AGRICULTU´RAAGRICULTU´RA agriculture. Authorities.--When we remember that agriculture, in the most extended acceptation of the term, was for many centuries the chief, we may say almost the sole, peaceful occupation followed by any large portion of the free population in those European nations which first became highly civilised, we shall not be surprised to find that Varro (R. R. 1.1.7 foll.) was able to mention upwards of fifty Greek writers who had contributed to this science. But although the Homeric poems are filled with a series of the most charming pictures derived from the business of a country life; although Hesiod supplies abundance of wise saws and pithy aphorisms, the traditional wisdom accumulated during many successive generations; although Xenophon has bequeathed to us a most graceful essay on the moral beauty of rustic pursuits, interspersed with not a few instructive details; and although much that belongs to the Natural History of the subject will be found treasured up in the vast store-houses of Aristotle and Theophrastus, yet nothing which can be regarded in the light of a formal treatise upon the art, as exhibited in the pastures and cornfields of Hellas, has descended to us, except a volume, divided into twenty books, commonly known as the Geoponica (Γεωπονικά), whose history is somewhat obscure, but which, according to the account commonly received, was drawn up at the desire of Constantine VI. (A.D. 780-802) by a certain Cassianus Bassus, and consists of extracts from numerous writers, chiefly Greek, many of whom flourished in the second, third, and fourth centuries. This collection is systematically arranged, and comprehends all the chief branches; but it has never been considered of much value, except in so far as it tends to confirm or illustrate the statements found elsewhere. The information conveyed by it is, upon many points, extremely meagre, the materials were worked up at a late period by an editor with whose history and qualifications for his task we are altogether unacquainted, while the most important quotations are taken from authors of whom we know little or nothing, so that we cannot tell whether their precepts apply to the same or to different climates, whether they give us the fruit of their own experience, or, as we have great reason to suspect in many instances, were themselves mere compilers. The Romans, during the brightest periods of their history, were devotedly attached to the only lucrative profession in which any citizen could embark with honour; and from the first dawn until the decline of their literature, rural economy formed a favourite theme for composition both in prose and verse. The works of the Sasernae, father and son, those of Tremellius Scrofa, of Julius Hyginus, of Cornelius Celsus, of Julius Atticus, and of Julius Graecinus, have perished; but we still possess, in addition to Virgil, four “Scriptores de Re Rustica,” two at least of whom were practical men. We have, in the first place, 162 chapters from the pen of the elder Cato (B.C. 234-149), a strange medley, containing many valuable hints for the management of the farm, the olive garden, and the vineyard, thrown together without order or method, and mixed up with medical prescriptions, charms for dislocated and broken bones, culinary receipts, and sacred litanies, the whole forming a remarkable compound of simplicity and shrewdness, quaint wisdom and blind superstition, bearing, moreover, a strong impress of the national character; in the second place, we have the three books of Varro (B.C. 116-28), drawn up at the age of eighty, by one who was not only the most profound scholar of his age, but likewise a soldier, a politician, an enthusiastic and successful farmer; in the third place, the thirteen books of Columella (A.D. 40 [?]), more minute than the preceding, especially in all that relates to the vine, the olive, gardening, and fruit-trees, but evidently proceeding from one much less familiar with his subject; and, lastly, the fourteen books of Palladius (a writer of the fourth century who closely copies Columella), of which twelve form a farmer's calendar, the different operations being ranged according to the months in which they ought to be performed. Besides the above, a whole book of Pliny and many detached chapters are devoted to matters connected with the labours of the husbandman; but in this, as in the other portions of that remarkable encyclopaedia, the assertions must be received with caution, since they cannot be regarded as exhibiting the results of original investigation, nor even a very correct representation of the opinions of others. We ought not here to pass over unnoticed the great work of Mago the Carthaginian, who, as a native of one of the most fertile and carefully cultivated districts of the ancient world, must have had ample opportunities for acquiring knowledge. This production, extending to twenty-eight books, had attained such high fame that, after the destruction of Carthage, it was translated into Latin by orders of the senate; a Greek version, with additions from the Greek authorities and omissions, was executed by Cassius Dionysius of Utica, and published in twenty books during the century before the commencement of our era; and this, again, was a few years afterwards condensed into six books by Diophanes of Nicaea, and presented to King Deiotarus. In what follows, Cato, Varro, and Columella will be our chief supports, although references will be made to and illustrations drawn from the other sources indicated above. (Varr. R. R. 1.1; Col. R. R. 1.1; Plin. Nat. 18.9 foll.; Proleg. ad Geopon. in ed. Niclas; cf. Teuffel, Roman Lit. i. p. 73 foll.) Division of the Subject. Rural Economy may be treated of under two distinct heads-- A. Agriculture proper (Agricultura), or the art of tilling the soil. B. The management of stock (Pastio.）
A. AGRICULTURA.Agriculture proper teaches the art of raising the various crops necessary for the sustenance and comfort of man and of the domestic animals, in such a manner that the productive energies of the soil may be fully developed but not exhausted or enfeebled, and teaches, further, how this may be accomplished with the least possible [p. 1.56]expenditure of capital. The crops to which the Greeks and Romans chiefly directed their attention were--
- 1. Different kinds of grain, such as wheat and barley; leguminous vegetables cultivated for their seeds, such as beans, peas, and lupines; herbs cut green for forage, such as grass, tares, and lucerne ; and plants which furnished the raw material for the textile fabrics, such as hemp and flax.
- 2. Fruit trees, especially the vine, the olive, and the fig.
- 3. Garden stuffs.--For the second of these divisions we refer to the articles OLEA and VINEA; and we shall not touch at all upon gardening, since the minute details connected with this topic are of little or no service in illustrating the classics generally.
- I. Of the subject of our operations, that is, the farm (fundus, praedium), which must be considered: a. with reference to its situation and soil (quo loco et qualis), and b. with reference to the dwelling-house and steading (villa et stabula.）
- II. Of the instruments (instrumenta) required to perform the various operations (quae in fundo opus sint ac debeant esse culturae causa,) these instruments being twofold: a. men (homines); and b. the assistants of men (adminicula hominum), viz. domestic animals (boves, equi, canes, &c.), together with tools (instrumenta), properly so called, such as ploughs and harrows. (Varro, 1.18.)
- III. Of the operations themselves, such as ploughing, harrowing, and sowing (quae in fundo colendi causa sint facienda), and of the time when they are to be performed (quo quidquid tempore fieri conveniat). (Varro, 1.5.)
- IV. Of the object of these operations, viz. the different plants considered with reference to their species, varieties, and habits. Under this head we may also conveniently include what is termed the rotation of crops; that is, the order in which they ought to succeed each other upon the same ground.
I. THE FARMsalubritas), a matter of the greatest anxiety in Italy, where the ravages of malaria appear to have been not less fatal in ancient than they have proved in modern times; and, 2. The general fertility of the soil. It was essential to be fully satisfied upon both of these particulars; for to settle in a pestilential spot was to gamble with the lives and property of all concerned (non aliud est atque alea domini vitae et rei familiaris: Varro, 1.4, 5); and no man in his senses would undertake to till land which was not likely to yield a fair return for his outlay of money and labour (fructus pro impensa ac labore.) The next object of solicitude was a good aspect. The property was, if possible, to have a southerly exposure (Cato, 1.3), to be sheltered by a wooded hill from the sweep of boisterous and cutting winds (Varro, 1.12), and not to be liable to sudden misfortunes (ne calamitosum siet), such as inundations or violent hail-storms. It was highly important that it should be in the vicinity of a populous town (oppidum validum,) or, if not, that it should be readily accessible either by sea or by a navigable stream (amnis qua naves ambulant), or by a good well-frequented road (via bona celebrisque); that there should be an abundant supply of water (bonum aquarium) ; that it should be so situated that the proprietor, if he did not live upon the estate, might be able to give active and constant personal superintendence; and, finally, that it should be moderate in size, so that every portion might be brought into full cultivation (laudato ingentia rura, Exiguum colito: Verg. G. 2.412).
THE SOILThese preliminary matters being ascertained, the soil might be considered in reference: α. to its general external features (forma); β. to its internal qualities (qualis sit terra.） α. In so far as its external features were concerned it might be flat (solum campestre), or upland rolling ground (collinum), or high lying (montanum), or might comprise within its limits all three, which was most desirable, or any two of them. These variations would necessarily exercise important influence on the climate, on the description of crops which might be cultivated with advantage, and on the time chosen for performing the various operations, the general rule being that as we ascend the temperature falls, that corn and sown crops in general (segetes) succeed best on plains, vineyards (vineae) on gentle slopes, and timber trees (silvae) upon elevated sites, and that the different labours of the rustic may be commenced earlier upon low than upon high ground. When flat, it was better that it should incline gently and uniformly in one direction (aequabiliter in unam partem vergens) than be a dead level (ad libellam aequus), for in the latter case, the drainage being necessarily imperfect, it would have a tendency to become swampy; but the worst form was when there were converging slopes, for there the water collected into pools (lacunas). (Varro, 1.6.) β. In so far as its internal qualities were concerned, soil might be classed under six heads, forming three antagonistic pairs:--
- 1. The deep and fat (pingue).
- 2. The shallow and lean (macrum, jejunum).
- 3. The loose (solutum).
- 4. The dense (spissum).
- 5. The wet (humidum, aquosum, uliginosum).
- 6. The dry (siccum).
- 1. Vineyards (vinea), provided they yielded good wine in abundance.
- 2. Garden ground well supplied with water (hortus irriguus).
- 3. Osier beds (salictum).
- 4. Olive plantations (oletum).
- 5. Meadows (pratum).
- 6. Corn land (campus frumentarius).
- 7. Groves which might be cut for timber or fire-wood (silva caedua.）
- 8. Arbustum.1
- 9. Groves yielding acorns, beech-mast, and chestnuts (glandaria silva.）
- 1. Fossae patentes, open ditches, alone were formed in dense and chalky soil. They were wide at top, and gradually narrowed in wedge fashion (imbricibus supinis similes) as they descended.
- 2. Fossae caecae, covered drains, or sivers as they are termed in Scotland, were employed where the soil was loose, and emptied themselves into the fossae patentes. They were usually sunk from three to four feet, were three feet wide at top and eighteen inches at bottom; one-half of the depth was filled up with small stones, sharp gravel (nuda glarea), or brushwood tied in bundles (sarmentis colligatis, Cato, 100.43), and the earth which had been dug out was thrown in above until the surface was level. Where stones or gravel could not readily be procured, green willow poles were introduced, crossing each other in all directions (quoquoversus), or a sort of rope was constructed of twigs twisted together so as to fit exactly into the bottom of the drain; above this the leaves of some of the pine tribe were trodden down, and the whole covered up with earth. To prevent the apertures being choked by the falling down of the soil, the mouths were supported by two stones placed upright, and one across (utilissimum est . . . ora earum binis utrimque lapidibus statuminari et alio superintegi, Plin. Nat. 18.47). To carry off the surface-water from land under crop, open furrows （sulci aquarii, elices) were left at intervals, which discharged themselves into cross furrows (colliquiae) at the extremities of the fields, and these again poured their streams into the ditches.
