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We will now proceed to mention the precepts given by Cato1 in relation to this subject. Upon a warm, rich2 soil, he recommends us to sow the greater radius, the Salentina, the orehites, the posia, the Sergian, the Cominian, and the albicera;3 but with a remarkable degree of prudence he adds, that those varieties ought to be planted in preference which are considered to thrive best in the neighbouring localities. In a cold4 and meagre soil he says that the Licinian olive should be planted; and he informs us that a rich or hot soil has the effect, in this last variety, of spoiling the oil, while the tree becomes exhausted by its own fertility, and is liable to be attacked by a sort of red moss.5 He states it as his opinion that the olive grounds ought to have a western aspect, and, indeed, he approves of no other.

(6.) According to him, the best method of preserving olives is to put the orchites and the posia, while green, in a strong brine, or else to bruise them first, and preserve them in mastich oil.6 The more bitter the olive, he says, the better the oil; but they should be gathered from the ground the very moment they fall, and washed if they are dirty. He says that three days will be quite sufficient for drying them, and that if it is frosty weather, they should be pressed on the fourth, care being taken to sprinkle them with salt. Olives, he informs us,7 lose oil by being kept in a boarded store-room, and deteriorate in quality; the same being the case, too, if the oil is left with the amurca and the pulp,8 or, in other words, the flesh of the olive that forms the residue and becomes the dregs. For this reason, he recommends that the oil should be poured off several times in the day, and then put into vessels or caul- drons9 of lead, for copper vessels will spoil it, he says. All these operations, however, should be carried on with presses heated and tightly closed,10 and exposed to the air as little as possible—for which reason he recommends that wood should never be cut there, the most convenient fuel for the fires being the stones of the berries. From the cauldron the oil should be poured into vats,11 in order that the pulp and the amurca may be disengaged in a solidified form: to effect which object the vessels should be changed as often as convenient, while at the same time the osier baskets should be carefully cleaned with a sponge, that the oil may run out in as clean and pure a state as possible. In later times, the plan has been adopted of invariably crushing the olives in boiling water, and at once putting them whole in the press—a method of effectually extracting the amurca—and then, after crushing them in the oil-press, sub- jecting them to pressure once more. It is recommended, that not more than one hundred modii should be pressed at one time: the name given to this quantity is "factus,"12 while the oil that flows out at the first pressure is called the "flos."13 Four men, working at two presses day and night, ought to be able to press out three factuses of olives.

1 De Re Rust. c. 6.

2 A middling or even poor soil is chosen for the olive at the present day.

3 Apparently meaning the "white wax" olive.

4 In warm countries, a site exposed to the north is chosen: in colder ones, a site which faces the south.

5 See B. xvii. c. 37. This moss has not been identified with precision; but the leaf of the olive is often attacked by an erysiphus, known to natu- ralists as the Alphitomorpha communis; but it is white, not of a red colour.

6 Fée queries how any one could possibly eat olives that had been steeped in a solution of mastich. They must have been nauseous in the extreme.

7 De Re Rust. c. 64.

8 "Fracibus." The opinion of Pliny, that olives deteriorate by being left in the store-room, is considered to be well founded; the olives being apt to ferment, to the deterioration of the oil: at the same time, he is wrong in supposing that the amount of oil diminishes by keeping the berries.

9 "Cortinas." If we may judge from the name, these vessels were three- footed, like a tripod.

10 There are no good grounds for this recommendation, which is based on the erroneous supposition that heat increases the oil in the berry. The free circulation of the air also ought not to be restricted, as nothing is gained by it. In general, the method of extracting the oil is the same with the moderns as with the ancients, though these last did not employ the aid of boiling water.

11 Labra.

12 A "making," or "batch."

13 Or "flower."

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