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Bill Thayer

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Book IV

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.
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 p459  Oppian, Halieutica or Fishing


[Link to a page in Greek] Next hear and mark, O lord of earth, that there is nothing impossible for men to do, either on mother earth or in the vasty gulf of the sea, but of a truth someone created men to be a race like unto the blessed gods, albeit he gave them inferior strength:​1 whether it was the son of Iapetus, Prometheus​2 of many devices, who made man in the likeness of the blessed ones, mingling earth with water, and anointed his heart with the anointing of the gods; or whether we are born of the blood divine that flowed from the Titans;​3 for there is nothing more excellent than men, apart from the gods: only to the immortals shall we give place. How many monster wild beasts of dauntless might doth man quench upon the mountains, how many tribes of birds that wheel in cloud and air doth he take captive,​4 though he be of lowly stature! His valour prevents not the Lion from defeat, nor doth the windswift sweep of his  p461 wings save the Eagle. Even the Indian Beast,​5 dark of hide and of tremendous weight, men make to bow to overwhelming force and under the yoke set him to do the patient hauling labour of the mule. And the huge Sea-monsters that are bred in the habitations of Poseidon are, I declare, no whit meaner than the ravaging children of the land, but both in strength and size the dauntless terrors of the sea excel. There is upon the mainland the breed of Tortoises​6 which know no valour nor hurt: but the Tortoise​7 of the sea no man shall confidently confront amid the waves. There are fierce Dogs upon the dry land: but not one could vie in shamelessness with the Dogs of the sea.​8 Dread is the bite of the Leopard of the land​9 but that of the sea Leopard​10 is more terrible. Hyenas​11 walk upon the dry land, but those amid the waves​12 are deadlier far. The Ram of the shepherds is a gentle beast, but he who approaches the Rams of the sea​13 shall not find them kindly to encounter. What Boar​14 wields such  p463 strength as doth the invincible Lamna?​15 What valour burns in the heart of the Lion to be likened to that of the dread Hammer-head?​16 Before the dread-eyed Seal​17 the maned Bears​18 on the land tremble and, when they meet them in battle, they are vanquished. Such are the beasts which have their business in the sea. But notwithstanding even for them the dauntless race of men has devised grievous woe, and they perish at the hands of fishermen, when these set themselves to do battle with the Sea-monsters. The manner of hunting these with its heavy labour I will tell. And do ye hearken graciously, O kings, Olympian bulwarks of the earth.

[Link to a page in Greek] The Sea-monsters that are nurtured in the midst of the seas are very many in number and of exceeding size. And not often do they come up out of the brine, but by reason of their heaviness they keep the bottom of the sea below. And they rave for food with unceasing frenzy, being always anhungered and never abating the gluttony of their terrible maw: for what food shall be sufficient to fill the void of their belly or enough to satisfy and give a respite to their insatiable jaws? Moreover, they themselves also destroy one another, the mightier in valour slaying the weaker, and one for the other is food and feast. Often too they bring terror to ships when they meet them in the Iberian sea​19 in the West, where chiefly, leaving the infinite water of the neighbouring Ocean,​20 they roll upon their way,  p465 like unto ships of twenty oars.​21 Often also they stray and come nigh the beach where the water is deep inshore:​22 and there one may attack them.

