Comment from Mendel Nun (Kibbutz Ein Gev, Israel) that was published in the “Readers’ Perspective” column of Jerusalem Perspective 48 (Jul.-Sept. 1995): 7.
I enjoyed reading Magen Broshi’s article, “The Wealth of Herod the Great” (Jerusalem Perspective 37 [Mar.-Apr. 1992]: 3-6); however, Broshi failed to mention one very important product exported from the land of Israel. Pickled fish from the Sea of Galilee, mainly sardines, should have been included in his list of export items. According to Strabo, a first-century Roman geographer and historian, “at the place called Taricheai the lake supplies excellent fish for pickling” (Geographica XVI, 2:45). Apparently, the town of Magdala (called in Greek Taricheai, meaning, the place where fish are salted) on the west coast of the Sea of Galilee was the center of a large sardine pickling industry. Much of the industry’s output was consumed locally, but a considerable amount was exported abroad.
Magen Broshi responds:
The omission of pickled fish in my discussion of exports was intentional. I do not believe that pickled fish from the Sea of Galilee were a significant export for the country. Generally, in this period, more goods were imported than were exported.