Abundance of sea fauna

Although the interior of Turdetania (1) is so productive, it will be found that the seaboard vies with it in its goodly products from the sea.

For the various kinds of oysters as well as mussels are in general surpassing, both in their number and in their size, along the whole of the exterior sea; but especially so here, inasmuch as the flood-tides and the ebb-tides have increased power here, and these tides, it is reasonable to suppose, are, on account of the exercise they give, responsible both for the number and the size of them.

So it is, in the same way, with respect to all the cetaceans; narwhals, “phalaenae” and spouting-whales; when these spout, the distant observer seems to see a cloud-like pillar. And further, the conger-eels become monsters, far exceeding in size those of Our Sea; and so do the lampreys and several other edible fish of the kind.

And at Carteia, it is said, there are shells of trumpet-fish and purple-fish which hold ten cotylae (2), and in the regions farther out to sea the lamprey and the conger-eel weigh even more than eighty minae (3), the sea-polypus a talent (4), the cuttle-fish are two cubits long — and other things in like proportion. Again, large numbers of plump, fat tunny-fish congregate hither from the other coast, namely, that outside the Pillars.

(1) Modern Andalusia

(2) about 2.5 litres

(3) about 36 kg

(4) about 27 kg

 

 

 

Strabo, Geography , III, 2

Original language: Ancient Greek

Time of action: 1 century BCE

Reliability: Heard from trustful direct witnesses

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