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Aristote, Aristoxène et le demos alieutikòs de Tarente


In the IVth Book of Politics, Aristotle, classifying the different eide tou demou present in different democratic poleis according to the different types of the prevailing socio-economic activities carried on by the main component of those demoi, mentions Tarent and Byzanz as examples of cities whose demos includes a very great number of fishers (alieis).  While for Byzanz the large presence of fishers and the economic importance of fishing and related activities are richly documented and widely studied, in the case of Tarent the evidence is relatively poor, especially for pre-Roman and even pre-Hellenistic times, thus leaving almost isolated the testimony of Aristotle.

In this paper, after reviewing and commenting on the available documentation - literary sources as well as archaeological evidence -, I shall propose to add to this lean dossier an interesting fragment, so far not taken into account, by Aristoxenus of Tarent, a prominent member of Aristotle’s school, where we find a reference to alieis kai thalattioi as lipernetes, that is ‘those who lost crops’ and therefore make their living by selling marine products (ta tou alòs).


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