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Roman agriculture as depicted by Cato, Varro, and Vergil Lowe, Shirley Ronald Henry 1938

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ROMAN AGRICULTURE AS DEPICTED BY CATO, VARRO, AID VERGIL by Ronald H. Lowe A THESIS Submitted i n p a r t i a l fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of MikSTER OE ARTS i n the The University of B r i t i s h Columbia October. 1938. TABLE OF CONTENTS- -page CHAPTER I. The Importance of A g r i c u l t u r e i n World H i s t o r y 1 CHAPTER I I . The H i s t o r y of A g r i c u l t u r e 4 CHAPTER I I I . H i s t o r i c a l and P o l i t i c a l Background of the W r i t i n g s of Cato, Y a r r o , CHAPTER IV. The Choice o f the Farm 24 CHAPTER V. The Equipment of the Roman Farm ... 33 CHAPTER V I . The Major Crops o f Roman A g r i c u l -t u r e arid t h e i r P r o d u c t i o n 47 CHAPTER VII.The A n i m a l 3 of the Roman Farm -t h e i r Care and Treatment ....... 78 CHAPTER V I I I . B i r d s , Bees, and S m a l l e r A n i m a l s . 94 CHAPTER IX. F e r t i l i z a t i o n and Dr a i n a g e ........ 106 CHAPTER X. The R e l i g i o u s A s p e c t of Roman .A.^x*ic0.1 t\xx*@ X X 5 CHAPTER X I . The Labour Supply on the Roman CHAPTER X I I . G e n e r a l Conduct of the Farm ........ 130 APPENDIX. Modern A g r i c u l t u r e i n I t a l y ....... 139 --- 0O0 CHAPTER I The Importance of Agriculture i n  World History Although Agriculture is universally regarded as the basic industry of the modern world;, the f a c t that i t s paramount importance i s as old as man himself is not always recognized. In the develop ment of Agriculture every c i v i l i z a t i o n has played i t s part; but contributions to A g r i c u l t u r a l knowledge have been minimized i n history by the more impressive legacies which each c i v i l i z a t i o n has bequeathed to us as reminders of i t s greatness. Egypt has l e f t us her temples and her pyramids, Babylonia her law and her l i t e r a t u r e . The g i f t of Phoenicia i s her alphabe of Crete, her exquisite craftsmanship i n gold, s i l v e r and ceramics. Our memory of Greece centres about her poetry and the deathless beauty of her art and her architecture; with quickened pufee we r e c a l l the grandeur of Rome, her conquering legions, her world-wide Empirej and the storied patriotism of her heroes. But these memories, magnificent and glorious though they are, cannot, from the standpoint of human welfare, compare i n importance with the humble story of Farming, which by slow, hesitant steps has progressed from primitive t i l l a g e to the specialized science of the present day. • Nor has any one c i v i l i z a t i o n or any one period alone been responsible f o r i t s evolution; our knowledge of Agriculture i s the legacy of a l l ages and of a l l peoples. Neither has the development of Agriculture progressed uniformly through the centuries. Just as the Dark Ages represent an era of regression i n a l l other branches of human knowledge, so during this period A g r i c u l t u r a l information slowly accumulated during previous ages was temporarily l o s t to the human race. Not u n t i l the A g r i c u l t u r a l Revolution i n England i n the eighteenth century did Agriculture once more begin to move forward. Since that time progress has been rapid; better methods of c a t t l e -breeding, careful selection of stock, improved methods of c u l t i v a t i o n , the use of commercial f e r t i l i z e r s , a l l these have increased the yields of agriculture and bettered the l o t of the farmer. Since the development of Agriculture thus p a r a l l e l s the story of the human ..race, i t would be impossible to regard the Agriculture of any sp e c i f i c period as an entity complete i n i t s e l f . Therefore, to obtain a comprehensive understanding of farming as practised by the Romans, i t seems f i t t i n g , f i r s t to review the history of Agriculture from i t s beginnings to the present day; secondly, to consider the Roman theory of Agriculture as revealed by the writings of Cato, Yarro and Ve r g i l ; and f i n a l l y to sketch the rebi r t h of I t a l i a n agriculture under the Fascist Regime of Mussolini. CHAPTER II The History of Agriculture In i t s e a r l i e s t and crudest sense, the history of Agriculture begins among the Nomadic tribes of Southwestern Asia. O r i g i n a l l y man gained a precarious existence by hunting,, f i s h i n g , and gathering the v/ild f r u i t s of the forest. Gradually, however, he learned that cert a i n wild animals, notably the horse, the sheep, and the cow, could be domes t i c a t this knowledge represents, the f i r s t stage of A g r i c u l -tural progress. Ho longer was primitive man dependent for his existence solely upon his s k i l l i n the chase; true, a supply of food was necessary f o r his flocks and herds, but this was afforded by the bounty of Nature. I f the supply of fodder f a i l e d i n his l o c a l i t y , the primitive shepherd wandered with his flock to a new area where the supply was more abundant There was as yet no attempt to raise crops by human intervention; agriculture i n this early period was purely "extensive" or pastoral. The second step i n A g r i c u l t u r a l progress consisted i n the production of de f i n i t e crops on the same land year after year. Continuous cropping introduced new elements into the a g r i c u l t u r a l picture; the s o i l must "be cultivated and f e r t i l i z e d , crops must he sown and harvested - i n a word, the forces of Nature must be supplemented by. human t o i l . But. the tools of early man were few and ineffective, his conception of f e r t i l i z a t i o n vague at the best. Obviously this new development would take place, then, i n regions where the s o i l was not only f e r t i l e , but also easily-worked: such areas existed i n the great river-valleys and deltas, and i t i s here that we f i n d agriculture s t r i k i n g out to new attainments. The lower reaches of the N i l e , the valleys of the T i g r i s and Euphrates, the a l l u v i a l plains of the Indus, the Ganges, the Hwang-Ho and the Yangtze-Kiang, these are the stages f o r the next scenes i n the drama <f A g r i c u l -tural progress. Since husbandry, as practised by the peoples of India and China has had l i t t l e or no bearing upon the advancement of Agriculture i n the Western World, a very b r i e f resume' of farming i n these areas w i l l s u f f i c e . Among these ancient peoples of the-Orient, agriculture has developed i n the face of natural d i f f i c u l t i e s , for a l l the major rivers are subject to flooding at varied and unpredictable intervals. Despite systems of flood control developed through 4500 years, China i s s t i l l subject to disasters from this source; i n 1877, the Hwang-Ho broke through i t s man-imposed barriers bringing death to over a m i l l i o n Chinese; i n 1898, f i f t e e n hundred v i l l a g e s to the north and west of Tsinan were inundated with untold loss of l i f e and property. Drought constitutes a second scourge, no less disastrous than floods* But i t i s a tribute to China's tenacity that, with only half her area suitable f o r agriculture, a population of four hundred m i l l i o n can be maintained upon the produce of her f e r t i l e r i v e r - v a l l e y s . One cannot help f e e l i n g that the dogged, persevering character of the typi c a l Chinese has been developed i n large measure by his age-old struggle to maintain his existence i n the face of such relentless forces. In India, too, natural hazards to Agriculture abound; a delayed monsoon means crop f a i l u r e and consequent famine; a premature monsoon, death and destruction. But -it i s important to notice, that, in spite of f i v e thousand years of continuous cropping, the f e r t i l i t y of the s o i l has been maintained by careful c u l t i v a t i o n and f e r t i l i z a t i o n , - a direct refutation of a commonly-accepted theory that land "wears out". A g r i c u l t u r a l land "'wears out'' only i f the elements drawn from i t by the plant growth are not restored to the s o i l . Turning now to consider the early history of western Agriculture, our attention i s arrested f i r s t by Lower Egypt. This ancient kingdom consisted cf the "Valley and the Delta, of the lower Mile, a tract of l e v e l country approximately six hun-dred miles long from North to South, and twenty miles wide. Over a l l . this area, the Nile i n i t s annual flood spreads a marvellously r i c h coating of s i l t carried down from the high table lands of Abyssinia. Here, even with the crude implements of antiquity, the production of enormous crops and the maintenance of great herds were possible. It was no longer necessary for each individual to wrest his own l i v e l i h o o d from the s o i l ; since one man could produce food f o r twenty, the human energy thus released could "be expended i n new .spheres of a c t i v i t y . New arts and industries grew and flourished; pottery, shoemaking, glass-blowing weaving, these and a dozen other trades came into being In a word, Egyptian agriculture made Egyptian c i v i l i z a -tion possible. Furthermore, to control the Nile at flood season and to conserve water for i r r i g a t i o n during the dry season, an elaborate system of dykes and canals was essential; such works could only be accomplished by widespread co-operation. Kor was the necessary co-operation easily established; long and bloody wars were waged as each individual v i l l a g e and state strove jealously to obtain i t s share of water. Slowly and surely, however, the costly lesson was learned, and even as early as 3400 B.C., Menes, prince of Memphis, had united the'petty p r i n c i p a l i t i e s around him into one state. Thus, while historians t e l l us of the great achievements of Ancient Egypt i n art, science and government, i t would be well to remember that these were made possible by the develop-ment of Egyptian Agriculture. To the north and east of Egypt l i e s the other centre of early western c i v i l i z a t i o n , -the -Fertile Crescent- This area, so famous i n B i b l i c a l history, f a l l s into three natural div i s i o n s ; . f i r s t , the valleys of the T i g r i s and Euphrates Rivers, comparable i n f e r t i l i t y to the valley of the K i l e ; secondly the high tableland of Mesopotamia; l a s t l y the country of Syria, which formed the connecting-link between Asi a and A f r i c a . The lands of Syria and Mesopotamia were mainly grassy uplands, i d e a l l y suited to the pasturing of flocks and herds, whose produce could be e a s i l y freighted down the rivers to the populous c i t i e s of the lowlands. Along the T i g r i s Euphrates vall e y s , as i n Egypt, flood control and • i r r i g a t i o n systems were necessary; remnants of the vast engineering projects developed to these ends remain to the present day. The crops produced on these dyke-protected a l l u v i a l lands, were, i n the main the same as those of Egypt,- wheat, barley, sesame, f l a x , 3. l i t t l e cotton, and tremendous quantities of garden produce* Few traces now remain of the once fabulous f e r t i l i t y of this area; on a l l sides the barren sands of the desert have d r i f t e d i n , and the uncontrolled rivers have made marshes where once great c i t i e s and prosperous farm lands existed. The actual f e r t i l i t y of the s o i l , however, seems to be unimpaired, and modern engineering projects bid f a i r to restore the f r u i t f u l n e s s of this ancient land. The ultimate collapse of the states of the F e r t i l e Crescent was not, however, occasioned by natural causes; centuries of intermittent warfare among themselves weakened them to the point where they f e l l an easy prey to the r i s i n g power, f i r s t of Macedonia and l a t e r of Home. It i s to these European states, then, that we must turn for subsequent progress i n Agriculture. European agriculture, i n common with a l l o the r forms ••of-•-European c i v i l i z a t i o n , found i t s e a r l i e s t home i n Greece. Here existed no mighty rivers to enrich the s o i l , no broad valleys offering promise of bountiful crops. Yet, from a study of early l i t e r a t u r e , i t i s evident that agriculture formed the keystone of Greek c i v i l i z a t i o n ; for example , i n his description of A c h i l l e s ' shield, Homer speaks of farmers t i l l i n g their f i e l d s , youths and maidens * I . • ' - 11 -plucking the grapes i n the vineyard, and the king surveying his lands and the harvesters at work. This p i c t u r e . i s , of course, i d e a l i s t i c , and i t must not be assumed that Greece was an a g r i c u l t u r a l paradise. Over most of the country the h i l l y nature of the land-scape made the.production-of grapes and olives more profitable than the culture of cereals. In the Peloponnesus, however, the ground was more l e v e l and here, by careful i r r i g a t i o n spelt, wheat, and barley could be grown. The s o i l lacked the prodigal f e r t i l i t y of delta land; hence some form of f e r t i l i z a t i o n was necessary. This was accomplished by leaving a high stubble at harvest-time which was l a t e r ploughed under. To us this seems a crude and i n e f f i c i e n t method, but we are nevertheless indebted to the Greeks for r e a l i z i n g the need for a r t i f i c i a l f e r t i l i z a t i o n and for ma-king a beginning upon this important branch of farming. In Rome, as in Greece, agriculture was regarded as the most honourable form of human' employment, -Our ancestors, says C a t o \ when they wished 1. Cato, Agr.. - at end of introductory paragraph. - 12 -to praise a worthy man, praised him as a . good farmer and a good husbandman; a man so praised was thought to have received the highest commendation. Prom the sturdy yeoman families came the Cincinnati, the Serrani and the Fabians - men whose names loom large i n the early history of Home. But as Roman te r r i t o r y gradually widened to include the whole Mediterranean world, domestic grain could not compete with that imported from Egypt and S i c i l y , where i t s production was i n f i n i t e l y less expensive. Such com-pe t i t i o n might have spelled the ru i n of agriculture in I t a l y , had not the Roman farmer shrewdly turned to other branches of-farming. The c u l t i v a t i o n of the vine and the o l i v e , to which the climate of the I t a l i a n peninsula was admirably suited, attained a new importance; a new emphasis was l a i d on the breeding of c a t t l e and sheep; pasture and meadow land for the maintenance of flocks and herds appeared where formerly had been g r a i n - f i e l d s , and the production of fodder crops to supply feed during the winter months became a recognized branch of farm a c t i v i t y . For the f i r s t time i n the western world, Agriculture had become truly "intensive". Of the importance of Roman contributions to a g r i c u l t u r a l science I s h a l l speak l a t e r i n more d e t a i l ; suffice i t to say for the present that not unti'l the Nineteenth Century did agriculture again reach the. heights which i t attained during the late Republic and early Empire. Under the l a t e r Empire and during the Bark Ages which followed, agriculture, i n common with a l l other branches of human knowledge, sank into decadence. . The one ray of l i g h t piercing the darkness is found during the Moorish occupation of Spain. In the region about Granada,, i n f e r t i l e valleys between the ranges of the Sie r r a s , agriculture was fostered by s k i l f u l c u l t i v a t i o n and careful i r r i g a t i o n . Here i n almost unbelievable profusion grew oranges, f i g s , c i t r o n and pomegranates. Plantations of mulberry trees yielded food for the silkworm; orchards and vineyards clothed the h i l l s i d e s and looked down upon broad f i e l d s of waving grain. Small wonder, then, that the Moors believed that the abode of their Prophet was situated i n the Heavens immediately above Granada. Elsewhere throughout Europe, the A g r i c u l t u r a l picture i s uniformly appalling. Farming •knowledge., slowly accumulated during previous centuries in Mediterranean lands, lay hidden i n manuscripts i n t e l l i g i b l e only to monks i n the solitude of monasteries where alone c l a s s i c a l learning and l i t e r a t u r e l i v e d on. In a protracted period of general lawlessness, "barbarian invasions, supplemented by the depredations of wandering brigands, rendered the l i f e of the husbandman one of continual jeopardy, and robbed him of any incentive to produce more than the barest necessities of l i f e . Gradually, however, some semblance of order evolved from the chaotic s i t u a t i o n . But i t was an order based not upon j u s t i c e , but upon force; a l l forms of human endeavour seemed to be tinged with ' a gloomy hopelessness. In agriculture there developed the Feudal System, under which the men who t i l l e d the s o i l were either "serfs" or " v i l l e i n s " . Of the two, the serf was the more unfortunate, lie was bound • to the s o i l by law, and could not leave i t ; he was' not, however, a slave, inasmuch as he could not be sold apart from the land. When required, he must work on his lord's estate and pay such dues as his lord deemed f i t . The v i l l e i n , on the other'hand, was free i n person, and could change land or master at w i l l . L i v i n g conditions of both serf and v i l l e i n were deplorable; a mud hut, p r a c t i c a l l y unfurnished, a tiny stable and a few square feet of garden comprised the peasant's home, and even this might be destroyed i f his master engaged i n war with some more, powerful neighbour. Under such conditions of l i f e and labour, ag r i c u l t u r a l progress was manifestly impossible. The harsh treatment of the farmer i s reflected i n the careless treatment of the s o i l . A l l arable land was divided into three great f i e l d s , in one of which wheat was grown, i n the second rye or barley, while the third lay fallow to recuperate. The two f i e l d s under c u l t i v a t i o n i n any year were apportioned i n narrow strips running the length of the f i e l d and separated by narrow ridges of tur f . A number of s t r i p s , scattered at intervals throughout the f i e l d s , constituted the peasant's "farm". F e r t i l i z a t i o n was p r a c t i c a l l y non-existent; c u l t i v a t i o n , also, was crude and i n e f f e c t i v e , owing to the fewness and inadequacy of farm implements, A wooden plow and.harrow, a cumber-- 16 -some high-wheeled cart, a crude s i c k l e , a shovel, mattock, and hoe,- these were the instruments of t i l l a g e . Judged by modern standards, crops were p i t i f u l l y meagre; i n view of such haphazard c u l t i v a t i o n they could hardly be otherwise. Such i s the depressing story of Agriculture from the f a l l of the Roman Empire u n t i l the middle of the Eighteenth Century* But even while the American colonies were asserting their independence, and France was' moving slowly towards Revolution, developments equally important but less s t a r t l i n g were taking place i n England. There the so-called "Agricultural Revolution" had begun; after f i f t e e n hundred years of stagnation farming was once more preparing to move forward. The f i r s t , and possibly the most important changes, took place i n crop rotation. With the improvements i n this phase of agriculture the name of Viscount Townshend i s forever linked, since i t was he who f i r s t realized that root-crops and clover could be produced on the land formerly l e f t fallow. Townshend's f r i e n d and contemporary, Jethro i ' u l l , invented a machine whereby seed could . .