanes says, in his Knights- For you have fared like men who're hunting eels (ἐγχέλεις); and, in his second edition of the Clouds, he says—
Imitating my images of the eels (ἐγχελέων);and in his Wasps we find the dative case—
I don't delight in rays nor in ἐγχέλεσινAnd Strattis, in his Potamii, said—
A cousin of the eels (ἐγχελέων).Simonides, too, in his Iambics, writes—
Like an eel (ἔγχελυς) complaining of being slippery.He also uses it in the accusative—
A kite was eating a Mæandrian eel (ἔγχελυν),But Aristotle, in his treatise on Animals, writes the word with an ι, ἔγχελις. But when Aristophanes, in his Knights, says—
But a heron saw him and deprived him of it.
Your fate resembles that of those who hunthe shows plainly enough that the eel is caught in the mud, (ἐκ τῆς ἴλυος,) and it is from this word ἴλυς that the name ἔγχελυς ends in υς. The Poet, therefore, wishing to show that the violent effect of the fire reached even to the bottom of the river, spoke thus-The eels and fish were troubled; speaking of the eels separately and specially, in order to show the very great depth to which the water was influenced by the fire.
For mud-fed eels. For when the lake is still
Their labour is in vain. But if they stir
The mud all up and down, they catch much fish.
And so you gain by stirring up the city;
But Antiphanes, in his Lycon, jesting on the Egyptians after the manner of the comic poets, says— [p. 470]
They say in other things the Egyptian raceAnd Anaxandrides, in his Cities, directing what he says to the Egyptians, speaks as follows—
Is clever also, since they think the eel
On a level with the gods; or I may say
By far more valuable. For, as to the gods,—
Those we gain over by our prayers alone;
But as for eels, without you spend at least
Twelve drachmas you can scarce get leave to smell them.
So it is altogether a holy beast.
I never could myself your comrade be,And Timocles, in his Egyptians, says—
For neither do'our manners nor our laws
Agree with yours, but they are wholly different.
You do adore an ox; I sacrifice him
To the great Gods of heaven. You do think
An eel the mightiest of deities;
But we do eat him as the best of fish.
You eat no pork; I like it above all things.
You do adore a dog; but I do beat him
If e'er I catch him stealing any meat.
Then our laws enjoin the priests to be
Most perfect men; but yours are mutilated.
If you do see a cat in any grief
You weep; but I first kill him and then skin him.
You have a great opinion of the shrew-mouse;
But I have none at all.
How can an ibis or a dog be able
To save a man? For where with impious hearts
Men sin against the all-acknowledged Gods,
And yet escape unpunish'd, who can think
The altar of a cat will be more holy,
Or prompter to avenge itself, than they?
But that men used to wrap eels up in beet, and then eat them, is a fact constantly alluded to in the poets of the old comedy; and Eubulus says in his Echo—
The nymph who never knew the joys of marriage,And in his Ionian he says—
Clothed with rosy beet will now appear,
The white-flesh'd eel. Hail, brilliant luminary,
Great in my taste, and in your own good qualities.
And after this were served up the richAnd in his Medea he says— [p. 471]
Entrails of roasted tunnies; then there came
Those natives of the lake, the holy eels,
Bœotian goddesses; all clothed in beet.
The sweet Bœotian Copaic virgin;And that the eels of the river Strymon were also celebrated, Antiphanes tells us in his Thamyras, saying—
For I do fear to name the Goddess.
And then your namesake river, far renown'dAnd Demetrius the Scepsian, in the sixteenth book of his Trojan Array, says that there were eels of surpassing excellence produced in the neighbourhood of the river Euleus (and this river is mentioned by Antimachus in his work entitled The Tablets, where he says—
In all the mouths of men, the mighty Strymon,
Who waters the rich warlike plains of Thrace,
Breeds mighty eels.
Arriving at the springs
Where Euleus with his rapid eddies rises).
With respect to the ellops, some mention has already been made of him. But Archestratus also speaks in this way of him—
The best of ellopes which you can eat
Come from the bay of famous Syracuse.
Those eat whene'er you can. For that's the place
Whence this great fish originally came.
But those which are around the islands caught,
Or any other land, or nigh to Crete,
Too long have battled with the eddying currents,
And so are thin and harder to the taste.
The erythrinus, or red mullet, has been mentioned too. Aristotle, in his book on Animals, and Speusippus both say that the fishes called erythrinus, phagrus, and hepatus are all very nearly alike. And Dorion has said much the same in his treatise on Fish. But the Cyrenæans give the name of erythrinus to the hyca; as Clitarchus tells us in his Dialects.
The encrasicholi are also mentioned by Aristotle as fish of small size, in his treatise on What relates to Animals. But Dorion, in his book on Fishes, speaks of the encrasicholi among those which are best boiled, speaking in the following terms—“One ought to boil the encrasicholi, and the iopes, and the atherinæ, and the tench, and the smaller mullet, and the cuttle-fish, and the squid, and the different kinds of crab or craw-fish.”
The hepsetus, or boiled fish, is a name given to several small fish. Aristophanes, in his Anagyrus, says—
There is not one dish of hepseti.[p. 472] And Archippus says in his Fishes—
An hepsetus fell in with an anchovyAnd Eupolis, in his Goats, says—
And quick devour'd him.
Ye graces who do love the hepseti.And Eubulus, in his Prosusia or Cycnus, says—
Contented if just once in each twelve daysAnd Alexis, in his Apeglaucomenos, says—
He sees an hepsetus well boil'd in beet.
There were some hepseti besides served upand presently afterwards he continues—
In a dædalean manner. For they call
All clever works by the name of Dædalus;
Will you not now then try the coracini?But this word is always used in the plural, ἑψητοὶ, because they are only served up in numbers. Aristophanes, in his Dramata or Niobus, says—
Nor trichides, nor any hepseti?
I will say nothing of a dish of hepseti.And Menander, in his Perinthian Woman, says—
The boy came in bringing some hepseti.But Nicostratus uses the word in the singular number, in his Hesiod—
A bembras, an anchovy, and a hepsetus.And Posidippus, in his Woman shut up, says—
She's gone to buy a hepsetus.But in my country Naucratis, what they call hepseti are little fish left in the drains or ditches, when the Nile ceases its overflowing.
The hepatus or lebias is the next fish to be noticed. Diodes affirms that this is one of those fish which stick to the rocks; but Speusippus says that the hepatus is the same as the phagrus. But it is a solitary fish, as Aristotle declares, carnivorous, and with serrated teeth; black as to its flesh, and having eyes large, out of all proportion to the rest of its size; and its heart is triangular and white. But Archestratus, the marshal of banquets, says—
Remember that the lebias is best,[p. 473]
As also is the hepatus, in the waves
Which wash the Delian and the Tenian shores.
Then come the elacatenes, or spindle fish. Mnesima- chus, in his Horsebreeder, classes together in one line—
The turbot, tunny, tench, elacatene.But they are a cetaceous fish, very good for curing in his Colons, says—
The tench, th' elacatene, and the tail-fin ofAnd Mnaseas of Patra says, "Of Ichthys and Hesychia, his sister, were born the galene, the lamprey, and the elacatene.
The sea-dog are the best for pickling.
The tunny must also not be forgotten. Aristotle says this fish swims into the Black Sea, always keeping the land on the right; but that he sails out again, keeping the land on the left. For that he can see much best with his right eye, but that he is rather blind with his left eye. And under his fins he has a sort of gadfly; he delights in heat, on which account he comes wherever there is sand; and he is most eatable at the season when he gets rid of that fly. But he propagates his species after his time of torpor is over, as we are told by Theophrastus; and as long as his offspring are little, he is very difficult to catch, but when they get larger, then he is easily caught, because of the gadfly. But the tunny lies in holes, although he is a fish with a great deal of blood. And Archestratus says—
Around the sacred and the spacious isle
Of Samos you may see large tunnies caught.
The Samians call them horcyes, and others
Do name them cetus. These 'tis well to buy,
Fit offering for the Gods; and do it quickly,
Nor stop to haggle or bargain for the price.
Good too are those which fair Byzantium,
Or the Carystian marble rocks do breed.
And in the famous isle of Sicily,
The Cephalcedian and Tyndarian shores
Send forth fish richer still. And if you come
To sacred Italy, where Hipponium's cape
Frowns on the waves which lave the Bruttian coast
Those are the best of all. The tunnies there
Have gain'd the height of fame and palm of victory.
Still those which there you find have wander'd far,
Cross'd many seas, and many a roaring strait,
So that we often catch them out of season.
But this fish was called the tunny (θύννος) from rushing (ἀπὸ τοῦ θύειν), and moving rapidly. For it s an impetuous fish, from, at a particular season, having a gadfly in its [p. 474] head; by which Aristotle says that it is driven about, writing thus—“But the tunny fish and the sword fish are driven to frenzy about the time of the rising of the dogstar; for both of them at that season have under their fins something like a small worm, which is called oestrus, resembling a scorpion, and in size something similar to a spider, and this makes them leap about in leaps as. large as those of the dolphin.” And Theodoridas says,—
The tunnies bend their furious course to Gades.But Polybius of Megalopolis, in the thirty-fourth book of his History, speaking of the Lusitanian district in Iberia, says, “That in the sea, in these parts, acorn-bearing oaks grow, on the fruit of which the tunnies feed, and grow fat; so that a person who called the tunny the pig of the sea would not err, for the tunnies, like the pigs, grow to a great size on these acorns.”
And the intestines of this fish are highly extolled, as Eubulus also tells us, in his Ionian,—
And after this the luscious intestinesAnd Aristophanes, in his Lemnian Woman, says—
Of roasted tunnies sail'd upon the table.
Despise not thou the fat Bœotian eel,And Strattis, in his Atalanta, says—
Nor grayling, nor the entrails of the tunny.
Next buy the entrails of a tunny, andAnd the same poet says in his Macedonians—
Some pettitoes of pigs, to cost a drachma.
And the sweet entrails of the tunny fish.And Eriphus says in his Melibœa—
These things poor men cannot afford to buy,But when Theopompus, in his Callæschrus, says,
The entrails of the tunny or the head
Of greedy pike, or conger, or cuttle-fish,
Which I don't think the gods above despise.
The ὑπογάστριον of fish, O Ceres,we must take notice that the writers of his time apply the term ὑπογάστριον to fish, but very seldom to pigs or other animals; but it is uncertain what animals Antiphanes is speaking of, when he makes use of the term ὑπογάστριον in his Ponticus, where he says— [p. 475]
Whoever has by chance bought dainty foodAnd Alexis, in his Ulysses weaving, praises the head of the tunny; and says—
For these accursed and abandon'd women,
Such as ὑπογάστρια, which may Neptune
Confound for ever; and who seeks to place
Beside them now a dainty loin of meat . . .
A. And I will throw the fishers headlong downThey praised also that part of the tunny which they called “the key,” as Aristophon does, in his Peirithus:—
Into the pit. They only catch for me
Food fit for freed men; trichides and squids,
And partly fried fish.
B. But not long ago,
This man, if he could get a tunny's head,
Thought he was eating tunnies whole, and eels.
A. But now the dinner is all spoilt entirely.
B. Here are two roasted keys quite fit to eat.
A. What, keys to open doors?
B. No, tunny keys;
A dainty dish.
A. There is the Spartan key too.
But Antigonus the Carystian, in his treatise on Language, says that the tunny is sacrificed to Neptune, as we have already mentioned. But Heracleon the Ephesian says that the Attic writers call the tunny the orcynus. And Sostratus, in the second book of his treatise on Animals, says that the pelamys is called the thunnis, or female tunny-fish; but that when it becomes larger, it is called thunnus; and when it gets to a larger size still, it is called the orcynus; and that when it has grown to a size which is quite enormous, then it is called cetus. And Aeschylus likewise mentions the tunny, saying—
I bid you take up hammers now, and beatAnd in another place he says—
The fiery mass of iron, which will utter
No groan, but bear in silence like the tunny.
