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The elder Cato, who was rendered more particularly illustrious by his triumph1 and the censorship, and even more so by his literary fame, and the precepts which he has given to the Roman people upon every subject of utility, and the proper methods of cultivation in particular; a man who, by the universal confession, was the first husbandman of his age and without a rival-has mentioned a few varieties only of the vine, the very names of some of which are by this utterly forgotten.2 His statement on this subject deserves our separate consideration, and requires to be quoted at length, in order that we may make ourselves acquainted with the different varieties of this tree that were held in the highest esteem in the year of the City of Rome 600, about the time of the capture of Carthage and Corinth, the period of his death: it will show too, what great advances civilization has made in the last two hundred and thirty years. The following are the remarks which he has made on the subject of the vine and the grape.

"Where the site is considered to be most favourable to the growth of the vine, and exposed to the warmth of the sun, you will do well to plant the small3 Aminean, as well as the two eugenia,4 and the smaller helvia.5 On the other hand, where the soil is bf a denser nature or more exposed to fogs, the greater Aminean should be planted, or else the Murgentine,6 or the Apician of Lucania. The other varieties of the grape are, for the most part, adapted to any kind of soil; they are best preserved in a lora.7 The best for keeping by hanging, are the duracinus kind, the greater Aminean, and the Scantian;8 these, too, will make excellent raisins for keeping if dried at the blacksmith's forge." There are no precepts in the Latin language on this subject more ancient than these, so near are we to the very commencement of all our practical knowledge! The Aminean grape, of which mention has been made above, is by Varro called the "Scantian."

In our own times we have but few instances of any consummate skill that has been manifested in reference to this subject: the less excuse then should we have for omitting any particular which may tend to throw a light upon the profits that may be derived from the culture of the vine, a point which on all occasions is regarded as one of primary importance. Acilius Sthenelus, a man of plebeian rank, and the son of a freedman, acquired very considerable repute from the cultivation of a vineyard in the territory of Nomentum, not more than sixty jugera in extent, and which he finally sold for four hundred thousand sesterces. Vetulenus Ægialus too, a freedman as well, acquired very considerable note in the district of Liternum,9 in Campania, and, indeed, received a more extensive share of the public favour, from the fact that he cultivated the spot which had been the place of exile of Scipio Africanus.10 The greatest celebrity of all, however, was that which, by the agency of the same Sthenelus, was accorded to Rhemmius Palæmon, who was also equally famous as a learned grammarian. This person bought, some twenty years ago, an estate at the price of six hundred thousand sesterces in the same district of Nomentum, about ten miles distant from the City of Rome. The low price of property11 in the suburbs, on every side of the City, is well known; but in that quarter in particular, it had declined to a most remarkable extent; for the estate which he purchased had become deteriorated by long-continued neglect, in addition to which it was situate in the very worst part of a by no means favourite locality.12 Such was the nature of the property of which he thus undertook the cultivation, not, indeed, with any commendable views or intentions at first, but merely in that spirit of vanity for which he was notorious in so remarkable a degree. The vineyards were all duly dressed afresh, and hoed, under the superintendence of Sthenelus; the result of which was that Palæmon, while thus playing the husbandman, brought this estate to such an almost incredible pitch of perfection, that at the end of eight years the vintage, as it hung on the trees, was knocked down to a purchaser for the sum of four hundred thousand sesterces; while all the world was running to behold the heaps upon heaps of grapes to be seen in these vineyards. The neighbours, by way of finding some excuse for their own indolence, gave all the credit of this remarkable success to Palæmon's profound erudition; and at last Annæus Seneca,13 who both held the highest rank in the learned world, and an amount of power and influence which at last proved too much for him—this same Seneca, who was far from being an admirer of frivolity, was seized with such vast admiration of this estate, as not to Feel ashamed at conceding this victory to a man who was otherwise the object of his hatred, and who would be sure to make the very most of it, by giving him four times the original cost for those very vineyards, and that within ten years from the time that he had taken them under his management. This was an example of good husbandry worthy to be put in practice upon the lands of Cæcuba and of Setia; for since then these same lands have many a time produced as much as seven culei to the jugerum, or in other words, one hundred and forty amphoræ of must. That no one, however, may entertain the belief that ancient times were surpassed on this occasion, I would remark that the same Cato has stated in his writings, that the proper return was seven culei to the jugerum: all of them so many instances only tending most convincingly to prove that the sea, which in our rashness we trespass upon, does not make a more bounteous return to the merchant, no, not even the merchandize that we seek on the shores of the Red and the Indian Seas, than does a well-tilled homestead to the agriculturist.

1 In B.C. 194, for his successes in Spain.

2 Mode of culture, locality, climate, and other extraneous circumstances, work, no doubt, an entire change in the nature of the vine.

3 Probably the first of the five that he has mentioned in c. 4.

4 He has only mentioned one sort in c. 4.

5 See c. 4.

6 See c. 4.

7 We have no corresponding word for this beverage in the English language-a thin, poor liquor, made by pouring water on the husks and stalks after being fully pressed, allowing them to soak, pressing them again, and then fermenting the liquor. It was also called "vinum operarium," or "labourer's wine." As stated in the present instance, grapes were sometimes stored in it for keeping.

8 A variety of the Aminean, as stated below.

9 See B. iii. c. 9.

10 The elder Africanus. He retired in voluntary exile to his countryseat at Liternum, where he died.

11 Mercis.

12 The suggestion of Sillig has been adopted, for the ordinary reading is evidently corrupt, and absurd as well—"not in the very worst part of a favourite locality"—just the converse of the whole tenor of the story.

13 The philosopher, and tutor of Nero.

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