MEASURES OF LAND.The measure employed for land in Latium was the jugerum, which was a double actus quadratus; the actus quadratus, anciently called acna, or acnua, or agnua, being a square whose side was 120 Roman feet. The subdivisions of the as were applied to the jugerum, the lowest in use being the scripulum, properly the twelfth part of an uncia: hence, when applied to land, a square whose side was ten feet. Two jugera formed a heredium, 100 heredia a centuria, a term which is said to have arisen from the allotments of land made by Romulus to the citizens; for these being at the rate of two jugera to each man, 200 jugera would be assigned to every hundred men. Lastly, four centuriae made a saltus. We thus have the following table:--
|1||scripulum||=||100 square ft., Roman measure.|
|144||scripula||=||1 actus 14,400 square feet.|
|2||actus||=||1 jugerum=28,800 square ft.|
FENCES (saepes, saepimenta）Fences (saepes, saepimenta) were of four kinds:--
- 1. Saepimentum naturale, the quickset hedge (viva saepes.）
- 2. Saepimentum agreste, a wooden paling made with upright stakes (pali） interlaced with brushwood (virgultis implicatis), or having two or more cross-spars (amites, longuria) passed through holes drilled in the stakes, after the manner of what are now termed flakes (palis [p. 1.58]latis perforatis et per ea foramina trajectis longuriis fere binis aut ternis). (Varr. 1.14.)
- 3. Saepimentum militare, consisting of a ditch (fossa) with the earth dug out and thrown up inside so as to form an embankment (agger), a fence used chiefly along the sides of public roads or on the banks of rivers.
- 4. Saepimentum fabrile, wall (maceria), which might be formed either of stones, as in the vicinity of Tusculum, or of baked bricks as in the north of Italy, or of unbaked bricks as in Sabinum, or of masses of earth and stone pressed in between upright boards (in formis), and hence termed formacei. These last were common in Spain, in Africa, and near Tarentum, and were said to last for centuries uninjured by the weather. (Varr. 1.14; Plin. Nat. 35.169; comp. Col. 5.10, 10.3; Pallad. 1.34, 6.3.)
II. INSTRUMENTA.The instrumenta employed to cultivate the ground were two-fold: a. Persons (homines;) b. Aids to human toil (adminicula hominum,） namely, oxen and other animals employed in work; together with tools (instrumenta), in the restricted sense of the word.
Free and slave laborer.The men employed to cultivate a farm might be either, 1. free labourers (operarii), or 2. slaves (servi.）
1. Free labourers (operarii).Cato considers the facility of procuring persons of this description as one of the circumstances that ought to weigh with a purchaser in making choice of a farm; for although a large proportion of the work upon great estates was, during the later ages at least of the Roman republic, always performed by slaves, it was considered advantageous to employ hirelings for those operations where a number of hands were required for a limited period, as in hay-making, the corn harvest, and the vintage, or, according to the cold-blooded recommendation of Varro (1.17, 2), in unhealthy situations where slaves would have died off fast, entailing a heavy loss on their owner. Operarii were [p. 1.59]usually hired in gangs (conducticiae liberorum operae), who entered into an engagement with a contractor (mercennarius), who in his turn bargained with the farmer for some piece of work in the slump, or else they were persons who had incurred debt which they paid off in work to their creditors. This, which was an ordinary practice in the earlier ages of the Roman republic, seems in later times to have been confined to foreign countries, being common, according to Varro, especially in Asia, Egypt, and Illyria. The mercennarius politor spoken of by Cato (100.5) was, according to Mommsen (Hist. 2.363 note, and 368), a reaper, or more strictly a thresher, who was paid for his labour by a certain share of the corn.
2. Slaves (servi).Rustic slaves were divided into two great classes,--those who were placed under no direct personal restraint (servi soluti,) and those who worked in fetters (servi vincti) when abroad, and when at home were confined in a kind of prison (ergastulum), where they were guarded and their wants supplied by a gaoler (erqastularius). Slaves, moreover, in large establishments, were ranked in bodies according to the duties which they were appointed to perform, it being a matter of obvious expediency that the same individuals should be regularly employed in the same tasks. Hence there were the ox-drivers (bubulci), who for the most part acted as ploughmen also (aratores,） the stable-men (jugarii), who harnessed the domestic animals and tended them in their stalls, the vine-dressers (vinitores), the leaf-strippers (frondatores), the ordinary labourers (mediastini,) and many other classified bodies. These, according to their respective occupations, worked either singly, or in small gangs placed under the charge of inspectors (magistri operum). When the owner (dominus) did not reside upon the property, and in person superintended the various operations in progress, the whole farming establishment was under the control of a general overseer (vilicus), himself a slave or freedman, who regulated the work, distributed food and clothing to the labourers, inspected the tools, kept a regular account of the stock, performed the stated sacrifices, bought what was necessary for the use of the household, and sold the produce of the farm, for which he accounted to the proprietor, except on very extensive estates where there was usually a steward (not a slave) (procurator) who managed the pecuniary transactions, and held the vilicus in check. With the vilicus was associated a female slave (contubernalis mulier) called vilica, who took charge of the female slaves, and the indoor details of the family. The duties and qualifications of a vilicus will be found enumerated in Cat. 100.5, and Col. 1.8; comp. Geopon. 2.44, 45 ; Varro, 1.17, 3; Mommsen, 2.366.
Food of the household slaves.The food of the slaves composing the household (familia) was classed under three heads: 1. Cibaria. 2. Vinum. 3. Pulmentarium.
1. Cibaria.The servi compediti, being kept constantly in confinement, received their food in the shape of bread at the rate of 4 pounds (Roman pound=11 4/5 oz. avoirdupois) per diem in winter, and 5 pounds in summer, until the figs came in, when they went back to 4 pounds. The servi soluti received their food in the shape of corn, at the rate of 4 modii (pecks) of wheat per month in winter, and 4 1/2 in summer. Those persons, such as the vilicus, the vilica, and the shepherd (opilio), who had no hard manual labour to perform, were allowed one-fourth less if Cato's text is (100.56) sound; but cf. Wordsworth's Specimens of early Latin, p. 617.
2. Vinum.The quantity of wine allowed varied much according to the season of the year and the severity of the toil imposed, but a servus solutus received about 8 amphorae (nearly 48 imperial gallons) a year, and a servus compeditus about 10 amphorae, besides lora [see VINUM] at discretion for three months after the vintage, (Cato, 57.)
3. Pulmentarium.As pulmentaria they received olives which had fallen from the trees (oleae caducae), then those ripe olives (oleae tempestivae), from which the least amount of oil could be expressed, and, after the olives were all eaten up, salt fish (halec), and vinegar (acetum). In addition to the above, each individual was allowed a sextarius (very nearly an imperial pint) of oil per month, and a modius of salt per annum, rather more than the allowance in the Bengal jails at present.
Clothing (vestimenta.The clothing (vestimenta) of the rustic labourers was of the most coarse description, but such as to protect them effectually from cold and wet, enabling them to pursue their avocations in all weathers. It consisted of thick woollen shirts (tunicae) 3 1/2 ft. long, skin coats with long sleeves (pelles manicatae), cloaks with hoods (saga cucullata, cuculiones), patch-work wrappers (centones) made out of the old and ragged garments, together with strong sabots or wooden shoes (sculponeae). A tunic, a sagum, and a pair of sculponeae were given every other year.
Number of hands required.The number of hands required to cultivate a farm depended almost entirely on the nature of the crops. An arable farm of 200 jugers, where the ordinary crops of corn and leguminous vegetables were raised, required two pairs of oxen, two bubulci and six ordinary labourers, if free from trees; but if laid out as an arbustum, three additional hands. An olive-growing farm of 240 jugers required three pairs of oxen, three asses for carrying manure (asini ornati clitellarii), one ass for turning the mill, five score of sheep, a vilicus, a vilica, five ordinary labourers, three bubulci, one ass-driver (asinarius), one shepherd (opilio), one swineherd (subulcus); in all twelve men and one woman. A vineyard of 100 jugers required one pair of oxen, one pair of draught asses (asini plostrarii,） one mill ass (asinus molaris), a vilicus, a vilica, one bubulcus, one asinarius, one man to look after the plantations of willows used for withes (salictarius), one subulcus,ten ordinary labourers; in all fifteen men and one woman. Varro points out that the number in some instances need not be increased in proportion to the increased size of the farm; e. g. one vilicus and one vilica will suffice for a much larger estate. (Cat. 5, 10, 11; Varr. 1.19; Col. 1.7, 8,.2.12.)
Rented land.The proprietor was usually himself the farmer, but occasionally, quite as the exception, land was let (locare) to a tenant, who paid his rent either in money (pensio; ad pecuniam numeratam conduxit), as seems to have been the [p. 1.60]practice when Columella wrote, or by making over to the landlord a fixed proportion of the produce (non nummo sed partibus locare), according to the system described by Cato, and alluded to by the younger Pliny. These coloni sometimes tilled the same farm from father to son for generations (coloni indigenae), and such were considered the most desirable occupants, since they had a sort of hereditary interest in the soil, while on the other hand frequent changes could scarcely fail to prove injurious. The worst tenants were those who did not cultivate in person, but, living in towns (urbanus colonus), employed gangs of slaves. Upon the whole Columella recommends the owner of an estate to keep it in his own hands, except when it is very barren, the climate unhealthy, or the distance from his usual place of abode so great that he can seldom be upon the spot. Cato gives a table of the proportion which the partiarius ought to pay, according to the nature of the crop and the fertility of the region; but as he says nothing with regard to the manner in which the cost of cultivation was divided between the parties, his statement gives us no practical insight into the nature of these leases (Cat. 136, 137; Col. 1.7; Plin. Ep. 9.37, cf. iii, 19; Mommsen, 2.364 n.).
b. ADMINICULA HOMINUM.The domestic animals employed in labour and their treatment will be considered under the second great division of our subject, Pastio, or the management of stock. The tools (instrumenta) chiefly used by the farmer were the plough (aratrum), the grubber (irpex), harrows (crates, crates dentatae), the rake (rastrum), the spade (ligo, pala), the hoe (sarculum, bidens), the mattock (marra), the spud or weeding-hook (runco), the scythe and sickle (falx), the thrashing-machine (plostellum Poenicum, tribulum), the cart (plostrum), the axe (securis, dolabra). These will be described as we go along in so far as may be necessary to render our observations intelligible, but for full information the reader must consult the separate articles devoted to each of the above words.
III. THE OPERATIONS OF AGRICULTURE.The most important operations performed by the husbandman were:--
- 1. Ploughing (aratio.）
- 2. Manuring (stercoratio).
- 3. Sowing (satio.）
- 4. Harrowing (occatio）
- 5. Hoeing (saritio).
- 6. Weeding (runcatio).
- 7. Reaping (messio).
- 8. Threshing (tritura).
- 9. Winnowing (ventilatio.）
- 10. Storing up (conditio.）
1. Ploughing (aratio.）The number of times that land was ploughed, varying from two to nine, as well as the season at which the work was performed, depended upon the nature of the soil and the crop for which it was prepared. The object of ploughing being to keep down weeds, to pulverise the earth as finely as possible (Verg. G. 2.204), and to expose every portion of it in turn to the action of the atmosphere, the operation was repeated again and again (Verg. G. 1.47), until these objects were fully attained. When stiff low-lying soil (campus uliginosus) was broken up for wheat, it was usual to plough it four times: first (proscindere or vervagere) as early in spring as the weather would permit (Verg. G. 1.63), after which the land was termed vervactum, and hence the god Vervactor; for the second time (offringere, iterare, vervacta subigere), about the summer solstice, under the patronage of the god Reparator, and on this occasion the field was cross-ploughed (Verg. G. 1.97); for the third time (tertiare), about the beginning of September; and for the fourth time, shortly before the equinox, when it was ribbed (lirare) for the reception of the seed, the ribbing being executed under favour of the god Imporcitor (from porca, the ridge between the furrows), by adding two mouldboards to the plough (aratrum auritum), one on each side of the share. (Varr. 1.29; Pallad. 1.43.) Rich soil on sloping ground was ploughed three times only, the ploughing in spring or at the beginning of September being omitted; light (exilis) moist soil also three times, at the end of August, early in September, and about the equinox; whilst the poorest hill soil was ploughed twice in rapid succession, early in September, so that the moisture might not be dried up by the summer heat. (Verg. G. 1.70; Col. 2.4.) The greatest care was taken not to plough ground that had been rendered miry by rain, nor that which after a long drought had been wetted by showers which had not penetrated beyond the surface (Col. 2.4, 5; Pallad. 2.3); but whether this last is really the terra cariosa of Cato, as Columella seems to think, is by no means clear. (Cat. 5, 34; comp. Plin. Nat. 17.34.) With regard to the depth to which the share was to be driven, we have no very precise directions ; but Columella recommends generally for Italy deep ploughing (2.2, 23; comp. Plin. Nat. 18.170) in preference to mere scratching (scarificatio) with light shares (exiguis vomeribus et dentalibus), which is proper for Numidia or Egypt. The plough was almost invariably drawn by oxen, although Homer (Hom. Il. 10.351; Od. 8.124) prefers mules, yoked close together in such a manner as to pull by their necks and not by the horns, guided and stimulated chiefly by the voice. The lash was used very sparingly, and the young steer was never pricked by the goad (stimulus,） since it was apt to render him restive and unmanageable. The animals were allowed to rest at the end of each furrow, but not to stop in the middle of it: when unharnessed, they were carefully rubbed down, allowed to cool, and watered, before they were tied up in the stall, their mouths having been previously washed with wine. (Col. 2.2, 22-28.) The ploughman (bubulcus) was required to make perfectly straight and uniform furrows (sulco [p. 1.61]vario ne ares, Cat. 61), so close to each other as altogether to obliterate the mark of the share, and was particularly cautioned against missing over any portion of the ground, and thus leaving scamna ; that is, masses of hard unstirred earth (necubi crudum solum et immotum relinquat, quod agricolae scamnum vocant, Col. 2.2, 25). The normal length of a furrow was 120 feet; any greater length was considered to try the oxen too much. A distinction is drawn between versus and versura, the former being properly the furrow, the latter the extremity of the furrow, or the turning point; but this is far from being strictly observed. (Col. 2.2, § § 27, 28.) Four days were allowed for the four ploughings of a juger of rich low-lying land (jugerum talis agri quatuor operis expeditur, Col. 2.4, 8). The first ploughing (proscissio) occupied two days, the second (iteratio) one day, the third (tertiatio） three-fourths of a day, and ribbing for the seed one-fourth of a day (in liram satum redigitur quadrante operae, ib.). The same time is allowed for the three ploughings of rich upland soil (colles pinguis soli) as for the four ploughings of the uliginosus campus, the fatigue being much greater, although the difficulties presented by the acclivity were in some measure relieved by ploughing hills in a slanting direction, instead of straight up and down. (Varr. 1.27, 29; Col. 2.2, 4; Plin. Nat. 18.178; Pallad. 1.6, 2.3, 8.1, 10.1; Geopon. 2.23; and comp. Hom. Il. 13.704, 18.370, 540; Od. 5.127.)
2. Manuring (stercoratio.)Manure (fimus, stercus). This was of three kinds: (1) the dung of birds (stercus columbinum); (2) of the ordinary domestic animals (bubulum, ovillum, caprinum, suillum, equinum, asininum, &c.); (3) human excrements. These differed considerably in quality, and hence those who raised different kinds of crops are enjoined to keep the different sorts of dung separate, in order that each might be applied in the most advantageous manner. That derived from pigeon-houses (columbariis), from aviaries where thrushes and blackbirds were fattened (ex aviariis turdorum ac merularum, Varro, 1.38), and from birds in general, except water-fowl, was considered the hottest and most powerful, and always placed apart, being sown by the hand exactly as we deal with guano at the present moment. The dung of swine was considered of the least value (Col. 2.38). The ancient writers very emphatically point out the necessity of procuring large supplies of manure, which the Romans regarded under the special patronage of Stercutius, and farmers were urged to collect straw, weeds, leaves of all sorts, hedge-clippings, and tender twigs, which were first used to litter the stock, and then, when mixed with ashes, sweepings of the house, road-scrapings, and filth of every description, served to swell the dunghills (sterquilinia). These were at least two in number, one being intended for immediate use, the other for the reception of fresh materials, which were allowed to remain for a year (Varro, 1.13); dung, when old and well rotted, being accounted best for all purposes, except for top-dressing of meadows, when it was used as fresh as possible. The dunghills were formed on ground which had been hollowed out and beaten down or paved, so that the moisture might not escape through the soil, and they were covered over with brushwood or hurdles to prevent evaporation. In this way the whole mass was kept constantly moist, and fermentation was still further promoted by turning it over very frequently and incorporating the different parts. (Col. 2.14.) The particular crops to which manure was chiefly applied will be noticed hereafter; but in so far as regards the time of application it was laid down in September or October, on the ground that was to be autumn sown; and in the course of January or February, on the ground that was to be spring sown. A full manuring (stercoratio) for a juger of land on an upland slope (quod spissius stercoratur) was 24 loads (vehes,) each load being 80 modii or pecks; while for low-lying land (quod rarius stercoratur) 18 loads were considered sufficient. (Col. 2.5.) The dung was thrown down in small heaps of the bulk of five modii, it was then broken small, was spread out equally and ploughed in instantly that it might not be dried up by the rays of the sun, great care being taken to perform these operations when the moon was waning, and if possible with a west wind. According to the calculations of Columella (2.14), the live-stock necessary for a farm of two hundred jugers ought to yield 1440 loads per year; that is, enough for manuring 60 jugers at the rate of 24 loads to the juger. In what proportions this was distributed is nowhere very clearly defined, and must necessarily have varied according to circumstances. If we take two statements of Cato in connexion with each other, we shall be led to conclude that he advises one-half of the whole manure made upon a farm to be applied to the raising of green crops used as fodder (pabulum), one-fourth to the top-dressing of meadows, and the remaining fourth for the olives and fruit-trees. Columella recommends the manuring of light soil (exilis terra) before the second ploughing; but when rich lands were summer fallowed previous to a corn crop, no manure was considered requisite. (Hom. Od. 17.297; Theophrast. Caus. Phys. 3.25; Cat. 5, 7, 29, 36, 37, 61; Varr. 1.13, 38; Col. 2.5, 14, 15, 11.2; Pallad. 1.33, x. i.; Cic. de Senect. 15, § § 51, 54; Plin. Nat. 17. § § 50-55, 18. § § 192-194; Geopon. 2.21, 22.) The system of manuring by penning and feeding sheep upon a limited space of ground was neither unknown nor neglected, as we perceive from the precepts of Cato (30), Varro (2.2, 12), and Pliny (Plin. Nat. 18.194), all of whom recommend the practice. The ashes obtained by burning weeds, bushes, prunings, or any sort of superfluous wood, were found to have the best effect (Verg. G. 1.81 ; Col. 2.15, 4; Plin. Nat. 17.49; Geopon. 12.4),. and sometimes, as we know from Virgil (Georg. 1.84), it was deemed profitable to set fire to the stubble standing in the fields (Plin. Nat. 18.300). Caustic lime was employed as a fertiliser by some of the tribes of Transalpine Gaul in the time of Pliny, but in Italy its application seems to have been very limited and to have been confined to vines, olives, and cherry-trees. (Cat. 38; Pallad. 1.6; Plin. Nat. 17.53.) Marl also (marga) of different kinds was known to the Greeks, was applied by the Megarenses to wet cold lands, and was extensively employed in Gaul and Britain; but not being found in Italy, [p. 1.62]did not enter into the agricultural arrangements of the Latins. Pliny devotes several chapters to an elaborate discussion upon these earths, of which he describes various sorts which had been made the subject of experiment, classifying them according to their colour, their constitution, and their qualities: the white (alba), the red (rufa), the dove-coloured (columbina), the clayey (argillacea), the sandy (arenacea), the tufaceous (to-facea), which was either fat (pinguis) or rough (aspera). Some of them we recognise at once, as, for example, the fat white clayey marl chiefly used in Britain, the effects of which were believed to endure for eighty years. (Plin. Nat. 17. § § 42, 45; comp. Varro, 1.7, In Gallia Transalpina intus ad Rhenum aliquot regiones accessi. . . ubi agros stercorarent candida fossicia creta.) Daubeny believes (p. 134) that the virtue ascribed to marl as a manure, which he says is worthless as such, is due to the large quantity of phosphate of lime found in some soils which bear that name. Somewhat analogous to the use of marl was the system strongly recommended by Theophrastus and Columella, but condemned by Pliny, of combining soils in which some quality existed in excess, with those possessing opposite characters--dry gravel with chalky clay, or heavy wet loam with sand,--the object being frequently attained to a certain extent by subsoil ploughing, which was greatly approved of as a means of renovating fields exhausted by severe cropping. (Theophrast. Caus. Phys. 3.25; Col. 2.15; Plin. Nat. 17.41.) When ordinary manures could not be procured in sufficient quantity, a scheme was resorted to which was at one time pursued in this country, and is still adopted with considerable success in many parts of Italy and in the sandy tracts of southern France. The field was sown about the middle of September with beans or lupines, which were ploughed into the ground the following spring, in all cases before the pod was fully formed, and at an earlier stage of their growth on light than on stiff soils. Nay, many crops, such as beans, peas, lupines, vetches, lentils (ervilia, cicerula), even when allowed to come to maturity, were supposed to exercise an ameliorating influence, provided their roots were immediately buried by the plough, although perhaps in this case the beneficial effect may have resulted from the manure applied before they were sown. On the other hand, corn in general, poppies, fenugreek, and all crops pulled up by the roots, such as cicer and flax, were supposed to exhaust (urere) the soil, which then required either repose or manure to restore its powers. (Theophrast. Caus. Phys. 8.9; Cat. 37; Varr. 1.23; Verg. G. 1.77; Col. 2.13-15, 11.2; Pallad. 1.6, 6.4, 10.9; Plin. Nat. 17.56, 18.182.)
3. Sowing (satio）May be considered under three heads. 1. The time of sowing. 2. The manner of sowing. 3. The choice, preparation, and quantity of the seed.
1. Time of sowing.The seed-time (sementis), κατ᾽ ἐξοχήν, commenced at the autumnal equinox, and ended fifteen days before the winter solstice. Few, however, began before the setting of the Pleiades (23rd October), unless on cold wet ground, or in those localities where bad weather set in soon; indeed, it was an old proverb that, while a late sowing often disappointed the hopes of the husbandman, an early one never realised them (maturam sationem saepe decipere solere, seram numquam quin mala sit); and the Virgilian maxim is to the same purpose (Georg. 1.219). Spring sowing (trimestris satio) was practised only in very deep stiff land, which would admit of being cropped for several years in succession (restibilis ager), or where, from peculiar circumstances connected with the situation or climate, such as the great inclemency of the winters, it was impossible for the farmer to sow in autumn; and hence, generally speaking, was resorted to very sparingly, and for the most part from necessity rather than inclination.
2. The manner of sowing.We can infer from incidental notices in agricultural writers, that the seed was committed to the ground in at least three different modes. a. The seed was cast upon a flat surface finely pulverised by the plough and harrow, and then covered up by ribbing the land (tertio cum arant, JACTO SEMINE, boves lirare dicuntur). (Varr. 1.29; comp. Col. 2.13.) b. The land was ribbed, the seed was then dropped upon the tops of the lirae or elevated ridges, according to our fashion for turnips, LIRAS autem rustici vocant easdem porcas cum sic aratum est, ut inter duos latius distantes sulcos, medius cumulus siccam sedem frumentis praebeat. (Col. 2.4.8.) This plan was followed on wet land to secure a dry bed for the seed, which would probably be covered up by hand-rakes (rastris.） c. The land was ribbed as in the former case; but the seed, instead of being dropped upon the ridge of the lira, was cast into the depression of the furrow, and might be covered up either by the harrow or by ploughing down the middle of the lira. This was practised on light, sloping, and therefore dry, land (neque in lira sed sub sulco talis ager seminandus est, Col. 2.4.11). Vetches, fenugreek, and some other crops, as will be noticed below, were frequently thrown upon land unprepared (cruda terra), and the seeds then ploughed in. The seed seems to have been cast out of a three-peck basket (trimodiam satoriam, sc. corbem), which from superstitious motives was sometimes covered over with the skin of a hyaena (Col. 2.9, 9). Pliny points out how necessary it was that the hand of the sower should keep time with his stride, in order that he might scatter the grains with perfect uniformity.
3. The choice, preparation, and quantity of the seed.The points chiefly attended to in the choice of seed corn were, that it should be perfectly fresh and free from mixture or adulteration, and of an uniform reddish colour throughout its substance. When the crop was reaped, the largest and finest ears were selected by the hand, or, where the produce was so great as to render this impossible, the heaviest grains were separated by a sieve (quidquid exteratur capisterio expurgandum erit, Col. 2.9, 11) and reserved. In addition to these precautions it was not unusual to doctor seeds of all sorts (medicare semina) by sprinkling them with an alkaline liquor (nitrum, i.e. probably carbonate of soda), or with the deposit left by newly-expressed oil (amurca), or by steeping them in various preparations, of which several are enumerated by Columella and Pliny (cf. Verg. G. 1.193); the object being twofold, in the first place to increase the quantity [p. 1.63]and quality of the produce, and in the second place to protect it from the ravages of vermin, especially the little animal called curculio, probably the same insect with our weevil. The quantity of seed sown varied according to the soil, the situation, the season, and the weather, the general rule being that less was required for rich and finely pulverised (pingue et putre), or light and sharp (gracile), or thin poor soil (macrum, exile) than for such as was stiff and heavy (crassum, cretosum), or moderately tenacious; less for an open field than for an arbustum, less at the beginning of the season than towards the close (although this is contradicted by Pliny, Plin. Nat. 18.196), and less in rainy than in dry weather, maxims which are fully explained by the authorities quoted below. The average amount of seed used for the three principal species of grain--wheat, spelt, and barley--was respectively five, ten, and six modii per juger, which Daubeny (p. 129) shows to correspond pretty nearly with our own practice. (Xenoph. Oecon. 17; Theophrast. 2.6, and 3.25; Cat. 34, 35; Varr. 1.29, 34, 40, 44, 52; Col. 2.2, 3, 8-10, 13, 12.2; Pallad. 1.6, 34, 10.2; Verg. G. 1.193, 212, 225; Plin. Nat. 18. § § 198 ff., 304 ff.; Geopon. 2.15-20.)
4. Harrowing (occatio）Might be performed at two different periods: after the first or second ploughing, in order to powder the soil completely; and after sowing, in order to cover up the seed. When the land was encumbered with roots and deep-seated weeds, a grubber (irpex, Cat. 10; Varr. L. L. 5.136) formed of a strong plank set with iron spikes was employed, but in ordinary cases wicker hurdles (vimineae crates), sometimes fitted with teeth (dentatae), were dragged over the ground; or the clods were broken with hand-rakes (rastra.) The seed, as we have seen above, being for the most part ploughed in, and the operation for that reason placed under the patronage of a god Obarator, the second harrowing (iteratio) was omitted, except where the surface still rose in lumps (Verg. G. 1.104); but since it was the duty of a good farmer to have his fields in the best order before he began to sow, the older Roman writers considered harrowing after sowing as a proof of bad husbandry.--“Veteres Romani dixerunt male subactum agrum, qui satis frugibus occandus sit.” (Col. 2.4, 13, 11.2, 82; Plin. Nat. 18.180; Verg. G. 1.94, 104.)
5. Hoeing (saritio.）The next care, after covering up the seed, was to loosen the earth round the roots of the young blades, in order that air and moisture might gain free access and enable them to send forth more numerous and more vigorous shoots and fibres (ut fruticare possint). This process was termed σκαλεία, saritio, or sarculatio, and was carried on by hand with an instrument called sarculum, the form of which is not known. Corn was usually hoed twice, for the first time in winter, as soon as it fairly covered the ground (cum sata sulcos contexerint), provided there was no frost; and for the second time in spring, before the stalk became jointed (antequam seges in articulum eat); great care being taken at all times not to injure the root. On the first occasion, and then only, where the ground was dry and the situation warm, the plants, in addition to a simple hoeing (plana saritio), were earthed up (adobruere). Columella recommends saritio for almost all crops, except lupines; but authorities differed much as to the necessity or propriety of performing the operation in any case, and those who advocated its expediency most warmly, agreed that the periods at which it ought to be executed, and the number of times that it ought to be repeated, must depend upon the soil, climate, and a variety of special circumstances. (Cat. 37; Varr. 1.18, 29, 36; Col. 2.11, 11.2; Plin. Nat. 18.184; Geopon. 2.24: comp. Plaut. Capt. 3.5, 3; Verg. G. 1.155）
6. Weeding (runcatio.）Hoeing was followed by weeding (βοτανισμός, runcatio), which in the case of grain crops took place immediately before they began to blossom, or immediately after the flower had passed away. The weeds were either pulled up by the roots (evulsis inutilibus herbis), or cut over with a bill-hook, which Palladius terms runco. (Cat. 37; Varr. 1.30; Col. 2.11, 11.2; Pallad. i. sub fin.; Plin. Nat. 18.185; Geopon. 2.24.) But after the farmer had laboured with unremitting zeal in cleaning and pulverising the soil, in selecting and medicating the seed, in hoeing the young blades, and in extirpating the common noxious weeds (lolium, tribuli, lappae, cardui, rubi, avena), the safety of the crop was threatened by a vast number of assailants (tum variae illudant pestes, Verg. G. 1.181); such as worms of various kinds (vermiculi） attacking both root and ear, caterpillars (uricae), spiders (phalangia,) snails (limaces, cocleae), mice (mures), moles (talpae), and the whole race of birds, besides which each kind of plant was believed to have its own special vegetable enemy, which, if not carefully watched, would spring up, choke, and destroy it. But the foe dreaded above all others in the vineyard and the cornfield was a peculiar blight or mildew termed robigo, which wrought such havoc in damp low-lying situations that it was regarded as a manifestation of wrath on the part of a malignant spirit, whose favour the rustic sought to propitiate by the annual festival of the Robigalia. [ROBIGALIA] (Plin. Nat. 18.154; Verg. G. 1.151） Another danger of an opposite description arose from the grain shooting up so rapidly that the stalk was likely to become immoderately long and weak. The danger in this case was averted by pasturing down the too luxuriant herbage with sheep (luxuriem segetum tenera depascit in herba), or by dragging over it an iron-toothed harrow (cratis et hoc genus dentatae stilis ferreis,) by which it was said to be combed (pectinari). (Verg. G. 1.112; Plin. Nat. 18.186.)
7. Reaping (messio.）The corn was reaped as soon as it had acquired a uniform yellow tint, without waiting until it had become dead ripe, in order to avoid the loss sustained by shaking, and by the ravages of animals. The necessity of pursuing this course with regard to barley is especially insisted upon; but it is quite at variance with modern practice. There was a saying that it was better to reap two days too soon than two days too late. (Col. 2.9; Plin. Nat. 18.298.) [p. 1.64] Varro (1.50) describes three distinct methods of reaping (tria genera messionis.）
- 1. That followed in Umbria, where the stalk was shorn close to the ground with a hook (falx.) Each handful was laid down; and when a number of these had accumulated, the ears were cut off, thrown into baskets (corbes), and sent to the threshing-floor, the straw (stramentum) being left upon the field, and afterwards gathered into a heap.
- 2. That followed in Picenum, where they used a small iron saw (serrula ferrea) fixed to the extremity of a crooked wooden handle (ligneum incurvum batillum); with this they laid hold of a bundle of ears which were cut off, the straw being left standing to be mown subsequently.
- 3. That followed in the vicinity of Rome and most other places, where the stalks were grasped in the left hand and cut at half their height from the ground, the whole of the portion detached being conveyed in baskets to the threshing-floor, and the part left standing being cut afterwards.
8. Threshing (tritura.）After the crop had been properly dried and hardened (torrefacta) by exposure to the sun, it was conveyed to the threshing-floor (ἅλως, ἀλωή, or ἁλωή, area). This was an open space, on some elevated spot over which the wind had free course, of a circular form, slightly raised in the centre to allow moisture to run off. The earth was compressed by heavy rollers (gravi cylindro, molari lapide), pounded with rammers (paviculis,) and reduced to a solid consistency with clay and chaff, so as to present an even unyielding surface; or, better still, paved with hard stones. Here the corn was spread out and beaten with flails (baculis excutere, fustibus cudere, perticis flagellare); or more commonly, except when the ears alone had been brought from the field, trodden out (exterere) by the feet of a number of men or horses, who were driven backwards and forwards within the ring. To produce the effect more easily and more perfectly, the cattle were frequently yoked to a machine (tribulum, tribula, trahea, traha), consisting of a board made rough by attaching to it stones or pieces of iron, and loaded with some heavy weight; or what was termed a Punic wain (plostellum Poenicum) was employed, being a set of toothed rollers covered with planks, on which sat the driver who guided the team. Attached to the area was a huge shed or half-enclosed barn (nubilarium), of sufficient dimensions to contain the whole crop. Here the corn was dried in unfavourable seasons before being threshed, and hither it was hurriedly conveyed for shelter when the harvest work was interrupted by any sudden storm. (Cat. 91, 129; Varr. 1.13, 51, 52; Col. 1.6, 2.19; Pallad. 1.36, 8.1; Plin. Nat. 18.298; Hom. Il. 13.588, 20.495, 21.77; Verg. Georg 1.178; Geopon. 2.26.)
