Led On Line
Presentazione - About us
Novita' - What's new
Lededizioni Home Page Ricerca - Search
Catalogo - Catalogue
Per contattarci - Contacts
Per gli Autori - For the Authors
Statistiche - Statistics
Cookie Policy
Privacy Policy

Pourquoi Alexandre a-t-il contraint les Ichtyophages à ne plus manger de poisson (Pline l’Ancien, Hist. nat. VI 95)?

Pierre Schneider


In Pliny’s description of Ariana there is a brief mention of the fish-eating Orites, a tribe dwelling on the coast of Makran – the Orites were encountered by Alexander during his march from the Indus river to Persia. Having reported some facts relating to their countries, Pliny adds this puzzling observation: «Alexander made an order forbidding a fish diet to all the Fish-eaters». This story which we know only from Pliny (Solinus and Martianus Capella paraphrase the HN) may derive from Cleitarchus. Most historians and even philosophers (such as Montesquieu) suggest that this ban on fish diet applied to the Gedrosian Fish-eaters, i.e. the famous Ichthyophagi discovered by Nearchus; they believe that Alexander wanted to bring «civilization» to these destitute tribes. This paper shows that this decision actually applied to the Orite Ichthyophagi. They were probably deported in the Alexandria founded by Alexander in the hinterland of Orites’ country, where they were forced to pratice agriculture. As a matter of fact, a great number of Orites were killed following the fights with Alexander’s army. This demographic deficit may well explain why these Fish-eaters were forced to abandon their traditional life-style.


Alexander’s foundation; Alexander the Great; Alexandria among the Oreitai; Gedrosia; Ichthyophagi (Fish-eaters); Oreitai; Alessandria tra gli Oreiti; Alessandro Magno; fondazioni di Alessandro; Ittiofagi (Mangiatori di pesce)

Full Text:



André - Filliozat 1980 – Pline l’Ancien, Histoire naturelle (livre VI, 2e partie: l’Asie centrale et orientale; l’Inde), éd. par J. André - J. Filliozat, Paris 1980.

André - Filliozat 1986 – J. André - J. Filliozat, L’Inde vue de Rome, Paris 1986.

Battistini - Charvet 2004 – O. Battistini - P. Charvet, Alexandre le Grand. Histoire et dictionnaire, Paris 2004.

Besenval 1994 – R. Besenval, Le peuplement de l’ancienne Gédrosie, de la protohistoire à la période islamique: travaux archéologiques récents dans le Makran pakistanais, CRAI 138, 2 (1994), 513-535.

Bosworth 1988 – A.B. Bosworth, Conquest and Empire. The Reign of Alexander the Great, Cambridge 1988.

Bosworth 1996 – A.B. Bosworth, Alexander and the East: The Tragedy of Triumph, Oxford 1996.

Briant 2012 – P. Briant, Alexandre des Lumières. Fragments d’histoire européenne, Paris 2012.

Brunt 1983 – Arrian, History of Alexander and Indica, II, Anabasis Alexandri, Books V-VIII, Indica, ed. by P.A. Brunt, Cambridge (MA) - London 1983.

Casson 1989 – The Periplus Maris Erythraei, éd. by L. Casson, Princeton 1989.

Chantraine 19683 – Arrien, L’Inde, éd. par P. Chantraine, Paris 19683.

Cohen 2006 – G.M. Cohen, The Hellenistic Settlements in Syria, the Red Sea Basin and North Africa, Berkeley - Los Angeles - London 2006.

Droysen 1883 – J.G. Droysen, Histoire de l’hellénisme, I, Histoire d’Alexandre le Grand, trad. fr. sous la dir. de A. Bouché-Leclerq, Paris 1883.

Eggermont 1975 – P.H.L. Eggermont, Alexander’s Campaign in Sind and Baluchistan and the Siege of the Brahmin Town of Harmatelia, Louvain 1975.

Engels 1978 – D.W. Engels, Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army, Berkeley - Los Angeles - London 1978.

Faure 1985 – P. Faure, Alexandre, Paris 1985.

Fisch 1937 – M.H. Fisch, Alexander and the Stoics, APh 58, 2 (1937), 129-151.

Fraser 1996 – P.M. Fraser, Cities of Alexander the Great, Oxford 1996.

Goukowsky 1976 – Diodore de Sicile, Bibliothèque historique. Livre 17, éd. par P. Goukowsky, Paris 1976.

Goukowsky 1981 – P. Goukowsky, Essai sur les origines du mythe d’Alexandre (336-270 av. J.-C.), II, Alexandre et Dionysos, Nancy 1981.

Hamilton 1972 – J.R. Hamilton, Alexander among the Oreitae, Historia 21, 4 (1972), 603-608.

Hammond 1980 – H.G.L. Hammond, Alexander the Great: King, Commander and Statesman, Park Ridge 1980.

Heckel 2009 – W. Heckel, Who’s Who in the Age of Alexander the Great, Malden - Oxford 2009.

Holt 1988 – F.L. Holt, Alexander the Great and Bactria. The Formation of a Greek Frontier in Central Asia, Leiden - New York 1988.

Hornblower 20023 – S. Hornblower, The Greek World (479-323 BC), London 20023.

Karttunen 1997 – K. Karttunen, India and the Hellenistic World, Helsinki 1997.

Kiessling 1910 – M. Kiessling, s.v. Gedrosia, in RE VII.1, 1910, coll. 895-903.

Longo 1987 – O. Longo, I mangiatori di pesci: regime alimentare e quadro culturale, MD 18 (1987), 9-55.

Mairs 2007 – R.R. Mairs, Ethnicity and Funerary Practice in Hellenistic Bactria, in H. Schroeder - P. Bray - P. Gardner - V. Jefferson - E. Macaulay-Lewis (eds.), Crossing Frontiers. The Opportunities and Challenges of Interdisciplinary Approaches to Archaeology, Oxford 2007, 111-124.

Marrou 19604 – H.-I. Marrou, De la connaissance historique, Paris 19604.

Montesquieu 1748 – Montesquieu (Charles Louis de Secondat, baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu), De l’esprit des Lois, Genève 1748.

Pédech 1984 – P. Pédech, Historiens compagnons d’Alexandre, Paris 1984.

Rousseau 1751 – Discours qui a remporté le prix de l’Académie de Dijon en l’année 1750 sur cette question posée par la même académie: «Si le rétablissement des sciences et des arts a contribué à épurer les moeurs», par un citoyen de Genève (= J.-J. Rousseau), Genève 1751.

Schneider 2013 – P. Schneider, «Restez barbares et ichtyophages: vous en vivrez plus tranquilles, meilleurs peut-être et sûrement plus heureux» (J.-J. Rousseau), ou: la longue postérité des Ichtyophages de Néarque, GeogrAnt 22 (2013), 57-65.

Stein 1939 – O. Stein, s.v. Oreitai, in RE XVIII.1, 1939, coll. 942-951.

Stein 1943 – A. Stein, On Alexander’s Route into Gedrosia: An Archaeological Tour in Las Bela, GJ 102, 5-6 (1943), 193-227.

Strasburger 1939 – H. Strasburger, s.v. Onesikritos, in RE XVIII.1, 1939, coll. 460-467.

Strasburger 1952 – H. Strasburger, Alexanders Zug durch die Gedrosische Wüste, Hermes 80 (1952), 456-493.

Tarn 1950 – W.W. Tarn, Alexander the Great, II, Sources and Studies, Cambridge 1950.

Tarn 1951² – W.W. Tarn, The Greeks in Bactria and India, Cambridge 1951².

Tscherikower 1927 – V.A. Tscherikower, Die hellenistischen Städtegründungen von Alexander dem Grossen bis auf die Römerzeit, Leipzig 1927.

Tkáč 1916 – J. Tkáč, s.v. Ichthyophagi, in RE IX.2, 1916, coll. 2524-2532.

Tomaschek 1890 – W. Tomaschek, Topographische Erläuterung der Kustenfahrt Nearchs vom Indus bis zum Euphrat. Sitzungsberichte der kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften (philosophisch-historischen Classe), 121.8, Wien 1890.

Tomaschek 1893 – W. Tomaschek, s.v. Alexandreia (9), in RE I.1, 1893, col. 1390.

Tomaschek 1895a – W. Tomaschek, s.v. Arabis (1), in RE II.1, 1895, coll. 363-364.

Tomaschek 1895b – W. Tomaschek, s.v. Ariane, in RE II.1, 1895, coll. 813-814.

Tomaschek 1897 – W. Tomaschek, s.v. Cadrusi, in RE III.1, 1897, col. 1169.

Weissbach 1901 – F.H. Weissbach, s.v. Dareitai, in RE IV.2, 1901, col. 2212.

Will - Orrieux 1986 – Éd. Will - Cl. Orrieux, Ioudaïsmos-Hellènismos. Essai sur le judaïsme judéen à l’époque hellénistique, Nancy 1986.

Zambrini 2004 – Arriano, Anabasi di Alessandro, II, Libri IV-VII, a cura di A. Zambrini, Roma 2004.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.7358/erga-2015-002-schn

Copyright (©) 2015 Erga-Logoi. Rivista di storia, letteratura, diritto e culture dell'antichità – Editorial format and Graphical layout: copyright (©) LED Edizioni Universitarie


Erga/Logoi accepts books for review
The books are to be sent to the Executive Editor

Call for papers Vol. 13 (2025) 
Authors have to read through the Information for Authors and the Author guidelines carefully before beginning the submission process.  

Erga-Logoi. Rivista di storia, letteratura, diritto e culture dell'antichità
Registered by Tribunale di Milano (20/09/2012 n. 353)
Online ISSN 2282-3212 - Print ISSN 2280-9678

Executive Editor: Cinzia Bearzot
Editorial Staff: Paolo A. Tuci  (Coordinator) - Marcello Bertoli - Livia De Martinis - Laura Loddo - Annabella Oranges -  Alessandra Valentini 
Editorial Board: Gaetano Arena - Ralf Behrwald - Margherita Cassia - Paolo Cesaretti - Bernard Eck - Michele Faraguna - Massimo Gioseffi - Dominique Lenfant - Lauretta Maganzani - Roberto Nicolai - Giovanni Parmeggiani - Marina Polito - Umberto Roberto - Francesca Rohr - Marco Sannazaro - Stefan Schorn - Paolo A. Tuci - Gianpaolo Urso - José Vela Tejada - Robert Wallace
Emeritus Editorial Board:  Serena Bianchetti - Giovannella Cresci - Lia Raffaella Cresci - Ugo Fantasia - Franca Landucci - Rosalia Marino - Riccardo Vattuone 

Referee List

© 2001 LED Edizioni Universitarie di Lettere Economia Diritto