Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

was boiled. There was a small delicate shell-fish caught on the island of Pharos and adjacent coasts of Egypt, which they called Aphrodite's ear, and there is still found on the same coast near Canopos a diminutive and beautiful rose-coloured conch called Venus's nipple. On the same shore, about the rise of the Nile, that species of mussel called tellinè was caught in great abundance, but the besttasted were said to be found in the river itself. A still finer kind were in season about autumn in the vicinity of Ephesos. The echinos, or sea-chestnut, cooked with oxymel, parsley, and mint, was esteemed good and wholesome eating. Those caught about Cephalonia, Icaria, and Achaia were bitterish, those of Sicily laxative; the best were the red and the quince coloured. A laughable anecdote is told of a Spartan, who being invited to dine where sea-chestnuts were brought to table, took one upon his plate, and not knowing how they were eaten put it into his mouth, shell and all. Finding it exceedingly unmanageable, he turned it about for some time, seeking slowly and cautiously to discover the knack of eating it. But the rough and prickly shell still resisting his efforts, his temper grew ruffled ; crunching it fiercely he exclaimed, “ Detestable beast ! Well! I will not let thee go now, after having thus ground thee to pieces ; but assuredly I will never touch thee again.”

Oysters were esteemed good when boiled with mallows, or monks' rhubarb. In general, however,

1 Athen. iii. 30. During their “remarkably well ; some running long fasts the modern Greeks also “about on the sharp rocks with eat the cuttle-fish, snails, &c. “ their naked feet, as if devoid of Chandler, ii. 143.

“ feeling, and some examining the 2 Athen. iii. 35.

“ bottom of the clear water for 3 Athen. iii. 40. The taking “the Echinus or sea-chestnut, a of this fish at Sunium is thus de- “ species of shell-fish common on scribed by Chandler: “Meanwhile “this coast, and now in perfec“our sailors, except two or three « tion, the moon being nearly “ who accompanied us, stripped “at the full.” Vol. ii. p. 8. “to their drawers to bathe, all - Demet. Scep. 'ap. Athen. iii. “ of them swimming and diving 41.

L ?

the physicians of antiquity considered them hard of digestion. But lest the shelled-fish should usurp more space than is their due, we shall conclude with Archestratos' list, in which he couples with each the name of the place where the best were caught:

For mussels you must go to Ænos; oysters
You 'll find best at Abydos. Parion
Rejoices in its urchins, but if cockles
Gigantic and sweet-tasted you would eat,
A voyage must be made to Mitylene,
Or the Ambracian Gulf, where they abound
With many other dainties. At Messina,
Near to the Faro, are pelorian conchs,
Nor are those bad you find near Ephesos ;
For Tethyan oysters, go to Chalcedon ;
But for the Heralds, may Zeus overwhelm them
Both in the sea and in the agora!
Aye, all except my old friend Agathon,
Who in the midst of Lesbian vineyards dwells.?

We have already mentioned the magnificent eels of Lake Copais, in Baotia, a longing for which appears to have been Aristophanes's chief motive for desiring an end to the Peloponnesian war. Next in excellence were those caught in the river Strymon, and the Faro of Messina. The ellops, by some supposed to be the sword-fish, was found in greatest perfection near Syracuse; at least, in

1 The shput, ceryx, so called because the Heralds («hpukes) used its shell instead of a trumpet, when making proclamation of any decree in the agora.

2 Athen. iii. 44. Cf. Polluc. vi. 47. The ancients made the most of their fish in every way. They were hawked about the streets in rush-baskets, as with us.-Athen. vii. 72.

3 Sch. Aristoph. Acharn, 845. Lysist. 36. There were in the fountain at Arethusa, as we are told by the philosophical Plutarch,

eels that understood their own names.—Solert. Anim. § 23.

4 Archestratos gives the preference over all other eels to those caught in the Faro of Messina. Athen. vii. 53. Very excellent and large eels are taken in the lake of Korion, in Crete, according to the testimony of Buondelmonte. Pashley, i. 72.

