• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Title Page
 Preface
 Table of Contents
 Half Title
 Note upon the Roman agronomist...
 Note on the obligation of Virgil...
 Cato's de agrucultura
 Varro's rerum rusticarum libri...
 Varro's rerum rusticarum libri...
 Varro's rerum rusticarum libri...
 Index














Title: Roman farm management
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00077057/00001
 Material Information
Title: Roman farm management the treatises of Cato and Varro
Physical Description: xii, 365 p. : ; 20 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Cato, Marcus Porcius, 234 BC - 149 BC
Varro, Marcus Terentius, 116 BC - 27 BC
Harrison, Fairfax, 1869-1938 ( ed. and tr )
Publisher: Macmillian Company
Place of Publication: New York
Publication Date: 1913
Copyright Date: 1913
 Subjects
Subject: Agriculture -- Early works to 1800   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Early works to 1800   ( lcsh )
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: done into English, with notes of modern instances, by a Virginia farmer.
General Note: Preface signed: F.H. i.e. Fairfax Harrison
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00077057
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 02022055
lccn - 13013061

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page i
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Preface
        Page v
        Page vi
    Table of Contents
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
    Half Title
        Page xiii
    Note upon the Roman agronomists
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
    Note on the obligation of Virgil to Varro
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
    Cato's de agrucultura
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
    Varro's rerum rusticarum libri tres: Book I
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
    Varro's rerum rusticarum libri tres: Book II
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
        Page 250
        Page 251
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254
        Page 255
        Page 256
        Page 257
        Page 258
        Page 259
        Page 260
        Page 261
        Page 262
        Page 263
        Page 264
        Page 265
        Page 266
        Page 267
        Page 268
    Varro's rerum rusticarum libri tres: Book III
        Page 269
        Page 270
        Page 271
        Page 272
        Page 273
        Page 274
        Page 275
        Page 276
        Page 277
        Page 278
        Page 279
        Page 280
        Page 281
        Page 282
        Page 283
        Page 284
        Page 285
        Page 286
        Page 287
        Page 288
        Page 289
        Page 290
        Page 291
        Page 292
        Page 293
        Page 294
        Page 295
        Page 296
        Page 297
        Page 298
        Page 299
        Page 300
        Page 301
        Page 302
        Page 303
        Page 304
        Page 305
        Page 306
        Page 307
        Page 308
        Page 309
        Page 310
        Page 311
        Page 312
        Page 313
        Page 314
        Page 315
        Page 316
        Page 317
        Page 318
        Page 319
        Page 320
        Page 321
        Page 322
        Page 323
        Page 324
        Page 325
        Page 326
        Page 327
        Page 328
        Page 329
        Page 330
        Page 331
        Page 332
        Page 333
        Page 334
        Page 335
        Page 336
        Page 337
        Page 338
        Page 339
        Page 340
        Page 341
        Page 342
        Page 343
        Page 344
        Page 345
        Page 346
        Page 347
        Page 348
        Page 349
        Page 350
        Page 351
        Page 352
    Index
        Page 353
        Page 354
        Page 355
        Page 356
        Page 357
        Page 358
        Page 359
        Page 360
        Page 361
        Page 362
        Page 363
        Page 364
        Page 365
        Page 366
Full Text
















ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT


































THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
NEW YORK BOSTON CHICAGO DALLAS
ATLANTA SAN FRANCISCO

MACMILLAN & CO., LIMITED
LONDON BOMBAY CALCUTTA
MELBOURNE

THE MACMILLAN CO. OF CANADA, LTD.
TORONTO







ROMAN

FARM MANAGEMENT

THE TREATISES OF

CATO AND VARRO


DONE INTO ENGLISH, WITH NOTES
INSTANCES


OF MODERN


BY
A VIRGIN B fYRRA Y

OF THE



diversity o( Y 4A

New 'ork
THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
1913


All rights reserved







SIv /


























COPYRIGHT, 1913,
BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY
Set up and electrotyped. Published June, 1913.


PRESS OF T. MORE & SOW,
GREENFIELD, MASS U- S. A.










PREFACE


HE present editor made the acquaint-
T ance of Cato and Varro standing at a
book stall on the Quai Voltaire in Paris,
and they carried him away in imagina-
tion, during a pleasant half hour, not
to the vineyards and olive yards of Roman Italy,
but to the blue hills of a far distant Virginia where
the corn was beginning to tassel and the fat cattle
were loafing in the pastures. Subsequently, when
it appeared that there was then no readily availa-
ble English version of the Roman agronomists, this
translation was made, in the spirit of old Piero
Vettori, the kindly Florentine scholar, whose por-
trait was painted by Titian and whose monument
may still be seen in the Church of Santo Spirito:
in the preface of his edition of Varro he says that
he undertook the work, not for the purpose of dis-
playing his learning, but to aid others in the study
of an excellent author. Victorius was justified by
his scholarship and the present editor has no such
claim to attention: he, therefore, makes the confes-
sion frankly (to anticipate perhaps such criticism
as Bentley's "a very pretty poem, Mr. Pope, but
[v]

117197







PREFACE

don't call it Homer") and offers the little book to
those who love the country, and to read about the
country amidst the crowded life of towns, with the
hope that they may find in it some measure of the
pleasure it has afforded the editor.
The texts and commentaries used have been those
of Schneider and Keil, the latter more accurate but
the former more sympathetic.
F. H.
BELVOIR,
Fauquier County,
Virginia.
December, 1912.


[vil











CONTENTS
PAGE
NOTE UPON THE ROMAN AGRONOMISTS, I
NOTE ON THE OBLIGATION OF VIRGIL TO VARRO, 15


CATO'S DE AGRICULTURE

SYNOPSIS

Introduction: Of the Dignity of the Farmer, 19
Of Buying a Farm, 20
Of the Duties of the Owner, 23
Of Laying out the Farm, 27
Of Stocking the Farm, 31
Of the Duties of the Overseer, 32
Of the Duties of the Housekeeper, 35
Of the Hands, 36
Of Draining, 37
Of Preparing the Seed Bed, 38
Of Manure, 40
Of Soil Improvement, 41
Of Forage Crops, 42
Of Planting, 43
Of Pastures, 43
Of Feeding Live Stock, 43
Of the Care of Live Stock, 45
Of Cakes and Salad, 48
Of Curing Hams, 49
[vii ]











VARRO'S RERUM RUSTICARUM
LIBRI TRES

SYNOPSIS

BOOK I

THE HUSBANDRY OF AGRICULTURE
CHAPTER PAGE
I. Introduction: the literary tradition of coun-
try life, 51
Of the definition of Agriculture:
II. a. What it is not, 57
III. b. What it is, 72
IV. The purposes of Agriculture are profit and
pleasure, 73
V. The four-fold division of the study of Agri-
culture, 76
I Concerning the farm itself:
VI. How conformation of the land affects
Agriculture, 78
VII. How character of soil affects Agriculture, 82
VIII. (A digression on the maintenance of vine-
yards), 85
IX. Of the different kinds of soils, 88
X. Of the units of area used in measuring
land, 92
Of the considerations on building a stead-
ing:
XI. a. Size, 93
b. Water supply, 93
XII. c. Location, with regard to health, 94
XIII. d. Arrangement, 96
[ viii ]







CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE
Of the protection of farm boundaries:
XIV. a. Fences, o00
XV. b. Monuments, 102
XVI. Of the considerations of neighbourhood, 103
2 Concerning the equipment of afarm: 106
XVII.
& Of agricultural labourers, 107
XVIII.
XIX.
& Of draught animals, 114
XX.
XXI. Of watch dogs, 118
XXII. Of farming implements, 118
3 Concerning the operation of a farm: 121
XXIII. Of planting field crops, 121
XXIV. Of planting olives, 123
XXV.
& Of planting vines, 125
XXVI.
4 Concerning the agricultural seasons: 126
XXVII.
& Of the solar measure of the year, 126
XXVIII. illustrated by
A CALENDAR OF AGRICULTURAL OPERATIONS
throughout the year, in eight seasons, viz:
XXIX. I February 7-March 24, 129
XXX. 2 March 24-May 7, 131
XXXI. 3 May 7-June 24, 132
XXXII. 40 June 24-July 21, 134
XXXIII. 5 July 2I-September 26, 135
XXXIV. 6 September 26-October 28, 135
XXXV. 70 October 28-December 24, 136
XXXVI. 8 December 24-February 7, 137
XXXVII. Of the influence of the moon on Agriculture 137
to which is added
[ ix ]







CONTENTS

ANOTHER CALENDAR OF Six AGRICULTURAL SEASONS
with a commentary on their several occupations, viz:
CHAPTER Io Preparing time: PAGE
Of tillage, 139
XXXVIII. Of manuring, 140
XXXIX. 2 Planting time:
Of the four methods of propagating plants,
viz: 141
XL. a. Seeding and here of seed selection, 142
b. Transplanting, 144
c. Cuttage, 144
d. Graftage, and 145
e. A "new" method, inarching, 146
XLI. Of when to use these different methods, 146
XLII. Of seeding alfalfa, 149
XLIII. Of seeding clover and cabbage, 151
XLIV. Of seeding grain, 151
30 Cultivating time: 153
XLV. Of the conditions of plant growth, 153
XLVI. Of the mechanical action of plants, 155
XLVII. Of the protection of nurseries and mead-
ows, 155
XLVIII. Of the structure of a wheat plant, 156
XLIX. 4 Harvest time: 157
Of the hay harvest, 157
L. Of the wheat harvest, 158
LI. The threshing floor, 161
LII. Threshing and winnowing, 162
LIII. Gleaning, 163
LIV. Of the vintage, 164
LV. Of the olive harvest, 165
5 Housing time: 167
LVI. Of storing hay, 167
LVII. Of storing grain, 167
LVIII. Of storing legumes, 169
LIX. Of storing pome fruits, 169
LX. Of storing olives, 171
[x]






CONTENTS
CHAPTER PAGE
LXI. Of storing amurca, 171
LXII. 60 Consuming time: 171
LXIII. Of cleaning grain, 172
LXIV. Of condensing amurca, 172
LXV. Of racking wine, 173
LXVI. Of preserved olives, 173
LXVII. Of nuts, dates and figs, 174
LXVIII. Of stored fruits, 174
LXIX. Of marketing grain, 174
Epilogue: the dangers of the streets of
Rome, 175
BOOK II
THE HUSBANDRY OF LIVE STOCK
Introduction: the decay of country life, 177
I. Of the origin, the importance and the econ-
omy of live stock husbandry, 181
II. Of sheep, 197
III. Of goats, 207
IV. Of swine, 212
V. Of neat cattle, 225
VI. Of asses, 234
VII. Of horses, 236
VIII. Of mules, 244
IX. Of herd dogs, 247
X. Of shepherds, 255
XI. Of milk and cheese and wool, 262

BOOK III
THE HUSBANDRY OF THE STEADING
I. Introduction: the antiquity of country life, 269
II. Of the definition of a Roman villa, 273
III. Of the Roman development of the industries
of the steading, 283
IV. Of aviaries, 286
[xi]






CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE
V. a. for profit, 288
b. for pleasure (including here the descrip-
tion of Varro's own aviary), 291
VI. Of pea-cocks, 297
VII. Of pigeons, 299
VIII. Of turtle doves, 305
IX. Of poultry, 306
X. Of geese, 315
XI. Of ducks, 319
XII. Of rabbits, 320
XIII. Of game preserves, 324
XIV. Of snails, 325
XV. Of dormice, 327
XVI. Of bees, 329
XVII. Of fish ponds, 347,
INDEX, 353


[ xii ]



















ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT









NOTE UPON THE ROMAN
AGRONOMISTS

Quaecunque autem propter disciplinam ruris nostrorum
temporum cum priscis discrepant, non deterrere debent a lec-
tione discentem. Nam multo plura reperiuntur, apud veteres,
quae nobis probanda sint, quam quae repudianda.
COLUMELLA I, I.
SHE study of the Roman treatises on
Tfarm management is profitable to the
modern farmer however practical and
scientific he may be.' He will not find
in them any thing about bacteria and
the "nodular hypothesis" in respect of legumes, nor
any thing about plant metabolism, nor even any
thing about the effects of creatinine on growth and
absorption; but, important and fascinating as are the
illuminations of modern science upon practical ag-
riculture, the intelligent farmer with imagination
(every successful farmer has imagination, whether or
not he is intelligent) will find some thing quite
as important to his welfare in the body of Roman
husbandry which has come down to us, namely: a
back-ground for his daily routine, an appreciation
that two thousand years ago men were studying the
same problems and solving them by intelligent rea-
[i]






ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

soning. Columella well says that in reading the
ancient writers we may find in them more to approve
than to disapprove, however much our new science
may lead us to differ from them in practice. The
characteristics of the Roman methods of farm man-
agement, viewed in the light of the present state of
the art in America, were thoroughness and patience.
The Romans had learned many things which we are
now learning again, such as green manuring with
legumes, soiling, seed selection, the testing of soil for
sourness, intensive cultivation of a fallow as well as
of a crop, conservative rotation, the importance of
live stock in a system of general farming, the preser-
vation of the chemical content of manure and the
composting of the rubbish of a farm, but they brought
to their farming operations some thing more which
we have not altogether learned-the character which
made them a people of enduring achievement. Varro
quotes one of their proverbs "Romanus sedendo
vincit," which illustrates my present point. The
Romans achieved their results by thoroughness and
patience. It was thus that they defeated Hannibal
and it was thus that they built their farm houses
and fences, cultivated their fields, their vineyards
and their oliveyards, and bred and fed their live
stock. They seem to have realized that there are no
short cuts in the processes of nature, and that the
[2]







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

law of compensations is invariable. The foundation
of their agriculture was the fallow I and one finds them
constantly using it as a simile-in the advice not to
breed a mare every year, as in that not to exact too
much tribute from a bee hive. Ovid even warns a
lover to allow fallow seasons to intervene in his court-
ship.
While one can find instruction in their practice
even today, one can benefit even more from their

1 "The manner in which the ancients managed their fallow
is certainly most worthy of our attention: their care in plough-
ing, according to the situation of the land, and nature of the
climate, and their manner of adapting the kind of ploughing
to answer the purposes intended by the operation, are also most
worthy of our imitation. Their exactness in these things ex-
ceeds any thing of the kind found amongst the moderns, and is
even beyond what any practical writer on agriculture has pro-
posed. This is an evidence that tillage is not even in this age
brought to that perfection of which it is capable: and that,
notwithstanding all the improvements lately introduced, we
may yet receive some instruction from a proper attention to
the precepts and practices of the ancients. I am desirous to add
that this attention may be useful by preventing improvers
from running into every specious scheme of agriculture pro-
duced by a lively imagination and engaging them to study the
great variety of soils and even climates in this island, and to
be careful in adapting to these their several operations." Dick-
son Husbandry of the Ancients, XXIII.
The Rev. Andrew Dickson, who died in 1776, was minister
of Aberlady in the county of East Lothian, the son of a pro-
gressive and successful Scots farmer, and had experience in
practical agriculture, as well as in scholarship, as his book
shows.







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

agricultural philosophy, for the characteristic of the
American farmer is that he is in too much of a hurry.