Turning his eye aside, just like the tunny;because the tunny cannot see well out of his left eye, as Aristotle has said. Menander, in his Fishermen, says—
And the disturbed and muddy sea which breedsAnd in Sophron we find the word θυννοθήρας (a hunter of [p. 476] tunnies); but the same fish which is usually called θύννος, the Attic writers call θυννίς.
The largest tunnies.
But as to the thunnis, Aristotle says that this is the female, differing from the male thunnus in having a fin under the belly, the name of which fin is the “ather.” But in his treatise on the Parts of Animals, he again distinguishes the thunnis from the thunnus; saying, that “in the summer, about the month Hecatombæon, it drops something like a bag, in which there are a great number of small eggs.” And Speusippus, in the second book of his Similitudes, distin- guishes the thunnis from the thunnus; and so does Epichar- mus, in his Muses. But Cratinus, in his Pluti, says—
For I'm a thunnis, a melænas, orAnd Aristotle, in his treatise on Fishes, says that the thunnis is a gregarious fish, and also a migratory one. But Archestratus, who is so fond of petty details, says—
A thunnus, orphos, grayling, eel, or sea-dog.
And then the thunna's tail, which I call thunnis,And Antiphanes, in his Pæderastes, says—
That mighty fish, whose home's Byzantium.
Cut it in slices, and then roast it all
With accurate care, strewing on nought but salt,
Most thinly spread; then sprinkle a little oil;
Then eat it hot, first dipping it in brine.
Or if you like to eat them dry they're good;
Like the immortal gods in character,
And figure too; but if you once forget,
And vinegar add to them, then you spoil them.
And the middle slices takeAntiphanes also praises the tail of the thunnis, in his Couris, where he says—
Of the choice Byzantian tunny,
And let them be neatly hidden
Under leaves from beet-root torn.
A. The man who's country bred likes not to eatAnd some of these iambics may be found in the Acestria, and also in the Countryman, or Butalion. And Hiponax, as Lysanias quotes him in his treatise on the Iambic Poets, says—
Food from the sea extracted; unless indeed
It comes quite close in shore. Such as some conger,
Some ray, or tunny's . . .
B. Which part of the tunny?
A. The lower part.
B. Well, you may eat that safely.
A. All other fish I reckon cannibals.
B. Do not you eat those fish with the ugly backs?
B. The fat eels which haunt Copais' lake.
[p. 477] A. Aye, like a ploughman. For indeed I have
A farm not far from that most dainty lake.
But I impeach the eels now of desertion,
For none at all were there the other day.
For one of them with rapid extravaganceAnd Strattis also mentions the thunnis, in his Callipides.
Feasting each day on tunnies and on cheese-cakes,,
Like any eunuch of rich Lampsacus,
Ate up his whole estate. So that he now
Is forced to work and dig among the rocks,'
Eating poor figs, and small stale loaves of barley,
Food fit for slaves.
There is also a fish called the hippurus, or horsetail. Aristotle, in the fifth book of his treatise on the Parts of Animals, says that the hippuri lay eggs, and that these are small at first, but come to a great size, like those of the lam- prey; and that they bring forth their young in the spring. But Dorion, in his book upon Fish, says that the hippurus is also called the coryphæna. But Icesius calls it the hippuris; and Epicharmas also mentions them in his Hebe's Wedding, saying—
The sharp-nosed needle-fish,But Numenius, in his treatise on the Art of Fishing, speaking of the nature of the fish, says that it keeps continually leaping out of the water; on which account it is also called the Tumbler. And he uses the following expressions about it:—
And the hippurus, and bright chrysophrys.
Or the great synodons, or tumbler hippurus.And Archestratus says—
Th' hippurus of Carystus is the best,And Epænetus, in his Cookery Book, says that it is called also the coryphoena.
And indeed all Carystian fish are good.
There is another fish called the horse; and perhaps it is the same which Epicharmus calls the hippidion, or little horse, when he says—
The coracinus colour'd like a crow,[p. 478] And Numenius, in his Art, of Fishing, says—
Fat, well-fed fish; the smooth hippidion,
The phycæ and the tender squill . . .
The char, the mighty tench of size enormous,And Antimachus the Colophonian mentions it in his Thebais, where he says—
The channus, and the eel; and he who roves
By night, the wary pitynus; the mussel,
The horse-fish, or the sea-green corydulis.
The hyca, or the horse-fish, or the one
Which they do call the thrush.
There is a fish, too, called the ioulis, concerning which Dorion says, in his treatise on Fishes, “Recollect that if you boil the ioulis, you must do it in brine; and if you roast them, you must roast them with marjoram.” And Numenius says—
And ne'er neglect the medicine which keeps offBut the same writer calls them ioulus, and the entrails of the earth, in the following lines:—
To a great degree the greedy fish ioulis,
And scolopendrus that doth poison dart.
Moreover do not then the bait forget,
Which on the highest hills that fringe the shore
Shall soon be found. And they are called iouli,
Black, eating earth-the entrails of the earth;
Or the long-footed grasshopper, what time
The sandy rocks are sprinkled with the foam
Of the high-rising tide. Then dig them up,
And stow them carefully within your bag.
There are also fish called κίχλη, the sea-thrush, and κόσσυφος, the sea-blackbird. The Attic writers call the first κίχλη, with an η; and the reason is as follows:—All the feminine nouns which end in λα have another λ before the λα; as σκύλλα, σκίλλα, κόλλα, βδέλλα, ἅμιλλα, ἅμαλλα: but those which end in λη do not require a λ to precede the λη; as ὁμίχλη, φύτλη, γενέθλη, αἴγλη, τρώγλη, and, in like manner, τρίγλη. Cratinus says—
Suppose a man had eaten a red mullet (τρίγλην),And Diocles, in the first book of his treatise on Wholesomes, says, “Those fish which are called rocky fish have tender flesh; such as the sea-blackbird, the sea-thrush, the perch, the tench, the phyca, the alphesticus.” But Numenius says, in his treatise on Fishing— [p. 479]
Would that alone prove him an epicure?
The sea-born race of grayling or of orphus,And Epicharmus, in his Hebe's Wedding, says—
The black-flesh'd blackbird, or the dainty sea-thrush
Sporting beneath the waves.
Bambradones, sea-thrushes, and sea-hares;And Aristotle, in his treatise on What concerns Animals, says, “And the fishes with black spots, like the sea-blackbird; and the fishes with variegated spots, like the sea-thrush.” But Pancrates the Arcadian, in his Works of the Sea, says that the sea-thrush is called by many names:—
And the bold dragon fish.
Add now to these the sea-thrush red, which theyAnd Nicander, in the fourth book of his Transformed People, says—
Who seek to snare the wary fish with bait
Do call the saurus, and th' æolias,
Add too th' orphiscus with his large fat head.
The scarus or the thrush with many names.
There is also the sea-boar and the cremys. Aristotle, in his treatise on Animals, says, “But some fish have no teeth and smooth skins, like the needle-fish; and some have stony heads, like the cremys; and some are harsher, with rough skins, like the sea-boar; and some are marked down the back with two lines, like the seserinus; and some are marked with many lines and with red spots, like the salpe.” And both Dorion and Epænatus mention the sea-boar; and Archestratus says—
But when you go to Acta's favour'd land,
If you by chance should see a rich sea-boar,
Buy it at once, and let it not escape you,
Not if you buy it at its weight in gold;
Else will the indignation of the gods
O'erpower you; for 'tis the flower of nectar.
But 'tis not all men who can be allow'd
To eat this dainty, no, nor e'en to see it;
Unless they take a strongly-woven mesh
Of marsh-bred rush, and hold it in their hands,
Well used to ply the floats with rapid mind.
And with these dainties you must offer up,
Thrown on the ground, some gifts of lamb and mutton.
There is also the harp-fish. Aristotle, in his treatise on Animals, or on Fish, says, “The harp-fish has serrated teeth, is a fish of solitary habits, he lives on seaweed; he has a [p. 480] very loose tongue, and a white and broad heart.” Pherecrates, in his Slave-Tutor, says—
The harp-fish is a good fish; be you sureEpicharmus says, in his Marriage of Hebe—
To buy him when you can. He really is good;
But, I by Phœbus swear, this does perplex me
Exceedingly which men do say, my friend,
That there is secret harm within this harp-fish.
There were hyænides,And Apollodorus has said that, on account of his name, he was considered to be sacred to Apollo. And Callias, or Diodes, whichever was the author of the play, says in the Cyclops—
And fine buglossi, and the harp-fish too
A roasted harp-fish, and a ray,And Archestratus, in his Luxurious Way of Living, says—
And the head of a well-fed tunny.
I counsel you always to boil a harp-fish
If he is white and full of firmish meat;
But if he's red and also no great size,
Then it were best, when you have prick'd him o'er
With a new sharpen'd knife, to roast him gently.
Sprinkle him then with oil and plenteous cheese,
For he does like to see men liberal,
And is himself intemperate.
There is also the cordylus. Aristotle calls this fish an amphibious animal, and says that it dies if it is dried by the sun. But Numenius, in his book on the Art of Fishing, calls it the courylus:—
All things are ready. First I strip the thighsHe also speaks of the fish called the cordylis, in these lines—
Of courylus, or pirene, and treat too
In the same way the marine grasshopper.
Mussels, sea-horses, or the sea-green cordylis.
There is also a fish called cammorus. Epicharmus, in his Marriage of Hebe, says—
Then after this there are boaces andAnd Sophron, in his Female Farces, mentions them. But they are a species of squill, and this name was given them by the Romans.
Smarides, anchovies, also cammori.
There is also a fish called the carcharias. Numenius of Heraclea, in his Art of Fishing, says— [p. 481]
At times you may too a carcharias catch,And Sophron, in his Tunny-hunter, says, “But if your stomach happens to have swallowed a carcharias.” But Nicander the Colophonian, in his essay on Dialects, says that the carcharias is also called the lamias and the squill.
At times a psamathis who loves the surf.
There is also the cestreus. Icesius says, “if the fish which are called by one general name of leucisci there are many sorts; for some are called cephali, and some cestres, and some chellones, and some myxini. But the cephali are the best both in flavour and juiciness; the next to them are those called the cestres; the myxini are inferior to either. But the worst of all are the chellones, which are called bacchi; and they are all full of wholesome juice, not very nutritious, but very digestible.” And Dorion, in his essay on Fish, mentions the sea cestreus, but does not approve of the river one. And the sea cestreus he subdivides into two species—the cephalus and the nestis. But the cestreus, which is like the sea-urchin about the head, he calls sphondylus. And he says “that the cephalinus differs from the cephalus, and that this last is also called the blepsias.” But Aristotle says, in the fifth book of his treatise on the Parts of Animals, “But of the different kinds of cestreus, the chellones begin to be pregnant in the month Poseideon; so does the sargus and the fish called the myxus; and so does the cephalus: and they go thirty days with young. But some of the cestres are not generated by copulation, but are produced by the slime and the sand.” And in other places Aristotle says, “The cestreus is a fish with serrated teeth, but he does not eat other fishes; and, indeed, he is in no respect carnivorous. But of these fish there are several kinds—the cephalus, the chellon, and the pheræus. And the chellon feeds close to land, but the pheræus does not; and they use the following food—the pheræus uses the mucus which proceeds from itself, and the chellon eats slime and sand. It is said, also, that the spawn of the cestreus is not eaten by any other fish, just as the cestreus also eats no other fish.” But Euthydemus the Athenian, in his treatise on Cured Fish, says that the spheneus and the dactyleus are both different species of cestres; and also that there is a species which are called cephali, because they have very large heads. And those which are called spheneus,4 are called so because [p. 482] they are thin and four-cornered; and the dactyleis are not so thick as two fingers. But the most excellent of the cestres are those which are caught near Abdera, as Archestratus has told us; and the second-best are those which come from Sinope.
But the cestres are called by some writers plotes, as Polemo says, in his treatise on the Rivers in Sicily. And Epicharmus, in his Muses, gives them this name—
Aeolians, and plotes, and cynoglossi.And Aristotle, in his treatise on the Dispositions and Way of Living of Animals, says that “the cestres live even if they are deprived of their tails. But the cestreus is eaten by the pike, and the conger is eaten by the turbot.” And there is an often-quoted proverb, “The cestreus is fasting,” which is applied to men who live with strict regard to justice, because the cestreus is never carnivorous. Anaxilas, in his Morose Man, attacking Maton the Sophist for his gluttony, says—
There also were sciathides.
Maton seized hold of a large cestreus' head,And that beautiful writer, Archestratus, says—
And ate it all. But I am quite undone.
Buy if you can a cestreus which has comeDiocles, in his Sea, says—
From the sea-girt Aegina; then you shall
For well-bred men be fitting company.
The cestreus leaps for joy.
But that the nestes are a kind of cestreus, Archippus tells us, in his Hercules Marrying:—
Nestes cestres, cephali.And Antiphanes, in his Lampon, says—
But all the other soldiers which you haveAnd Alexis, in his Phrygian, says—
Are hungry (νήστεις) cestres.
So I a nestis cestreus now run home.Ameipsias says, in his Men playing at the Cottabus—
A. And I will seek the forum, there to findAnd Euphron says, in his Ugly Woman—
Some one to take my work.
B. I wish you would,
You would all have less time to follow me,
Like any hungry (νῆστις) cestreus.
Midas then is a cestreus-see, he walks[p. 483] And Philemon says, in his Men dying together—
Along the city fasting (νῆστις).
I bought me now a nestis cestreus roastedAristophanes, in his Gerytades, says—
Of no great size.
Is there within a colony of man cestres?Anaxandrides says, in his Ulysses—
For that they all are νήστιδες you know.
He usually goes supperless about,And Eubulus, in his Nausicaa, says—
Like a cestrinus nestis.
Who has been drown'd 'tis now four days ago,
Leading the life of a sad nestis cestreus.
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,And Myrtilus answering, said—
Shall be a cestreus through th' extreme of fasting.
But stand in order—as the Hedychares of Theopompus says—
hungry band of cestres,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—
You who are fed, like geese, on vegetables.
As I was going out I met a fisherman,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.5 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,—
And he was bringing me some cestres, and
He brought me all those worthless starving fish.
Am by myself enough well to replyAnd 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.
To what two men have lately said before me.
There is a fish called the coracinus. The coracini, which are caught at sea, says Icesius, contain but little nourishment; but they are easily secreted, and have a moderate supply of good juice. But Aristotle, in the fifth book of his Parts of Animals, says that “it happens to nearly all fish to have a rapid growth, and this is the case, in no small degree, with the coracinus; and he lays his eggs close to the land, in places full of weeds and moss.” But Speusippus, in the second book of his treatise on Similitudes, says that the blacktail and the coracinus are much alike. But Numenius, in his Treatise on the Art of Fishing, says—
It easily would attract the spotted coracinus.And perhaps the æoliæ mentioned by Epicharmus, in his Muses, may be the same as coracini. For Epicharmus says—
Aeoliæ, plotes, cynoglossi too.But, in his Hebe's Marriage, he speaks of the æoliæ as a different fish; for he says—
There there were mussels, and the alphastic fish,But Euthydemus, in his essay on Cured Fish, says that the coracinus is by many people called the saperda. And Hera- [p. 485] cleon the Ephesian has said much the same thing; and so has Philotimus, in his Cookery Book. But that the saperdas and the coracinus are both called the platistacus is affirmed by Parmeno the Rhodian, in the first book of his Culinary Doctrine. But Aristophanes, in his Telmessians, uses the expression “black-finned coracini.” Pherecrates also uses the word in its diminutive form, in his Forgetful Man, where he says—
And coracini like to coriander seed,
Aeoliæ, plotes too, and the cynoglossi.
Being with your κορακινίδια and μαινίδια.And Amphis says, in his Ialemus—
Whoever eats a sea-born coracinusBut the coracini of the Nile are very sweet and delicious in their flesh, as those who have tried them know; and they have got their name from continually moving their eyes (διὰ τὸ τὰς κόρας κινεῖν), and never ceasing. But the Alexandrians call them plataces, which is, more correctly speaking, the name of the whole genus.
When he may have a grayling, is a fool.
There is also a fish called the cyprinus, or carp. He also, as Aristotle tells us, is a carnivorous and gregarious fish; and he has his tongue, not in the lower part of the mouth, but in the upper part. But Dorion, mentioning him in his list among the lake and river fish, writes thus: “A scaly fish, whom some people call the cyprinus.”
There is also the tench. “The tench is very juicy,” as Icesius says, “exceedingly attractive to the palate, very easily secreted, not very nutritious, nor is the juice which they give very wholesome. But, in delicacy of flavour, the white kind is superior to the black. But the flesh of the green tench is more dry, and devoid of fat; and they give a much smaller quantity of juice, and what they do give is thinner. Still they are more nutritious, on account of their size.” Diodes says that those which are found in rocky situations are very tender. But Numenius, in his treatise on Fishing, calls them, not κώβιοι, but κῶθοι.
A char or tench (κῶθος) of mighty size and bold.And Sophron, in his Countryman, speaks of “The cothons, who bathe in mud;” and perhaps it was from the name of this fish that he called the son of his Tunny-catcher, in the play, Cothonias. But it is the Sicilians who call the tench κώθων, as Nicander the Colophonian tells us, in his book on [p. 486] Dialects; and Apollodorus confirms the statement, in his treatise on the Modest and Temperate Man. But Epicharmus, in his Hebe's Marriage, names the tench, calling it κώβιος:—
The turtle with their sting behind, and then the tender tench.And Antiphanes, in his Timon, praising the tench, tells us in what places they are to be found in the greatest perfection, in these lines:—
I come, but I have been to great expenseMenander, in his Ephesians, says—
In buying viands for this marriage feast.
I've bought a pennyworth of frankincense
To offer to the gods and all the goddesses,
And to the heroes I will offer cakes.
But when I bid that rascally house-breaking
Seller of fish to add a dainty dish,
“I'll throw you in,” says he, "the borough itself,
For they are all Phalericans." The rest
I do believe were selling our Otrynicans.6
A. There was a fishmonger not long ago,And Dorion mentions river tench also, in his book on Fishes.
Who asked four whole drachmas for his tench.
B. A mighty price indeed.
There is also a fish called the cuckoo-fish. Epicharmus says—
And the beauteous cuckoosAnd Dorion says that one ought to roast them, first having split them down the back; and, having seasoned them with herbs, and cheese, and spice, and assafœtida, and oil, then one ought to turn them round, and oil them on the other side, and then to sprinkle them with a little salt; and, when one has taken them from the fire, to moisten them with vinegar. But Numenius gives it the epithet of red, from the facts of the case, saying—
Which we split in twain,
Then we roast and season them,
And then with pleasure eat them.
Eating sometimes the cuckoo red, sometimes
A few pempherides, or else a lizard.
There is also a fish called the carcharias (or sharp- [p. 487] toothed dog). And Archestratus, whom we may call the Hesiod or Theognis of Epicures, speaks of this fish; for Theognis himself was not indifferent to luxury, as he admits, speaking of himself in these words:—
But when the sun, driving his coursers fleetNor indeed was that wise man indifferent to the charms of boys; at all events, he speaks thus on the subject:—
With solid hoofs along the heavenly road,
Guides them at mid-day in the centre path,
Then let us eat whate'er our heart may prompt,
And gratify our appetite with dainties.
Then let a Spartan maid with rosy hands,
Bring water, and fresh garlands for our brows.
O Academus, would you now but singAnd Archestratus, in these beautiful suggestions of his, exhorts his friends in this way—
A tuneful hymn, while in the midst should stand
A beauteous boy, in flower of his youth,
A prize for you and me to combat for,
Then you should know how far the mule excels the ass.
In fair Torone's town 'tis best to cookThere is a part of this fish which the Romans cal thursio, and which is very delicious, and much sought for as an article of luxury.
The hollow entrails of the sharp-tooth'd dog.
Then strew the fish with cummin, sparing be
Of salt, then roast him, and add nothing else
Saving some sea-green oil. Then when 'tis done,
Serve him up with some little seasoning.
And if you boil a part of it within
The hollow of some flat dish, then add
No water, add no wine-made vinegar,
But pour on oil alone, and cummin dry,
And add what fragrant herbs the garden gives.
Then put the saucepan on the ashes hot,
And boil it; let no flame too quickly burn,
And stir it often lest the meat should catch,
And spoil your dinner so, before you know it.
'Tis but few mortals know this wondrous food;
And those who have thick stupid heavy souls,,
Refuse to taste it, but are all alarm'd,
Because they say this dog's a cannibal,
And feeds on human flesh. But there is not
A fish that swims which does not like man's flesh
If he can only chance to come across it.
There is also the pike. These, as Aristotle reports, are a solitary and carnivorous fish; and they have a bony [p. 488] tongue, adhering to the mouth, and a triangular heart. But, in the fifth book of his Parts of Animals, he says that they bring forth their young, like the cestres and chrysophryes do, chiefly in those places where rivers fall into the sea; and they bring forth in winter, and they also bring forth twice in the season. But Icesius says that the pike is very juicy, and not very nutritious; and that it is also not very easily secreted; but for delicacy of flavour it is accounted the very first of fish. And this fish has his name, λάβραξ, from his voracity (λαβρότης). It is said, also, that in shrewdness he is superior to other fish, being very ingenious at devising means to save himself; on which account, Aristophanes the comic poet says—
The pike, the wisest of all fish that swim.And Alcæus the lyric poet says that he swims very high in the water. But the wise Archestratus says—
Take the large cestris cephalus from Gæson,
When you do come to fair Miletus' city.
Take too the pike, the offspring of the gods.
For in those waters both these fish are best.
Such is the natural character of the place.
But there are many places where they grow
More fat and large; in famous Calydon,
And in the opulent Ambracia,
And at the Bolbe lake; but there they want
The fragrant fat which here surrounds their belly;
Nor have they such a pungent taste, my friend.
Those which I speak of are most admirable.
Take them and roast them without scaling them,
Soften with salt, and serve them up with brine.
And let no Syracusan, no Italian
Break in upon you while you dress this dish:
For they have no idea of dressing fish,
But spoil them all by seasoning them with cheese,
By sprinkling them with too much vinegar,
And strongly scented assafœtida.
They are good cooks enough to dress the vile
Fish which they take while clinging to the rocks;
And there are many kinds of season'd dishes
Which they can dress quite well enough; but they
Have no idea of dressing good fish plain.
And Aristophanes, in his Knights, speaks of the pike taken in the neighbourhood of Miletus as surpassingly good, when he speaks thus:—
But you shall not disturb me thus[p. 489] And in his Lemnian Women he says—
Feasting on Milesian pike.
He would not buy a pike's head, nor a locust:speaking because the brain of the pike is a great delicacy, as is also that of the sea-grayling. And Eubulus, in his Muses, says—
Do not be too expensive, still not mean,But the Gæson, which is mentioned by Archestratus, means the lake Gæsonis, which is between Priene and Miletus, con- nected with the sea, as Neanthes of Cyzicus tells us in the sixth book of his Hellenics. But Ephorus, in his fifth book, says that the Gæson is a river near Priene, which flows into the lake Gæsonis, And Archippus, in his Fishes, mentioning the pike, says—
Whate'er you do; not for decency's sake.
Get some small cuttle-fish, or squids, some nestis,
Some small fry of the polypus, some tripe,
And beestings and black-puddings; get besides
A noble head of the Milesian pike.
Hermes th' Egyptian is the greatest rogue
Of all the fishmongers; he skins by force
The sharks and rhinos, and takes out the entrails
Of the Milesian pikes, before he sells them.
There is also a fish called the latus; and Archestratus says that the best fish of this kind is that which is taken off the coast of Italy, and he speaks thus concerning them:—
Near the well-treed Italia's verdant shores,But the lati which are found in the river Nile grow to such a size that they weigh more than two hundred pounds; and this fish is exceedingly white, and very delicious, dress it whatever way you choose. And it is like the fish called the glanis, which is found in the Danube. The Nile produces also many other kinds of fish, and they are all very delicious; but especially does it produce all the different coracini (for the are many different kinds of this fish). It also produces the fish called the mæotes, which are mentioned by Archippus, in his Fishes, in these words:—
Fierce Scylla's strait the famous latus breeds,
Most marvellous of dainties.
Mæotæ, and saperdæ, likewise glanides.And this fish is found in great numbers in Pontus; and they derive their name from the Palus Mæotis. But the following, as far as I can recollect, from having been a long time absent [p. 490] from the country, are the names of the chief fish found in the Nile. The sweetest of all is the ray; then there is the sea-pig, the snub-nose, the phagrus, the oxyrhynchus, the allabes, the silurus, the synodontis, the elecoris, the eel, the thrissa, the abramis, the blind-fish, the scaly-fish, the bellows-fish, and the cestreus. And there are also a great number of others.
There is also a kind of shark, called the leiobatus, whose other name is the rhine; and he is a white-fleshed fish, as Epænetus tells us in his Cookery Book. Plato says, in his Sophists—
The galeus, the leiobatus, the eel.
There is also the lamprey. Theophrastus, in the fifth book of his treatise on those Animals which can live on dry Land, says that the eel and the lamprey can exist for a long time out of the water, because they have very small gills, and so receive but very little moisture into their system. But Icesius affirms that they are not less nutritious than the eel, nor even, perhaps, than the conger. And Aristotle, in his treatise on the Parts of Animals, says that from the time that they are little they grow very rapidly, and that they have sharp serrated teeth; and that they keep on laying small-sized eggs every season of the year. But Epicharmus, in his Muses, calls them not σμύραινα, but μύραινα, without the ς; speaking in this way of them:—
No congers fat were wanting, and no lampreys (μύραιναι).And Sophron, too, spells the word in the same manner. But Plato or Cantharus, in his Alliance, spells the word with the ς, saying—
The ray, the lamprey (σμύραινα) too, is here.Dorion, in his treatise on Fishes, says that the river lampreys have only one spine, like the kind of cod which is called gallarias. But Andreas, in his treatise on Poisonous Animals, says that those lampreys which are produced by a cross with the viper have a poisonous bite, and that that kind is less round than the other, and is variegated. But Nicander, in his Theriacus, says—
That is a terrible deed the lamprey does,But Andreas, in his treatise on Things which are believed erroneously, says that it is quite a mistake to suppose that the lamprey ever breeds with the viper when it comes on marshy ground; for that vipers do not themselves feed in marshes, as they are fond rather of sandy and desert places. But Sostratus, in his books on Animals (and there are two books of his on this subject, and with this title), agrees with those who assert that the lamprey and the viper do breed together.
When oft its teeth it gnashes and pursues
Th' unhappy fishermen, and drives them headlong
Out of their boats in haste, when issuing forth
From the deep hole in which it long has lain:
[p. 491] If that the tale is true that it admits
The poisonous viper's love, when it deserts
Its pastures 'neath the sea, for food on land.
There is another kind of eel also, called the myrus. But the myrus, as Aristotle says, in the fifth book of his treatise on the Parts of Animals, differs from the lamprey; this latter being a variegated fish, and less powerful than the other; while the myrus is a fish of one uniform colour, and strong, and its whole colour is like that of the wryneck, and it has teeth both within and without. And Dorion says, that the myrus has no small bones running through its flesh, but that it is in every part eatable, and exceedingly soft; and that there are two kinds of it, for some are black, and some are of rather a fiery colour, but those which are dark are best. And Archestratus, the voluptuary philosopher, say—
Between th' Italian and Sicilian shore,
Where the strait parts them with its narrow waves,
Whenever that most dainty fish is caught
Which men the lamprey call, be sure to buy it;
For in those waters'tis the best of food.
There is a fish, too, called the mænis, or sprat; and Icesius says that they are more juicy than the tench, but that they are inferior in delicacy of flavour, and also in the extent to which they facilitate the secretions of the stomach. But Speusippus, in the second book of his treatise on Things similar to one another, says that both the boax and the smaris resemble the sprat; and these two fishes, are mentioned by Epicharmus, in his Earth and Sea, in the following manner:—
When you see many boaces and smarides.And Epænetus, in his Cookery Book, says, “The smaris, which some people call cynoseuna.” But Antiphanes, in his Coun- tryman, or Butalion, calls the sprats the food of Hecate, on [p. 492] account of their diminutive size; and the following is the passage:—
A. Why, I did think that all these monstrous fishThere is also one kind which is called the leucomænis, or white sprat, which some people call the boax. Poliochus, in his Corinthiastes, says—
B. What can you mean, my friend?
A. Why, cannibals: so how would any man eat them?
B. That's true. But these are food of Hecate,
Which he is speaking of, just sprats and mullets.
Let no man, in God's name I beg, persuade you,
Come when he will or whence, so to mistake
As to call leucomænides boaces.
There is also the melanurus, or black-tail; and concerning this fish Numenius says, in his Art of Fishing:—
The scorpion or melanurus black,But Icesius says that he is very like the sargus, but that he is inferior to the latter in the quantity and quality of his juice, and also in delicacy of flavour; but that he is rather exciting food, and very nutritious. And Epicharmus mentions him in his Hebe's Marriage:—
The guide and leader of the perch,
There were sargini, there were melanuri.Aristotle too, in his treatise on Animals, writes thus: "There are some fish which have barred or spotted tails, among which are the melanuri, and the sargi or sardine; and they have many lines on their skin, dark lines. But Speusippus affirms, in the second book of his treatise on Things similar to one another, that the fish called psyrus resembles the melanurus; but Numenius calls the psyrus, psorus, with an o, saying—
The psorus, or the salpe, or the dragon-fish
Which haunts the shore.
There is also a fish called the mormyrus, a most nutritious fish, as Icesius says. But Epicharmus, in his Hebe's Marriage, calls it the myrmes, unless, at least, he means a different fish by this name. But his expression is—
The sea-swallow, the myrmes too,But Dorion, in his book upon Fishes, calls them mormylus, with a λ. But Lynceus of Samos, in his treatise on the Art of buying Fish, which he addressed to some friend of his, who [p. 493] was very difficult to please when making his purchases, says, "But it is not a useless plan, with reference to men who are obstinate, and who will not abate their price, when you are standing by to disparage their fish, quoting Archstratus (who wrote the book called The voluptuous Life), or some other poet, and repeating this verse:—
And they are larger than the colias tunny.
The mormyrus that haunts the pebbly shore,And again you may quote—
Is a bad, good-for-nothing, worthless fish.
Buy an amia in the autumn . . . .'But now 'tis spring.' And again you may proceed, if it should be the proper season—
How good the cestreus is when winter comes.'But now,' you will say, ' it is summer.' And you will go on in this way for some time; and in this way you will drive away a good many of those who are standing about, and who might become purchasers. So when you have done this, you will by this means compel the man to take whatever price you choose to give."
There is also the torpedo. Plato, or Cantharus, says, in the Alliance—
A boil'd torpedo is delicious food.But Plato the Philosopher says, in the Meno, “You seem very much to resemble the sea-torpedo; for that fish causes any one who comes near it to become torpid.” And an allusion to the name occurs also in Homer, where he says—
His hand was torpid (νάρκησε) at the wrist.But Menander, in his Phanus, uses the termination a, and says—
A certain torpor (νάρκα) creeps o'er all my skin;though no one of the ancient writers ever used this form of the word. But Icesius says that it is a fish without much nutriment or much juice in it, but that it has some cartilaginous sort of substance diffused all over it, very good for the stomach. And Theophrastus, in his book on Animals which live in Holes, says that the torpedo works its way underground because of the cold. But in his treatise on Poisonous Animals, and on Animals which sting, he says that the torpedo can send the power which proceeds from it through wood, and through harpoons, so as to produce torpor in those [p. 494] who have them in their hands. But Clearchus the Solensian has explained the cause of this in his treatise on Torpor; but, since his explanation is rather a long one, I do not recollect his exact words, but will refer you to the treatise itself. But the torpedo, says Aristotle, is one of the cartilaginous and viviparous fish; and, to provide itself with food, it hunts after little fish, touching them, and causing them all to become torpid and motionless. And Diphilus of Laodicea, in his essay on the Theriaca of Nicander, says that it is not every part of the animal which produces this torpor, but only some particular parts of it; and he says that he has arrived at this fact by a long series of experiments. But Archestratus speaks of–
A bold torpedo done in oil and wine,Alexis, in his Galatea, says—
And fragrant herbs, and some thin grated cheese.
I counsel you to season well and stuffAnd in his Demetrius he says—
Torpedos whole, and then to roast them thoroughly.
Then I took a torpedo, calculating
If my wife touch'd it with her tender fingers
That they would get no hurt from its backbone.
There is also the sword-fish. Aristotle says that this fish has its lower jaw short, but its upper one bony, long, and in fact as large as all the rest of the body of the fish; and this upper jaw is what is called the sword; but that this fish has no teeth. And Archestratus says—
But take a slice of sword-fish when you goNow, who is then so great a general, or so great a critic in dishes and banquets, as this poet from Gela7 (or, I should rather say, from Catagela), who, for the sake of his epicurism, sailed through those straits; and who also, for the sake of the same epicurism, investigated the different qualities and juices of each separate part of every fish, as if he had been laying the foundation of some science which was useful to human life? [p. 495]
To fair Byzantium, and take the vertebrae
Which bend his tail. He's a delicious fish,
Both there and where the sharp Pelorian cape
Juts out towards the sea.
There is also a fish called the orphos (ὄρφως); but the word is also spelt with an ο (ὄρφος), as Pamphilus tells us. But Aristotle, in the fifth book of his Parts of Animals, where he says that the growth of most fish is very rapid, says, “The orphos also grows to a large fish from a little one with great rapidity; but he is a carnivorous fish, with serrated teeth, and of a solitary disposition. And there is this peculirity in him, that it cannot be ascertained what means he has of propagating his species, and that he can live a long time after he has been cut in pieces. He is also one of those fish which bury themselves in holes during the winter season, and he is fond of keeping close to the land, rather than of going into the deep sea; but he does not live more than two years. And Numenius, speaking of this fish, says—
Now with such baits as these it is not hardAnd in another place he says—
To draw the lengthy scorpion from his bed,
Or the rough orphus: for they're easily caught.
The grayling, or the sea-born race of orphi,But Dorion says that the young orphus is called by some the orphacines. And Archippus says, in his Fishes,—
Or the dark flesh'd sea-blackbird.
The orphus came to them, the priest o' the god.And Cratinus says, in his Ulysses,—
A hot slice of the newly taken orphus.And Plato, in his Cleophon, says—
For he has brought you here, old dame, to dwell,
A rotten food for orphi and for phagri,
And other gristly boneless fish around.
And Aristophanes, in his Wasps, says—Now this word ὀρφὼς, in the nominative case singular, is accented with an acute on the ultima by the Attic writers; so Archippus writes the word, in his Fishes, in the lines which I have already quoted; and Cratinus also, in his Uysses, as I have above quoted it, writes—
If a man be inclined to purchase orphi,
And likes to leave alone the membrades.
There is also a fish called orcynus. Dorion, in his treatise on Fishes, says that the orcyni come from the sea near the Pillars of Hercules to the: waters on our costs; on [p. 496] which account, a great number are taken in the Iberian and Tyrrhenian seas; and that from thence they are dispersed over the rest of the sea. But Icesius says that those which are caught near Cadiz are the fattest, and next to them those which are taken near Sicily. But that those which are taken at any great distance from the Pillars of Hercules have very little fat on them, because they have swum a very great distance. Accordingly, at Cadiz, it is only the shoulders by themselves which are dried and cured; as also it is only the jaws and palate of the sturgeon, and that part which is called the melandryas, which is cured. But Icesius says that the entrails are very rich, and very different in flavour from the other parts; and that the parts about the shoulders are superior even to these.