5 On the sword-fish fishery in the Strait of Messina, see Spallanzani's Travels in the Two Sicilies, vol. iv. p. 331, sqq.

the opinion of Archestratos; but Varro and Pliny give the preference to that of Rhodes, and others to that of the Pamphylian sea. The red mullet, the hepsetos, the hepatos, the elacaten, the thunny, the hippouros, the hippos, or sea-horse, found in perfection on the shores of Phænicia, the ioulis, the kichle, or sea-thrush, the sea-boar, the citharos, the kordylos, the river cray-fish, the shark, which was eaten when young, the mullet, the coracinos, the carp, the gudgeon, the sea cuckoo, the seawolf, the latos, the leobatos, or smooth ray, the lamprey, the myræna, the anchovy, the black tail, the torpedo, the mormyros, the orphos, the onos, the polypus, the crab, the sea-perch, the physa, or sea-tench, the raphis, the sea-dog, the scaros, the sparos, the scorpios, the salpe, or stock-fish, the synodon, the sauros, the scepinos, or halibut, the sciaina, the syagris, the sphyræna, the sepia, the tonia, the skate, the cuttle-fish, the hyca, the phagros, the perca cabrilla, the chromis, the gilthead, the trichidon, the thratta, and the turbot ; 6 such is a list of the fish in common use among the Greeks. The species it will be seen has not in many cases been ascertained.

1 Athen. vii. 57. Animadv. t. ix. p. 220.

. The finest prawns were taken at Minturnæ, on the coast of Campania, exceeding in size those of Smyrna, and the crabs (dotakoi) of Alexandria.—Athen. i. 12.

4 Esteemed a delicacy cooked with leeks. Aristoph. Vesp. 494. Cf. Acharn. 901. Av. 76.

3 See on Crassus's lamprey. Plut. Solert. Animal. § 23.

5 See Spallanzani's Travels in the Two Sicilies, vol. iv. p. 343, sqq.

6 Athen. vii. 16–39. Aristot. Hist. Anim. iv. 246. viï. 3, 4, 5, 16.




Tue reader by this time will, probably, be willing to escape from fish, though it would be easy to treat him to many new kinds, and along with us take a slice of Greek pheasant, or the breast of an Egyptian quail. In other words, he will hear what we have to say on Ilellenic poultry. Chrysippos, in his treatise on things desirable in themselves, appears to have reckoned Athenian cocks and liens among the number, and reprehends the people of Attica for importing, at great expense, barn-door fowls from the shores of the Adriatic, though of smaller size, and much inferior to their own; while the inhabitants of those countries, on the other hand, were anxious to possess Attic poultry. Matron, the parodist, who furnishes an amusing description of an Athenian repast, observes, that excellent wild ducks were brought to town from Salamis, where they grew fat in great numbers on the borders of the sacred Lake.”

The thrush, reckoned among the greatest delicacies of the ancients, generally at grand entertainments formed part of the propoma, or first course, and was eaten with little cakes, called ametiskoi. If we may credit Epicharmos, a decided preference was given to such as fed on the olive. Aristotle divides the thrush into three species, the first and largest of which he denominates Ixophagos, or the “ mistletoe-eater;" it was of the size of a magpie. The second, equal in bigness to the black bird, he calls Trichas, and the third, and smallest kind, which was named Ilas or Tulas, according to Alexander, the Myndian, went in flocks, and built its nest like the swallow. Next in excellence to the thrush was a bird known by a variety of names, elaios, pirias, sycalis, the beccafico of the moderns, which was thought to be in season when the figs were ripe. They likewise ate the turtle and the ringdove," which are excellent in Egypt; the chaffinch, to whose qualities I cannot bear testimony; and the blackbird. Nor did they spare the starling, the jackdaw, or the strouthanion, a small bird for which modern languages cannot afford a name. Brains were thought by the ancient philosophers an odious and cannibal-like food, because they are the fountain of all sensation, but this did not prevent the gourmands from converting pigs' brains into a dainty dish, and their taste has maintained its ground in Italy. Partridges, wood-pigeons, geese, quails, jays, are also enumerated among the materials of an Hellenic banquet.

1 Athen. vii. 23. 2 Athen. iv. 23.

3 The solitary sparrow inhabits the cliffs of Delphi, and the songthrush is heard in the pine woods of Parnassus. Above these, when the heights of the mountain are covered with snow, is seen the Emberiza Nivalis, inhabitant alike of the frozen Spitzbergen, and of the Grecian Alp-Sibthorpe in

Walp. Mem. i. 76, seq. Homer is said to have written a poem called 'Etuiglices, because when he sung it to the boys they rewarded him with thrushes. In consequence of the estimation in which these birds were held

disw " to feed on thrushes," came to signify “ to live luxulriously."-- Payne Knight, Prolege. ad Hom. p. 8.

1 The red-winged thrush, well known to sportsmen in hard weather.

2 Athen. ii. 68.

3 Arist. Hist. Anim. viii. 3. p. 221. ix. 49. p. 305. Bekk.

4 The turtle and the wood. pigeon are found in the woods and thickets. Among the larks, I

observed the crested lark to be the most .requent species, with a small sort, probably the alauda campestris of Linnæus. Blackbirds frequent the olive grounds of Pendeli. — Sibth. in Walp. Mem. i. 76.

5 Athen. ii. 69–72.

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »