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IN the third book of his treatise On Farming, 1 Marcus Varro says that the name leporaria is given to certain enclosures, now called vivaria, in which wild animals are kept alive and fed. I have appended Varro's own words: “There are three means of keeping animals on the farm—bird houses, leporaria (warrens), and fish-ponds. I am now using the term ornithones of all kinds of birds that are ordinarily kept within the walls of the farmhouse. Leporaria I wish you to understand, not in the sense in which our remote ancestors used the word, of places in which only hares are kept, but of all enclosures which are connected with a farm-house and contain live animals that are fed.” Farther on in the same book Varro writes: 2 “When you bought the farm at Tusculum from Marcus Piso, there were many wild boars in the leporarium.” But the word vivaria, which the common people now use—the Greek παρὰδέισοι 3 and Varro's leporaria—I do not recall meeting anywhere in the older literature. But as to the word roboraria, which we find in the writings of Scipio, who used the purest diction of any man of his time, I have heard several learned men at Rome assert that this means what we call vivaria and that the name came from the “oaken” planks of which the enclosures were made, a kind of enclosure which we see in many places in Italy. This is the passage [p. 179] from Scipio's fifth oration Against Claudius Asellus: 4 “When he had seen the highly-cultivated fields and well-kept farmhouses, he ordered them to set up a measuring rod on the highest spot in that district; and from there to build a straight road, in some places through the midst of vineyards, in others through the roborarium and the fish-pond, in still others through the farm buildings.” Thus we see that to pools or ponds of water in which live fish are kept in confinement, they gave their own appropriate name of piscinae, or “fishponds.” Apiaria too is the word commonly used of places in which bee-hives are set; but I recall almost no one of those who have spoken correctly who has used that word either in writing or speaking. But Marcus Varro, in the third book of his treatise On Farming, remarks: 5 “This is the way to make μελισσῶνες, which some call mellaria, or 'places for storing honey.'” But this word which Varro used is Greek; for they say μελισσῶνες, just as they do ἀμπελῶνες (vineyards) and δαφνῶνες (laurel groves).
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