There is also the cod and the hake. The cod, says Aristotle, in his work on Living Animals, has a large wide mouth like the shark, and he is not a gregarious fish; and he is the only fish which has his heart in his stomach, and in his brain he has stones like millstones. And he is the only fish who buries himself in a hole in the hot weather, when the Dog-star rages; for all others take to their holes in the winter season. And these fish are mentioned by Epicharmus, in his Hebe's Wedding:—
And there are channel with their large wide mouths,But the cod is different from the hake, as Dorion tells us, in his work upon Fish, where he writes thus: “The ὄνος (cod), which some call γάδος.” There is also the gallerides, which some call a hake, and some a maxinus. But Euthydemus, in his work on Cured Fish, says, “Some call this fish the bacchus, and some call it the gelaria, and some call it the hake.” But Archestratus says—
And cod with their huge bellies.
Anthedon's famous for its cod, which some
Do call gallerias; there its size is great,
But the flesh spongy, and in many respects
I do not think it good, though others praise it.
But this man likes one thing, and that another.
There is the polypus, declined πολύπους, πολύποδος; at least this is the way the Attic writers use the word, and so does Homer:—
As when a polypus (πουλύποδος in the genitive) is dragged from out his lair:[p. 497] keeping the analogy to the noun ποὺς, from which it is de- rived. But in the accusative case we find the form πολύπουν, just as we ᾿αλκίνουν and οἰδίπουν. Aeschylus, too, has the form τρίπουν, as an epithet of a caldron, in his Athamas, from ποὺς, as if it were a simple noun like νοῦς. But the form πώλυπος is Aeolic. For the Attics always say πολύπους. Aristophanes, in his Dædalus, says—
When then I had this polypus (πουλύπους) and cuttle-fish.And in another place he says—
He put before me a polypus (πουλύπουν).And in another place he has—
They are the blows of a polypus press'd tight.And Alcæus says, in his Adulterous Sisters,—
The man's a fool and has the mind of a polypus (πουλύποδος).But Ameipsias, in his Glutton, says—
I want, it seems, a heap of polypi (πουλύπων).And Plato, in his Boy, writes—
First of all you like the polypodes (τοὺς πουλύποδας).Alcæus in another passage says—
I myself eat like any polypus (πουλύπους).But others use the accusative case πολύποδα, in strict analogy with ποὺς, ποδὸς, ποδὶ, πόδα. Eupolis, in his Demi, has—
The man's a fellow-citizen of mine,
A very polypus in disposition.
Diocles, in the first book of his treatise on Wholesome Things, says—“The molluscous fish are calculated to give pleasure, and to excite the amorous propensities; especially the polypi (οἱ πολύποδες).” And Aristotle relates that the polypus has eight feet, of which the two highest and the two lowest are the smallest, and those in the middle are the largest; and they have also two feelers, with which they bring their food to their mouth. And they have their eyes placed above their two upper feet; and their mouth and teeth are between their feet. And when the polypus is dissected, he has a brain divided into two parts; and what is called his ink is not black, like the cuttle-fish, but of a reddish colour, in that part of him which is called the poppy; but the poppy lies above the stomach, like a bladder: and it has no intestines, like other fish. But for food it uses at times the flesh of small shell-fish, and casts the shells outside its body; by which the [p. 498] hunters know where to find it. And it propagates its species by becoming intertwined with the female, and is a long time about it, because it is destitute of blood: and it ejects its young through the orifice which is called the spiracle, which is the only passage for its body; and it lays eggs in clusters, like bunches of grapes.
They say, also, that the polypus, when it is in want of food, will eat even itself. And among those who relate this fact is Pherecrates the comic poet; for he, in the play entitled The Countryman, says—
They live on green anthrysca, and on bracana,And Diphilus, in his Merchant, says—
And snails and slugs. And when they're very hungry,
Then, like the polypus, they e'en at night
Nibble their fingers.
A polypus with all his feelersBut all this is a mistake; for the fact is, that he is pursued by the congers, and has his feet hurt in that manner. And it is said that if any one strews salt over his hole, he immediately comes out. It is also affirmed, that when he flies in alarm, he changes his colour, and becomes like the places in which he conceals himself. As also Theognis of Megara says, in his Elegies—
And limbs unhurt; whose wicked tooth
Has not devour'd himself, my friend,
Is ready for our supper.
Remark the tricks of that most wary polypus,And Clearchus makes a similar statement in the second book of his treatise on Proverbs, where he quotes the following lines, without saying from whose writings they come—
Who always seems of the same colour and hue
As is the rock near which he lies.
My son, my excellent Amphilochus,
Copy the shrewd device o' the polypus,
And make yourself as like as possible
To those whose land you chance to visit.
And the same Clearchus says that, in olden time, about Trœzen, it was considered impious to try to catch either the polypus, which was called sacred, or that one which was called the rower. And it was contrary to law to eat either that or the sea-tortoise. But the polypus is a fish very apt to decay, and also very stupid; for it goes towards the hand of the people who are pursuing it: and sometimes even [p. 499] when it is pursued, it does not attempt to get out of the way. Their females waste away after laying their eggs, and get powerless; by reason of which they are easily taken. And sometimes they have been seen leaving the sea, and going on dry land, especially towards any rough or rugged ground; for they shun smooth places: and of all plants they especially delight in the olive, and they are often found embracing the trunk of an olive with their feelers. They have also been discovered clinging to such fig-trees as grow near the seashore, and eating the figs, as Clearchus tells us, in his treatise on those Animals which live in the Water. And this also is a proof that they are fond of the olive,—that if any one drops a branch of this tree down into the sea, in a place where there are polypi, and holds it there a little time, he without any trouble draws up as many polypi as he pleases, clinging to the branch. And all their other parts are exceedingly strong, but their neck is weak.
It is also said that the male has something corresponding to the parts of generation of one of his arms, in which there are his two large feelers; and that it is a limb full of nerves, sticking to the arm all along as far as the middle. But, in the fifth book of his treatise on the Parts of Animals, Aristotle says—“The polypus propagates his species in the winter, and brings forth in the spring; and it lies in its hole for about two months: and it is a very prolific animal. But the male differs from the female, both in having a longer head, and also in having what the fishermen call its parts of generation in one of its feelers. And when it brings forth, it sits on its eggs, on which account it is worse to eat at that season; and the polypus lays its eggs either in its bed, or in any potsherd, or hollow place or vessel of that sort. And after fifty days, the little polypi come forth out of the egg in immense numbers, like young spiders. But the female polypus sometimes sits upon the eggs, and sometimes clings to the mouth of the bed, holding on with one of its feelers.” Theophrastus, in his treatise on those Animals which change their Colour, says that the polypus generally becomes like only to those places which are rocky, doing this both out of fear and for the sake of protecting itself. But, in his book on those Animals which live on dry Land, he says that the polypi are not fond of sea-water. But, in his treatise on those Things which are different according to the Differences of their [p. 500] Situation, Theophrastus says that there are no polypi about the Hellespont; for that that sea is cold, and not very salt, and that both these circumstances are unfavourable to the polypus.
“But the fish called the nautilus,” says Aristotle, “is not a polypus, though it resembles a polypus in its feelers. And the back of the nautilus is covered with a shell; and it rises up out of the bottom of the sea, having its shell upon its back, in order that it may not catch the water. But when it has turned round, then it sails on, putting up two of its feelers, which have a thin membrane growing between them, just as the feet of some birds are which have a membrane of skin between their toes. And their other two feelers they let down into the sea, instead of rudders; but when they see anything coming towards them, then out of fear they draw in those feet, and fill themselves with salt water, and so descend to the bottom as rapidly as possible.” But, in his treatise on Animals and Fishes, he says—“Of the polypi there are two sorts; one, that which changes its colour, the other the nautilus.”
Now, on this nautilus there is an epigram quoted of Callimachus of Cyrene, which runs thus:—
I was a shell, O Venus Zephyritis,8Posidippus also wrote this epigram on the same Venus which is worshipped in Zephyrium:—
Now I'm the pious offering of Selena,
The gentle nautilus. When balmy winds
Breathe soft along the sea, I hold my course,
Stretching my sails on their congenial yards.
Should calm, the placid goddess, still the waves,
I row myself along with nimble feet,
So that my name suits rightly with my acts.
Now have I fallen on the Iulian shore,
To be a pleasant sport to Arsinoe.
No more shall Halcyons' dew-besprinkled eggs,
My dainty meal, lie thick within my bed
As formerly they did, since here I lie.
But give to Cleinias's daughter worthy thanks;
For she does shape her conduct honestly,
And from Aeolian Smyrna doth she come.
Oh, all ye men who traffic on the streams,Ion the tragedian also mentions the polypus, in his Phœnix, saying,—
Or on the land who hold a safer way,
[p. 501] Worship this shrine of Philadelphus' wife,
Venus Arsinoe, whom Callicrates,
The naval leader, first did firmly place
On this most beautiful Zephyrian shore.
And she will on your pious voyage smile,
And amid storms will for her votaries
Smooth the vex'd surface of the wide-spread sea.
I hate the colour-changing polypus,
Clinging with bloodless feelers to the rocks.
Now the different species of polypus are these: the eledone, the polypodine, the bolbotine, the osmylus; as both Aristotle and Speusippus teach us. But, in his book on Animals and their Properties, Aristotle says that the polypus, the osmylus, the eledone, the cuttle-fish, and the squid, are all molluscous. Epicharmus, in his Hebe's Wedding, says—
A polypus, a cuttle-fish, and quickly-moving squid,And Archestratus says—
A foul-smelling bolbitine, and chattering old woman.
The Carian and the Thasian polypiBut the Dorians spell the word with an ω, πωλύπους; as, for instance, Epicharmus. Simonides too has the expression, πώλυπον διζήμενος. But the Attics spell the word πολύπους, with an o: and it is a cartilaginous fish; for χονδρώδης and σελαχώδης have the same meaning;—
Are far the best; Corcyra too can breed
Fish of large size and very numerous.
The polypodes and the dog-shark.Moreover, all the fish belonging to the species of the cuttlefish are called molluscous. But the whole tribe of . . . is cartilaginous.
There is also a fish called the pagurus; and it is mentioned by Timocles or Xenarchus, in his Purple, thus—
But I, as being a skilful fisherman,
Have carefully devised all sorts of arts
To catch those vile paguri, enemies
To all the gods and all the little fishes.
And shall I not without delay beguile
An old buglossus? That would be well done.
There is also the pelamys. Phrynichus mentions it in his Muses; and Aristotle, in the fifth book of his treatise on the Parts of Animals, says the pelamydes and the tunnies [p. 502] breed in the Black Sea, but not anywhere else. Sophocles also mentions them, in his Shepherds:—
There, too, the foreign pelamys does winter,
The stranger from the Hellespont. For she
Doth come with many of her kind in summer
To these cool waters of the Bosphorus.
Then there is the perch. He also is mentioned by Diodes; and Speusippus, in the second book of his treatise on Things Resembling one another, says that the perch, the canna, and the phycis are all nearly alike. And Epicharmus says—
The comaris, the sea-dog, and the cestraAnd Numenius, in his treatise on the Art of Fishing, says—
And variegated perch.
At one time perch, and at another strophades,There is also the phycis. This also is mentioned by Epichar- mus, in his Hebe's Wedding; and by Speusippus, in the second book of his treatise on Things Resembling one another; and by Numenius: all whose testimonies are at hand. Aristotle, in his book upon Animals and their Properties, says that the phycis is surrounded with prickles and spotted. But the perch is marked with lines, and with bars running in an oblique direction. And there is a proverb also, “The perch follows the black-tail.”
Which keep around the rocks. The phycis too,
Th' alphestes, and the red-flesh'd scorpion.
We have also the needle-fish. This also is mentioned by Epicharmus, who says—
The oxyrhynchi, and the needle-fish,But Dorion, in his work on Fish, says—“The belone, which they also call the needle-fish.” Aristotle too, in the fifth book of his Parts of Animals, calls this fish the belone. But, in his book on Animals and their Properties, or else in his work on Fishes, he calls it the needle-fish; and says that it has no teeth. And Speusippus calls it the belone.
