Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 353: 208-209

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Pliny: Natural History

pluris quam qui peritissime censum domini mergit. 68mullum lxxx librarum in mari Rubro captum Licinius Mucianus prodidit quanti mercatura eum luxuria suburbanis litoribus inventum?

XXXII. Est et haec natura ut alii alibi pisces principatum optineant, coracinus in Aegypto, zaeus, idem faber appellatus, Gadibus, circa Ebusum salpa. obscenus alibi et qui nusquam percoqui possit nisi ferula verberatus; in Aquitania salmo fluviatilis marinis omnibus praefertur.


XXXIII. Piscium alii branchias multiplices habent, alii simplices, alii duplices. his aquam emittunt acceptam ore. senectutis indicium squamarum duritia, quae non sunt omnibus similes. duo lacus Italiae in radicibus Alpium Larius et Verbannus appellantur, in quibus pisces omnibus annis vergiliarum ortu existunt squamis conspicui crebris atque praeacutis, clavorum caligarium effigie, nec amplius circa eum mensem visuntur.


XXXIV. Miratur et Arcadia suum exocoetum appellatum ab eo quod in siccum somni causa exeat. circa Clitorium vocalis hic traditur et sine branchiis, idem ab1 aliquis Adonis dictus.


XXXV. Exeunt in terram et qui marini mures vocantur et polypi et murenae; quin et in Indiae fluminibus certum genus piscium, ac deinde resilit—nam in stagna et amnes transeundi plerisque evidens

  • 1ab add. Rackham.

Book IX

one that is most skilful in making his master bankrupt. Licinius Mucianus has recorded the capture in the Red Sea of a mullet weighing 80 lbs.; what price would our epicures have paid for it if it had been found on the coasts near the city?

XXXII. It is also a fact of nature that differentLocal varieties of taste. fishes hold the first rank in different places—the blackfish in Egypt, the John Dory (called faber in Latin) at Cadiz, the saupe in the neighbourhood of Iviza, though elsewhere it is a disgusting fish, and everywhere it is unable to be cooked thoroughly unless it has been beaten with a rod; in Aquitaine the river salmon is preferred to all sea-fish.

XXXIII. Some fish have numerous gills, othersVarieties of gills and scales. single ones, others double. With the gills they discharge the water taken in by the mouth. Hardening of the scales, which are not alike in all fishes, is a sign of age. There are two lakes in Italy at the foot of the Alps, named Como and Maggiore, in which every year at the rising of the Pleiadsa fish are found that are remarkable for close-set and very sharp scales, shaped like shoe-nails, but they are not commonly seen for a longer period than about a month from then.

XXXIV. Arcadia also has a marvel in its blenny,b so called because it climbs out on to the land to sleep. In the district of the river Clitorius this fish is said to have a voice and no gills; the same variety is by some people called the Adonis fish.

XXXV. The fish called the sea-mouse also comes outFish that come to land. on to the land, as do the polypus and the moray; so also does a certain kind of fish in the rivers of India, and then jumps back again—for in most cases there is an obvious purpose in getting across into

  • aSee note on § 53.
  • bBlennius Montagui.
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938