[image ALT: Much of my site will be useless to you if you've got the images turned off!]
Bill Thayer

[image ALT: Click here for the text in ancient Greek.]

[Link to a series of help pages]
[Link to the next level up]
[Link to my homepage]

[image ALT: link to previous section]
Book III

This webpage reproduces a Book of the


published in the Loeb Classical Library,

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though,
please let me know!


[image ALT: link to next section]
Book V

 p403  Oppian, Halieutica or Fishing


[Link to a page in Greek] Other fishes doth tender love make for fishermen the spoil of their chase, and fatal mating they find and fatal their passion, hastening their own ruin through desire. But do thou, I pray thee, mightiest of kings who have cities in their keeping, both thyself, O Antoninus​1 and thy son of noble heart, graciously give ear and take pleasure in these delights of the sea wherewith the kindly Muses have furnished forth my mind and have crowned me with the gift divine of song and given me to mix a sweet draught for your ears and for your mind.

[Link to a page in Greek] O cruel Love, crafty of counsel, of all gods fairest to behold with the eyes, of all most grievous when thou dost vex the heart with unforeseen assault, entering the soul like a storm-wind and breathing the bitter menace of fire, with hurricane of anguish and untempered pain. The shedding of tears is for thee a sweet delight and to hear the deep-wrung groan; to inflame a burning redness in the heart and to blight and wither the bloom upon the cheek, to make the eyes hollow and to wrest all the mind to madness.​2 Many thou dost even roll to doom, even those whom thou meetest in wild and wintry sort, fraught with frenzy; for in such festivals is thy  p405 delight. Whether then thou art the eldest-born​3 among blessed gods and from unsmiling Chaos didst arise with fierce and flaming torch and didst first establish the ordinances of wedded love and order the rites of the marriage-bed; or whether Aphrodite of many counsels, queen of Paphos,​4 bare thee a winged god on soaring pinions, be thou gracious and to us come gentle and with fair weather and in tempered measure; for none refuses the work of Love. Everywhere thou bearest sway and everywhere thou art desired at once and greatly feared; and happy is he who cherishes and guards in his breast a temperate Love. Nor doth the race of Heaven suffice thee nor the breed of men;​5 thou rejectest not the wild beasts nor all the brood of the barren air; under the coverts of the nether deep dost thou descend and even among the finny tribes thou dost array thy darkling shafts; that naught may be left ignorant of thy compelling power, not even the fish that swims beneath the waters.

[Link to a page in Greek] Behold what love for one another and keen desire do the spotted Parrot-wrasses​6 entertain and in trouble forsake not one another but in a spirit of helpfulness, many a time, when one Parrot-wrasse is struck by the deadly hook, another rushes to his  p407 defence and cutting through the line with his teeth​7 rescues his comrade and destroys the snare and grieves the fisherman. And ere now, when a Parrot-wrasse has been taken in the plaited weel,​8 another has stolen him away and saved him from destruction. For when the dappled fish falls into the ambush of the weel, immediately he perceives it and tries to escape from his evil plight. Turning down his head and eyes he swims back tailwards along the barrier, for he dreads the sharp rushes which bristle around the entrance and as he comes against them wound his eyes, even as if they were warders of the gate. The others, seeing him wheeling about helplessly, come from the outside to his aid and leave him not in his distress. And someone of them, I ween, reaches his tail through the weel like a hand for his comrade inside to grasp; and he seizes it in his teeth and the other pulls him forth from death, while he holds in his mouth the guiding tail as a chain. Often too the fish that is caught in the weel puts forth his own tail and another grasps it and pulls him forth in its train. By such devices do they escape doom. As when under the darkness of shadowy night men climb a rugged hill, when the moon is hidden and the curtains of the clouds are  p409 dark: they labour sorely, wandering in gloom and untrodden ways, and hold each the other's hands​9 and pull and are pulled, a helpful exchange of toil; even so those fishes help each other in mutual love. But just this devises destruction​10 for the poor fishes and fatal and sorrowful they find their love when they are destroyed by the craft of fishermen. Four fishers embark on a swift boat, of whom two attend to the labour of the oar while the third weaves a crafty device. Fastening a female​11 Parrot-wrasse by the tip of the mouth he drags it along in the waves by a flaxen cord. A live fish it is best to tow: but if she be dead, then she receives in her mouth the contrivance of a leaden dolphin.​12 On the other side of the line another rounded heavy cube of lead is hung at the end of the cord. The dead female trailing in the waves like a living fish is haled along by the fisherman. A fourth fisher tows near at hand a deep ensnaring weel facing towards the fish. The spotted Parrot-wrasses when they see the trailing female rush all together in eager haste to rescue her and throng all about the decoy, impelled by the goad of frenzied desire. The men with their oars urge on the boat with all their might, while the fishes follow eagerly: and soon it proves their last attempt to  p411 aid. For when the wit of the fisher perceives them thronging and raging incontinently in their lust after the female, he puts in the weel line and lead together and the weight of the lead pulls the female Parrot-wrasse within. Then the males together, soon as they see it, so soon they rush in emulous haste, speeding to the plaited net of death and with their eager troops the withy vestibule and grievous mouth of the gates are straitened: such goads of passion urge them on. As men who engage in the contest of the footrace dart swiftly from the line and forward and ever forward strain their speedy limbs and haste to accomplish the long course; and the desire of every man is to reach the goal and to win the sweet triumph of victory and dash within the lists​13 and crown them with the athletic prize: even so doth like passion lead those fishes to the house of Hades — to rush within the coverts of an ambush whence there is no return. And, with their fatal and final madness of desire, of their own motion they fulfil the fishermen's desire of spoil.

[Link to a page in Greek] Others again put a living female within the dark weel and place it under those rocks which the milky Parrot-wrasse affects. Beguiled by the amorous breath of love the Wrasses gather around and lick about and search everywhere to find the entrance of the weel. And speedily they come upon the entry — wide, but with a fence beyond escape — and they rush in altogether in a crowd and there is no means of getting out, but they find a hateful issue to their desires. Even as one who devises a  p413 guileful doom for birds hides in a dense thicket a female bird,​14 his tame companion in hunting birds of the same cry; and she shrilly pipes her sweet​15 song, and the birds, hearing, all hasten towards her and rush of themselves into the snare, misled by the call of the female cry: like unto them the Parrot-wrasses rush into the belly of the weel.

[Link to a page in Greek] A like doom does love bring upon the Grey Mullets​16 (Cephalus); for they also are beguiled by a female​17 trailed in the waves. She should be in good condition and fat of limb. For so, when they behold her, they gather around in countless numbers and wondrously overcome by her beauty they will not leave her but everywhere the spells of desire lead them charmed, yea even wert thou to draw forth the female snare from the water and lead them to the unfriendly dry land: they follow in a body, and heed neither fraud nor fishermen. But even as youths when they remark the face of a woman exceeding fair first gaze at her from afar, admiring her lovely form, and thereafter they draw near and,  p415 forgetting all, walk no more in their former ways but follow her with delight, beguiled by the sweet spells of Aphrodite: even so shalt thou behold the humid crowd of the Mullets passionately thronging. But swiftly with them love turns to hate; for speedily the fisher lifts the well-wrought net and spreads its lap and takes spoil unspeakable, easily enveloping the fishes in the embrace of the meshes.

[Link to a page in Greek] The Cuttle-fishes,​18 again, of unhappy passion run to a greater height of infatuation. For them neither deadly weel nor encircling net do the toilsome fishers of the sea set but merely trail in the waves a single female attached to a line. The Cuttle-fishes, when they behold it from afar, speedily come to meet it and twine about it and cling to it with their arms: even as maidens cling about brother or kindly father whom after many days they see returned safe to his own halls from a foreign land, or as a maid that is newly taken captive in the yoke of wedded love, the pleasant bond of marriage, embraces her bridegroom and all night long twines about his neck the bondage of her snowy arms: even so in that hour the crafty Cuttle-fishes twine about one another and the work of their passion abates not until the fishermen draw them forth upon the boat. And still they cling and with desire take death.