And the hippuri.
There is also the rhine. Dorion, in his book on Fishes, says that the rhinos are best at Smyrna; and that all the cartilaginous fish are especially good in the gulf of Smyrna. And Archestratus says—
And the far-famed Miletus does produce
All cartilauginous fish in high perfection,
[p. 503] But first of all one ought to take account
Both of the rhina and leiobatus,
Known for his spacious back. Still before all
Give me a roasted crocodile to eat,
Fresh from the oven, a most dainty dish
For all the children of Ionia.
There is next the scarus, or char. Aristotle says that this fish has serrated teeth, and is a solitary fish, and carnivorous; and that it has a small mouth, and a tongue which does not adhere closely to the mouth, and a triangular heart of a whitish colour and with three lobes; and that its gall and spleen are black, and that of its gills one is double and one single; and that it alone of all fish chews the cud. And that it delights in seaweed for food, on which account the fishermen use seaweed as a bait to catch it with. And it is in season in the summer. And Epicharmus, in his Hebe's Wedding, says—
We fish for spari, and for scari too,But Seleucus of Tarsus, in his treatise on Fishing, says that the scarus is the only fish which never sleeps; by reason of which it is not easily caught, even by night. But this may be the case on account of its timid nature. And Archestratus says, in his Gastronomy,—
Whose very dung may not be thrown away.
Seek now a scarus, fresh from Ephesus,And in another part he says—
And in the winter season eat a mullet
Caught in the waves of sandy Teichioussa,
A village of Miletus, near the Carians,
The crooked-footed Carians.
Wash and then roast the mighty scarus whichNicander of Thyatira says that there are two kids of scari; and that one is called the onias, and the other the ælous. [p. 504]
Comes from the sea that laves Chalcedon's walls:
That too is good which near Byzantium swims,
With back as broad as a large oval shield.
Take him and cook him whole as I shall tell you.
Sprinkle him o'er with oil and grated cheese,
Then place him in the oven hanging up,
So as to escape the bottom, and then roast him,
And sprinkle him with salt and cummin seed
Well mix'd together; and again with oil,
Pouring out of your hand the holy stream.
Then there is the sparus. Icesius says that this is a more juicy fish than the sprat, and more nutritious than most other fish. And Epicharmus says, in his Hebe's Wedding,—
Neptune then arives himselfAnd Numenius says, in his treatise on Fishing,—
Laden with most beauteous nets
In the boats of fair Phœnicia,
Then we all do spari catch,
And scari too, that sacred fish,
Whose very dung may not be thrown away.
The sparus or the hycas fond of company.And Dorion mentions this fish, in his treatise on Fishes.
There is also the scorpion. Diodes, in the first book of his treatise on Wholesome Things, addressed to Plistarchus, says—“Of fresh fish, the following have drier meat: the scorpions, the sea-cuckoo, the sea-sparrow, the sargi, and the rough-tail. But the mullet is not so dry as these are; for all fish which keep near the rocks have softer flesh.” And Icesius says—“There are two kinds of scorpion; one of which lives in the sea, and the other in marshes. And the one which lives in the sea is red, but the other is rather black. But the sea-mullet is superior to the other, both in taste and in nutritious qualities. But the scorpions have purging qualities, are easy of secretion, very juicy, and very nutritious; for they are a cartilaginous fish.” The scorpion brings forth its young twice a-year, as Aristotle tells us, in the fifth book of his Parts of Animals. But Numenius says, in his treatise on Fishing,—
The phycides, the alphestes, and besidesBut that he is a fish which has the power of stinging, Aristotle tells us, in his book about Fishes or Animals. And Epicharmus, in his Muses, says that the scorpion is a variegated fish:—
The red-flesh'd scorpion, and the black-tail quick,
Which guides the perch all through the stormy sea.
The variegated scorpion, the grayling,The scorpion is a solitary fish, and feeds on seaweed. But, in the fifth book of his Parts of Animals, Aristotle speaks of scorpions and scorpides in different places; but it is uncertain whether he means the same fish; because we ourselves have often eaten the scorpæna and the scorpion, and there is no [p. 505] one who does not know that both their juice and their meat are quite different. But Archestratus, that skilful cook, in his Golden Words, tells us—
The fat and well-fed lizards.
When you're at Thasos buy a scorpion,
But let him not be longer than one cubit;
Avoid the larger sizes.
Then there is the scombrus, or tunny, which is mentioned by this name by Aristophanes, in his Gerytades. Icesius says that that species of tunny called scombrus is smaller in size, but more nutritious, than the species called colias; and also more juicy, though not more easily digested. Epicharmus, in his Hebe's Wedding, mentions them thus:—
Sea-swallows, and mormyri, both of which
Are larger than the coliæ and the scombri,
But less than those whose name is thynnides.
The sargus is another fish. He (as Icesius tells us) is a fish of very exciting and astringent properties, and more nutritious than the melanurus, or blacktail. But Numenius, in his treatise on Fishing, says that the sargus is a very cunning fish as respects the catching him:—
The rich sea-blackbird, or the thrush who sportsAnd Aristotle, in the fifth book of his treatise on the Parts of Animals, says that the sargus brings forth its young twice in the year; once in the spring and once in the autumn. And Epicharmus, in his Hebe's Wedding, says—
Beneath the waves; the sargus too who rushes
Now here with sudden movement, and now there,
The greatest enemy to the fisher's nets.
The sargus, and the chalcis, and the . . .But he speaks of the sarginus, or sargus, as an excellent fish, in the following lines—
There the sarginus was, the melanurus,And in a similar manner Dorion, in his treatise on Fishes, speaks, calling them sargini and chalcides, on this very account. But the wise Archestratus says—
And the dear tænia, thin but delicious.
Now when the bright Orion's star doth set,
And the fair mother of the vinous grape
Doth shed her hair, then take a roasted sargus,
Well sprinkled o'er with cheese, of mighty size,
Smoking, and soften'd with sharp vinegar.
For he is hard by nature. And remember
This is the way all hard fish should be cook'd.
[p. 506] But those whose meat is good and soft by nature,
It is enough to sprinkle well with salt,
And lightly to anoint with oil. For they
Have virtue and delights within themselves.
There is the salpe, too. Epicharmus, in his Hebe's Wedding, says—
The aon, and the phagrus, and the pike,And Aristotle, in the fifth book of his Parts of Animals, says that the salpe has young once a-year only, in the autumn; and that his skin is covered with numerous red lines. Moreover, he has serrated teeth, and is a solitary fish. And he says that it is stated by the fishermen that he may be caught with a cucumber, being very fond of that kind of food. And Archestratus says—
And the dung-eating, bloated, dirty salpe,
Which still have a sweet flavour in the summer.
I always do account the fish call'd salpeAnd Pancrates, in his Works of the Sea, says—
A worthless fish. But it is least tasteless
When the wheat ripens. And the choicest kinds
Are caught at Mitylene.
There is the salpe too, of the same size,He also is a spotted or variegated fish; on which account his friends used to nickname Mnaseas the Locrian (or, as some call him, the Colophonian),—the man who wrote the poem called The Sports,—Salpe, on account of the variety of things in his collection. But Nymphodorus the Syracusan, in his Voyage round Asia, says that it was a Lesbian woman, named Salpe, who wrote the book called The Sports. But Alcimus, in his Affairs of Sicily, says that in Messene, in Sicily, there was a man named Botrys, who was the author of some “Sports” very like those which are attributed to Salpe. But Archippus uses the word in the masculine form, Salpes, saying—
Which the seafaring fishermen do call
The ox, because he grinds within his teeth
The stout seaweed with which he fills his belly.
The ceryx shouted out,And there is a similar fish produced in the Red Sea, which is called the stromateus; and it has gold-coloured lines running along the whole of his body, as Philo tells us, in his book on Mines. [p. 507]
The salpes trumpeted and fetch'd seven obols.
There is also the synodon and the synagris. They also are mentioned by Epicharmus, when he says—
Synagrides, and mazi, and the synodons,And Numenius, in his treatise on Fishing, writes the word with an υ, συνόδους; and says—
With red spots variegated.
Then the white synodon, and boax, and triccus.And in another place he says—
Fish with these baits then, if you wish to eatBut Dorion writes the word σινόδους, with an ι; and so does Archestratus, in the following lines:—
The mighty synodon, or diving horsetail.
But try to catch a well-fed sinodon,And Antiphanes says, in his Archistrata,—
And you will find the best in narrow straits.
All this advice to Cyrus I have given,
And now to you, Cleænus, I impart it.
But who would eat an eel, or sinodon's head.
There is also the saurus, or lizard. Alexis mentions this fish, in his Leuce. It is a cook who is speaking:—
A. Do you know how you ought to dress a lizard?And Ephippus, in his Cydon, gives a list of many other fishes, and among them he mentions the lizard, in the following lines:—
B. I shall, when you have taught me.
A. First of all
Take off the gills, then wash him, then cut off
The spines all round, and split him open neatly;
Then when you've laid him flat, anoint him well
And thoroughly with assafœetida;
Sprinkle him then with cheese, and salt, and marjoram.
Slices of tunny, and of glanis,And Innesimachus, in his Horse-breeder, says—
Of shark, and rhine, and of conger,
Cephalus, perch, and lizard too,
And phycis, brinchus, also mullet,
Sea-cuckoo, phagrus, myllus, sparus,
Lebias, æolias, and sea-swallow,
Thritta, and squid, and cuttle-fish,
Sea-sparrow, and dracænides.
The polypus, the squid, and orphus,
The tench, th' anchovy, and the cestres,
And last of all the needle-fish.
Of fish with teeth serrated, you may eat[p. 508] There is also the scepinus; and this fish is mentioned by Dorion, in his treatise on Fish; and he says that it is also called the attageinus, or sea-woodcock.
The grim torpedo, the sea-frog, the perch,
The lizard, and the trichias, and the phycis,
The brinchus, and the mullet, and sea-cuckoo.
There is also the sciæna. Epicharmus, in his Hebe's Wedding, says—
Aeoliæ were there, and plotes too,But Numenius calls this fish the Sciadeus, saying—
And cynoglossi and sciathides.
Use then this bait, and you perhaps may catch,There is also the syagris; and this fish is mentioned by Epicharmus, in his Hebe's Wedding, and also in his Earth and Sea.
If such your wish, a mighty synodon,
Or the quick leaping hippurus, or the phagrus
Proud with his high-raised crest, or in a shoal
Of trusty comrades, the fresh sciadeus.
Then there is the sphuræna, or hammer-fish; and these fish, Icesius says, are more nutritious than the congers, but very unpleasant and unpalatable to the taste; and, as to their juicy qualities, they are tolerable. But Dorion says— “The sphuræna, which they call the cestra.” And Epicharmus, in his Muses, having named the cestra, does not after that mention the sphuræna, thinking them the same fish—
The chalcides, the sea-dog, and the cestra,And Sophron, in his Male Farces, says—“The cestræ, which cat the botis.” But Speusippus, in the second book of his treatise on Things which resemble one another, puts down the cestra, the needle-fish, and the sea-lizard as very nearly like one another. And the Attic writers in general call the sphuræna the cestra, and do not so often use the name of sphuræna. Accordingly, Strattis, in his Macedonians, when some Athenian asks the question, as being ignorant of the name, and saying,
And perch with variegated back.
But what is the sphuræna?The other replies,
You, O Athenians, do call it the cestra.And Antiphanes, in his Euthydicus, says—
A. The sphuræna is a common fish.And Nicophon, in his Pandora, says—
B. You should say cestra, in strict Attic Greek.
The cestra and the pike.[p. 509] And Epicharmus, in his Hebe's Wedding, says—
The cestra and the variegated perch.
