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This webpage reproduces a section of
The Deipnosophistae


published in Vol. IV
of the Loeb Classical Library edition,

The text is in the public domain.

This page has not been proofread.
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(Vol. IV) Athenaeus

Book IX
(Part 4 of 5)

 p305  (399A)Loin-Muscles. — The author of The Return of the Atreidae says in the third book:1 "Hermioneus, with  p307 swift feet following close, pierced Isus in the muscles of his loins with his spear." Simaristus, in the third book of his Synonyms, writes as follows: "The fleshy parts rising up transversely in the loins are called psyae. The hollows on each side they call 'cups' or 'sockets.' " Clearchus, in the second book of his work On Anatomy,2 says: "The muscular pieces of flesh on each side, which some call psyae, others alopeces (foxes), and others nepherometrae kidney-matrices)." The most sacred hipk,3 also, mentions the loin-muscles. They got the name of psyae because they can be easily wiped off (apopsasthai), or as being flesh of a sort that lightly touches (epi-psauousa) the bones on the surface of which it rests. They are mentioned also by the comic poet Euphron in The Pilgrims:4 'There is the lobe5 and what are called psoae.º Make an incision in these before going on your pilgrimage, and learn . . ."6

The Udder. — Telecleides in Hard-boiled:7 "being a female, I naturally wear an udder." Herodotus, in the fourth book of his Histories, says:8 . . . But it is rare to find the word "udder" used of other animals.

The Belly-piece is a term used in general only of fish. Strattis in Atalanta:9 "The belly-piece of a tunny, and a pig's trotter." Theopompus in  p309 Callaeschrus:10 "And belly-pieces of fish, O Demeter!" But in The Sirens he calls these belly-pieces hypogastria "paunches" (hypetria), writing as follows:11 'White paunches of Sicilian tunnies."

The Hare. — Concerning this animal Archestratus, that Daedalus of cookery, has this to say:12 "As to the hare, there are many ways and many laws for dressing it. This, however, is the best, if thou bring the meat roast to each guest in the midst of the drinking; let it be hot, simply sprinkled with salt, and take it off the spit when slightly underdone. Let it not trouble thee to se the divine blood13 oozing from the flesh, but eat it greedily. But all other modes of dressing are utterly superfluous in my eyes — sticky sauces with too much cheese and oil poured on, as though you were preparing an entrée of dogfish." The comic poet Nausicrates, in The Woman from Persia, says that one seldom finds a hare in Attica. His words are:14 "Really, who has ever seen lions in Attica, or any other beast like that? Why! It isn't easy to find even a hare there." But Alcaeus, in Callisto, makes it plain that there were a good many, in these lines:15 "A. What's  p311 the purpose of the powdered coriander-seed? B. That you may some seasoning to sprinkle over the hares we catch."

nnnTryphon says:16 "Aristophanes, in The Daughters of Danaus, pronounces the word for hare in the accusative with an acute accent and with an n on the last syllable:17 'He might perhaps let loose our hare (lagón),18 and make clean off with it.' And in Men of Dinnerville:19 'I'm lost! I shall be seen plucking the hare.'20 But Xenophon, in the Art of Hunting, his21 the accusative without the n, and with a circumflex accent, lagoô, which is curious, whence the word with us is lagós.22 And just as we say naós (temple) and laós (people) when they say neṓs and leṓs, so where we say lagós they will say lagṓs. Consistent with the accusative singular lagón is the nominative plural found in Sophocles' satyric play Amycus:23 'Cranes, tortoises, owls, kites, hares (lagoi).' On the other hand, the nominative plural lagṓi (λαγῴ), pronounced with a long o like the accusative singular lagṓn (λαγών), is found in The Flatterers of Eupolis:24 'Where there are rays and hares (λαγῴ) and ladies with rolling gait.' Some authorities, however, even here pronounce the last syllable, inconsistently, with a circumflex accent.25 But the word should have an acute accent on the last syllable, since nouns ending in os have the same pitch throughout, even when they change over to  p313 the long o form in Attic Greek;26 thus naós, neṓs (temple), kálos, kálōs (rope). So the form of the noun is used in Epicharmus, in Herodotus, and in the author of The Helots. Further, the Ionic form lagós (hare) occurs in27 'Stir in the sea-hare and drink.' But the form lagṓs is Attic, though even Attic writers say lagós, as Sophocles:28 'Cranes, ravens, owls, kites, hares.' In the phrase 'or cowering hare' (lagōón),29 however, if it is Ionic, the long ō is superfluous; if Attic, the short o. The meat is called lagōia."

