Tilapia, due to its endurance and omnivorous in historical times, was extremely widespread and occurred throughout almost the entire Nile basin.
Despite a rather nondescript appearance, the absence of bright fins or contrasting colors, for the Nile tilapia, even from the times of the Old Kingdom, special pools were built near houses and parks, in which they were bred and kept like a sacred (totem) animal.
The first known frescoes with images of these fish in artificial reservoirs date back to the 15th century BC (the time of Queen Hatshepsut and Amenhotep II). Moreover, the Nile tilapia was not only kept in rich households and depicted on the walls of tombs, its formalized image firmly entered the ancient Egyptian writing as one of the composite hieroglyphs.
By itself, the hieroglyph uniting in itself two icons located one above the other: water and fish with a high fin (Nile tilapia) were interpreted as the syllable “int.” Gradually simplified and modified along with the development of writing, this hieroglyph during the Middle and Late Kingdom was already pronounced as “in,” and in Egyptian cursive it looked like two curved bands arranged one above the other (one of these bands in the form of a loop depicted tilapia) .
The female of this species has a bright peculiarity of behavior, well known to zoologists. From all the dangers and vicissitudes of fate, she rescues at first the spawn, and then the flock of young fry, in her mouth.
However, she manifests miracles of selflessness and sometimes does not eat for more than a week. This striking feature did not escape the attention of observant Egyptians and was repeatedly reproduced as one of the favorite subjects of wall paintings, ornaments and small decorative items. Often, various objects are naturally reproduced or stylized motifs, where well-known images of tilapia, located in a circle or opposite each other, touch the mouth of a small globular cluster, in which the formalized image of adherent spawn can be easily recognized. It often happened that a very distant (and distorted) response from the original to the Egyptians’ observations about the unusual behavior of Nile tilapia can be found in Herodotus.
In his semi-fantastic presentation, this plot looked like this: when the females of some large fish went down to the sea along the Nile, at the time of fertilization, they swallowed the seed erupted by the males, and those, in turn, took the eggs left by the females in the river to way back. It can be concluded that the knowledge of this very interesting feature of reproduction and protection of the offspring, as well as the developed symbolism of the images of the Nile tilapia affected, among other things, the images of the Egyptian religion. The emergence of a new life, the following absorption (darkness) and a new rebirth into the light, which occurs a little later, is in fact an allegory of the main elements of the daily solar cycle, in which the celestial mother absorbs the light (the ball of life) at sunset and gives it birth to the dawn.
In addition, this topic explains another very common decorative motif, in which tilapia, presented with a lotus flower in the mouth, is a well-known symbol of rebirth, a new life after death. In fact, the author’s recipe, although it is possible that over the centuries it has already been invented)
- tilapia — 800 g
- mustard "Dijon" — 100 g
- salt — to taste
- lemon — when served
- red currant — when serving
- mustard — when serving
You can leave the fish smeared with mustard for some time (30-40 minutes), covered with foil, in the refrigerator, so that it is marinated a little.
Mustard can be put and more, it will only add spice.