The cuttle-fish is often mentioned. Aristophanes says, in his Danaides,—
And when I have the cuttle-fish and polypus.And the penultima of this word has the acute accent like that in the word αἰτία, as Philemon tells us; like these words, παιδία, ταινία, οἰκία. But Aristotle says that the cuttle-fish has eight feet, of which the two lowest are the largest; and that it has two proboscises, and between them it has its eyes and mouth placed. And it has two teeth, one above and one below; and what is called a shell on its back. And the ink is contained in what is called the mutis, which answers to the liver; and it lies near its mouth, being something like a bladder. Its belly is wide and smooth, like the paunch of an ox. And the little cuttle-fish feed on small fish, extending their proboscises like fishermen's lines, and catching their prey with them. It is said, too, that when a storm comes, they seize hold of the rocks with their proboscises, as if they were anchors, and so fix themselves firm. And when the cuttle-fish is pursued, it discharges its ink, and is hidden in it, making it appear as if it were flying forwards. And it is also said, that when the female is struck by a harpoon, the male fish come to its assistance, dragging it on; but if the male fish be taken, the female fish flees away. But the cuttlefish does not live more than a year, as neither does the polypus. But, in the fifth book of his Parts of Animals, Aristotle says—“The cuttle-fish and the squids swim together, being united together at the mouths, and also touching one another with their feelers, so as to join in that manner; and they also join proboscis to proboscis. But of all the molluscous fish, the cuttle-fish is the earliest in the spring to bring forth its young; and they do not bring forth at every season. But they go with young fifteen days; and when they lay their eggs, the male follows the female, and breathes upon the eggs and makes them firm. And they move in pairs; and the male is more variegated than the female, and blacker on the back.”
And Epicharmus, in his Hebe's Wedding, says—
The polypus, likewise the cuttle-fish,And we must also take notice of this, with reference to Speu- [p. 510] sippus, who says that the cuttle-fish and the squid are the same fish. But when Hipponax, in his Iambics, uses the words σηπίης ὑπόσφαγμα, the interpreters have explained the expression as meaning “the ink of the cuttle-fish.” But the word ὑπόσφαγμα is, properly speaking, equivalent to ὑπότριμμα, a dish compounded of various ingredients, as Erasistratus tells us, in his Cookery Book. And he writes as follows—“But ὑπόσφαγμα is made with roast meat and blood stirred up and compounded with cheese, and salt, and cummin, and assafœtida; but the meat may also be boiled.” And Glaucus the Locrian, in his Cookery Book, writes as follows— “῾υπόσφαγμα is blood boiled, and assafœtida, and boiled lees of wine; or sometimes honey and vinegar, and milk and cheese, and sweet-smelling herbs are shred and mixed together in it.” And Archestratus, that man of the most varied learning, says—
And the swift-moving squid.
The cuttle-fish of Abdera and the middle of Maronea.And Aristophanes, in his Thesmophoriazuss, says—
Has any fish or cuttle-fish been bought?And in the Danaides he says—
Osmulia, mœnidea, and cuttle-fish.Theopompus, in his Aphrodite, says—
. . . But eat, my friend,But concerning the boiling of the small polypus, Alexis, in his Wicked Woman, introduces a cook speaking as follows—
This cuttle-fish, and this small polypus.
Now these three cuttle-fish I have just bought
For one small drachma. And when I 've cut off
Their feelers and their fins, I then shall boil them.
And cutting up the main part of their meat
Into small dice, and rubbing in some salt,
After the guests already are sat down,
I then shall put them in the frying-pan,
And serve up hot towards the end of supper.
The next fish is the mullet; and τρίγλη is like κίχλη, ending in η. For the feminine nouns which end in λα require another λ before the λα;; as σκύλλα, τελέσιλλα. But all the words which have γ united to λ end in η; as τρώγλη, αἴγλη, ζεύγλη. But Aristotle, in the fifth book of his Parts of Animals, says that the mullet brings forth three times in the year; and states that the fishermen have adopted this opinion from the spawn being seen three times a-year in certain localities. And perhaps it is from the word τρὶς (three times) that it has its name; just as the fish called ἀμία has its name [p. 511] from its being a fish which does not go about by itself, but in shoals (ἅμα). And the σκάρος is so called from σκαίρω (to leap); as also is the καρίς. And the ἀφύη is so named as being ἀφυὴς, which is equivalent to δυσφυὴς, that is to say, slowly propagated. Then θύννος has its name from θύω (to rush), because it is an impetuous fish, from being driven about by its fly in the head at the time of the rising of the Dog-star. But it is a fish with serrated teeth, gregarious, and spotted all over, and also carnivorous: and when it has had young three times it becomes barren; for some little worms are engendered in its womb, which devour the young as soon as they are conceived. And from the actual facts, Epicharmus calls them hump-backed, in his Hebe's Wedding, where he says—
He brought the hump-back'd mullet too,But Sophron, in his Male Farces, speaks of a fish which he calls τρίγολη, saying,
And the ungrateful bæones.
The trigola which cuts the navel string.And in another place he says—
The trigola which loves calm weather.And in his play called Pædica he says—
. . . trigola . . . .But, in his Affairs of Women, he says—
The bearded mullet (τρίγλη).But Diocles, in his books addressed to Plistarchus, says that the mullet is a fish of hard flesh; and Speusippus says that the sea-cuckoo, the sea-swallow, and the mullet are all alike; on which account Tryphon says, in his treatise on Animals, that some people think that the trigola is the sea-cuckoo, from its likeness to it, and from the dryness of its hindquarters; which Sophron indicates, when he says—
The fat mullets and the hinder parts of the trigola.
But Plato, in his Phaon, says—
The mullet is not wholesome for the nerves,But the mullet is attributed to Hecate as her fish, on account of the common derivation of their names; for Hecate is called τριοδῖτις, as presiding over places where three roads met, and τρίγληνος, as having three eyes; and also they provide her a banquet on the thirtieth day of each month (ταῖς τριακάσι). [p. 512] And, on similar principles, they assign to Apollo the fish κίθαρος, from κιθάρα (the harp); and the βόαξ to Mercury, from βοάω (to speak); and the κιττὸς to Bacchus, from κισσὸς(ivy); and the φάλαρις to Venus, as Aristophanes in his Birds says, from the similarity of its name to the word φαλλός. And so the bird called the νῆσσα (or duck), they call Neptune's bird; and the sea production which we call ἀφυὰ, and others ἀφρύα, and which is more generally called ἀφρὸς (foam), they also give to him; though they say that this also is very dear to Venus, because she herself was born of foam. But Apollodorus, in his books concerning the Gods, says that the mullet is sacrificed to Hecate on account of the resemblance of their names; for that the goddess is τρίμορφος, of a triple form. But Melanthus, in his treatise on the Eleusinian Mysteries, says that both the τρίγλη and the μαινὶς (or sprat), are sacred to Hecate, because Hecate is also a goddess of the sea. But Hegesander the Delphian says that the mullet is accustomed to be carried about in the Artemisia, because it is accustomed diligently to hunt out and destroy the sea-hares, which are poisonous animals; on which account, as it does this to the great benefit of mankind, the mullet as a huntress is considered sacred to the goddess who is also a huntress. And Sophron has called the mullet “bearded,” because those which have beards are better flavoured than those which have not. And there is a place at Athens called τρίγλα, and there there is a shrine to ῾εκάτη τριγανθίνη; on which account Chariclides, in his Chain, says—
For it is sacred to the chaste Diana,
And all excitement hates.
O mistress Hecate, Trioditis,
With three forms (τρίμορφε) and three faces (τριπρόσωπε),
Propitiated with mullets (τρίγλαις).
And if the mullet, while alive, be choked with wine, and then a man drinks the wine, he will no longer be able to indulge in the pleasures of Venus, as Terpsicles tells us in his book on Amatory Pleasures. And if a woman drinks this same wine, she never becomes pregnant. Birds, too, are affected in the same manner. But Archestratus, that very learned man, after he has praised the Milesian mullet which are found at Teichius, proceeds to say—
If you at Thasos are, then buy a mullet;[p. 513] And Cratinus, in his Trophonius, says—
You ne'er will get a worse, unless indeed
You go to Tius; but even those are fair:
But at Erythræ they are caught in shore
And are most excellent.
And do not eat a red-flesh'd mullet hard,But Nausicrates, the comic poet, praises the mullets from Aexona, in his Captains of Ships, saying—
Brought from Aexona; nor of any turtle,
Or mighty melanurus from those seas.
Those yellow fleshed fish, which the high wave
That beats Aexona brings towards the shore,
The best of fish; with which we venerate
The light-bestowing daughter of great Jove;
When sailors offer gifts of feasts to heaven.
B. You mean the mullet.
There is, too, the tænia; and this is mentioned by Epicharmus:—
The most belovèd tænia, which are thin,And Mithæcus, in his Cookery Book, says—“Having taken out the entrails of the tænia, and cut off its head, and washed it, and having cut it into slices, sprinkle over it cheese and oil.” But this fish is found in the greatest number and in the finest condition off Canopus, which is near Alexandria; and also off Seleucia, which is close to Antioch. But when Eupolis, in his Prospaltii, says—
But highly flavour'd, and need little fire.
His mother was a Thracian woman,he then means by the word ταινία, not the fish, but those pieces of woven work and girdles with which women bind their waists.
A seller of tænie;
Another fish is the trachurus, or rough-tail. Diodes mentions this as a dry fish. And Numenius, in his Art of Fishing, says—
The aconia and the wagtail too,There is also the taulopias. Concerning this fish, A chestratus says—
And the . . . trachurus.
When it is summer buy a good-sized head
Of fresh taulopias, just when Phaethon
Is driving his last course. Dress it with speed.
Serve it up hot, and some good seasoning with it,
Then take its entrails, spit and roast them too.
There is also the τευθὶς, [which is a kind of cuttle-fish, different from the σηπίο.] Aristotle says that this also is a [p. 514] gregarious fish, and that it has a great many things in com- mon with the sepia; such as the same number of feet, and the two proboscises: but of this kind the lower feet are the smaller, and the upper feet the larger; and of the proboscises, that on the right side is the thickest: and the whole body is delicate, and of a more oblong shape than the sepia. And the teuthis also has ink in its mutis, which, however, is not black, but of a pale colour. And its shell is very small, and cartilaginous. There is also the teuthus; and the only difference between the teuthus and the teuthis is in size: and the teuthus is of the size of three spans; and it is of a reddish colour. And of its two teeth, the lower one is the smallest, and the upper one is the largest; and both of them are black, and like a hawk's beak. And when it is slit open, it has a paunch like a pig's paunch. Aristotle, in the fifth book of his Parts of Animals, says that both the teuthus and the sepia are short-lived fish. And Archestratus, who travelled and sailed over the whole earth, for the sake of gratifying his greedy appetite, says,—
The best of all the teuthides are thoseAnd Alexis, in his Eretrian, introduces a cook speaking in this way—
Caught near Pierian Dium, near the stream
Of Baphyras. And in Ambracia's port
You will see mighty shoals of this same fish.
Teuthides, thornbacks, rays, and fatThere is also a sort of cake or confectionary called τευθὶς, which is mentioned by Iatrocles, in his book on the Art of making Bread, as Pamphilus quotes.
Anchovies, lumps of meat, and paunches too.
I took the teuthides, cut off their fins,
Adding a little fat; I then did sprinkle
Some thin shred herbs o'er all for seasoning.
Then there is the sea-pig. Epicharmus, in his Hebe's Wedding, says—
There were hyænides, buglossi,And he also calls them not only ὑαινίδες, but also ὕες in the following lines—
There was the harp-fish too in numbers.
There were too chalcides and sea-pigs (ὕες),[p. 515] Unless, indeed, when he uses the word ὗς here, he means the same animal which is also called κάπρος, the sea-boa. But Numenius, in his Art of Fishing, enumerates plainly enough some sort of ὕαινα or plaice, when he says—
And sea-hawks, and the fat sea-dog.