> - 17 -"be sown i n even rows and cov e r e d , i n s t e a d of "being b r o a d c a s t on t h e l a n d . The b r e e d i n g of f a r m a n i m a l s , too-, was not l o n g n e g l e c t e d ; by c a r e f u l s e l e c t i o n of b r e e d i n g s t o c k Robert B a k e w e l l produced sheep double i n w eight t o those of a few y e a r s e a r l i e r ; C h a r l e s and Robert C o l l i n g , c a r r y i n g on s i m i l a r e x p e r i m e n t a t i o n w i t h c a t t l e , were e q u a l l y s u c c e s s f u l , E a r l y i n the N i n e t e e n t h C e n t u r y , w i t h improvements i n m e t a l l u r g i c a l p r o c e s s e s , new farm machinery began to appear; i n 1834, McCormick's " r e a p e r " r e p l a c e d the s i c k l e ; a crude t h r e s h i n g machine proved i n f i n i t e l y more e f f e c t i v e than the f l a i l ; the c a s t i r o n plow and harrow, drawn by horses i n s t e a d o f oxen, s l o w l y ousted t h e i r wooden p r e d e c e s s o r s . B e t t e r roads brought markets n e a r e r ; improved communication systems made i n t e r c h a n g e o f id e a s and i n f o r m a t i o n p o s s i b l e f o r the f i r s t time s i n c e the end o f the Pax Romana. S i g n i f i c a n t as these changes were, those of the p a s t f i f t y y e a r s have been even more i m p r e s s i v e . The e v o l u t i o n o f the g a s o l i n e e n g i n e , c o u p l e d w i t h the development of e l e c t r i c power, has m a t e r i a l l y reduced t h e drudgery of f a r m l a b o u r . The - 18 -radio and the daily newspaper bring crop, market and weather reports into the farmer's home; modern systems of transportation permit him to take advantage of this information and to market his produce at. the most favourable moment. Mew crops and improved v a r i e t i e s of the old are constantly being introduced; s o i l tests and commercial f e r t i l i z e r s enable the a g r i c u l t u r a l i s t not only to learn i n what elements his s o i l i s lacking, but also to remedy these defi c i e n c i e s . In short, the modern farmer i s at once a s c i e n t i s t and a business man. CHAPTER III The H i s t o r i c a l Background of the Writings of Gato» Varro and V e r g i l The purpose of the foregoing resume has "been to place Roman Agriculture i n i t s proper perspective i n Agrarian History. Next a b r i e f consideration of the effect of p o l i t i c a l movements upon Roman agriculture seems essential. While i t is almost t r i t e to say that the p o l i t i c a l conditions under which an author l i v e s w i l l influence his work, i t i s p a r t i c u l a r l y true that the events of contem-porary Roman his tory exercised a profound effect, not only upon the l i v e s of Cato, Varro, and Vergil,, but also upon their a g r i c u l t u r a l t r e a t i s e s . Marcus Porcius Cato was born i n 234 B.C. and died i n 149 B.C. Thus his entire l i f e was passed i n the period when Rome was extending her dominion, i n the West over Carthage, and i n the East over Greece and Asia Minor. This was an age of tremendous achievement for Roman, imperialism, but one of sore t r i b u l a t i o n for the farming classes of It a l y . Widespread devastation of I t a l i a n farm-lands by Hannibaljand continuous employment of the farmers i n the armies of Home, had reduced agriculture and the welfare of the a g r i c u l t u r a l i s t to constantly lower l e v e l s . But Cato, with that stern tenacity of purpose which characterized his censorship and which kept al i v e his b i t t e r , deathless hatred of Carthage, wrote down In his De Agri Cultura the f r u i t of his own pr a c t i c a l experience, that posterity might read and thereby benefit. In his writing there i s no attempt at orderly arrangement, no a r t i f i c i a l embellishment of word or phrase, only a series of instructions which are d i r e c t , blunt, and b r i e f to a point often approaching obscurity. The De Re Rustica of Varro was written i n the decade following the assassination of Julius Caesar, a period i n history comparable to the troubled era which Cato knew. Nov/ nearing his eightieth year, Varro had watched the career of Cicero with i t s tragic ending, the machinations of the F i r s t Triumvirate, and from Pompey's camp the long duel between his master and Caesar. Even as he wrote his contribution to Roman a g r i c u l t u r a l knowledge we can "imagine him pondering the outcome of the increasing enmity between Marc Antony and Octavian. But with the calm detachment of the true philosopher, he could write a l u c i d and scholarly account of the methods of Koman agriculture despite the p o l i t i c a l insecurity of his own position and the fact that his l i f e , as he well realized, was nearing i t s close. His work lacks the blunt foreefulness of Gate's epigrammatic state-ments ? but the studied order i n arrangement and treatment of subject matter affords a remarkably clear conception of the agriculture of his period. '. Although a much younger man than Varro, Y e r g i l may be regarded as his contemporary, since their a g r i c u l t u r a l writings were undertaken i n the" same year - 31 B.C. Their points of view, however, differed widely; whereas Varro fs work was purely didactic, Vergil's was motivated by a deeper, less tangible f e e l i n g . Realizing f u l l well the havoc wrought upon agriculture by two decades of C i v i l War, V e r g i l f e l t that the salvation of Koman society lay i n a return to the virtues exemplified by l i f e i n the country. The task was one which lay near to the poet's heart, f o r he was himself a man of the country, deeply imbued with a love f o r his native countryside. Of his love were born the four books of the Georgics, where, i n masterly hexameters, Vergil dealt successively with the c u l t i v a t i o n of the s o i l , the care of vineyards, the rearing of flocks and herds, and f i n a l l y the keeping of bees. Whether or not his work accomplished i t s intended purpose i s now of l i t t l e consequence; the fact remains that i n the Georgics Koman agriculture had found i t s most eloquent expression. Owing to the en t i r e l y different method of treatment which each of these authors employs, a direct comparison and contrast of their works would be manifestly unfair. Consequently, i t seems better to regard Koman agriculture as f a l l i n g under various headings, and with these divisions of the subject i n mind, to form as complete a survey as . ) - 23 -possible of the a g r i c u l t u r a l practices of the Romans CHAPTER IV ' The Choice of the Farm The major problem confronting the Roman farmer i s s t i l l of prime importance to his twentieth century successor. The problem is that of choosing, a farm; i n making his selection the farmer must take into account an almost bewildering array of related factors. A b r i e f survey of the p r i n c i p a l considerations governing the modern farmer's choice w i l l serve as a f i t t i n g screen on which to project the advice offered to their contemporaries by Cato, Varro, and V e r g i l . The f i r s t step i n selecting a farm consists i n a careful study of the s o i l ; i f the land i s already cleared and under c u l t i v a t i o n , the prospective farmer must consider, f i r s t , the quality of the s o i l , and secondly the treatment which i t has received from i t s former owner. S o i l , no matter how r i c h i t may be naturally, cannot be i n good condi tion i f i t has been continuously cropped without adequate f e r t i l i z a t i o n . Land which has been l e t out on lease w i l l ' bear even closer scrutiny i n this connection; many renters operate on the theory of s e l l i n g a l l possible produce and restoring a minimum amount of f e r t i l i z e r to the s o i l * Provided, then, that the prospective buyer can assure himself that the s o i l i s naturally f e r t i l e and i n good "heart", he should next turn his attention to the water supply. If the farm i s favoured with a perennial running stream, the problem decreases i n importance; such good fortune, however, i s rare, and i n the great majority of instances, the farm must depend f o r i t s water upon subterranean sources. If existing wells or springs ensure a constant and dependable supply, no further information i s necessary; but, i f wells have to be dug or d r i l l e d , the buyer should enquire l o c a l l y as to the cost of such work, and also the approximate depth of satisfactory wells i n the d i s t r i c t . I f i r r i g a t i o n i s necessary, he should take into consideration the adequacy of his own water supply, or the cost per unit i f he intends to purchase from a privately-owned or community project. Conversely, i f the area is dyked, he must take into account the additional tax or commitment for this service and regard i t as a fixed overhead charge. Another important consideration, and one which is frequently overlooked, i s the problem of drainage* If the existing drains are of t i l e or cement, and of s u f f i c i e n t capacity to handle the excess water, the matter may he dismissed without further thought. I f , however, the existing system depends upon open drains, or upon underground drains made of wood, the purchaser should estimate closely the cost of keeping the former i n good condition and of replacing the l a t t e r * If a new drainage system seems advisable, he should observe the slope of the land, and likewise the f a c i l i t i e s for outlets to his main drains. An accurate chart of the entire drainage system should be obtained or compiled, and kept for future reference i n case breaks or stoppages occur* In addition to the above factors, which primarily concern the land, there are other considerations, equally important, which pertain to the life* of the farmer and his family. These, i n a general way, are dependent on the neighbourhood. Are the roads good? Are transportation f a c i l i t i e s adequate?• Are there markets near a t hand f o r the purchase,of -necessities and the sale of surplus produce? Are churches and schools available? Is there opportunity for s o c i a l intercourse? Last, but by no means least, i s a supply of labour available i n the rush seasons? The above are, b r i e f l y , the points to be considered i n the purchase of a farm already i n production. I f , on the other hand, the purchaser prefers to buy v i r g i n land and-clear i t himself, further d e t a i l s must be taken into account. He must form as, close an estimate as possible of land-clearing costs, costs which w i l l be determined by the nature and density of the overgrowth, the stumps and large rocks to be removed and the value of the land when f i n a l l y cleared. Against this cost he should balance the value of the timber when removed, either as lumber' ~ 28 -or as fu e l * Turning now to a study of these points i n our Roman authors * i t w i l l he found that a phenomenal number of these considerations are dealt with i n their writings. Cato's instructions concerning 1 the purchase of a farm are b r i e f , but cogent. When you are considering the purchase of a farm, keep this i n mind - that you do not buy rashly, that you do not s t i n t your efforts i n examining (the land), and that you do not consider i t enough to go over the land once only. The more you v i s i t a farm, provided i t be a good one, the more i t w i l l delight you. This advice might well be tendered to a farmer of the 2 twentieth century. Re continues, Observe how the neighbours fare; i n a good d i s t r i c t they should f a r e well ... The di s -t r i c t should have a good climate, one not subject to damaging storms; the s o i l should be r i c h and naturally f e r t i l e . If possible, the farm should l i e at the foot of a moun-tain, facing the south, i n a healthful location; there should be a good supply of workmen available. The farm should be well-watered , and near a prosperous town, or the sea, or a navigable r i v e r , or a good, much-used highway. The l a s t sentence quoted shows p a r t i c u l a r l y how f u l l y 1. Cato, De Agri ..Cultura^ 1, ad. i n i t . 2. Cato, Agr* !..,„ 2, 3, 4. Cato realized the necessity for good markets and for adequate systems of transportation. In the De Re Kustica, Varro echoes Cato's instructions, and treats of them i n considerably more d e t a i l . An early statement, which Varro attributes 1 to ", is especially worthy of notice. Italians seem to have two considerations p a r t i c u l a r l y i n mind i n farming - whether the land w i l l y i e l d a f a i r return for the expense and labour, and whether the location is healthful or not. If either one or the other i s lacking, and he i s determined to farm (such land) i n spite of t h i s , he should be taken i n hand by his r e l a t i v e s . i'or no sane man should desire to incur the cost and expense of such c u l t i v a t i o n i f he sees that i t cannot be regained, or even i f a crop can be produced, that i t w i l l be destroyed by the 1 p e s t i l e n t i a ' of the l o c a l i t y . By the term " p e s t i l e n t i a " , Varro probably refers to blight or disease a r i s i n g from fo u l moisture or a i r conditions engendered by a low-lying or swampy d i s t r i c t . 2 Continuing with the same theme, Varro states that, even i f the land i s r i c h , i f the region is unhealthful, misfortune prevents the farmer from obtaining his p r o f i t , and endangers, not only his p r o f i t , but his 1. Varro, R.R.I., M.yS .. 2. Ibid, ix. cf. also, I, i v , 3. l i f e as well. With these injunctions i n mind, Varro thus summarizes his conception of the ideal location •1 for a farm. A lowland d i s t r i c t , sloping regularly i n one dir e c t i o n , is preferable to one which i s per-f e c t l y l e v e l , f o r the l a t t e r has no o u t f a l l for the water and becomes swampy. The most unfavourable s i t e of a l l is one which is irregular i n conformation, f o r i t becomes 'sour' owing to stagnant pools. The natural inference from this statement is that land of an even slope presents a r e l a t i v e l y simple drainage problem, even as i n the present day. With regard to the s o i l of the farm, Varro draws attention to the ever-important fact that the nature and type of the s o i l determine 2 what crops s h a l l be produced. He comments, AHfbrops cannot be successfully raised on the same land. Just as one variety of s o i l is suited to the vine, and another to grain, so each of the other v a r i e t i e s i s suited to one pa r t i c u l a r crop* Vergil uses almost the same words , supporting his atatement with references to the produce of India, Pontus, and Epirus. In other words, one may summarize 1. Varro, R.R. I, v i , 6. 2. Ibid, v i i , 5 and 6. 3. V e r g i l , G-eorg. I, 50-63. their advice by saying that the successful farmer w i l l adapt his crops to the c a p a b i l i t i e s of his farm, or conversely, choose his farm with an eye to the crops which he desires to produce. It need hardly be pointed out that the wisdom of this advice has not diminished i n twenty centuries. 1 In his observations concerning the surroundings of the faring that i s , the neighbour-hood i n which the farm i s located, Varro might almost be a contemporary a g r i c u l t u r a l writer. Are conditions on neighbouring farms, he asks, such as to benefit or injure our land? Are the transportation systems, roads and r i v e r s * adequate? Are there markets from which necessities may be purchased, and at which farm produce may be sold? Are there i n the d i s t r i c t physicians, f u l l e r s , workmen, who may be called i n when required? A l l these are considerations, he concludes, which are deserving of careful thought before the farm is purchased. The forethought which Cato and Yarro 1. Varro, R.R. I, x v i , 1-6. - 32 -enjoin upon the prospective buyer of a farm proves that each of these authors realized that there are two p r i n c i p a l factors to he considered - f i r s t , the a b i l i t y of the farm to produce revenue, and secondly the d e s i r a b i l i t y of the neighbourhood as a place i n which to l i v e . Even after the lapse of two thousand years, i t i s safe to say that these two considerations should s t i l l be the governing factors i n the selection of a farm, and that the modern farmer would be well advised to keep the advice of Cato and Varro c l e a r l y in mind when making his purchase. CHAPTER V •" • • The Equipment of the Roman Farm In view of the emphasis which both Cato and Varro place upon the selection of the farm, one might be incl i n e d to assume that other departments of farm management were subordinate to this main problem. Such a conception has a basis i n f a c t , since the s o i l of the farm d i r e c t l y determines the nature and variety of the produce. As the experienced farmer has always realized, however, the natural f e r t i l i t y of the s o i l must be made effective by careful and thorough c u l t i v a t i o n . To accomplish this objective, certain tools and implements are essential; their number and variety w i l l depend, f i r s t upon the nature of the crops produced and secondly upon the area of the farm. Under the general heading of "farm, equipment" must be included not only "tools of c u l t i v a t i o n " but also housing accommodation for the farmer and his workmen; barns f o r livestock, storage sheds, and f a c i l i t i e s for storing the crops u n t i l sold or used on the farm. In a. general way, a farm should have , s u f f i c i e n t tools and implements to handle the farm-work adequately, and s u f f i c i e n t storage f a c i l i t i e s to house a l l the produce. A shortage i n either respect w i l l s p e l l , f i r s t , i n a b i l i t y to take advantage of favourable s o i l or weather conditions, and secondly an i n a b i l i t y to protect the produce from inclement weather. Con-versely, too extensive equipment w i l l mean increased capital expenditure and consequent reduced returns upon the money invested. Cato remarks, i n a b r i e f 1 but pertinent statement, L i t t l e p r o f i t w i l l be l e f t i f the farm be over-extravagant. Although he intends to formulate a general p r i n c i p l e , his statement i s p a r t i c u l a r l y applicable to the purchase of implements and the construction of the farm buildings. At the outset two points on which Roman terminology d i f f e r s from our modern usage should be noted. These are, f i r s t the denotation of the 1. Cato, Agr. I, 6. term "equipment" and secondly the meaning of the worl " v i l l a " , as used "by Cato and Varro. The term equipment i n modern parlance applies to inanimate objects only, whereas our Roman authors include under this t i t l e a l l the workmen necessary to carry out the farm work. This conception, strange as i t may seem to us, becomes natural when one re c a l l s that the work was performed almost entirely by slave labour. The workl " v i l l a " as used i n the modern sense, applies to a house or home in the country. To the Roman, however a v i l l a meant the entire group... of buildings on the farm. These were not separated from one another as on farms of the present day, but were a l l grouped together about a central courtyard - a convenient arrangement, and one well-adapted to defence, should the necessity ari s e . The- v i l l a was, i n many* surrounded by a fence; of such fences there were several types, each of which Varro describes i n the following detailed 1 manner. 1. Varro, R.R. I, xiv. There are four types of defences, the f i r s t , natural, the second, r u s t i c , the thir d , m i l i t a r y , and the fourth, masonry. The f i r s t type, the natural, i s a hedge planted with * saplings or thorn hushes; i t has roots and i s a l i v e and consequently does not fear the blazing torch of the wanton passer-by. The second type, the r u s t i c , i s also of wood, but. i s not a l i v e ; i t is made of stakes planted thickly and interwoven with saplings, or of posts with holes bored through, and through the holes r a i l s running lengthwise; or i t may be made of trimmed trees with the branches driven into the ground, the trees being placed end to end. The third type of fence i s the mil i t a r y enclosure, namely a trench and bank of earth. The trench i s adequate only i f i t can hold a l l the rain that f a l l s or has s u f f i c i e n t slope that the water w i l l run away. The bank i s most satisfactory i f i t i s set close to the ditch and on the inner side of i t , or steep enough that i t cannot be climbed e a s i l y . This type of fence i s usually constructed along the public roads or along streams ... Banks without ditches are called walls. The fourth type of fence is a masonry wall of which there are four general types - stone, burned brick, sun-baked brick, or earth and stone. A fence of any of the above types may also be used to enclose the whole farm, or else the boundaries may be secured by planting trees; a careful marking of the boundaries, Varro observes , w i l l prevent quarrels and law-suits. Neither he nor :Cato makes any suggestion 1. Varro, R. K. I, XT, a d i n i t . regarding the d i s t r i b u t i o n of the expense entailed i n constructing boundary fences; possibly, as in modern practice, the expense was shared equally by the two owners affected* In determining the neceasary amount of equipment, Cato selects two farms, one of 1 240 iugera, the second of 100 iugera, as the bases for his calculations. I t i s worthy of note that the very detailed instructions he gives with respect to the f i r s t farm presuppose that the main crop s h a l l 2 be olives, For an oliveyard of 240 iugera, he advises, the following equipment i s necessary: a farm manager, a housekeeper, f i v e Yforkmen, three teamsters, one mule-driver, one swine-herd, one shepherd - 13 men i n t o t a l ; 3 yoke of oxen, 3 mules for hauling manure, one mi l l - a s s j and 100 sheep; f i v e oil-pressing machines, one copper vessel holding 180 gallons, complete with a copper top, 3 iron hooks, 3 water-vessels, 2 funnels, 1 copper vessel holding 30 gallons, with a copper cover, 3 hooks, 1 small bowl, 2 o i l - j a r s , 1 jar holding f i f t y gallons, 3 ladles, 1 water bucket, 1 basin, 1 small pot, 1 ewer, 1 p l a t t e r 1 watering-can, 1 l a d l e , 1 candlestick, 1 pint measure. 3 large carts. 6 ploughs complete with shares, 3 yokes ..complete with traces, 6 sets of harness for the oxen, 1 harrow, 1. A iugerum i s 28,800 square fe e t , approximately 2/3 of an acre. 2. Cato, De Agri Cultura. X. 7 manure-baskets, 3 small vessels. 3 blanket-pads for the mules; the iron tools required are as follows - 8 iron forks, 8 hoes, 4 spades, - 5 shovels, 2 rakes with four teeth, 8 scythes, *5 bill-hooks, 5 pruning hooks, 3 axes, 3 wedges, 1 hand-mill, 1 set of f i r e tongs, 1 fire-rake, 2 braziers, 100 o i l vessels, 12 vats, 10 vessels to hold grape-pulp, 10 for amurca , 10 wine-jars, 20 containers f o r grain, 1 container for lupine, 10 preserving j a r s , 1 bath tub, 1 wash tub, 2 hand basins, covers f o r jars and vessels, 1 donkey m i l l , 1 hand m i l l , 1 Spanish m i l l , 3 c o l l a r s , 1 wooden tray, 2 copper disks, 2 tables, 3 large benches, 1 bench f o r the bedroom, 3 footstools, 4 chairs, 2 sofas, 1 couch for the bedroom, 4 hammocks, 3 bunks, 1 wooden mortar, 1 f u l l e r ' s mortar, 1 clothes loom, 2 mortars, 1 pestle f o r crushing beans, 1 for grain, 1 for seed, 1 for nuts, 1 peck measure, 1 half-peck measure, 8 mattresses, 8 covers, 16 cushions, 10 table covers, 3 towels, 6 hoods.for the workmen. A l l t h i s varied equipment is necessary, declares Cato, for the l i f e and work of the farm. For the vineyard of one hundred iugera, Cato l i s t s the following equipment as necessary 1 farm manager, 1 housekeeper, 10 labourers, 1 teamster, 1 mule driver, 1 willow-worker, 1 swineherd, a t o t a l of 16 persons; 2 oxen, 2 donkeys for farm work, 1 for the m i l l ; 3 presses, vats with a capacity to contain f i v e vintages of 96,000 gallons, 20 vats for grape pulp, 20 to hold grain, with tops and covers f o r each, 6 vessels, covered with Spanish 1. Amurca - the watery residue l e f t after the o i l had been extracted from the olives. For a f u l l discussion of i t s uses see Chapter XII. 2. Cato, Agr. XI - 39 -broom, 4 six-gallon j a r s , 2 funnels, 3 strainers, 3 extra strainers for removing the flower, 10 vessels f o r the juices; 2 carts, 2 ploughs„ 1 wagon-yoke, 1 yoke f o r earring grapes, 1 donkey-yoke, 1 copper disk, 1 set of harness for the m i l l , 1 copper vessel to hold 120 'gallons; 1 watering-can, 3 iron hooks, 1 copper b o i l e r holding 120 gallons, 1 basin, 1 small pot, 1 wash basin, 1 water bucket, 1 l a d l e , 1 candlestick, 4 beds, 1 bench, 2 tables, 1 wo oden tray, 1 clothes chest, 2 clothes closets, 6 long benches, 1 water-wheel , 1 peck measure bo und wi th iron, 1 half-peek measure, 1 washtub, 1 bath tub, 1 vat f o r lupines, 10 large pots; 2 sets of ox-harness, 3 complete sets of donkey harness, . 