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Bivalve mollusc exploitation in Mediterranean coastal communities: an historical approach
Voultsiadou, E.; Koutsoubas, D.; Achparaki, M. (2010). Bivalve mollusc exploitation in Mediterranean coastal communities: an historical approach. J. Biol. Res. 13: 35-45
In: Journal of Biological Research. School of Biology. Aristotle University of Thessaloniki: Thessaloniki. ISSN 1790-045X, more

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Keyword
    Marine
Author keywords
    Aegean Sea, Greek antiquity, food, medicine

Authors  Top 
  • Voultsiadou, E., more
  • Koutsoubas, D., more
  • Achparaki, M.

Abstract
    The aim of this work was to survey the early history of bivalve mollusc exploitation and consumption in the Mediterranean coastal areas as recorded in the classical works of Greek antiquity. All bivalve species mentioned in the classical texts were identified on the basis of modern taxonomy. The study of the works by Aristotle, Hippocrates, Xenocrates, Galen, Dioscorides and Athenaeus showed that out of the 35 exploited marine invertebrates recorded in the texts, 20 were molluscs, among which 11 bivalve names were included. These data examined under the light of recent information on bivalve exploitation showed that the diet of ancient Greeks included the same bivalve species consumed nowadays in the coastal areas of the Mediterranean. The habitats of the exploited bivalves and consequently their fishing areas were well known and recorded in the classical texts. Information on the morphology and various aspects of the biology of certain edible species was given mostly in Aristotle’s zoological works, while Xenocrates and Athenaeus presented instructions and recipes on how bivalves were cooked and served. Hippocrates and Galen gave detailed information on the dietary value of bivalve molluscs, their consumption for treatment or prevention of certain diseases, and their use for the production of drugs from their shell or flesh. The data on bivalve use derived from the classical texts is in accordance with archaeological evidence of the geometric and archaic periods from Greek coastal localities.

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