Hegesander of Delphi, in his Commentaries, says30 that "during the reign of Antigonus Gonatas such a quantity of hares occurred in Astypalaea that the Astypalaeans consulted the oracle about them. And the Pythian priestess told them to keep dogs and go a‑hunting; so, within a year, more than six thousand were caught. This number resulted from a certain man of Anaphe letting loose two hares on the island; because on a former occasion a man of Astypalaea had let go two partridges on the island of Anaphe, and so great a number of partridges resulted in Anaphe that the inhabitants ran the risk of being driven from house and home. Now in the beginning Astypalaea had no hares, but it did have partridges; whereas Anaphe had no partridges, be had hares." This animal, the hare, is very prolific, as Xenophon says in the The Art of Hunting.31 And  p315 Herodotus says:32 "First because the hare is hunted by all creatures, beast and bird, as well as by man, therefore it is so very prolific, and it is the only one of all the animals which becomes pregnant again before the first foetus is born, and his in its womb one of its young covered with fur, while another is bare, another is just being shaped in the matrix, and still another is being conceived." Polybius, in the twelfth book of his Histories, says that an animal occurs similar to the hare which is called the ¬cuniculus¬: he writes as follows:33 'The cuniculus, as it is called, looks like a small hare when seen from a distance; but when one takes it in his hands, it has great differences in appearance and in its qualities as food. It occurs mostly underground." The philosopher Poseidonius, also, mentions them in his History:34 "We too have seen many in the voyage from Dicaearchia to Naples. For there is an island not far from land, along by the last districts of Dicaearchia, which has few inhabitants but many of these cuniculi." There are some also which are called "brown hares." Diphilus (or Calliades) mentions them thus in A Mistake:35 "A. What's this? Whence does he come? B. Brown is the hare, sweet is the jugged hare." Theopompus, in the twentieth book of his Histories, says36 that in the neighbourhood of Bisalta hares occur which have two livers.

When a wild boar was next brought in, which was  p317 quite as large as the beautiful Calydonian boar of story, someone said: "I propose for your investigation, Ulpian, careful student and reasoner37 that you are, the question, who has recorded the Calydonian boar as being a female as well as white in colour?" But he, after much thought, solemnly waived the question and said: "Certainly, you pot-bellied gentlemen, if you haven't had enough of such weighty matters already, you seem to me to surpass all those who have become notorious for gluttony; suppose you inquire who they are. However, it is only right that you should pronounce the word sys (swine) with the initial s, being nearer its etymology. For the animal has its name because its bursts forth (seuesthai) and is of an aggressive disposition. But the custom has obtained of pronouncing the word also without the initial s, hys. Others think that sys is a form, as it were, for thys, that is, the animal which is suitable for sacrifice (thysia). Now then, if you please, answer me, who is it that (like ourselves) mentions the compound form syagrus for 'wild boar'? Sophocles, indeed, applied the word to a dog in Lovers of Achilles, deriving it from sys agreuein, 'hunting boars.'38 He says:39 'You there, Syagrus, nurseling of Pelion!' In Herodotus we find a proper name, Syagrus; he was a Lacedaemonian by birth, and went on an embassy to Gelon of Syracuse to negotiate the alliance against the Medes. This is in the seventh book.40 I also know  p319 of an Aetolian general named Syagrus, mentioned by Phylarchus in the fourth book of his Histories."41 Thereupon Democritus said: It is always your custom, Ulpian, to decline your share of any dish until you have learned whom the use of the word for that dish is ancient. Like Philitas of Cos, therefore, who pondered what he called 'the deceitful word,' you run the risk some day of being quite dried up, as he was, by these worries. For he became very much emaciated in body through these studies, and died, as the epitaph on his monument shows: 'Stranger, I am Philitas. The deceiving word caused my death, and studies of riddles late at eve.' In order, then, that you also may not wither away by your study of the syagrus, learn that Antiphanes mentioned it in Kidnapped thus:42 'I will get and bring back to the house this very night a wild boar (syagrus), a lion, and a wolf.' And Dionysius the Tyrant in Adonis:43 'Beneath this cave of the Nymphs, roofed o'er by nature's hand, I take as my spoil the miscarried matrix44 of the wild boar, easy prey of dogs, and its hooves as first-fruits.' lynceus of Samos, in his Letter to Apollodorus, writes as follows: 'That the goat meat shall be for the slaves, but the wild boar meat you shall keep for yourself and  p321 your friends.' Hippolochus of Macedonia, whom we mentioned in a preceding passage,45 in his Letter to the afore-mentioned lynceus, also spoke of many wild boars. But since you have also dismissed the question you raised about the colour of the Calydonian boar, whether, that is, anyone records it as having been white in colour, we will tell you who the author is; do you investigate this testimony. For it is a long time since I have happened to read the dithyrambs of Cleomenes of Rhegium; in the one which is entitled Meleager this fact is recorded.46 And I am not unaware that the inhabitants round about Sicily call the wild boar aschedorus. Aeschylus, at any rate, when he likens Perseus in The Phorcides to this wild boar, says:47 'He entered the cave like a wild boar (aschedorus).' And Sciras (he is a poet of what is called the Italian comedy, a native of Tarentum) says in Meleager:48 'Where neither shepherd dares to feed his flocks, nor wild boar wantons as he feeds.' That Aeschylus, who lived in Sicily, has made use of many Sicilian words, is nothing surprising."