3 pack saddles, 3 vessels to hold vane dregs, 3 donkey m i l l s , 1 hand m i l l ; the following iron tools are also necessary - 5 brush-hooks, 6 tree-hooks, 3 pruning hooks, 5 axes, 4 wedges, 2 ploughs, 10 forks, 6 spades, 4 shovels, 2 four-toothed rakes, 5 manure baskets; 40 grape-knives, 10 s i c k l e s , 2 braziers, 2 sets of tongs, 1 f i r e rake, 20 Amerine baskets, 40 planting-baskets or troughs, 40 wooden scoop-shovels, 2 wooden trays, 4 mattresses, 4 covers, 6 cushions, 6 table covers, 3 napkins, 6 hoods for the workmen. In perusing the foregoing l i s t of equipment and furnishings one cannot help but be impressed by Cato's meticulous attention to d e t a i l . At f i r s t glance, however, i t might seem that Cato i s inconsistent i n his estimate of the number of labourers required on the two farms, inasmuch as he suggests a t o t a l of 16 for the 100 iugera farm, and - 40 -only 13 f o r the 240 iugera farm. This apparent discrepancy arises from the fact that the smaller farm i s to be devoted entirely to the culture of the vine, a plant which requires constant care and c u l t i v a -tion. The larger farm, on the other hand is to be devoted to olive orchards, which require r e l a t i v e l y l i t t l e care or attention except at harvest-time. On the larger farm, also, Cato advises keeping one hundred sheep; the pasture and meadow land-required for their sustenance would naturally c u r t a i l the productive area.. Consequently, i t i s clear that Cato is basing his estimate, not upon acreage, but upon the type of crops produced* Possibly a b r i e f statement made 1 by Varro regarding the number of labourers i s as valuable as Cato Ts minute instructions; he suggests that the owner should observe other farms in his 2 neighbourhood and be guided by their example. V e r g i l , apparently, found the subject of farm equipment i l l -suited to expression i n hexameters, for he dismisses 1. Varro, K. R. I, x v i i i , 7. 2. V e r g i l , Georg. I, 160-176. - 41 -the topic i n l e s s than twenty l i n e s , with casual references to "the crooked plough", "the harrow of ponderous weight", and "the slow-moving wains of Ceres, the Eleusinian Mother"'. With regard to the buildings of the farm,three factors appear to have been uppermost i n the Roman mind. These might be b r i e f l y stated as follows: f i r s t , the cost of construction; secondly, the r e l a t i o n of the size of the v i l l a to the size of the farm; t h i r d , the location of the buildings on the 1 farm. Cato , with his customary emphasis upon d e t a i l , has l e f t us minute instructions regarding construction costs and methods; i n b r i e f , the owner is to provide timber, stone, lime, sand, water, straw and clay, while the contractor supplies the necessary workmen. This d i v i s i o n i s interesting i n i t s difference from the modern practice, whereby the contractor, for an inclusive price, supplies both labour and materials of construction. Cato, however, does not regard building as the f i r s t duty of the farmer; "when one 1. Cato, Agr. XIV, XV 1 has reached the age of t h i r t y - s i x " , he advises , "he should b u i l d , provided that the farm i s completely planted". In other words, the farmer should attend f i r s t to the setting out of productive crops, and consider building only when this has been done. Both Cato and Varro devote con-siderable attention to the size of the v i l l a . At the • 2 outset, the l a t t e r makes the following statement: Many mis takes arise i f the measurement of the farm i s not carefully observed, for some build the v i l l a too small i n proportion to the size of the farm, others too large, either of which reacts against the farm and the revenue therefrom.. The import of this remark i s quite clear; buildings too large are over-expensive; buildings which are too small do not contain s u f f i c i e n t storage-space to house a l l the crops, implements, and general equipment of the farm. To the blanket statement quoted above, 3 Varro adds that the nature of the crops w i l l 1. Cato, Agr. I l l , 1. 2. Varro, K. R. I, x i , 1. cf. also, Cato, Agr. I l l , 1 ad f i n . , 2„ "Ita aedifices, ne v i l l a fundum quaerat, neve fundus villam." / 3. Varro, R. R. I, x i , 2. necessitate a variation i n the type of buildings cons true ted s inasmuch as a grain farm w i l l require large granaries, a vineyard, extensive wine c e l l a r s , 1 etc. Cato makes the further suggestion that the farmer have well-cons true ted buildings, o i l - c e l l a r s , granary and a p l e n t i f u l supply of storage vessels for o i l and wine, i n order that he may hold his produce for a good market; this w i l l enhance his p r o f i t , his eff i c i e n c y and his good name. Barns f o r 2 c a t t l e , he adds , should be strongly b u i l t i n every d e t a i l , with racks above the mangers i n which hay may be placed; the presence of such racks w i l l prevent the c a t t l e from wasting food by trampling i t underfoot. To the uninitiated, this l a t t e r item may seem of t r i f l i n g importance; i t i s attention to just such de t a i l s , however, which characterizes the successful farmer. In choosing a location for the 3 farm buildings, Cato merely remarks that they should be^well-situated". Varro, however, amplifies this 1. Cato, Agr. I l l , 2. 2. Ibid. IM, 1, ad i n i t . 3. Ibid, IV, i n med. 1 statement considerably » The water-supply, he i n s i s t s should be carefully considered, both with respect to . 2 quantity and location. Secondly, the dwelling-house .should be placed, i f possible, on a h i l l - t o p , presumably f o r the sake of dryness and easy drainage. 3 Barns for the cat t l e and sheep should be placed preferably at the foot of a wooded h i l l , facing the most healthful winds of the l o c a l i t y ; swamps and river-banks should be avoided as these are not only damp, but subject to plagues of insects and tiny "germs","which cannot be seen by the eye, but enter the body through the mouth and nose and bring about serious i l l n e s s e s " . Buildings, he adds, which l i e i n depressions are also subject to floods and to attacks by robber-bands. Care must be taken to ensure that the cattle-barns w i l l be warm in winter and that storage sheds are dry and warm. As an aid to dryness, 4 Cato suggests a plaster, which can be made as 1. Varro,J*. R. I.xi.-, 2. 2 ' Ibid, l , x i i i , 7 ad f i n . By " v i l l a " i n this instance, Varro i s ref e r r i n g to the master's house, not the quarters for the slaves. 3. Ibid, I., x i i . 4. Cato, Agr. c x x v i i i . - 45 -follows: Pour amurca over earth as chalky or reddish as possible, and add straw-chaff; l e t i t steep ' f o r four days, then mix i t well with a spade. Then plaster (the walls) with i t . Moisture w i l l not harm this coating, nor w i l l mice make holes therein, no weeds w i l l grow i n i t , nor w i l l i t crack. When one compares the minute instructions formula-ted by Cato f o r the working equipment of the farm with the somewhat vague instructions regarding the dwelling, he cannot f a i l to observe that the operation of the farm was con-sidered of i n f i n i t e l y greater importance than the comforts of l i v i n g . In f a c t , Varro c a u s t i c a l l y compares the "luxury" of his own age with the t h r i f t of the ancients, among whom he would undoubtedly include Cato. 1 A farm, is..more prof itablev he warns, i f you. construct your buildings i n accordance with the t h r i f t i n e s s of our ancestors rather than i n accordance with the luxury of the present day; they b u i l t with an eye to the requirements of their crops, we, with an eye to our own unbridled extravagance. 1. Varro, R. R. I, X x x x« o« It i s perhaps comforting to notice that two thousand years ago, even as at the present time, men regretted the*passing of the "good old days", and sadly pondered the fate of th e i r contemporary decadent generation. CHAPTER VI The Major Crops of Roman Agriculture and their Production To the aTerage Canadian, imbued with the economic importance of the P r a i r i e provinces, i t would appear that wheat, and to a less extent other v a r i e t i e s of grain, i s the major product of a g r i c u l t u r a l a c t i v i t y . In considering Roman agriculture, however, one must orient his mind to an entirely different point of view; i n the early days of the Republic i t i s true that grain was a crop of major importance, but during the third and second centuries B.C. the extension of Roman dominion to include S i c i l y and North A f r i c a brought about a revolution i n farming on the I t a l i a n peninsula. C-rain could now be imported from the new t e r r i t o r i e s at prices ruinous to i t s production at home. How, then, did the Roman farmer meet this challenge? What may we consider the major products of Roman agriculture? - 48 -To both .these questions Cato replies i n no uncertain 1 •  terms. If you should enquire of me as to what type of farm i s best, I would answer thus, A vineyard i s of foremost importance, provided i t produces wine of a good quality, secondly, an i r r i g a t e d garden, t h i r d , a willow-plan-tation, fourth, an olive grove, f i f t h , meadow land, sixth, grain land, seventh, forest land, eighth, an orchard upon which vines may be trained, ninth, a forest-grove producing acorns. 2 Varro, however, points out that Cato's choice i s by no means universal, and that some authorities regard meadow-land as of prime importance, f e e l i n g that the cost of maintaining a vineyard i s excessive i n comparison with the returns. In fairness to Cato, however, too much significance must not be attached to the discrepancy between his opinion and that of Varro, as a century and a half had elapsed since Cato's writing, during which time prices, and markets also, would have undergone inevitable changes. y'' So thorough a knowledge does Cato display of the i n t e r - r e l a t i o n of s o i l and crop, so 1. Cato, Agr. 1,7. 2. Varro, K. K. I, v i i , 9, 10, and I, v i i i , 1 ad i n i t . sound i s his advice even at the present day, that i t 1 seems advisable to quote his suggestions i n f u l l . -' Where the land i s heavy, f e r t i l e and free of trees, there grain should be sown. The same land, i f subject to fog and mist, can be most pr o f i t a b l y sown to rape, turnips, m i l l e t , or I t a l i a n panic-grass. In r i c h , warm s o i l plant ol i v e s , - the long o l i v e , the Sallentine, the Coliminian, and the white; plant the variety which is said to f l o u r i s h best i n that l o c a l i t y ... Land which faces the west and i s open to the sun i s best f o r olives. Land which is colder and less f e r t i l e should be planted with L i c i n i a n o l i v e s . If you plant (this variety.), i n warm, r i c h s o i l , the ' produce w i l l be valueless, the tree w i l l exhaust i t s e l f by producing, and an injurious red scab w i l l develop* Around the edges of the farm and along the roadways plant elms and poplars, which w i l l furnish leafage for oxen and c a t t l e , and also lumber, should you require i t . On river-banks and i n damp spots plant shoots of poplar and a reed-bed. Take careful note of the following i n deciding where to plant your vineyard. In s o i l which i s said to be the bestf,suited to vine culture and l i e s open to the sun, plant the small Aminian, the double Eugeneum and . the small mottled variety. S o i l which i s r i c h or more subject to fogs should be planted with the larger Aminian grape, the Murgentian, the Apician and the Lucanian. Other v a r i e t i e s , and especially the hybrids, suit any land at a l l . 1. Cato, Agr. VI, 1, 2, 3, 4. 2. Ibid, VI, 4, ad f i n . It i s of great advantage for the farm to have a wood-lot, so that firewood can "be sold or used by the master. On. the same farm, a l l possible crops should be planted, • including several kinds of grapes - the small and the larger-Aminian, and the Apician. . A l l types of f r u i t should be planted or grafted -apples, Scantian and Quirinian quinces, and likewise other v a r i e t i e s for preserving, and pomegranates, as well as several varieties of pears... Plant mariscan f i g s i n chalky, loose-textured s o i l , and i n richer, heavily-manured s o i l plant the African, Herculanean, Saguntine, black Tellanian and winter f i g s . Seed down a meadow, well-watered i f possible, i f not, a dry meadow, i n order to have fodder for your c a t t l e . Close to a c i t y , too, make sure you plant a garden with a l l kinds of ; vegetables and with flowers f o r making garlands, megarian bulbs, several varieties of myrtle, Delphian, Cyprian, and wild l a u r e l , Abellan, Praenestine and Greek nuts. A suburban farm, p a r t i c u l a r l y i f this be the only one you have, should be planted as care f u l l y as possible. Lupine w i l l fare well i n s o i l that i s reddish, dark-coloured, or hard, or poor, or sandy, provided only that i t i s not wet. Spelt should be sown preferably i n s o i l that i s chalky or marshy or reddish, provided i t is damp. In places that are dry, free from weeds, and exposed to the sun, wheat should be sown. Plant beans i n s o i l that i s r i c h and protected from,storms. Vetch and fenugreek must be sown where there are as few weeds as possible; winter wheat does best on a high open location -where the sun shines longesti-. L e n t i l s should be sown on land that i s reddish and u n f e r t i l e , .1. Cato, Agr. VII. barley on v i r g i n s o i l that does not l i e fallow. 'Three-month' or spring wheat should he planted where winter wheat w i l l not come to maturity, or where the s o i l , ' owing to i t s f e r t i l i t y , does not need to l i e fallow. Rape, turnips and radishes must he sown on well-manured or naturally f e r t i l e land.-1-Varro's remarks concerning the 2 choice of crop for a certain type of s o i l follow the same general trend as the more detailed instruc-tions of Cato. .In f a c t , he actually acknowledges in several instances that his suggestions are cased on those of Gato$ an admission which i s ample' proof of the soundness of Cato's advice and an indication that the l a t t e r 1 s precepts had stood the test of time.. A b r i e f resume of Varro'1 s comments w i l l s uffice to i l l u s t r a t e the close resemblance between his advice 3 and that of Cato. Some places, he says , are suited to hay, others to vines, s t i l l others to olives, etc. As a general r u l e plants requiring a large amount of nu t r i t i o n should be planted i n r i c h s o i l ; those whose wants are more eas i l y supplied should be sown in the 1. Cato, Agrv XXXIV and XXXV. 2. Varro, H... R. I, xxiv, 1, 3, 4 and' I, xxv. 3. Ibid, I, x x i l i , 1. ad "fin. ,->'/-*3:> 4, 5, 6. poorer s o i l s . Kich, heavy, treeless s o i l , he con-tinues, is best f o r grain; warm, r i c h s o i l i s best adapted to the culture of olives. V e r g i l , also* notes the fact that a l l crops do not require the same s o i l and weather conditions*, with this admonition , Before we cut an unknown p l a i n with our plough, we should take care to learn beforehand the winds and the changeful temper of the sky, and what crops and what manner of c u l t i v a t i o n are native to the l o c a l i t y , what each d i s t r i c t produces, and what each refuses. Here crops of corn, there vines grow more abundantly, i n other places the young growth of trees, and s t i l l else-where grasses grow strong spontaneously. In view of the importance attached by Gato, Varro, and V e r g i l to the c u l t i v a t i o n of the vine, i t seems necessary to consider this major crop i n more d e t a i l . The following i s a resume of Vergil's instructions regarding the care of the vineyard. In 2 the f i r s t place, he says , the farmer should consider whether he w i l l establish his vineyard•upon the pl a i n , or on a gentle h i l l - s l o p e . If i n the former, position, the vines may be planted more t h i c k l y , but i n either , case they should be so placed as to permit each plant 1'. V e r g i l , Georg. I, 50-63. 2. Ibid, I I , 270-384. a maximum of a i r and sunshine. 1'he young plants should not be intrenched too deeply; from this precept we may Infer that the vine, i n contradistinction to 1 plant forms of larger growth, is a surface-feeder. I f located on a h i l l s i d e , the vineyard must not slope towards the west - evidently because a vineyard so situated w i l l receive the sun i n the afternoon only. S l i p s or cuttings taken from the lower part of the old vine w i l l make better growth than those obtained from the upper branches; furthermore, such cuttings must be taken with a sharp knife, as blunt steel w i l l bruise the tender shoots. New plants, he continues, should never be set out i n the vineyard i n winter, for at that time the ground is frozen and the young s l i p w i l l be unable to strike i t s roots i n the c h i l l y s o i l ; the proper time f o r planting i s the early spring, or i f pressure of work at that time should prevent, the early autumn w i l l usually prove s a t i s -1. Mr, a , Parker, who has experimented extensively with vines on his Brentwood farm i n Saanich, B.C. states that a vine w i l l strike lower roots i n a soft subsoil, but nevertheless derives i t s nourishment from the roots closer to the surface. factory. Close to the new plants, strong stakes should he placed, on which the growing vines may f i n d support. Cultivation must he careful and continuous. No pruning, however, should he permitted, u n t i l the vines are well-grown, nor should animals he allowed to approach them. Goats, i n p a r t i c u l a r , must be rigorously kept away, as the b i t e of these animals is f a t a l to the vine. . For no other reason, concludes^Vergil, i s the goat s a c r i f i c e d to Bacchus on every a l t a r . . To these instructions of V e r g i l , Cato furnishes additional information regarding,the 2 care of the vineyard. The vines, he suggests , should be trained to grow as straight up as possible, but, i n tying them, care must be taken that the thongs used do not constrict or "choke" the plant. At seed-time the s o i l around the vines should be 1. V e r g i l , Georg.II, 380. cf. also Varro, R. R. I, 2.1, 19, 20. "Sic factum ut Libero p a t r i , repertori v i t i s , h i r c i immolarentur, proinde ut capite darent poenasj contra ut Minervae caprini generis n i h i l im-molarent propter oleam, quod earn quam l a e s e r i t f i e r i dicunt sterilem; eius enim salivam esse fruct<^!s venenum.u 2. Cato, Agr. XXXIII. "trenched", and thoroughly cultivated. I f the s o i l i s poor, manure, straw, or grape-dregs should he placed around the roots to supply additional nourish-ment. Leaves should be thinned at intervals and stripped off completely towards harvest-time to permit even ripening of the f r u i t . Varro has l i t t l e to say regarding the actual c u l t i v a t i o n of the vine, but he devotes considerable attention to the stakes used in supporting the plants. Various types of stakes 1 may be used, he suggests ,- either those which w i l l carry the vine v e r t i c a l l y to i t s f u l l height, or those which w i l l carry i t v e r t i c a l l y to the height of a man, then l a t e r a l l y to care for the remainder 2 of the growth. Another method suggested by Varro consists i n planting the vines i n the tree plantation, where they w i l l find support on the spreading branches of the trees. This l a t t e r method, so frequently mentioned i n Roman l i t e r a t u r e , is known as ''wedding", that i s , uniting the vine with the branches of the supporting tree. With a l l the above 1. Varro, K. K. I, v i i i , 2-6. 2. Ibid, I, v i i i , 3, ad f i n . - 56 -advice i n mind, one i s compelled to admit that Varro, i n c r i t i c i z i n g the expense involved i n maintaining a vineyard, had some "basis at least for his comment. The o l i v e , by comparison with the vine, required very l i t t l e care. It i s Vergil's 1 opinion that " s o i l which i s hard to work and h i l l s that grudge to ysld , and t h i n clay, and gravel i n shrubby f i e l d s , a l l these rejoice Athene's wood of the long-lived o l i v e " . 2 Olives, he continues , require no culture, • nor do they desire the crooked pruning hook nor the clinging harrows, when once they have taken root i n the f i e l d s and attained the a i r . 3 Cato. however, suggests that i t i s advisable to cultivate around the roots of the olive-trees each month u n t i l they are three years old, but after that time an occasional l i g h t ploughing i s s u f f i c i e n t . 'from the foregoing survey i t i s clear that the Koman farmer thoroughly understood the care of these, his.major crops* Consequently, i t i s 1. 2. 3. V e r g i l , Georg. I I , 179-182. Ibid, I I , 420-422. Cato, Agr. XLIII, ad f i n . ; ALIV, ad f i n . \ * j - 57 -not surprising to f i n d that the same faculty of careful observation gave him a clear understanding of the various ways i n which plants are propagated. 1 In discussing this subject , V e r g i l divides propagation into two main classes; f i r s t , that effected by natural methods, and secondly that effected by a r t i f i c i a l or "man-made" methods. under the heading of natural growth V e r g i l includes the plants which appear to r i s e spontaneously from the ground such as the broom, poplar and willow; secondly those which deposit their own seed on the ground and f i n a l l y those which, l i k e the cherry, plum, and apple, send up from the ground, 2 "an ample forest of suckers" . Under a r t i f i c i a l methods, V e r g i l mentions the transplanting of suckers from the parent tree, the direct planting of cuttings or "slips'*, the use of grafts, and the process of "layering", whereby a branch or shoot i s placed i n the s o i l while s t i l l connected with the parent bush; i f c a r e f u l l y watered and cultivated a shoot so placed w i l l eventually s trike new roots of i t s own. Keturning 1. V e r g i l ? Georg. I I , 9-60. 