[Link to a page in Greek] The Cuttle-fishes, indeed, men also beguile with weels in the spring season. The weels they cover  p417 with branches of tamarisk​19 or green leaves of arbutus or other foliage and place them on the sandy beaches. And the Cuttle-fishes in their desire for breeding and mating hasten within the weel and settle amid the foliage and there cease from their desire and cease also from their wretched life, being haled up by the cunning fishermen.

[Link to a page in Greek] Beyond all the finny brood the Merle-wrasse​20 endures a sorrowful love and it is for the Thrush-wrasse that he burns his heart, raging with frenzy and with jealousy, that grievous god. The Merle has neither one marriage-bed nor one bride nor one bridal chamber, but many are his spouses and many separate clefts hide the home and bed of his wives. Therein evermore the Thrushes dwell all day in their hollow retreats, like newly wedded brides, whom one would never see coming forth from their chamber; but nuptial shame burns in their hearts; even so the Thrushes always abide retired each one within her chamber, wherever her husband himself commands. The Merle, on the other hand, sits by upon the rocks and never leaves them, ever keeping watch over his bed, and he never turns otherwhere but all day wheels about, now looking to this chamber,  p419 now to that. And his mind is not set upon foraging nor has he any other business, but in unhappy jealousy keeps his tedious and eternal vigil over his brides; only at night he takes thought of food and rests for as short a space as may be from the labour of his ceaseless watch. But when the Thrushes are in the travail of birth, then incontinently he rushes fluttering around and visits now one wife, now another, as if he were greatly anxious for the issue of their travail. Even as a mother is distraught with the burden of her heart when she trembles for the sharp pain of her only daughter in travail of her first child: for that is the great dread of women: and on herself no less comes the wave of the pangs of Eileithyia​21 and she roams everywhere throughout the halls, praying and groaning in suspense of heart, until she hears from within the cry that delivers from pain: even so the Merle, trembling for his wives, burns greatly in his heart. Such a custom methinks of marriage I hear that the Assyrians practise, who have their cities beyond the Tigris stream and the inhabitants of Bactra, a nation of archers. For them also several different wives deal with the marriage-bed and night about all share the nuptial couch. And the goad of grievous jealousy haunts them and by jealousy they perish, ever one against another whetting bitter war. So true it is that no more evil bane waxes among men than jealousy, which causes much groaning and much lamentation. Jealousy is the companion of shameless madness and with madness it gladly consorts and dances into grievous infatuation; and the end thereof is destruction. Jealousy too it is that leads  p421 the unhappy Merle to be the victim of infatuation and a bitter requital he finds for his many brides. For when the fisherman perceives him wheeling upon the rocks in trouble about his wives, with all speed he puts upon a strong hook a live Prawn​22 and above the hook is hung a heavy cube of lead. And stealthily he launches his deadly snare beside the rocks and dangles it near the very bridal chambers of the Merle. He espies it and is straightway roused and charges, thinking that the Prawn is coming within his halls with hostile intent to beds and brides. Straightway rushing he thinks to avenge with his jaws the invasion of the Prawn, and perceives not that he is swallowing his own doom. The fisher watching him straightway strikes home and transfixes him with his barbs of bronze, and hales him forth indignant and writhing in his last struggle, and haply he chides with such mocking words as these: "Now then, now watch and guard thy wives, wretched fish, and abide at home rejoicing in thy brides! for one love and one bed did not content thee, but thou didst glory, a single husband, in so many. Nay, come hither, bridegroom, thy bride is ready — the blaze of landward fire wreathed with white." So haply he rebukes him, albeit speaking to deaf ears. But the Thrushes, when their guardian husband dies, wander forth from their chambers and share his doom.

[Link to a page in Greek] Moreover, through love and mutual help perish also the Galeus​23 Dog-fishes and the tribes of the dark Spiny Dog-fishes;​24 a white fish​25 is bound upon the hook and the fisherman goes where the dark mud lies long fathoms deep and lets down his  p423 hook and swiftly some fish meets it and seizes his doom. And he is straightway pulled in and the others perceiving it all follow close in a body, until they come right to the boat and the fishermen. Then one may take them — some with the curving circle of the bag-net,​26 some with downward-sweeping​27 blows of the iron trident or by other devices. For they do not turn to flee while they see their comrade being haled, but wish to perish with him. Even as when parents convey from the house to the tearful tomb the body of their newly slain boy — their only son for whom they have laboured much and vainly — and tearing their cheeks for grief they bewail their child and cling to the grave and are unwilling to return home but rather would die with the lamented dead: even so the fishes will not leave the captured fish till they die the same death at the hands of the fishers.

[Link to a page in Greek] Others are taken by a passion strange and not native to the brine, which wakes in fishes a landward frenzy foreign to the sea: such as the alien love whose shaft smites Poulpes​28 and the race of the Sargues​29 which companion with the rocks.​30 The Poulpes indeed love the trees of Athena​31 and have caught a passion for the grey-green​32 foliage. Verily it is a great marvel that their mind should be drawn by desire for a tree and delight in the  p425 branches of the oily plant. For wherever there is near the sea an olive of splendid fruit, which flourishes on a shoreward slope neighbouring the sea, thither is the mind of the Poulpe drawn, even as to the track the spirit of the keen-scented Cnosian​33 dog, which on the hills searches out the crooked path of the wild beast and tracks it by the unerring guidance of the nose and swiftly seizes it and fails not of its prey but brings it to its master: even so the Poulpe straightway knows that a blooming olive is near at hand, and he comes forth from the deep and crawls upon the land exulting and draws nigh to the trunk of Athena's tree. Then first he coils and twines about the base of the trunk exulting, even as a boy who welcomes his nurse when she is newly come forth and clings about her and lifts his hands to her bosom, fain to put his arms about her neck and shoulders; even so the Poulpe twines about the trunk, rejoicing in the tree. Thereafter he lays hold with the tops of his suckers and crawls up eagerly and clings about the foliage, grasping now one branch, now another, even as a man who has come home from a foreign land greets his friends who throng to meet him and falls upon their necks; or as the twining ivy tendril clings about the tall fir-trees and, reaching forth from the root, climbs upwards and overruns the branches everywhere: so does the Poulpe joyfully embrace the sleek branches of the olive and seems to kiss them. But when he has relieved his desire, he crawls back again to the bosom of the sea, having satisfied his love and longing for the olive. The snare of this same love is his undoing, as fishermen know. For they bind together branches of the olive as goodly as may be  p427 and put in the midst thereof the lead,​34 and tow them from the boat. The Poulpe, when he remarks it, is not unheeding but rushes to embrace his branchy comrades. And not even when he is being haled to capture does he relax the bonds of desire,​35 till he is within the boat, nor even while he perishes does he hate the olive.

[Link to a page in Greek] The Sargues have their hearts possessed by affection for Goats.​36 Goats they yearn for and they rejoice exceedingly in the mountain-dwelling beasts, even though they belong themselves to the sea. Surely it is a marvel beyond expectation that mountain-crags and the flashing sea should give birth to tribes that are of one mind together. For when the goatherds bring their bleating flocks to the shore, to bathe in the eddying waves at noontide, at the season when the hot Olympian star​37 arises, then the Sargues, hearing the bleating on the shore and the deep murmur of the herds, rush all together in haste, sluggish though they be, and leap joyfully on the terraces by the sea and fawn upon the horned company and lick them and crowd about them with many a gambol; and amazement seizes herdsmen that learn it for the first time. The goats receive the friendly choir not unwillingly and the  p429 Sargues know no satiety of joy. No, not so much in the roofed steadings of the herdsmen do the kids exult about their mothers when they receive them home from pasture with great and joyful welcome, while all the place around rings with the glad cries of the little things, and the heart of the herdsmen smiles, as those Sargues fuss about the horned herds. And when these have had their fill of bathing in the sea, and go back to their folds, then in sorrow do all the Sargues together attend them closely to where the laughter of the utmost wave skirts the land. As when a sorrowing mother speeds her only son, or wife her husband, on his journey to a foreign land afar, and her heart is distraught within her: so wide the waters of the sea that shall lie between, so many the circles of the moons; standing in the utmost waves of the sea she utters from her lips tearful words, praying him to haste; and her feet carry her no more eagerly homeward but she has her eyes upon the sea; even so the Sargues, one would say, shed tears from their eyes, left desolate, when the Goats are driven away. Poor Sargue! anon methinks thou shalt find thy companioning with the herds of Goats a fatal passion. In such wise does the wit of the fishermen turn thy love into a snare and destruction. First​38 of all a man marks those rocks near land which rise in twin peaks near together with a narrow space of sea between and  p431 are open to the rays of the sun: wherein dwell many Sargues which have their habitation together; for the Sargues delight exceedingly in the beams of the sun. Here the man betakes himself, his limbs clothed in the skin of a goat and two horns fastened to his temples, meditating a rustic trick: and he casts into the sea a bait of barley-meal enriched with goatflesh and roasted meat together. The welcome savour, the deceiving aspect of the man, and the goodly boon of food entice the Sargues, and they think not in their minds of any harm but delighted they remain, fawning round their foeman in the guise of a goat. Unhappy fishes! how fatal a friend they presently find him, whose mind is nowise goatlike. For straightway he arrays against them a rough rod and a line of grey flax and puts on the hook the natural flesh of a goat's hoof. They greedily seize the bait and he with stout hand pulls and lands them. For if any of them suspect the work of guile, no more will he come near, even were the fishermen to bring the shaggy goats themselves, but together they take to flight, loathing alike the form of the man and the feast and the sunny spaces of the rock itself. But if the fisher escape their notice and do his work swiftly, none will be left uncaptured, but the goatlike aspect will overcome them all.

[Link to a page in Greek] Another passion employs the Sargues in the season of spring, even their passion for one another, and they contend about the bridal bed. One male fights for many wives and he who prevails by his valour is sufficient mate for all; and he drives his female company among the rocks, where the fishermen contrive a deep weel, rounded on all sides, and  p433 cover it all about the mouth with foliage of plants, shadowing it cunningly with green branches of myrtle or fragrant bay or some other tree. Now the goad of desire rouses the males to the moil of battle and the war for brides waxes keen. But when one by his prowess wins the victory, straightway he looks for a hollow rock as a dwelling for his wives, and he espies the weel lying, roofed with leafy boughs and therein he drives his choir of brides. They then enter within the weel, while he outside keeps away all the males nor suffers any other to approach his brides. But when he has filled the plaited snare, last, he himself advances into the bridal chamber, a bed of Hades without escape. As when some shepherd drives from the pasture his fleecy flocks and leads them home, and standing in the entrance of the steading reckons in his mind the number of his sheep, reviewing them well to see if all are safe, and the courtyard, full to overflowing, is straitened with the huddling sheep, and last the shepherd himself enters among them; even so the female Sargues enter first within the hollow retreat, and after them their spouse leaps in himself, hasting unhappy bridegroom with unhappy brides. Such contests does love array among the finny tribe and by such snares of amorous madness they perish.

[Link to a page in Greek] The Hippurus,​39 when they behold anything floating in the waves, all follow it, closely in a body, but especially when a ship is wrecked by the stormy winds, finding Poseidon terribly unkind, and the great waves break her up and carry hither and  p435 thither her scattered timbers, loosened by the rending assaults of the sea. Then the shoals of the Hippurus follow in the train of the drifting planks, and the fisherman who chances upon them wins easily great and unstinted spoil. But that may the Son of Cronos, the lord of the deep, avert from our sailors, and may their ships speed over the broad waves with gentle breezes, unhurt and unshaken, while they ply to and fro for cargo! And for the Hippurus men may contrive other devices and without the wreck of ships pursue their prey.

[Link to a page in Greek] The fishermen gather reeds and tie them together in bundles which they let down into the waves and underneath they tie a heavy stone by way of ballast. All this they let sway gently in the water; and straightway the shade-loving tribes of the Hippurus gather in shoals and linger about delightedly rubbing their backs against the reeds. Then the fishers row to them to find a ready prey, and bait their hooks and cast them, and the fish seize them, hastening therewith their own destruction. Even as a hunter excites with meat his dogs to the warfare of the chase, waving among them a piece of game, and the dogs in a frenzy of appetite with ravenous rage run emulous one before the other and look to the man's hand to see where he will throw it, and strife of teeth arises: so the fishes rush readily upon the hooks. And easily, if active, thou shalt catch and land them one after the other; for they are more eager than the fishermen themselves and by their own folly hasten their doom.

[Link to a page in Greek] By like craft are the Pilot-fishes​40 also taken; for their heart equally is set upon desire for shade.

[Link to a page in Greek] Against the Calamaries​41 a man should devise a  p437 rod fashioned after the manner of a spindle.​42 And about it let him fasten close to one another many hooks with recurving barbs, and on these let him impale the striped body of a Rainbow-wrasse to hide the bent teeth of bronze, and in the green depths of the sea let him trail such snare upon a cord. The Calamary when he sees it, darts up and grasps it in the embrace of its moist tentacles and becomes impaled upon the lips of bronze. And no more can it leave them for all its endeavour but is haled against its will, having of itself entangled its body.

[Link to a page in Greek] In havens of the sea beyond the wash of the waves some youth in sport contrives a mode of catching Eels.​43 He takes a long sheep-gut and lets it trail its length in the water, like a long line. The Eel espies it and rushes up and seizes it. The youth perceives that the Eel has swallowed the bait and straightway blows in the sheep-gut and inflates it with his breath. By his vehement blowing the gut swells up and fills the straining mouth of wretched Eel; which is straitened and distressed by the human breath, but is held a fast prisoner for all its endeavour to escape, until, swollen and wildly gasping, it swims to the surface and becomes the prey of the fisher. Even as one who makes essay of a full jar, takes a blow-pipe and puts it in his mouth and by drawing in his breath draws with the tip of his lips draught of wine, which streams up under the force of his breathing: so the  p439 Eels, swollen by the breath of the youth, are drawn toward the mouth of the crafty blower.

[Link to a page in Greek] There is a certain timid and strengthless company of fishes, the thronging race of the feeble Fry​44 which are called Anchovies.​45 They are a goodly food for all manner of fishes and flight is evermore the burning thought of their minds. They are afraid of all things and they remain huddled with one another in heaps​46 and cling in crowds together, as if they were under the stress of a compelling chain. And thou couldst not contrive to separate the broad swarm of them or lose them each from each: in such sort do they cling to one another. Many a time even ships​47 run aground on them as upon a reef and many a time the rowers on the benches entangle their oars in them and the hasting blade is stayed as if it struck a stony rock. And haply someone lifts straight a heavy-bladed axe and smites Anchovies, yet does not cleave with the iron the whole mass in twain but cuts off only a tiny portion of the shoal. And the hatchet cuts off the head​48 of one and maims another of its tail and another it cleaves in the midst of the body and yet another it utterly destroys. Pitiful it is to behold their bodies like wretched corpses. Yet not even so do they forget themselves, and they do not relax the chain that binds them: so fast a rivet holds them together. Encountering those fishes a  p441 man might gather of them with his hands as if he gathered deep sand. Now when the fishermen behold them huddled together, they gladly enclose them with their hollow seine-nets and without trouble bring ashore abundant booty and on the deep beaches pile up heaps, an infinite abundance of spoil. As when the harvesters have finished the work of Deo​49 and with help of the winds and the landsman's oars​50 have separated the grain, they pile it abundant in the mid space of the round threshing-floor and, full everywhere to overflowing, the ring that receives the wheat shows white within the floor: even so then, filled with the infinite Fry, the brow of the beach beside the sea shows white.

[Link to a page in Greek] The tribes of the Pelamyds​51 are by birth from the Euxine sea and are the offspring of the female Tunny. For these gather by the mouth of the Maeotian Lake​52 where it meets the sea, and there amid the wet reed-beds they bethink them of the painful travail of birth. And such of their eggs as they find they eat as they hurry along, but such as remain among the reeds and rushes give birth in due season to the shoals of the Pelamyds. These when first they skim the waves and make essay of travelling hasten to voyage in alien  p443 seas and tiny though they be, will not abide where they were born. There is a tract of the Thracian sea which, as men say, is the deepest in all the demesne of Poseidon: wherefore also it is called the Black Gulf.​53 Thereon no over-fierce or violent winds make assault, and in it are coverts under water, cavernous, muddy, beyond thought, in which grow abundantly such things as provide food for tiny fishes. There are the first paths of the new-born swarms of Pelamyds; since beyond all other creatures of the sea they dread the stormy onset of winter — for winter dulls the light of their eyes. And there in the spacious loins of the sea they linger idly and grow in size while they await the sweet spring; and there also they mate and fulfil their desire. But when they are full of roe they hasten to travel back to their native wave where they put from them the travail of their belly.

[Link to a page in Greek] These the Thracians who dwell above​54 the deep expanse of the Black Gulf capture in the unkindly season of winter by a cruel and unpleasant form of fishing under the bloody law of war and savage doom of death.​55 They have a stout log, not long but as thick as may be, about a cubit in length. On the end of it are put abundant lead and many three-pronged spears set close together; and about it runs a well-twisted cable exceeding long. Sailing up in a boat  p445 to where the gulf is deepest, mightily they launch into the murky deep the pine-log's stubborn strength. Straightway with swift rush, weighed down by lead and iron, it speeds to the nether foundations of the sea, where it strikes upon the weak Pelamyds huddling in the mud and kills and transfixes as many as it reaches of the hapless crowd. And the fishermen swiftly draw them up, impaled upon the bronze and struggling pitifully under the iron torture. Beholding them even a stone-hearted man would pity them for their unhappy capture and death. For the spear-point has entered the flanks of one, the swift shaft has transfixed the head of another; one is wounded over the tail, the groin of this, the back of that is victim of the bitter warfare, and yet another is pierced in the midst of the belly. As, when the mellay of battle is decided, their comrades take up the slain out of the dust and blood, and array them for the fiery bed, lamenting; and many and various are the wounds on the bodies of the dead and every sort of warlike stroke is there: even so on the Pelamyds wounds show everywhere — an image of war but welcome to the fishers.

[Link to a page in Greek] Others again take the tribes of the feeble Pelamyds with light nets. For always in the darkness, whatever falls upon the sea, they are afraid and they have a horror of the night and in the night they are captured as they flee in terror through the deep. The fishers set up very light nets of buoyant flax and wheel in a circle round about while they violently strike the surface of the sea with their oars and make a din with sweeping blow of poles. At the flashing of the swift oars and noise the fishes bound in terror and rush into the bosom of the net which stands at  p447 rest, thinking it to be a shelter: foolish fishes which, frightened by a noise, enter the gates of doom. Then the fishers on either side hasten with the ropes to draw the fish ashore. And, when they see the moving rope, the fish, in vain terror, huddle and cower together and are coiled in a mass. Then would the fisher offer many prayers to the gods of hunting that nothing may leap out of the net nor anything make a move and show the way; for if the Pelamyds see such a thing, speedily they all bound over the light net into the deep and leave the fishing fruitless. But if none of the sea-roaming gods be angry with the fishermen, then often even when the fishes are haled out of the sea upon the solid shore they will not leave the net but cling to it, afraid even of the eddying rope itself. Even so in the woods the hunters of the hill take the timorous deer by happy hunting-craft. Encircling all the wood with a rope, they bind about it the swift wings​56 of buoyant birds; and the deer, when they behold it, shrink in vain and empty terror and, idly affrighted by the wings, they will not approach, until the hunters rush upon them and make them their prey.

[Link to a page in Greek] Moreover, a diver, skilled in the works of the sea, without any snare attacks and captures some fishes with his hands alone, traversing the path of the sea as if it were dry land: to wit, the Sargue​57 which trembles with terror and the craven Sciaena.​58 The Sargues in their fear cower and crowd together in the depths of the sea and they lie in piles athwart one another, while their backs bristle with spines  p449 erect, even as farmers fence all round with close-net stakes the hedge that runs about a vineyard: a great trouble for robbers; and none could enter in, since the stakes bar the way. Even so no one would readily touch the Sargues nor lay a hand upon them, for their dark spines bristle about them with close-set jutting points. But the skilful man should dive speedily under the hidden places of the sea and observe the Sargues all round — where lies the head and where the tail — and putting his hand over their heads he should gently stroke​59 their spines above and press and bend them down. The Sargues remain just as they were, clustered together and unmoving, trusting in their sharp defences. Then the man takes two of them, one in either hand, and comes to the surface again, having accomplished a deed of utmost cunning.

[Link to a page in Greek] The rock-haunting Sciaena, when fear comes upon its heart, rushes eagerly to the reefs and enters some hollow round hole or cleft, or creeps under the sea grasses or the wet weeds; for it does not study to find such shelter as might admit its whole body and protect it, but seeks only to defend its head, and hiding head and eyes hopes because it does not see to escape the attack of one who sees. Even so in the woods the Antelope, when the ravenous Lion attacks it, turning down its head protects itself with a vain defence and hopes itself unseen, till the deadly beast rushes upon it and rends it, while it remains of like mind as before nor lifts its head, but even while  p451 it perishes thinks to escape. Such foolish device also doth the winged bent-necked beast​60 of Libya practise: but its craft is vain. Even so with vain hopes the tender Sciaena hides, for speedily the fisher pulls it forth with his hand and comes to the surface and shows its foolishness.

[Link to a page in Greek] Even so many devices I know of the fishermen's craft in the sea and bitter destruction for so many fishes. And all the others a like fate overtakes, by weels and hooks and deep-woven net and sweeping trident — some in the day-time but others evening takes and slays, when at earliest dusk of night with lighted torch​61 the fishers steer their hollow boat, bringing to the resting fishes a darkling doom. Then do the fishes exulting in the oily flame of pine rush about the boat and, to their sorrow seeing the fire at even, meet the stern blow of the trident.

[Link to a page in Greek] There is another manner of fishing practised by  p453 fishermen who use poison;​62 who devise baleful poison for fishes and bring to the finny race swift doom. First with many missiles and sweep of poles and assault of oars the fishermen drive the wretched ranks of the finny creatures into one place, some bay broken with many hiding-places. There the fishes creep below the hollow rocks and the fishermen set goodly nets of flax around, encircling them all about, even as if they threw threatening double walls of stone around the foemen. Then a man takes rich white clay together with the root which mediciners call cyclamen​63 and mixes them in his hands and kneads two cakes.​64 And he leaps over the nets into the sea and about the very caves and chambers of the fishes he smears  p455 the evil-smelling poison of the hateful unguent and pollutes the sea. Him when he has done his deadly poison the ship takes on board again. But speedily the evil and unkindly odour first reaches the fishes in their chambers and their eyes are clouded and their head and limbs are heavy and they cannot remain in their hiding-places but rush in terror from the rocks. But the sea is yet more bitter for them: such bane is mingled with its waves. And heavy as it were with wine, drunk with the deadly fumes, they wheel every way but nowhere find a place free from the plague, and they rush furiously upon the nets, eager to break through. But there is no deliverance from their cruel doom nor any escape. With much rushing and leaping they toss in their agony and as they perish there runs over the sea a great panting — which for the wretched fishes is their way of lamentation. But the fishermen, rejoicing in their agonies, remain callously apart until silence reigns upon the sea and the fishes cease from their noise and grievous tumult, having breathed away their lamentable breath. And then the fishers draw forth an infinite crowd of dead, slain together by a common doom of destruction. As when men bring war upon their foes, eager to destroy and raze their city, and cease not to devise evil in their hearts but even poison with deadly poison the water of their wells:​65 and  p457 the others with their towers, afflicted by grievous hunger and distress and hateful water, perish by a sorrowful and unseemly doom, and the whole city is full of dead; so by a sad death and untoward doom, overcome by the poison of men, the fishes perish.