9. Winnowing (ventilatio.）When the grain was mixed with chaff, it was laid down in small piles upon the area, in order that the lighter particles might be borne away by the passing breeze; but when the wind was not sufficiently strong, it became necessary to winnow (eventilare) it. This was effected by a labourer (λικμητήρ, ventilator), who tossed it up from a broad basket (vannus), sieve (capisterium) or shovel (πτύον, ventilabrum), when the heavy portion fell down in a heap, and the chaff floated off through the air. When it was intended to keep the corn for any length of time, it was common to repeat the process (repurgare, repolire), that it might be thoroughly cleaned. (Varr. 1.52; Col. 2.9, 20; cf. Hom. Il. 5.499, 13.588.) condere) the grain in fitting repositories (granaria, horrea). The great object in view being to preserve it from becoming mouldy or rotten, and to protect it from the ravages of vermin, especially the weevil (curculio), we find that very great diversity of opinion existed as to the means by which those ends might best be attained. By some the store-houses were built with brick walls of great thickness, for the purpose, it would seem, of securing a uniform temperature, and had no window or aperture, except a hole in the roof, through which they were filled. Others, again, raised these structures aloft on wooden columns,, and allowed currents of air to pass through on all sides and even from below; while others admitted particular winds only,--such, namely, as were of a drying character. Many plastered the walls with a sort of hard stucco, worked up with amurca, which was believed to act as a safeguard against vermin, while others considered the use of lime under any form as decidedly injurious. These and many different opinions, together with receipts for various preparations wherewith to sprinkle the corn, will be found detailed in the authorities cited below, among whom Pliny very sensibly observes that the principal consideration ought to be the condition of the grain itself when housed; since, if not perfectly dry, it must of necessity breed mischief. In many countries, as in Thrace, Cappadocia, Spain, and Africa, the corn was laid up in pits (scrobibus） sunk in a perfectly dry soil and well [p. 1.65]lined with chaff, a practice now extensively adopted in Tuscany. Wheat in the ear (cum spica sua) might, according to Varro, if the air was excluded, be preserved in such receptacles for fifty years, and millet for a hundred. Modern experiments (comp. British Association Reports for 1850) have shown that seeds very rarely retain their vitality for as much as forty years. (Cat. 92; Varr. 1.57; Col. 1.6 ; Pallad. 1.19; Plin. Nat. 18.307; Geopon. 2.27-31.)
IV. CROPS.Crops, as already remarked, may be divided into four classes :--
- 1. Grain or corn crops.
- 2. Leguminous crops, or pulse.
- 3. Crops cut green for forage.
- 4. Crops which supplied the raw materials for the textile fabrics.
1. Corn Crops (frumenta).The word applied in a general sense to denote what we now call “the cereal grasses” was frumenta; but of these wheat being by far the most important, it is not wonderful that the term in question should be employed frequently to denote wheat specially, and occasionally in such a manner as to exclude other kinds of grain, as when Pliny remarks, “calamus altior frumento quam hordeo,” meaning “in wheat the stalk is longer than in barley.” The only frumenta which it will be necessary for us to consider particularly in this place are-- a. Triticum and Far; b. Hordeum; c. Panicum and Milium. a. Triticum and Far. No one entertains any doubt that triticum (πυρὸς in Greek, and in the later writers σῖτος) is the generic name for the grain which we denominate wheat; but when we proceed to examine the different species or varieties, we are involved in many difficulties, for the botanical descriptions transmitted to us by the ancients are in all cases so imperfect, and in many instances so directly at variance with one another, that it becomes almost impossible to identify with certainty the objects to which they refer, with those familiar to ourselves. Columella (2.6; comp. Dioscorid. 2.107 ; Theophr. H. P. 8.1, 4), who attempts a systematic classification, assigns the first place among “frumenta” to Triticum and Semen adoreum, each of which contained several species or varieties. Among many different kinds of triticum he deems the following only deserving of particular notice:--
- 1. Robus, possessing superior weight and brilliancy (nitor.）
- 2. Siligo, very white, but deficient in weight, (Col. 2.9.13; Plin. Nat. 18.85.)
- 3. Trimestre (τριμηνιαῖος, s. τρίμηνος), a sort of siligo, receiving its name from lying three months only in the ground, being spring-sown. We find this kind sometimes denominated δίμηνος also, since in very warm situations it came to maturity in two months after it was sown.
- 1. Far Clusinum, distinguished by its whiteness.
- 2. Far venuculum rutilum, heavier than the Clusinum..
- 3. Far venuculum candidum, heavier than the Clusinum..
- 4. Halicastrum or Semen trimestre, very heavy and of fine quality. Here we must remark that although robus, siligo, and trimestre are set down as particular species or varieties of the more general term triticum, which is used in contra-distinction to semen adoreum, it is much more usual to find triticum used in a restricted sense to denote ordinary winter wheat, in opposition to both siligo and adoreum, and hence Pliny declares that the most common kinds of grain were “Far, called adoreum by the ancients, siligo, and triticum.”
- 1. Pollen, the finest flour dust, double dressed.
- 2. Simila, or Similago, the best first flour.
- 3. Cibarium secundarium, seconds flour.
- 4. Furfures, bran.
- 1. Siligo, the finest double-dressed flour, used exclusively for pastry and fancy bread.
- 2. Flos (siliginis), first flour.
- 3. Cibarium secundarium, seconds flour.
- 4. Furfures, bran.
3. Green Forage Crops (Pabula.）This term included all those crops which were cut green and employed exclusively as forage for the lower animals. The most important were:--a. Medica. b. Faenum Graecum. c. Vicia. d. Cicera. e. Ervum, Ervilia. f. Farrago, Ocinum. g. Faenum. The description of the last will involve an account of the system pursued in the management of meadows. ligneis rastellis,) and the operations of hoeing and weeding were performed repeatedly with wooden implements. It was not cut for the first time until it had dropped some of its seed, but afterwards might be cut as tender as the farmer thought fit. After each cutting it was well watered, and, as soon as the young blades began to sprout, every weed was sedulously removed. Managed in this manner, it might be cut six times a year for ten [p. 1.70](Pliny says thirty) years. It was necessary to use caution in giving it at first to cattle, since it was apt to inflate them, and make blood too rapidly, but when they were habituated to its use it might be supplied freely. It is very remarkable that this species of forage, to which so much importance was attached by the Romans, has altogether disappeared from Italy. We are assured by M. Chateauvieux that not a single plant of it is now to be seen. In England it is almost confined to Kent and the Channel Islands. (Varr. 1.42; Col. 2.10, 28; Verg. G. 1.215; Pallad. 3.6, 5.1; Plin. Nat. 18.144 ff.; Dioscorid. 2.177; Theophr. H. P. 8.7.) τῆλις, βούκερως s. βούκερας, κεπαΐτις and αἰγόκερως, the Trigonella faenum Graecum, or common Fenugreek of botanists, was called Siliqua by country people, Silicia by Pliny, and succeeded best when totally neglected, care being taken in the first place not to bury the seed deep (scarificatione seritur). Six or seven modii, which was the allowance for a juger, required two days for sowing, and one for reaping. (Cat. 35; Col. 2.10, 11.2; Plin. Nat. 18.140, 24.184 ; Dioscorid. 2.124; Theophr. H. P. 3.17, 8.6.)
c. Vicia（σάρακον, the βικιόν of Galen), some one of the varieties of the Vicia sativa, the Vetch or Summer (or Winter) Tare of botanists. It might be sown on dry land at different periods of the year, usually about the autumnal equinox when intended for green fodder; in January or later when raised for seed. (But see Plin. Nat. 18. § § 137, 138.) The quantity required in the former case was seven modii to the juger, in the latter six. Particular care was taken not to cast the seed when there was dew or moisture of any sort upon the surface of the ground; the period of the day selected for the operation was therefore some hours after sunrise, and no more was scattered than could be covered up before night. It required little labour--ploughing two days, harrowing one, reaping one; in all, four days' work for six or seven modii. (Cat. 35; Varr. 1.31; Verg. G. 1.75; Col. 2.10, 29; 12, 3; Plin. Nat. 18. § § 137, 138; comp. Or. Fast. 5.267.)
d. Cicera,The ὦχρος of Theophrastus, the Lathyrus Cicera of botanists, was sown after one or two ploughings (primo vel altero sulco), in the month of March, the quantity of seed varying, according to the richness of soil, from two and a half to four modii for the juger. In southern Spain it was given to the cattle crushed (cicera fresa), steeped in water, and then mixed with chaff. Twelve pounds of ervum were considered equivalent to sixteen of cicera, and sufficient for a yoke of oxen. Cicera was cultivated for its seed also, and formed a not unpalatable food for man, differing little if at all in taste from the cicercula, but being of a darker colour. (Col. 2.11.1, 12; Pallad. 4.6; Theophr. H. P. 4.2.) ὔροβος of Dioscorides, are apparently varieties of the Ervum Ervile, or Wild Tare of botanists. Ervum succeeded best in poor dry land; might be sown at any time between the autumnal equinox and the beginning. of March, at the rate of five modii to the juger, and demanded little care. The above quantity required six days' labour--ploughing and sowing two, harrowing one, hoeing one, weeding one, reaping one. (Varr. 1.32; Verg. Ecl. 3.100; Col. 2.10, 34; 2.12, 3; 2.13, 1; 6.3; 11.2; Pallad. 2.8; Plin. Nat. 18.139 ; Theophr. H. P. 9.22; Dioscorid. 2.131; comp. Plaut. Mostell. 1.1.)
- 1. That farrago was the general term employed to denote any kind of corn cut green for fodder. The name was derived from far, the refuse of that grain being originally sown for this purpose (farrago ex recrimentis farris praedensa seritur, Plin.), but afterwards rye (secale), oats (avenae,) and barley were employed; the last-mentioned, used especially in Africa, being, in the estimation of Columella, the best; and these grains were not always sown alone, but frequently with an admixture of the vetch and various legumina. Hence farrago is used by Juvenal to denote a confused medley of heterogeneous topics.
- 2. That as farrago properly denoted corn cut green for fodder, so ocinum was the name given to plants of the bean kind, when used in the same manner, before they came to maturity, and formed pods. Mamilius Sura (quoted by Pliny) gives the proportions of ten modii of beans, two of vetches, and two of erviliae to the juger; and this combination was said to be improved by the addition of Avena Graeca, sown in autumn. Of the three forms ocinum, ocimum, ocymum, the first, is the most accurate; the name was, according to Varro, given on account of the rapidity of its growth in spring. From the expression of Pliny, “Apud antiquos erat pabuli genus quod Cato Ocinum vocat,” and the silence of Columella, who mentions the garden herb ocinum (basil) only, we infer that this sort of pabulum was little used after the time of Varro. The notion of Gesner that ocinum is clover, the ὠκύθοον τριπέτηλον of Callimachus, is directly at variance with the statements of Pliny, who mentions trifolium as a distinct plant. (Cat. 27, 53, 54; Varr. 1.23, 31; Col. 2.10, § § 31, 35, 11.3.29; Plin. Nat. 18.143.)
4. Crops affording Materials for textile Fabrics.Of these the most important were, a. Cannabis; b. Linum. a. Cannabis (κάνναβις, κάνναβος), the Cannabis sativa, or Common Hemp of botanists, required rich, moist, well-watered, deeply trenched, and highly manured land. Six grains were sown in every square foot of ground during the last week in February, but the operation might be delayed for a fortnight if the weather was rainy. Columella is unable to give any details with regard to the amount of time and labour necessary for raising a crop of hemp. (Varr. 1.23; Col. 2.10, 12, 21; Plin. Nat. 19.173; Dioscorid. 3.165.) b. Linum (λίνον), the Linum usitatissimum, or Common Flax of botanists, being regarded as a very exhausting crop, was altogether avoided, unless the soil happened to be peculiarly suitable, or the price which it bore in the district very inviting (nisi pretium proritat, Col.). It was sown from the beginning of October until the end of the first week in December, in the proportion of eight modii to the juger, and sometimes in February at the rate of ten modii. On account of its scourging qualities (Verg. G. 1.77), it was generally grown upon rich land, such being less liable to be seriously injured, but some sowed it very thick upon poor land, in order that the stalks might be as thin, and therefore the fibres as delicate as possible. (Verg. G. 1.212; Col. 2.10, 14; Plin. Nat. 19.2 ff.; Pallad. 11.2; Geopon. 2.10; Dioscorid. 2.125; Theophr. H. P. 8.7.)
Succession or Rotation of Crops.It is evident from the instructions given by Columella (2.4) for ploughing the best land, that a summer fallow usually preceded a corn crop. For since the first ploughing was early in spring, the second in summer, and the third in autumn, it is impossible that a crop could have been raised upon the ground during any portion of the period here indicated; and the same author expressly states elsewhere (2.9), in accordance with the Virgilian precept (Georg. 1.71), that the land upon which wheat (far, siligo) was grown ought to repose every other year; in which case, however, manure might be dispensed with. Nor did this plan apply to corn alone, for it would seem to have been the general practice to permit nearly one half of the farm to remain at rest, while the productive energies of the other moiety were called into action. It will be seen from the calculations with regard to time and labour for an arable farm containing 200 jugers (Col. 2.12), that 100 jugers only were sown in autumn, 50 with wheat, 50 with leguminous or green crops; and, if spring sowing was resorted to, which was by no means general, 30 more, so that out of 200 jugers, at least 70, and more frequently 100, were left fallowed. There were, indeed, exceptions to this system. Some land was so peculiarly deep and rich that it might be cropped for two or more years in succession (terra restibilis); but in this case it was relieved by varying the crop, the field from which winter wheat (far) had been reaped being highly manured and sown immediately with beans, or the ground which had borne lupines, beans, vetches, or any renovating crop, was allowed to lie fallow during winter, and then sown with spring wheat (far) (Verg. G. 1.73; comp. Plin. Nat. 17.56, 18.184 ff.), while a third rotation, still more favourable, was to take two leguminous or renovating crops after one exhausting or corn crop. In Campania, the extraordinary fertility of the soil allowed them to tax its energies much more severely, for there it was common to sow barley, millet, turnips (rapa), and then barley or wheat again, the land receiving manure before the millet and turnips, but never remaining vacant; while that peculiarly favoured district near Naples, called the Campi Laborini, or Terrae Laboriae, now the Terra di Lavoro, yielded an uninterrupted series [p. 1.72]of corn crops, two of far, and one of millet, without a moment of repose (seritur toto anno, panico semel, bis farre). (Cat. 35; Varr. 1.44; Verg. G. 1.71, &c.; Col. 2.9, 10, 12; Plin. Nat. 18.186 ff.) It will be proper, before bringing this part of the subject to a close, to explain a word which may occasion embarrassment in consequence of its signification being variously modified by the Roman agricultural writers. This is the adjective novalis, which frequently appears as a substantive, and in all the three genders, according as ager, terra, or solum is understand.
- 1. The original meaning of novalis or novale, looking to its etymology, must have been land newly reclaimed from a state of nature; and in this sense it is used by Pliny (Plin. Nat. 17.39), Talis (sc. odor) fere est in novalibus caesa vetere silva. (Comp. Callistr. in Dig. 47, 21, 3.)
- 2. Varro, in his treatise De Lingua Latina (5.39; comp. 6.59, ed. Müller), places novalis ager, land which is allowed occasionally to repose, in opposition to restibilis ager, land which is cropped unceasingly,--Ager restibilis qui restituitur ac reseritur quotquot annis; contra qui intermittitur a novando novalis,--and hence Pliny (Plin. Nat. 18.176), Novale est quod alternis annis seritur.
- 3. Varro, in his treatise De Re Rustica (1.29), defines Seges to mean a field which has been ploughed and sown; arvum, a field ploughed but not yet sown; novalis ubi saturn fuit antequam secunda aratione renovetur,--ambiguous words, which may be interpreted to denote a field which has borne a crop, but which has not been ploughed for a second crop; in which case it will be equivalent to a fallow, field.
- 4. Columella, in one passage (vi. praef. § 1), employs novale solum for new or virgin land untouched by the plough; for in contrasting the tastes of the agriculturist and the grazier, he remarks that the former delights quam maxime subacto et puro solo, the latter novali graminosoque; and Varro (ii. praef. § 4) in like manner places novalis as pasture land, in opposition to seges, as corn land,--bos domitus causa fit ut commodius nascatur frumentum in segete et pabulum in novali.
- 5. Columella, in another passage, places culta novalia, land under tillage in a general sense, in opposition to rudis ager, land in a state of nature; and thus we must understand the haec tam culta novalia in Virgil's first Eclogue (5.71), and tonsas novales, the cultivated fields from which a crop has been reaped,--a phrase which forms the connecting link between this meaning and that noticed above under 3. Hence the force in Juv. 14.148 = segetes. (Comp. Pallad. 1.6, 2.10.)
B. PASTIO.The second great department of our subject is Pastio, s. Res Pastoricia, s. Scientia Pastoralis, these terms being all alike understood to denote the art of providing and feeding stock so as to yield the most ample profit. But Pastio must be considered under the two-fold forms of
- α. Pastio Agrestis s. Res Pecuaria, and
- β. Pastio Villatica, the former comprehending the management of cattle, sheep, horses, &c.; the latter of poultry, game, fish, bees, and some other animals to be noticed hereafter.
- I. Minores Pecudes,
- 1. Sheep;
- 2. Goats;
- 3. Swine.
- II. Majores Pecudes,
- 1. Kine;
- 2. Horses;
- 3. Asses;
- 4. Mules.
- III. Animals provided not for the profit which they yield directly in the market, but necessary for the proper maintenance of the foregoing: these are--
- a. The age of the animal (aetas).
- b. His points (cognitio formae,) by which we determine whether he is good of his kind.
- c. His breeding (quo sit seminio), by which we determine whether he is of a good kind.
- d. The legal forms (de jure in parando) essential to render a sale valid, and the warranty which the buyer may demand (quemadmodum quamque pecudem emi oporteat civili jure).
- e. The mode of feeding (pastio), in answer to the questions where, when, and with what (in qua regione, et quando et queis).
- f. The impregnation of the female, the period of gestation, and her treatment while pregnant, all of which are embodied in the word fetura..
- g. The rearing of the young (nutricatus).
- h. The preservation of their health, and treatment when diseased (de sanitate.）
- i. The ninth and last inquiry (de numero) relates to the number of flocks and herds which can be maintained with advantage in a given space, the number of individuals which it is expedient to combine into one flock or herd, and the proportions to be observed with regard to the sex and age of the members of each flock and herd.
1. SheepSheep (pecus ovillum s. oviarium) were divided into two classes with reference to their wool. (1.) Pecus hirtum, whose fleeces were not protected artificially. (2.) Pecus Tarentinum s. Pecus Graecum s. [p. 1.73]Oves pellitae s. Oves tectae, whose fleeces were protected from all external injury by skin jackets. Their wool being thus rendered finer, and being more easily scoured and dyed, brought a higher price than any other. Sheep were likewise divided into two classes according as they were home-fed or reared in extensive and distant pastures; we will first consider them under this point of view. Home-fed sheep (greges villatici） were allowed to pasture in the fields around a farm during a portion of the year, wherever the nature of the country and the system of cultivation pursued rendered this practicable, or, more frequently, were kept constantly confined in sheds (stabula--saepta-ovilia), built in warm and sheltered situations, with hard floors sloping outwards to prevent the accumulation of moisture, which was regarded as particularly injurious to both the feet and the fleece. They were fed upon cytisus, lucerne, barley, and leguminous seeds, or, when such rich and succulent food could not be obtained, on hay, bran, chaff, grape husks, and dry leaves, especially those of the elm, oak, and fig, being at all times plentifully supplied with salt. They were littered with leaves and twigs, which were frequently changed, and the pens were kept carefully clean. The more numerous flocks, which were reared in extensive pastures (qui in saltibus pascuntur,) usually passed the winter in the low plains upon the coast, and were driven by regular drift roads (calles publici) in summer to the mountains of Central Italy, just as in modern times vast droves pass every autumn from the Abruzzi to seek the more genial climate of Puglia or the Maremma. Those who were employed to watch them (opiliones), being often at a great distance from home, were furnished with beasts of burden for transporting the materials required in the construction of folds and huts, at their halting-places, and all the stores necessary for themselves and their charge. The sheep were usually collected every night to secure them against robbers and beasts of prey; in summer they fed in the morning and evening, and reposed during the noontide heat in sheltered spots, while in winter they were not allowed to go out until the frost was off the ground. The flocks were often very numerous, containing sometimes 15,000 head, one shepherd (opilio) being allowed to every five or six score. The breeds most prized by the early Romans were the Calabrian, the Apulian, which were short-woolled (breves villo), the Milesian, and, above all, the Tarentine; but in the time of Columella those of Cisalpine Gaul from the vicinity of Altinum (Mart. 14.153), and those from the Campi Macri round Parma and Mutina were especially esteemed. The system of crossing was by no means unknown ; for M. Columella, the uncle of the author, produced an excellent variety by crossing the tectae oves of Cadiz with some wild rams from Africa, and again crossing their progeny with the Tarentines. In purchasing stock attention was always paid to the localities where they were to be maintained: thus sheep of large size (procerae oves) were naturally deemed best fitted for rich plains, stout compact animals (quadratae) for light hilly soils, and the smaller kinds (exiguae) for mountainous regions; just as in this country the Leicesters are kept with greatest advantage in the low-lying luxuriant pastures of Lincolnshire, Cheviots in the grass hills from which they derive their name, and the black-faced on the lofty mountains of Wales and Scotland. As to colour, pure white was most sought after; but certain natural tints, such as the dark grey (pullus), which distinguished the flocks of Pollentia in Liguria (fuscique ferax Pollentia villi, Silius, 8.599), the yellowish brown (fuscus) in those of Corduba (so often celebrated by Martial, 5.37, 8.2. 