[Link to a page in Greek] For all the great beasts of the sea, save the Dog-fishes, travelling is heavy-limbed and not easy. For they neither see far nor do they travel over all the sea, burdened as they are with their vast limbs, but very tardily they roll upon their way. Wherefore also with all of them there travels a companion fish, dusky to the eye and long of body and with a thin tail: which conspicuously goes before to guide them and show them their path in the sea; for which cause men call it the Guide.​23 But to the Whale​24 it is a companion that hath found wondrous favour, as guide at once and guard; and it easily bringeth him whither he will. For that is the only fish that he follows, the ever-loyal comrade of a loyal friend. And it wheels about near him and close by the eyes of the Whale it extends its tail, which tells the monster everything — whether there is some prey to seize or whether some evil threatens nigh,  p467 or if there is a shallow depth​25 of sea which it were better to avoid. Even as if it had a voice, the tail declares all things to him truly, and the burden of the water obeys. For that fish is to the beast champion at once and ears and eye: by it the Whale hears, by it he sees, to it he entrusts the reins of his life for keeping. Even as a son lovingly entreats his aged father, by anxious care of his years repaying the price of his nurture,​26 and zealously attends and cherishes him, weak now of limb and dim of eye, reaching him his arm in the street and himself in all works succouring him — sons​27 are a new strength to an aged sire: so that fish for love cherishes the monster of the brine, steering as it were a ship by the guiding helm.​28 Surely it had blood akin to his from earliest birth or he took it of his own will and made it his companion. Thus neither valour nor beauty hath such profit as wisdom, and strength with unwisdom is vain. A little man of good counsel sinks or saves the man of might; for even the invincible Whale with its unapproachable limbs takes for its friend a tiny fish. Therefore one should first capture that scouting Guide, entrapping it with  p469 might of hook and bait; for while it lives thou shalt and overpower and conquer the monster, but when it is gone, his destruction will be swifter. For he no longer knows surely the paths of the violet brine nor know to shun the evil that is at hand, but, even as a merchant vessel whose steersman has perished, he wanders idly, defenceless and helpless, wherever the grey water carries him, and is borne in darkling and unguessed ways, widowed of his helpful charioteer. Many a time in his wandering he runs aground on rock or beach: such darkness is spread upon his eyes. [Link to a page in Greek]Thereupon with eager thoughts the fishers hasten to the labour of the hunt, praying to the blessed gods of whale-killing that they may capture the dread monster of Amphitrite.​29 As when a strong company of foemen, having waited for midnight, stealthily approach their enemy and find by favour of Ares the sentinels asleep before the gates and fall upon them and overcome them: thereupon they haste confidently to the high city and the very citadel, carrying the weapon of fire, the doom of the city, even the brand that wrecks the well-builded walls: even so confidently do the fisher host haste after the beast, unguarded now that his pilot is slain. First they conjecture in their minds his weight and size; and these are the signs that tell the measure of his limbs. If, as he rolls amid the waves of the sea, he rise a little above it, showing the top of his spine and the ridge of his neck, then verily he is a mighty beast and excellent: for not even the sea itself can easily support and carry him. But if some portion of his back also appears, that  p471 does not announce so great a weight: for feebler beasts travel a more buoyant path. For these monsters the line is fashioned of many strands of well-woven cord, as thick as the forestay of a ship, neither very large nor very small, and in length suitable to the prey. The well-wrought hook is rough and sharp with barbs projecting alternately on either side, strong enough to take a rock and pierce a cliff and with deadly curve as great as the gape of the beast can cover. A coiled chain is cast about the butt of the dark hook — a stout chain of beaten bronze to withstand the deadly violence of his teeth and the spears of his mouth. In the midst of the chain are set round wheels close together, to stay his wild struggles and prevent him from straightway breaking the iron in his bloody agony, as he tosses in deadly pain, but let him roll and wheel in his fitful course. For fatal banquet they put upon hook a portion of the black liver of a bull or a bull's shoulder suited to the jaws of the banqueter. To accompany the hunters, as it were for war, are sharpened many strong harpoons​30 and stout tridents and bills and axes of heavy blade and other such weapons as are forged upon the noisy anvil. Swiftly they go on board their well-benched ships, silently nodding to one another as need may be, and set forth. With quiet oars they gently make white the sea, carefully avoiding any noise, lest the great Whale remark aught and dive into the depths for refuge, and the task of the fishers be undertaken in vain. But when they draw nigh to him and close with their task, then boldly from the prow they  p473 launch for the giant beast the fatal snare. And when he espies the grievous banquet, he springs and disregards it not, obedient to his shameless belly,​31 and rushing upon the hookèd death he seizes it; and immediately the whetted hook enters within his wide throat and he is impaled upon the barbs. Then, roused by the wound, first, indignant, he shakes his deadly jaw against them and strives to break the brazen cord; but his labour is vain. Then, next, in the anguish of fiery pain he dives swiftly into the nether gulfs of the sea. And speedily the fishers allow him all the length of the line; for there is not in men strength enough to pull him up and to overcome the heavy monster against his will. For easily could he drag them to the bottom, benched ship and all together, when he set himself to rush. Straightway as he dives they let go with him into the water large skins​32 filled with human breath and fastened to the line. And he, in the agony of his pain, heeds not the hides but lightly drags them down, all unwilling and fain for the surface of the foamy sea. But when he comes to the bottom with labouring heart, he halts, greatly foaming in his distress. As some horse when it has accomplished its sweaty labour to the utmost goal, in a bloody foam grinds his teeth in the crooked bit, while the hot panting breath comes through his  p475 mouth: so, breathing hard, the Whale rests. But the skins allow him not, even if he would, to remain below but swiftly speed upward and leap forth from the sea, buoyed by the breath within them; and a new contest arises for the Whale. Then first he makes a vain rush with his jaws, eager to defend himself against the hides which pull him up. But these fly upward and await him not, but flee like living things seeking escape. And he indignant rushes again to the innermost deep of the brine, and many a twist and turn he makes, now perforce, now of his own will, pulling and being pulled in turn. As when woodcutters​33 labour busily at the joint labour of the saw, when they haste to make a keel or other needful matter for mariners: both men in turn draw to them the rough edge of iron pressing on the wood and the row of its teeth is never turned in one path, but urged from either side it sings loudly as it saws and evermore is drawn the other way: even such is the contest between the hides and the deadly beast — he being dragged up, while they are urged the other way. Much bloody spume he discharges over the sea as he struggles in his pain, and his panting breath as he rages resounds under the sea, and the water bubbles and roars around; thou wouldst say that all the blasts of Boreas were housed and hidden beneath the waves: so violently he pants in his fury. And round about many a swirling eddy the swelling waves make a hollow in the waters and the sea is divided in twain. As by the mouth of the  p477 Indian and Tyrrhenian seas the dividing waters of the Strait​34 roll raging under the violent panting of Typhaon​35 and dread straining swirls curve the swift wave and dark Charybdis circles round, drawn by her eddying tides: even so by the panting blasts of the Whale the space of the sea around is lashed and whirled about. Then should one of the whalers row his hollow skiff and come to land and make fast the line to a rock upon the shore and straightway return — even as a man makes fast a ship by cables from the stern.​36 Now when the deadly beast is tired with his struggles and drunk with pain and his fierce heart is bent with weariness and the balance of hateful doom inclines, then first of all a skin comes to the surface, announcing the issue of victory and greatly uplifts the hearts of the fishers. Even as, when a herald​37 returns from dolorous war in white​38 raiment and with cheerful face, his friends exulting follow him, expecting straightway to hear favourable tidings, so do the fishers exult when they behold the hide, the messenger of good news, rising from below. And immediately other skins rise up  p479 and emerge from the sea, dragging in their train the huge monster, and the deadly beast is hauled up all unwillingly, distraught in spirit with labour and wounds. Then the courage of the fishers is roused and with hasting blades they run their well-oared boats near. And much noise and much shouting resound upon the sea as they help and exhort one another to the struggle. Thou wouldst say thou wert beholding the toil of men in war; such valour rises in their hearts and there is such din and such desire for battle. Far away some goatherd hears their horrid noise or some shepherd tending his woolly flock in the glens, or woodcutter felling the pine, or hunter slaying wild beasts, and astonished he draws near to sea and shore and standing on a cliff beholds the tremendous toil of the men in this warfare of the sea and the issue of the wondrous hunt, while quenchless lust of war in the water stirs the men. Then one brandishes in his hands the long-barbed trident, another the sharp-pointed lance, others carry the well-bent bill, another wields the two-edged axe. All toil, the hands of all are armed with mighty blade of iron, and close at hand they smite and wound the beast with sweeping blows. And he forgets his mighty valour and is no more able, for all his endeavour, to stay the hasting ships with his jaws, but with heavy sweep of flippers and with the end of his tail he ploughs up the waves of the deep and drives back the ships sternward and turns to naught the work of the oars and the valour of the men, even as a contrary wind that rolls the waves against the prow. The cries of the men resound as they set themselves to work, and all the sea is stained with the gory filth poured forth by  p481 his deadly wounds. The infinite water boils with the blood of the beast and the grey sea is reddened. As when in winter a river comes down from the hills of red earth into a billowy gulf and the blood-coloured mud is rolled down by the rush of the water, mingling with the eddying waves; and afar the water is reddened by the ruddy dust and the sea is as if covered with blood: even so in that hour the gory waters are stained with the blood of the beast, rent amid the waves by the shafts of the fishermen. Then they draw and drop into his wounds a bitter stream of bilge-water; and the salt mingling in his sores like fire kindles for him the deadliest destruction. As when the fire of heaven smites with the lash of Zeus a bark that is traversing the sea, and the flaming onset that devours the ship is stirred and made yet fiercer by the sea mingling with the torches of heaven: even so his cruel wounds and pains are made more fierce by the cruel water of the putrid evil-smelling bilge. But when, overcome by the pains of many gashes, fat brings him at last to the gates of dismal death, then they take him in tow and joyfully haul him to the land; and he is dragged all unwilling, pierced with many barbs as with nails and nodding as if heavy with wine in the issue of deadly doom. And the fishers, raising the loud paean of victory,​39 while they speed the boat with their oars, make the sea resound, singing their shrill song to hasting blades. As when after the decision of a battle at sea the victors take in tow the ships of the vanquished and haste joyfully to bring to land the foemen who man the ships,  p483 shouting loud to the oarsmen the paean of victory in a fight at sea, while the others against their will sorrowfully follow their foe perforce: even so the fishers take in tow the dread monster of the brine and joyfully bring him ashore. But when he comes nigh the land, then destruction real and final rouses him, and he struggles and lashes the sea with his terrible fins, like a bird upon the well-built altar tossing in the dark struggle of death. Unhappy beast! verily many an effort he makes to reach the waves but the strength of his valour is undone and his limbs obey him not and panting terribly he is dragged in to land: even as a merchant ship, broad and many-benched, which men draw forth from the sea and haul up​40 on the dry land when winter comes, to rest from its seafaring toil, and heavy is the labour of the sailors: so they bring the mighty-limbed whale to land. And he fills all the beach with his unapproachable limbs as they lie, and he is stretched out dead, terrible to behold. Even when he is killed and laid upon the land one still dreads to approach his corpse of dread aspect and fears him when he is no more, shuddering even when he is gone at the mere teeth in his jaws. At last they take courage and gather​41 about him in a body, gazing in astonishment at the ruins of the savage beast. Then some marvel at the deadly ranks of his jaws, even the dread and stubborn tusks, like  p485 javelins, arrayed in triple row with close-set points. Others feel the bronze-pierced wounds of the monster of many battles; another gazes at his sharp spine bristling with terrible points; others behold with wonder his tail, others his capacious belly and measureless head. And, looking on the fierce beast of the sea, one who has lingered more in landward haunts than among ships says among his comrades by his side: O Earth, dear mother, thou didst bear me and hast fed me with landward food, and in thy bosom let me die, when my destined day arrives! (Be the Sea and the works thereof gracious​42 unto me and on the dry land let me worship Poseidon!) And may no tiny bark speed me among the grievous wavs nor let me scan the winds and the clouds in the air! Not enough is the so great terror of the waves, not enough for men the terror of distressful seafaring and the woe that they endure, ever riding with the storm-winds of evil noise, nor enough for them to perish by a watery doom: beyond all these they still await such banqueters as these, and find burial without a tomb, glutting the cavern of a wild beast's throat. I fear her who breeds such woes.  p487 Nay, O Sea, I greet thee — from the land,​43 and — from afar — mayst thou be kind to me!

[Link to a page in Greek] Such are the labours by which they slay those Sea-monsters which exceed in monstrous bulk of body, burdens​44 of the sea. But those which are endowed with lesser limbs are caught by lesser sort of hunting and the weapons are suited to the prey: smaller the lines, smaller the jaw of the hook, scantier the food that baits the barbs, and in place of the skins of goats globes of dried gourds​45 fastened to the line pull the body of the beast to the surface.

[Link to a page in Greek] When fishermen encounter the whelps of the Lamna,​46 many a time they merely undo the oar-thong,​47 the strap which fastens the oar, and project  p489 it in the waves. And when the Lamna espies it, she rushes and puts forth the strength of her jaws, and straightway her crooked teeth are entangled in the strap and are held fast as in chains. Thereafter it is an easy task to kill the Lamna with blows of the iron trident.

[Link to a page in Greek] Ravenous pre-eminently among the hateful Sea-monsters and gluttonous are the monster tribes of the Dog-fishes;​48 and they are pre-eminently insolent and proud and will fear nothing that they meet, having unbridled shamelessness ever swelling like a frenzy in their hearts. Often they rush upon the nets of the fishermen or attack their weels and destroy their fishy spoil, while fattening their own hearts. And a watchful fisherman may pierce them with hook in the frenzy of their gluttony and land them along with the fishes, a pleasant spoil of his fishing.

[Link to a page in Greek] For the Seal no hooks are fashioned nor any three-pronged spear which could capture it: for exceeding hard is the hide which it has upon its limbs as a mighty hedge. But when the fishermen have unwittingly enclosed a seal among the fishes in their well-woven nets, then there is swift labour and haste to pull the nets ashore. For no nets, even if there are very many at hand, would stay the raging seal, but with its violence and sharp claws it will easily break them and rush away and prove a succour to pent-up fishes but a great grief to the hearts of the fishermen. But if betimes they bring it near the land, there with trident and mighty clubs and stout spears they smite it on the temples​49 and kill  p491 it: since destruction comes most swiftly upon seals when they are smitten on the head.

