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Fishing from the Earliest Times

Fishing from the Earliest Times
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Title: Fishing from the Earliest Times
Release Date: 2018-09-04
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The Project Gutenberg eBook, Fishing from the Earliest Times, by WilliamRadcliffe

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Title: Fishing from the Earliest Times

Author: William Radcliffe

Release Date: September 4, 2018 [eBook #57845]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8

***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK FISHING FROM THE EARLIEST TIMES***

 

E-text prepared by deaurider, Paul Marshall,
and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team
(http://www.pgdp.net)
from page images generously made available by
Internet Archive
(https://archive.org)

 

Note: Images of the original pages are available through Internet Archive. See https://archive.org/details/cu31924003431008

 


 

 

 


Book Cover.

FISHING FROM THE EARLIEST TIMES


THE FISH-AVATAR OF VISHNU,
WITH SCENES ILLUSTRATING THE LIFE OF KRISHNA.


FISHING FROM THE
EARLIEST TIMES

BY

WILLIAM RADCLIFFE

SOMETIME OF BALLIOL COLLEGE, OXFORD

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS

THE OLDEST REPRESENTATION (BUT ONE) OF ANGLING,
c. 1400 B.C.

LONDON
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET, W.
1921

All rights reserved


TO
MY FISHING HOSTS AND FISHING FRIENDS
IN AFRICA, AUSTRALASIA, AMERICA,
THE WEST INDIES, AND EUROPE.

UPON THEM, UPON ME MAY THE GODS BESTOW
THE BOON CRAVED BY MR. ANDREW LANG!

Within the streams, Pausanias saith,That down Cocytus valley flow,Girdling the grey domain of Death,The spectral fishes come and go;The ghosts of trout fly to and fro,Persephone, fulfil my wish,And grant that in the shades belowMy ghost may land the ghosts of fish!

[Pg vii]

PREFACE

Despite Francis Bacon’s dictum that “prefaces are great wastes oftime, and, though they seem to proceed of modesty, they are bravery,”I hazard a few words as to this book, which, like Topsy, “growed, I’spects,” from a chance request for a quotation from Homer on Fishingwith a Rod for my sister’s game-book.

It is, as far as I can discover, the first attempt to examineclassical and other ancient writers on Fishing from the standpoint ofone who has not only been a practical Pisciculturist for many yearsand an Angler all his life, but has also been taught (though somewhatforgotten) his Greek and Latin.

If my work, in the main, is necessarily based on the compilations ofothers, it yet by serendipity (to adopt Horace Walpole’s mintage) hasunearthed some rare authors, who, judging from lack of mention, wereunknown to previous writers on the subject. It contains also—if Imay venture a “bravery”—several points which are apparently original.

Instances of these are:—

(1) The definite establishment of Aristotle as our first,if through lack of microscope primitive, scale-reader;

(2) The acquittal without a stain on his character ofPlutarch from the charge, under which he has lain forcenturies, of libelling and contemning Fishing;

(3) The discussion by whom, Martial or Ælian, was the useof (a) the natural, or (b) the artificial fly firstsuggested or implied;

(4) The examination whether the crescens harundo ofMartial was a jointed Rod, somewhat like our own;[Pg viii]

(5) The conclusion that the Rod was apparently neveremployed by the Ancient Assyrians or the Israelites, despitetheir long connection with Egypt, where as early as c. 2000b.c. it is depicted in actual use;

(6) The point which, if not original, is rarely made orinsufficiently pressed, that the Line of both the ancientsand moderns down till the seventeenth century was a tight,as opposed to a running Line.

May I, as a last “bravery,” state that apart from articles inMagazines and Encyclopædias, I do not know, with the exceptionof Bates’s Ancient Egyptian Fishing, of any work in English onFishing, not Fish, in ancient Egypt, Assyria, Palestine, or China,nor, with the exception of Mainzer’s magazine article on JewishFishing, have I come across one in French or German?

If any object that I have cast my net too wide and enclosed a fewthings that are neither Fish nor Fishing, I must insist that asthese waters are not, as yet, adequately charted, it is well-nighimpossible to avoid some infringement of the three miles’ territoriallimit. To drop metaphor, in the present state of archæologicalresearch, it is notorious that no one subject can be fullyinvestigated without trenching here and there on allied topics. Thisindeed is not merely necessary, but desirable, unless importantside-lights are simply to be ignored.

Moreover, every good Waltonian prefers the discursive to the cursivestyle, and would rather take part in a leisurely exploration of hispreserves than skim the surface in a manner hasty and in-Compleat.

Whatever the demerits of my volume, written at intervals betweenwar-work and illness, I do trust that of the three counts of theindictment brought against Nicander’s Theriaca, “longa, incondita,et nullius farrago fidei,” the verdict of my readers will, at anyrate as regards the last, be “Not Guilty,” for on this head I havestoutly striven to avoid conviction.

Reference to aid from any book or person is usually set forth in mypages; but here and at once I acknowledge with glad gratitude the debt[Pg ix]I owe for counsel and help to certain of my friends, whose namesI yet hesitate to state, “pour ne point leur donner une part deresponsabilité dans les fautes que je suis seul coupable d’avoirlaissé subsister.”

They are: Mr. A. B. Cook, Reader in Classical Archæology atCambridge; Dr. Bernard Grenfell, Professor of Papyrology at Oxford;Dr. A. R. S. Kennedy, Professor of Hebrew and Semitic Languages atEdinburgh; the late, alas! Dr. Leonard W. King, of the AssyrianDepartment of the British Museum; Dr. S. Langdon, Professor ofAssyriology at Oxford; Dr. J. W. Mackail; Dr. A. Shewan; and last,but very far from least, Mr. H. T. Sheringham.


[Pg x]
[Pg xi]

CONTENTS

page
  Preface vii
  Introduction  3
GREEK AND ROMAN FISHING
chap.  
I. Homer. Position of Fishermen 63
II. Homer. Methods of Fishing 74
III. Contest between Homer and Hesiod. Homer’s Death 86
IV. The Dolphin. Herodotus. The Ichthyophagi. The Tunny 90
V. Plato. Aristotle the First Scale Reader. Senses of Fish 106
VI. Characteristics of Fishermen in Greece and Rome.
  Deities of Fishing
116
VII. Theocritus. The Greek Epigrammatists 133
VIII. The Two Plinys. Martial. Was the Rod Jointed? 141
IX. The First Mention of a Fly 152
X. The Scarus. The First Notice, “Fishing Prohibited” 159
XI. Plutarch: Charge against Him of contemning Fishing
  False. Cleopatra’s Fishing. Oppian. The Torpedo for
  Gout. Athenæus
169
XII. Ælian. The Macedonian Invention, or the First Mention
  of an Artificial Fly
185
XIII. Ausonius. Salmo. Salar and Fario. First Mention of
  the Pike in Classical Literature
194
XIV.[Pg xii] Infatuation for Fish. Extravagant Prices. Costly
  Entertainments. Vitellius. Cleopatra. Apicius.
  Cooks. Sauces
201
XV. Fish in Sacrifices. Pickled Fish. Vivaria.
  Oysters. Archimedes
215
XVI. Legal Regulations of Rome as regards Fishing 231
XVII. Tackle. Curious Methods of Fishing for the Sargus,
  the Skate, the Silurus, and the Eel. What was the
  Silurus? Wild Theories as
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