8, 9.62, 14.188; comp. Juv. 12.40), and the red brown (ruber) in some of the Asiatic varieties, were highly prized. The points characteristic of a good animal and the warranty usually required of the seller will be found fully detailed in Varro (2.2) and Columella (7.2, 3). Those which were smooth and bare under the belly (ventre glabro), anciently called apicae, were always rejected, and particular care was taken that the fleece of the ram should be perfectly pure, or at least uniform in colour, his tongue also being examined in order to ascertain that it was not black or spotted, since such defects would have been transmitted to his progeny. (Verg. G. 3.387; Col. 7.3.) Ewes were not considered fit for breeding until they were two years old, and they continued to produce until they had reached the age of seven; rams (arietes) were believed to be in vigour from three years old until eight. The most favourable period for impregnation in the case of ewes that had not previously brought forth was the latter end of April, about the Palilia (21st April); for others, from the setting of Arcturus (13th May) to the setting of the Eagle (23rd July); and, since the period of gestation was about 150 days, the earliest lambs (agni, agnae) would be yeaned in September, the latest about the middle of December, these being, as was remarked by Celsus, the only animals produced with advantage in midwinter. Ewes when about to lamb (incientes) were placed apart, constantly watched, and assisted in parturition. As soon as they had brought forth, the first milk, or beestings, which was of a thick consistence, and called colostra, was carefully withdrawn, being considered injurious in all animals, and productive of a disease named colostratio. The lambs were now tended with the greatest solicitude, were generally kept in the house near a fire for some days, were not allowed to go forth to pasture for a considerable time, but were partially reared by the hand on the most tender and nourishing food, being finally weaned at the age of four months. Those lambs which were carried in the womb longer than the regular time were termed chordi; those born late in the season, serotini; those which, in consequence of their mothers being unable to supply milk, were suckled by others, subrumi. Castration was not performed upon such as were intended for wethers (verveces) until five months old. The males set apart to supply the deficiencies in the breeding flock (quos arietes submittere volunt) were selected from the progeny of such ewes as usually gave birth to twins, those which were polled (mutili) being preferred on the whole to those with horns (cornuti). The management of oves pellitae differed from that of the ordinary greges villatici merely in the [p. 1.74]amount of care with which they were tended. They were furnished with an ample supply of the most nutritious food, each individual receiving daily in winter three sextarii (pints) of barley or of beans crushed in their pods (fresae cum suis valvulis fabae), in addition to hay, lucerne, dry or green cytisus, and other fodder. Their stalls were usually paved with stone, and kept scrupulously clean; they seldom left the house, and, when allowed to pasture, it was looked upon as essential that the ground should be free from bushes and briars of every description which might tear their fleece or its covering. The jackets were frequently taken off to cool the animals, the wool was combed out at least thrice a year, and well washed and anointed with oil and wine. The wethers were killed at two years old, their skin being then in perfection. Sheep-shearing (tonsura） commenced in warm districts in April; but in cold situations was deferred until the solstice. A fine day was chosen, and the operation was performed before the sun had attained to its full power, in order that the sheep might not be hot and the wool not moist. The most careful placed a rug under the animal (tegeticulis subjectis oves tondere solent, Varr.) that no portion of the clip might be lost or damaged (ne qui flocci intereant). The wool, when fresh shorn, and still impregnated with the sweat of the animal, was called lana sucida; the fleeces when rolled up were termed vellera, or velumina. Oves hirtae, when shorn, were immediately smeared with wine and oil, to which white wax and hog's lard were occasionally added; while the jackets of the oves, pellitae were anointed with the same mixture, and then replaced on the animals. Instead of this, some rubbed in a wash composed of equal parts of boiled lupine juice, lees of old wine, and amurca. Any wound inflicted during the process was dressed with tar (pix liquida). On the fourth day they were bathed, if possible, in the sea; if not, in rain-water mixed with salt. In Spain and some other places it was customary to shear the sheep twice a year, under the belief that the additional labour was more than compensated by the increased quantity of wool. The ancient practice of plucking the wool instead of shearing it still lingered in certain districts even when Pliny wrote. Varro derives the name vellus from this, but incorrectly. (Varr. 2.1.5, 16. 20, 2.2; Colum. i. Praef. § 26, 7.2-4, 11.2.14; Plin. Nat. 8.187 ff.; Pallad. 2.16, 5.7, 6.8, 7.6, 8.4, 12.13.)
2. GoatsGoats (pecus caprinum) were divided into two classes, the genus mutilum et raripilum, the polled and thin-haired, and the genus cornutum et setosum, the horned and shaggy; but there does not appear to have been any difference in the mode of rearing them, nor indeed do they seem to have been kept distinct; but it was considered advisable that the old he-goat, the dux gregis, should be mutilus, because he was then less troublesome and pugnacious. The points characteristic of a good animal will be found enumerated in Varro (2.3.2-5) and in Columella (7.6). The most high-bred had always two long flaps of skin (verruculae, laciniae) depending from the throat. One peculiarity connected with the sale of goats was that they were never warranted in good health, for they were believed to be always more or less labouring under fever. The management of goats was in most respects the same as that of sheep, except that, although intolerant of frost and cold, they throve better in mountainous craggy ground or among copsewood, where they browsed with great eagerness on the young twigs, than in open grassy plains. Both from their wandering nature and their liability to contract disease when crowded in pens, not more than fifty were kept together in a flock under the charge of the same goatherd (caprarius), the proportion of one male (caper, hircus) to about fifteen females (caprae, capellae) being commonly observed. When in stalls (caprilia), the sloping floor was usually formed out of the native rock or paved with smooth stones, for no litter was placed be-neath their feet. The houses were swept out daily; and it was deemed essential to their health that no moisture or dirt of any kind should be allowed to accumulate. The she-goat was capable of breeding from one year old until eight; but the progeny of a mother under three years old were not worth keeping permanently, but sold off. The best time for impregnation was the end of autumn; for, the period of gestation being five months, the kids (haedi) were thus born in spring. If the dam was of a good stock, she generally produced two or even three at a birth, which were weaned at the end of three months, and then transferred at once to the flock (submittuntur et in grege incipiunt esse.） The hair (pili) of goats was shorn or plucked (capras vellere is the technical phrase) out regularly, and used in the manufacture of coarse stuffs, Verg. G. 3.313; Varro, 2.11 (usum in castrorum et miseris velamina nautis,--pilos ministrant ad usum nauticum et ad bellica tormenta). The cloths woven from this material were termed Cilicia, because the goats in the southern and central provinces of Asia Minor, like the modern Angora species, were remarkable for the length of their hair. (In Cilicia circaque Syrtes villo tonsili vestiuntur, are the words of Pliny, who here alludes to the goats from the Cinyps in Libya, the “Cinyphii hirci” of Virgil, l.c.) (Colum. i. praef. § 26, 7.6; Plin. Nat. 8.203; Pallad. 12.13; Varr. 2.3, 2.1, § § 5, 28.)
3. SwineSwine (pecus suillum) were divided into two classes,--the sues densae, usually black in colour, thickly covered with bristles; and the sues glabrae, generally white, and comparatively smooth; but there seems to have been little difference in the management of the two breeds, except that the former was the more hardy. The points characteristic of a good animal, and the warranty usually required by the purchaser, will be found in Varro (2.4), Columella (7.9), and Palladius (3.26). During a great portion of the year, wherever it was practicable, they were driven out to feed early in the morning, in woods where acorns, beech-mast, wild fruits, and berries abounded; and in the middle of the day they reposed, if possible, in swampy ground, where they had not only water but mud also wherein to wallow; in the cool of the evening they fed again, were taught to assemble when the swineherd (subulcus) sounded his horn, and were then driven home to the farm. In winter they were not [p. 1.75]allowed to go forth when frost was hard upon the ground. When kept in the house their chief food was acorns, or, when the supply of these failed, beans, barley, and other kinds of grains and pulse. The number in each herd varied from 100 to 150, or even more, according to circumstances and the means of the proprietor, and the proportion of one boar to ten sows was usually observed. The sows were not considered fit for breeding until upwards of a year old, and continued prolific to the age of seven; boars (verres) were in full vigour from one year old till four; the best time for impregnation was from the middle of February up to the vernal equinox, the period of gestation was four months, and, the pigs being weaned at the end of two, a double farrow might be procured in a year. Each breeding sow (scrofa） brought up her pigs (porcus, porca, porcellus) in a separate stye (hara), constructed in such a manner that the superintendent (custos, porculator) might easily see into the interior and thus be prepared to relieve the progeny, which were in constant danger of being crushed by the weight of the mother, who was supposed to bring forth as many young as she had teats, and was capable of suckling eight at first; but when they increased in size, it was deemed advisable to withdraw one half of that number. Sucking pigs (lactentes) when ten days old were accounted pure for sacrifice, and hence were anciently termed sacres; after the suckling time (nutricatus, porculatio), which lasted two months, was over, they were denominated delici, and sometimes nefrendes, because not yet able to crunch hard food. The males not reserved for breeding were castrated when from six to twelve months old, and were then termed majales. (Varr. 2.4; Col. 7.9, praef. 1.26; Plin. Nat. 8.206 foll.; Pallad. 4.26.)
1. KineKine (pecus bubulum, armentum bubulum) were divided into classes, according as they were kept at home and employed in the labours of the farm (boves domiti), or pastured in large herds (armenta). Boves domiti, wherever the nature of the soil and the mode of culture pursued permitted, were allowed to pasture; since growing grass (viride pabulum) was considered the most suitable of all food; when this could not be supplied, it became necessary to stall-feed them (alere ad praesepia); but they were allowed to stand in the open air during the hot weather, while in winter they were kept in spacious byres (stabula, consacpta) built with a southerly aspect, so as to be sheltered from cold winds, the floors being hard and sloping to prevent moisture from being absorbed, and to allow it to run off freely, while, to promote the warmth and comfort of the animals, they were bedded with abundance of litter (stramentum pecori et bubus diligenter substernatur, Cat. 5), usually straw, or leaves, such as those of the ilex, which were supposed to yield little nourishment. Their staple food from the middle of April until the middle of June was vetches, lucerne, clover, and other fodder cut green; from the middle of June to the beginning of November the leaves of trees, those of the elm, the oak, and the poplar being regarded as the best; from the beginning of November until April meadow hay (faenum pratense), and, where hay could not be procured, chaff, grape husks, acorns, and dry leaves were substituted, mixed with barley, or with some of the leguminous seeds, such as beans, lupines, or chick-peas previously steeped in water (maceratae), or crushed (fresae). When an ox was fed upon hay, from 30 to 40 pounds weight (Roman pound=113/5 oz. avoird.) was an ample allowance, except during the months of November and December, that is, during the ploughing and sowing season, when they received from the feeder (pabulatorius) as much food of the most nutritious kind as they could consume. Lumps of salt placed near the consaepta proved very attractive to the animals and conduced to their health. Large herds were pastured chiefly in woods where there was abundance of grass, leaves, and tender twigs, shifting to the coast in winter and to the cool shady hills in summer, under the charge of herdsmen (armentarii), a class altogether distinct from the bubulci, or hinds, who worked and tended the boves domestici. The common number in a herd was from 100 to 120, the animals were carefully inspected every year, and the least promising (rejiculae） weeded out. The proportion of two bulls, a yearling and a two-year old, to 60 or 70 cows was usually observed, but Columella doubles the number of males. The Umbrian oxen, especially those on the Clitumnus, were the largest and finest in Italy; those of Etruria, Latium, and Gaul were smaller, but strongly made and well adapted for labour; those of Thrace were valued for sacrificial purposes in consequence of being for the most part pure white; but the cattle of Epirus, the most important pastoral district of the Roman world, were superior to all others. The points characteristic of a good animal, and the warranty usually demanded by the buyer, will be found fully detailed in Varro (2.5), in Columella, who here copies the description of the Carthaginian Mago (6.1, 20, 21), and in Palladius (4.11, 12). Cows (vaccae) were not fit for breeding until they were upwards of two years old, and they continued to produce until they had reached the age of ten. Considerable variation is to be found in the agricultural writers as to the age at which the bulls arrived at full vigour, Varro considering that they might be employed when a year old, Columella and Pliny recommending that they should be kept until four. The former, however, is the precept of the practical man, and is consonant with modern experience. The time of gestation being nearly ten (lunar) months, the most favourable period for impregnation was from the middle of June to the end of July, for thus the calves (vituli) would be born when spring was well advanced (maturo vere). When parturition was approaching, the pregnant cow (horda vacca) was carefully watched, fed richly, and protected from the assaults of the gad-fly and other tormenting insects; the calf for some time after its birth was allowed to suck freely, but as it increased in strength was tempted with green food, in order that it might in some degree relieve the mother, and after six months had elapsed, was fed regularly with wheat bran, barley-meal, or tender grass, and gradually weaned entirely, [p. 1.76]Castration was performed at the age of two years. The vituli intended for labour were to be handled (tractari) from an early age to render them tame, but were not to be broken in to work (domari) before their third, nor later than their fifth year. The method of breaking (domitura) those taken wild from the herd is fully described by Columella (6.2), and Palladius fixes the end of March as the time most appropriate for commencing the operation. The members of a herd, according to age and sex, were termed, Vitulus, Vitula; Juvencus, Juvenca; Bos novellus, Bucula; Bos vetulus, Taurus, Vacca; a barren cow was named Taura. (Cat. 5, 30; Varr. 2.1, 5; Column. 6.1-3, 20-24; Plin. Nat. 8.176 if.; Pallad. 4.11, 12, 6.7, 8.4.)