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 Introd. p. xx.

2 So, in the famous address to Eros, Soph. Antig. 790 ὁ δ’ ἔχων μέμηνεν.

3 Hesiod, Th. 116 ff. ἦτοι μὲν πρώτιστα Χάος γένετ’, αὐτάρ ἔπειτα | Γαῖ’ εὐρύστερνος, πάντων ἕδος ἀσφαλές αἰεὶ | ἀθανάτων, οἳ ἔχουσι κάρη νιφόεντος Ὀλύμπου, Τάρταρά τ’ ἠερόεντα μυχῷ χθονὸς εὑρυοδείης, | ἠδ’ Ἔρος, ὃς κάλλιστος ἐν ἀθανάτοισι θεοῖσι, | λυσιμελής, πάντων δέ θεῶν πάντων τ’ ἀνθρώπων | δάμναται ἐν στήθεσσι νόον καὶ ἐπίφρονα βουλήν; Aristoph. Av. 693 ff. Χάος ἦν καὶ Νύξ, Ἔρεβός τε μέλαν πρῶτον καὶ Τάρταρος εὐρύς· | γῇ δ’ οὐδ’ ἀὴρ οὐδ’ οὐρανὸς ἦν· Ἐρέβους δ’ ἐν ἀπείροσι κόλποις | τίκτει πρώτιστον ὑπηνέμιον Νύξ ἡ μελανόπτερος ᾠόν, | ἐξ οὗ περιτελλομέναις ὤραις ἔβλαστεν Ἔρως ὁ ποθεινός, | στίλβων νῶτον πτερύγοιν χρυσαιν, εἰκὼς ἀνεμώκεσι δίναις. Cf. Plato, Symp. 178A, Xen. Symp. 8.1. Otherwise Eros is son of Aphrodite and Ares: Simonid. Fr. 72 σχέτλιε παῖ δολόμηδες Ἀφροδίτας, | τὸν Ἄρει κακομαχάνῳ τέκεν.

4 In Cyprus.

5 Soph. Antig. 785 φοιτᾷς δ’ ὑπερόντιος ἔν τ’ ἀγρονόμοις αὐλαῖς· | καὶ σ’ οὔτ’ ἀθανάτων φύξιμος οὐδεὶς | οὔθ’ ἁμερίων ἐπ’ ἀνθρώπων. Cf. Soph. fr. 856 εἰσέρχεται μὲν ἰχθύων πλωτῷ γένει, | ἔνεστι δ’ ἐν χέρσου τετρασκελεῖ γονῇ; Lucret. I.1‑23.

6 H. I.134 n.

7 Plut. Mor. 977C ἄλλα δ’ ἐπιδείκνυται μετὰ τοῦ συνετοῦ τὸ κοινωνικὸν καὶ φιλάλληλον, ὥσπερ ἀνθίαι καὶ σκάροι. σκάρου μὲν γὰρ ἄγκιστρον καταπιόντος οἱ παρόντες σκάροι προσαλλόμενοι τὴν ὁρμιὰν ἀποτρώγουσιν; Ael. I.4 οἱ σκάροι δὲ εἰς τὴν οἰκείαν ἀγέλην εἰσὶν ἀγαθοὶ τιμωροί· προίασι γοῦν καὶ τὴν ὁρμιὰν ἀποτραγεῖν σπεύδουσιν, ἵνα σώσωσι τὸν ᾑρημένον. Cf. Phil. 88.11.

8 Plut. Mor. 977C οὗτοι δὲ καὶ τοῖς εἰς κύρτον ἐμπεσοῦσι τὰς οὐρὰς παραδόντες ἔξωθεν ἕλκουσι δάκνοντας προθύμως καὶ συνεξάγουσιν; Ael. I.4 ἤδη δὲ καὶ εἰς τὸν κύρτον τὸν σκάρον ἐμπεσεῖν φασιν καὶ τὸ οὐραῖον μέρος ἐκβαλεῖν, τοὺς δὲ ἀθηράτους καὶ περινέοντας ἐνδακεῖν καὶ εἰς τὸ ἔξω τὸν ἐταῖρον προαγαγεῖν. εἰ δὲ ἔξίοι κατὰ τὸ στόμα τῶν τις ἔξω τὴν οὐρὰν παρώρεξεν, ὁ δὲ περιχανὼν ἠκολούθησεν; Ov. Hal. 9 sic et scarus arte sub undis | Incidit adsumptamque dolo tandem pavet escam. | Non audet radiis obnixa occurrere fronte, | Aversus crebro vimen sed verbere caudae | Laxans subsequitur tutumque evadit in aequor. | Quin etiam si forte aliquis dum pone nataret, | Mitis luctantem scarus hunc in vimine vidit, | Aversam caudam morsu tenet.

9 Cf. Polyb. V.104, Diod. XVII.55.

10 Ael. I.2 λαγνίστατος δ’ ἄρα ἰχθύων ἁπάντων ἦν (ὁ σκάρος) καὶ ἥ γε πρὸς τὸ θῆλυ ἀκόρεστος ἐπιθυμία αὐτῷ ἁλώσεως αἰτία φίνεται. Cf. Phil. 88.

11 This method is still in use: "La pêche du scare, dans certaines îles des Cyclades, telles que Amorgos, Pholégandre, etc. dans les parages desquels sont confinés ces poissons, se fait absolument de la même manière aujourd'hui. Ainsi on tâche, avant tout, de pêcher une femelle du scare. Cela fait, on l'attache, en lui perçant l'extrémité du museau, avec une ligne portée par un long bâton que l'on traîne dans l'eau, en procédant d'après la même manière décrite par Oppien" (Apost. p45).

12 A dolphin-shaped piece of lead. This use of the word is best known in connexion with warships: Thuc. VII.41 αἱ κεραῖαι . . . αἱ ἀπὸ τῶν ὁλκάδων δελφινόφοροι; Pherecr. Ἄγριοι fr. 12 ὅδε δὴ δελφίς ἐστι μολυβδοῦς δελφινόφορος τε κεροῦχος; Aristoph. Eq. 762 τοὺς δελφῖνας μετεωρίζου; Suid. s. δελφίς· . . . σιδηροῦν κατασκεύασμα ἢ μολύβδινον εἰς δελφῖνα ἐσχηματισμένον. Cf. Hesych. s. δελφῖνες; Poll. I.85.

13 Schol. θύρετρα· τέλη. Cf. Poll. III.147 ἵνα δὲ παύονται, τέλος καὶ τέρμα καὶ βατήρ. θύρετρα in this sense seems unique. But it is exactly paralleled by the use of fores of the doors of the carcer or carceres at the end (usually starting end) of the racecourse: Lucan. I.293 quantum clamore iuvatur | Eleus sonipes, quamvis iam carcere clauso | immineat foribus pronusque repagula laxet.

14 The decoy bird, παλεύτρια A. 613 A23 and 28, Introd. p. xxxiv, avis illex (cf. Plaut. Asin. I.3.66 aedis nobis areast, auceps sum ego, | Escast meretrix, lectus inlex est, amatores aves); σύμφυλος ὄρνις Dion. De av. III.4; χειροήθεις ὄρνιθες ib. III.1. Cf. III.9; Mart. XIV.216 (on a Hawk captured and trained as a decoy); Praedo fuit volucrum; famulus nunc aucupis idem | Decipit et captas non sibi maeret aves; Pallad. X.12 noctuae ceteraque instrumenta capturae.

15 ξουθός, when used of colour, is pretty nearly = ξανθός; when it is used of sound, it is not possible to give more than an approximate rendering.

16 H. II.642 n.º

17 A. 541 A19 περὶ δὲ τὴν Φοινίκην καὶ θήραν ποιοῦνται δι’ ἀλληλῶν· ἄρρενας μὲν γὰρ ὑπάγοντες κεστρέας τὰς θηλείας περιβάλλονται συνάγοντες, θηλείας δὲ τοὺς ἄρρενας; Plin. IX.59 isdem (mugilibus) tam incauta salacitas ut in Phoenice et in Narbonensi provincia coitus tempore e vivariis marem linea longinqua per os ad branchias religata emissum in mare eademque linea retractum feminae sequantur ad litus rursusque feminam mares partus tempore. The method is still practised: Apost. p45 "Ce n'est pas le scare seulement qui se pêche ainsi, mais aussi les muges, surtout l'espèce Capito dans les côtes de Pélopponèse, sur les côtes du département d'Élide. . . . On opère ainsi : On tâche d'abord d'attraper soit aux filets, soit à la ligne, une femelle de muge, qu'on désigne sous le nom vulgaire de Μπάφα. On l'attache ensuite par l'opercule sur une ligne portée par un long roseau, au moyen duquel on la tire sur l'eau ; les autres muges, les mâles surtout, la suivent, toujours en quantité, un second pêcheur, posté derrière celui qui traîne le poisson sur l'eau, jette sur eux son filet circulaire (πεζόβολον), épervier, . . . et en capture le plus grand nombre possible." This fishing is pursued from April to the end of June.

18 H. II.121 n. For the method of fishing here mentioned cf. Apost. p51 "Oppien dit que, quand on tire derrière le bateau une femelle de seiche, les mâles, en grand nombre, se mettent à la suivre. Les pêcheurs grecs modernes emploient souvent le même procédé mais quelquefois ils remplacent la femelle, que l'on a peine à se procurer, par un mannequin de seiche, si je puis m'exprimer ainsi, appareil en bois ayant la forme d'une seiche. Sur sa partie convexe sont incrustés des morceaux de miroir. On tire cette seiche en bois, nommée ξυλόσουπια, σπιγιάλλι, derrière le bateau. Les poissons qui la suivent se pêchent au haveneau."

19 Tamarix tetrandra. This and κόμαρος, Arbutus unedo, are mentioned among evergreens, Theophrast. H. P. I.9.

20 The κόσσυφος and the κίχλη are mostly mentioned together: A. 599 B6 κατὰ συζυγίας δ’ οἱ πετραῖοι φωλοῦσιν οἱ ἄρρενες τοῖς θήλεσιν, ὥσπερ καὶ νεοττεύουσιν, οἷον κίχλαι, κόττυφοι; 607 B14 μεταβάλλουσι δὲ καὶ οὓς καλοῦσι κοττύφοις καὶ κίχλας . . . τὸ χρῶμα κατὰ τὰς ὤρας, . . . τοῦ μὲν γὰρ ἔαρος μέλανες γίνονται, εἶτα ἐκ τοῦ ἔαρος λευκοὶ πάλιν. Cf. Ael. XII.28; Diocl. ap. Athen. 305B οἱ δὲ πετραῖοι καλούμενοι . . . κόσσυφοι, κίχλαι; Numen. ibid. μελάγχρων κόσσυφον ἢ κίχλας ἁλιειδέας; Aristot. ibid. τὰ μὲν μελανόστικτα,º ὥσπερ κόσσυφος, τὰ δὲ ποικιλόστικτα, ὥσπερ κίχλη. The κίχλη is mentioned separately Nicandr. ap. Athen. 305D as πολυώνυμος, cf. Pancrat. ibid. 305C; also Epicharm.,  ibid., A. 605 A17, 598 A11; Plin. XXXII.9 turdus inter saxatiles nobilis. The κόσσυφος is mentioned separately, Phil. 99; Plin. XXX.11 merula inter saxatiles laudata; Ov. Hal. 114 merulaeque virentes; Ael. I.14 and 15. They are clearly closely allied species of Wrasse (Labridae, M. G. πετρόψαρο, χεῖλος). In M. G. κοτσύφι is Crenilabrus pavo; κίχλα is Coricus rostratus. Oppian seems to take κόσσυφοι and κίχλη to be merely the male and female of the same species, and Aelian, ll.cc., in paraphrasing Oppian, mentions the κόσσυφος only.

21 Goddess of Birth.

22 H. II.128 n.

23 H. I.379 n.

24 H. I.380 n.

25 Ael. I.55.

26 Cf. H. III.81.

27 Plato, Soph. 220E τοῦ τοίνυν ἀγκιστρευτικοῦ τῆς πληκτικῆς τὸ μὲν ἄνωθεν εἰς τὸ κάτω γιγνόμενον διὰ τὸ τοῖς τριόδουσιν οὕτω μάλιστα χρῆσθαι τριοδοντία τις, οἶμαι, κέκληται.

28 H. I.306 n.

29 C. II.433 n.

30 Ael. I.23 οἰκία τῷ σαργῷ τῷ ἰχθύι πέτρα τε καὶ σήραγγες.

31 i.e., olive-trees which were sacred to Athena. Cf. Ael. I.37 λέγουσι δὲ ἁλιεῖς καὶ πολύποδας εἰς τὴν γῆν προιέναι, ἐλαίας θαλλοῦ ἐπὶ τῆς ᾐόνος κειμένου; IX.45 ἀγροῦ γειτνιῶντος θαλάττῃ καὶ φυτῶν παρεστώτων ἐγκάρπων γεωργοὶ πολλάκις καταλαμβάνουσιν ἐν ὤρᾳ θερείῳ πολύποδάς τε καὶ ὀσμύλους ἐκ τῶν κυμάτων προλεθόντας καὶ διὰ τῶν πρέμνων ἀνερπύσαντας καὶ τοῖς κλάδοις περιπεσόντας καὶ ὀπωρίζοντας κτλ. Cf. Phil. 102.26 ff.

32 Pind. O. III.13 γλαυκόχροα κόσμον ἐλαίας; Soph. O. C. γλαυκᾶς παιδοτρόφου ἐλαίας.

33 i.e., Cretan (C. I.373), from Cnos(s)us, town in Crete.

34 This line is a κάθετος or weighted line (H. III.77 n.). The modern practice is entirely analogous: Apost. p48 "Pour la pêche du poulpe on fixe au plomb [μόλιβος, μόλυβδος] de l'engin quatre hameçons, dont les pointes sont dirigées en dehors ; autour d'eux on met un morceau d'étoffe blanche, pour attirer l'animal qu'on veut capturer. Le poulpe, croyant avoir faire à une bonne proie, allonge ses tentacules pour la saisir, mais il s'y raccroche et périt." Cf. H. IV.439 n.

35 Cf. Apost. p49 "On ne pêche ainsi que les mâles de ce genre de céphalopodes. Cela nous induit à supposer que l'animal, poussé par l'instinct de la reproduction, se colle à cet engin qu'il prend pour une femelle de son espèce."

36 Ael. I.23 φιλοῦσι δέ πως τῶν ἀλόγων αἶγας ἰσχυρῶς, ἐὰν γοῦν πλησίον τῆς ᾐόνος νεμομένων ἡ σκιὰ μιᾶς ἢ δευτέρας ἐν τῇ θαλάττῃ φανῇ, οἱ δὲ ἀσμένως προσνέουσι καὶ ἀναπηδῶσιν ὡς ἡδόμενοι, καὶ προσάψασθαι τῶν αἰγων ποθοῦσιν ἐξαλλόμενοι κτλ.

37 Sirius. Olympian = in Olympus = in the sky. Schol. ὀλύμπιος· οὐράνιος. A common use in late, especially Latin poets: Verg. E. V.56 Candidus insuetum miratur limen Olympi | Sub pedibusque videt nubes et sidera Daphnis; G. I.450 (sol) emenso cum iam decedit Olympo; Aen. I.374 Ante diem clauso componet Vesper Olympo; VI.579 Quantus ad aetherium caeli suspectus Olympum.

38 This account of the capture of the Sargues is paraphrased Ael. I.23. Captain Cook, Last Voyage, describes a similar method used by the natives of Nootka Sound: "They sometimes decoy animals by covering themselves with a skin, and running about on all-fours, which they do very nimbly, as appeared from the specimens of their skill which they exhibited to us — making a kind of noise or neighing at the same time; and on these occasions the masks, or carved heads, as well as the real dried heads of the different animals, are put on." Another method used by the Carians, Ael. XIII.2.

39 Cf. H. I.184. Probably Coryphaena hippurus, M. G. λαμπούγα, μανάλια; A. 543 A23; 599 B3; Plin. IX.57; XXXII.149; Ov. Hal. 95. Called also κορύφαινα Athen. 304C‑D, ἀρνευτῆν ἵππουρον Numenius, ibid. Cf. 319D. These fishes are popularly, but erroneously, called "Dolphins."

40 H. I.186 n.

41 H. I.428 n.

42 It is amazing to read in Apost. p48 "Pour les calmars (Loligo) qui pénètrent dans l'intérieur des ports, on donne au plomb la forme d'un fuseau et l'on dispose, à sa partie inférieure, en couronne, un grand nombre d'aiguilles à coudre. Quand, au contraire, on veut pêcher les sepioteuthis, τεύθους, θράψαλα vulg., les grands calmars du large, on remplace les aiguilles par des hameçons."

43 Ael. XIV.8 describes this method of catching Eels as used at Vicetia in Cisalpine Gaul. For Eel-catching in general cf. A. 592 A6; Athen. 298B; Aristoph. Eq. 864 ff.; Plin. IX.74; Walton, Compleat Angler, c. xiii; Radcliffe, p246 ff.; Badham, c. xvii.

44 H. I.767 n.

45 Engraulis encrasicholus, M. G. χαψί, a tiny member of the Herring family (Clupeidae): A. 569 B26 ἐκ δὲ μιᾶς ἀφύης, οἷον τῆς ἐν τῷ Ἀθηναίων λιμένι, (γίνονται) οἱ ἐγκρασίχολοι καλούμενοι. Cf. Athen. 285A, 300F, 329A; Ael. VIII.18 ἐγγραύλεις, οἱ δὲ ἐγκρασιχόλους καλοῦσιν αὐτάς, προσακήκοά γε μὴν καὶ τρίτον ὄνομα αὐτῶν, εἰσὶ γὰρ οἳ καὶ λυκοστόμους αὐτὰς ὀνομάζουσιν· ἔστι δὲ μικρὰ ἰχθύδια καὶ πολύγονα φύσει, λευκότατα ἰδεῖν κτλ.

46 Ael. l.c. καθεὶς δὲ τὴν χεῖρα ὡς ἐκ σωροῦ πυρῶν ἢ κυάμων λάβοις ἂν βιαίως ἀποσπάσας, ὡ καὶ διασπᾶσθαι πολλάκις καὶ τὰ μὲν ἡμίτομα τῶν ἰχθυδίων λαμβάνεσθαι, τὰ δὲ ὑπολείπεσθαι.

47 Ael. l.c. τοσαύτη ἡ ἕνωσις γίνεται συνδραμόντων ὡς καὶ πορθμίδας ἐπιθεούσας αὐτά, καὶ μέντοι καὶ κώπην ἢ κόντον εἰ δὶς αὐτῶν διεῖναι θελήσειεν, τὰ δὲ οὐ διαξαίνεται ἀλλ’ ἔχεται ἀλλήλων ὡς συνυφασμένα.

48 Ael. l.c. τὸ μὲν οὐραῖον καθέξεις, μενεῖ δὲ σὺν τοῖς ἄλλοις ἡ κεφαλή· ἢ κεφαλὴν κομιεῖς οἴκαδε, μένει δ’ ἐν τῇ θαλάττῃ τὸ λοιπόν.

49 Demeter.

50 i.e. winnowing-fans, cf. Hom. Od. XI.128.

51 One-year-old Tunnies; A. 488 A6 among gregarious fishes are οὓς καλοῦσι δρομάδας, θύννοι, πηλαμύδες, 543 A2 the θύννος and the πηλαμύς breed once a year; 543 B2 αἱ δὲ πηλαμύδες καὶ οἱ θύννοι τίκτουσιν ἐν τῷ Πόντῳ, ἄλλοθι δ’ οὐ; 571 A15 ὅταν γὰρ τέκωσιν οἱ ἰχθύες ἐν τῷ Πόντῳ, γίγνονται ἐκ τοῦ ῳοῦ ἃς καλοῦσιν οἱ μὲν σκορδύλας, Βυζάντιοι δ’ αὐξίδας διὰ τὸ ἐν ὀλίγαις αὐξάνεσθαι ἡμέραις· καὶ ἐξέρχονται μὲν τοῦ φθινοπώρου ἅμα ταῖς θυννίσιν, εἰσπλέουσι δὲ τοῦ ἔαρος ἤδη οὖσαι πηλαμύδες. Cf. Plin. IX.47 Thynni . . . intrant e magno mari Pontum verno tempore gregatim, nec alibi fetificant. Cordyla appellatur partus qui fetas redeuntes in mare autumno comitatur, limosae vere aut e luto pelamydes incipiunt vocari et, cum annuum excessere tempus, thynni; A. 598 A26 θυννίδες δὲ καὶ πηλαμύδες . . . εἰς τὸν Πόντον ἐμβάλλουσι τοῦ ἔαρος καὶ θερίζουσιν; 571 A11 δοκοῦσι δ’ ἐνιαυτῷ εἶναι (οἱ θύννοι) πρεσβύτεροι τῶν πηλαμύδων.

52 The Sea of Azov: Μαιῶτις λίμνη Aesch. P. V. 419; Palus Maeotica Plin. II.168; Maeotis lacus Plin. IV.78; Maeotius lacus Plin. IV.76.

53 The Gulf on which Ainos is situated, lying to the W. of the Thracian Chersonese: Strabo, fr. 52 εἶθ’ ἡ Χερρόνησος ἡ Θρᾳκία καλουμένη, ποιοῦσα τήν τε Προποντίδα καὶ τὸν Μέλανα κόλπον καὶ τὸν Ἑλλήσποντον· ἄκρα γὰρ ἔκκειται πρὸς εὐρόνοτον, συνάπτουσα τὴν Εὐρώπην πρὸς τὴν Ἀσίαν ἑπτασταδίῳ πορθμῷ τῷ κατὰ Ἄβυδον καὶ Σηστόν, ἐν ἀριστερᾷ μὲν τὴν Προποντίδα ἔχουσα, ἐν δεξιᾷ δὲ τὸν Μέλανα κόλπον, καλούμενον οὕτως ἀπὸ τοῦ Μέλανος ἐκδιδόντος εἰς αὐτόν. Cf. Strab. 28, 92, 124, 323, 331, etc.; Plin. IV.43 A Dorisco incurvatur ora ad Macron tichos CXII passus, circa quem locum fluvius Melas a quo sinus appellatur. Oppida . . . Macron tichos [Μακρὸν τεῖχος] dictum quia a Propontide ad Melanem sinum inter duo maria porrectus murus procurrentem excludit Cherronesum.

54 i.e., N. of.