[Link to a page in Greek] Moreover, the Turtles​50 also very often destroy the spoil of the fishermen when they fall in with it and become a plague to the men. To capture​51 it is the easiest task of all for a man who is courageous and of fearless soul. For if he leap into the waves and turn the stony turtle on its back upon its shell, no more can it avoid doom, however much it try, but it floats on the surface buoyantly, struggling with its feet in its desire for the sea; and laughter seizes the fishermen. And sometimes they smite it with blows of iron, otherwhiles they deal with it by towing it with ropes. And as when a boy in childish frolic takes a rough mountain-roaming Tortoise and turns it over and it lies upon its back and is very eager to reach the ground, waving its wrinkled feet and wriggling furiously its crooked knees in its distress, and laughter seizes all who behold: even so its kindred beast of the sea floats on its back in the brine, the sport of the fishermen.

[Link to a page in Greek] And often it comes up to the dry land and by the  p493 rays of sun its scales are burnt about it and it carries but withered limbs back to the sea and the dark wave receives it no more for all its eagerness but carries and rolls it aloft while it yearns for the bottom of the sea. And fishermen espying it very easily and gladly overcome it.

[Link to a page in Greek] The hunting of Dolphins​52 is immoral​53 and that man can no more draw nigh the gods as a welcome sacrificer nor touch their altars with clean hands but pollutes those who share the same roof with him, whoso willingly devises destruction for Dolphins. For equally with human slaughter the gods abhor the deathly doom of the monarchs of the deep;​54 for like thoughts with men have the attendants of the god of the booming sea: wherefore also they practise love of their offspring​55 and are very friendly one to another. Behold now what manner of happy hunting the Dolphins kindly to men array against the fishes in the island of Euboea​56 amid the Aegean waves. For when the fishers hasten to the toil of  p495 evening fishing, carrying to the fishes the menace​57 of fire, even the swift gleam of the brazen lantern,​58 the Dolphins attend them, speeding the slaughter of their common prey. Then the fishes in terror turn away and seek escape, but the Dolphins from the outer sea rush together upon them and frighten them and, when they would fain turn to the deep sea, they drive them forth towards the unfriendly land, leaping at them ever and again, even as dogs chasing the wild beast for the hunters and answering bark with bark. And when the fishes flee close to the land, the fishermen easily smite them with the well-pronged trident. And there is no way of escape for them, but they dance about in the sea, driven by the fire and by the Dolphins, the kings of the sea.​59 But when the work of capture is  p497 happily accomplished, then the Dolphins draw near and ask the guerdon of their friendship, even their allotted portion of the spoil.​60 And the fishers deny them not, but gladly give them a share of their successful fishing; for if a man sin against them in his arrogance, no more are the Dolphins his helpers in fishing.

[Link to a page in Greek] One has heard, moreover, of the feat famous of old of the Lesbian minstrel,​61 how riding on the back of a Dolphin he crossed the black waves while he sat fearless of heart and singing, and so escaped death from the pirates, and reached the land of Taenarus on the shores of the Laconians. And one knows, methinks, by hearsay the love of the Libyan boy​62 whom as he herded his sheep a Dolphin loved with burning love and played with him beside the shores and for delight in his shrill pipe​63 was fain to live among the very sheep and forsake the sea and  p499 come to the woods. Nay, nor has all Aeolis​64 forgotten the love of a youth — not long ago but in our own generation — how a Dolphin once loved an island boy and in the island it dwelt and ever haunted the haven where ships lay at anchor, even as if it were a townsman and refused to leave its comrade, but abode there and made that its house from the time that it was little till it was a grown cub, like a little child nurtured in the ways of the boy. But when they came to the fullness of vigorous youth, then the boy excelled among the youths and the Dolphin in the sea was more excellent in swiftness than all others. Then there was a marvel strange beyond speech or thought for strangers and indwellers to behold. And report stirred many to hasten to see the wondrous sight, a youth and a Dolphin growing up in comrade­ship, and day by day beside the shore were many gatherings of those who rushed to gaze upon the mighty marvel. Then the youth would embark in his boat and row in front of the embayed haven and would call it, shouting the name whereby he had named it even from earliest birth. And the Dolphin, like an arrow, when it heard the call of the boy, would speed swiftly and come close to the beloved boat, fawning with its tail and proudly lifting up its head fain to touch the boy. And he would gently caress it with his hands, lovingly greet his comrade, while it would be eager to come right into boat beside the boy.  p501 But when he dived lightly into the brine, it would swim near the youth, its side right by his side and its cheek close by his and touching head with head. Thou wouldst have said that in its love the Dolphin was fain to kiss and embrace the youth: in such close companion­ship it swam. But when he came near the shore, straightway the youth would lay his hand upon its neck and mount on its wet back. And gladly and with understanding it would receive the boy upon its back and would go where the will of the youth drave it, whether over the wide sea afar he commanded it to travel or merely to traverse the space of the haven or to approach the land: it obeyed every behest. No colt for its rider is so tender of mouth and so obedient to the curved bit; no dog trained to the bidding of the hunter is so obedient to follow where he leads; nay, nor any servants are so obedient, when their master bids, to do his will willingly, as that friendly Dolphin was obedient to the bidding of the youth, without yoke-strap or constraining bridle. And not himself alone would it carry but it would obey any other whom his master bade it and carry him on its back, refusing no labour in its love. Such was its friendship for the boy while he lived; but when death took him, first like one sorrowing the Dolphin visited the shores in quest of the companion of its youth: you would have said you heard the veritable voice of a mourner — such helpless grief was upon it. And no more, though they called it often, would it hearken to the island townsmen nor would it accept food when  p503 offered it, and very soon it vanished from that sea and none marked it any more and it no more visited the place. Doubtless sorrow for the youth that was gone killed it, and with its dead comrade it had been fain to die.

[Link to a page in Greek] But notwithstanding, although the Dolphins so excel in gentleness and though they have a heart so much at one with men, the overweening Thracians and those who dwell in the city of Byzas​65 hunt them with iron-hearted devices — surely wicked men and sinful! who would not spare their children or their fathers and would lightly slay their brothers born. And this is the manner of their unpleasant hunting. The mother Dolphin — a mother to her sorrow — is closely attended by her twin brood,​66 like unto boys of tender age. Now against these the cruel Thracians array their attack, equipping a light boat for the sinful labour of their hunt. The young Dolphins, when they see the speeding bark before them, remain still and look not to flight, not dreaming that any guile or ill would come upon them from men, but fawn on them as on kindly comrades with delight, rejoicing as they meet their own destruction. Then the fishers strike swiftly the hurled trident which they call a harpoon, most deadly weapon of the hunt, and smite one of the young Dolphins with unthought of woe. And shrinking back in the bitter anguish of its pain, it straightway dives within the nether brine, racked with torture and grievous agony. And the fishers do not hale it up by force — else would they be undertaking to no purpose a vain and empty work of hunting — but as it rushes, they  p505 let the long line go with it and urge on the boat with their oars, following the path of the fleeing Dolphin. Be when it is weary and in evil case with grievous pains and struggles on the barbs of iron, then being faint it comes to the surface, its strong limbs weary, raised by the buoyant waves, gasping its last. And the mother never leaves it but always follows with it in its distress and when it rises from the depths, like one who grieves and mourns terribly. You would say you were beholding the mourning of a mother when her city is sacked by the foe and her children are haled away perforce as the spoil of the spear. Even so she in sore grief circles about her wounded child as if she herself were suffering and wounded by the iron. Her other child she falls upon to send it from her path and urgently drives it away: "Flee, my child! for men are foes, no longer friends to us, but they prepare against us iron and capture: now even against the Dolphins they array war, sinning against the truce of the immortal gods and against the concord which formerly we made with one another." So, voiceless though she be, she speaks to her children. And one she turns away to flee afar; but the other, suffering with it in its cruel suffering, she attends close to the very boat and forsakes it not; nor could one drive away the mother if he had tried either by striking her or by any other form of terror, but along with the child, when it is haled up the unhappy mother is haled up also, till she comes into the hands of the foe. Unkind and surely greatly sinful, these neither have pity upon her when they see her distress nor bend their heart of iron, but, smiting her also with  p507 stroke of brazen harpoons, they slay child and mother together in a common doom: slay her not unwilling to be slain, since over her dead child the mother wittingly and willingly meets her death. As when a snake​67 chances upon the young brood of a swallow under the eaves and approaches them: and them he slays and seizes within his teeth, and the mother first circles about distraught, pitifully crying her lament for their slaying; but when she sees her children perished, no more she seeks escape from destruction but flutters under the very jaws of the serpent, until the doom that slew the children overtakes the mother bird: even so also with the young Dolphin perishes the mother, coming a willing prey into the hands of the fishermen.

