Note on Mediterranean Fish in Classical Times

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By Alan Davidson

Published 1981

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A pleasant diversion for the student of Mediterranean fish is to examine what was written on the subject in classical times.

The fundamental work was that of Aristotle. His scientific studies in the field of biology, written during the fourth century B.C., overshadowed and underlay just about everything else written on the subject in classical times and indeed until the emergence of the great European naturalists of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The richest vein of ichthyology in the works of Aristotle is in Book ix of the History of Animals. Many of his observations, doubted by earlier scholars, have recently been vindicated by studies in the island of Lesbos where Aristotle did a lot of his own research on fish.