The ancient literature of farm management was
voluminous. Varro cites fifty Greek authors on the
subject whose works he knew, beginning with Hesiod
and Xenophon. Mago of Carthage wrote a treatise
in the Punic tongue which was so highly esteemed
that the Roman Senate ordered it translated into
Latin, but, like most of the Greeks,1 it is now lost to
us except in the literary tradition.
Columella says that it was Cato who taught Agri-
culture to speak Latin. Cato's book, written in the
middle of the second century B. C., was the first on
the subject in Latin; indeed, it was one of the very
first books written in that vernacular at all. Of the
other Latin writers whose bucolic works have sur-
vived, Varro and Virgil wrote at the beginning of the
Augustan Age and were followed by the Spanish
Columella under Tiberius, and by Pliny (with his
Natural History) under Titus. After them (and "a
long way after," as Mr. Punch says) came in the
fourth century the worthy but dull Palladius, who
1 The compilation of rural lore, known as the Geoponica,
which exists in Greek, was made at Byzantium for the Em-
peror Constantine VII about the middle of the tenth century
A. D. It is very largely a paraphrase of the Roman authors,
and is useful principally in elucidating their textual difficulties.
f41







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

supplied the hornbook used by the agricultural
monks throughout the Dark Ages.

MARCUS PoRCIUS CATO (B. C. 234-149), known in
history as the elder Cato, was the type of Roman
produced by the most vigorous days of the Republic.
Born at Tusculum on the narrow acres which his
peasant forefathers had tilled in the intervals of
military service, he commenced advocate at the
country assizes, followed his fortunes to Rome and
there became a leader of the metropolitan bar. He
saw gallant military service in Spain and in Greece,
commanded an army, held all the curule offices of
state and ended a contentious life in the Senate de-
nouncing Carthage and the degeneracy of the times.
He was an upstanding man, but as coarse as he
was vigorous in mind and in body. Roman literature
is full of anecdotes about him and his wise and witty
sayings.
Unlike many men who have devoted a toilsome
youth to agricultural labour, when he attained fame
and fortune he maintained his interest in his farm,
and wrote his De re rustica in green old age. It tells
what sort of farm manager he himself was, or wanted
to be thought to be, and, though a mere collection
of random notes, sets forth more shrewd common
sense and agricultural experience than it is possible
[5]







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

to pack into the same number of English words. It
remains today of much more than antiquarian
interest.

MARCUS TERENTIUS VARRO (B. C. 116-28) whom
Quintilian called "the most learned of the Romans,"
and Petrarch "il terzo gran lume Romano," ranking
him with Cicero and Virgil, probably studied agricul-
ture before he studied any thing else, for he was born
on a Sabine farm, and although of a well to do family,
was bred in the habits of simplicity and rural industry
with which the poets have made that name synony-
mous. All his life he amused the leisure snatched
from his studies with intelligent supervision of the
farming of his several estates: and he wrote his trea-
tise Rerum Rusticarum in his eightieth year.'
He had his share of active life, but it was as a
scholar that he distinguished himself.2 Belonging
to the aristocratic party, he became a friend and

1 Donald G. Mitchell made an interesting collation, in his
Wet Days at Edgewood, of the large number of books on agricul-
ture which have been written in old age and by men of affairs,
in many lands and many languages.
2 It is interesting to record, however, that Varro received the
Navalis Corona for personal gallantry in the war against the
pirates. This distinction was even more rare than our modern
Medal of Honor or Victoria Cross, and was awarded only to a
commander who leapt under arms on the deck of an enemies'
ship and then succeeded in capturing her.
[6]







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

supporter of Pompey, and, after holding a naval com-
mand under him in the war against the Pirates in
B. C. 67, was his legatus in Spain at the beginning of
the civil wars and there surrendered to Caesar. He
was again on the losing side at the battle of Pharsalia,
but was pardoned by Caesar, who selected him to be
librarian of the public library he proposed to estab-
lish at Rome.' From this time Varro eschewed poli-
tics and devoted himself to letters, although his trou-
bles were not yet at an end: after the death of Caesar,
the ruthless Antony despoiled his villa at Casinum
(where Varro had built the aviary described in book
Three), and like Cicero he was included in the pro-
scriptions which followed the compact of the trium-
virs, but in the end unlike Cicero he escaped and
spent his last years peacefully at his villas at Cumae
and Tusculum.
His literary activity was astonishing: he wrote
at least six hundred books covering a wide range of
antiquarian research. St. Augustine, who dearly
1 Casar did not live to accomplish this, but some years after
his death a public library was established at Rome by Asinius
Pollio, which Pliny says (H. N. VII, 31) was the first ever built,
those at Alexandria and Pergamus having been private insti-
tutions of the kings.
In a land where public libraries have been every where
founded out of the accumulations of Big Business, it is interest-
ing to note that Pollio derived the funds with which this the
first of their kind was endowed, from the plunder of the Illyrians!
[7]







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

loved to turn a balanced phrase, says that Varro had
read so much that it is difficult to understand when
he found time to write, while on the other hand he
wrote so much that one can scarcely read all his
books. Cicero, who claimed him as an intimate
friend, describes (Acad. III) what Varro had written
before B. C. 46, but he went on producing to the
end of his long life, eighteen years later: "For,"
says Cicero, "while we are sojourners, so to speak, in
our own city and wandering about like strangers,
your books have conducted us, as it were, home again,
so as to enable us at last to recognize who and whence
we are. You have discussed the antiquities of our
country and the variety of dates and chronology
relating to it. You have explained the laws which
regulate sacrifices and priests: you have unfolded the
customs of the city both in war and peace: you have
described the various quarters and districts: you have
omitted mentioning none of the names, or kinds, or
functions, or causes of divine or human things: you
have thrown a flood of light on our poets and alto-
gether on Latin literature and the Latin language:
you have yourself composed a poem of varied beau-
ties and elegant in almost every part: and you have
in many places touched upon philosophy in a manner
sufficient to excite our curiosity, though inadequate
to instruct us."







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

Of Varro's works, beside the Rerum Rusticarum,
there have survived only fragments, including a
considerable portion of the treatise on the Latin
language: the story is that most of his books were
deliberately destroyed at the procurement of the
Church to conceal St. Augustine's plagiarism from
them; yet the De Civitate Dei, which is largely de-
voted to refuting Varro's pagan theology, is a peren-
nial monument to his fame. St. Augustine says
(VI, 2): "Although his elocution has less charm, he
is so full of learning and philosophy that . he
instructs the student of facts as much as Cicero de-
lights the student of style."
Varro's treatise on farm management is the best
practical book on the subject which has come down
to us from antiquity. It has not the spontaneous
originality of Cato, nor the detail and suave elegance
of Columella. Walter Harte in his Essays on Hus-
bandry (1764) says that Cato writes like an English
squire and Varro like a French academician. This
is just comment on Cato but it is at once too much
and too little to say of Varro: a French academician
might be proud of his antiquarian learning, but
would balk at his awkward and homely Latin, as in-
deed one French academician, M. Boissier, has since
done. The real merit of Varro's book is that it is the
well digested system of an experienced and success-
[91







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

ful farmer who has seen and practised all that he
records.

The authority from which Virgil drew the prac-
tical farming lore, for which he has been extolled in
all ages, was Varro: indeed, as a farm manual the
Georgics go astray only when they depart from Varro.
It is worth while to elaborate this point, which Pro-
fessor Sellar, in his argument for the originality of
Virgil, only suggests.1
After Philippi the times were ripe for books on ag-
riculture. The Roman world had been divided be-
tween Octavian and Antony and there was peace
in Italy: men were turning "back to the land."
An agricultural regeneration of Italy was impend-
ing, chiefly in viticulture, as Ferrero has pointed out.
With far sighted appreciation of the economic ad-
vantages of this, Octavian determined to promote
the movement, which became one of the completed
glories of the Augustan Age, when Horace sang
Tua, Caesar, aetas
Fruges et agris rettulit uberes.
1 Cf. Sellar, Roman Poets of the Augustan Age. Virgil Cli. V.
Boissier, Etudes sur M. T. Varron, Ch. IX. Servius Comm. in
Yerg. Georg. I, 43.
It does not appear that many of the commentators on Virgil
have taken the trouble to study Varro thoroughly. They are
usually better scholars than farmers.
[ 10]






ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

Varro's book appeared in B. C. 37 and during
that year Macenas commissioned Virgil to put into
verse the spirit of the times; just as, under similar
circumstances, Cromwell pensioned Samuel Hartlib.
Such is the co-incidence of the dates that it is not
impossible that the Rerum Rusticarum suggested
the subject of the Georgics, either to Virgil or to
Maecenas.
SThere is no evidence in the Bucolics that Virgil
ever had any practical knowledge of agriculture
before he undertook to write the Georgics. His father
was a farmer and Virgil perhaps had tended his
father's flock, as he pictures himself doing under
the guise of Tityrus; certainly he spent many hours
of youth "patulze recubans sub tegmine fagi" steep-
ing his Celtic soul with the beauty and the melancholy
poetry of the Lombard landscape: and so he came
to know and to love bird and flower and the external
aspects of
wheat and woodland
tilth and vineyard, hive and horse and herd,
but it does not appear that he ever followed the
plough, or, what is more important, ever laid off a
ploughgate. As a poet of nature no one was ever
better equipped (the highest testimony is that of
Tennyson), but when it came to writing poetry
around the art of farm management it was necessary
[I ]






ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

for him to turn to books for his facts. He acknowl-
edges (Geo. I, 176) his obligation only to veterum
precepta without naming them, but as M. Gaston
Boissier says he was evidently referring to Varro
"le plus moderne de tous les anciens." 1 Virgil evi-
dently regarded Varro's treatise as a solid foundation
for his poem and he used it freely, just as he drew
on Hesiod for literary inspiration, on Lucretius for
imaginative philosophy, and on Mago and Cato and
the two Sasernas for local colour.
Virgil probably had also the advantage of personal
contact with Varro during the seven years he was
composing and polishing the Georgics. He spent
them largely at Naples (Geo. IV, 563) and Varro was
then established in retirement at Cumae: thus they
were neighbours, and, although they belonged to
different political'parties, the young poet must have
known and visited the old polymath; there was every
reason for him to have taken advantage of the oppor-
tunity. Whatever justification there may be for this
conjecture, the fact remains that Varro is in the back-
ground every where throughout the Georgics, as
the "deadly parallel" in the appended note will in-
dicate. This is perhaps the most interesting thing
1 It is not remarkable that Virgil failed to make acknowledg-
ment to Varro in the Georgics when he failed to make acknowl-
edgment to Homer in the A.neid. See Petrarch's Epistle to
Homer for a loyal but vain attempt to justify this neglect.
[12]






ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

about Varro's treatise: instructive and entertaining
as it is to the farmer, in the large sense of the effect
of literature on mankind, Virgil gave it wings-the
useful cart horse became Pegasus.
As a consequence of the chorus of praise of the
Georgics, there have been those, in all ages, who have
sneered at Virgil's farming. The first such advocates
diaboli was Seneca, who, writing to Lucilius (Ep. 86)
from the farm house of Scipio Africanus, fell foul of
the advice (Geo. I, 216) to plant both beans and
millet in the spring, saying that he had just seen at
the end of June beans gathered and millet sowed on
the same day: from which he generalized that Virgil
disregarded the truth to turn a graceful verse, and
sought rather to delight his reader than to instruct
the husbandman. This kind of cheap criticism does
not increase our respect for Nero's philosophic minis-
ter.1 Whatever may have been Virgil's mistakes,
1 Cf. F. W. H. Myers' Classical Essays, p. I:o:
"For in the face of some German criticism it is necessary to
repeat that in order to judge poetry it is, before all things,
necessary to enjoy it. We may all desire that historical and
philological science should push her dominion into every recess
of human action and human speech, but we must utter some
protest when the very heights of Parnassus are invaded by a
spirit which surely is not science, but her unmeaning shadow;
a spirit which would degrade every masterpiece of human
genius into the mere pabulum of hungry professors, and which
values a poet's text only as a field for the rivalries of sterile
pedantry and arbitrary conjecture."
[ 13






ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT
every farmer of sentiment should thank God that
one of the greatest poems in any language contains
as much as it does of a sound tradition of the practical
side of his art, and here is where Varro is entitled to
the appreciation which is always due the school-
master of a genius.


[I41









NOTE ON THE OBLIGATION OF
VIRGIL TO VARRO

the beginning of the first Georgic
(-A 5) Virgil lays out the scope of the
AE poem as dealing with three subjects,
agriculture, the care of live stock and
the husbandry of bees. This was
Varro's plan (R. R. I, I, 2, and I, 2 passim) except
that under the third head Varro included, with bees,
all the other kinds of stock which were usually kept
at a Roman steading. Varro asserts that his was the
first scientific classification of the subject ever made.
Virgil (G. I, 5-13) begins too with the invocation of
the Sun and the Moon and certain rural deities, as
did Varro (R. R. I, I, 4). The passages should be
compared for, as M. Gaston Boissier has pointed out,
the difference in the point of view of the two men is
here illustrated by the fact that Varro appeals to
purely Roman deities, while Virgil invokes the
literary gods of Greece. Following the Georgics
through, one who has studied Varro will note other
passages for which a suggestion may be found in
Varro, usually in facts, but some times in thought
and even in words, viz: Before beginning his agri-
cultural operations a farmer should study the char-
[sl]






ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

acter of the country (G. I, 50: R. R. I, 6), the prevail-
ing winds and the climate (G. I. 51: R. R. I, 2, 3), the
farming practice of the neighbourhood (G. I, 52:
R. R. I, 18, 7), "this land is fit for corn, that for vines,
and the other for trees," (G. I, 54: R. R. I, 6, 5). He
should practise fallow and rotation (G. I, 71: R. R.
I, 44, 2), and compensate the land by planting
legumes (G. I, 74: R. R. I, 23); he should irrigate his
meadows in summer (G. I, 104: R. R. I, 31, 5), and
drain off surface water in winter (G. I, 113: R. R. I,
36). Man has progressed from a primitive state,
when he subsisted on nuts and berries, to the domes-
tication of animals and to agriculture (G. I, 121-159:
R. R. II, I, 3). The threshing floor must be protected
from pests (G. I, 178: R. R. I, 51). Seed should be
carefully selected (G. I, 197: R. R. 40, 2); the time
for sowing grain is the autumn (G. I, 219: R. R. I,
34). "Everlasting night" prevails in the Arctic
regions (G. I, 247: R. R. I, 2, 5); the importance to
the farmer of the four seasons (G. I. 258; R. R. I, 27)
and the influence of the Moon (G. I. 276: R. R. I, 37).
The several methods of propagating plants de-
scribed (G. II, 9-34: R. R. I, 39), but here Varro fol-
lows Theophrastus (H. P. II, I); trees grow slowly
from seed (G. II, 57; R. R. I, 41, 4); olives are propa-
gated from truncheons (G. II, 63; R. R. I, 41, 6).
"The praise of Italy" (G. II, 136-176: R. R. I, 2, 6),
[i6]







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

where trees bear twice a year (G. II, 150: R. R. I, 7,
6). Certain plants affect certain soils (G. II, 177:
R. R. I, 9). A physical experiment (G. II, 230; R.
R. I, 7); the advantage of the quincunx in planting
(G. II, 286: R. R. I, 7). Fence the vineyard to keep
out live stock (G. II, 371: R. R. I, x4); the goat a
proper sacrifice to Bacchus (G. II, 380: R. R. I, 2,
19). Be the first to put your vine props under cover
(G. II, 409: R. R. I, 8, 6).
The points of cattle (G. III, 50: R. R. II, 5, 7);
their breeding age (G. III, 61: R. R. II, 5, 13); segre-
gate.the bulls before the breeding season (G. III, 212:
R. R. II, 5, 12). Recruit your herd with fresh blood
(G. III, 69: R. R. II, 5, 17). How to break young
oxen (G. III, 163: R. R. I, 2o).
Of breeding live stock, the males should be fat,
the females lean (G. III, 123-129: R. R. II, 5, 12).
The points of a horse (G. III, 79: R. R. II, 7, 5).
Mares fecundated by the wind (G. III, 273: R. R. II,
I, 19). The care of the brood mare (G. III, 138:
R. R. II, 7, o1). The bearing of a spirited colt in the
field (G. III, 75: R. R. II, 7, 6); the training of a
colt, "rattling bridles" in the stable (G. III, 184:
R. R. II, 7, I2).
Supply bedding for the sheep (G. III, 298: R. R.
II, 2, 8), the goat stable should face southeast (G. III,
302: R. R. II, 3, 6). Goats' hair used for military
[i71






ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

purposes (G. III, 313: R. R. II, II, ii.) Goats affect
rough pasture (G. III, 314: R. R. II, 3, 6). A shep-
herd's daily routine (G. III, 322; R. R. II, 2, I0-II).
The life of shepherds in the saltus (G. III, 340: R. R.
II, io, 6). Beware of a ram with a spotted tongue
(G. III, 387: R. R. II, 2, 4). Anoint sheep as a pre-
caution against scab (G. III, 448: R. R. II, II, 7).
The location of the bee-stand: a drinking pool with
stones in it (G. IV, 26: R. R. III, 16, 27); planted
round with bee plants (G. IV, 25: R. R. III, 16, 13),
and free from an echo (G. IV, 50: R. R. III, 16, 12).
When saving a swarm sprinkle bees balm and beat
cymbals (G. IV, 62: R. R. III, 16, 7 and 30). Bees at
war obey their leaders 'as at the sound of a trumpet,'
but may be quelled by the bee-keeper (G. IV, 70-87:
R. R. III, 16, 9 and 35). Keep the mottled king and
destroy the black one (G. IV, 90: R. R. III, 16, 18);
the "old Corycian" and the brothers Veiani (G. IV,
125: R. R. III, 16, io): the bees' care of their king
(G. IV, 212: R. R. III, 16, 8). Take off the honey
twice in the season (G. IV, 221: R. R. III, 16, 34);
the generation of bees from the carcase of an ox
(G. IV, 281: R. R. II, 5, 5) and cf. the wisdom on
this subject attributed to Varro by the Geoponica
(XV, 2).


[181











CATO'S DE AGRICULTURE


Introduction: of the dignity of the farmer
FHE pursuits of commerce would be as
admirable as they are profitable if they
were not subject to so great risks: and
so, likewise, of banking, if it was always
honestly conducted. For our ancestors
considered, and so ordained in their laws, that, while
the thief should be cast in double damages, the
usurer should make four-fold restitution. From this
we may judge how much less desirable a citizen they
esteemed the banker than the thief. When they
sought to commend an honest man, they termed him
good husbandman, good farmer. This they rated
the superlative of praise.' Personally, I think highly
1 It was perhaps this encomium upon the farmer at the expense
of the banker which inspired Horace's friend Alfius to withdraw
his capital from his banking business and dream a delicious idyl
of a simple carefree country life: but, it will be recalled (Epode
II, the famous "Beatus ille qui procul negotiis") that Alfius,
like many a modern amateur farmer, recruited from town,
soon repented that he had ever listened to the alluring call of
"back to the land" and after a few weeks of disillusion in the
country, returned to town and sought to get his money out
again at usury.
Columella (I, praef.) is not content with Cato's contrast of
the virtue of the farmer with the iniquity of the banker, but he
[19]







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

of a man actively and diligently engaged in com-
merce, who seeks thereby to make his fortune, yet,
as I have said, his career is full of risks and pitfalls.
But it is from the tillers of the soil that spring the
best citizens, the stanchest soldiers; and theirs are the
enduring rewards which are most grateful and least
envied. Such as devote themselves to that pursuit
are least of all men given to evil counsels.
And now, to get to my subject, these observations
will serve as preface to what I have promised to dis-
cuss.
Of buying a farm
(I) 1 When you have decided to purchase a farm,
be careful not to buy rashly; do not spare your visits
and be not content with a single tour of inspection.
brings in the lawyer's profession for animadversion also. This,
he says, the ancient Romans used to term a canine profession,
because it consisted in barking at the rich.
1 The Roman numerals at the beginning of the paragraphs
indicate the chapters of Cato from which they are translated.
If Cato had not pretended to despise every thing which smacked
of Greek literary art he might have edited and arranged his
material, in which event his book would have been easier to read
than it is, and no less valuable. Modern scholarship would not
now venture to perform such an office for such a result, because
it involves tampering with a text (as who should say, shooting
a fox!) and yet modern scholarship wonders at the decay of
classical studies in an impatient age. At the risk of anathema
the present version has attempted to group Cato's material,
and in so doing has omitted most of those portions which are
now of merely curious interest.
[20]







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

The more you go, the more will the place please you,
if it be worth your attention. Give heed to the ap-
pearance of the neighbourhood,-a flourishing coun-
try should show its prosperity. "When you go in,
look about, so that, when needs be, you can find your
way out."
Take care that you choose a good climate, not sub-
ject to destructive storms, and a soil that is naturally
strong. If possible, your farm should be at the foot
of a mountain, looking to the South, in a healthy
situation, where labour and cattle can be had, well
watered, near a good sized town, and either on the
sea or a navigable river, or else on a good and much
frequented road. Choose a place which has not often
changed ownership, one which is sold unwillingly,
that has buildings in good repair.
Beware that you do not rashly contemn the ex-
perience of others. It is better to buy from a man
who has farmed successfully and built well.'

1 This, of course, means buying at a high price, except in ex-
traordinary cases. There is another system of agriculture which
admits of the pride of making two blades of grass grow where
none was before, and the profit which comes of buying cheap
and selling dear. This is farming for improvement, an art
which was well described two hundred years before Cato.
Xenophon ((Economicus XX, 22) says:
"For those who are able to attend to their affairs, however,
and who will apply themselves to agriculture earnestly, my
father both practised himself and taught me a most successful
[211]







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

When you inspect the farm, look to see how many
wine presses and storage vats there are; where there
are none of these you can judge what the harvest is.
On the other hand, it is not the number of farming
implements, but what is done with them, that counts.
Where you find few tools, it is not an expensive farm
to operate. Know that with a farm, as with a man,
however productive it may be, if it has the spending
habit, not much will be left over.'

method of making profit; for he would never allow me to buy
ground already cultivated, but exhorted me to purchase such
as from want of care or want of means in those who had pos-
sessed it, was left untilled and unplanted. He used to say that
well cultivated land cost a great sum of money and admitted of
no improvement, and he considered that land which is unsus-
ceptible of improvement did not give the same pleasure to the
owner as other land, but he thought that whatever a person had
or bought up that was continually growing better afforded him
the highest gratification."
SEvery rural community in the Eastern part of the United
States has grown familiar with the contrast between the in-
telligent amateur, who, while endeavoring earnestly to set an
example of good agriculture, fails to make expenses out of his
land, and the born farmer who is self-supporting in the practice
of methods contemned by the agricultural colleges. Too often
the conclusion is drawn that scientific agriculture will not pay;
but Cato puts his finger on the true reason. The man who does
not depend on his land for his living too often permits his farm
to get what Cato calls the "spending habit." Pliny (H. N.
XVIII, 7) makes some pertinent observations on the subject:
"I may possibly appear guilty of some degree of rashness in
making mention of a maxim of the ancients which will very
probably be looked upon as quite incredible, 'that nothing is
[221







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

Of the duties of the owner

(II) When you have arrived at your country house
and have saluted your household, you should make
the rounds of the farm the same day, if possible; if
not, then certainly the next day. When you have
observed how the field work has progressed,' what

so disadvantageous as to cultivate land in the highest style of
perfection.'"
And he illustrates by the example of a Roman gentleman,
who, like Arthur Young in eighteenth century England, wasted a
large fortune in an attempt to bring his lands to perfect cultiva-
tion. "To cultivate land well is absolutely necessary," Pliny'
continues, "but to cultivate it in the very highest style is mere
extravagance, unless, indeed, the work is done by the hands
of a man's own family, his tenants, or those whom he is obliged
to keep at any rate."
1 In this practice has been the delight of men of affairs of all
ages who turn to agriculture for relaxation. Horace cites it
with telling effect in the ode (III, 5) in which he describes the
noble serenity of mind with which Regulus returned to the tor-
ture and certain death which awaited him at Carthage: and
Homer makes an enduring picture of it in the person of the King
supervising his fall ploughing, which Hephestus wrought upon
the shield of Achilles (Iliad, XVIII, 540). "Furthermore, he
set in the shield a soft fresh ploughed field, rich tilth and wide,
the third time ploughed, and many ploughers therein drove
their yokes to and fro as they wheeled about. Whensoever
they came to the boundary of the field and turned, then would
a man come to each and give into his hands a goblet of sweet
wine: while others would be turning back along the furrows,
fain to reach the boundary of the deep tilth, . and among
them the King was standing in silence, with his staff, rejoicing
in his heart."
[231






ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

things have been done, and what remains undone,
you should summon your overseer the next day, and
should call for a report of what work has been done
in good season and why it has not been possible to
complete the rest, and what wine and corn and other
crops have been gathered. When you are advised on
these points you should make your own calculation
of the time necessary for the work, if there does not
appear to you to have been enough accomplished.
The overseer will report that he himself has worked
diligently, but that some slaves have been sick and
others truant, the weather has been bad, and that it
has been necessary to work the public roads. When
he has given these and many other excuses, you
should recall to his attention the program of work
which you had laid out for him on your last visit
and compare it with the results attained. If the
weather has been bad, count how many stormy days
there have been, and rehearse what work could have
been done despite the rain, such as washing and
pitching the wine vats, cleaning out the barns, sort-
ing the grain, hauling out and composting the manure,
cleaning seed, mending the old gear, and making
new, mending the smocks and hoods furnished for
the hands. On feast days the old ditches should be
mended, the public roads worked, briers cut down,
the garden dug, the meadow cleaned, the hedges
[241






ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

trimmed and the clippings collected and burned, the
fish pond cleaned out. On such days, furthermore,
the slaves' rations should be cut down as compared
with what is allowed when they are working in the
fields in fine weather.
When this routine has been discussed quietly and
with good humour and is thoroughly understood by
the overseer, you should give orders for the comple-
tion of the work which has been neglected.
The accounts of money, supplies and provisions
should then be considered. The overseer should
report what wine and oil has been sold, what price
he got, what is on hand, and what remains for sale.
Security should be taken for such accounts as ought
to be secured. All other unsettled matters should
be agreed upon. If any thing is needed for the com-
ing year, it should be bought; every thing which is
not needed should be sold. Whatever there is for
lease should be leased. Orders should be given (and
take care that they are in writing) for all work which
next it is desired to have done on the farm or let to
contract. You should go over the cattle and deter-
mine what is to be sold. You should sell the oil, if
you can get your price, the surplus wine and corn,
the old cattle, the worn out oxen, and the cull sheep,
the wool and the hides, the old and sick slaves, and
if any thing else is.sqpe roflyo -y should sell that.
.. ..... '.' .""-- ,,

9. ... .:; :. "







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

The appetite of the good farmer is to sell, not to
buy.'
(IV) Be a good neighbour. Do not roughly give
offence to your own people. If the neighbourhood
regards you kindly, you will find a readier market for
what you have to sell, you will more easily get your
work done, either on the place or by contract. If
you build, your neighbours will aid you with their
services, their cattle and their materials. If any mis-
fortune should overtake you (which God forbid!)
they will protect you with kindly interest.2
SThis advice to sell the worn out oxen and the sick slaves
justly excited Plutarch's generous scorn, and has been made
the text of a sweeping denunciation by Mommsen of the practice
of husbandry by men of affairs in Cato's time. "The whole
system," says Mommsen, "was pervaded by the utterly unscru-
pulous spirit characteristic of the power of capital." And he
adds, "If we have risen to that little-to-be-envied elevation of
thought which values no feature of an economy save the capital
invested in it, we cannot deny to the management of the Roman
estates the praise of consistency, energy, punctuality, frugality
and solidity." Without any desire to defend Cato, one may
suggest, out of an experience in a kind of farm management
not very different from that Cato pictures, that it is doubtful
whether even Cato himself was quite as economical and efficient,
and so as capitalistic in his farming, as he advises others to be:
certainly a whole race of contemporary country gentlemen was
not equal to it. It is much easier to write about business-like
farming than to practise it.
2 Hesiod (W. & D. 338) had already given this same advice
to the Greek farmer:
"Invite the man that loves thee to a feast, but let alone thine
enemy, and especially..iipi'cte .hm knt.a'dwyJleth near thee, for

... .. ... ... .. .. ..
:..:...: ... ........

.. . ...........







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

Of laying out the farm

(I) If you ask me what is the best disposition to
make of your estate, I would say that should you
have bought a farm of one hundred jugera (about 66
acres) all told,' in the best situation, it should be
planted as follows: I o a vineyard, if it promises a
good yield, 2z an irrigated garden, 30 an osier bed, 40

if, mark you, any thing untoward shall have happened at home
neighbours are wont to come ungirt, but kinsfolk gird them-
selves first." This agreement of the Socialist Hesiod with the
Capitalist Cato is remarkable only as it illustrates that both
systems when wisely expounded rest on human nature. That
upon which they here agree is the foundation of the modern
European societies for rural co-operative credit which President
Taft recommended to the American people. These societies,
says the bulletin of the International Institute of Agriculture
published at Rorle in 1912, rest on three chief safeguards:
(a) That membership is confined to persons residing within
a small district, and, therefore, the members are personally
known to one another;
(b) That the members, being mutually responsible, it will be
to the interest of all members to keep an eye upon a borrower
and to see that he makes proper use of the money lent to him;
(c) That in like manner, it is to the interest of all members
to help a member when he is in difficulties.
1 This was an estate of average size, probably within Virgil's
precept, (Georgic II, 412). "Laudato ingentia rura, exiguum
colito." Some scholars have deemed this phrase a quotation
from Cato, but it is more likely derived from Mago the Cartha-
ginian who is reported to have said: "Imbecilliorem agrum
quam agricolam, esse debere,"-the farmer should be bigger
than his farm.
[271







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

an olive yard, 50 a meadow, 60a corn field, 70 a wood
lot, 80 a cultivated orchard, and 90 a mast grove.'
(III) In his youth, the farmer ought, diligently
to plant his land, but he should ponder before he
builds. Planting does not require reflection, but de-
mands action. It is time enough to build when you
have reached your thirty-sixth year, if you have
farmed your land well meanwhile. When you do
build, let your buildings be proportioned to your
estate, and your estate to your buildings.2 It is
1 The philosophy of Cato's plan of laying out a farm is found
in the agricultural history of the Romans down to the time of
the Punic wars. Mommsen (II, 370) gives the facts, and Ferrero
in his first volume makes brilliant use of them. There is sketched
the old peasant aristocrat living on his few acres, his decay and
the creation of comparatively large estates worked by slaves in
charge of overseers, which followed the conquest of the Italian
states about B. C. 300. This was the civilization in which Cato
had been reared, but in his time another important change was
taking place. The Roman frontier was again widened by the
conquest of the Mediterranean basin: the acquisition of Sicily
and Sardinia ended breadstuff farming as the staple on the
Italian peninsular. The competition of the broad and fertile
acres of those great Islands had the effect in Italy which the
cultivation of the Dakota wheat lands had upon the grain farm-
ing of New York and Virginia. About 150 B. C. the vine and
the olive became the staples of Italy and corn was superseded.
Although this was not accomplished until after Cato's death,
he foresaw it, and recommended that a farm be laid out accord-
ingly, and his scheme of putting one's reliance upon the vine
and the olive was doubtless very advanced doctrine, when it
first found expression.
2 Pliny quotes Cato as advising to buy what others have built
[28]