2. HorsesHorses (pecus equinum s. equitium, armentum equinum） are divided by Columella into Generosi, blood horses; Mulares, horses adapted for breeding mules; Vulgares, ordinary horses. The points of a horse, the method of ascertaining his age up to seven years old, and the warranty usually given by the seller, are detailed in Varro (2.7, § § 4-6), in Columella (6.29), and in Palladius (4.13). Horses either pastured in grass fields or were fed in the stable upon dry hay (in stabulis ac praesepibus), to which barley was added when the animal was required to undergo an extraordinary fatigue. Brood mares were frequently kept in large troops which shifted, like sheep and oxen, from the mountains to the coast, according to the season; two mounted men being attached to each herd of fifty. The mare (equa) was considered fit for breeding at two years old, and continued prolific up to the age of ten; the stallion (admissarius) remained in vigour from three years old until twenty, but when young was limited to twelve or fifteen females. The period of gestation being twelve lunar months and ten days, the best time for impregnation was from the vernal equinox to the summer solstice, since parturition would then take place during the most favourable season. High-bred mares were not allowed to produce more than once in two years. Ten days after birth the foal (pullus equinus, equuleus) was permitted to accompany its dam to pasture; at the age of five months, it was customary to begin feeding them with barley-meal and bran, and when a year old, with plain unground barley: but the best colts were allowed to continue sucking until they had completed two years, and at three years they were broken in for the toil to which they were destined, whether for racing (ad cursuram), for draught (ad redam,) for carrying burthens (ad vecturam), or for military service (ad ephippium), but they were not regularly worked until four off. Race and war horses were not castrated; but the operation was frequently performed on those destined for the road, from the conviction that the gelding (canterius), while less bold and spirited, was more safe and tractable (in viis habere malunt placidos, Varr.). It is to be observed that horses were, and indeed are, very little used for agricultural purposes in Italy and Southern Europe, the ordinary toils being carried on almost exclusively by oxen, and hence they never were by any means objects of such general interest to the farmer as among ourselves. We may remark that Varro, Columella, and many other writers repeat the absurd story embellished by the poetry of Virgil, that mares in some districts of Spain became pregnant by the influence of a particular wind, adding that the colts conceived in this manner did not live beyond the age of three years. (Varr. i. praef. § 26, 2.1.18, 7.7; Col. 6.27, 29; Plin. Nat. 8.166; Pallad. 4.13.)
3. AssesAsses (asinus, asina) were divided into two classes, the Genus mansuetum, or common domestic quadruped (asinus, asellus), and the Genus ferum, the wild ass (onager, onagrus), which was common in Phrygia and Lycaonia, was easily tamed and made an excellent cross. The most celebrated breeds were those of Arcadia and of Reate. The latter was so highly esteemed in the time of Varro, that a single individual of this stock had been known to fetch sixty thousand sesterces (about 500l. sterling), and a team of four, as much as four hundred thousand (upwards of 3300l. sterling). Such animals were of course delicately nurtured, being fed chiefly upon far and barley bran (furfures hordeacei). The inferior description of asses (minor asellus) were valued by farmers because they were very hardy, not subject to disease, capable of enduring much toil, required little food, and that of the coarsest kind, such as the leaves and twigs of thorny shrubs, and might be made serviceable in various ways, as in carrying burdens (aselli dossuarii), turning corn mills, and even in ploughing where the soil was not stiff. The time of impregnation, the period of gestation, and the management of the foals (pulli), were the same as in horses. They were seldom kept in sufficient numbers to form a herd. (Varr. 2.1.14, 2.6; Col. 7.1; Plin. Nat. 8.167 ff.; Pallad. 4.14.)
4. Mules.Mules. Mulus and Mula were the general terms for the hybrid between a horse and an ass, but in practice a distinction was drawn between Muli and Hinni. Hinni were the progeny of a stallion and a she-ass, Muli of a male ass and a mare. The latter were larger in proportion, and more esteemed than the former. A cross sometimes was formed between the mare and the onager as a matter of curiosity. Uncommon care was taken by breeders of mules in the selection of parents. A strong large-boned mare, powerful rather than swift, was usually chosen. The male asses at their birth were removed from their mother, suckled by mares, reared upon the most nourishing food (hay and barley), and attained to full vigour when three years old. A good admissarius from Arcadia or Reate was worth from thirty to forty thousand sesterces (250l. to 330l. sterling). The period of gestation was observed to be a little longer than in the case of the pure horse or ass, extending to thirteen lunar months; in all other respects their management, habits, and mode of sale were the same. The great use of mules was in drawing travelling carriages (hisce enim binis conjunctis omnia vehicula in viis ducuntur, Varr.); they were also employed, like asses, in carrying burdens upon pack saddles (clitellae), and in ploughing light, land. The finer kinds, when kept in herds, were driven in summer from the rich plains of Rosea on the Velinus to the Montes Gurgures. (Varr. [p. 1.77]2.1.16, 2.8; Col. 6.36, 37; Plin. Nat. 8.171 if.; Pallad. 4.14.)
1. Dogs (canes).1. Dogs (canes) were divided into three classes:
- a. Canes Villatici, watch-dogs, whose office was to guard farm-houses against the aggressions of thieves.
- b. Canes Pastorales s. Canes Pecuarii, to protect the flocks and herds from robbers and wild beasts. Each opilio was generally attended by two of these, equipped with spiked collars (mellum), to serve as a defence in their encounters with wolves and other adversaries.
- c. Canes Venatici. Sporting dogs.
2. Herdsmen (pastores).The flocks and herds which fed in the immediate neighbourhood of the farms were usually tended by old men, boys, or even women; but those which were driven to distant and mountainous pastures were placed under the care of persons in the vigour of life, who always went well armed and were accompanied by beasts of burden (jumenta dossuaria), carrying all the apparatus and stores required during a protracted absence; the whole body of men and animals being under the command of an experienced and trustworthy individual, styled Magister Pecoris, who kept all the accounts and possessed a competent knowledge of the veterinary art.
Dairy produceWe may conclude this part of the subject with a few words upon the management of dairy produce, which was treated as a distinct science (τυροποιΐα by the Greeks, who wrote many treatises upon the topic. Cheese-making commenced in May, and the method followed by the Romans was substantially the same as that now practised. The milk unskimmed was used as fresh as possible, was slightly warmed, the rennet (coagulum) was then added; as soon as the curd formed, it was transferred to baskets (fiscellae, calathi) or wooden chessets (formae) perforated with holes, in order that the whey (serum) might drain off quickly, and was pressed down by weights to hasten the process. The mass was then taken out of the frame, sprinkled with salt, and placed upon a wicker crate or wooden board in a cool dark place; when partially dried, it was again pressed more powerfully than before, again salted and again shelved,--operations which were repeated for several days until it had acquired a proper consistency. It might be flavoured with thyme, with pine cones, or any other ingredient, by mixing the condiments with the warm milk. The rennet or coagulum was usually obtained from the stomach of the hare, kid, or lamb (coagulum leporinum, haedinum, agninum), the two former being preferred to the third, while some persons employed for the same purpose the milky juice expressed from a fig-tree branch, vinegar, and a variety of other substances. The cheeses from cows' milk (casei bubuli) were believed to contain more nourishment, but to be more indigestible, than those from ewes' milk (casei ovilli); the least nourishing and most digestible were those from goats' milk (casei casprini), the new and moist cheeses in each case being more nourishing (magis alibiles) and less heavy (in corpore non resides) than those which were old and dry. Butter (butyrum) is mentioned by Varro (2.2.16), but seems to have been scarcely used as an article of food (Varr. 2.1.28, 11; Col. 7.8; Plin. Nat. 11.239, 28.133; Pallad. 6.9).
Villaticae Pastiones, from which many persons towards the close of the republic and under the empire derived large revenues, were separated into two departments, according to the names given to the buildings or enclosures adapted to the different animals:--
I. Overview of AviariaAviaria s. Ornithones, in the most extended acceptation of the term, signified receptacles for birds of every description, whether wild or tame, terrestrial or amphibious, but it is frequently and conveniently employed in a more limited sense to denote the structures formed for birds caught in their wild state by the fowler (auceps), from whom they were purchased, and then shut up and sold at a profit after they became fat. In this way we may distinguish between,
- a. Cohors in plano
- b. Columbarium
- c. Ornithon, of which the first two only were known to the earlier Romans.
- a. Cohors in plano was the poultry-yard, including the houses and courts destined for those domestic fowls which were bred and fed on the farm, and which were not able or not permitted to fly abroad. Of these the chief were,
- b. Columbarium, the dove-cote.
- c. The Ornithon proper, the inmates of which were chiefly:
II. Overview of VivariaIn like manner the term Vivaria, which may be employed to denote all places contrived for the reception of animals used for food or which supplied articles of food and did not fall under the denomination of pecudes or aves, must be separated into those designed for the reception of land animals and those for fishes. a. Leporaria, Apiaria, Coclearia, Gliraria, and Β. Piscinae.
- α. Leporaria. The animals kept in leporaria were chiefly:
- Β. Piscinae or fish-ponds, divided into--