Fishing for Swordfish
Fishing for sword-fish at the Scyllaean rock is carried on
in this way. A number of men lie in wait, two
each in small two-oared boats, and one man is
set to look out for them all. In the boat one
man rows, while the other stands on the prow holding a spear.
When the look-out man signals the appearance of a sword-fish
(for the animal swims with one-third of its body above water),
the boat rows up to it, and the man with the spear strikes it at
close quarters, and then pulls the spear-shaft away leaving the
harpoon in the fish's body; for it is barbed and loosely fastened
to the shaft on purpose, and has a long rope attached to it.
They then slacken the rope for the wounded fish, until it is
wearied out with its convulsive struggles and attempts to
escape, and then they haul it on to land, or, if its size is not too
great, into the boat. And if the spear-shaft falls into the sea it
is not lost; for being made of two pieces, one oak and the
other pine, the oak end as the heavier dips under water, the
other end rises above it and is easily got hold of. But sometimes it happens that the man rowing is wounded, right through
the boat, by the immense size of the animal's sword; for it
charges like a boar, and hunting the one is very like hunting
This would lead us to conjecture that the wandering
described by Homer was near Sicily, because he has assigned
to Scylla the kind of fishing which is indigenous to the
Scyllaean rock; and because what he says of Charybdis
correctly describes what does happen in the Straits. But the
“"Thrice sends she up the darksome tide,"
in stead of twice "a day," is an error to be
ascribed to the copyist or the geographer.
Island of Meninx, off the lesser Syrtis. See 1. 39.
also Meninx answers to his description of the Lotophagi.