Tradition holds that Greeks have always consumed more fish than meat. They preferred oily fish such as mackerel, skoumbri (common mackerel), sardines, bogue, whitebait, anchovies, and eel, all of which are of high nutritional value. This preference for oily fish is manifested in the well-known popular saying: “Everything at its time and the mackerel in August”, that is, a time at which the fish contains more fat and thus has a better taste.
Archaeological excavations conducted a few years ago in the archaic Greek colony of Massalia (modern Marseille) brought to light 6th-century-BC shipyards. Among the half-finished ships and various artifacts of the era, many tuna tails were found that demonstrates that the diet of ancient Greeks, at least from the 6th century BC onwards, was rich in fatty acids. This discovery did not come as a surprise to paleonutritionists and other specialized scientists since the much earlier archaeological digs at the Cave of Frahthi in Argolis had yielded evidence of large-scale tuna fishing from the middle of the 7th millenium BC.
The Greeks of the classical and subsequent periods inherited this love for fish. They later created a fish sauce (garos) which they poured over all kinds of dishes. The latter was passed on to the Romans under the names garum, liquamen and abdomium.