Sources : Mullet

Aristotle [ca. 350 BCE] (De animalibus): [Book 5, 5.4] In Phoenicia they use each sex for capturing the other; for having taken the male cestreus, they entice the females with it, and so enclose them in a net. They use the females in the same way for catching the males. [Book 6, 16.1] ...for in the vehemence of their desire they are carried towards the land, and always continue in motion during this period till they have produced their ova. The cestreus is more remarkable for this than any other fish. As soon as they have deposited their ova, they become quiet. [Book 8, 4.2] All fish, except the cestreus, eat one another, especially the congers. The cephalus and the cestreus alone are not carnivorous. This is a proof of it. They are never captured with anything of the kind in their stomach, nor are they captured with a bait made of flesh, but with bread; the cestreus is always fed upon sea-weed and sand. One kind of cephalus which some persons call chelone lives near the land, another is called peraeas. This last feeds upon nothing but its own mucus, for which reason it is always very poor. [Book 8, 4.3] The cestreus [mullet] is the most greedy and insatiable of fish, so that its abdomen is distended, and it is not good for food unless it is poor. When alarmed it hides its head, as if its whole body were thus concealed... This fish and the channa often eject their stomachs as they pursue small fish, for their stomach is near the mouth, and they have no oesophagus. [Book 8, 20.6] Abundant rain confers health on most fish; but the contrary is the case with the mullet ... for if there is a great supply of rain water, they soon become blind. - [Cresswell translation, 1887]

Pliny the Elder [1st century CE] (Natural History, Book 9, 21; 9, 26; 9,30): [Book 9, 21] ...that they frequently jump out of the water into ships. This is also done on other occasions from fear of the violence of other fish, especially by mullet, which are so exceptionally swift that they sometimes leap right over ships that lie across their path. [Book 9, 26] It is an amusing trait in the mullet that when frightened it hides its head and thinks it is entirely concealed. The same fish is so incautious in its wantonness that in Phoenicia and in the Province of Narbonne at the breeding season a male mullet from the fish-ponds is sent out into the sea with a long line tied to its gills through its mouth and when it is drawn back by the same line the females follow it to the shore, and again the males follow a female at the laying season. [Book 9,30] Of other fish of a good class the red mullet varieties of stands first in popularity and also in plentifulness, though its size is moderate and it but rarely exceeds 2 pounds in weight, nor does it grow larger when kept in preserves and fishponds. This size is only produced by the northern ocean and in its westernmost part. For the rest, there are several kinds of mullet. For it feeds on seaweed, bivalves, mud and the flesh of other fish; and it is distinguished by a double beard on the lower lip. The mullet of cheapest kind is called the mud-mullet. This variety is always accompanied by another fish named sea-bream, and it swallows down as fodder mire stirred up by the sea-bream digging. ... The leaders in gastronomy say that a dying mullet shows a large variety of changing colors, turning pale with a complicated modification of blushing scales, at all events if it is looked at when contained in a glass bowl. - [Rackham translation]

Isidore of Seville [7th century CE] (Etymologies, Book 12, 6:25-26): [Book 12, 6:25] The red mullet (mullus) is named because it is soft (mollis) and very delicate. People say that as food red mullets inhibit desire and dull the acuity of the eyes. People who often eat them smell of fish. When a red mullet is killed in wine, those who drink from it develop a distaste for wine. [Book 12, 6:26] The grey mullet (mugilis) takes its name from being very agile (multum agilis), for wherever they sense fishermen’s traps they immediately turn back to leap over the net, so that you may see the fish fly. - [Barney, Lewis, et. al. translation]