2 « Ibid, II, 17 t "ab radice • .. densissima s i l v a " . . j - 58 -1 to the subject of grafting , V e r g i l is probably more poetical than p r a c t i c a l when he speaks of i t s p o s s i b i l i t i e s , -the beech has whitened with the blossom of the chestnut, the mountain-ash with the snowy bloom of the pear, and swine have broken the acorn beneath the elm. 2 Varro, however, adds the caution that cultivated f r u i t s should be grafted only on cultivated trees i f the farmer wishes to retain the quality of the f r u i t unimpaired. Varro's remarks on the subject of plant-propagation follow the same general trend as 3 those of V e r g i l ; l i k e V e r g i l , he recognizes two general divisions of plant-growth, namely, natural and a r t i f i c i a l . Under the heading of natural methods he includes a l l plant forms which ri s e from seed; a r t i f i c i a l methods he subdivides into three sub-sections, namely the use of suckers, of cuttings and . 4 of grafts. In general, he says , slow-growing v a r i e t i e s . 1. V e r g i l , u-eorg. I I , 65-72. 2. Varro, R.R. I, x l , 5, ad f i n . , >•• 3. Ibid. I, x l , 1-5. 4. Ibid, I, x l i , 4, 5. of which the olive was the classic, example, or those which* l i k e the f i g , produce a very small seed, can "be grown more readily from cuttings than from seed. Early i n the spring, before there i s any sign of a "bud, cuttings should be removed from the strongest and healthiest branches and placed at once i n the nursery i n s o i l as similar as possible to that to which they w i l l f i n a l l y be transplanted* The importance of having the s o i l of the nursery resemble that of the f i e l d where the f i n a l planting w i l l be made i s emphasized also by Vergil and Cato. Ve r g i l 1 remarks: Those men whom no vigilance escapes seek out i n advance a place where f i r s t the crop may be prepared for the supporting trees, l i k e i n character to that wherein i t i s to be planted when carried out, l e s t the young plants should f a i l to recognize a mother suddenly changed. Less p o e t i c a l l y , but quite as emphatically, Cato 2 • • offers s i m i l a r advice. lake a nursery i n the following manner. Select the best, the most open and the most heavily manured land you have, where the 1. V e r g i l , Georg. I I , 265-272. 2. Cato, Agr. XLVI. - 60 -s o i l i s as similar as possible to that where you intend to transplant, and so situated that the young plants w i l l not have to be carried too far from the nursery ' to the f i e l d . 1 As a further d e t a i l regarding the nursery, Cato advises that the s l i p s be planted eighteen inches apart i n each d i r e c t i o n and that they be permitted to project about an inch above the ground; also, growth w i l l be more rapid i f the hoe i s kept busy. . 2 Although Varro discusses the subject of grafting, his remarks are inclined to be sketchy, and i t is to Cato that we must turn for a detailed treatment of this science. Graft olives, f i g s , pears, and apples, he advises, according to the following method. Cut the end of the branch where you intend to make the graft a. l i t t l e on the angle so that the water w i l l run off; while you are making the cut, take care that you do not bruise the bark, then take a hard stick, sharpen i t , and also s p l i t a fireek willow. Mix chalk or clay, some sand, and c a t t l e manure and make the mixture as sticky as possible. Take the s p l i t willow and bind i t around the cut branch, so that the bark w i l l not s p l i t * When you have done t h i s , 1. Cato, Agr. XLYI, ad f i n . 2. Varro, R.R. I, x l , 6 and I, x l i , 1-5. 3. Cato, Agr* XL, 2. - 61 -drive the sharpened sti c k between the bark and the sap-wood to a depth of two fingers. Then take a scion of whatever variety you wish to grafts sharpen i t s l i g h t l y on the • angle f o r a distance of two fingers; take out the dry s t i c k which you drove i n previously, and i n i t s place insert the scion which you wish to graft. Drive i t i n to the edge of the sloped cut, u n t i l bark f i t s to bark. By the same method you may make a second, t h i r d , or even fourth graft F i n a l l y , wrap ca r e f u l l y with straw and bind i t c a r e f u l l y to prevent injury by-f r o s t . This method, i t may be noted, i s s t i l l extensively used by h o r t i c u l t u r i s t s , who refer to the process as 1 "Crown"' or "Rind" grafting. Cato speaks also of grafting by the process now known as "budding", whereby a section of bark is removed from a branch and a section of bark containing a bud from another tree i s f i t t e d accurately i n i t s place. Either of these methods may be carried out at three seasons of the year, namely, i n the early spring, for f i f t y days, at the summer s o l s t i c e , and during the vintage. For olive and f i g - g r a f t i n g , however, Cato recommends the early spring. 1. Cato, Agr. XLII. — 62 — For g r afting T i n e s , Cato outlines 1 three methods. In the f i r s t method, a strong branch i s cut off at right angles and across the face of the cut a wedge-shaped i n c i s i o n i s made to the f u l l extent of the diameter; i n this i n c i s i o n a scion sharpened to f i t exactly i s placed and bound firml y i n position. Presumably he intends this method, known i n modern horticulture as " c l e f t - g r a f t i n g " , to be used when both stock and scion are of approximately the same size . A second method which may be employed when the Tines are growing close together, Cato describes as 2 follows: Cut the end of a young shoot of each of two Tines on the angle, binding the shoots p i t h to p i t h . This method is known i n modern horticulture as "side-grafting" or more generally as "inarching". The most frequent present-day use of inarching i s to improve the symmetry of ornamental trees or shrubs, for by bending back a superfluous branch u n t i l i t touches the trunk, a union w i l l ultimately be established at 1. Cato, Agr. XLI, 2. 2 . Ibid, XLI, 2, ad f i n . the point of contact; when the fibres are firmly "knitted", the branch i s cut off below the union, A 1 thi r d method described by Cato consists i n boring a hole completely through a low-growing branch, and placing i n the i n c i s i o n two scions cut obliquely and f i t t e d together. The branch i s then bent down to the earth and covered with s o i l at the point where the graft has been made. To this process there seems to be no direct modern counterpart; Cato himself makes no comment as to the effic a c y of this method of grafting, but i t could hardly have been very success-f u l as the cambium layer of the scions did not come into direct contact with that of the stock. In addition to the above methods of grafting, Cato describes two other means of a r t i f i c i a l propagation, both of which are direc ted to causing a branch or sucker to strike roots of i t s own while s t i l l united to the parent stem. The f i r s t 2 method he describes as follows: Press down into the ground the suckers 1. uato, Agr• XII, 3. 2. Ibid. LI; of. al s o A * X I I I , 1, 2. which arise from the earth at the foot of the tree, r a i s i n g the t i p of the shoot from the ground so that i t (the shoot) w i l l take root. Aft e r two years dig i t up and trans-* plant. 1 Or, he suggests , f o r more careful layering, the scion may he passed through a basket f i l l e d with s o i l i n which, roots w i l l eventually form; -when the shoot i s transplanted, the basket should be l e f t i n position. This method is s t i l l used by modern experts, but with two improvements. At the point where the new roots should develop, the stem i s either "tongued" ( i . e . cut longitudinally to arrest the flow of returning sap) or the bark i s "ringed*' to accomplish the same purpose. Also, i t i s now customary to fasten the shoot underground with a wooden staple to prevent i t from 2 being accidentally dislodged. Cato also describes a method of layering a branch higher up on the tree, by•surrounding the branch with a basket of s o i l and leaving i t i n this position u n t i l roots have been struck, a process requiring two years. This method, called i n modern practice "circumposition", is s t i l l 1. Cato, Agr. LII, cf. also&tfXIII, 3. 2* Ibid, CXXXIIi, 3. - 65 -widely used, but again the branch is "tongued" or "ringed" as i n the case of ground-layering. As a natural sequel to the grafting and layering of young plants, (Jato gives b r i e f but 1 clear-cut instructions with regard to transplanting. A l l young plants,when of an age to be placed i n f i e l d or vineyard, should be dug up caref u l l y with as much s o i l around the roots as possible, to prevent tearing or otherwise damaging the delicate root-hairs. Trans-planting should never be attempted i n windy or s tormy weather. When placed i n trenches previously prepared to receive them, the plants should be covered with fine top s o i l packed down t i g h t l y to prevent escape of moisture and to give the young roots a chance to make growth immediately i n the i r new surroundings. To these s p e c i f i c instructions modern h o r t i c u l t u r a l science has l i t t l e to add. Although Varro offers but l i t t l e information with regard to grafting and layering, his advice on the subject of field-crops i s accurate, 1. Cato, Agr. XXVIII. detailed, and worthy of the most careful consideration. I'urning his attention f i r s t to the amount of seed 1 required per unit of area, he advises that beans 2 be planted four modii to the iugerum, wheat f i v e , barley six, spelt ten and a l f a l f a one. Reducing these amounts to modern terms we fin d that his estimate i s three bushels per acre f o r beans, three and three™ quarters f o r wheat, three and one-half for barley, seven and one-half for spelt and one and one-half for 3 a l f a l f a * These amounts, with the exception of that recommended for a l f a l f a , correspond very closely to those 8own on a modern farm. The y i e l d per acre on a Roman farm, however, must have been somewhat less than that considered an average crop on the present-day farm, as improved methods of seed-selection and cu l t i v a t i o n have materially increased yie l d s , even 1. Varro, R.R. I, x l i v , 1, and I, x l i i . 2. A modius i s equivalent to 1 peck, dry measure. 3. Examples of an average modern sowing are as follows: wheat ( f a l l ) 2 bushels per acre; wheat (spring) 2^-3 bushels; barley .3 bushels; a l f a l f a 15 lbs. i f sown broadcast, 9 lbs. i f d r i l l e d i n rows. Varo's suggestion of 1-% bushels-per acre (90 lbs.): for a l f a l f a i s quite impossible of explanation, unless the germination.ratio was exceedingly low. within the l a s t f i f t y years, Varro, however, makes 1 the s t i p u l a t i o n that the amount of seed may be varied to dome extent; on poor land a l i g h t e r sowing i s preferable, while on r i c h land or land that has l a i n fallo?/ during the previous year a heavier sowing w i l l not be detrimental. About rotation of crops Varro offers no information, but Ve r g i l supplies a 2 l i t t l e of a very general nature. You w i l l also allow your lands to rest after being cut., and the f i e l d to harden by i n a c t i v i t y . Or, i n different seasons, you w i l l sow the golden wheat whence you have reaped the joyous pulse with r a t t l i n g pods or the slender offspring of the vetch and the f r a g i l e stalks of the b i t t e r lupine with i t s r u s t l i n g growth. Crops of f l a x burn the land, and likewise oats, and so, too, poppies, laden with Lethaean sleep. But the t o i l (of the ground) i s made easy by changing the crops, provided i t shame you not. to load the ground with r i c h manure and to scatter ashes upon the wearied lands, Thus, too, the land w i l l rest by a change of crops, nor w i l l there be meanwhile the barrenness of u n t i l l e d ground. This passage i s illuminating inasmuch as i t shows, not only a conception of the necessity for f e r t i l i z a t i o n , but also some conception of the fact that continuously 1. Varro, K.K. I, x l i v , 1. 2. Vergil," Oeorg. I, 71-83. . , - 68 -growing the same crop on a piece of land i s injurious to the welfare of the s o i l . As a f i t t i n g conclusion to his remarks on crop c u l t i v a t i o n Varro describes i n d e t a i l the accepted Roman methods of harvesting the crops and the storage thereof. Cato' s advice, while more technical and imperfectly organized, nevertheless furnishes additional information, p a r t i c u l a r l y with regard to harvesting when done by contract. Varro speaks f i r s t of hay crops, secondly of grain, t h i r d l y of the vineyard and f i n a l l y of f r u i t s , with particular reference to the o l i v e . With regard to hay crops, Varro*s 1 advice may seem b r i e f and inadequate, but i t must be remembered that this crop presents i n f i n i t e l y less trouble to the farmer than do the other crops which he describes. The grass should be cut, he advises , Z when i t ceases to grow and commences to ripen wi th 1. 2. the heat. When thoroughly dried, i t should he made into bundles and hauled homeward to barn or stack, 1 preferably the former. Cato emphasizes the fact that hay should be cut before the seed ripens, an injunction which suggests that under-ripe hay i s preferable to that which is over-ripe. The best hay, 2 he continues , should be stored separately and.fed to the oxen during the spring when they are being worked hardest and consequently need the best fodder 3 available. If the hay crop i s poor, Cato advises that poplar, elm, and oak leaves w i l l serve as forage for sheep and c a t t l e . For harvesting grain-crops, 4 Varro suggests three methods of cutting, i n which the only v a r i a t i o n i s the length of straw l e f t on the f i e l d . The s tubble, apparently, was either cut la t e r to make bedding for the c a t t l e , or was used 5 . as pasture. He advises that the best ears be selected 1. Cato, Agr. LIII. 2. Ibid. LIII. 3» Ibid., LIY, 4; cf. also, XXX ad i n i t . 4. Varro, K.K. I, 1,1., 3. 5, Ibid, I, l i i ad i n i t . * , - 70 -r and threshed separately from the main crop. V e r g i l , 1 i n a p a r a l l e l passage , emphasizes the need f o r particular care i n the treatment and selection of seed, since a l l seed has a natural tendency to deteriorate i n course of time. Threshing, to which Varro devotes 2 considerable attention , was carried out by a method 3 which to us seems crude and i n e f f i c i e n t . F i r s t a threshing f l o o r was constructed of earth, packed hard and treated with o i l dregs to prevent saturation by r a i n and injury to the surface by mice or other vermin. Upon th i s f l o o r the ears of grain were placed and trampled by oxen to separate the grain from the husks. F i n a l l y the grain, chaff and husks were tossed i n the a i r , preferably when a l i g h t breeze was blowing; the heavy grain f e l l back to the ground while the l i g h t chaff was carried away by the wind. The grain, Varro recommends, should be stored i n a dry granary, elevated above the ground 1. V e r g i l , Georg. I, 194-203. 2. Varro, R.R. I, l i , l i i , l i i i . 3. Ibid, I, l i , 1 ad f i n . cf. Cato, Agr > CXXIX. - 71 -to prevent moisture from seeping into i t from the s o i l ; furthermore, to protect the grain from mice, the walls-of the granary should be coated with a plaster made of chaff and amurca. This l a t t e r precaution i s also 1 advised by Cato. With regard to harvesting the 2 grapes, Varro makes the obvious suggestion that early-maturing v a r i e t i e s should be gathered f i r s t . During the picking, the farmer should divide the produce, c a r e f u l l y selecting the best f r u i t for the table. After the grapes have been ''trodden", the stalks, pulp, and skins should be placed in the wine press and further juice extracted, which w i l l not be i n f e r i o r to that yielded by the former process. Pressing may be repeated several times after the skins have been cut into small pieces, but the juice should be kept separate as i t w i l l taste of the knife. 3 According to a suggestion made by the frugal Cato , this i n f e r i o r wine, as well as that made from i n f e r i o r grapes should be stored away and issued to the farm-1. Cato, Agr. XCII. 2. Varro, K.K. I, l i v . 3. Cato, Agr. XXV, XXIII, 2; cf. also LIV ad i n i t . , and LVII ad i n i t . cf. also Varro, R.R. I, l i v , 3. labourers during the winter months. F i n a l l y , the wine should be placed i n jars and allowed to stand while the dregs s e t t l e ; after each s e t t l i n g the wine should be poured o f f , and when no further dregs appear, should be sealed and stored away u n t i l sold. If the wine has a bad odour, Cato declares i t can 1 be improved by the following means: Thoroughly heat a thick, clean piece of r o o f i n g - t i l e , coat i t with p i t c h , and lower i t gently to the bottom of the wine j a r . Leave the jar sealed for two days, then remove the t i l e . If the bad odour has disappeared, well and good; i f not, repeat the treatment, 2 In his instructions regarding the olive harvest* Varro emphasizes the fact that the f r u i t should be picked by .hand rather than shaken from the trees or beaten off with s t i c k s , as a bruised olive dries out rapidly and consequently yields less o i l . The f r u i t should be conveyed immediately to the pressing-room and placed i n p i l e s to mellow,,; caution must be observed, however, for i f l e f t too long i n the p i l e s , the olives w i l l s p o i l with the 1. Cato, Agr. CX. 2. Varro, R.R. I , I T . 1 heat and turn rancid. This point Cato also emphasizes , and suggests that i t i s advantageous to have two , •complete pressing equipments so that the o i l may he extracted at exactly the right moment. After the pressing i s completed, the best o i l should be ca r e f u l l y skimmed off the vessels i n which i t has been placed, and stored i n a cool place u n t i l marketed. The watery residue, known as "amurca", which remains after the skimming process should be stored and used for a wide variety of purposes which w i l l be considered i n d e t a i l l a t e r . Lest anyone should think that the farmer's labours were over at the conclusion of the vintage and the harvest, both Cato and Varro i n s i s t that work must continue throughout the winter. 2 Although Cato conveys this impression by suggestions scattered at random throughout the De Agri Cultura , Varro, more systematically, divides the year into 1. Cato, Agr. I l l , 5. 2. Ibid, I I , 3; XVII, ad init.; JOCIII ad i n i t . ; XXXVII, 3; XXXIX. * i - 74 -1 eight periods , outlining the various tasks to he performed during each period. To the modern farmer, who prides himself upon his systematic organization of the year' s work, there i s no more interesting-passage i n the whole realm of Koman ag r i c u l t u r a l l i t e r a t u r e than that i n which Varro outlines his suggestions f o r the successful completion of the manifold labours of the farm. In the f i r s t of his eight periods, extending for f o r t y - f i v e days from the r i s i n g of the West wind to the spring equinox (February 4 to March 2 1 ) , Yarro advises tha^ young plants set out i n the nurseries, orchards pruned and trimmed, meadows weeded and manured, and the vineyard cultivated. During the second period, from March 22 to May 4, olives should be planted out, and old olive trees pruned; at the same time crops must be weeded, and willows cut and stored away to be used l a t e r i n making stakes and baskets. Between May 4 and June 21, that i s , during the third period, the vines should 1* Yarro, R'.R*.- -"I, x x v i i i , ad f i n ; I, xxix-xxxvi. be continuously cultivated, and the leaves thinned out'where necessary. A l l fodder-crops for the stock should be cut - clover, vetch, mixed forage and f i n a l l y hay. During the fourth period, extending from June 22 to July 18, grain should be harvested and summer-ploughing done, during these days also, provided the ground can be prepared, a l l leguminous plants (vetch, l e n t i l s , peas) should be sown. Cult i v a t i o n of the vines should also continue. Between July 18 and September 23, stacks should be b u i l t i f barn space i s inadequate, the land ploughed i n the former period should be harrowed, a,nd watered meadows cut a second time. Leafage should also be gathered at this time as winter fodder for sheep and c a t t l e . During the sixth period, extending for thirty-one days from September 24 to October 25, crops, should be 1 sown; (presumably Varro refers to f a l l grain, but Cato adds turnips, forage-crops and lupine); grapes must be gathered and the vintage attended to, followed by the pruning of vines and the planting of f r u i t - t r e e s . 1. Cato, Agr. V, 8 ad f i n . At t h i s time, too,although varro makes no mention "thereof, i t would naturally be necessary to harvest the'olive crop. In the seventh period, from October 26 to December 21, the work w i l l consist i n pruning the vineyard and i n general care of the farm - digging and cleaning ditches, repairing fences, and building new ones where required. In the f i n a l period, between December 22 and February 4, draining should be con-tinued and pruning of the vineyard completed. If the sea-son i s dry and f a i r , arable land may well be worked; i f the weather i s bad, various tasks may be carried on indoors. These Varro does not enumerate, but Cato suggests mending clothes, making or repairing harness, cleaning seed, and other routine work in preparation for busy days to come. Considering this formidable outline of work, ore cannot wonder at a remark of 1 Cato's : Make sure you do a l l tasks at the proper time; i t i s a characteristic of farming, that, i f you do one thing l a t e , you w i l l be late in doing everything. 