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Fish Plate, ca. 330-300 B.C.E

Maker: Unknown Maker, South Italian

Medium: Ceramic

2 × 10 × 10 in. (5.1 × 25.4 × 25.4 cm)

Credit Line: Clarence Day Foundation Collection

Object Number: LI.90.1

On View

Fish and other aquatic creatures swim across the surface of this serving dish, which was made in Campania, a region famous for its seafood. The center depression—bordered by stylized waves—probably held garum, a sauce of fermented fish. While garum was widely popular in Ancient Rome, not all appreciated its salty, pungent taste. The Roman writer Seneca the Younger (ca. 4 B.C.E. – 65 C.E.) observed “Do you not realize that garum, that expensive bloody mass of decayed fish, consumes the stomach with its salted putrefaction?"