Sunday, April 16, 2006


Fish Sacrifice

Walter Burkert, Greek Religion, tr. John Raffan (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1985), p. 55:
The most noble sacrificial animal is the ox, especially the bull; the most common is the sheep, then the goat and the pig; the cheapest is the piglet. The sacrifice of poultry is also common, but other birds -- geese, pigeons -- to say nothing of fish, are rare.
Footnote on p. 368:
Fish sacrifice for Hecate: Apollodorus, FGrHist 224 F 109; tuna fish sacrifice for Poseidon: Antigonus apud Ath. 297 e; eel sacrifice of the Boeotians as a curiosity: Agatharchides apud Ath. 297 d; cf. HN 204-212.
HN is a reference to Burkert's book Homo Necans, which is not available to me. Some epigrams in the tenth book of the Greek Anthology (tr. W.R. Paton) mention fish sacrificed to the god Priapus.

10.9 (anonymous):
Ye fishermen, who pulled your little boat ashore here (Go, hang your nets out to dry) having had a haul of many sea-swimming gurnard (?) and scarus, not without thrissa, honour me with slender first-fruits of a copious catch, the little Priapus under the lentisc bush, the revealer of the fish your prey, established in this grove.
10.14.9-10 (Agathias Scholasticus):
Only by the altar of Priapus of the harbour burn a scarus or ruddy gurnards.
10.16.11-14 (Theaetetus Scholasticus):
Mariner, roast first by his altar to Priapus, the lord of the deep and the giver of good havens, a slice of a cuttle-fish or of lustred red mullet, or a vocal scarus, and then go fearlessly on thy voyage to the bounds of the Ionian Sea.

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