1- Cato, Agr. V, 7, ad f i n . - 77 -Prom a survey of the foregoing, i t is evident that the Koman farmer had an amazingly clear conception of the most important phases of farm , management - namely, the selection of crops as required by s o i l conditions, the care of the crops when planted, the harvesting and storage of the produce, and the effective d i s t r i b u t i o n of the year's work. Some of his methods (and one immediately thinks of his method of threshing), may seem to the modern machine-equipped farmer, p i t i f u l l y inadequate; but we must continually keep In mind the fact that, not alone i n agriculture, but i n every other industry, machinery was p r a c t i c a l l y unknown two thousand years ago. Consequently, we must appraise the Koman farmer i n the l i g h t of his period, and tender him due respect for the method and the system which he developed i n a l l his farm work. CHAPTER YII The Animals of the Roman Earm In reviewing the crops produced on the Roman farm, one cannot help but notice that they were of three dis t i n c t classes: f i r s t , those produced fo r the table of the master and his household, secondly those produced f o r d i r e c t sale, and f i n a l l y those produced for consumption by the animals kept on the farm. While the f i r s t and second groups mentioned above claim greater attention from our Roman authors, s u f f i c i e n t stress i s l a i d on the third group to indicate that stock-raising formed an integral part of Roman agriculture; consequently i t is not surprising to f i n d that Cato, Varro, and Ve r g i l devote considerable attention to the subject of animal husbandry. Cato's remarks, while containing a wealth of pr a c t i c a l information, are fragmentary and scattered; V e r g i l and Varro, however, treat the whole subject systematic-a l l y , and their advice, together with occasional terse injunctions offered by Cato ^ w i l l afford a fairer com-plete picture of animal husbandry as practised by the Roman farmer. 1 At the outset Varro l i s t s eight species of farm animals for consideration - sheep, goats, swine, c a t t l e , asses, horses, mules, and dogs. Each of these species he considers under the following 2 nine headings : age at which to purchase, the characteristics to be looked f o r i n each by the prospec t i r e buyer, the problems of pasturage, feeding, breeding, and health, the breed, the form of purchase, and f i n a l l y the number of each which the farmer should possess. It need hardly be pointed out that these same problems confront the rancher of the present day. In common with other animals, advises 3 Varro , sheep should be purchased when they are f u l l -grown, so that they may produce revenue immediately. They should be of f u l l body, with thick, soft fleece covering the entire body, p a r t i c u l a r l y about the head 1. Varro, R.R. I I , i , 12, ad i n i t . 2. Ibid. I I , i , 13-24. 3. Ibid, I I , i i , 3-20. - 80 -and neck. The legs should he short, the t a i l long i n I t a l i a n breeds, but short i n the Syrian. Hams should be full-bodied, with wide chest and shoulders; the tongue should not be black or spotted, as such rams w i l l beget spotted sheep. Care should be taken that the sheep-pen be placed where the wind w i l l not blow too coldly; above a l l , both pen and pasture must be thoroughly free from dampness, for moisture w i l l not only injure the fleece, but w i l l cause ••foot-rot", a disease whose disastrous results are well known even to sheep-raisers of the present day. Pregnant ewes should be kept away from the main flock for obvious reasons; s i m i l a r l y , sheep that develop any trace of sickness should be segregated at once i n order to prevent a spread of the contagion. As f a r as possible, sheep should be grazed during the early morning and late afternoon, but i f pasture i s short and the flock must be pastured during the heat of the day, the sheep should be headed away from the sun to prevent the dangers of sun-stroke. The best time to breed ewes is at the end of May; the lambs w i l l then be born i n the early f a l l when new grass i s springing up as a r e s u l t of f a l l r a i n s . For the f i r s t three week's, the lambs should be permitted to suck two or three times daily, but thereafter they should be 1 gradually weaned , and fed gradually increasing amounts of vetch and tender grass. The t o t a l number i n the flock w i l l depend upon the pas ture available, but one shepherd should not be responsible for more than twc> hundred sheep. From the standpoint of health, i t i s better, suggests Varro, to have smaller flocks, as the shepherd can watch them more closely, and disease. can be more eas i l y checked. Unfortunately, Varro dismisses the health of sheep wi th the comment that the shepherd should have written rules f o r treatment 2 always with him. V e r g i l , however, supplies the i n f o r -mation that cuts and wounds should be treated immediately, p a r t i c u l a r l y those which occur after shearing, when the sheep's body is not protected by i t s fleece. He also 1. 2. * j — 82 — 1 suggests, that, i n case of fever, l i s t l e s s n e s s , or loss of appetite, the best treatment consists i n opening a vein under the foot and drawing off the fever by loss of blood. As a preventive against scab, 2 Cato advises the following treatment, Take cleaned amurca and water i n which lupines have been boiled and dregs of good wine; mix them a l l together thoroughly. After shearing the sheep, smear the whole body and l e t the animal sweat f o r two or three days. Then wash (the sheep) i n s a l t water; i f you do a l l t h i s , they w i l l not have the scab, the wool w i l l be of better quality, and ticks w i l l not bother them. The prospective goat-keeper should, i f at a l l possible, purchase his entire herd from one 3 farm . He should also pay s t r i c t attention to the appearance of those offered him, choosing only those animals which are s trong, of good size, with thick smooth hair, and most important of a l l , displaying a large udder. Like sheep, goats require pens sheltered from, the wind, dry, and well floored. In contradistinction to sheep, however, goats may be 1. V e r g i l , Georg. I l l , 457-463. 2. Cato, Agr. XCVI. 3. Varro, K.H. I I , i i i . . , - 83 -pastured on rough h i l l s i d e s or on meadows clothed with shrubs and bushes. The female should be bred in the late f a l l , so that the kids may be born i n the early spring when forage i s p l e n t i f u l . For the f i r s t three months of their l i f e , the young should he fed f i r s t on their mother's milk, but gradually weaned and encouraged to nibble vetch and gras s. As goats scatter f a r and wide while feeding, a herd should not contain more than f i f t y head. For breeding purposes, one buck to f i f t e e n does appear^ to have been the accep-ted r a t i o . With regard to the health of goats, Varro makes the cryptic comment that he can say nothing about the health of animals which are never healthy. Since he does not amplify this remarkable statement, and since neither Cato nor Ve r g i l offers any enlighten-ment, i t i s impossible to derive much meaning from Vairo' s complaint. 1 In speaking of swine, Varro suggests that t h e i r care i s a subject well understood by the Roman farmer. As guides to purchase, he states that 1. Varro, R.R. I I , i v . the best swine are of s o l i d colour, and heavily b u i l t i n a l l d e t a i l s except head and feet; also the herd from' which purchase i s made should be one i n which the sows are famous for their productivity. The pastures should be damp, or better s t i l l , should contain a stream or pond i n which the swine may wallow to their hearts' content. Sows may be bred twice annually, early i n the spring and again i n the f a l l , as the period of gestation for these animals i s only four months. I f , however, a sow produces a poor l i t t e r , when f i r s t bred, i t i s advisable to dispose of her at once, as the f i r s t l i t t e r i s a sure indication of those to come. While she is feeding her young, the sow should be well fed i n order to maintain her own health as well as to provide a p l e n t i f u l supply of milk f o r her offspring; consequently, unless pasturage is very p l e n t i f u l , Varro suggests that frpm two to four pounds of barley should be fed to the sow daily* For breeding purposes, the ratio should be one boar to ten sows. 1 Turning his attention to cattle , Varro 1. Varro, K.K. II , v, 2-18. • - 85 -gives a very detailed description of the best type to purchase; i t i s well, however, to keep i n mind that Varro considered cattle primarily as draught animals, and not as milk-producers. Cattle, he advises, should be well-formed, with sturdy limbs, blackish horns, wide foreheads, large black eyes, a long, thick neck, body well-ribbed, broad shoulders and flanks, a heavy t a i l hanging down to the hocks, and a skin soft and smooth to the touch. The best pasture i s that which contains not only grass, but also shrubs and bushes upon which the animals may browse. Cattle, should be bred about the middle of May, so that when the c a l f i s born a p l e n t i f u l supply of pasture i s available. When the cow i s due to freshen, she should be c a r e f u l l y handled and fed with the best fodder available; poor food, or scanty feeding at this i)eriod, w i l l affect adversely both the cow and the unborn c a l f . Weaning, as i n the case of other animals, should he effected gradually; as the supply of mother's milk i s decreased, the c a l f should, be fed increasing quantities of grass and barley meal. Regarding the - 86 -health of c a t t l e , Varro merely suggests that the herds-man should he f a m i l i a r with the diseases to which these animals.are subject, and should have with him written rules f o r treatment. Cato, however, l i s t s a number of remedies, which, while interesting, may be considered of questionable medicinal value. 1 i f an ox becomes sick, he advises , give him a raw hen's egg, swallowed whole. Next day, crush a head of leek i n wine and make him drink i t ; administer i t from a wooden vessel. Both the ox and the man who administers the remedy should be s tanding, and both must be f a s t i n g . Another prescription, to be used as a preventive against 2 sickness i n cattle is even more remarkable. If you are a f r a i d of sickness, give the oxen the following remedy while they are s t i l l i n good health: three grains of s a l t , three l a u r e l leaves, three leek leaves, three sprigs of g a r l i c , three grains of incense, three plants of Sabine grass, three leaves of rue, three sprigs of white vine, three white beans, three l i v e coals, three pints of wine. You must gather, mix and administer a l l these out i n the open, and he who administers the remedy must be fasting. Give each ox a dose f o r three days, and apportion i t i n such away that, when you have administered three doses to each, a l l has been used. 1. Cato, Agr. LXXI. 2. Ibid, LXX. ... - 87 -The precise effect of this concoction Cato f a i l s to discuss; he does, however, make the very sound 1 suggestion that the water given to the cattle should he clean and pure. Continuing with the subject of draught-2 animals , Varro enjoins that asses should be sturdy, sound i n wind and limb, and full-bodied. Their food, i n addition to pasture, should consist of barley and spelt. The females, during the l a t t e r part of their pregnancy, should be relieved of a l l hard work; i f this advice i s followed the offspring w i l l benefit as w e l l as the mother. The young should be permitted to remain with the dam f o r twelve months, and only broken to harness when they are two years old. With regard to health, Varro makes no comment; thus we may assume that the ass of Roman agriculture was as hardy as his modern progeny. Roman horses, l i k e those of the 3 present day were of two types ,- those used f o r r i d i n g 1. Cato s Agr.LXXIII, ad f i n . 2. Varro, R.R.., I I , v i . 3. Ibid, - I I , v i i , 15. » , - 88 -and those intended as draught animals. As may readily he understood, the two types differed considerably; draught-horses, by comparison with r i d i n g horses, were s lower, heavier, and less high-spirited. Confinir. 1 his attention to the former class, Varro advises attention to the following details : a head of moderate siz e , well-formed limbs, wide n o s t r i l s , broad, f u l l chest, broad shoulders, straight legs, a backbone not prominent, and hard hoofs, Mares should be bred to produce the f o a l i n the spring; as the period of gestation for mares is s l i g h t l y over eleven months, breeding should thus take place between the spring 2 equinox and the summer s o l s t i c e . The mares should be permitted to suckle th e i r foals f o r two years; at the end of th i s time the weaning process should be complete. With reference to the "'breaking1* of horses, Varro states that this should be done gradually, but only aft e r the colts have reached the age of three 1. Varro, K.R. , I I , v i i , 2- 14. 2. According to present-day breeders, the period of gestation for mares varies from 10 to 12 months, 11 months being a generally-recognized average. - 89 -years. Their health should he car e f u l l y guarded by the groom, to whom both i l l n e s s e s and treatment must be f a m i l i a r . From the fact that Varro, i n his discourse about points to be observed i n purchasing 1 a horse, mentions "veins well-defined a l l over the body", adding that such a. horse i s amenable to treatment when i l l , we may assume that blood-letting was the accepted panacea for a l l illnesses of these animal s. On the subject of horses, Cato i s s i l e n t ; from his silence we may infer that the horse was not used f o r farm work at his period, but became f a i r l y common by the time of Varro*s w r i t i n g . Owing to the fact that mules are the offspring of a horse and an ass, and do not reproduce 2 their own kind, Varro*a discussion of these animals i s necessarily b r i e f . I f possible, a mule when foaled should be fed on mare's milk, which was considered to be more nutritious than that of the ass. Of feed they require less than horses, but of the same type; 1. Varro, R.R., I I , v i i , 5 ad f i n . "toto corpore ut habeat venas, quae animadverti possint, quod qui huius modi s i t , cum est aeger, ad medendum appositus." 2. Varro, R.R. I I , v i i i , 2-6. * i - 90 -this f a c t j i t might be pointed out, i s the one advantage possessed by the mule. The characteristics to be desired by the buyer are essentially the same as those to be sought f o r i n the purchase of horses. Upon the subject of dogs, Varro lavishes an amount of care which at f i r s t glance seems t o t a l l y disproportionate. When one remembers, however, that dogs were extensively used, not only as assistants to the herdsmen but also as the guardians of the farm, one must admit that their selection and care would be a matter of considerable 1 moment to the Roman farmer. According to Varro , the followi ng were the characteristics to be closely observed: good size, stubby jaws with fangs projecting l e f t and right, large head, heavy shoulders and neck, wide paws, spongy rather than hard under-neath. So dogs should be purchased from huntsmen or butchers, as th e i r former t r a i n i n g w i l l lead them to turn a l l too readily upon the flocks they are intended to guard. Their food should consist of bones 1. Varro, K.R. I I , i x . and scraps of cooked meat; raw meat w i l l make them savage. During the three month period of pregnancy, the' females should he given barley bread i n addition to their other food. From the l i t t e r , only the best pups should be chosen for rearing and the rest d i s -posed of; as a resu l t of this c u l l i n g , those which are l e f t w i l l be better fed by the mother and w i l l develop more ra p i d l y . Both mother and young must be protected from damp and cold. Training i n impli c i t obedience should be begun i n e a r l i e s t infancy, as also should training i n f i g h t i n g , in order that they may become accustomed to their work of guarding the flock. When the dogs are full-grown and trained to their tasks, Varro suggests that a stout leather c o l l a r with n a i l s projecting on the outer side should be placed about th e i r necks to guard this v i t a l spot from injury by wild animals. The number of dogs required by the farmer w i l l vary with the number and size of his flocks and herds. Cato makes no 1 mention of shepherd-dogs, but does suggest that 1. Cato, Agr. CXXIV. watch-dogs he chained during the day and only permitted to go free at night. To the modern farmer, Yarro 1s advice regarding the selection and care of farm animals con-tains many suggestions of p r a c t i c a l value. One cannot help f e e l i n g , however, that Yarro• s work would have been considerably more valuable i f he had devoted more attention to the diseases of animals and their treatment, since his survey i s so thorough i n a l l other respects. For this deficiency there may be a good reason; i t i s universally recognized that the more natural the c ondi tions under which animals l i v e , the healthier they w i l l be. Thus i t seems reasonable to assume that disease of flock and herd did not present such a serious problem to the Roman farmer as i t does to the present-day a g r i c u l t u r a l i s t . In view of this f a c t , one cannot censure too s t r i c t l y Varro's lack of advice on this point; rather should 1 we blame the modern policy of excessive inbreeding 1. This comment applies p a r t i c u l a r l y to c a t t l e , which are "forced" i n order to produce record-breaking quantities of milk and butter-fat. ' i - 93 -and overfeeding, which i s the root of so many-diseases among farm animals at the present day. CHAPTER VIII Birds , Sees and Smaller Animals If a modern farmer were to read Varro's De Re Rus t i c a , his interes t would he con-tinuously maintained by the f i r s t two books wherein Varro discusses, f i r s t , the farm and i t s cu l t i v a t i o n , and secondly, animal husbandry. In the t h i r d book, how"ever, his interest might be less marked; here Varro describes the care of poultry, sundry small animals, bees, and f i n a l l y f i s h - a l l of which are branches of husbandry that have either been discarded entir e l y from modern agriculture or relegated to the domain of s p e c i a l i s t s * Poultry r a i s i n g and beekeeping are s t i l l important branches of the industry, but the average farmer either considers himself a s p e c i a l i s t i f he engages i n either of these pursuits, or else regards them as rather amusing sidelines to the main business of stock and crops. On the Roman farm, however, not only poultry and bees, but also numerous . , - 95 -smaller birds and animals were profitable and important subjects of attention by the Roman farmer. In these spheres of farm a c t i v i t y Cato makes but l i t t l e contribution; V e r g i l , however, devotes his entire •Fourth Georgic to the subject of beekeeping, and the sheer poetic beauty of his treatment makes his work as interesting from the point of view of poetic excellence as i t i s from that of sounds p r a c t i c a l ad vie e. In order to obtain a degree of coherence among the widely d i v e r s i f i e d topics of his subject, Varro creates a threefold d i v i s i o n as a basis f o r his discussion- F i r s t he considers poultry - not merely ducks, geese, and chickens, but also f i e l d -fares , pigeons, and peafowl. The second topic he subdivides under three headings; f i r s t stags, hares and other animals kept i n huge preserves or "warrens" for the delight of the huntsman, secondly dormice and s n a i l s , and t h i r d l y the vastly important topic of bees; f i n a l l y he comments b r i e f l y , upon the subject of f i s h - not those existing i n the wild state i n brook or stream, but rather those maintained i n private ponds i n a semi-domesticated condition. So cursory i s Varro's treatment of the game preserve and the 1 fishpond, so caustic are many of his remarks that one f e e l s an implication that these were not properly branches of agriculture, but rather the pastime of the i d l e r i c h . In speaking of the various types of 2 poultry on the farm, 'Varro turns his attention f i r s t to f i e l d f a r e s . The aviary, or bird-house, in which they are raised should be a large domed building, f i t t e d wi th only as many windov/s as are necessary to admit l i g h t , s ince the imprisoned birds w i l l mope and pine i f permitted to see their more fortunate brethren outside. The building should be plastered inside to prevent the entrance of mice and vermin and well equipped with perches; both f l o o r and perches should be kept scrupulously clean. A few days before marketing, the birds should be removed to a smaller pen and fed increased quantities of grain and f i g s . Ortolans and 1. Varro, K.R.t I I I , i i i , 10 and III, x v i i , 8, 9. 2. Ibid, I I I , v. quail, which may also be raised i n the aviary, require 1 precisely the same treatment. Peafowl, on the other hand, should not be penned, but permitted to roam the f i e l d s for t h e i r food; before marketing, the diet 2 should be enriched with barley or other grain. Pigeons should be encouraged to make their homes i n individual nests i n a building s i m i l a r to the aviary; again scrupulous cleanliness i s to be desired, not merely for the sake of health, but also because the manure 3 of these birds i s a most valuable f e r t i l i z e r . To 4 fatten young pigeons, Cato advises a diet of boiled or roasted beans, followed by a mixture of crushed beans and spelt u n t i l the birds are fattened. 5 The best hens, says Varro , are dis-tinguished by t h e i r reddish colour, black wing-tips, toes of uneven length, upright comb and f u l l body; to these points, therefore, he enjoins careful attention before purchase i s made. The hen-house should be 1. Varro, K.H. I l l , v i . 2. Ibid, I I I , v i i . 3. Ibid, I, x x x v i i i , 1. 