[Link to a page in Greek] As for the Testacean​68 tribes which crawl in the sea, report tells us that all these in due cycle are full of flesh when the moon​69 is waxing and inhabit a rich dwelling, but when she wanes, again they become more meagre and wrinkled of limb: such compelling force resides in them. Of these men gather some from the sand with their hands, diving under the sea; others they pull from the rocks to which they stubbornly cling; yet others the waves cast up on the very shores or in trenches digged in the sand.

[Link to a page in Greek] The Purple-shells​70 again among Shell-fish are eminently gluttonous,​71 and by gluttony is the true manner of their capture. Small weels​72 like baskets  p509 are made with close-set rushes, and the fishers gather and place in them Spiral-shells and Clams together. Now when the Purple-fishes draw near, drunk with the lust of food, they put forth from within their chamber their long tongue,​73 which is thin and sharp, and stretch it through the rushes, in quest of food and fatal feast they find. For the tongue, fixed in the close-set rushes, swells and is straitened by the mesh of withes and cannot any more draw back if it try but remains stretched in pain, until the fishers land the shell-fish while intent upon their tongue, bringing a colour most beautiful for purple cloths.

[Link to a page in Greek] Than the task of the Sponge-cutters​74 I declare that there is none worse nor any work more woeful for men. These, when they prepare themselves for their labour, use more meagre food and drink and indulge themselves with sleep​75 unfitting fishermen. As when a man prepares himself for the tuneful contest — one who hath Phoebus' boast of lyric song — and he studies all care and every way takes heed, nursing for the games the melody of his clear voice: so do they zealously take all watchful care that their breath may abide unscathed when they go down into the depths and that they may recover from  p511 past toil. But when they adventure to accomplish their mighty task, they make their vows to the blessed gods who rule the deep sea and pray that they ward from them all hurt from the monsters of the deep and that no harm may meet them in the sea. And if they see a Beauty-fish,​76 then great courage comes into their hearts; for where these range there never yet hath any dread Sea-monster appeared nor noxious beast nor hurtful thing of the sea but always they delight in clean and harmless paths; wherefore also men have named it the Holy Fish. Rejoicing in it they hasten to their labours. A man is girt with a long rope above his waist and, using both hands, in one he grasps a heavy mass of lead and in his right hand he holds a sharp bill, while in the jaws of his mouth he keeps white oil.​77 Standing upon the prow he scans the waves of the sea, pondering his heavy task and the infinite water. His comrades incite and stir him to his work with encouraging words, even as a man skilled in foot-racing when he stands upon his mark. But when he takes heart of courage, he leaps into the eddying waves and as he springs the force of the heavy grey lead drags him down. Now when he arrives at the bottom, he spits out the oil, and it shines brightly and the gleam mingles with the water, even as a beacon showing its eye in the darkness of the night. Approaching the rocks​78 he sees the Sponges which  p513 grow on the ledges of the bottom, fixed fast to the rocks; and report tells that they have breath​79 in them, even as other things that grow upon the sounding rocks. Straightway rushing upon them with his bill in his stout hand, like a mower, he cuts the body of the Sponges, and he loiters not, but quickly shakes the rope,​80 signalling to his comrades to pull him up swiftly. For hateful blood​81 is sprinkled straightway from the Sponges and rolls about the man, and many a times the grievous fluid, clinging to his nostrils, chokes the man with its noisome breath. Therefore swift as thought he is pulled to the surface; and beholding him escaped from the sea one would rejoice at once and grieve and pity: so much are his weak members relaxed and his limbs unstrung with fear and distressful labour. Often when the sponge-cutter has leapt into the deep waters of the sea and won his loathly and unkindly spoil, he comes up no more, unhappy man, having encountered some huge and hideous beast.​82 Shaking repeatedly the rope he bids his comrades pull him up. And the mighty Sea-monster  p515 and the companions of the fisher pull at his body rent in twain, a pitiful sight to see, still yearning for ship and shipmates. And they in sorrow speedily leave those waters and their mournful labour and return to land, weeping over the remains of their unhappy comrade.

[Link to a page in Greek] So much I know, O Wielder of the Sceptre, nursling of the gods, of the works of the sea. But for thee may thy ships be steered from harm, sped by gentle winds and fair; and always for thee may the sea teem with fish; and may Poseidon, Lord of Safety,​83 guard and keep unshaken the nether foundations which hold the roots of Earth.

The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 Pind. N. VI.1 ff. ἓν ἀνδρῶν, ἓν θεῶν γένος· ἐκ μιᾶς δὲ πνέομεν | ματρὸς ἀμφότεροι· διείργει δὲ πᾶσα κεκριμένα | δύναμις, ὡς τὸ μὲν οὐδέν, ὁ δὲ χάλκεος ἀσφαλὲς αἰὲν ἕδος | μένει οὐρανός. ἀλλά τι προσφέρομεν ἔμπαν ἢ μέγαν | νόον ἤτοι φύσιν ἀθανάτοις.

2 Apollod. I.7.45 Προμηθεὺς δὲ ἐξ ὕδατος καὶ γῆς ἀνθρώπους πλάσας; Callim. Fr. 24 (133) εἴ σε Προμηθεὺς | ἔπλασε καὶ πηλοῦ μὴ ’ξ ἐτέρου γέγονας; Lucian, Prom. in v. 2.

3 Schol. τινὲς δέ φασιν ἐκ τοῦ αἵματος τῶν Τιτάνων πολεμούντων μετὰ τν οὐρανίων θεῶν, μάλιστα δὲ τοῦ Διός, καὶ ἡττηθέντων, ὅθεν καί, φασί, βροτὸς ὁ ἄνθρωπος λέγεται ὡς ἀπὸ βρότου ἢ τοῦ αἱματηροῦ μολυσμοῦ τῶν Τιτάνων.

4 Soph. Ant. 342 κουφονόων τε φῦλον ὀρνίθων ἀμφιβαλών ἄγει | καὶ θηρῶν ἀγρίων ἔθνη | πόντου τ’ εἰναλίαν φύσιν | σπείραισι δικτυολώστοις | περιφραδὴς ἀνήρ.

5 Elephant: cf. Ov. Tr. IV.6.7 Quaeque sui monitis obtemperat Inda magistri | Bellua; Mart. V.37.5 pecudis Indicae dentem. Called bos Luca by the Romans (Lucret. V.1300, 1337) because first seen by them in Lucania with Pyrrhus: Plin. VIII.16 Elephantos Italia primum vidit Pyrrhi regis bello et boves Lucas appellavit in Lucanis visos.

6 χελώνη ἡ χερσαία A. 540 A29. Testudo graeca L. ("Auf allen Cykladen, selbst das von Tieren beinahe entblösste Syra nicht ausgenommen, sehr gemein. Man hält sie häufig im Hause gezähmt" Erh. p71), and T. marginata Dumeril, which, unlike the other, prefers wet places to dry and is fairly common in the fresh-water pools of Naxos (Erh. l.c.). Both are found in Syria, T. graeca being found everywhere in great abundance (Tristram, p256).

7 χελώνη ἡ θαλαττία A. 540 A29, the marine Tortoise or Turtle. See H. I.397 n.

8 Dog-fishes, H. I.373 n.

9 C. III.63 n.

10 Not certainly identified.

11 C. III.263 n.

12 What animal is intended is not known.

13 Generally identified with Orca gladiator, the Grampus or Killer Whale, the aries of Plin. IX.10 arietes candore tantum cornibus adsimulatis ibid. 145 grassatur aries ut latro, et nunc grandiorum navium in salo stantium occultatus umbra si quem nandi voluptas invitet expectat, nunc elato extra aquam capite piscantium cumbas speculatur occultusque adnatans mergit. Cf. XXXII.144; Ael. XV.2 ὁ ἄρρην κριὸς λευκὴν τὸ μέτωπον ταινίαν ἔχει περιθέουσαν . . . κριὸς δὲ θῆλυς, ὡς οἱ ἀλεκτρυόνες τὰ κάλλαια, οὕτω τοι καὶ οὗτος ὑπὸ τῇ δέρῃ ἠρτημένους πλοκάμους ἔχει.

14 C. III.364. For χλούνης (here = κάπρος) cf. Hom. Il. IX.539 χλούνην σῦν ἄγριον ἀγριόδοντα.

15 The λάμια of A. 540 B17 σελάχη δ’ ἐστὶ τά τε εἰρημένα καὶ βοῦς καὶ λάμια; 621 A20 ἔχουσι δ’ ὀδόντας ἰσχυρούς (αἱ ἄμιαι) καὶ ἤδη ὦπται καὶ ἄλλα καὶ λάμια ἐμπεσοῦσα καὶ καθελκωθεῖσα; Athen. 306D Νίκανδρος . . . τὸν καρχαρίαν καλεῖσθαί φησι καὶ λάμιαν καὶ σκύλλαν; cf. Plin. IX.78. One of the larger Sharks, perhaps Lamna cornubica Cuv. or Carcharodon lamia Bp., M. G. λάμια, καρχαρίας: "rare et excessivement dangereux ; quelques individus de cette espèce atteignent des proportions énormes" (Apost. p4).

