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Hence it was that to give precepts upon agriculture became one of the principal occupations among men of the highest rank, and that in foreign nations even. For among those who have written on this subject we find the names of kings even, Hiero, for instance, Attalus Philometor, and Archelaüs, as well as of generals, Xenophon, for example, and Mago the Carthaginian. Indeed, to this last writer did the Roman senate award such high honours, that, after the capture of Carthage, when it bestowed the libraries of that city upon the petty kings of Africa, it gave orders, in his case only, that his thirty-two Books should be translated into the Latin language, and this, although M. Cato had already compiled his Book of Precepts; it took every care also to entrust the execution of this task to men who were well versed in the Carthaginian tongue, among whom was pre-eminent D. Silanus, a member of one of the most illustrious families of Rome. I have already indicated,1 at the commencement of this work, the numerous learned authors and writers in verse, together with other illustrious men, whose authority it is any intention to follow; but among the number I may here more particularly distinguish M. Yarro, who, at the advanced age of eighty-eight years, thought it his duty to publish a treatise upon this subject.

(4.) Among the Romans the cultivation of the vine was introduced at a comparatively recent period, and at first, as indeed they were obliged to do, they paid their sole attention to the culture of the fields. The various methods of cultivating the land will now be our subject; and they shall be treated of by us in no ordinary or superficial manner, but in the same spirit in which we have hitherto written; enquiry shall be made with every care first into the usages of ancient days, and then into the discoveries of more recent times, our attention being devoted alike to the primary causes of these operations, and the reasons upon which they are respectively based. We shall make mention,2 too, of the various constellations, and of the several indications which, beyond all doubt, they afford to the earth; and the more so, from the fact that those writers who have hitherto treated of them with any degree of exact- ness, seem to have written their works for the use of any class of men but the agriculturist.

1 In the First Book, as originally written. This list of writers is ap- pended in the present Translation to each respective Book.

2 This is probably written in humable imitation of the splendid exordium of the Georgies of Virgil.

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