Wednesday, June 04, 2014


A Fishmonger

Thanks to Eric Thomson for drawing my attention to a charming 4th century B.C. red-figure vase from Lipari, now in the Museo Mandralisca, Cefalù, Sicily:

The man cutting up the fish is a fishmonger, or, more specifically, a "venditore di tonno," a seller of tuna. The Greek for fishmonger is ἰχθυοπώλης; the act of fishmongering is ἰχθυοπωλία; and the place where fish are sold is ἰχθυοπώλιον, or ἰχθυόπωλις ἀγορά, or simply (in accordance with a common Attic idiom) οἱ ἰχθύες. For information on fishmongers see Athenaeus 6.224c-228c.

At first I wondered if the man cutting up the fish could be a cook, but a close-up view shows a coin in the hand of other man, which supports the interpretation of a fishmonger and his customer, perhaps haggling over the price:

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