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Title: Fishing for sponges in the Mediterranean
Authors: Deidun, Alan
Keywords: Sponge fisheries -- Mediterranean Region
Fishers -- Greece
Jellyfishes -- Mediterranean Region
Issue Date: 2016-12-11
Publisher: Allied Newspapers Ltd.
Citation: Deidun, A. (2016, December 11). Fishing for sponges in the Mediterranean. The Times of Malta, pp. 1-2.
Abstract: Sponge fishing is one of those quintessential Mediterranean maritime industries that have been conducted in the area since antiquity. The Queen's Palace in Knossos, Crete, dating back to the Minoan period (3,500-1 ,500 BC), features sponge painting on its walls, a technique still in vogue today that makes use of a spherical sponge species (Hippospongia communis). Images of sponges have been found on Greek pottery remains, as a depiction of opulence and as a status symbol. Homer lists sponges as hygienic tools in the Iliad and the Odyssey, while Aristotle makes reference to an elephant nose-like tube that divers used to use when fishing for sponges. A number of Roman writers, such as Cicero, allude to the use of sponges for personal hygiene. The Latin verb spongiare, which means to daub, originates from the species' name. Each Roman soldier was equipped with a marine sponge for precisely the same purpose.
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