There were also often served kids prepared in great variety; among others were those which had a great deal of silphium, and they afforded us no ordinary pleasure. What is more, the flesh of the goat is very nourishing. Cleitomachus of Carthage, at any rate, who is second to none in the New Academy as regards philosophic attainments, tells of a Theban athlete who surpassed his contemporaries in strength because he used goat's flesh as a diet. For the juices are  p323 vigorous and clinging, and capable of lasting a long time in the bodily substance. But the athlete was laughed at because of the bad odour from his sweat.49 Pork and lamb, on the other hand, when they remain undigested in the body, are easily corrupt on account of their fat.

The dinners spoken of in the comic poets afford very pleasant hearing to the ear, rather than delight to the gullet. For example, the lines of Antiphanes in The Sempstress: he says:50 "A. What animal's flesh would you like to eat most? B. What, you ask? Something that doesn't cost much. If it's sheep, let it be what has neither wool or cheese; I mean lamb, dear sir. If goat's meat, by the same rule, what produces no cheese; I mean a kid. For the profits derived from full-grown animals are such that I can put up with eating the cheap ones." And in Cyclops Antiphanes says:51 'These land animals shall come to you as a present from me — an ox from the herd, a forest-roving he-goat, a she-goat from heaven, a castrated ram, a castrated boar, a pig not castrated, a shoat, a hare, kids, . . . green cheese, dry cheese, crushed cheese, grated cheese, sliced cheese, cream cheese."

Mnesimachus dishes up the following in The Horse-Breeder:52  p325 F"Come forth, Manes, from chambers cypress-roofed;53 go to the market-place, near the row of Herms54 there, where the officers of the cavalry resort, and accost the handsome pupils whom Pheidon is drilling in mounting and dismounting. You know whom I mean? Well, tell them this — that the further is cold,55 the wine is warm, the dough is dry, the loaves are crusted, the entrails are roasting, crisp bits have been snatched from the fire, the meat taken from its pickle; there's a slice of salami, a slice of tripe, another of black-pudding, another of sausage — all having their throats cut by the guests inside, and they are emptying in gulps a bowl of wine; the drinking of healths is going on; they are dancing the fling in complete abandon,56 and the lads' heads are full of naughtiness. Everything indoors is topsy-turvy. Remember what I say, pay attention to what I tell you. What! You stand with mouth open? Look this way! How are you going to give the message? I will repeat it to you now from the beginning. Tell them to come straightway, and not delay, and not insult the cook; for there is fish that's boiled and fish that's baked, now cold; tell them the menu — bulbs, olives, garlic, cauliflower, squash,  p327 pease-porridge, fig-leaf, vine-leaf, slices of tunny, of sheat-fish, dog-fish, file-fish, conger eel; a whole carp,57 a whole crow-fish, anchovy, mackerel, she-tunny, goby, spindle-fishes, a slice cut from the tail of one of the dog-sharks, electric ray, fishing-frog, perch, lizard-fish, herring, forked hake, brincus, red mullet, piper, roach, lamprey, bream, mullet, lebias, gilt-head, speckled-beauty, Thracian wife, flying-fish, shrimp, squid, plaice, dracaena, polyp, cuttle-fish, sea-perch, crayfish, sole, small fry, needle-fishes, grey mullet, sculpin, eel, bear-crab there is meat besides (the quantity is not to be told) — meat of goose, pig, steer, lamb, sheep, boar, goat, cock, duck, magpie, partridge, thresher-shark.58 And after dinner it's marvellous, the quantities of good things there. Everyone in the house is kneading, cooking, plucking, chopping, slicing, soaking, laughing, playing, jumping, dining, drinking, skipping, yielding, forcing.59 There are the solemn, gentle tones of flutes; dancing and singing and mirth resound and breathe forth the daughter of cassia from the sacred sea-dune of Syria. The nostrils are in commotion from the solemn odour of frankincense, sage, myrrh,  p329 sweet-flag, storax, marjoram, lindus, cindus, cistus, mint; such is the vaporous fragrance, laden with all good things, which pervades the house."