The cantharis, hyæna, and the mullet.And Dionysius, in his Cookery Book, also speaks of the hyæna or plaice. And Archestratus, that prince of cooks and epicures says,—
At Aenus or at Potus buy the sea-pig,And perhaps it is the sea-pig which Numenius, in his Art of Fishing, calls the psamathis, or sand-fish, when he says—
Which some men call the digger of the sand,
Then boil his head, adding no seasoning,
But only water, stirring it full often,
And add some pounded hyssop; if you want
Anything more, pour on some pungent vinegar;
Steep it in that, then eat it with such haste
As if your object were to choke yourself.
But roast its neck, and all its other parts.
Sometimes the fierce carcharias, and sometimes
The psamathis, delighting in the surf.
Then there is the hyces. Callimachus, in his epigrams, calls the hyces the sacred fish, in these lines—
And he does deem the sacred hyces god.And Numenius, in his Art of Fishing, says—
The spar, or the gregarious hyces;And Timæus, in the thirteenth book of his Histories, speaking of the town in Sicily, (I mean the town of Hyccara,) says that this town derived its name from the circumstance of the first man who arrived at the place finding abundance of the fish called hyces, and those too in a breeding condition; and they, taking this for an omen, called the place Hyccarus. But Zenodotus says that the Cyrenæans call the hyces the erythrinus. But Hermippus of Smyrna, in his essay on Hipponax, when he speaks of the hyces, means the iulis; and says that it is very hard to catch; on which account Philetas says—
Or phagrus, ever wand'ring near the rocks.
Nor was the hyces the last fish who fled.
There is also the phagrus. Speusippus, in the second book of his Things resembling one another, says that the phagrus, the erythrinus, and the hepatus, are very much [p. 516] alike. And Numenius also has mentioned it in the lines which have been quoted not long ago. But Aristotle says that he is a carnivorous and solitary fish; and that he has a heart of a triangular shape, and that he is in season in the spring. And Epicharmus, in his Hebe's Wedding, speaks of the
Aones, and the phagri, and the pikes.And Metagenes also mentions them in his Thurio-Persæ. And Ameipsias says in his Connus—
A food for orphi and selachia,And Icesius says—“The phagrus, and the chromis, and the anthias, and the acharnanes, and the orphi, and the synodons, and the synagrides, are all very nearly akin to one another; for they are sweet and astringent, and nutritious, but in the same proportion they are hard of digestion. And those of them which are fleshy, and which are caught nearer land, are the most nutritious, and those also which have the least fat.” But Archestratus says—
And for the greedy phagri.
'Tis when the dogstar rises in the skyStrattis also mentions the phagrus in his Lemnomeda—
That you should eat the phagrus; specially
If you in Delos or Eretria are,
Or other favouring harbours of the sea;
But, if you can, purchase his head alone,
And tail; and bring no more within your doors.
Eating a number of large phagri.And in his Philoctetes he says—
Then, going to the market, they will buyThere is also a kind of stone called the phagrus. For the whetstone is called so among the Cretans, as Simmias testifies.
A great abundance of large phagri, and
Slices of tender round Copaic eel.
There is also the channa. Epicharmus, in his Hebe's Wedding, says—
The channa, with large mouth, and then the cod,Numenius, in his Art of Fishing, says—
With deep and spacious belly.
The channas and the eel, and pitinus,Dorion also mentions him in his treatise on Fishes. But Aristotle, in his book on Animals, calls the channa a fish [p. 517] variegated with red and black; and he calls it also ποικιλόγραμμος, because it is marked with black lines.
Who only roams by night.
There is the chromis; this also is spoken of by Epicharmus, who says—
There is the sword-fish and the chromias,And Numenius, in his Art of Fishing, says—
Who, in the spring, as Ananius says,
Is of all fish the daintiest.
The hyces, or the beautiful callicthys,And Archestratus says—
Or else the chromis, and sometimes the orphus.
You may catch noble chromises in Pella,
And they are fat when it is midsummer;
And in Ambracia likewise they abound.
There is also the chrysophrys. Archippus says in his Fishes—
The chrysophrys, sacred to Cytherean Venus.And Icesius says that these fish are the best of all fish in sweetness, and also in delicacy of flavour in other respects. They are also most nutritious. They produce their young, as Aristotle says, in a manner similar to the cestres, wherever there are flowing rivers. Epicharmus mentions them in his Muses; and Dorion also, in his book on Fishes. And Eupolis, in his Flatterers, says—
I spent a hundred drachmas upon fish,But the wise Archestratus, in his Suggestions, says—
And only got eight pike, and twelve chrysophryes.
Pass not the chrysophrys from Ephesus
Unheeded by; which the Ephesians call
The ioniscus. Take him eagerly,
The produce of the venerable Selinus;
Wash him, and roast him whole, and serve him up,
Though he be ten full cubits long.
There is a fish, too, called the chalcis; and others which resemble it, namely, the thrissa, the trichis, and the eritimus. Icesius says, the fish called the chalcis, ad the sea-goat, and the needle-fish, and the thrissa, are like chaff destitute alike of fat and of juice. And Epicharmus, in his Hebe's Wedding, says—
The chalcides, the sea-pig too,But Dorion calls it the chalcidice. And Numenius says,—
The sea-hawk, and the fat sea-dog.
But you would thus harpoon, in the same way,[p. 518] But the χαλκεὺς is different from the χαλκὶς; and the χαλκεὺς is mentioned by Heraclides, in his Cookery Book; and by Euthydemus, in his book on Cured Fish, who says that they are bred in the country of the Cyzicenes, being a round and circular fish. But the thrissa is mentioned by Aristotle in his book on Animals and Fishes, in these words—“The following are stationary fish: the thrissa, the encrasicholus, the membras anchovy, the coracinus, the erythrinus, and the trichis.” And Eupolis mentions the trichis in his Flatterers;—
That chalcis and the little tiny sprat.
He was a stingy man, who once in his lifeAnd Aristophanes, in his Knights, says—
Before the war did buy some trichides;
But in the Samian war, a ha'p'orth of meat.
If trichides were to be a penny a hundred.But Dorion, in his treatise on Fishes, speaks also of the river Thrissa; and calls the trichis trichias. Nicochares, in his Lemnian Women, says—
The trichias, and the premas tunny too,(But there was a kind of tunny which they used to call premnas. Plato, in his Europa, has these lines—
Placed in enormous quantities for supper.
He once, when fishing, saw one of such sizeAnd Aristotle, in the fifth book of his Parts of Animals, calls it a trichias also, but in the book which is entitled ζωϊκὸν, he calls it trichis. And it is said that this fish is delighted with dancing and singing, and that when it hears music it leaps up out of the sea. Dorion also mentions the eritimi, saying, that they are much the same as the chalcides, and that they are very nice in forced meat. And Epænetus, in his book upon Fishes, says—“The sea-weasel; the smaris, which some call the dog'sbed; the chalcides, which they also call sardini; the eritimi, the sea-hawk, and the sea-swallow.” And Aristotle, in the fifth book of his Parts of Animals, calls them sardines. And Callimachus, in his Names used by different Nations, writes thus—“The encrasicholus, the eritimus, are names used by the Chalcedonians; the trichidia, the chalcis, the ictar, the [p. 519] atherina.” And in another part, giving a list of the names of fishes, he says—“The ozæna, the osmylnion, are names used by the Thurians; the iopes, the eritimi, are names used by the Athenians.” And Nicander mentions the iopes in his Bœotian,—
A man could scarcely carry it, in a shoal
Of premnades, and then he let it go,
Because it was a boax.)
But as when round a shoal of newly bornAnd Aristophanes, in his Ships of Burden, says—
lopes, phagri, or fierce scopes roam,
Or the large orphus.
O wretched fish, the first of trichidesFor they used to steep in pickle all the fish which were proper to be dressed on the coals. And they called pickle, Thasian brine; as also the same poet says in his Wasps,—
To be immersed in pickle.
For before that it twice drank in the brine.
There is also a fish called the thratta. And since we have brought the discussion to this point, and have also discussed the thrissa; let us now examine what the thratta are, which are mentioned by Archippus, in his play called the Fishes. For in that play, in the treaty between the Fishes and the Athenians, he introduces the following sentences—
And it is agreed on furtherNow in these lines, perhaps a man may ask what sort of thrattæ among the fishes are meant here, which the fish agree to give up to the men. And since I have got some private things written out on this subject, I will now recite to you that portion of them which bears most on the subject. The thratta, then, is really a genuine sea-fish; and Mnesimachus, in his Horse-breeder, mentions it; and Mnesimachus is a poet of the middle comedy. And he speaks thus— [p. 520]
That both the high contracting parties
Shall restore all they now do hold
Of each other's property.
We shall give up thus the Thrattæ,
And the flute-playing Atherina,
And Thyrsus's daughter Sepia,
And the mullet, and Euclides,
Who was archon t'other day,
And the coraciontes too,
Who from Anagyrus come;
And the offspring of the tench,
Who swims round sacred Salamis;
And the frog who's seated near,
From the marshes of Oreum.
The mullet, and the lebias, and the sparus,But Dorotheus of Ascalon, in the hundred and eighth book of his collection of Words, writes this name θέττα, either because he fell in with a copy of the drama with an incorrect text, or because, as he himself was unused to the word, he altered it so before he published it. But the name thetta does absolutely never occur in any Attic writer whatever. But that they were used to call a sea-fish by the name of thratta, that Anaxandrides establishes, speaking in this manner in his play called Lycurgus,—
The bright æolias, and the thratta too,
The sea-swallow, the cars, and the cuttlefish.
And sporting with the little coracini,And Antiphanes says in his Etrurian—
With little perches, and the little thrattæ.
A. He is of the Halæa borough. This is all
That now is left me, to be abused unjustly.
B. Why so?
A. He will (you'll see) bestow on me
Some thratta. or sea-sparrow, or some lamprey,
Or some enormous other marine evil.
We come now to the sea-sparrow. Diodes enumerates this fish among the drier kinds. But Speusippus, in the second book of his Things resembling one another, says that the sea-sparrow and the buglossus and the tænia are very much alike. But Aristotle, in the fifth book of his Parts of Animals, writes—“And in the same manner the greater number of the small fish have young once a year; such as those which are called chyti, which are surrounded by a net, namely, the chromis, the sea-sparrow, the tunny, the pelamys, the cestreus, the chalcis, and others of the same sort.” And in his treatise on Animals he says—“These fish are cartilaginous, the sea-cow, the turtle, the torpedo, the ray, the sea-frog, the buglossa, the sea-sparrow, the mussel.” But Dorion, in his book on Fishes, says—“But of flat fish there is the buglossus, the sea-sparrow, the escharus, which they also call the coris.” The buglossi are mentioned also by Epicharmus in his Hebe's Wedding—
Hyænides, buglossi, and a citharus.And Lynceus the Samian, in his Letters, says that the finest sea-sparrows are procured near Eleusis, in Attica. And Archestratus says— [p. 521]
Remember then to get a fine sea-sparrow,But the Romans call the sea-sparrow rhombus; which, how- ever, is a Greek name. And Nausicrates, in his Sea Captains, having first mentioned the sea-grayling, proceeds in this manner—
And a rough-skinn'd buglossus, near the port
Of sacred Chalcis
A. Those yellow-fleshed fish, which the high wave
That beats Aexona brings towards the shore,
The best of fish; with which we venerate
The light-bestowing daughter of great Jove;
When sailors offer gifts of feasts to heaven.
B. You mean the muller, with its milky colour,
Which the Sicilian multitude calls rhombus.
So now, having given you, O Timocrates, the whole of the conversation which took place among the Deipnosophists on the subject of fish, we may conclude our book here; and unless you want some other kind of food, we will end by setting before you what Eubulus has said in his Lacedæmonians, or Leda;—
Besides all this you now shall haveBeing sated, therefore, with all this, let us now take due care of our bodies, in order to be able to feed comfortably on what is coming next.
A slice of tunny, a slice of pork,
Some paunch of kid, some liver of goat,
Some ram, the entrails of an ox,
A lamb's head, and a kid's intestines;
The belly of a hare, a pudding,
Some tripe, black-puddings, and a sausage.