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

fitting that the farm buildings should be well con-
structed, that you should have ample oil cellars and
wine vats, and a good supply of casks, so that you
can wait for high prices, something which will re-
dound to your honour, your profit and your self-
respect.
(IV) Build your dwelling house in accordance with
your means. If you build well in a good situation
and on a good property, and furnish the house suit-
ably for country life, you will come there more often
and more willingly.' The farm will then be better,
fewer mistakes will be made, and you will get larger
crops. The face of the master is good for the land.2
rather than build oneself, and thus, as he says, enjoy the fruits
of another's folly. The cacoethes edificandi is a familiar disease
among country gentlemen.
1 Columella (I, 4) makes the acute observation that the coun-
try house should also be agreeable to the owner's wife if he
wishes to get the full measure of enjoyment out of it. Mago, the
Carthaginian, advised to, "if you buy a farm, sell your house in
town, lest you be tempted to prefer the cultivation of the urban
gods to those of the country."
2According to German scholarship the accepted text of
Cato's version of this immemorial epigram is a model of the
brevity which is the test of wit, "Frons occipitio prior est." Pliny
probably quoting from memory, expands it to "Frons domini
plus prodest quam occipitium." Palladius (I, 6) gives another
version: "Presentia domini provectus est agri." It is found in
some form in almost every book on agriculture since Cato, until
we reach the literature in which science has taken the place of
wisdom-in the Byzantine Geoponica, the Italian Crescenzi, the
Dutch Heresbach, the French Maison Rustique, and the English
[29]







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

(VI) Plant elm trees along the roads and fence
rows, so that you may have the leaves to feed the
sheep and cattle, and the timber will be available if
you need it. If any where there are banks of streams
or wet places, there plant reeds; and surround them
with willows that the osiers may serve to tie the vines.
(VII) It is most convenient to set out the land
nearest the house as an orchard, whence fire wood
and faggots may be sold and the supply of the master
obtained. In this enclosure should be planted every
thing fitting to the land and vines should be married
to the trees.'

Gervase Markham. Poor Richard's Almanack gives it twice, as
" the foot of a master is the best manure" and "the eye of a
master will do more work than both his hands." It is perennial
in its appeal. The present editor saw it recently in the German
comic paper Fliegende Bldtter. But the jest is much older than
Cato. It appears in MEschylus, Persc, 171 and Xenophon em-
ploys it in (Economicus (XII, 2o):
"The reply attributed to the barbarian," added Ischomachus,
"appears to me to be exceedingly to the purpose, for when the
King of Persia having met with a fine horse and wishing to have
it fattened as soon as possible, asked one of those who were con-
sidered knowing about horses what would fatten a horse soonest,
it is said that he answered 'the master's eye.'"
1 The English word "orchard" scarcely translates arbustum,
but every one who has been in Italy will recall the endless pro-
cession of small fields of maize and rye and alfalfa through
which serried ranks of mulberry or feathery elm trees, linked
with the charming drop and garland of the vines, seem to dance
toward one in the brilliant sunlight, like so many Greek maidens
on a frieze. These are arbusta.
[30]







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

(VIII) Near the house lay out also a garden with
garland flowers and vegetables of all kinds, and
set it about with myrtle hedges, both white and
black, as well as Delphic and Cyprian laurel.

Of stocking the farm
(X) An olive farm of two hundred and forty
jugera (160 acres) ought to be stocked as follows: an
overseer, a house keeper, five labourers, three ox
drivers, one swineherd, one ass driver, one shepherd;
in all thirteen hands: three pair of oxen,2 three asses
1 Cato was a strong advocate of the cabbage; he called it the
best of the vegetables and urged that it be planted in every
garden for health and happiness. Horace records (Odes. III,
zi, II) that old Cato's virtue was frequently warmed with wine,
and Cato himself explains (CLVI) how this could be accom-
plished without loss of dignity, for, he says, if, after you have
dined well, you will eat five cabbage leaves they will make you
feel as if you had had nothing to drink, so that you can drink
as much more as you wish-"bibesque quantum voles!"
This was an ancient Egyptian precaution which the Greeks
had learned. Cf. Atheneus, I, 62.
2 Henry Home, Lord Kames, a Scots judge of the eighteenth
century, whom Dr. Johnson considered a better farmer than
judge and a better judge than scholar, but who had many of
the characteristics of our priscus Cato, argues (following an
English tradition which had previously been voiced by Walter of
Henley and Sir Anthony Fitzherbert) in his ingenious Gentleman
Farmer against the expense of ploughing with horses and urges a
return to oxen. He points out that horses involve a large orig-
inal investment, are worn out in farm work, and after their
prime steadily depreciate in value; while, on the other hand, the
ox can be fattened for market when his usefulness as a draught
[3 ]







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

with pack saddles, to haul out the manure, one other
ass to turn the mill, and one hundred sheep.1

Of the duties of the overseer 2
(V) These are the duties of the overseer: He should
maintain discipline. He should observe the feast
days. He should respect the rights of others and
steadfastly uphold his own. He should settle all
quarrels among the hands; if any one is at fault he
should administer the punishment. He should take
care that no one on the place is in want, or lacks food
or drink; in this respect he can afford to be generous,

animal is over, and then sell for more than his original cost;
that he is less subject to infirmities than the horse; can be fed
per tractive unit more economically and gives more valuable
manure. These are strong arguments where the cost of human
labour is small and economical farm management does not re-
quire that the time of the ploughman shall be limited if the
unit cost of ploughing is to be reasonable. The ox is slow, but
in slave times he might reasonably have been preferred to the
horse. Today Lord Kames, (or even old Hesiod, who urged
that a ploughman of forty year and a yoke of eight year steers
be employed because they turned a more deliberate and so a
better furrow) would be considering the economical practica-
bility of the gasolene motor as tractive power for a gang of
"crooked" ploughs.
1 Cato adds a long list of implements and other necessary
equipment.
2 The Roman overseer was usually a superior, and often a
much indulged, slave. Cf. Horace's letter (Epist. I, 14) to his
overseer.
[321






ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

for he will thus more easily prevent picking and steal-
ing.'
Unless the overseer is of evil mind, he will himself
do no wrong, but if he permits wrong-doing by others,
the master should not suffer such indulgence to pass
with impunity. He should show appreciation of
courtesy, to encourage others to practise it. He
should not be given to gadding or conviviality, but
should be always sober. He should keep the hands
busy, and should see that they do what the master
has ordered. He should not think that he knows
more than his master. The friends of the master
should be his friends, and he should give heed to those
whom the master has recommended to him. He
should confine his religious practices to church on
Sunday, or to his own house.2
He should lend money to no man unbidden by the
master, but what the master has lent he should col-
lect. He should never lend any seed reserved for
1 This was the traditional wisdom which was preached also
in Virginia in slave times. In his Arator (1817) Col. John Taylor
of Caroline says of agricultural slaves:
"The best source for securing their happiness, their honesty
and their usefulness is their food. . One great value of es-
tablishing a comfortable diet for slaves is its convenience as an
instrument of reward and punishment, so powerful as almost to
abolish the thefts which often diminish considerably the owner's
ability to provide for them."
2 Reading "compitalibus in compito," literally "the cross
roads altar on festival days."
[331







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT
sowing, feed, corn, wine, or oil, but he should have
relations with two or three other farms with which
he can exchange things needed in emergency. He
should state his accounts with his master frequently.
He should not keep any hired men or day hands
longer than is necessary. He should not sell any
thing without the knowledge of the master, nor
should he conceal any thing from the master. He
should not have any hangers-on, nor should he con-
sult any soothsayer, fortune teller, necromancer, or
astrologer. He should not spare seed in sowing, for
that is bad economy. He should strive to be expert
in all kinds of farm work, and, without exhausting
himself, often lend a hand. By so doing, he will
better understand the point of view of his hands,
and they will work more contentedly; moreover, he
will have less inclination to gad, his health will be
better, and he will sleep more refreshingly.
First up in the morning, he should be the last to
go to bed at night; and before he does, he should see
that the farm gates are closed, and that each of the
hands is in his own bed, that the stock have been
fed. He should see that the best of care is taken of
the oxen, and should pay the highest compliments
to the teamsters who keep their cattle in the best
condition. He should see to it that the ploughs and
plough shares are kept in good repair. Plan all the
[341







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

work in ample time, for so it is with farm work, if
one thing is done late, every thing will be late.
(XXXIX) When it rains try to find some thing to
do indoors. Clean up, rather than remain idle. Re-
member that while work may stop, expenses still
go on.
Of the duties of the housekeeper
(CXLIII) The overseer should be responsible for
the duties of the housekeeper. If the master has
given her to you for a wife, you should be satisfied.
with her, and she should respect you. Require that.
she be not given to wasteful habits; that she does not.
gossip with the neighbours and other women. She
should not receive visitors either in the kitchen or
in her own quarters. She should not go out to parties,
nor should she gad about.1 She should not practise
1 It is evident that Cato's housekeeper would have welcomed
a visit from Mr. Roosevelt's Rural Uplift Commission. We
may add to this Sir Anthony Fitzherbert's description of the
duties of a farmer's wife in sixteenth century England:
"It is a wyues occupation 'to wynowe all maner of comes,
to make malte, to wasshe and wrynge, to make heye, shere
come, and in tyme of nede to helpe her husband to fyll the
mucke-wayne or dounge-carte, dryue the ploughe, to loode hey,
corne and such other. And to go or ride to the market, to sel
butter, chese, mylke, egges, chekyns, capons, hennes, pygges,
gese, and all maner of comes. And also to bye all maner of
necessary thynges belongynge to houssholde, and to make a
trewe rekenynge and acompte to her husband what she hath
payed."
[351







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

religious observances, nor should she ask others to
do so for her without the permission of the master
or the mistress. Remember that the master practises
religion for the entire household. She should be neat
in appearance and should keep the house swept and
garnished. Every night before she goes to bed she
should see that the hearth is swept and clean. On
the Kalends, the Ides, the Nones, and on all feast
days, she should hang a garland over the hearth.
On those days also she should pray fervently to the
household gods. She should take care that she has
food cooked for you and for the hands. She should
have plenty of chickens and an abundance of eggs.'
She should diligently put up all kinds of preserves
every year.
Of the hands
(LVI) The following are the customary allowances
for food: For the hands, four pecks of meal for the
Sir Anthony Fitzherbert (1470-1538) was the English judge
whose law books are, or should be, known to all lawyers. His
Boke of Husbandry, published in 1534, is one of the classics of
English agriculture, and justly, for it is full of shrewd observa-
tion and deliberate wisdom expressed in a virile style, with
agreeable leaven of piety and humour. Fitzherbert anticipated
a modern poet, Henley, in one of his most happy phrases:
"Ryght so euery man is capitayne of his owne soule". The
Husbandry is best available to the modern reader in the edition
by Skeat published for the English Dialect Society in 1882.
SCato is careful not to undertake to say how this may be as-
sured; another evidence of his wisdom.
[36]






ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

winter, and four and one-half for the summer. For
the overseer, the housekeeper, the wagoner, the
shepherd, three pecks each. For the slaves, four
pounds of bread for the winter, but when they begin
to cultivate the vines this is increased to five pounds
until the figs are ripe, then return to four pounds.
(LVII) The sum of the wine allowed for each hand
per annum is eight quadrantals, or Amphora, but
add in the proportion as they do work. Ten quad-
rantals per annum is not too much to allow them to
drink.
(LVIII) Save the wind fall olives as much as pos-
sible as relishes for the hands. Later set aside such
of the ripe olives as will make the least oil. Be
careful to make them go as far as possible. When
the olives are all eaten, give them fish pickles and
vinegar. One peck of salt per annum is enough for
each hand.
(LIX) Allow each hand a smock and a cloak every
other year. As often as you give out a smock or
cloak to any one take up the old one, so that caps
can be made out of it. A pair of heavy wooden shoes
should be allowed every other year.

Of draining
(XLIII) If the land is wet, it should be drained
with trough shaped ditches dug three feet wide at
[371






ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

the surface and one foot at the bottom and four feet
deep. Blind these ditches with rock. If you have
no rock then fill them with green willow poles braced
crosswise. If you have no poles, fill then with fag-
gots. Then dig lateral trenches three feet deep and
four feet wide in such way that the water will flow
from the trenches into the ditches.
(CLV) In the winter surface water should be
drained off the fields. On hillsides courses should be
kept clear for the water to flow off. During the
rainy season at the beginning of Autumn is the great-
est risk from water. When it begins to rain all the
hands should go out with picks and shovels and clear
out the drains so that the water may flow off into
the roads, and the crops be protected.
Of preparing the seed bed
(LXI) What is the first principle of good agricul-
ture? To plough well. What is the second? To
plough again; and the third is to manure. When you
plough corn land, plough well and in good weather,
lest you turn a cloddy furrow. The other things of
good agriculture are to sow seed plentifully, to thin
the young sprouts, and to hill up the roots with earth.
(V) Never plough rotten land nor drive flocks
or carts across it.
1 In his instructive discourse on ploughing, Columella (II, 4)
[38]







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT


If care is not taken about this, the land so abused
will be barren for three years.

gives the key to Cato's warning against ploughing land when it
is in the condition he calls rotten (cariosa):
"Rich land, which holds moisture a long time, should be
broken up (proscindere) at the season when the weather is be-
ginning to be warm and the weeds are developing, so that none
of their seed may mature: but it should be ploughed with such
close furrows that one can with difficulty distinguish where the
plough share has been, for in that way all the weeds are uprooted
and destroyed.
"The spring ploughing should be followed up with frequent
stirring of the soil until it is reduced to dust, so that there may
be no necessity, or very little, of harrowing after the land is
seeded: for the ancient Romans said that a field was badly
ploughed which had to be harrowed after the seed had been
sown.
"A farmer should himself make sure that his ploughing has
been well done, not alone by inspection, for the eye is often
amused by a smooth surface which in fact conceals clods, but
also by experiment, which is less likely to be deceived, as by
driving a stout stick through the furrows: if it penetrates the
soil readily and without obstruction, it will be evident that all
the land there about is in good order: but if some part harder
than the rest resists the pressure, it will be clear that the plough-
ing has been badly done. When the ploughmen see this done
from time to time they are not guilty of clod hopping.
"Hence wet land should be broken up after the Ides of April,
and, when it has been ploughed at that season, it should be
worked again, after an interval of twenty days, about the time
of the solstice, which is the eighth or ninth day before the Ka-
lends of July, and again the third time about the Kalends of
September, for it is not the practice of experienced farmers to
till the land in the interval after the summer solstice, unless the
ground shall have been soaked with a heavy down-pour of sud-
den rain, like those of winter, as does some times happen at this
[391








ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

Of manure

(V) Plan to have a big compost heap and take the
best of care of the manure. When it is hauled out see
that it is well rotted and spread. The Autumn is the
time to do this.
(XXXVII) You can make manure of litter, lupine
straw, chaff, bean stalks, husks and the leaves of ilex
and of oak.'
season. In that event there is no reason why the fallow should
not be cultivated during the month of July. But when you do
till at this season beware lest the land be worked while it is
muddy: or when, having been sprinkled by a shower, it is in the
condition which the country people call varia and cariosa, that
is to say, when, after a long drought, a light rain has moistened
the surface of the upturned sod but has not soaked to the bottom
of the furrow.
"Those plough lands which are cultivated when they are
miry are rendered useless for an entire year-they can be neither
seeded nor harrowed nor hoed-but those which are worked
when they are in the state which has been described as varia,
remain sterile for three years on end. We should, therefore,
follow a medium course and plough when the land neither lacks
moisture nor yet is deep in marsh.
1 Columella (II, 13) justly says about manure, "Wherefore
if it is, as it would seem to be, the thing of the greatest value to
the farmer, I consider that it should be studied with the greatest
care, especially since the ancient authors, while they have not
altogether neglected it, have nevertheless discussed it with too
little elaboration." He goes on (II, 14) to lay down rules about
the compost heap which should be written in letters of gold in
every farm house.
"I appreciate that there are certain kinds of farms on which
it is impossible to keep either live stock or birds, yet even in such
[40]







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

(XXX) Fold your sheep on the land which you
are about to seed, and there feed them leaves.1

Of soil improvement

(XXXVII) The things which are harmful to corn
land are to plough the ground when it is rotten, and to
plant chick peas which are harvested with the straw
and are salt. Barley, fenugreek and pulse all exhaust
corn land, as well as all other things which are har-
vested with the straw. Do not plant nut trees in the
places it is a lazy farmer who lacks manure: for he can collect
leaves, rubbish from the hedge rows, and droppings from the
high ways: without giving offence, and indeed earning gratitude,
he can cut ferns from his neighbour's land: and all these things
he can mingle with the sweepings of the courtyard: he can dig a
pit, like that we have counselled for the protection of stable
manure, and there mix together ashes, sewage, and straw, and
indeed every waste thing which is swept up on the place. But
it is wise to bury a piece of oak wood in the midst of this com-
post, for that will prevent venomous snakes from lurking in it.
This will suffice for a farm without live stock."
One can see in Flanders today the happy land smiling its
appreciation of farm management such as this, but what Amer-
ican farmer has yet learned this kind of conservation of his
natural resources.
1 The occupants of the motor cars which now roll so swiftly
and so comfortably along the French national highway from
Paris to Tours, through the pleasant pays de Beauce, can see
this admirable and economical method of manuring still in prac-
tice. The sheep are folded and fed at night, under the watchful
eye of the shepherd stretched at ease in his wheeled cabin, on
the land which was ploughed the day before.
[411]







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

corn land. On the other hand, lupines, field beans
and vetch manure corn land.'
(VI) Where the soil is rich and fertile, without
shade, there the corn land ought to be. Where the
land lies low, plant rape, millet, and panic grass.
Of forage crops
(VIII) If you have a water meadow you will not
want forage, but if not then sow an upland meadow,
so that hay may not be lacking.
(LIII) Save your hay when the times comes, and
beware lest you mow too late. Mow before the seed
is ripe. House the best hay by itself, so that you may
1 These of course are all legumes. The intelligent farmer
today sits under his shade tree and meditates comfortably upon
the least expensive and most profitable labour on his farm, the
countless millions of beneficent bacteria who, his willing slaves,
are ceaselessly at work during hot weather forming root tubercles
on his legumes, be it clover -or cow peas, and so fixing for their
lord the free atmospheric nitrogen contained in the soil. As
Macaulay would say, "every school boy knows" now that le-
guminous root nodules are endotrophic mycorrhiza,-but the
Romans did not! Nevertheless their empirical practice of soil
improvement with legumes was quite as good as ours. Varro
(I, 23) explains the Roman method of green manuring more
fully than Cato. Columella (II, 13) insists further that if the
hay is saved the stubble of legumes should be promptly ploughed
for he says the roots will evaporate their own moisture and
continue to pump the land of its fertility unless they are at once
turned over.
If the Romans followed this wise advice they were better
farmers than most of us today, for we are usually content to
let the stubble dry out before ploughing.
[42Y].






ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

feed it to the draft cattle during the spring plough-
ing, before the clover is mature.
(XXVII) Sow, for feed for the cattle, clover,
vetch, fenugreek, field beans and pulse. Sow these
crops a second and a third time.

Of planting
(XXXIV) Wherever the land is cold and wet,
sow there first, and last of all in the warmest places.

Of pastures
(L) Manure the pastures in early spring in the
dark of the moon, when the west wind begins to
blow. When you close your pastures (to the stock)
clean them and root out all weeds.

Of feeding live stock
(XXX) As long as they are available, feed green
leaves of elm, poplar, oak and fig to your cattle and
sheep.
(V) Store leaves, also, to be fed to the sheep before
they have withered.'
(XXX) Take the best of care of your dry fodder,
1 Was this ensilage? The ancients had their silo pits, but
they used them chiefly as granaries, and as such they are de-
scribed, by Varro (I, 57, 63), by Columella (I, 6), and by Pliny
(XVIII, 30, 73).
[431






ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

which you house for the winter, and remember always
how long the winter may last.
(IV) Be sure you have well constructed stables
furnished with substantial stalls and equipped with
latticed feed racks. The intervals between the bars
of the racks should be one foot. If you build them
in this way, the cattle will not waste their food.
(LIV) This is the way that provender should be
prepared and fed: When the seeding is finished, gather
mast and soak it in water. Feed a measure of it
every day to each steer; or if they have not been
worked it will be sufficient to let them pasture the
mast beds. Another good feed is a measure of grape
husks which you shall have preserved in jars. By
day turn the cattle out and at night feed twenty-five
pounds of hay to each steer. If hay is short, feed
the leaves of the ilex and ivy.' Stack the straw of
wheat, barley, beans, vetch and lupine, indeed all
the grain straws, but pick out and house the best of it.
Scatter your straw with salt and you can then feed
it in place of hay. When in the spring you begin to
feed (more heavily to prepare for work), feed a meas-
ure of mast or of grape husks, or a measure of ground
lupines, and fifteen pounds of hay. When the clover
1 The extravagant American farmer has not yet learned to
feed the leaves of trees, but in older and more economical civili-
zations the practice is still observed.
[441






ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

is ripe, feed that first. Gather it by hand so that it
will bloom a second time, for what you harvest with
the sickle blooms no more. Feed clover until it is
dry, then feed vetch and then panic grass, and after
the panic grass feed elm leaves. If you have poplar,
mix that with the elm so that the elm may last the
longer. If you have no elm feed oak and fig leaves.
Nothing is more profitable than to take good care
of your cattle.
Cattle should not be put out to graze except in
winter when they are not worked; for when they eat
green stuff they expect it all the time, and it is then
necessary to muzzle them while they plough.
Of the care of live stock
(V) The flocks and herds should be well supplied
with litter and their feet kept clean. If litter is short,
haul in oak leaves, they will serve as bedding for
sheep and cattle. Beware of scab among the sheep and
cattle. This comes from hunger and exposure to rain.
(LXXII) To prevent the oxen from wearing down
their hoofs, anoint the bottom of the hoof with liquid
pepper before driving them on the highroad.
(LXXIII) Take care that during the summer the
cattle drink only sweet and fresh water. Their
health depends on it.
(XCVI) To prevent scab among sheep, make a
[451







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

mixture of equal parts of well strained amurca,1 of
water in which lupine has been steeped, and of lees
of good Wine. After shearing, anoint all the flock with
this mixture, and let them sweat profusely for two
or three days. Then dip them in the sea. If you have
no sea water, make salt water and dip then in that.
If you will do this they will suffer no scab, they will
have more and better wool and they will not be
molested by ticks.
(LXXI) If an ox begins to sicken, give him with-
out delay a raw hen's egg and make him swallow it
whole. The next day make him drink from a wooden
bowl a measure of wine in which has been scraped
the head of an onion. Both the ox and his attendant
should do these things fasting and standing upright.
(CII) If a serpent shall bite an ox, or any other
quadruped, take a cup of that extract of fennel,
which the physicians call smyrnean, and mix it with
a measure of old wine. Inject this through his nos-
trils and at the same time poultice the wound with
hogs' dung.2 You can treat a man the same way.
1 Amurca was the dregs of olive oil. Cato recommends its
use for many purposes in the economy of the farm, for a moth
proof (XCVIII), as a relish for cattle (CIII), as a fertilizer
(CXXX), and as an anointment for the threshing floor to kill
weevil (XCI).
2 There is a similar remedy for scratches in horses, which is
traditional in the cavalry service today, and is extraordinarily
efficacious.
[46]







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT
(CLX) If a bone is dislocated it can be made
sound by this incantation. Take a green reed four
or five feet long, cut it in the middle and let two men
hold the pieces against your hips. Begin then to
chant as follows:
"In Alio. S. F. Motas Vaeta,
Daries Dardaries Astataries Dissunapiter"
and continue until the free ends of the reed are
brought slowly together in front of you. Meanwhile,
wave a knife above the reeds, and when they come
together and one touches the other, seize them in
your hand and cut them right and left. These pieces
of reed bound upon a dislocated or i-actured bone
will cure it.
But every day repeat the incantation, or in place
of it this one:
"Huat Hanat Huat
Ista Pista Sista
Domiabo Damnaustra" 1
1 These examples will serve to illustrate how far Cato's vet-
erinary science was behind his agriculture, and what a curious
confusion of native good sense and traditional superstition there
was in his method of caring for his live stock. On questions of
preventing malady he had the wisdom of experience, but malady
once arrived he was a simple pagan. There was a notable ad-
vance in the Roman knowledge of how to treat sick cattle in the
century after Cato. Cf. Varro, II, 5.
The words of the incantations themselves are mere sound
and fury signifying nothing, like the "counting out" rhythms
used by children at their games.
[47]






ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

Of cakes and salad 1
(LXXV) This is the recipe for cheese cake (libum):
Bray well two pounds of cheese in a mortar, and,
when this is done, pour in a pound of corn meal (or,
if you want to be more dainty, a half pound of flour)
and mix it thoroughly with the cheese. Add one egg
and beat it well. Pat into a cake, place it on leaves
and bake slowly on a hot hearth stone under a
dish.
(CXIX) This is the recipe for olive salad (epity-
rum): Select some white, black and mottled olives and
stone them. Mix and cut them up. Add a dressing of
oil, vinegar, coriander, cumin, fennel, rue and mint.
Mix well in an earthen ware dish, and serve with oil.
(CXXI) This is the recipe for must cake (musta-
ceus): Sprinkle a peck of wheat flour with must. Add
anise, cumin, two pounds of lard, a pound of cheese
and shredded laurel twigs. When you have kneaded
the dough, put laurel leaves under it and so bake.
1 Cato gives many recipes of household as well as agricultural
economy. Out of respect for the pure food law most of them
have been here suppressed, but these samples are ventured
because Varro mentions them and the editor is advised that
some enterprising young ladies in Wisconsin have recently
had the courage to put them to the test, and vow that they ate
their handiwork! As they live to tell the tale, it is assumed
that the recipes are harmless.


[48







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

Of curing hams
(CLXII) This is the way to cure hams in jars or
tubs: When you have bought your hams trim off the
hocks. Take a half peck (semodius) of ground Roman
salt for each ham. Cover the bottom of the jar or
tub with salt and put in a ham, skin down. Cover
the whole with salt and put another ham on top,
and cover this in the same manner. Be careful that
meat does not touch meat. So proceed, and when
you have packed all the hams, cover the top with
salt so that no meat can be seen, and smooth it out
even. When the hams have been in salt five days,
take them all out with the salt and repack them, put-
ting those which were on top at the bottom. Cover
them in the same way with salt and press them down.
After the twelfth day remove the hams finally,
brush off the salt and hang them for two days in the
wind. On the third day wipe them off clean with a
sponge and rub them with (olive) oil. Then hang
them in smoke for two days, and on the third day
rub them with a mixture of (olive) oil and vinegar.
Then hang them in the meat house, and neither
bats nor worms will touch them.1
1 Cf. the following traditional formula as practised in Virginia:
A VIRGINIA RECIPE FOR CURING HAMS
"Rub each ham separately with Y2 teaspoonful of saltpetre
(use a small spoon); then rub each ham with a large tablespoon-
[491







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

ful of best black pepper; then rub each ham with a gill of mo-
lasses (black strap is best).
Then for I,ooo lbs. of ham take
3Y4 pecks of coarse salt,
234 lbs. of saltpetre,
2 qts. hickory ashes,
2 qts. molasses,
2 teacupfuls of red pepper.
Mix all together on the salting table. Then rub each ham with
this mixture, and, in packing, spread some of it on each layer of
ham. Use no more salt than has been mixed. Pack skin down
and let stand for five weeks, then hang in the smoke house for
five or six weeks, and smoke in damp weather, using hickory
wood."
As a ham, however well cured, is of no use to civilized man
until it is cooked, and as this crowning mystery is seldom re-
vealed out of Virginia, it may not be out of place to record here
the process:
A VIRGINIA RECIPE FOR COOKING HAMS
Soak over night in cold water, having first scrubbed the ham
with a small brush to remove all the pepper, saltpetre, etc.,
left from the curing process.
Put on to boil next morning in tepid water, skin downwards,
letting it simmer on back of stove, never to boil hard. This
takes about four hours (or until it is done, when the ham is
supposed to turn over, skin upwards, of its own accord, as it
will if the boiler is large enough). Set aside over another night
in the water it has boiled in.
The following day, skin and bake in the oven, having cov-
ered the ham well with brown sugar, basting at intervals with
cider. When it is well baked, take it out of the oven and baste
another ten to twenty minutes in the pan on top of the stove.
The sugar crust should be quite brown and crisp when done.

To be thoroughly appreciated a ham should be carved on the
table, by a pretty woman. A thick slice of ham is a crime
against good breeding.
[501







VARRO'S RERUM RUSTICARUM
LIBRI TRES

BOOK I

THE HUSBANDRY OF AGRICULTURE
Introduction: the literary tradition of country life
I
AD I leisure, Fundania, this book
would be more worthy of you, but I
write as best I may, conscious always
of the necessity of haste: for, if, as the
saying is, all life is but a bubble, the
more fragile is that of an old man, and my eightieth
year admonishes me to pack my fardel and prepare
for the long journey.
You have bought a farm and wish to increase its
fertility by good cultivation, and you ask me what
I would do with it were it mine. Not only while I
am still alive will I try to advise you in this, but I
will make my counsel available to you after I am
dead. For as it befel the Sibyl to have been of service
to mankind not alone while she lived, but even to
the uttermost generations of men after her demise
(for we are wont after so many years still to have
solemn recourse to her books for guidance in inter-
pretation of strange portents), so may not I, while
I still live, bequeath my counsel to my nearest and
[I ]







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

dearest.1 I will then write three books for you, to
which you may have recourse for guidance in all
things which must be done in the management of a
farm.
And since, as men say, the gods aid those who
propitiate them, I will begin my book by invoking
divine approval, not like Homer and Ennius, from
the Muses, nor indeed from the twelve great gods
of the city whose golden images stand in the forum,
six male and as many female, but from a solemn
council of those twelve divinities who are the tute-
laries of husbandmen.