4. Cato, Agr. XC. 5. Varro ,~K.K. , I I I , i x . - h - 98 -equipped wi th perches and should have an enclosed yard i n front, i n which the hens may exercise and dust themselves. As these birds are p a r t i c u l a r l y subject to l i c e , a l l equipment should, be cleaned frequently. For s etting purposes, Varro advises the use of older hens, as these are less l i k e l y to desert the nest; while the hen i s s i t t i n g , the eggs should be turned every seven days during the three week incubation period so that they w i l l be warmed evenly. For a s i t t i n g , Varro recommends the s t a r t l i n g figure of twenty-five eggs per hen, which seems an impossible number when compared with the modern practice of setting twelve, or at the most, fifteen. A possible explanation i s that eggs were smaller i n Varro's time than they are today. During the f i r s t f i f t e e n days of their existence, Varro continues, the baby chicks should be fed a mixture of barley meal and cress seed spread on soft sand, as a hard f l o o r w i l l injure their tender beaks. To keep snakes away, stag-horn should be burned near the coops, as no snake can endure i t s pungent smell. For fattening, a mixture of barley meal and f l a x seed soaked i n water, or wheat bread soaked I n wine w i l l constitute an effective diet, 1 Ducks and geese d i f f e r from the above-mentioned species of poultry i n that they require access to a running stream -or a pond. In making his purchase of geese, the buyer should select only those which are fu l l - b o d i e d and pure white i n colour. The eggs, of which nine to eleven constitute a s i t t i n g require from twenty-five to t h i r t y days to hatch. For the f i r s t few days after hatching, the goslings should be fed barley-meal and cress seed soaked i n water; the best fattening mixture, according to Varro, consists of barley meal and wheat fl o u r 2 soaked in water. Cato advises the same ration, but adds that i t should, i f necessary be forced down their throats i n the interests of more rapid growth. Ducks require but l i t t l e care. Provided a marshy pasture i s accessible, along with a mixed diet of wheat barley, and grape-skins, these•birds w i l l take care of themselves. 1. Varro, R.R., I I I , 2. Cato, Agr. LXXXIX. ; . - 100 -1 The game preserve , provided one existed on the farm, should he stocked with rabbits, boars, and* roes. To t h e i r maintenance Varro devotes precisely one sentence -of a l l these the care, increase, and feeding i s thoroughly evident. Presumably he means that, provided the animals are fed and allowed to breed i n a manner and habitat as nearly natural as possible, further care i s not essential. Snails should be enclosed i n a place entirely surrounded by water, and' allowed to forage for themselves; i f the owner desires to fatten them, 3 he may place them i n a jar containing must and spelt. Dormice again require but l i t t l e care; provided they have a dry place i n which to l i v e , and a supply of nuts f o r f ood, they can be trusted to take care of themselves. To the subject of bees and their care, both V e r g i l and Varro devote the most minute attention. 4 Both writers pay tribute to the remarkable intelligence 1. Varro, K.R., I I I , x i i , x i i i . 2. Ibid, I I I , xiv. 3. Ibid, I I I , xv. 4« Ibid, I I I , x v i , 5; V e r g i l , Georg. IV, 153-170. - 101 -of the bee and to the community of labour i n the hive, but both make the mistakes of assuming, f i r s t , that bees are o r i g i n a l l y horn spontaneously from the carcass 1 of a dead ox , and secondly that the lea-der of the 2 hive i s a "king" and not a "queen" bee. In defence of our authors, however, i t may be pointed out that this l a t t e r error was discovered only i n the Seven-3 teenth Century. In a l l other respects, their information i s so accurate, and their treatment so thorough that . their works remain standard references f o r the bee-keeper of the twentieth century. According to both authors, the s i t e i n which the hives are located i s a matter of para-4 mount importance. The best s i t u a t i o n i s one near the v i l l a i n a spot protected from winds and storms wi th a shallow pool or stream nearby; criss-crossed with branches or s tones on which the bees may alight to drink wi thout danger of drowning. Furthermore, the 1. Varro, K.R. I l l , x v i , 4. V e r g i l , Georg. IV, 295-314. 2. Both authors c ontinually refer to the "king". 3. The correction of this long-standing misconcep-ti o n i s credited to Ian Swaminerdarn, a Dutch natur a l i s t who l i v e d 1637-1680. 4. Varro, R.R. I l l , x v i , 12, 27. V e r g i l , G-eorg. IV, 9-17, 18-30. - • • - 102 -h i v e s s h o u l d he so p l a c e d t h a t they cannot he over-t u r n e d by the a n i m a l s of the farm, and where wood-p e c k e r s , l i z a r d s , and swallows cannot a t t a c k the bees 1 as t h e y go and come i n t h e i r work. The h i v e s may be round or r e c t a n g u l a r , - made of w i l l o w branches, wood and b a r k , or even a h o l l o w t r e e stump; an ea r t h e n -ware h i v e i s l e s s s a t i s f a c t o r y s i n c e i t i s more q u i c k l y a f f e c t e d by heat and c o l d , extremes of w h i c h are h a r m f u l to the c o l o n y . I n s i d e and out the h i v e 2. s h o u l d be p l a s t e r e d w i t h mud and l e a v e s ; the entrance s h o u l d be narrow, b o t h to p r o t e c t the bees from extremes of temperature and to l e s s e n the danger of a t tack by f o e s . I n o r d e r to ensure a c o n s t a n t and dependable supply of f o o d f o r h i s c o l o n y , the owner should be c a r e f u l t o p l a n t near the h i v e s a p r o f u s i o n 3 of shrubs and f l o w e r s b e l o v e d by the bee - r o s e , thyme, p o p p i e s , c l o v e r , and a l f a l f a . Of a l l these p l a n t s , thyme i s the most e s s e n t i a l , as i t enables the 1. v a r r o , R . R I I I , x v i , 15. V e r g i l , Georg. IV, 33-36. 2. V a r r o , K.R. I l l , x v i , 16^/7-5 . I b i d , x v i , 13. V e r g i l , Georg. IV, 109-115. ' i - 103 -bees to produce the f i n e s t honey, from the standpoint both of flavour and quantity. During the winter, or "if inclement weather occurs at other seasons, the owner should see that s u f f i c i e n t food i s provided fo r his bees, u n t i l a supply from ordinary sources is once more available; unless provision i s made for their sustenance at such times, the bees w i l l either 1 die of starvation or desert the hive. By b o i l i n g ten pounds of f i g s i n four gallons of water and p l a c i n the boiled f i g s and syrup i n shallow pans near or even inside the hive, the bees w i l l be able to exist u n t i l their natural food i s once more available. The general health of the hive should be the subject of 2 continuous attention; i f the bees appear sleek and smooth of body, and swarm thickly, ho anxiety need be f e l t , but i f they seem l i s t l e s s or have a rough, and shaggy appearance, the hive should be fumigated with smoke and a l l the old, f o u l wax cut away. If i t becomes necessary to move the hive, the operation 1. Varro, R.R. I l l , xvi, ;28. 2 ' Ibid, I I I , x v i , 20. V e r g i l , Georg. IV, 251-- 270. 104 -should he performed gently and slowly, with as l i t t l e disturbance as possible; as an additional precaution it'should be coated with sweet-smelling herbs to attract the occupants to their new home. On the occasion of a swarm, the bees should be attracted by a white cloth to a place, previously prepared for them. When the honey i s removed, at least one-tenth should 1 be l e f t i n the hive , i n order that the bees may not become discouraged and desert the hive with consequent loss to the owner. It i s a tribute to Vergil's poetic genius that, throughout the Fourth Georgia, he portrays the l i f e and work of the tiny bee i n language that would well b e f i t the epic history of a great nation, without seeming grandiose or affected. In glowing terms he describes the s e l f - s a c r i f i c i n g valour with which the bees w i l l f i g h t i n defence of home and "king" and lay down their l i v e s i n the wounds they i n f l i c t on the foe. Their industry he compares to the t o i l of the Cyclops, portraying i n language that i s 1. Varro, K.K.. I l l , x v i , 33. " = . - 105 -majestic i n i t s sweeping cadence how the older bees remain at home to bui l d the c e l l s and care for the helpless young, while the workers rush f o r t h at dawn, t o i l a l l day at their appointed tasks, and return i n the shadows of evening to their welcome repose* Or how, l i k e mariners with ever a watchful eye on the sky and approaching storm, they attempt only brief excursions when the easterly wind holds threat of ra i n and tempest. And again, even as i n a mighty nation, a l l is'calm and peaceful while an adored ru l e r l i v e s and rules„ but when he has died, s t r i f e and discord seize upon the erstwhile contented hive and the workers demolish the f r u i t s of their own t o i l -Vergil's sorrowful commentary upon the f o l l y and the f u t i l i t y of C i v i l War. Truly, had Vergil never attempted the composition of the Aeneid, had he never essayed the g l o r i f i c a t i o n of Augustus and Imperial Home, his name would nevertheless command the everlasting respect of the ages through the deathless beauty of his l a s t Georgia. CHAPTER IX F e r t i l i z a t i o n and Drainage In the important matters of f e r t i l i z a t i o and drainage, the Roman farmer, i n comparison with the modern a g r i c u l t u r a l i s t , was at a de f i n i t e d i s -advantage. True, he realized the necessity for crop-rotation and summer fallowing; also he cl e a r l y under-stood the value of manure i n maintaining the f e r t i l i t y of the s o i l , hut of modern chemical f e r t i l i z e r s , he could, -naturally, have no conception. During the la s t few years, the science of s o i l chemistry has made i t possible f o r the farmer to discover i n exactly what elements his s o i l is deficient; for each deficiency a chemical f e r t i l i z e r i s available. It should be noted, however, that the modern farmer, while admitting the value of a r t i f i c i a l f e r t i l i z e r s for s p e c i f i c purposes, s t i l l regards barnyard manure as the "complete" f e r t i l i z e r , and i f compelled to make a choice between chemical f e r t i l i z e r s and . ) - 10? -natural manure, would undoubtedly choose the l a t t e r . In the matter of drainage, also, the use of c y l i n d r i c a l t i l e manufactured from clay or cement has made possible a type of drainage which i s inestimably superior to the open, surface drains of the Koman period. In his customary terse manner Cato makes the following s tatement,which clea r l y indicates the importance which he attaches to manure. Of what does good c u l t i v a t i o n consist? Thorough ploughing. What, second 1 y? Ploughing. What t h i r d l y ? Manuring. This s tatement, although almost epigrammatic in i t s brevity, c l e a r l y means that manuring i s almost as r < important as thorough ploughing. A further injunction substantiates this theory* See to i t that you have a manure p i l e of goodly size. Save the manure carefully, keep i t clean of foreign matter, and when you haul i t out, break i t up thoroughly. 3 Varro, also, adds a word to Cato' s instructions.; 1. Cato, Agr. LXI. 2. Ibid, v, 8. 3. Varro, K.K. I, y . i i i , 4. - 108 -Close at hand you ought to have two manure-p i t s , or one p i t divided into two sections. In the one should he placed the new manure; from the other the well-rotted manure should he hauled out to the f i e l d s , for well-rotted manure i s the best. The manure-pit should be protected from the sun by a covering of saplings and leaves, f o r the sun dries out the essence which the land requires. Surely one must admit that these definite i n s t r u c t i prove how f u l l y the Roman farmer realized the value of manure. With respect to the various types 1 of manure, Varro remarks that bird manure i s the most valuable. This should be scattered thinly on the land, rather than l e f t i n p i l e s , as was apparently the practice i n the use of cat t l e manure. "Next i n value comes the manure of. goats, sheep, and asses. Horse manure, Varro concludes, is less valuable, generally speaking, but i s useful on grain and meadow land, as the food of the horse i s derived from these Wo sources. Cato makes no comment with respect to 2 rel a t i v e values, but merely advises careful con-servation of the manure supply. 1. Varro, R.R. , I, xxxvii/, 1, 2, 3. 2. Cato, Agr. V, 8 and XXXVI, 1. " » - 109 -On the modern farm, manure i s usually hauled out to the f i e l d s before the f a l l ploughing, or "else during the winter, when the ground i s frozen hard enough to make hauling easy. Cato, however, 1 advises that i t be hauled out at the beginning of spring to meadow land, and to other f i e l d s i n the f a l l . 2 lie advises , further, that the manure should be divided according to the following rule - one-half for the forage crops, one-fourth f o r the olives, and one-fourth f o r the meadows. This we may interpret as a general r u l e , subject to any variations necessitated by the comparative acreage devoted to each crop and by the c omparative f e r t i l i t y of the s o i l i n various parts of the farm. In addition to the use of manure, our Roman authorities mention two other means by which land may be f e r t i l i z e d , namely, by ploughing under certain green growing crops, and by the use of compost. 3 Cato and Varro agree that crops of lupines, beans, 1. Cato, Agr. L, 1. 2. Ibid, ;VXKIX. 3* 1M1> XXXVII, 2. Varro, R.R. I, x x i i i , 3. ' 5 - 110 -and vetch, i f permitted to grow for a time w i l l enrich the ground when ploughed under, or even i f permitted 1 to 'lie on the ground. Humus or compost, Cato adds , may he made by mixing straw, lupines, chaff, b;ean stalks, i l e x and oak leaves, and permitting them to rot. Also, they may be used as bedding for the sheep and c a t t l e ; i f so used they would naturally count as 2 manure when rotted. The same author also states that amurca, i f mixed with water and sparingly applied,will increase the y i e l d of olive trees; i n large quantities however, i t w i l l harden and s t e r i l i z e the ground. Neither Cato nor Varro mentions clover or a l f a l f a as s o i l building crops; thus we must conclude that the nitrogen-storing properties of these plants were unknown to the Koman farmer. Although the subject of drainage may seem at f i r s t glance to be ent i r e l y divorced from the subject of f e r t i l i z a t i o n , there exists a very close relationship between these two departments of farm management. Land may be naturally r i c h , or heavily 1. Cato, Agr. XXXVII, 2. 2. Ibid. XCIII. • 1. - 111 -manured each succeeding year, hut unless the drainage system i s adequate, the f e r t i l i t y of the s o i l w i l l merely degenerate into "sourness". Thus we find that 1 both Cato and Varro offer advice with regard to the problem of drainage. It has already been noted that Varro favours a farm on which the land has an even 2 slope; manifestly, such a contour makes draining a 3 r e l a t i v e l y simple matter. Ditches, Cato advises , should be dug trough-shaped, p a r t i c u l a r l y i f the land i s marshy, three feet wide at the top, four feet deep, tapering to a width of approximately one foot at the bottom. These should be lined with stone, or f a i l i n g stone 9 with willow branches or even bundles of brushwood. The best time for i n s t a l l i n g drains, 4 he continues , i s the winter season, when c u l t i v a t i o n i s necessarily at a s t a n d s t i l l . Even during the growing season, however, i f water is l y i n g anywhere on the g r a i n - f i e l d s , i t should be drained off 0 1. Varro, K.K., I, v i , 6. 2. A modern t i l e drain, well l a i d and i n good condition, w i l l work with a f a l l of one inch per hundred feet of length. 3. Cato, Agr. SXITI, 1. 4. Ibid. CLV, 1, 2 ad fin.. - 112 -immediately. Varro makes no comment with regard to 1 methods of drainage, hut suggests merely that this wo'rk he done during the winter months. In view of the foregoing summary, one w i l l readily admit that the Roman farmer well realized the -vital necessity of f e r t i l i z a t i o n . Apart from the , modern use of chemical f e r t i l i z e r s , his knowledge of manures was p r a c t i c a l l y as complete as our own. In fact, when one hears of twentieth century farmers who crop land continuously without giving a thought to the maintenance of the s o i l ' s f e r t i l i t y , he is almost inclined to f e e l that Cato and his successors were wiser i n this matter than many a g r i c u l t u r a l i s t s of the present day. In the matter of drainage, how-ever , i t must he admitted that the Roman farmer made l i t t l e progress; i n his defence i t may he pointed out that he f u l l y appreciated the importance of removing superfluous moisture from the land, and carried out this objective with the best means at his command. 1* Varro, R.R.. I, xxxv, 2 ad f i n . CHAPTER X The Religious Aapect of Roman Agriculture It i s generally admitted that Roman r e l i g i o n , i n comparison with that of Greece, was an unimaginative conception of certain occult forces and processes that man c ould not f u l l y comprehend. In a word, Roman r e l i g i o n was es s e n t i a l l y a p r a c t i c a l working agreement between man and god; i f certain r i t u a l s , s a c r i f i c e s and ceremonies were duly and correctly observed, the god was i n honour bound to lend a favouring ear to the suppliant's request. If the god f a i l e d to perform his share of the contract, the worshipper might f e e l himself absolved from the necessity of further prayer or s a c r i f i c e to that pa r t i c u l a r deity. Since the Romans were o r i g i n a l l y a farming people, and as many of their gods thus had their o r i g i n i n the various a c t i v i t i e s of the farm, i t i s not surprising to f i n d that the element of r e l i g i o n , or rather the element of religious observance i s p a r t i c u l a r l y marked i n Roman agriculture; con-sequently we f i n d that each of our authors, after his own individual fashion, pays tribute to the tutelary d e i t i e s of the farm. Cato, p r a c t i c a l as always, gives minute and painstaking directions for the pro-p i t i a t i o n of the gods of f i e l d and home; Varro commences his treatise with a lengthy invocation to a l l the d e i t i e s who are concerned with the various branches of farm a c t i v i t y ; V e r g i l , at the commence-ment of each Georgic, c a l l s upon the god whose particular province i n Agriculture he i s about to enter. After a b r i e f statement of the fact that agriculture i s to be the subject of his writings, Yarro at once c a l l s upon the gods of the farm for their favour and assistance i n the task he has 1 essayed. To quote his invocation. I invoke, not the Muses of Homer and Ennius, but the twelve 'Councillor Gods' who are the directors of the farmer. E i r s t I c a l l upon Jupiter and Tellus, who by means of Heaven and Earth embrace a l l f r u i t s of c u l t i v a t i o n * 1. Yarro, K.R., I, i , 5, 6. - 115 -and thus are c a l l e d the 'Great Parents', Jupiter being c a l l e d 'Father' and Earth 'Mother'. Then I beseech the favour of Sun and Moon, whose periods are observed for sowing and harvesting. Thirdly I invoke Ceres and Liber, since their f r u i t s are most essential to l i f e , for i t i s through them that food and drink come from the farm. Fourthly I c a l l upon Kobigus and F l o r a , for when these are favourable, rust w i l l not harm the crops, nor w i l l they f a i l to produce flowers i n due season. Likewise I pray to Minerva and Venus, one of whom protects the o l i v e , the other the garden. Also I invoke Lympha and Bonus Eyentus, for without moisture a l l c u l t i v a t i o n w i l l be parched and barren, and without success and good issue-, farming becomes, not farming, but disappointment. Although Cato indulges i n no formal invocation to the gods, he describes i n d e t a i l the various r i t u a l s upon which the prosperity of the farm depends. In each of these ceremonials i t i s well to note that Cato lays the greatest stress upon the actual form of the observance; from his insistence upon d e t a i l we may readily assume that the Homan farmer envisioned his gods as being singularly , exacting with regard to the form of the worship tendered to them. A study of the r i t u a l to be performed before - 116 a grove is thinned w i l l amply i l l u s t r a t e this point. 1 S a c r i f i c e a pig, enjoins Cato, and offer the following prayer; 'whether thou he god or goddess whose sacred possession this grove i s , as i t i s thy right to receive the sac-r i f i c e of a pig f o r the thinning of this sacred grove, and with this purpose, whether I or one at my command do i t , may i t be r i g h t l y done. By the offering of this pig s a c r i f i c e d to thee, 1 pray that thou wi l t he gracious unto me, my house, my household and my children. May thou he g l o r i f i e d by this pig s a c r i f i c e d unto thee for this end.' If you wish to c u l t i v a t e the land, make a second offering i n the same way, and add the words, 'for the sake of doing this work'. As long as the work continues, offer this prayer each day i n some part of the land; i f public or family feast-days intervene, a new offering must be made. Or again, when the pear trees are i n bloom, and before spring ploughing begins, an offering consisting of wine and roast meat must be made for the health of the oxen, to the accompaniment of the following 2 prayer* Jupiter Dapalis, be thou g l o r i f i e d by this feast placed before thee, and by this wine placed before thee. At the same time an offering may be made to "Vesta, at the discretion of the farmer. To ensure the health 1. Cato, Agr. CXXXIX, QXX. 2. Ibid, CXXXI, CXXXII. - 117 -1 of the cattle , an offering of ground grain, bacon, meat, and wine must he made to Mars Silvanus; hut, adds Cato bluntly, no woman may take part i n , or 2 even-witness the ceremony* Before the harvest, offerings to Ceres, Janus, and Jupiter must be made, accompanied by prayers that such offerings w i l l he acceptable to the gods. -For the important r i t u a l of purifying the land, Cato again gives minutely detailed instruc-3 tions. Bid the offering of a pig, a sheep and a bullock to be led around the farm, with these words, 'That wi th the kindly help of the gods a l l our work may turn out well, I bid thee, Manius, to take care to purify with this s a c r i f i c e my farm, my f i e l d s , my land, i n each part that thou thinkest they should be driven or carried around' . With an offering of wine to Janus and Jupiter, speak these words, '0 Father Mars, I beg and beseech that thou w i l t be favourable and gracious unto me, my house, and my household; f o r the purpose thereof I have bidden this s a c r i f i c e to be led around my farm, my f i e l d s and my land. That thou protect and guard me from i l l n e s s , seen and unseen, barrenness and desolation, 1. 3. Cato, Agr. LXXXIII Ibid. CXXXIV. Ibid* CXLI. - 118 -disaster and unseasonable events; and that thou permit my f r u i t s , my grain, my vine-yards , my groves to increase and f l o u r i s h . And preserve i n good health my shepherds and my flock,and give good health to me, my house, and my household. For these pur-poses, to purify and make pure my f i e l d s , my farm, and my land, as I have heretofore said, may thou be g l o r i f i e d by the offering of this s a c r i f i c e ; and, 0 father Liars, may thou for the same purpose be g l o r i f i e d by the s a c r i f i c e of these victims''. In addition to these r i t u a l s of offerings and s a c r i f i c e , Cato i n numerous instances makes minor suggestions pertaining to religious observance, 1 Neither the farm-manager nor the housekeeper may engage i n religious observances without the consent of the master; nor may the overseer consult any soothsayer, astrologer, or Chaldean. Even before the master goes on a tour of inspection around the farm, he must pay his respects to the gods of the Z household. The mere mention of possible misfortune 3 causes Cato to i n t e r j e c t the expression "bona salute", which may be translated "May Heaven forfend". Again, 1. cato, Agr. V, 3, 4; cf. also Cato, Agr. CXLIII, 1 ad f i n . 2 . Ibid, I I , 1. 3. Ibid, IV, 1 ad f i n * - 119 -the sower must not cheat the grai n - f i e l d s i n the 1 matter of sowing , as this i s a sure precursor of misTor tune. These examples, although less s t r i k i n g than the involved r i t u a l previously described, suffice to prove that r e l i g i o u s observance on the Roman farm was an important part of the daily routine. The close i n t e r - r e l a t i o n between Roman agriculture and Roman r e l i g i o n i s attested by the agr i c u l t u r a l o r i g i n of many of the major Roman f e s t i v a l s and holidays. Of these the greatest was the Saturnalia, celebrated annually at the close of the vintage and the harvest i n honour of Saturn, a legendary king of early Italy, who f i r s t taught the practice of Agriculture. This f e s t i v a l , so similar to 2 our Harvest Home and Thanksgiving , was celebrated with feasting and merrymaking - expressing the thanks of the people for a bounteous harves t. Or again, we might mention the L i b e r a l i a , which observed annually on March 17, was designed to do honour to libers, 1. Cato, Agr. I I , 4, ad f i n . 2. A touch of "Christmas" was noticeable, too, i n the giving of presents. - . - 120 -god of wine. On t h i s a u s p i c i o u s o c c a s i o n , Koman boy assumed the "toga- v i r i l i s " , emblematic of a t t a i n i n g the- s t a t u s o f manhood and c i t i z e n s h i p . Mars, second o n l y to J u p i t e r i n the a d o r a t i o n of the Koman people was o r i g i n a l l y an a g r i c u l t u r a l d e i t y , whose r o l e of god of war was superimposed upon h i s e a r l i e r f u n c t i o : of the p r o t e c t o r o f a g r i c u l t u r e . To the end of the Pagan e r a , b o t h p u b l i c and p r i v a t e s a c r i f i c e s c o n t i n u e d t o c o n s i s t o f the humble animals of the farm - the sheep, the goat, the p i g , and the snowy b u l l o c k s i m m o r t a l i z e d by V e r g i l . T r u l y , Koman r e l i g i o n , and through r e l i g i o n , Koman s o c i e t y had i t s r o o t s deep i n the a g r i c u l t u r a l background of the Koman p e o p l e ; upon t h a t s u b s t a n t i a l and e n d u r i n g f o u n d a t i o n was b u i l t the world-wide Empire, w h i c h to su c c e e d i n g g e n e r a t i o n s has been synonymous w i t h the mighty name of Kome. OBAPTJiiK X I The Labour Supply on the Roman Farm The widespread, use of machinery by the modern farmer has not only m a t e r i a l l y reduced the drudgery of farm l a b o u r but has a l s o brought about a sharp d e c l i n e i n the number of men necessary to c a r r y on the m a n i f o l d t a s k s of the farm. On the Roman farm, however, an e n t i r e l y d i f f e r e n t l a b o u r - s i t u a t i o n e x i s t e d . There was v i r t u a l l y no l a b o u r saving-machinery; c o n s e q u e n t l y , a l l work had t o be done by hand, a f a c t -which n e c e s s i t a t e d an i n f i n i t e l y l a r g e r s t a f f than would be r e q u i r e d on a modern farm of comparable a r e a devoted to s i m i l a r crops- That most of t h i s work was performed by s l a v e l a b o u r cannot be d e n i e d ; a f a c t l e s s g e n e r a l l y r e a l i z e d I s t h a t a cer t a . i n amount of h i r e d l a b o u r was employed. V a r r o -1 - . _ d e f i n i t e l y s t a t e s t h a t the h e a v i e r farm o p e r a t i o n s , such as the h a r v e s t and the v i n t a g e s h o u l d be handled 1. V a r r o , R.R. I , x v i i , 3. - , - 122 -by freemen, t e m p o r a r i l y h i r e d f o r the o c c a s i o n . The reason f o r V a r r o ' s s u g g e s t i o n i s obviou s ; to possess a number of s l a v e s s u f f i c i e n t to c a r r y on these s e a s o n a l o c c u p a t i o n s as w e l l as the r o u t i n e work of t h e f a r m would n e c e s s i t a t e a s t a f f so l a r g e t h a t employment f o r many of the hands would be l a c k i n g at s l a c k seasons. R e c a l l i n g the o l d adage t h a t "Satan always f i n d s some m i s c h i e f f o r i d l e hands to do"', one i s i n c l i n e d to agree w i t h V a r r o when he a d v i s e s t h a t s u f f i c i e n t s l a v e s be m a i n t a i n e d f o r the r e g u l a r work of the f a r m , w i t h the a d d i t i o n of h i r e d h e l p or " d a y - l a b o u r e r s " when the p r e s s u r e of work i s abnormally heavy. I t has a l r e a d y been noted t h a t , f o r an o l i v e y a r d of 240 i u g e r a , Cato a d v i s e s a p e r s o n n e l . 1 1 of 13 s l a v e s ; f or a v i n e y a r d of 100 i u g e r a , 16 s l a v e s . Thus i t i s e v i d e n t t h a t the number of s l a v e s r e q u i r e d w a s ' p r o p o r t i o n a l , not to the a c t u a l a r e a of the farm, but r a t h e r to the type o f f a r m i n g p r a c t i s e d . V a r r o , 2 3 q u o t i n g S a s e r n a , s t a t e s t h a t one man sho u l d be 1. Ca t o , A g r . X, XI. 2. Sasernae ( f a t h e r and son) were Roman w r i t e r s on a g r i c u l t u r e , quoted by V a r r o i n s e v e r a l i n s t a n c e s . 3. V a r r o , K.R.> I , x v i i i , 2-8. - 123 -s u f f i c i e n t f o r e i g h t i u g e r a as a g e n e r a l r u l e , hut t h a t , i f t h e l a n d i s i n t e n s i v e l y c u l t i v a t e d , the amount of l a n d per s l a v e must he reduced. A p p a r e n t l y a t a l o s s t o e s t a b l i s h a d e f i n i t e f o r m u l a a p p l i c a b l e to a l l i n s t a n c e s , Varro suggests t h a t the f a r m e r s h o u l d observe o t h e r farms i n h i s neighbourhood, and be g u i d e d by t h e i r example. The d u t i e s of the " v i l i c u s " . - t h a t i s , the f a r m manager or o v e r s e e r , appear to have been 1 v e r y onerous. F o r once, Cato waxes almost eloquent ; so d e t a i l e d and comprehensive are h i s i n s t r u c t i o n s ' t h a t a complete t r a n s l a t i o n seems w a r r a n t e d . These a r e the o v e r s e e r ' s d u t i e s . He must e n f o r c e good d i s c i p l i n e among the s l a v e s . F e a s t days must be observed. L e t him keep h i s hands o f f the p r o p e r t y of o t h e r s , and c a r e f u l l y guard h i s own. He must adjudge d i s p u t e s a r i s i n g among the s t a f f , and i f anyone has committed any o f f e n c e , he muqt p u n i s h the o f f e n d e r a c c o r d i n g l y . He must l o o k a f t e r the s l a v e s of the household and see t o i t t h a t they a r e n e i t h e r c o l d nor 'hungry. He must keep the work g o i n g , f o r i n t h i s way he w i l l keep the s l a v e s more e a s i l y from t h e f t and wrongdoing. I f the o v e r s e e r r e f u s e s t o do wrong, (the s l a v e s ) w i l l not do wrong e i t h e r . I f , however, he 1. Cato, Agr. V. - 124 -s u f f e r s any s i n to be committed, the master must p u n i s h him. F o r work w e l l done, the ov e r s e e r s h o u l d express h i s g r a t i t u d e ; i n t h i s way oth e r s l a v e s w i l l be g l a d to do t h e i r work i n a prope r manner. He must not be a wanderer 5 he must always be sober, and he must never go out f o r dinner.. He must keep t h e hands employed, and make i t h i s b u s i n e s s t o see t h a t the master's orders are f a i t h f u l l y c a r r i e d o u t . L e t him never t h i n k he knows more than the master. H i s master's f r i e n d s must be h i s f r i e n d s . He must pay heed t o whomever he has been ordered to obey. He must perfor m no r e l i g i o u s r i t e s , except the C o m p i t a l i a at the c r o s s -ways or b e f o r e the h e a r t h . He must s e l l n o t h i n g on c r e d i t w i t h o u t the master's o r d e r s , and c o l l e c t f o r s a l e s made by the master. He must l e n d no one seed g r a i n , f o d d e r , meal, wine, or o i l . He s h o u l d , have two or t h r e e h o u s e h o l d s , and no more, from whom he borrows n e c e s s i t i e s and to whom he l e n d s . He s h o u l d check over accounts o f t e n w i t h the master. He should not keep the same l a b o u r e r , s e r v a n t , or c a r e t a k e r f o r l o n g e r than a day ( a t a t i m e ) . He must buy n o t h i n g w i t h o u t h i s master's o r d e r s , and must keep n o t h i n g h i d d e n f rom h i s master. He must have no p a r a s i t e s about him. He must have no d e a l i n g s w i t h s o o t h s a y e r , a u g u r e r , or prophe t . He must not cheat- the f i e l d s i n the matter of sowing, f o r t h i s i s most unlucky. He s h o u l d be a b l e to perfor m any work on the fa r m , and s h o u l d p e r f o r m such work f r e q u e n t l y , p r o v i d e d o n l y t h a t he does not t i r e h i m s e l f . I n so d o i n g , he w i l l l e a r n what i s i n the minds of the s l a v e s , and t h e y , on t h e i r p a r t , w i l l p e r f o r m t h e i r work w i t h b e t t e r f e e l i n g s . - 125 I f he does (such w o r k ) , he w i l l he l e s s i n c l i n e d to wander about, he w i l l be i n b e t t e r h e a l t h , and w i l l s l e e p more so u n d l y . He must be the f i r s t t o r i s e i n the morning, the l a s t to r e t i r e . B e f o r e g o i n g to bed, he s h o u l d see that the v i l l a i s c l o s e d up, t h a t each s l a v e i s a s l e e p i n h i s own bed, and t h a t the c a t t l e have f e e d . V a r r o adds t h a t , as a reward f o r the e f f i c i e n t d i s -charge of h i s d u t i e s , the o v e r s e e r should be t r e a t e d a l i t t l e more l i b e r a l l y i n the m a t t e r of f o o d or c l o t h i n g , a.nd p e r m i t t e d t o g r a z e some c a t t l e of h i s own on the f a r m . The same treatment should a l s o be accorded to the w o r k e r s , when they have worked w e l l and f a i t h f u l l y . W i t h r e g a r d to the housekeeper, Cato 1 suggests t h a t i t i s sound p o l i c y t o marry her to the o v e r s e e r . But whether w i f e or n o t , comments Cato i n a f i n a i i n j u n c t i o n t o the o v e r s e e r , "make her stand i n awe of you". She a l s o has d e f i n i t e d u t i e s t o p e r f o r m , w h i c h Cato d e s c r i b e s i n c o n s i d e r a b l e d e t a i l . She must not be e x t r a v a g a n t , nor m a n i f e s t a tendency to go out v i s i t i n g or to meals. She must keep h e r -1. Cato, A g r . C X L I I I . • . - 12.6 -s e l f and her house c l e a n and neat, and o n l y engage i n such r e l i g i o u s observances as are ordered by the master. She s h o u l d keep hens, to ensure a s u p p l y of eggs. She must keep a s u p p l y of f o o d always on hand f o r trie m a ster, s h o u l d he happen t o make an unexpected v i s i t . She must t h o r o u g h l y understand a l l methods of p r e s e r v i n g and d r y i n g f r u i t s , as w e l l as the g r i n d i n g o f g r a i n i n t o f l o u r . I n short,we may summarize her d u t i e s by s a y i n g t h a t they were f u n d a m e n t a l l y the same as those o f the modern farmer's w i f e . I n s p e a k i n g of t h e s l a v e s employed on the f a r m , Varro mentions t h r e e p o i n t s w h i c h are 1 of p a r t i c u l a r i n t e r e s t . I t I s a d v i s a b l e , he says , not to have too many of the same n a t i o n a l i t y , as t h i s 2 w i l l l e a d to domestic s t r i f e . Secondly , s l a v e s s h o u l d be encouraged to i n t e r m a r r y , as t h i s w i l l make them become more a t t a c h e d t o the farm, and i n c i d e n t a l l y w i l l ensure a f u t u r e s u p p l y of s l a v e s 3 f o r the master. F i n a l l y , they s h o u l d not be e x c e s s i v e l y 1. V a r r o , K.K. I , x v i i , 5. 2. I b i d , I , x v i i , 5. 3. I b i d , I , x v i i , 4. - 127 -meek or excessively high-spirited, hut those selected as foremen should he somewhat superior to their fellows i n a b i l i t y and education. In selecting herdsmen fo r the flocks 1 and herds, Varro suggests that old men or young boys are suitable f o r t h i s work i f the flocks are being grazed on the farm. I f , however, the animals are out to pasture on range land or i n the h i l l s , the herdsmen should be young men. l i t h e , supple, and well . 2 armed; the best slaves f o r this work, he continues , come from Spain and Gaul. I f the herd i s very large, or i f a number of flocks or herds i s being pastured 3 together, i t i s advisable to have a senior herdsman i n charge of the whole group. The food issued to slaves on a Koman farm was, naturally, not of the highest quality. With 4 his customary attention to d e t a i l , Cato gives advice pertaining to the amount of food necessary for each slave. In winter, he suggests, four pecks of wheat 1. Varro, K.R.„ I I , x, 1, 2. 2. Ibid, I I , x, 3, 4. 3. Ibid, I I , x, 2. 4. Cato, Agr. l v i . . - 128 -i s s u f f i c i e n t , w i t h a s l i g h t i n c r e a s e d u r i n g the summer months. O u t s i d e l a b o u r e r s s h o u l d r e c e i v e f o u r pounds of bread d u r i n g the w i n t e r , i n c r e a s i n g to f i v e 1 d u r i n g the summer. I n a d d i t i o n , o l i v e s w h i c h have been blown from the t r e e s by the w i n d , or damaged i n p i c k i n g , s h o u l d be i s s u e d to the l a b o u r e r s ; when the supply t h e r e o f i s exhausted, f i s h - p i c k l e or v i n e g a r may be i s s u e d i n s t e a d . Each s l a v e s h o u l d r e c e i v e one p i n t o f o i l per month and one peck of s a l t per y e a r , 2 The p o o r e r wine - or t h a t of u n s a t i s f a c t o r y f l a v o u r s h o u l d be g i v e n to the s l a v e s , w i t h a l i t t l e e x t r a r a t i o n f o r the c e l e b r a t i o n of the S a t u r n a l i a and the C o m p i t a l i a . The average annual a l l o w a n c e of wine f o r each s l a v e s h o u l d amount, Cato e s t i m a t e s , to s i x t y g a l l o n s . 3 I n a b r i e f statement c o n c e r n i n g c l o t h i n g f o r the s l a v e s , Cato a d v i s e s t h a t a t u n i c , b l a n k e t and a p a i r of wooden s a n d a l s should be s u p p l i e d t o each s l a v e every o t h e r y e a r ; f o r the Agr. l v i i i . l v i i . X x * 1. C a t o , 2. I b i d , 3. I b i d , ' .• • - 129 -sake of economy, qu i l t s should he made from the worn out tunics and blankets. However much we may deplore widespread employment of slave labour on the Roman farm, we must not overlook the fact that slavery was common to a l l branches of Roman industry. Nor was the position of the slave entirely hopeless; i n some instances, at le a s t , a slave was rewarded fo r diligent and f a i t h f u l service, for Yarro, i n a passage already referred to, suggests that, for work well done, a slave should be permitted special l i t t l e p r i v i l e g e s . Thus we may conclude our consideration of the labour situation on a Roman farm by saying that the farm slave was no worse off than his brethren i n other industries, and certainly fared as well as the negro on a Southern cotton plantation less than one hundred years ago. CHAPTER XII The General Conduct of the_ Farm Although the major operations of the farm have been dealt with in preceding chapters, several points pertaining to the general conduct of the farm have not yet heen considered. These, i n general, do not apply s p e c i f i c a l l y to a single branch of farm a c t i v i t y , but are broad general statements whose observance i s v i t a l to the profitable management of a farm. Bbr i s their importance confined to farm management of the Roman period alone, a l l of them are points which the successful farmer of the present day would admit to be of the utmost value. Foremost among the points which Cato from time to time offers f o r our consideration i s his insistence upon economy, a practice which he stresses so c onstantly that one fe e l s i t is almost an obsession with this rugged "old-school" a g r i c u l t u r a l i s t . Early, 1 i n the De Agri Cultura he makes the abrupt comment 1. Cato, Agr• I, 5. - 131 -that a farm i s very l i k e an individual; however great the income ? over-extravagance w i l l consume a l l the p r o f i t . ""Over-extravagance" we may interpret as having several d i f f e r e n t phases of meaning; land whose c u l t i v a t i o n i s too costly i n proportion to the returns derived from i t , carelessness i n the care of crops or herds, unchecked idleness on the part of workmen, unduly costly buildings or implements - a l l these w i l l reduce,, the p r o f i t from the farm. In a 1 l a t e r passage this point of view is substantiated. When the weather is stormy look around and see what can be done indoors. Clean things up rather than be i d l e . Keep this fact i n mind, that even though no work i s accom-plished, expenses, nevertheless, continue. In several instances Cato mentions work which can be carried on indoors, even i f inclement weather prevents •work on the land. 2 Remind the overseer, he advises , of the. work which could have been done i n bad weather washing wine vessels and coating them with pitch, cleaning up the buildings, moving grain, hauling out manure, making a manure-pit, cleaning grain f o r seed, mending old harness and making new, mending clothing. 1. Cato, Agr. XXXIX, 2 ad f i n . - 132 -Even on holidays, when work on the land was contrary 1 to established custom, Cato suggests that certain routine operations - cleaning ditches, cutting brambles, b u i l d i n g roads - may provide employment for the labourers. In these ways profitable employment of the workmen may continue, even i f work on the land is temporarily halted; furthermore, i f slaves are kept busy they w i l l be leas inclined to quarrelling and mischief-making. As another point of economy, Cato suggests that nothing should be kept on the farm which i s not of p r a c t i c a l value. 2 The farmer, he remarks , should be a s e l l e r , not a buyer, and advises the sale of surplus o i l , wine, grain, old oxen, faul t y sheep, aged c a t t l e , wool, hides, and even slaves who are old or si c k l y . Such callous treatment of slaves i s an evidence that humanitarian--ism was strangely lacking i n Cato; even an old horse, 3 according to V e r g i l , deserves an honourable retirement.. 1* Cato, Agr, I I , 4. 2. Ibid. I I , ?, ad f i n . 3. V e r g i l , Georg. I l l , 95-96. - 133 Some of the l a t t e r sections of the 1 JJe A g r i Gultura, as Varro c a u s t i c a l l y points out , seem to hear l i t t l e r e l a t i o n to farm management. In 2 these Cato gives minute instructions for the making of placenta, savillum, erneum, starch, etc., and dwells glowingly upon the medicinal value of the cabbage. In Cato T s support. however, l e t i t be realized that he regarded "buying" i n general as a habit to be avoided, and i s consequently suggesting means whereby the farm may be made a self-sustaining unit. Thus, while we may advisedly discount the marvellous medicinal qualities of the cabbage, we should remember that the medical science of this period, even when practiced by so-called "experts'* was by no means i n f a l l i b l e . The basic f a c t f however, remains, that Cato wished to c u r t a i l expenditures by the use of farm products f o r a l l possible purposes. Cato's abhorrence of waste i n any form i s admirably exemplified by the varied uses which he suggests f o r amurca. This l i q u i d , although actually 1 • Va.rro, R»R. I, i i , 28 • 2. Cato, Agr. LXXV-IXXXII, CLVI - CLVTII. - 134 -a by-product from the olive-press, seems to have been almost as valuable as the o i l i t s e l f . To steep new 1 o i l - j a r s , Cato suggests that they be f i l l e d with amurca and l e f t standing for seven days. To make the threshing f l o o r hard and impervious to moisture, amurca should be poured on the ground i n p l e n t i f u l 2 quantities ; the threshed grain may likewise be pro-tected from mice and other vermin by coating the walls of the granary with a plaster made from amurca and 3 chaff . To increase the y i e l d of an olive tree, or to make a fi g - t r e e retain i t s f r u i t , a mixture of amurca and water should be poured i n small quantities 4 around the roots . Ca t e r p i l l a r s w i l l not attack a 5 tree, adds Cato , i f i t s trunk and lower branches have been treated with a mixture of bitumen, sulphur and amurca. Combined with wine dregs and v/ater i n which lupines have been boiled, i t w i l l protect sheep from skin diseases i f applied externally to the hide 1. Cato, Agr. C. 2. Ibidj CXXIX. 