16 Zygaena malleus, M. G. ζύγαινα, a large and fierce Shark, common in the Gulf of Messina (Apost. p4). Cf. A. 566 B9 τῶν μακρῶν . . . ζύγαινα.

17 H. I.686 ff.

18 C. III.139 n.

19 H. III.623 n.

20 Atlantic.

21 For this mode of expressing size cf. Hom. Od. IX.321 f. τὸ [the club of Polyphemus] μὲν ἄμμες ἐίσκομεν εἰσορόωντες | ὅσσον θ’ ἱστὸν νηὸς ἐεικοσόροιο μελαίνης; Pind. P. IV.245 [the Dragon guarding the Golden Fleece] ὃς πάχει μάκει τε πεντηκόντορον ναῦν κράτει.

22 ἀγχιβαθὴς, here applied to ᾐόνος, is properly applied to the sea and the meaning is that even close to the shore the water is deep: Hom. Od. V.413 ἀγχιβαθὴς δὲ θάλασσα καὶ οὔπως ἔστι πόδεσσι | στήμεναι ἀμφοτέροισι, where schol. PV rightly ἡ ἐγγὺς τῆς γῆς βάθος ἔχουσα. Cf. τηλεβαθής H. I.633.

23 Naucrates ductorπομπίλος H. I.186 n. H. IV.437 ff., the Pilot-fish or Whale-guide, from its habit of attending on Ships and "Whales" or κήτη. It is thought also to be the fish referred to in A. 557 A29 ἐν δὲ τῇ θαλάττῃ τῇ ἀπὸ Κυρήνης πρὸς Αἴγυπτόν ἐστι περὶ τὸν δελφῖνα ἰχθὺς ὃν καλοῦσι φθεῖρα [Plin. XXXII.150 phthir: "Louse"]· ὃς γίνεται πάντων φθεῖρα διὰ τὸ ἀπολαύειν τροφῆς ἀφθόνου θηρεύοντος τοῦ δελφῖνος, paraphrased Ael. IX.7. Our present passage is paraphrased Ael. II.13 τὰ κήτη τὰ μεγάλα ὀλίγου πάντα ἄνευ κυνῶν δεῖται τοῦ ἡγεμόνος καὶ τοῖς ὀφθαλμοῖς ἐκείνου ἄγεται. ἔστι δὲ ἰχθὺς μικρὸς καὶ λεπτός, τὴν κεφαλὴν προμηκής, στενὸν δὲ αὐτῷ τὸ οὐραῖον συμπέφυκεν κτλ., and there is a picturesque account in Plut. Mor. 980F sq. ὁ δὲ καλούμενος ἡγεμὼν μεγέθει μέν ἐστι καὶ σχήματι κωβιῶδες ἰχθύδιον, τὴν δ’ ἐπιφάνειαν ὄρνιθι φρίσσοντι διὰ τὴν τραχυτῆτα τῆς λεπίδος ἐοικέναι λέγεται.

24 Introduction, p. lxvii.

25 Plut. Mor. 980F καὶ προνήχεται, τὸν δρόμον ἐπευθύνων, ὅπως οὐκ ἐνσχεθήσεται βραχέσιν οὐδ’ εἰς τέναγος ἤ τινα πορθμὸν ἐκπεσεῖται δυσέξοδον. For stranded Whales in Greece cf. H. I.368 n. In Scotland a remarkable case occurred in 1927, when a vast number of Whales (Pseudorca crassidens or False Killer) were stranded at Dornoch. The species had not been seen alive for 80 years. Scottish Naturalist, 1927, pp161 f.

26 Epic θρεπτήρια (Hom. H. Dem. 168 ἀπὸ θρεπτήρια δοίη; ibid. 223; Hesiod, W. 188) or θρέπτρα (Hom. Il. IV.477 = XVII.301 οὐδὲ τοκεύσι | θρέπτρα φίλοις ἀπέδωκε), Tragedy and Prose τροφεῖα (Eur. Ion 852 τροφεῖα δεσπόταις | ἀποδούς. Lycurg. 53 οὐκ ἀπέδωκε τὰ τροφεῖα τῇ πατρίδι). Cf. Eur. I. in Aul. 1230 πόνων τιθηνοὺς ἀποδιδοῦσά σοι τροφάς.

27 Pind. O. VIII.70 πατρὶ δὲ πατρὸς ἐνέπνευσεν μένος | γήραος ἀντίπαλον; O. X.86 ὧτε παῖς ἐξ ἀλόχου πατρὶ | ποθεινὸς ἵκοντι νεότατος τὸ πάλιν ἤδη; Nem. VII.100 παίδων δὲ παῖδες ἔχοιεν αἰεὶ | γέρας τό περ νῦν καὶ ἄρειον ὄπιθεν; Proverbs xvii.6 Children's children are the crown of old men; Psalm cxxvii.4 As arrows in the hand of a mighty man, so are the children of youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.

28 Plut. Mor. 981A ἕπεται γὰρ αὐτῷ τὸ κῆτος, ὥσπερ οἴακι ναῦς.

29 Spouse of Poseidon (Apollod. I.4): hence metonomyº for Sea.

30 See Ael. I.18 (quoted on 416 infra).

31 Hom. Od. VII.216 οὐ γάρ τι στυγερῇ ἐπὶ γαστέρι κύντερον ἄλλο | ἔπλετο, ἥ τ’ ἐκέλευσεν ἕο μνήσασθαι ἀνάγκη.

32 Cf. Relation of a Voyage in the North Sea, . . . made in the years 1767 and 1768 by M. de Kerguelen Tremarec (Pinkerton's Voyages, vol. I p790): "As these poor people [the Greenlanders] have but little wood and iron, they make use of the precaution of fastening to the middle of every harpoon which they throw the bladder of a sea-dog, that if the harpoon should not strike the fish or detach itself from it, it may float on the water, and be readily found again. This experiment was known to the fishermen of the Atlantic [sic] Ocean, for Opienº in his Halieuticon speaks of it: lib. V. 177: 'They dart,' says he, 'large sacks blown up by the breath, and fastened to a cord, immediately at the fish, as it is about to plunge.' "

33 Hom. Od. IX.384 ὡς ὅτε τις τρυπῷ δόρυ νήιον ἀνὴρ | τρυπάνῳ, οἱ δέ τ’ ἔνερθεν ὑποσσείουσιν ἱμάντι | ἁψάμενοι ἑκάτερθε, τὸ δὲ τρέχει ἐμμενὲς αἰεί. For simile of "saw" to express reciprocal action (cf. Eng. "see-saw") cf. Aristoph. Vesp. 694 ὡς πρίονθ’ ὁ μὲν ἕλκει, ὁ δ’ ἀντενέδωκε; Hippocr. Περὶ Διαίτης, I p634 Kühn πρίουσιν ἄνθρωποι ξύλον, ὁ μὲν ἕλκει, ὁ δὲ ὠθέει; ibid. p635 ὥσπερ οἱ τέκτονες τὸ ξύλον πρίουσι, καὶ ὁ μὲν ἕλκει, ὁ δὲ ὠθέει.

34 The Strait of Messina, Σικελικὸς πορθμός (Strabo 43), Siculum fretum (Plin. III.92), between Italy and Sicily, dividing the Tyrrhenian Sea on the N. from the Ionian Sea on the S. Here were localized the Scylla and Charybdis of Hom. Od. XII.104 ff. Cf. Thuc. IV.24; Strabo 268; Plin. III.87 In eo freto est scopulus Scylla, item Charybdis, mare verticosum, ambo clara saevitia.

35 Strabo 248 ταῦτ’ οὖν διανοηθεὶς (Πίνδαρος) τῷ παντὶ τόπῳ τούτῳ φησὶν ὑποκεῖσθαι τὸν Τυφῶνα· νῦν γε μὰν ταί θ’ ὑπὲρ Κύμας ἁλιερκέες ὄχθαι Σικελία τ’ αὐτοῦ πιέζει στέρνα λαχνάεντα [= Pind. P. I.17 ff.].

36 By means of the stern-cables (πρυμνήσια) attached to a rock on shore. Hence the Homeric formulae (1) when a ship comes to land: ἐκ δ’ εὐνὰς (anchors) ἔβαλον, κατὰ δὲ πρυμνήσι’ ἔδησαν (Hom. Il. I.436); (2) when a ship puts to sea: πεῖσμα (cable) δ’ ἔλυσαν ἀπὸ τρητοῖο λίθοιο (Hom. Od. XIII.77); cf. Poll. X.134.

37 Aesch. Ag. 638 ff. contrasts the messenger of bad news (ὅταν δ’ ἀπευκτὰ πήματ’ ἄγγελος πόλει | στυγνῷ προσώπῳ πτωσίμου στρατοῦ φέρῃ) with the bringer of glad tidings (σωτηρίων δὲ πραγμάτων εὐάγγελον | ἥκοντα πρὸς χαίρουσαν εὐεστοῖ πόλιν).

38 The Greeks, like ourselves, associated white with gladness, black with mourning. Hence the boast of Pericles upon his death-bed: "Οὐδεὶς γάρ," ἔφη, "δι’ ἐμὲ τῶν ὄντων Ἀθηναίων μέλαν ἱμάτιον περιεβάλετο" (Plut. Per. xxxviii).

39 Herod. V.1 νικώντων δὲ τὰ δύο τῶν Περινθίων, ὡς ἐπαιώνιζον κεχαρηκότες; Thuc. II.91 ἐπαιάνιζον τε ἅμα πλέοντες ὡς νενικηκότες.

40 Hesiod, W. 624 (when winter comes, marked by the setting of the Pleiades) νῆα δ’ ἐπ’ ἠπείρου ἐρύσαι, πυκάσαι τε λίθοισι πάντοθεν, ὄφρ’ ἴσχωσ’ ἀνέμων μένος ὑγρὸν ἀέντων, | χείμαρον ἐξερύσας, ἵνα μὴ πύθῃ Διὸς ὄμβρος.

41 So when Achilles slays Hector, Hom. Il. XXII.369 ἄλλοι δὲ περίδραμον υἷες Ἀχαιῶν, οἳ καὶ θηήσαντο φύην καὶ εἶδος ἀγητὸν | Ἕκτορος· οὐδ’ ἄρα οἵ τις ἀνουτητί γε παρέστη. | ὧδε δέ τις εἴπεσκεν ἰδὼν ἐς πλησίον ἄλλον· | "ὦ πόποι, ἦ μάλα δὴ μαλακώτερος ἀμφαφάασθαι | Ἕκτωρ ἢ ὅτε νῆας ἐνέπρηθεν πυρὶ κηλέῳ."

42 This is a parenthetical apology, an appeal to the Sea and the Sea-god not to be offended by the poet's preference for the land. Cf. C. I.9, where the poet deprecates the offence of Phaethon and Apollo at his comparing Antoninus to the sons of Zeus. So in prose, Herod. II.45 καὶ περὶ μὲν τούτων τοσαῦτα ἡμῖν εἰποῦσι καὶ παρὰ τῶν θεῶν καὶ παρὰ τῶν ἡρώων εὐμενείη εἴη. So Tennyson, In Memoriam lxxix.1 f. " 'More than my brothers are to me' [ix.20]. Let this not vex thee, noble heart!" etc. A good example of the parenthetic apology is Pind. I. I.1 ff. Μᾶτερ ἐμά, τὸ τεόν, χρύσασπι Θήβα, | πρᾶγμα καὶ ἀσχολίας ὑπέρτερον | θήσομαι — μή μοι κραναὰ νεμεσάσαι | Δᾶλος — ἐν ᾇ κέχυμαι, where editors amazingly continue to punctuate with a full stop after θήσομαι.

43 The sense is exactly that of 339 supra χέρσω δὲ Ποσειδάωνα σέβοιμι and of ἕκαθεν δέ μοι ἤπιος εἴης here. He is willing to pay his homage to the Sea, be he wishes no closer acquaintance. Cf. Plato, Rep. 499A τὰ δὲ κομψά τε καὶ ἐριστικὰ . . . πόρρωθεν ἀσπαζομένων, i.e. ordinary men look distantly upon the subtleties and quibbles of the sophist. One is reminded of C. S. Calverley's famous reply to Dr. Jenkyns, when, as C. S. Blayds, he was an undergraduate at Balliol. Dr. Jenkins: "And with what feelings, Mr. Blayds, ought we to regard the Decalogue?" Blayds: "Master, with feelings of devotion mingled with awe!" Cf. Eurip. Hipp. 102 πρόσωθεν αὐτὴν (sc. Ἀφροδίτην) ἁγνὸς ὢν ἀσπάζομαι.

44 Cf. Hom. Il. XVIII.104 ἐτώσιον ἄχθος ἀρούρης; Od. XX.379 αὔτως ἄχθος ἀρούρης.

45 The use of a gourd as a float is mentioned by Apostolides in his account, p45 f., of fishing for the Great Sea-perch (H. I.142 n.) A strong line with a large hook is employed. Baited with small fishes, especially Saupes, this is cast in front of the Perch's retreat among the rocks. When the fish is hooked, it withdraws into its hole and, dilating its gill-covers, presses against the walls of its retreat in such a way that the fisher cannot pull it out. But "il mouille, le plus loin possible, en ligne droite, l'autre extrémité libre de la ligne au moyen d'une pierre et attache au milieu une gourde (κολοκύνθη) ou un grand morceau de liège, qui, tiré par les deux bouts, se tire au dessous du niveau de la mer. Un ou deux jours après, si le cernier, pressé par la faim et fatigué de se tenir appuyé contre les parois de son nid, se relâche un peu, il est aussitôt tiré par la ligne qui tend à flotter. N'étant pas assez fort pour entraîner de nouveau le liège, il reste en dehors de son nid, et le pêcheur, avisé par la ligne qui flotte, vient le ramasser" (Apost. l.c.).

46 H. V.36 n.

47 This refers to the simplest form of rowlock, a pin or thole (σκαλμός) in the gunwale to which the oar was fastened by a leathern thong (τροπός, τροπωτήρ): Poll. I.87 ὅθεν μὲν αἱ κῶπαι ἐκδέδενται, σκαλμός· ᾧ δὲ ἐκδέδενται, τροπωτήρ· καὶ τροπώσασθαι ναῦν. Cf. Hom. Od. IV.782 = VIII.53 ἠρτύναντο δ’ ἐρετμὰ τροποῖς ἐν δερματίνοισι; Aesch. Pers. 375 f. ναυβάτης τ’ ἀνὴρ | τροποῦτο κώπην σκαλμὸν ἀμφ’ εὐήρετον. See further Aristoph. Ach. 549, 553; Eur. Hel. 1598; I. T. 1347; Thuc. II.93; Hom. Hy. VI.42; Lucian, Catapl. 1; Poll. I.85 ff., X.134; E. M. s. ἐπίκωπος, s. εὔσκαρθμοι, s. σκαλμός, s. τράφηξ, s. τροπωτῆρες; Hesych. s. τροποί, s. τροπώσασθαι; Suid. s. τροπωτῆρες. For the dynamics of the arrangement cf. [A.] Mechan. 850 B10 ff. In Lat. the thong is struppus, Liv. Andr. ap. Isidor. Orig. XIX.4.9. The pin is scalmus, Cic. Brut. 197; De or. I.174; De offic. III.59; Vell. Pat. II.43.1. In Shetland, where the arrangement is still in use, the pin is called kabe, the thong humlaband.

48 H. I.373 n.; Ael. I.55 describes a different mode of capture.

49 A. 567 A10 ἀποκτεῖναι δὲ φώκην χαλεπὸν βιαίως, ἐὰν μὴ τις πατάξῃ παρὰ τὸν κρόταφον· τὸ γὰρ σῶμα σαρκῶδες αὐτῆς.

50 H. I.397 n.

51 The main points of vv. 394‑415, but rather differently combined, are found in two accounts: (1) Plin. IX.35 f. Capiuntur multis quidem modis sed maxime evectae in summa pelagi antemeridiano tempore blandito, eminente toto dorso per tranquilla fluitantes, quae voluptas libere spirandi in tantum fallit oblitas sui ut solis vapore siccato cortice non queant mergi invitaeque fluitent opportunae venantium praedae. Ferunt et pastum egressas noctu avideque saturatas lassari atque, ut remeaverint matutino, summa in aqua obdormiscere. Id prodi stertentium sonitu. Tum adnatare leviter singulis ternos. A duobus in dorsum verti, a tertio laqueum inici supinae atque ita e terra a pluribus trahi; (2) Diodor. III.20, speaking of Aethiopian Chelonophagi (Turtle-eaters), says the Turtles spend the night in deep water feeding, but by day they seek the sheltered waters among the islands near the shore, where they sleep on the surface with carapace towards the sun, presenting the appearance of overturned boats: οἱ δὲ τὰς νήσους κατοικοῦντες βάρβαροι κατὰ τοῦτον τὸν καιρὸν ἠρέμα προσνήχονται ταῖς χελώναις· πρὸς ἑκάτερον δὲ μέρος πλησιάσαντες οἱ μὲν πιέζουσιν, οἱ δὲ ἐξαίρουσιν, ἕως ὑπτιον γένηται τὸ ζῷον· ἔπειθ’ οἱ μὲν ἐξ ἑκατέρου μέρους οἰακίζουσι τὸν ὅλον ὄγκον, ἵνα μὴ στραφὲν τὸ ζῷον καὶ νηξάμενον τῷ τῆς φύσεως βοηθήματι φύγῃ κατὰ βάθους· εἷς δ’ ἔχων μήρινθον μακρὰν καὶ δήσας τῆς οὐρᾶς νήχεται πρὸς τὴν γῆν καὶ προσέλκεται μετάγων τὸ ζῷον επὶ τὴν χέρσον.

