previous next

Palla'dius, Ruti'lius Taurus Aemilia'nus

the author of a treatise De Re Rustica.


The De Re Rustica is in the form of a Farmer's Calendar, the various operations connected with agriculture and a rural life being arranged in regular order, according to the seasons in which they ought to be performed.

It is comprised in fourteen books: the first is introductory, the twelve following contain the duties of the twelve months in succession, commencing with January; the last is a poem, in eighty-five elegiac couplets, upon the art of grafting (De Insitione); each of these books, with the exception of the fourteenth, is divided into short sections distinguished by the term Tituli instead of the more usual designation Capita, a circumstance which is by some critics regarded as a proof that the author belongs to a late period. What that period may have been scholars have toiled hard to discover.


The first writer by whom Palladius is mentioned is Isidorus of Seville, who refers to him twice, simply as Aemilianus (Orig. 17.1.1, 10.8), the name under which he is spoken of by Cassiodorus also (Divin. Lect. 100.28). Barthius supposes him to be the eloquent Gaulish youth Palladius, to whose merits Rutilius pays so warm a compliment in his Itinerary (1.207), while Wernsdorf, advancing one step farther into the realms of fancy (Poet. Lat. Min. vol. v. pars i. p. 551), imagines that he may have been adopted by Rutilius, an idea which, however, he afterwarde abandoned (vol. vi. p. 20), and rested satisfied with assigning him to the age of Valentinian or Theodosis. The internal evidence is by no means so copious as to compensate for the want of information from without. The style, without being barbarous, is such as would justify us in bringing the writer down as low as the epoch fixed by Wernsdorf, although he might with equal propriety be placed two centuries earlier; but the controversy seems to have recently received a new light from the researches of Count Bartolommeo Borghesi, who, in a memoir published among the Transactions of the Turin Academy (vol. 38.1835), has pointed out that Pasiphilus, the person to whom in all probability Palladius dedicates his fourteenth book, was praefect of the city in A. D. 355. We gather from his own words words (4.10.16) that he was possessed of property in Sardinia and in the Territorium Neupolitanum, wherever that may have been, and that he had himself practised horticulture in Italy (4.10.24), but the expressions from which it has been inferred he was a native of Gaul (1.13.1, 7.2.2) by no means justify such a conclusion.

Sources of Palladius

Although evidently not devoid of a practical acquaintance with his subject, a considerable portion of the whole work is taken directly from Columella; in all that relates to gardening, and especially to the management of fruit trees he was deeply indebted to Gargilius Martialis; various recipes are extracted from the Greeks consulted by the compilers of the Geoponica, and the chapters connected with architectural details are mere compendiums of Vitruvius.

Popularity in the Middle Ages

Palladius seems to have been very popular in the middle ages, a fact established by the great variety of readings afforded by different MSS., since these discrepancies prove that the text must have been very frequently transcribed, and by the circumstance that nearly the whole of the treatise is to be found included in the well-known "Speculum" of Vincentius of Beauvais. The name, as given at the head of this article, appears at full length both at the beginning and at the end of the Vatican Codices.


Palladius was first printed by Jenson in the "Rei Rusticae Scriptores," fol. Venet. 1472, and from that time forward was included in nearly all the collections of writers upon agricultural topics.

The best editions are those contained in the "Scriptores Rei Rusticae veteres Latini" of Gesner, 2 vols. 4to. Lips. 1735, reprinted with additions and corrections by Ernesti in 1773, and in the "Scriptores Rei Rusticae" of Schneider, 4 vols. 8vo. Lips. 1794, in which the text underwent a complete revision, and appears under a greatly amended form.


There are translations into English by Thomas Owen, 8vo. London 1803, into German along with Columella by Maius, fol. Magdeb. 1612, into French by Jean Darces, 8vo. Paris, 1553, into Italian by Marino, 4to. Sien. 1526, by Nicolo di Aristotile detto Zoppino, 4to. Vineg. 1528, by Sansovino, 4to. Vineg. 1560, and by Zanotti, 4to. Veron. 1810.


hide Dates (automatically extracted)
Sort dates alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a date to search for it in this document.
355 AD (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: