About Me

My photo
Washington, United States
loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Saturday, February 06, 2010

you'll need a bigger goldfish bowl!

There are three kinds of lampreys—the sealamprey, the common lamprey, and the pride . . . ungainly as these fishes may now appear, they were kept as pets by the ancient Romans; for we are informed that Antonia, the wife of Drusus, had a pet lamprey, in whose gills she hung gems and earrings; a species of unnecessary finery the fish, no doubt, would gladly have dispensed with. Licius Crassus also brought his lampreys, which he kept in a vivarium, to become so tame as to be obedient to his voice, and to come and receive food at his hands; whilst we are also told, that the celebrated orator, Quintus Hortensius, wept at the death of one of these fishes that he had kept long and loved exceedingly

But as every dog has his day, it seems those of the lampreys have long since passed away, as far as keeping them for pets is concerned; and they are only now esteemed for their real qualities, which are very good ones, being nice fishes, either potted, stewed, or made up into pies. (Emphasis mine and I have to admit I laughed out loud doing it -- Curator)

* * *
I swear, the Romans never fail to entertain me.
This was stumbled upon in A Practical Treatise on the Choice and Cookery of Fish, by "Piscator" (London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, second ed., 1854).


parlance said...

Oh, so-o interesting! I love the snippets you find. I'll go off now around the Net to see what a lamprey actually looks like. I don't think we have them in Australia. Not sure, though.

parlance said...

Back again! I've had all sorts of pets - mice, lizards, crickets, birds, fish (lots of), a dog - but I'm not going to get a lamprey. I wonder if the Romans had to provide a living creature for the lamprey to stick on. Ugghh.

curator said...

Me NEITHER. Ick. But then these are the Romans, who used to eat dormice and had a special little pot for coddling them.

Cliff and Olivia said...

Uhmmm. Fishies.