Thomas of Cantimpré [circa 1200-1272 CE] (Liber de natura rerum, Marine monsters 6.3, 6.23; Fish 7.44; 7.52; 7.58-59): [Thomas describes the mullet under the names hahune, fastaleon, kalaoz, mugilis and mullus, and as both a marine monster and a fish.] [Marine monsters 6.3] Hahune is a monster of the sea, as Aristotle says. This animal is the most gluttonous of all sea beasts. It lives on prey, and whatever it eats is turned into the fatness of its body. Hence it happens that its belly is extended beyond estimation and the proper amount according to the size of its body. When this animal fears some danger, it hides its head within itself in this way: for it collects its limbs within itself, like a hyricius [this could be the hedgehog or the sea-urchin]. For the animal is so thick and fat that, contracting its skin and flesh, it replicates and hides within itself the extremities of its body, so that they do not appear. Nevertheless, it does not do this without sometimes harming itself: for it fears death to such an extent that, when it sees that some danger is imminent, it hides its head inside its body, and when it feels that the danger is not abated, nor that the beast that lurks in ambushes will not withdraw, it never withdraws its head outside, which it hides within, but when it is afflicted with hunger, it devours its own flesh, preferring to be consumed in part rather than to be consumed in whole and by beasts made prey. This is in contrast to the poor man who, when he sees that he is in danger of body or soul, does not take care to avoid the world, or the flesh, or the devils who are plotters of his salvation, by the proper consumption of flesh through fasting and abstinence from food and drink. For we see most certainly that, through bodily abstinence, men frequently escape the danger of death, as dropsy through abstinence from drink, fevers, and many other infirmities through abstinence from food. This animal lacks a stomach, and therefore, when it has eaten, the belly is greatly inflated, and when the belly can no longer be extended, it expels the food through the mouth, and this is easy, because its mouth is adjacent to the stomach, so that it lacks a neck like the other animals of the sea: for none of the fish has a neck. [Marine monsters 6.23] Fastaleon is a monster of the sea, as Aristotle says, but it has nothing monstrous in its manners; for when all the animals of the sea oppose each other and eat each other, only Fastaleon is immune from this cruelty. And this is the reason: for the fastaleon does not eat flesh at all, but lives on grass and other things on which other animals live, with the exception of flesh, which is naturally abhorred. [Fish 7.44] Kalaoz is a marine fish, as Aristotle says, of a multiform species, which is found in the parts of the East. This fish has the nature, contrary to all kinds of fish, that rain from the sky, which in the other fishes promotes health and helps with fattening, to this fish causes harm, because if there is a lot of rain, its eyes are blinded, and in consequence, since it cannot get food, it dies of hunger and starvation. [Fish 7.52] Mugilus, as Pliny says, is a fish that is naturally wary. For its folly will be laughed at, when in fear it hides its head and thinks its whole body is concealed, and believes itself secure. The mullet is the fastest fish in river waters. The mullet has enmity with the pike [lucio] only in winter, but in summer they are in harmony; and this is believed because in winter the food for which they fight is scarce, but in summer it is abundant, and for this reason they are pacified in summer. With this fish are marked those who, saying that they guard the heart, which is the head of the soul, and believe that the body is safe amid worldly dangers, not paying attention to the fact that many who were presumptuous of their strength perished miserably, like Samson and David and many other great men. [Fish 7.58] Mulus is a fish of the sea, as Pliny says, which has the grace of nobility before others, given only to the nobles for food. For it is very rare. The abundance of this fish does not grow in fish ponds, but only in the north in the western part of the ocean. Moreover, there are many kinds of these that feed on seaweed and shellfish and mud, and the flesh of other fish. The more noble, however, are distinguished by a twin beard on the lower lip, and their way of life is that which has grown serenely beside the banks of the air. It is said that the dying mullet is seen in changing colors of many varieties. We will say that these two types of fish represent two types of rulers of secular power. Of whom those who are meaner and yield to the use of the devils live on the prey of the poor as meat and seaweed as superfluous vanity. Others, on the other hand, who are more noble, and from their own rents granted by divine bounty, live in a serene conscience, are honored with grace by God and men with twin beards as twin virtues, and after death are distinguished by the merits of various virtues, and are surrounded by variety at the table of the heavenly king, as chosen food for the Lord by the angels. [7.59] The mullet is a fish, as Isidore says, and has its name from the fact that it is soft and tender. This food diminishes lust, the sharpness of sight is dulled, and those who feed on the mullet itself smell of fish. If a mullet is killed in wine, those who drink from it are disgusted by wine. - [Badke translation/paraphrase]

Bartholomaeus Anglicus [13th century CE] (Liber de proprietatibus rerum, Book13.26): Fish bée diverse in sharpnesse of feeling, and in sleyght of witte: for many be very warye. And some be wonderfully sleight and wily to scape, when they be ware of gins of Fishers, as Isidore saith. lib. 12.And he saith, that there is a manner fish that is called Mugil, which is full nimble and swift. For where he is disposed to swimme, and is ware of grins, and pearceth them, & that he is beset with fishers: he turneth sodeinly backward, and overleapeth the net so swiftly, that it seemeth to them, which are present, that he flieth as a bird. - [Batman]