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THEOPHRASTUS,1 one of the most famous among the Greek writers, who flourished about the year 440 of the City of Rome, has asserted that the olive2 does not grow at a distance of more than forty3 miles from the sea. Fenestella tells us that in the year of Rome 173, being the reign of Tarquinius Priscus, it did not exist in Italy, Spain, or Africa;4 whereas at the present day it has crossed the Alps even, and has been introduced into the two provinces of Gaul and the middle of Spain. In the year of Rome 505, Appius Claudius, grandson of Appius Claudius Cæcus, and L. Junius being consuls, twelve pounds of oil sold for an as; and at a later period, in the year 680, M. Seius, son of Lucius, the curule ædile, regulated the price of olive oil at Rome, at the rate of ten pounds for the as, for the whole year. A person will be the less surprised at this, when he learns that twenty-two years after, in the third consulship of Cn. Pompeius, Italy was able to export olive oil to the provinces.

Hesiod,5 who looked upon an acquaintance with agriculture as conducive in the very highest degree to the comforts of life, has declared that there was no one who had ever gathered fruit from the olive-tree that had been sown by his own hands, so slow was it in reaching maturity in those times; whereas, now at the present day, it is sown in nurseries even, and if transplanted will bear fruit the following year.

1 Hist. Plant. iv. c.

2 The Olea Europæa of Linnæus. See B. xxi. c. 31.

3 This has not been observed to be the fact. It has been known to grow in ancient Mesopotamia, more than one hundred leagues from the sea.

4 It is supposed that it is indigenous to Asia, whence it was introduced into Africa and the South of Europe. There is little doubt that long before the period mentioned by Pliny, it was grown in Africa by the Car- thaginians, and in the South of Gaul, at the colony of Massilia.

5 This work of Hesiod is no longer in existence; but the assertion is exaggerated, even if he alludes to the growth of the tree from seed. Fee remarks that a man who has sown the olive at twenty, may gather excellent fruit before he arrives at old age. It is more generally propagated by slips or sets. If the trunk is destroyed by accident, the roots will throw out fresh suckers.

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