Pickled Sardine Exports

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I do not believe that pickled fish from the Sea of Galilee were a significant export.

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.

This article originally appeared in issue 48 of the Jerusalem Perspective magazine. Click on the image above to view a PDF of the original magazine article.

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  • Magen Broshi

    Magen Broshi

    Magen Broshi (1929-2020) was a world-renowned Israeli archeologist, author, historian and lecturer. From 1964 to 1994, he was the curator of the Shrine of the Book, the wing of the Israel Museum where most of the intact Dead Sea Scrolls are housed. He was appointed…
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