The Editor's Notes:

1 Powell 246.

2 Lit. "On Mummies"; fgh2.324.

3 Athen. 1E, note f (vol. I p7).

4 Kock III.321.

5 Of the liver.

6 Sc. what portends for the future.

7 Kock I.217.

8 The account of the milking of the Scythian mares (IV.2) has dropped out of the text.

9 Kock I.713, Athen. 302d.

10 Kock I.738, Athen. 302e.

11 Kock I.747.

12 Frag. 57 Ribbeck 57 Brandt.

13 "Ichor," which flows in the veins of gods: see vol. III p131, note e.

14 Kock II.296.

15 Kock I.759.

16 Frag. 19 Velsen.

17 Kock I.456; see critical note.

18 With long o.

19 Ibid. 445.

20 Either a slang use of the word τίλλων, "plucking," or else a proverb of any futile undertaking; cf. "bearding the lion," "watering the clouds," etc.

21 Ch. 5.1.

22 And, therefore, should make an accus. lagón with short o and acute accent.

23 T. G. F.2 154, Demiańczuk,º Suppl. Com. 36.

24 Kock I.303; see the fuller and more metrical citation in Athen. 286b (vol. III p284).

25 i.e. they give the form λαγῷ.

26 In the so‑called Attic second declension

27 Ameipsias, Athen. 446d, Kock I.675. An Ionic physician is giving a prescription.

28 Cf. above, 400B.

29 Il. XXI.310.

30 F. H. G.4.421.

31 Ch. 5.13.

32 III.108, cf. Aristot. De Gen. An. IV.5, who, however, does not give these details.

33 XII.3.10. ¬Cuniculus¬, said to be a Spanish word, means 'rabbit'; cf. Eng. coney, Germ. Kaninchen. The rabbit, as Polybius correctly says, burrows in the ground, whereas the hare makes forms in the grass.

34 F. H. G.3.275.

35 Kock II.541.

36 F. H. G.1.301.

37 The word λογιστής may also refer to the curatores urbium of whom Ulpian may have been one: see vol. I pp. xii‑xiii; φροντιστὰ καὶ λογιστά make a verse.

38 i.e. he takes the last part of syagrus as derived, not from agrios, 'wild,' but from agreuein, 'to roam the wild' like a hunter.

39 T. G. F.2 166.

40 Ch. 153.

41 F. H. G.1.335.

42 Kock II.27; the title refers to a girl.

43 T. G. F.2 793.

44 See Athen. 101a (vol. I p434).

45 Athen. 128a (vol. II p90).

46 P. L. G.4 III.564.

47 T. G. F.2 83.

48 Kaibel 190; see Eurip. Hipp. 75.

49 Cf. Athen. 44c (vol. I p192).

50 Kock II.17.

51 Ibid. 65.

52 Kock II.437, cf. Athen. 301d, 322D, e, 329D.

53 Cf. Athen. 207e (vol. II p438).

54 See Athen. 167f and note e (vol. II p261).

55 Cold fried fish is highly esteemed in Greece.

56 For the indecent dance called the κόρδαξ see Athen. 631d, and for the slang λέπεται, 663D.

57 The φοξῖνος is an unknown river-fish.

58 So L. & S. (1925). But the mention of a fish at this point in the recital seems curious after the long list ending above.

59 The two verbs are here used sens. obsc. The next five lines are a parody of some tragedian.

Page updated: 19 Feb 11