Ichthyophagoi (Ancient Greek: Ἰχθυοφάγοι, "fish-eaters") and LatinIchthyophagi is the name given by ancient geographers to several coast-dwelling peoples in different parts of the world and ethnically unrelated.
Herodotus (book i. c. 200) mentions three tribes of the Babylonians who were solely fish-eaters, and in book iii. c. 19 refers to Ichthyophagi in Aethiopia.Diodorus Siculus and Strabo also referred to them all along the African coast of the Red Sea in their descriptions of Aethiopia.
Ptolemy speaks of fish-eaters in the Persian Gulf coasts, coast of the Red Sea, on the west coast of Africa and on the coast of the Far East near the harbour of Cattigara.
According to Arrian, Nearchus mentions such a race as inhabiting the barren shores of the Gwadar and Pasni districts in Makrān. During the homeward march of Alexander the Great, his admiral, Nearchus led a fleet in Arabian Sea along the Makrān coast and recorded that the area was dry and mountainous, inhabited by the Ichthyophagoi or Fish-Eaters.
^ Arrian, Indica, 29: "Sailing thence they sailed without stop all night andday, and after a voyage of eleven hundred stades they got past the country of the Fish-eaters, where they had been much distressed by want of food. They did not moor near shore, for there was a long line of surf, but at anchor, in the open. The length of the voyage along the coast of the Fish-eaters is a little above ten thousand stades. These Fish-eaters live on fish; and hence their name; only a few of them fish, for only a few have proper boats and have any skill in the art of catching fish; but for the most part it is the receding tide which provides their catch. Some have made nets also for this kind of fishing; most of them about two stades in length. They make the nets from the bark of the date-palm, twisting the bark like twine. And when the sea recedes and the earth is left, where the earth remains dry it has no fish, as a rule; but where there are hollows, some of the water remains, and in this a large number of fish, mostly small, but some large ones too. They throw their nets over these and so catch them. They eat them raw, just as they take them from the water, that is, the more tender kinds; the larger ones, which are tougher, they dry in the sun till they are quite sere and then pound them and make a flour and bread of them; others even make cakes of this flour. Even their flocks are fed on the fish, dried; for the country has no meadows and produces no grass. They collect also in many places crabs and oysters and shell-fish. There are natural salts in the country; from these they make oil. Those of them who inhabit the desert parts of their country, treeless as it is and with no cultivated parts, find all their sustenance in the fishing but a few of them sow part of their district, using the corn as a relish to the fish, for the fish form their bread. The richest among them have built huts; they collect the bones of any large fish which the sea casts up, and use them in place of beams. Doors they make from any flat bones which they can pick up. But the greater part of them, and the poorer sort, have huts made from the fishes' backbones."
R. Bloch, «Ichthyophagoi», in Der Neue Pauly. Altertum. Stuttgart-Weimar, Verlag J. B. Metzler, vol. 5, 1998, p. 883.
O. Longo, «Un viaggio fra i mangiatori di pesci (dal Periplo di Nearco)», Atti e Memorie dell’Accademia Patavina di Scienze Lettere ed Arti, Memorie della Classe di Scienze morali Lettere ed Arti, XCVIII, parte III, 1986, p. 153-57.
O. Longo, «I mangiatori di pesce: regime alimentare e quadro culturale», Materiali e discussioni per l’analisi dei testi classici, 18, 1987, p. 9-56.
O. Nalesini, «Roman and Chinese Perception of a "Marginal" Coastal Population: Ptolemy's Far Eastern Ichthyophágoi», in The Prehistory of Asia and Oceania, Edited by G. Afanas’ev, S. Cleuziou, J. R. Lukacs and M. Tosi, Forlì, ABACO, 1996, p. 197-204.
Oscar Nalesini, "History and use of an ethnonym: Ichthyophágoi", in Connected Hinterlands: Proceedings of Red Sea Project IV held at the University of Southampton September 2008, edited by L. Blue, J. Cooper, R. Thomas and J. Whitewright. Oxford, Archaeopress, 2009, pp. 9–18.
J. Tkač, «Ichthyophagoi», in Paulys Real-Encyclopädie der classischen Altertumswissenschaft, neue Bearbeitung von G. Wissowa, Stuttgart, IX, 1916, coll. 2524–31.
H. Treidler, «Ichthyophagen», in Der Kleine Pauly, München, Beck’sche Verlag, vol. II, 1979, coll. 1333–34.