First: I call upon Father Jupiter and Mother
I It is interesting that Varro has realized the hope, here ex-
pressed, that his wisdom might survive for the benefit of the
"uttermost generations of men" only in the case of this treatise
on Husbandry among the many monuments of his industry and
learning. Petrarch in his Epistle to Varro in that first delightful
book of Letters to Dead Authors (de rebus familiaribus XXIV, 6)
rehearses the loss of Varro's books and, adapting the thought
here expressed in the text, regrets for that reason that Varro
cannot be included in that company of men "whom we love even
after their death owing to the good and righteous deeds that
live after them, men who mold our character by their teaching
and comfort us by their example, when the rest of mankind
offends both our eyes and our nostrils; men who, though they
have gone hence to the common abode of all (as Plautus says
in Casina), nevertheless continue to be of service to the living."
If Petrarch had been a farmer he might have saved some of his
regret, for Varro is surely, by virtue of the Rerum Rusticarum, a
member of the fellowship Petrarch describes.
[52]






ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

Earth, who fecundate all the processes of agriculture
in the air and in the soil, and hence are called the
great parents.
Second: I invoke the Sun and the Moon by whom
the seasons for sowing and reaping are measured.
Third: I invoke Ceres and Bacchus because the
fruits they mature are most necessary to life, and
by their aid the land yields food and drink.
Fourth: I invoke Robigus and Flora by whose
influence the blight is kept from crop and tree, and
in due season they bear fruit (for which reason is the
annual festival of the robigalia celebrated in honour
of Robigus, and that of the floralia in honour of
Flora).1
Next: I supplicate Minerva, who protects the olive;
and Venus, goddess of the garden, wherefore is she
worshipped at the rural wine festivals.
And last: I adjure Lympha, goddess of the foun-
tains, and Bonus Eventus, god of good fortune, since
without water all vegetation is starved and stunted
and without due order and good luck all tillage is in
vain.

And so having paid my duty to the gods, I pro-
ceed to rehearse some conversations2 concerning
1 Varro was essentially an antiquary and it is amusing to ob-
serve that he is unable to suppress his learning even in his prayers.
One is reminded of the anecdote of the New England minister,
who, in the course of an unctuous prayer, proclaimed, with magis-
terial authority, "Paradoxical as it may appear, O Lord, it is
nevertheless true, etc."
2 Following Plato and Xenophon and Cicero, Varro cast his
[53]






ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

agriculture in which I have recently taken part.
From them you will derive all the practical instruc-
tion you require, but in case any thing is lacking and
you wish further authority, I refer you to the treatises
of the Greeks and of our own countrymen.
The Greek writers who have treated incidentally
of agriculture are more than fifty in number. Those
whom you may consult with profit are Hieron of
Sicily and Attalus Philometor, among the philos-
ophers; Democritus the physicist; Xenophon the
disciple of Socrates; Aristotle and Theophrastus, the
peripatetics; Archytas the pythagorean; likewise the
Athenian Amphilochus, Anaxipolis of Thasos, Apollo-
dorus of Lemnos, Aristophanes of Mallos, Antigonus
of Cyme, Agathocles of Chios, Apollonius of Per-
gamum, Aristandrus of Athens, Bacchius of Miletus,
Bion of Soli, Chaeresteus and Chaereas of Athens,
Diodorus of Priene, Dion of Colophon, Diophanes
of Nicaea, Epigenes of Rhodes, Evagon of Thasos,

books into the form of dialogues to make them entertaining
(" and what is the use of a book," thought Alice in Wonderland,
"without pictures or conversations."): for the same reason he
was careful about his local colour. Thus the scene of this first
book, which relates to agriculture proper, is laid at Rome in the
temple of Earth on the festival of the Seed Sowing, and the
characters bear names of punning reference to the tilling of the
soil. Varro was strong on puns, avowing (Cicero Acad. I, z)
that that form of humour made it easier for people of small
intelligence to swallow his learning.
[54






ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

Euphronius of Athens, and his name sake of Amphip-
olis, Hegesias of Maronea, the two Menanders, one
of Priene, the other of Heraclhea, Nicesius of Maro-
nea, Pythion of Rhodes. Among the rest whose
countries I do not know, are Andiotion, AEschrion,
Aristomenes, Athenagoras, Crates, Dadis, Dionysius,
Euphiton, Euphorion, Eubulus, Lysimachus, Mna-
seas, Menestratus, Plentiphanes, Persis, and Theoph-
ilus.
All those whom I have named wrote in prose, but
there are those also who have written in verse, as
Hesiod of Ascra and Menecrates of Ephesus.
The agricultural writer of the greatest reputation
is, however, Mago the Carthaginian who wrote in
1 The story is that when Scipio captured Carthage he dis-
tributed the Punic libraries among the native allies, reserving
only the agricultural works of Mago, which the Roman Senate
subsequently ordered to be translated into Latin, so highly were
they esteemed. Probably more real wealth was brought to
Rome in the pages of these precious volumes than was repre-
sented by all the other plunder of Carthage. "The improving a
kingdom in matter of husbandry is better than conquering a
new kingdom," says old Samuel Hartlib, Milton's friend, in
his Legacie. It is a curious fact that as the Romans derived
agricultural wisdom from their ancient enemies, so did the
English. Cf. Thorold Rogers' Six Centuries of Work and Wages.
"We owe the improvements in English agriculture to Hol-
land. From this country we borrowed, at the beginning of
the seventeenth century, the cultivation of winter roots, and,
at that of the eighteenth, the artificial grasses. The Dutch had
practised agriculture with the patient and minute industry of
market gardeners. They had tried successfully to cultivate
[551







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

the Punic tongue and collected in twenty-eight books
all the wisdom which before him had been scattered
in many works. Cassius Dionysius of Utica trans-
lated Mago into Greek in twenty books (and dedi-
cated his work to the praetor Sextilius), and not-
withstanding that he reduced Mago by eight books
he cited freely from the Greek authors whom I have
named. Diophanes made a useful digest of Cassius
in six books, which he dedicated to Deiotarus, King
of Bithynia. I have ventured to compress the sub-
ject into the still smaller compass of three books,
the first on the husbandry of agriculture, the second
on the husbandry of live stock and the third on the
husbandry of the steading.
From the first book I have excluded all those
things which I do not deem to relate immediately to
agriculture: thus having first limited my subject I
every thing to the uttermost, which could be used for human
food, or could give innocent gratification to a refined taste.
They taught agriculture and they taught gardening. They
were the first people to surround their homesteads with flower
beds, with groves, with trim parterres, with the finest turf, to
improve fruit trees, to seek out and perfect edible roots and
herbs at once for man and cattle. We owe to the Dutch that
scurvy and leprosy have been banished from England, that
continuous crops have taken the place of barren fallows, that
the true rotation of crops has been discovered and perfected,
that the population of these islands has been increased and that
the cattle and sheep in England are ten times what they were
in numbers and three times what they were in size and quality."
[56]






ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

proceed to discuss it, following its natural divisions.
My information has been derived from three sources,
my own experience, my reading, and what I have
heard from others.

Of the definition of agriculture
a. What it is not
II. On the holiday which we call Sementivxe I
came to the temple of Tellus at the invitation of the
Sacristan (I was taught by my ancestors to call him
Aditumus but the modern purist tells me I must say
Edituus). There I found assembled C. Fundanius,
my father-in-law, C. Agrius, a Roman Knight and
a disciple of the Socratic school, and P. Agrasius,
of the Revenue service: they were gazing on a map
of Italy painted on the wall. "What are you doing
here?" said I. "Has the festival of the seed-sowing
drawn you hither to spend your holiday after the
manner of our ancestors, by praying for good crops ?"
"We are here," said Agrius, "for the same reason
that you are, I imagine-because the Sacristan has
invited us to dinner. If this be true, as your nod
admits, wait with us until he returns, for he was
summoned by his chief, the sedile, and has not yet
returned though he left word for us to wait for him."
"Until he comes then," said I, "let us make a
157






ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

practical application of the ancient proverb that
'The Roman conquers by sitting down.'"
"You're right," cried Agrius, and, remembering
that the first step of a journey is the most difficult,1
he lead the way to the benches forthwith and we fol-
lowed. When we were seated Agrasius spoke up.
"You who have travelled over many lands," said he,
"have you seen any country better cultivated than
Italy?"
"I, for one, don't believe," replied Agrius, "that
there is any country which is so intensely cultivated.
By a very natural division Eratosthenes has divided
the earth into two parts, that facing South and that
facing North: and as without doubt the North is
healthier than the South, so it is more fertile, for a
healthy country is always the most fertile. It must
be admitted then that the North is fitter for cultiva-
tion than Asia, and particularly is this true of Italy;
first, because Italy is in Europe, and, second, because
this part of Europe has a more temperate climate
than the interior. For almost everlasting winter
grips the lands to the North of us. Nor is this to be
1 The Roman proverb which Agrius had in mind reminds one
of the witty French woman's comment upon the achievement of
St. Denis in walking several miles to Montmartre, after his
head had been cut off, (as all the world can still see him doing in
the verrieres of Notre Dame de Chartres): "en pareil cas, ce
n'est que le premier pas qui cofte."
[58]






ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

wondered at since there are regions within the Arctic
Circle and at the pole where the sun is not seen for
six months at a time. Yea, it is even said that it is
not possible to sail a ship in those parts because the
very sea is frozen over."
"Would you think it possible," said Fundanius,
"for any thing to grow in such a region, and, if it
did grow, how could it be cultivated? The tragedian
Pacuvius has spoken sooth where he says:

'Should sun or night maintain e'er lasting reign,
Then all the grateful fruits of earth must die,
Nipped by the cold, or blasted by the heat.'

Even here in this pleasant region, where night
and day revolve punctually, I am not able to live in
summer unless I divide the day with my appointed
midday nap. How is it possible to plant or to culti-
vate or to harvest any thing there where the days and
nights are six months long. On the other hand, what
useful thing is there which does not only grow but
flourish in Italy? What spelt shall I compare with
that of Campania? What wheat with that of Apulia ?
What wine with that of Falernum? What oil with
that of Venafrum? Is not Italy so covered with fruit
trees that it seems one vast orchard? Is Phrygia,
which Homer calls acqrEXd d coa, more teeming with
vines, or is Argos, which the same poet calls iroXr7rvpos,
[591







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

more rich in corn? 1 In what land does one jugerum
produce ten, nay even fifteen, cullei of wine, as in
some regions of Italy? Has not M. Cato written in
his book of Origines 'That region lying this side of
STo this glowing description of agricultural Italy in the
Augustan age may be annexed that of Machiavelli on the state
of Tuscany in his youth: Ridotta tutta in somma pace e tran-
quillita, coltivata non meno ne' luoghi piu montuosi e piu
sterili che nelle pianure e region pid fertili. . ." It is our
privilege to see the image of this fruitful cultivation of the
mountain tops not only in Machiavelli's prose, but on the walls
of the Palazzo Riccardi in Gozzoli's Journey of the Magi, where,
like King Robert of Sicily, the Magi crossed
"Into the lovely land of Italy
Whose loveliness was more resplendent made
By the mere passing of that cavalcade."
It seems almost a pity to contrast with these the comment of a
careful and sympathetic student of the agricultural Italy of the
age of King Umberto: "To return to the question of the natural
richness of agricultural Italy," says Dr. W. N. Beauclerk in his
Rural Italy (1888), "we may compare the words of the German
ballad: 'In Italy macaroni ready cooked rains from the sky, and
the vines are festooned with sausages,' with the words today
rife throughout the Kingdom, 'Rural Italy is poor and miserable,
and has no future in store for her.' The fact is that Italy is
rich in capabilities of production, but exhausted in spontaneous
fertility. Her vast forests have been cut down, giving place to
sterile and malarious ground: the plains and shores formerly
covered with wealthy and populous cities are now deserted
marshes: Sardinia and other ancient granaries of the Roman
Empire are empty and unproductive: two-thirds of the Kingdom
are occupied by mountains impossible of cultivation, and the
remainder is to a large extent ill-farmed and unremunerative.
To call Italy the 'Garden of Europe' under these circumstances
seems cruel irony."
[60]







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

Ariminium and beyond Picenum, which was allotted
to colonists, is called Roman Gaul. There in several
places a single jugerum of land produces ten cullei
of wine.' Is it not the same in the region of Faventia
where the vines are called tre centaria because a
jugerum yields three hundred amphorae of wine," and,
looking at me, he added, "indeed L. Martius, your
chief engineer, said that the vines on his Faven-
tine farm yielded that much.1 The Italian farmer
looks chiefly for two things in considering a farm,
whether it will yield a harvest proportioned to the
capital and labour he must invest, and whether the
location is healthy. Whoever neglects either of these
considerations and despite them proposes to carry
on a farm, is a fool and should be taken in charge by
a committee of his relatives.2 For no sane man is
1 As we may assume that the yields of wine of which Funda-
nius boasts were the largest of which Varro had information in
the Italy of his time, it is interesting to compare them with the
largest yields of the most productive wine country of France
today. Fifteen cullei, or three hundred amphorae per jugerum,
is the equivalent of 2700 gallons per acre: while according to
P. Joigneaux, in the Livre de la Ferme, the largest yields in
modern France are in the Midi (specifically Herault), where in
exceptional cases they amount to as much as 250 hectolitres to
the hectare, or say 2672 gallons per acre. It may be noted that
the yields of the best modern wines, like Burgundy, are less than
half of this, and it is probable that the same was true of the
vinum Setinum of Augustus, if not of the Horatian Massic.
2 The modern Italian opinion of farming in a fertile but un-
healthy situation is expressed with a grim humour in the Tuscan
[61 ]







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

willing to spend on an agricultural operation time
and money which he knows he cannot recoup, nor
even if he sees a likely profit, if it must be at the risk
of losing all by an evil climate.
"But there are here present those who can dis-
course on this subject with more authority than I, for
I see C. Licinius Stolo and Cn. Tremelius Scrofa
approaching. It was the ancestor of the first of these
who brought in the law for the regulation of land-
holding; for the law which forbade a Roman citizen
to own more than 500 jugera of land was proposed
by that Licinius who acquired the'cognomen of
Stolo on account of his diligence in cultivating his
land: he is said to have dug around his trees so thor-
oughly that there could not be found on his farm a
single one of those suckers which spring up from
the ground at the roots of trees and are called stolones.
Of the same family was that other C. Licinius who,
when he was tribune of the people, 365 years after
the expulsion of the Kings, first transferred the
Sovereign function of law making from the Comitium
to the Forum, thus as it were constituting that area
the 'farm' of the entire people.' The other whom
proverb: "in Maremma s'arricchisce in un anno, si more in
sei mesi."
1 This is Keil's ingenious interpretation of an obscure passage.
We may compare the English designation of a church yard as
"God's acre." What Licinius Crassus actually did was, while
[62]







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

I see come hither is Cn. Tremelius Scrofa, your
colleague on the Committee of Twenty for the
division of the Campanian lands, a man distinguished
by all the virtues and considered to be the Roman
most expert in agriculture.'
"And justly so," I exclaimed, "for his farms are a
more pleasing spectacle to many on account of their
clean cultivation than the stately palaces of others; 2
haranguing from the rostra, to turn his back upon the Comitium,
where the Senators gathered, and address himself directly to
the people assembled in the Forum. The act was significant as
indicating that the sovereignty had changed place.
1 Tremelius Scrofa was the author of a treatise on agriculture,
which Columella cites, but which has not otherwise survived.
2 It was a received opinion amongst the antients that a large,
busy, well peopled village, situated in a country thoroughly
cultivated, was a more magnificent sight than the palaces of
noblemen and princes in the midst of neglected lands." Harte's
Essays on Husbandry, p. I1. This is a delightful book, the ripe
product of a gentleman and a scholar. In the middle of the
eighteenth century it advocated what we are still advocating-
that agriculture, as the basis of national wealth, deserves the
study and attention of the highest intelligence; specifically it
proposed the introduction of new grasses and forage crops (al-
falfa above all others) to enable the land to support more live
stock. It was published in 1764, just after France had ceded
to England by the Treaty of Paris all of her possessions in
America east of the Mississippi River; and not the least in-
teresting passages of Harte's book are those proposing an agri-
cultural development of the newly acquired territory between
Lake Illinois (Michigan) and the Mississippi, which he suggests
may be readily brought under cultivation with the aid of the
buffaloes of the country. He shrewdly says: "Maize may be
raised in this part of Canada to what quantity we please, for it
[631







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

when one goes to visit his country place, one sees
granaries and not picture galleries, as at the 'farm'
of Lucullus.1 Indeed," I added, "the apple market
at the head of the Sacred Way is the very image of
Scrofa's fruit house."
As the new comers joined us, Stolo inquired: "Have
we arrived after dinner is over, for we do not see
L. Fundilius who invited us."
"Be of good cheer," replied Agrius, "for not only
has that egg which indicates the last lap of the chariot
race in the games at the circus not yet been removed,
but we have not even seen that other egg which is

grows there naturally in great abundance." It happened, how-
ever, that a few years later, in 1778, Col. George Rogers Clark
of Virginia made a certain expedition through the wilderness
to the British outpost at Vincennes, which saved England the
trouble of taking Harte's advice, but that it has not been neg-
lected may be evident from the fact that less than a century
and a half later, or in 1910, the State of Illinois produced 415
million bushels of maize, besides twice as much oats and half
as much wheat as did old England herself in the same year of
grace.
Harte was the travelling governor of that young Mr. Stan-
hope, to whom my lord Chesterfield wrote his famous worldly
wise letters. He was the author also of a Life of Gustavus
Adolphus, which was a failure. Dr. Johnson, who liked Harte,
said: "It was unlucky in coming out on the same day with
Robertson's History of Scotland. His Husbandry, however,
is good." (Boswell, IV, 91). With this judgment of Dr. John--
son there has been, and must be, general concurrence.
1 Pliny records (H. N. XVIII, 7) that at Lucullus' farm there
was less ground for ploughing than of floor for sweeping.
[64]






ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

the first course of dinner.1 And so until the Sacris-
tan returns and joins us do you discourse to us of the
uses or the pleasures of agriculture, or of both. For
now the sceptre of agriculture is in your hands, which
formerly, they say, belonged to Stolo."
"First of all," began Scrofa, "we must have a
definition. Are we to be limited in discussing agri-
culture to the planting of the land or are we to touch
also on those other occupations which are carried on
in the country, such as feeding sheep and cattle. For
I have observed that those who write on agriculture,
whether in Greek or Punic or Latin, wander widely
from their subject."
"I do not think that those authors should be imi-
tated in that," said Stolo, "for I deem them to have
done better who have confined the subject to the
straitest limits, excluding all considerations which
are not strictly pertinent to the subject. Wherefore
the subject of grazing, which many writers treat as
a part of agriculture, seems to me to belong rather
to a treatise on live stock. That the occupations
are different is apparent from the difference in the
names of those we put in charge of them, for we call
one the farmer (villicus) and the other the herdsman
magisterr pecoris). The farmer is charged with the
1 Eggs were the first course, as apples were the last, at a
Roman dinner, hence the saying "ab ovo usque ad mala."
[65]






ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

cultivation of the land and is so called from the villa
or farm house to which he hauls in the crops from the
fields and from which he hauls them away when they
are sold. Wherefore also the peasants say yea for
via, deriving their word for the road over which they
haul from the name of the vehicle in which they do
the hauling, vectura, and by the same derivation vella
for villa, the farm house to and from which they haul.
In like manner the trade of a carrier is called vellatura
from the practice of driving a vectura, or cart."
"Surely," said Fundanius, "feeding cattle is one
thing and agriculture is another, but they are related.
Just as the right pipe of the tibia is different from the
left pipe, yet are they complements because while
the one leads, it is to carry the air, and the other
follows, it is for the accompaniment."
"And, to push your analogy further, it may be
added," said I, "that the pastoral life like the tibia
dextra, has led and given the cue to the agricultural
life, as we have on the authority of that learned man
Dicaearchus who, in his Life of Greece from the earliest
times, shows us how in the beginning men pursued
a purely pastoral life and knew not how to plough nor
to plant trees nor to prune them; only later taking up
the pursuits of agriculture; whence it may be said that
agriculture is in harmony with the pastoral life but is
subordinate to it, as the left pipe is to the right pipe."
[661






ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

"Beware," exclaimed Agrius, "of pushing your
musical analogy too far, for you would not only rob
the farmer of his cattle and the shepherd of his liveli-
hood, but you would even break the law of the land
in which it is written that a farmer may not graze a
young orchard with that pestiferous animal which
astrology has placed in the heavens near the Bull."
"See here, Agrius," said Fundanius, "let there be
no mistake about this. The law you cite applies only
to certain designated kinds of cattle, as indeed there
are kinds of cattle which are the foes and the bane
of agriculture such as those you have mentioned-
the goats-for by their nibbling they ruin young
plantations, and not the least vines and olives. But,
because the goat is the greatest offender in this re-
spect, we have a rule for him which works both ways,
namely: that victims of his family are grateful offer-
ings on the altar of one god but should never come
near the fane of another; since by reason of the same
hate one god is not willing even to see a goat and
the other is pleased to see him killed. So it is that
goats found among the vines are sacrificed to Father
Bacchus as it were that they should pay the penalty
of their evil doing with their lives; while on the con-
trary nothing of the goat kind is ever sacrificed to
Minerva, because they are said to make the olive
sterile even by licking it, for their very spittle is
[671







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

poison to the fruit. For this reason goats are never
driven into the Acropolis of Athens, except once a
year for a certain necessary sacrifice, lest the olive
tree, which is said to have its origin there,' might be
touched by a goat."
"No kind of cattle," said I, "are of any use to
agriculture except those which aid in the cultivation
of the land, as they do when they are yoked to the
plough."
"If this was so," said Agrasius, "how could we
afford to take cattle off the land, since it is from our
flocks and herds that we derive the manure which
is of the greatest benefit to our purely agricultural
operations."
"On your argument of convenience," said Agrius,
"we might claim that slave dealing was a branch of
SCf. Gilbert Murray's version of Euripides' Troades, 799:
In Salamis, filled with the foaming
Of billows and murmur of bees,
Old Telamon stayed from his roaming,
Long ago, on a throne of the seas;
Looking out on the hills olive laden,
Enchanted, where first from the earth
The gray-gleaming fruit of the Maiden
Athena had birth.
The physical reason why the olive flourished in Attica, as
Theophrastus points out (C. P. V. II, z), was because it craves
a thin soil, and that of Attica, with its out-croppings of calcare-
ous rock, suits the olive perfectly, while fit for little else agri-
cultural.
[68]







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

agriculture, if they were agricultural slaves which we
dealt in. The error lies in the assumption that be-
cause cattle are good for the land, they make crops
grow on the land. It does not follow, for by that
reasoning other things would become part of agricul-
ture which have nothing to do with it: as for example
spinsters and weavers and other craftsmen which.
you might keep on your farm."
"Let us then agree," said Scrofa, "to exclude live
stock from our consideration of the art of agriculture.
Does any one want to exclude any thing else?"
"Are we to follow the book of the two Sasernas,"
I inquired, "and discuss whether the manufacture of
pottery is more related to agriculture than mining
for silver or other metals? Doubtless the material
comes out of the ground in both cases, but no one
claims that quarrying for stone or washing sand has
any thing to do with agriculture, so why bring in
the potter? It is not a question of what comes out of
the land, nor of what can be done profitably on a
farm, for if it were it might as well be argued that
had one a farm lying along a frequented road and a
site on it convenient to travellers, it would be the
farmer's business to build a cross-roads tavern. But
surely, however profitable this might prove, it would
not make the speculation any part of agriculture.
It is not, I repeat, whether the business is carried on
169]






ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

on account of the land, nor out of the land, that it
may be classed as a part of agriculture, but only if
from planting the land one gains a profit."
"You are jealous of this great writer," interrupted
Stolo. "Because of his unfortunate potteries you
rebuke him captiously and give him no credit for all
the admirable things which he says about matters
which certainly relate to agriculture."
At this sally, Scrofa, who knew the book and justly
contemned it, smiled, whereupon Agrasius, who
thought that he and Stolo alone knew the book de-
manded of Scrofa a quotation from it.
"Here is his recipe for getting rid of bugs," said
Scrofa. "'Steep a wild cucumber in water and where-
ever you sprinkle it the bugs will disappear,' and
again, 'Grease your bed with ox gall mixed with
vinegar.'"
Fundanius looked at Scrofa. "And yet Saserna
gives good advice even if it is in a book on agri-
culture," he said.
"Yes, by Hercules," said Scrofa, "and especially
in his recipe for removing superfluous hair, in which
he bids you take a yellow frog and stew it down to a
third of its size and then rub the body with what is
left." 1
1 In the Geoponica (XIII, 15) there has been preserved a
remedy for a similar evil, which, in all fairness, should be credited
[70]







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

"I would rather cite," said I, "Sasernas' prescrip-
tion for the malady from which Fundanius suffers,
for his corns make wrinkles on his brow."
"Tell me, pray, quickly," exclaimed Fundanius,
"for I had rather learn how to root out my corns
than how to plant beet roots."
"I will tell you," said Stolo, "in the very words
he wrote it, or at least as I heard Tarquenna read it:
'When a man's feet begin to hurt h. should think
of you to enable you to cure him.'"
"I am thinking of you," said Fundanius, "now
cure my feet."
"Listen to the incantation," said Stolo.
'May the earth keep the malady,
May good health remain here.'
Saserna bids you chant this formula thrice nine
times, to touch the earth, to spit and be sure that
you do it all before breakfast."
"You will find," said I, "many other wonderful
secrets in Saserna, all equally foreign to agriculture,
and so all to be left where they are. But it must be
admitted that such digressions are found in many
other authors. Does not the agricultural treatise of

to Saserna. In any event, it is what the newspapers used to call
"important, if true," viz: "If ever you come into a place where
fleas abound, cry Och! Och! (&x, 6X) and they will not touch
you."
[7 ]







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

the great Cato himself fairly bristle with them, as
for instance his instructions how to make must cake
and cheese cake, and how to cure hams?"
"You forget," said Agrius, "his most important
precept: 'If you wish to drink freely and dine well
in company, you should eat five leaves of raw cabbage
steeped in vinegar, before sitting down to the table.'"

b. What agriculture is
III. "And so," said Agrasius, "as we have agreed
upon and eliminated from the discussion all those
things which agriculture is not, it remains to discuss
what it is. Is it an art, and, if so, what are its prin-
ciples and its purposes?"
Stolo turned to Scrofa and said: "You are our
senior in age, in reputation and in experience, you
should speak." And Scrofa, nothing loath, began
as follows:
A "In the first place, agriculture is not only an art
S but an art which is as useful as it is important. It is
furthermore a science, which teaches how every kind
of land should be planted and cultivated, and how
to know what kind of land will produce the largest
crops for the longest time.'
1 The editor of an Iowa farm journal, who has been making
a study of agricultural Europe, has recently reported an inter-
esting comparison between the results of extensive farming as
[72]







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT


The purposes of agriculture are profit and pleasure

IV. The elements with which this science deals
are the same as those which Ennius says are the ele-
ments of the universe-water, earth, air and fire.
Before sowing your seed it behooves you to study
these elements because they are the origin of all
growing things. So prepared, the farmer should
direct his efforts to two ends: profit and pleasure,1

practised in Iowa and intensive farming as practised in Bavaria.
He begins with the thesis that the object of agriculture is to put
the energy of the sun's rays into forms which animals and human
beings can use, and, reducing the crop production of each
country to thermal units, he finds "that for every man, woman
and child connected with farming in Iowa 4,200oo therms of sun's
energy were imprisoned, while for every man, woman and child
connected with farming in Bavaria only 2,600 therms were
stored up. In other words, the average Iowa farmer is six times
as successful in his efforts to capture the power of the sun's rays
as the average Bavarian farmer. On the other hand, the average
acre of Iowa land is only about one-seventh as successful as the
average acre of Bavarian land in supporting those who live on
it. If we look on land as the unit, then the Bavarians get better
results than we in Iowa, but if we look on human labor as the
unit, then the Iowa farmers are far ahead of those of Bavaria."
It may be remarked that if the Iowa farmer, who gets his
results by the use of machinery, was to adopt also the intensive
practice of the Bavarian farmer, he would secure at once the
greatest efficiency per acre and per man, and that is the true
purpose of agriculture.
1 It is one of the charms of Varro's treatise that he always
insists cheerfully on the pleasure to be derived from the land.
It is the same spirit which Connington has remarked cropping
[73]







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

one solid the other agreeable: but he should give the
preference to the pursuit of profit.1 And yet those
out in many places in Virgil's Georgics-the joy of the husband-
man in his work, as in the "iuvat" of
"iuvat Ismara Baccho
Conserere, atque olea magnum vestire Taburnum."
This is the blessed "surcease of sorrow" of which the crowded
life of the modern city knows nothing: but, as the practical
Roman indicates, it will not support life of its own mere motion.
Cf. Dr. Johnson's picture of Shenstone: "He began from this
time to entangle his walks and to wind his waters: which he did
with such judgment and such fancy as made his little domain
the envy of the great and the admiration of the skillful. His
house was mean, and he did not improve it: his care was of his
grounds. . In time his expenses brought clamours about
him, that overpowered the lambs' bleat and the linnets' song;
and his groves were haunted by beings very different from
fawns and fairies."
1 Walter of Henley, in thirteenth century England, drove home
a shrewd comment on the country gentleman who farms with-
out keeping accounts and thinks he is engaged in a profit-
able industry. "You know surely," he says, "that an acre
sown with wheat takes three ploughings, except lands which
are sown yearly, and that one with another each ploughing is
worth six pence, and harrowing a penny, and on the acre it is
necessary to sow at least two bushels. Now two bushels at
Michaelmas are worth at least twelve pence, and weeding a
half penny and reaping five pence, and carrying in August a
penny: the straw will pay for the threshing. At three times your
sowing you ought to have six bushels, worth three shillings; and
the cost amounts to three shillings and three half pence, and
the ground is yours and not reckoned."
Of Walter of Henley little is known, but it is conjectured
that he was the bailiff of the manors near Henley which be-
longed to the Abbey of Canterbury. His curious and valuable
Dite de Hosebondrie, which is as original in its way as Cato's
[74--







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

who have regard for appearances in their farming,
as for instance by planting their orchards and olive
yards in orderly array, often add not only to the pro-
ductiveness of the farm but as well to its saleability,
and so doubly increase the value of their estate. For
of two things of equal usefulness, who would not
prefer to buy the better looking?
The farm which is healthiest is the most valuable,
for there the profit is certain. On the other hand, on
an unhealthy farm, however fertile it may be, mis-
fortune dogs the steps of the farmer. For where the
struggle is against Death, there not only is the profit
uncertain, but one's very existence is constantly at
risk: and so agriculture becomes a gamble in which
the farmer hazards both his life and his fortune.
And yet this risk can be diminished by forethought,
for, when health depends upon climate, we can do
much to control nature and by diligence improve
evil conditions. If the farm is unhealthy by reason
of the plight of the land itself, or of the water supply,
or is exposed to the miasma which breeds in some
localities, or if the farm is too hot on account of the
climate, or is exposed to mischievous winds, these
discomforts can be mitigated by one who knows what
treatise, being entirely free from mere literary tradition, is now
available to the modern reader in a translation, from the orig-
inal barbarous English law French, by Elizabeth Lamond,
made for the Royal Historical Society in 1890.
[751






ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

to do and is willing to spend some money. What is
of the greatest importance in this respect is the situa-
tion of the farm buildings, their plan and convenience,
and what is the aspect of their doors and gates and
windows. During the great plague, Hippocrates the
physician saved not merely one farm but many cities
because he knew this. But why should I summon
him as a witness: for when the army and the fleet lay
at Corcyra 1 and all the houses were crowded with
the sick and dying, did not our Varro here contrive
to open new windows to the healthy North wind and
close those which gave entrance to the infected
breezes of the South, to change doors and to do other
such things, and so succeed in restoring his comrades
safe and sound to their native land?

