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1 Palladius gives a long description of this contrivance, which seems to have been pushed forward by the ox; the teeth, which were sharp at the edge and fine at the point, catching the ears and tearing them off. But, as Fée says, the use of it must have been very disadvantageous, in consequence of the unequal height of the stalks. The straw, too, was sacrificed by the employment of it.
2 In contrarium juncto.
3 "Merges." Supposed to be the same as the "batillum" of Varro. Its form is unknown, and, indeed, the manner in which it was used. It is not improbable that it was a fork, sharp at the edge, and similar to an open pair of scissars, with which the heads of corn were driven off, as it were; this, however, is only a mere conjecture. By the use of "atque," it would almost appear that the "merges" was employed after the sickle had been used; but it is more probable that he refers to two different methods of gathering the ears of corn.
4 The roots and the stubble are, in reality, as good as a manure to the land.
5 Called "tribulum;" a threshing-machine moved by oxen. Varro, De Re Rust. i. 52, gives a description of it. Fée says that it is still used in some parts of Europe.
6 On the contrary, Fée says, the risk is greater from the depredations of birds, and the chance of the grain falling out in cutting, and gathering in. Spelt and rye may be left much longer than wheat or oats.
7 Columella, B. ii. c. i., gives the same advice.
8 "Palea" seems here to mean "chaff;" though Fée understands it as meaning straw.
9 The chaff of millet, and not the straw, must evidently be intended here, for he says above that the straw—"culmns"—of millet is generally burnt.
10 Muria dura.
11 Georg. i. 84, et seq. Fée says that Virgil has good reason for his commendations, as it is a most excellent plan.
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