52 For the Dolphin in Greek religion and mythology see Hermann Usener, Die Sintflutsagen (Bonn, 1899), chap. v.

53 We take the sense of ἀπότροπος here to be ἀπὸ τρόπου, "contra morem consuetudinemque civilem" (Cic. De offic. I.41.148); cf. [Phocylic.] 182 μηδὲ κασιγνήτης ἐς ἀπότροπον ἐλθέμεν εὐνήν. So εὐναι παράτροποι Pind. P. II.35. Otherwise it may mean "abominable." But the word needs more careful consideration than it has yet received. It is curious that Aristotle speaks of hunting the Dolphin without a hint of anything unusual: A. 533 B9 ὃ συμβαίνει καὶ ἐπὶ τῆς τῶν δελφίνων θήρας· ὅταν γὰρ ἀθρόως περικυκλώσωσι τοῖς μονοξύλοις (canoes), ψοφοῦντες ἐξ αὐτῶν ἐν τῇ θαλάττῃ ἀθροους ποιοῦσιν ἐξοκέλλειν φεύγοντας εἰς τὴν τῆν καὶ λαμβάνουσιν ὑπὸ τοῦ ψόφου καρηβαροῦντας. So Ael. I.18 ὅταν δὲ ἁλιεὺς ἢ τρώσῃ τὸν παῖδα αὐτῆς τῇ τριαίνῃ ἢ τῇ ἀκίδι βάλῃ — ἡ μὲν ἀκὶς τὰ ἄνω τέτρηται, καὶ ἐνῆπται σχοῖνος μακρὰ αὐτῇ, οἱ δὲ ὄγκοι εἰσδύντες ἔχονται τοῦ θηρός — καὶ ἕως μὲν ἀλγῶν ἔτι ῥώμης ὁ δελφὶς ὁ τραυματίας μετείληχεν, χαλᾷ ὁ θηρατὴς τὴν σχοῖνον, . . . ὅταν δὲ αἴσθηται καμόντα καὶ πως παρειμένον ἐκ τοῦ τραύματος, ἡσυχῇ παρ’ αὐτὴν ἄγει τὴν ναῦν καὶ ἔχει τὴν ἄγραν.

54 Cf. infra 441 n. ἡγητήρ, like Latin dux, a poetical synonym for king or emperor.

55 Ael. I.18 δελφῖς δὲ ἄρα θῆλυς φιλοτεκνότατος ἐς τὰ ἔσχατα ζῷων ἐστί. Cf. V.6, X.8; Phil. 86; Plin. IX.21 gestant fetus infantia infirmos. Quin et adultos diu comitantur magna erga partum caritate.

56 Oppian's story is paraphrased by Ael. II.8. A similar story is told by Plin. IX.29 ff. who also refers to a similar practice "in Iasio sinu" (in Caria). The fish captured is in Pliny the Grey Mullet (mugil).

57 The word ὁμοκλή, "call," is used in the vaguest way. The schol. here interprets ἀπειλήν, λαμπηδόνα: in H. I.152 ἀπειλήν, in H. IV.14 ἀπειλήν, ὀργήν. Oppian misunderstands, as does Aelian, the use of the lantern (not mentioned by Pliny) which is not to frighten, but to attract. Apostolides, p40, gives the following account of the mode of fishing for the Gar-fish (Belone acus) practised in the Sporades N. of Euboea: "Pendant les nuits les plus obscures du mois d'Octobre, aussitôt après l'arrivée des poissons, les bateaux quittent leur mouillage le soir et se rendent au large. Arrivés à l'endroit désigné les pêcheurs amènent les voiles et marchent lentement à la rame en examinant la mer de tous côtés. Il est facile de se rendre compte de la présence du poisson en écoutant le bruit que font les dauphins qui le poursuivent à la surface de l'eau. Alors, les pêcheurs allument un grand feu avec du bois résineux sur une espèce de gril en fer, qu'ils fixent à la proue du navire (πυροφάνι et πυριά vulg.). Les poissons attirés par la lueur accourent vers le bateau comme pour y chercher un abri contre l'ennemi [i.e., the Dolphins] qui ne cesse de les décimer. Les pêcheurs ne commencent pas aussitôt la pêche, mais ils continuent à ramer lentement, sans bruit, de manière à faire tourner, sur place, le bateau quinze ou vingt fois sur lui-même. Cette opération . . . a pour but, je crois, de réfléterº la lumière de tous les côtés de l'horizon, pour attirer les poissons qui se trouveraient à l'arrière du bateau, et qui, par conséquent, ne l'auraient pas vue. Les poissons réunis autour du bateau ne le quittent presque plus, ils y restent, tournant même avec lui quand les pêcheurs le font tourner. Cela fait, on dirige le bateau lentement, à l'aviron, vers la terre, où il est suivi par les nombreuses bandes de Bélones. On arrive ainsi à la côte. Là on prend des précautions pour que le bateau ne touche terre, le moindre choc faisant déguerpir aussitôt les poissons. On l'arrête à une distance d'un ou de deux mètres, et, laissant les rames, on prend les haveneaux en main, et l'on commence à envelopper les poissons des deux côtés du bateau."

58 Ael. II.8 τῆς πρῴρας τῶν ἀκατίων κοίλας τινὰς ἐξαρτῶσιν ἐσχαρίδας πυρὸς ἐνακμάζοντος· καὶ εἰσὶ διαφανεῖς ὡς καὶ στέγειν τὸ πῦρ καὶ μὴ κρύπτειν τὸ φῶς· ἰπνοὺς καλοῦσιν αὐτάς.

59 Cf. 421 supra; Gregor. Nyss. Or. I ὁ δελφίς ἐστι τῶν νηκτῶν βασιλικώτατος.

60 So Plin. IX.32 (we give Philemon Holland's engaging version) "But after this service perfourmed, the Dolphins retire not presently into the deepe again, from whence they were called, but stay untill the morrow, as if they knew verie well that they had so carried themselves as that they deserved a better reward than one daies refection and victuals: and therefore contented they are not and satisfied, unlesse to their fish they have some sope and crummes of bread given them soaked in wine, and that their bellies full."

61 Arion of Methymna in Lesbos lived at the court of Periander tyrant of Corinth (625‑585 B.C.). Having amassed great wealth in Italy and Sicily he wished to return to Corinth. At Tarentum he hired a boat from some Corinthians. On the voyage the men, wishing to get his money, conspired to throw him overboard. Arion offered them all his wealth if they would spare his life. They gave him the choice either to kill himself or to jump into the sea. He asked to be allowed to don his minstrel's dress and sing to them. This granted, he stood on the deck and sang, and then jumped into the sea, when a Dolphin took him on its back and carried him ashore at Taenarus in Laconia. Herod. I.24; Pausan. III.25.7 ἀναθήματα δὲ ἄλλα τέ ἐστιν ἐπὶ Ταινάρῳ καὶ Ἀρίων ὁ κιθαρῳδὸς χαλκοῦς ἐπὶ δελφῖνος; Plut. Mor. 160E ff.; Ael. II.6; VI.15; XII.45, where he quotes the distich inscribed on the memorial at Taenarus and a hymn purporting to have been written by Arion as a thank-offering to Poseidon; Plin. IX.28; Philostr. Imag. I.19; Aul. Gell. XVI.19; Propert. III.17.26; Ov. Fast. II.83 ff., etc.; K. Klement, Arion, Wien, 1898.

62 This probably refers to the Dolphin of Hippo(n) Diarrytus, now Bizerta (38 m. N. of Tunis), the story of which is told by Pliny IX.26, and more ornately by the younger Pliny, Ep. IX.33.

63 For the Dolphin's love of music: Ael. XI.12; Plin. IX.24, etc.

64 The reference is to Por(d)oselene on an island of the same name near Lesbos (Strabo 618) Ael. II.6 tells the story somewhat differently from Oppian, and omitting the death of the boy and the Dolphin (see note on 518 infra):º λέγει δὲ καὶ Βυζάντιος ἀνήρ, Λεωνίδης ὄνομα, ἰδεῖν αὐτὸς παρὰ τὴν Αἰολίδα πλέων ἐν τῇ καλουμένῃ Ποροσελήνῃ πόλει δελφῖνα ἠθάδα καὶ ἐν λιμένι τῷ ἐκείνων οίκοῦντα κτλ.; cf. Pausan. III.25.7 τὰ μὲν οὖν ἐς αὐτὸν Ἀρίονα καὶ τὰ ἐπὶ τῷ δελφῖνι Ἡρόδοτος εἶπεν ἀκοὴν ἐν τῇ Λυδίᾳ συγγραφῇ· τὸν δὲ ἐν Ποροσελήνῃ δελφῖνα τῷ παιδὶ σῶστρα ἀποδιδόντα ὅτι συγκοπέντα ὑπὸ ἁλιέων αὐτὸν ἰάσατο, τοῦτον τὸν δελφῖνα εἶδον [cf. Oppian's "not long ago"] καὶ καλοῦντι τῷ παιδὶ ὑπακούοντα καὶ φέροντα, ὁπότε ἐποχεῖσθαί οἱ βούλοιτο. For other similar stories cf. A. 631 A8 ff.; Ael. II.6, VI.15, VIII.11; Athen. 606C; Plin. I.24 ff.; Antig. 55; Aul. Gell. VI.8.

65 Byzantium, of which Byzas was the legendary founder: Steph. Byz. s.v.; Diodor. IV.49.

66 A. 566 B6 τίκτει δ’ ὁ μὲν δελφὶς τὰ μὲν πολλά, ἓν ἐνίοτε δὲ καὶ δύο; Ael. I.18 τίκτει δύο.

67 Hom. Il. II.308 ff.

68 H. I.313 n.

69 Ael. IX.6 τῶν ὀστρακονώτων τε καὶ ὀστρακοδέρμων καὶ τοῦτο ἴδιον· κενώτερά πως ταῦτα καὶ κουφότερα ὑποληγούσης τῆς σελήνης φιλεῖ γίνεσθαι.

70 H. I.315 n.

71 Ael. VII.34 ἡ πορφύρα λίχνον ἐστὶν ἰσχυρῶς; Athen. 89A Ἀπολλόδωρος . . . ἐν τοῖς περὶ Σώφρονος προθεὶς τὰ "λιχνότερα τᾶν πορφυρᾶν" φησὶν ὅτι παροιμία ἐστὶν καὶ λέγει, ὡς μέν τινες, ἀπὸ τοῦ βάμματος· οὗ γὰρ ἂν προσψαύσῃ ἕλκει ἐφ’ ἑαυτὸ καὶ τοῖς προσπαρατεθειμένοις ἐμποιεῖ χρώματος αὐγήν· ἄλλοι δ’ ἀπὸ τοῦ ζῴου.

72 Oppian's account is paraphrased Ael. VII.34.

73 Camb. N. H. III p111 "Another dreaded enemy [of the Oyster] is the 'whelk,' a term which includes Purpura lapillus, Murex erinaceus, Buccinum undatum, and probably also Nassa reticulata. All these species perforate the shell with the end of their radula, and then suck out the contents through the neatly-drilled hole"; ibid. p60 "Besides the dangers to which they are exposed from other enemies, many of the weaker forms of Mollusca fall a prey to their own brethren. . . . Purpura lapillus prefers Mytilus edulis to any other food, piercing the shell in about two days' time by its powerful radula, which it appears to employ somewhat in gimlet fashion." Cf. A. 547 B4 νέμονται δὲ ἐξείροντα τὴν καλουμένην γλῶτταν ὑπὸ τὸ κάλυμμα (operculum) τὸ δὲ μέγεθος τῆς γλώττης ἔχει ἡ πορφύρα μεῖζον δακτύλου, ᾧ νέμεται καὶ διατρυπᾷ τὰ κογχύλια καὶ τὸ αὑτῆς ὄστρακον; P. A. 661 A21 ταῖς γὰρ πορφύραις τοσαύτην ἔχει δύναμιν τοῦτο τὸ μόριον ὥστε καὶ τῶν κογχυλίων διατρυπῶσι τὸ ὄστρακον, οἷον τῶν στρόμβων οἷς δελεάζουσιν αὐτάς; Athen. 89C; Plin. IX.128 Lingua purpurae longitudine digitali, qua pascitur perforando reliqua conchylia.

74 For the Sponge-cutter (σπογγεύς, σπογγοθήρας, σπογγοτόμος, etc.) in general cf. H. II.435 ff.; Plin. IX.151 ff.

75 Cf.  H. III.45.

76 Introduction, p. lvii.

77 i.e., olive-oil: Plut. Mor. 950B τῶν δ’ ἄλλων ὑγρῶν διαφανὲς μάλιστα τοὔλαιόν ἐστι, πλείστῳ χρώμενον ἀέρι· τούτου δὲ τεκμήριον ἡ κουφότης, δι’ ἣν ἐπιπολάζει πᾶσιν ὑπὸ τοῦ ἀέρος ἄνω φερόμενον. ποιεῖ δὲ καὶ τὴν γαλήνην ἐν τῇ θαλάττῃ τοῖς κύμασιν ἐπιρραινόμενον, οὐ διὰ τὴν λειότητα τῶν ἀνέμων ἀπολισθανόντων, ὡς Ἀριστοτέλης ἔλεγεν· ἀλλὰ παντὶ μὲν ὑγρῷ τὸ κῦμα διαχεῖται πληττόμενον, ἰδίως δὲ τοὔλαιον αὐγὴν καὶ καταφάνειαν ἐν βυθῷ παρέχει, διαστελλομένων τῷ ἀέρι τῶν ὑγρῶν· οὐ γὰρ μόνου ἐπιπολῆς τοῖς διανυκτερεύουσιν ἀλλὰ καὶ κάτω τοῖς σπογγοθήραις διαφυσώμενον ἐκ τοῦ στόματος ἐν τῇ θαλάττῃ φέγγος ἐνδίδωσιν.

78 A. 548 A23 (γίνονται) οἱ σπόγγοι ἐν ταῖς σήραγξι τῶν πετρῶν; Plin. IX.

79 Oppian is thinking of the sensibility of the Sponge; A. 487 B9 δοκεῖ δὲ καὶ ὁ σπόγγος ἔχειν τινὰ αἴσθησιν· σημεῖον δὲ ὅτι χαλεπώτερον ἀποσπᾶται, ἂν μὴ γένηται λαθραίως ἡ κίνησις, ὥς φασιν; cf. Plut. Mor. 980C; Plin. IX.148 intellectum inesse his apparet quia, ubi avulsorem sensere, contractae multo difficilius abstrahuntur.

80 The best commentary on all this passage is Plin. IX.152 f. Cum caniculis (Dog-fishes) atrox dimicatio. Inguina et calces omnemque candorem corporum [Ael. XV.11 says that for this reason divers blacken the soles of their feet and the palms of their hands] appetunt. Salus una in adversas eundi ultroque terrendi. Pavet enim hominem aeque ac terret, et sors aequa in gurgite. Ut ad summa aquae ventum est, ibi periculum anceps adempta ratione contra eundi dum conetur emergere, et salus omnis in sociis. Funem illi religatum ab umeris eius trahunt. Hunc dimicans, ut sit periculi signum, laeva quatit, dextera apprehenso stilo in pugna est. Modicus alias tractatus: ut prope carinam ventum est, nisi praeceleri vi repente rapiunt, absumi spectant. Ac saepe iam subducti e manibus auferuntur, si non trahentium opem conglobato corpore in pilae modum ipsi adiuvere. Protendunt quidem tridentes alii, sed monstro sollertia est navigium subeundi atque ita e tuto proeliandi. Omnis ergo cura ad speculandum hoc malum insumitur.

81 Plut. Mor. 980B οὐ γὰρ ἄψυχον οὐδ’ ἀναίσθητον οὐδ’ ἄναιμον ὁ σπόγγος ἐστίν; Ael. VIII.16; Phil. 93; Plin. IX.149; XXXI.124 aliqui narrant et auditu regi eas contrahique ad sonum . . . nec avelli petris posse, ideo abscindi ac saniem emittere.

82 Such as the Ox-ray described H. II.141 ff. and obviously meant in Plin. IX.151.

83 For Ποσειδῶν Ἀσφάλειος (Ἀσφάλιος) cf. Plut. Thes. xxxvi καὶ γὰρ Ποσειδῶνα ταῖς ὀγδόαις τιμῶσιν. ἡ γὰρ ὀγδοὰς κύβος, ἀπ’ ἀρτίου πρῶτος οὖσα καὶ τοῦ πρώτου τετραγώνου διπλασία, τὸ μόνιμον καὶ δυσκίνητον οἰκεῖον ἔχει τῆς τοῦ θεοῦ δυνάμεως ὃν Ἀσφάλειον καὶ Γαιήοχον προσονομάζομεν; Pausan. VII.21.7 Πελάγιος καὶ Ἀσφάλιός τε καὶ Ἵππιος; Heliodor. VI.7 Ἑρμῆς μὲν κερδῷος Ποσειδῶν δὲ Ἀσφάλειος; Aristoph. Ach. 682 οἷς Ποσειδῶν Ἀσφάλειος ἐστιν ἡ βακτηρία; Suid. s. Ταίναρον· . . . ἔνθα καὶ Ποσειδῶνος ἱερὸν Ἀσφαλείου and s. Ἀσφάλιος· Ποσειδῶν Ἀσφάλιος ῥιζοῦχα θεμείλια νέρθε φυλάσσων· τελευταῖος οὗτος τοῦ ε´ τῶν Ἁλιευτικῶν Ὀππιανοῦ.

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