The fourfold division of the study of agriculture
V. I have rehearsed the elements and the purposes
of agriculture, it now remains to consider in how many
divisions this science is to be studied."
"I have supposed these to be without number,"
said Agrius, "when I have read the many books
which Theophrastus wrote on The History of Plants
and The Causes of Vegetation.
1 This was just before Pharsalia, and the army was that of
Pompey which Varro had joined after surrendering to Cesar
in Spain.
[76]






ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

"These books," said Stolo, "have always seemed to
me to be fitter for use in the schools of the philosophers
than in the hands of a practical farmer. I do not
mean to say that they do not contain many things
which are both useful and practical. However that
may be, do you rather explain to us the divisions in
which agriculture should be studied."
"There are four chapters for the study of agricul-
ture, of the highest practical importance," resumed
Scrofa, "namely:
10 What are the physical characteristics of the land
to be cultivated, including the constitution of the
soil;
20 What labour and equipment are necessary for
such cultivation;
3 What system of farming is to be practised;
40 What are the seasons at which the several farm-
ing operations are to be carried out.
Each of these four chapters may be divided in
at least two subdivisions:
The first into (a) a study of the soil, and (b) a
survey of the buildings and stabling.
The second into an enquiry as to (c), the men who
will carry on the farming operations, and (d) the
implements they will require.
The third into (e) the kind of work to be planned,
and (f) where that work is to be done.
[771






ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

The fourth into what relates (g) to the annual
revolution of the sun, and (h) the monthly revolution
of the moon.
I will speak of the four principal parts first, and
then in detail of the eight subdivisions

I CONCERNING THE FARM ITSELF

How conformation of the land affects agriculture
VI. Four things must be considered in respect of
the physical characteristics of the farm: its conforma-
tion, the quality of the soil, its extent, and whether
it is naturally protected. The conformation is either
natural, or artificial as the result of cultivation, and
may be good or bad in either case. I will speak first
of natural conformation, of which there are three
kinds: plain, hill and mountain-although there is a
fourth kind made up of a combination of any two or
all three of those mentioned, as may be seen in many
places. A different system of cultivation is required
for each of these three kinds of farms, for without
doubt that which is suited for the hot plain would
not suit the windy mountain, while a hill farm en-
joys a more temperate climate than either of the
other two kinds and so demands its own system of
cultivation. These distinctions are most apparent
[78]






ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

when the several characteristic conformations are of
large extent, as for example the heat and the humidity
are greater in a broad plain, like that of Apulia,
while on a mountain like Vesuvius the climate is
usually fresher and so more healthy. Those who
cultivate the lowlands feel the effects of their climate
most in summer, but they are able to do their planting
earlier in the spring, while those who dwell in the
mountains suffer most from their climate in winter,
and both sow and reap at later seasons. Frequently
the winter is more propitious to those who dwell in
the plains because then the pastures are fresh there
and the trees may be pruned more readily. On the
other hand the summer is more kindly in the moun-
tains for then the upland grass is rich when the pas-
tures of the plains are burnt, and it is more com-
fortable to cultivate the trees in a keen air.
A lowland farm is best when it is gently sloping
rather than absolutely flat, because on a flat farm
water cannot run off and so forms swampy places.
But it is a disadvantage to have the surface too roll-
ing because that causes the water to collect and form
ponds.
Certain trees, like the fir and the pine, flourish
most in the mountains on account of the eager air,
while in this region where it is more temperate the
poplars and the willows thrive best. Again the arbute
[79]







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

and the oak prefer the more fertile lands, while the
almond and the fig trees love the lowlands.1 The
growth on the low hills takes on more of the character
of the plains, on the high hills that of the mountains.
For these reasons the kind of crops to be planted
must be suited to the physical characteristics of the
1 In this enumeration of trees Varro does not include the
chestnut which is now one of the features of the Italian moun-
tain landscape and furnishes support for a considerable part of
the Italian population, who subsist on necci, those indigestible
chestnut flour cakes, just as the Irish peasants do on potatoes.
The chestnut was late in getting a foothold in Italy but it was
there in Varro's day. He mentions the nuts as part of the diet
of dormice (III, 15).
By the thirteenth century chestnuts had become an estab-
lished article of human food in Italy. Pietro Crescenzi (1230-
1307) describes two varieties, the cultivated and the wild, and
quotes the Arabian physician Avicenna to the effect that chest-
nuts are "di tarda digestione ma di buono nuttimento." It is
perhaps for this very reason that chestnut bread is acceptable
to those engaged in heavy labor. Fynes Moryson says in his
Itinerary (1617) that maslin bread made of a mixture of rye
and wheat flour was used by labourers in England because it
"abode longer in the stomach and was not so soon digested with
their labour."
Crescenzi, who was a lawyer and a judge, says in his preface
that he had left his native Bologna because of the civil strifes,
had taken foreign service in several parts of Italy, and so had
opportunity to see the world. He wrote his book on agriculture
because, as he says, of all the things he learned on his travels
there was nothing "piu a bondevole, niuna piu dolce, et niuna
piu degna de l'huomo libero," a sentiment which Socrates had
expressed sixteen hundred years earlier and which was echoed
six hundred years later by another far-sighted Italian, the states-
man Cavour.
[80]






ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

farm, as grain for the plains, vines for the hills and
forests for the mountains.
All these considerations should be weighed sepa-
rately with reference to each of the three kinds of con-
formation."
VII. "It seems to me," said Stolo, "that, so far
as concerns the natural situation of a farm, Cato's
opinion is just. He wrote, you will recall, that the
best farm was one which lay at the foot of a moun-
/ tain looking to the South."
Scrofa resumed: "So far as concerns the laying
out of the farm, I maintain that the more appear-
ances are considered the greater will be the profit, as,
for instance, orchards should be planted in straight
lines arranged in quincunxes and at a reasonable
distance apart. It is a fact that, because of their
unintelligent plan of planting, our ancestors made
less wine and corn to the acre than we do. The
point is that if each plant is set with due reference to
the others they occupy less land and are less likely
to screen from one another the influence of the sun
and the moon and the air. This may be illustrated
by an experiment: you can press a parcel of nuts with
their shells on into a measure having only two thirds
of the capacity of what is required to contain them
after they have been cracked, because the shells
keep them naturally compacted. When trees are
[81]






ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT
planted in rows the sun and the moon have access
to them equally from all sides, with the result that
more raisins and olives are developed and then ma-
ture more quickly, a double result with the double
consequence of a larger crop of must and oil and a
greater profit.

How character of soil affects agriculture
We will now take up the second consideration in
respect of the physical characteristics of a farm,
namely: the quality of the soil, which partly, if not
entirely, determines whether it is considered a good
or a bad farm: for on this depends what crops can be
planted and harvested and how they should be cul-
tivated, as it is not possible to plant everything suc-
cessfully on the same soil. For one soil is suitable
for vines, another for corn, and others for other things.
In the island of Crete, near Cortynia, there is said
to be a plane tree which does not lose its leaves even
in winter-a phenomenon due doubtless to the quality
of the soil. There is another of the same kind in
Cyprus, according to Theophrastus. Likewise within
sight of the city of Sybaris (which is now called
Thurii) stands an oak having the same characteristic.
Again at Elephantine neither the vines nor the fig
trees lose their leaves, something that never hap-
pens with us. For the same reason many trees bear
[82.]







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

fruit twice a year, as do the vines near the sea at
Smyrna, and the apples in the fields of Consentinium.
The effect of soil appears also from the fact that
those plants which bear most profusely in wild places
produce better fruit under cultivation. The same
explanation applies to those plants which cannot
live except in a marshy place, or indeed in the very
water: they are even nice about the kind of water,
some grow in ponds like the reeds at Reate, others in
streams like the alders in Epirus, some even in the
sea like the palms and the squills of which Theophras-
tus writes. When I was in the army, I saw in Transal-
pine Gaul, nctV. the Rhine, lands where neither the
vine, nor the olive, nor the pear tree grew, where they
manured their fields with a white chalk which they
dug out of the ground:1 where they had no salt,
1 The white chalk which Scrofa saw used as manure in Trans-
alpine Gaul, when he was serving in the army under Julius
Casar, was undoubtedly marl, the use of which in that region
as in Britain was subsequently noted by Pliny (H. N. XVII, 4).
There were no deposits of marl in Italy, and so the Romans
knew nothing of its use, from experience, but Pliny's treatment
of the subject shows a sound source of information. In England,
where several kinds of marl are found in quantities, its use was
probably never discontinued after the Roman times. Walter
of Henley discusses its use in the thirteenth century, and Sir
Anthony Fitzherbert continues the discussion in the sixteenth
century. In connection with the history of the use of marl in
agriculture may be cited the tender tribute which Arthur Young
recorded on the tombstone of his wife in Bradfield Church. The
lady's chief virtue appears to have been, in the memory of her
[831







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

either mineral or marine, but used in place of it the
salty ashes obtained from burning a certain kind of
wood."
Stolo here interrupted. "You will recall," he said,
"that Cato in comparing the different kinds of soil,
ranked them by their merit in nine classes according
to what they would produce, of which the first was
that on which the vine would grow a plentiful sup-
ply of good wine; the second that fit for an irrigated
garden; the third for an osier bed; the fourth for an
olive yard; the fifth for a meadow; the sixth for a corn
field; the seventh for a wood lot; the eighth for a
cultivated orchard, and the ninth for a mast grove."
"I know he wrote that," replied Scrofa, "but every
one does not agree with him. There are some who
put a good pasture first, and I am among them.
husband, that she was "the great-grand-daughter of John Allen,
esq. of Lyng House in the County of Norfolk, the first person
according to the Comte de Boulainvilliers, who there used
marl."
The Romans did not have the fight against sour land which
is the heritage of the modern farmer after years of continuous
application to his land of phosphoric and sulphuric acid in the
form of mineral fertilizers. What sour land the Romans had
they corrected with humus making barnyard manure, or the
rich compost which Cato and Columella recommend. They
had, however, a test for sourness of land which is still prac-
tised even where the convenient litmus paper is available. Virgil
(Georgic II, 241) gives the formula: "Fill a basket with soil, and
strain fresh water through it. The taste of water strained
through sour soil will twist awry the taster's face."
[84]







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

Our ancestors were wont to call them not prata, as
we do, but parata (because they are always ready for
use). The aedile Caesar Vopicus, in pleading a cause
before the Censors, once said that the prairie of
Rosea was the nurse of Italy, because if one left his
surveying instruments there on the ground over night
they were lost next day in the growth of the grass.'

(A digression on the maintenance of vineyards)
VIII. There be those who assert that the cost of
maintaining a vineyard eats up the profit. What
1 This sounds like the boast of the modern proprietor of an
old blue grass sod in Northern Virginia or Kentucky. On the
general question of pasture vs. arable land, cf. Hartlib's Lega-
cie: "It is a misfortune that pasture lands are not more im-
proved. England abounds in pasturage more than any other
country, and is, therefore, richer. In France, acre for acre, the
land is not comparable to ours: and, therefore, Fortescue, chan-
cellor to Henry VI, observes that we get more in England by
standing still (alluding to our meadows) than the French do by
working (that is, cultivating their vineyards and corn lands)."
We may permit Montesquieu (Esprit des Lois II, 23, 14) to
voice the French side of this question. "Les pais de paturage
sont peu peupl6s. Les terres A bled occupent plus d'hommes et
les vignobles infiniment d'avantage. En Angleterre on s'est
souvent plaint que l'augmentation des paturage diminuoit les
habitans."
In the introduction to his Book Two (post, p. 179) Varro
states the sound conclusion, that the two kinds of husbandry
should be combined on the same land. Sir Anthony Fitz-
herbert knew this: "An housbande can not well thryue by his
corne without he haue other cattell, nor by his cattell without
come. For els he shall be a byer, a borrower or a beggar."
[85]






ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

kind of vineyard? I ask. For there are several:
in one the vines grow on the ground without props,
as in Spain; in another, which is the kind common
in Italy, the vines climb and are trained either
separately on props or one with another on a trellis,
which last is what is called marrying the vine. There
are four kinds of trellis in use-made out of poles,
of reeds, of ropes and of vines themselves, which
are in use respectively in Falerum, in Arpinum, in
Brundisium and in Mediolanum. There are two
methods of training the vine on trellises, one upright,
as is done in the country of Canusium; the other
crossed and interwoven, as is the practice generally
throughout Italy. If one obtains the material for
his trellises from his own land, the expense of main-
taining that kind of vineyard is negligible, nor is it
burdensome if the material is procured from the
neighbourhood. Such trellis material, as has been
described, can be grown at home by planting willows,
reeds and rushes, or some thing of that kind; but if
you propose to rely on the vines to form their own
trellis, then you must plant an arbustum where the
vines can be trained on trees, such as maples, which
the inhabitants of Mediolanum use for that purpose;
or fig trees, on which the people of Canusium train
their vines. Likewise there are four kinds of props
used for the cultivation of unwedded vines; first,
[86]







ROMAN FARM MANAGEMENT

the planted post, which is called ridicum and is best
when fashioned out of oak or juniper; second, poles
cut in the swamp, and the more seasoned they are
the longer they will last, but it is the practice to reset
them upside down when they rot out in the ground;
third, for lack of some thing better, a bundle of reeds
tied together and thrust into a pointed tube of baked
clay, which is then planted in the ground and serves
to preserve the reeds from water rot; the fourth is
what may be called the natural prop, when vines are
swung from tree to tree. Vines should be trained to
the height of a man and the interval between the
props should be sufficient to give room for a yoke of
oxen to plough. The least expensive kind of a vine-
yard is that which brings wine to the jug without the
aid of any sort of prop. There are two of this kind,
one in which the earth serves as a bed for the grapes,
as in many places in Asia, and where usually the
foxes share the crop with man; or, if mice appear,
it is they who make the vintage, unless you put a
mouse trap in every vine, as they do on the island of
1 This is the explanation of why JEsop's fox found the grapes
to be sour which grew on a trellis, for he had expected to find
them of easy access on the ground. Esop was a Phrygian, and,
while Bentley has proved that .Esop never wrote the existing
fables which go by that name, yet it is recognized that they are
of Oriental origin and it is evident that that of the Fox and the
Grapes came out of Asia, where, as Varro says, the grapes were
usually allowed to grow on the ground.
[871




University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs