Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-7f7b94f6bd-98q29 Total loading time: 0.382 Render date: 2022-06-28T13:41:30.778Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "useRatesEcommerce": false, "useNewApi": true } hasContentIssue true

Book contents

The consumption of salted fish in the Roman Empire

from HISTORICAL CASE STUDIES: The Mediterranean world

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 April 2017

Benedict Lowe
Affiliation:
Maynooth University, Ireland
Get access

Summary

ABSTRACT.This contribution examines ancient literary texts and archaeological evidence concerning the production, distribution and consumption of salted fish products in the Roman Empire. A case study of evidence from excavations at Pompeii shows that the city had a well-developed saltedfish industry that catered to a wide range of customers. The study underlines the importance of fishing and fish in the diet and the economy of the Ancient Mediterranean.

RÉSUMÉ.En s'appuyant sur des textes littéraires antiques et des sources archéologiques, cette contribution analyse la production, la distribution et la consommation de poisson salé dans l'empire romain. Une étude des éléments collectés lors des fouilles de Pompéi prouve l'existence d'une industrie particulièrement développée de poisson salé, visant à satisfaire les besoins d'une large clientèle. L'étude souligne également l'importance de la pêche et des produits de la mer dans l'alimentation et l'économie de la Méditerranée antique.

Recent years have seen a growing debate over the importance of fishing and fish in the economy of the Ancient Mediterranean, inspired by T.W. Gallant's assertion that ‘the role of fishing in the diet and the economy would have been … subordinate and supplementary’.The debate centres upon the reliability of the descriptions of fishing in the literary sources and the applicability of comparative data from other periods of history upon the ancient world. Recent research has done much to clarify the complexity and economic potential of ancient fishing techniques, however, significant areas of debate remain.

As Tønnes Bekker-Nielsen has noted, the major hurdle limiting the economic and dietary potential of fishing was the difficulty in getting fish from their point of catch to that of demand before spoilage occurred. Microbial organisms called Specific Spoilage Organisms (SSOs) cause the fish to spoil rapidly after death. This can be prevented in several ways, either limiting the amount of time between death and consumption by the transportation of live fish or the consumption of fish as close as possible to their point of capture; by keeping the catch cool; or through processing – principally salting, although drying or curing were also used.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2017

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×