Sanisera Field School, Session 10, 2010:A Guide to Roman Fishing, by Pascal Fiorentino
Something’s Fishy: A Guide to
By Pascal Fiorentino, Sanisera Mixed Session 10
Fishermen overall were considered a low class in
society, and usually managed to live only marginally
above subsistence level.
Fish was distributed in the Forum Piscarium. As the
fish needed to be sold freshly or risk rotting,
fishermen lived day-by-day.
However, Roman fishermen sometimes formed
guilds, such as the Corpus Piscatarium in Rome.
Hey Pascal, how much did fish cost back
Fish usually cost between half an ass and one
However, large an exotic fish were heavily
prized, and could cost as much as25,000
Nets were usually made of woven hemp, and utilized lead
weights to sink the net. This method, called casting.
Fishing rods were also used, with hooks made of such materials
as lead, stone, and bone. Smelly fish guts were often used as
Bronze Age Fishooks, found near
A (very tan Roman?) man
casting a net...
Common fish ate by the Romans included Mackerel, Tuna,
Swordfish, and anything else they could find.
Octopus, oysters, mussels, and other crustaceans were also
eaten all over the Mediterranean.
Fish Farms (later Popular in Roman high society) used
plumbing to breed rare and expensive fish.
Fish in Roman Cooking
• Most Roman coastal cities, as in ancient Greece, used fish as a
• Large or exotic fish were transported live in barrels to the market,
and sold for exorbitant prices.
• None of the fish was wasted; the guts were fermented, heavily
salted, and formed into a fish sauce called garum.
It´s been great guys, I miss you already!
In memory of Carol Flannery