55 Ael. XV.10 describes a method of catching Pelamyds which is not identical with either of Oppian's methods.

56 The ref. is to the Formido, C. IV.385 n.

57 C. II.433 n.

58 Probably Umbrina cirrhosa, M. G. σκιός: Apost. p13; Ov. Hal. 111 corporis umbrae | Liventis; Hesych. s. σκιαδεύς.

59 Ael. I.23 θηρῶνται δὲ (οἱ σαργοὶ) καὶ ἀπὸ χειρός, ἐάν τις τὰς ἀκάνθας, ἃς ἐγείρουσιν εἰς τὸ ἑαυτοῖς ἀμύνειν, εἰς τὸ κάτω μέρος ἀπό γε τῆς κεφαλῆς ἡσυχῆ κατάγων εἶτα κλίνῃ, καὶ πιέσας τῶν πετρῶν ἐκσπάσῃ, εἰς ἃς ἑαυτοὺς ὑπὲρ τοῦ λαθεῖν ὠθοῦσιν.

60 Ostrich, cf. C. III.483 n.

61 This is what is known in Scotland and on the Scottish Borders (Solway Firth, etc.) as "burning the water," the harpoon being a three-pronged or five-pronged spear, called leister or waster (some say that leister = 3‑pronged, waster = 5‑pronged spear): Scott, Guy Mannering, c. xxvi "This chase in which the fish is pursued and struck with barbed spears, or a long-shafted trident, called a waster, is much practised at the mouth of the Esk and in the other salmon rivers of Scotland. The sport is followed by day and night, but most commonly in the latter, when the fish are discovered by means of torches or fire-grates, filled with blazing fragments of tar-barrels, which shed a strong though partial light upon the water." Burns, Death and Dr. Hornbrook, v. 11 "I there wi' Something did forgither | That pat me in an eerie swither; | An awfu' scythe, outowre ae shouther, | Clear-dangling, hang; | A three-taed leister on the ither | Lay large and lang." It furnishes a simile to Q. Smyrn. VII.569 ὣς δ’ ἁλιεὺς κατὰ πόντον ἀνὴρ λελιημένος ἄγρης | τεύχων ἰχθύσι πῆμα φέρει μένος Ἡφαίστοιο | νηὸς ἐῆς ἔντοσθε, διεγρομένῃ δ’ ὑπ’ ἀυτμῇ | μαρμαίρει περὶ νῆα πυρὸς σέλας, οἱ δὲ κελαινῆς | ἐξ ἁλὸς ἀίσσουσι μεμαότες ὕστατον αἴγλην | εἰσιδέειν· τοὺς γὰρ ῥα τανυγλώχινι τριαίνῃ | κτείνει ἐπεσσυμένους, γάνυται δέ οἱ ἦτορ ἐπ’ ἄγρῃ· | ὣς κτλ. Cf. C. IV.140; Neilson, Annals of the Solway (1899), p52; Introd. p. xlvii.

62 Philostr. Imag. I.13 (speaking of Tunnies): ἰδέαι μὲν οὖν καθ’ ἃς ἁλίσκονται μυρίαι· καὶ γὰρ σίδηρον (i.e. the trident) ἔστιν ἐπ’ αὐτοὺς θήξασθαι καὶ φάρμακα ἐπιπάσαι καὶ μικρὸν ἤρκεσε δίκτυον ὅτῳ ἀπόχρη καὶ σμικρόν τι τῆς ἀγέλης. Besides Cyclamen (659 below) we read of the use of φλόμος (πλόμος), Mullein, Lat. verbascum (Plin. XXV.120): A. 602 B31 ἀποθνήσκουσι δὲ οἱ ἰχθῦς τῷ πλόμῳ· διὸ καὶ θηρεύουσιν οἱ μὲν ἄλλοι τοὺς ἐν τοῖς ποταμοῖς καὶ λίμναις πλομίζοντες, οἱ δὲ Φοίνικες καὶ τοὺς ἐν τῇ θαλάττῃ, cf. Ael. I.58; of Ἀριστολοχία, Birth-wort, Aristolochia rotunda: Plin. XXV.98 Piscatores Campania radicem (aristolochiae) eam quae rotunda est venenum terrae vocant, coramque nobis contusam mixta calce in mare sparsere. Advolant pisces cupiditate mira statimque exanimati fluitant; of κόνυζα, Fleabane, used to induce the Poulpe to relax hold of the rocks: A. 534 B26 καὶ οἵ γε πολύποδες οὕτω μὲν προσέχονται ὥστε μὴ ἀποσπᾶσθαι ἀλλ’ ὑπομένειν τεμνόμενοι, ἐὰν δέ τις κόνυζαν προσενέγκῃ, ἀφιᾶσιν εὐθὺς ὀσμώμενοι. Cf. Apost. p50 "A côté des harpons se place une espèce de crochet construit expressément pour la pêche des poulpes, dont la chair est, comme on sait, très estimée par les Grecs. C'est un gros hameçon porté par une très longue hampe. Aux détritus de crabes, aux coquilles vides, le pêcheur reconnaît le nid (θαλάμι) du céphalopode. Il cherche, en faisant pénétrer son appareil, à décrocher l'animal, qui, fort souvent, sentant le danger, se fixe, par ses ventouses, très solidement contre les parois de son nid. Pour le faire lâcher prise, on attache alors à une hampe un morceau d'étoffe blanche ou des feuilles de tabac ou de κονυζό, que l'on approche du trou. L'animal sort aussitôt et cherche à s'échapper, mais le pêcheur le saisit avec son crochet."

63 C. hederaefolium or C. neapolitanum, Sowbread: Plin. XXV.116 Mihi et tertia cyclaminos demonstrata est cognomine chamaecissos, uno omnino folio, radiae ramosa, qua pisces necantur. The root is still used in preparing a paste which the Neapolitan fishermen call lateragna, and which is either thrown in lumps from a boat or enclosed in a bag and then thrust by means of a long pole among the rocks. The fish — particularly Grey Mullets and other low swimming fish — becoming intoxicated come to the surface and are easily taken. Badham, p21; Radcliffe, p239.

64 Cf. A. 591 A18 ὁ δὲ κέφαλος καὶ ὁ κεστρεὺς ὅλως μόνοι οὐ σαρκοφαγοῦσιν· σημεῖον δέ, οὔτε γὰρ ἐν τῇ κοιλίᾳ πώποτ’ ἔχοντες εἰλημμένοι εἰσὶ τοιοῦτον οὐδέν, οὔτε δελέατι χρῶνται πρὸς αὐτοὺς ζῴων σαρξὶν ἀλλὰ μάζῃ.

65 κρήνη is properly a spring from which the water has a free out-flow (Hom. Od. XVII.205 ἐπὶ κρήνην ἀφίκοντο | τυκτὴν καλλίροον, ὅθεν ὑδρεύοντο πολῖται; X.107 κρήνην καλλιρρέεθρον; Hesiod, W. 595 κρήνης ἀενάου καὶ ἀπορρύτου, ἥ τ’ ἀθύλωτος) as opposed to a standing well, but the distinction is not very accurately observed. For poisoning or making undrinkable wells in enemy country cf. Aeneas Tact. VIII.4 τὰ κατὰ τὴν χώραν στάσιμα ὕδατα ὡς ἄποτα δεῖ ποιεῖν; Herod. IV.120 the Scythians resolved not to fight a pitched battle, but to retire and, as they retired, τὰ φρέατα, τὰ παρεξίοιεν αὐτοί, καὶ τὰς κρήνας συγχοῦν; Thuc. II.48 the plague attacked the people in the Peiraeus ὥστε καὶ ἐλέχθη ὑπ’ αὐτῶν ὡς οἱ Πελοποννήσιοι φάρμακα ἐσβεβλήκοιεν ἐς τὰ φρέατα· κρῆναι γὰρ οὔπω ἦσαν αὐτόθι.

[image ALT: Valid HTML 4.01.]

Page updated: 30 May 20