3. Ibid, XCII. 4. Told,, XCIII, XCIV. 5. i b i d , XCV.. - 135 -1 after shearing . Figs may be kept fresh i n d e f i n i t e l y 2 i f placed i n an earthenware jar coated with amurca . Food which has been dipped i n this remarkable l i q u i d and then dried w i l l blaze more brightly without 3 smoking . Cattle which are "off their feed" may be restored to good appetite i f their food i s sprinkled with amurca, or i f a l i t t l e i s placed i n the drinking 4 water . An excellent wall plaster may be made of clay, 5 amurca and straw . F i n a l l y i t may be used as dressing for b e l t s , shoes or hides, and w i l l also do noble 6 service as axle grease . With a l l due deference to Cato, one i s nevertheless reminded of the remarkable c a p a b i l i t i e s attributed to cer t a i n patent medicines by t h e i r manufacturers» During recent years, the practice of "share-cropping" has become increasingly prevalent i n Canada. Consequently, the manner i n which this method of farming was carried on i n the Roman world 1. Cato. Agr. XCVI. 2. Ibid", XCIX. 3. Ibid, CXXX. 4. Ibid , GUI. 5. Ibid, CXXVIII. 6* Ibid, XCVII.:. - 136 -is p a r t i c u l a r l y interesting. On one point, especially, Cato i s i n s i s t e n t : there must he a de f i n i t e , clear-cut agreement between the two parties affected. He 1 advises that the d i v i s i o n of the crop he based on the f e r t i l i t y of the s o i l , varying from one-eighth to o n e - f i f t h (to the tenant) i n inverse ratio to the quality of the s o i l . In share farming land where the p r i n c i p a l crop is the vine, the tenant should keep the whole farm well t i l l e d and i n good repair, and should be allowed s u f f i c i e n t fodder for the stock: the d i s t r i b u t i o n of a l l produce to owner and tenant 2 should be equal . Although this l a t t e r d i v i s i o n , by compar ison wi th the former, may seem of undue benefit to the tenant, we should keep i n mind that the cost of maintaining a vineyard and mixed farm (in labour, implements etc.) would be considerably higher than on a farm producing grain only. For the leasing of 3 winter pasturage, Cato once more enjoins a definite contract stating the dates on which pasturage should 1. Cato, Agr. CXXXVT. 2. Cato, Agr. CIXK.WM-3. Ibid « CXLIX. - 137 -"begin and end. If damage i s done by either owner or •leasee, Cato suggests that an independent tribunal de'cide upon the amount of damage sustained. Pending settlement of such a claim, a l l livestock and servants are to be held as security. In the same manner, Cato advises a formal agreement for any farm work done by contract, such as the gathering of olives or grapes, or f o r the sale of olives, grapes, wine, or other farm produce. This policy finds an echo i n Varro, who details a fixed formula to be observed i n the purchase of cattle,sheep, and other farm animals. In reviewing Koman agriculture as a whole, one cannot f a i l to be impressed with the emphasis upon thoroughness which i s everywhere enjoined i n the precepts of our Roman authors. This thorough-ness i s not a pose, nor is i t a feature of Roman agriculture only, but a national c h a r a c t e r i s t i c . The same deliberate thoroughness, the same attention to d e t a i l , were the factors which enabled Rome to over-come the threatening power of Carthage, to extend her dominion over the whole Mediterranean world and • - 138 -to develop a code of laws and p o l i t i c a l science whicii s t i l l endure as basic features of our western c i v i l i z a t i o n . APPENDIX Modern-Agriculture i n Italy The tragedy of Roman agriculture l i e s i n tne f a c t that the science developed "by the Roman farmer f a i l e d to s urvive the f a l l of the Empire. This f a i l u r e , however, i s not surprising, since other forms of Roman c i v i l i z a t i o n likewise crumbled before the impact of barbarism. Throughout Italy, the dis -ruption of the Empire was followed by almost f i f t e e n centuries of chaos, but chaos tempered by the survival of the blurred outlines of c i v i l i z a t i o n . Roman roads and aqueducts were preserved; the Roman language was reborn i n the Romance languages of the new Europe; Roman l i t e r a t u r e found sanctuary i n the monasteries; but only i n scattered d i s t r i c t s was there any attempt at the preservation of a g r i c u l t u r a l science. Prom the fourth to the seventh centuries, the c a r e f u l l y cultivated farms, olive groves, and vineyards of Ancient Ita l y were the prey of successive - 140 -invaders - Visigoths, Ostrogoths and Lombards. Althou the two l a t t e r groups remained i n I t a l y , the Ostro-goths near Rome and the Lombards i n the Valley of the Po, i t was centuries before these crude conquerors learned even the rudiments of agriculture. S t i l l l a t e r , bands of Normans swept down upon Southern Italy the "Oenotria 1 1 of V e r g i l . By 1300, three general divisions had evolved - the kingdom of the Normans i n the South, the states of the Church in Central I t a l y , and numerous cit y - s t a t e s , dominated by the Holy Roman Empire in. the North. Agriculture was carried on, p a r t i c u l a r l y i n the f e r t i l e lands of the Po Valley, but i t was of a type which, our Roman authors would have deemed unworthy of even the early Republic. Although a new interest i n Art and Literature was awakened i n It a l y with the advent of the Renaissance i n the fourteenth century, there was no c orresponding r e v i v a l i n agriculture. Perhaps the reason f or this retardation l i e s i n the fact that agri culture can f l o u r i s h only under a strong settled form of government, which did not return to Italy u n t i l the present century. In spite of the glorious part which individual I t a l i a n c i t i e s played i n the r e v i v a l of learning during the Renaissance, Italy remained a p o l i t i c a l patchwork q u i l t , wi thout semblance of cohesion or unity. Thus when Metternich complacently remarked i n 1815 that Italy was merely a "geographical expression"', he might well have added that I t a l i a n agriculture had ceased to be even an expression almost f i f t e e n hundred years before. In short, I t a l i a n agriculture lacked the incentive to progress which only a settled form of government can impart. Such an. incentive appeared to be i n the offing by 1860, when I t a l y , under the guiding hand of Cavour, had once more become a p o l i t i c a l unit. Unfortunately, Cavour's death i n 1861 cut short that great statesman's programme of economic reform; no man of comparable a b i l i t y appeared to carry on his work, and for f i f t y years longer, Italy staggered under increasingly adverse economic conditions. By 1920, labour troubles, which had become a commonplace feature of c i t y l i f e , had spread to the r u r a l areas, where landowners were - 142 -confronted "by an embattled peasantry demanding enough land for subsistence. The justice of their actions may be appreciated from the fact that these revolts were frequently led by the parish p r i e s t s , actuated not so much by antagonism towards the landlords as by a sympathy for the unfortunate peasantry. Internal economic weakness was paralleled by weakness i n the f i e l d of foreign diplomacy. In 1919, although Italy was numbered among the victorious A l l i e s , she received nei ther colonies nor mandates, both of which she sorely needed as outlets f o r her excess population. True, I t a l i a Irredenta had been annexed to Italy, but I t a l i a n dreams of a ""sphere of influence" on the east coast of the A d r i a t i c and a colonial empire had come to naught. A crushing load of debt, (materially increased by the Great War), the growth of unemployment, a steady r i s e In the cost of l i v i n g , constant revol-utionary disturbanees i n both rural and i n d u s t r i a l areas, and a corrupt government,- such were the problems facing It a l y i n 1920. The magnitude and seriousness of these d i f f i c u l t i e s led both the power-- 143 -f u l c a p i t a l i s t and landowning classes to give their unqualified support to Benito Mussolini. Following his "March on Rome"" i n 1922, and his immediate assumption of d i c t a t o r i a l powers, Mussolini f i r s t undertook a thorough "Fascistization" of the Italian state* A l l administrative posts i n national and municipal government were given to l o y a l F a s c i s t s , subject to removal or dismissal only at the order of II Duce. The Fascist party was the only party permitted to exist; the w i l l of Fascism became the w i l l of the state and of the i n d i v i d u a l . ' How this subversion of the individual was accomplished i s well-known: r i g i d press censorship, a ruthless secret police, flagrant intimidation of enemies, even assassination soon removed a l l vestige of opposition to II Duce 1s authority. By 1926, his own position i n the state unassailably secure, Mussolini turned to a consideration of economic d i f f i c u l t i e s , among which the a g r i c u l t u r a l situation was by no means the l e a s t . He found his remedy for this l a t t e r problem f i r s t i n a thorough reconstruction of the economic - 144 -l i f e of I t a l y , and secondly, i n a rigorous foreign poli c y . The Corporative, or T o t a l i t a r i a n , state, which has b een developed during the last ten years, embodies Mussolini's ideas of economic reorganization. These ideas were not hard and fast conceptions, but have passed through an evolutionary process to s u i t condi tions as they arose. With regard to Agriculture, the enactments of the "Collective Labour Relations Law™, passed i n 1926, are of prime importance. Under i t s terms* a l l I t a l i a n a c t i v i t y was divided into the following seven classes: industry, commerce, banking, agriculture, maritime and a e r i a l transportations land transportation and inland navigation, and a r t i s t r y . In each of the f i r s t s i x units, two con-federations were established - one f o r employers, and one f o r employees. The seventh unit, a r t i s t r y , consisted of a single confederation only, since the d i v i s i o n between employers and employees was f e l t to be here i n d i s t i n c t . Below the confederations come i n turn the Regional Syndicates, the Provincial - 145 -Syndicates, and l a s t l y the Municipal Syndicates. The syndicates have complete control over hours and conditions of labour, wages, and any dispute which may a r i s e between employer and employee; serious disputes to which the syndicate can f i n d no s a t i s -factory solution are submitted to the confederation concerned. In a ""Charter of Labour" issued i n 1927, Mussolini defined the purpose of his complex organiza-tion! the Corporative, state would permit private i n i t i a t i v e , but this i n i t i a t i v e must be regulated i n the interests of the nation. Thus the a g r i c u l t u r a l worker, as did each other class of worker, surrendered his economic freedom to the state, receiving from the state in return the "social security" of c o l l e c t i v e bargaining, unemployment insurance, and compensation for sickness and accident. Having thus accomplished his primary regimentation of the I t a l i a n people, Mussolini turned his attention towards making his confederations the governing forces of the state, subject to guidance By himself and the Fascist party. By an electoral law of 1928, i t was enacted that the confederations - 146 -s h o u l d propose one thousand men as c a n d i d a t e s f o r P a r l i a m e n t . Of t h e s e the Grand F a s c i s t C o u n c i l , c o n s i s t i n g of M u s s o l i n i and a s e l e c t i n n e r c i r c l e of F a s c i s m , was t o s e l e c t f o u r hundred names f o r s u b m i s s i o n to t h e I t a l i a n v o t e r s , who would v o t e "yes" or "no" ( t h e o r e t i c a l l y at l e a s t ) to the e n t i r e s l a t e ; i n oth e r words, an I t a l i a n e l e c t i o n i s now merely a referendum o r p l e b i s c i t e . I n t h i s way, M u s s o l i n i c l a i m s t h a t power i s v e s t e d , not i n a mere " c o u n t i n g of heads" as he c a u s t i c a l l y terms democracy, but i n the p r o d u c t i v e f o r c e s of the s t a t e , t h a t i s 3 the c o n f e d e r a t i o n s . By laws of 1930-31, t h e r e was c r e a t e d a N a t i o n a l C o u n c i l of C o r p o r a t i o n s , w i t h M u s s o l i n i as Chairman. A " C o r p o r a t i o n " , i t may be e x p l a i n e d , c o n s i s t s of r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s of the employers' con-f e d e r a t i o n and the employees' c o n f e d e r a t i o n i n each of the seven branches of I t a l i a n i n d u s t r y , i n the g e n e r a l sense of the term. The N a t i o n a l C o u n c i l so c r e a t e d i s the h i g h e s t a u t h o r i t y to which l a b o u r d i s p u t e s may be r e f e r r e d . From the s t a n d p o i n t of - 147 -agriculture, i t is important to note that the f i r s t case submit ted f o r adjudication was one i n which a group of landowners i n North Italy attempted to force their a g r i c u l t u r a l workers to accept a t h i r t y per cent reduction i n wages because of the revaluation of the l i r a i n 1927. The workers refused to accept the amount, demanded by the landowners, but offered to accept a less drastic reduction. The court, from whose decisions there could naturally be no appeal, decided i n favour of the workers* In 1934, a further law increased the number of Corporations to twenty-two, each based upon a. "Cycle of Production". A General Assembly of Corporations was also created, consisting ofrepresen-tatives from each of the newly-aligned corporations. Corporations connected with agriculture, wi th the number of representatives which they have i n the General Assembly, are as follows: Cereals 32; Horticulture, Flowers and F r u i t 32, Vines and Wines 32, Oils 23, Beets and Sugar, 15; this d i s t r i b u t i o n indicates conclusively the re l a t i v e importance of - 148 -• each of these branches of Agriculture i n Modern Ital y . The rather vague term "Cycle of Production" may be defined by explaining that each of the 22 corporations mentioned above concerns i t s e l f with the various processes by which a raw product i s produced and f i n a l l y transformed to a finished a r t i c l e of commerce. In 1939 i t ia planned that the General Assembly of Corporations s h a l l replace the parliamentary body which had already been so d r a s t i c a l l y reorganized i n 1928. At that time, therefore, Mussolini's ten-tative reorganization of ten years ago w i l l make way for a system which w i l l provide' further co-ordination between economic and p o l i t i c a l organization. How that the economic structure of the I t a l i a n state has been discussed, some of the accomplishments may be noted, with special reference to those a f f e c t i n g agriculture. Post-war Italy had an average density of population of 323 to the square mile, for which her agriculture f a i l e d to produce s u f f i c i e n t food. The seriousness of this s i t u a t i o n was rendered more c r i t i c a l by the f a c t that Mussolini - 149 - • deliberately encouraged a high birth-rate to provide men f o r his increased armies of the future. To make Ita l y economically s e l f - s u f f i c i e n t was the aim of Mussolini's programme. Soon after taking o f f i c e i n 1922, he began his "Battle of the Wheat", with a two-f o l d purpose - f i r s t , to extend the area under pro-duction and secondly, to increase the y i e l d per unit of area. The success of his campaign i s indicated by the f a c t that i n 1932 the production of wheat had increased by 70 per cent over that of 1922, and came within 8 per cent of supplying Italy's normal require-ment . During the same period increases in r i c e , corn and oats ranged from 40 to 60 per cent. The production of wine and olives, to which the climate of Italy i s so favourable, was likewise fostered, both to supply the home market and to increase I t a l i a n trade abroad. Numerous state-controlled public works were also undertaken, which proved of inestimable value to the farmer. Construction of new roads and railways, the introduction of vast i r r i g a t i o n projects and the draining of swamp-lands have a l l helped to restore - 150 -productivity to a point comparable to that of Ancient I t a l y . The business depression of 1929-35 acted as a brake upon economic reform i n It a l y as elsewhere i n the world, but the cessation of formerly constant labour disputes, the increase i n production, and many worthwhile improvements remain as tangible evidence of what sixteen years of strong centralized govern-ment have done to ameliorate the conditions engendered by centuries of decadence* A vigorous i m p e r i a l i s t i c policy has formed the second of Mussolini's remedies for economic i l l s . At f i r s t t h i s policy seemed to be directed exclusively .towards the Dalmatian Coast. In 1925, I t a l y persuaded Jugo-Slavia to sign the H'etteuno Convention, whereby the right of Italians to buy land i n Jugo-Slavia within t h i r t y miles of the Jugo-Slav-I t a l i a n f r o n t i e r was recognized, i n return for the granting by I t a l y of certain commercial advantages to Jugo-Slavia. That the agreement benefitted Italy more than Jugo-Slavia is indicated by the fact that a r a t i f i c a t i o n of the treaty could not be obtained i n - 151 -the Jugo-Slav parliament u n t i l 1928, when the majority of the Croatian delegates (representing the area affected) were absent from the session. In 1926, to further strengthen his hold on the Dalmatian Coast, Mussolini signed the Treaty of Tirana with Albania; under i t s terms, Ita l y gained important economic con-cessions, i n return f o r a doubtful promise to recognize the t e r r i t o r i a l i n t e g r i t y of Albania. Throughout 1927 I t a l i a n penetration of the country continued, but Mussolini's diplomatic manoeuvres with Albania led to f r i c t i o n between Italy and Jugo-Slavia, with the result that the Ifetteuno Convention was not renewed. Possibly because the area proved worthless from an ag r i c u l t u r a l point of view, Mussolini seems to have abandoned his Dalmatian penetration without too much regret, i n order to devote a l l his energies towards I t a l i a n expansion i n A f r i c a . In December 1934, a clash between Ethiopian and I t a l i a n patrols at Walwal (on the border between Ethiopia and I t a l i a n Somaliland) gave Mussolini his chance to begin a second Roman Empire. Refusing to submit the matter to a r b i t r a t i o n , and defiantly flaunting the League's half-hearted attempt to apply sanctions, Mussolini, in October 1935, ordered his legions to invade Ethiopia from both E r i t r e a and I t a l i a n Somaliland. Theoretically the invasion ended i n victory f o r the I t a l i a n forces when they entered Addis Ababa on May 5, 1936. In the manner of the Caesars, Mussolini announced "A Roman Peace -which i s expressed i n this simple, irrevocable phrase 'Ethiopia i s I t a l i a n ' . " By June 1936, Ethiopia, E r i t r e a , and It alii n Somaliland were organized as I t a l i a n East A f r i c a , which f o r administrative purposes was divided into f i v e provinces. The aim of the conquest, as expressed by a prominent I t a l i a n , was "to r a t i o n a l l y exploit a vast reservoir of raw 1 materials". The same I t a l i a n suggested that the following a g r i c u l t u r a l products might be obtained i n abundance: meat, milk, wool, skins, cotton, coffee, oilseed and cereals. Within a few,years i t is planned to settle half a m i l l i o n colonists to aid in the pro-1. Coirado Zoli,"The Organization of Italy's East A f r i c a n Empire", Foreign Affairs» October, 1937* - 153 -duction of. these commodities. The i n i t i a l cost, however, has been close to a b i l l i o n d o l l a r s , and although Italy has remained on the gold standard, her budget has not been balanced nor has a f i n a n c i a l statement been issued by the Bank of Italy since 1935. Despite this heavy drain upon Italy's f i n a n c i a l resources, reports of native uprisings, and the maintenance of heavy m i l i t a r y garrisons i n East A f r i c a would indicate that Ethiopia i s not yet completely conquered. It i s yet too early to estimate the f i n a l value of Italy's new c o l o n i a l venture; i f she can absorb the i n i t i a l costs, and i f East A f r i c a proves as valuable a, producer of raw materials 'as Mussolini seems to expect, Italy's economic position w i l l be materially strengthened as the new lands are developed* At the present time, however,, i t i s safe to say that Agriculture has benefitted more concretely through internal reorganization than through the outwardly more spectacular advance of I t a l i a n arms i n A f r i c a . In surveying the a g r i c u l t u r a l picture - 154 -of modern I t a l y , one cannot help wondering what the Koman farmer of Cato 7s period would have thought of the present increasingly elaborate structure. Of the i m p e r i a l i s t i c policy adopted by Mussolini he would undoubtedly approve; crop-yields, labour-saving machinery, the gigantic engineering accomplishments i n i r r i g a t i o n and land-reclamation - a l l these would arouse his envious wonder. But how, one may well ask, would he regard the loss of individual l i b e r t y , the regimented control of his l i f e and labour? Perhaps, true to his old ideal of devotion to the state, he would s t i l l regard the state as the b e - a l l and end-all of his existence; more probably, he would f e e l the cramping s t r i c t u r e of the present ill-concealed despotism, and turn his thoughts to the freedom of speech and action which were the noblest features of Republican Rome. BIBLIOGRAPHY "BAILEY, L.K. Horticulture. (In Encyclopaedia Britannica XI E d i t i o n , volume 13)"''"UnTveraity Press, Cambridge, 1910. BEHNS, P. Lee. Europe Since 1914. Second revised edi tion. E. S. Crofts and Co., New York, 1936. CATONIS, M. Porci. Be Agri Cultura. Post Henricum K e i l iterum edidit G. Goetz, Lipsiae i n aedibus 3.G. Teuberni, MCMXXII. C0NINGT0N and EETTLESHIP, editors. Eclogues and  Georgics of V e r g i l , edited by Conington and I-iettieship. George B e l l and Sons, London, 1898. ERE All, William. Agric ulture. (In Encyclopaedia  Britannica XI E d i t i o n , Volume I) University Press, Cambridge, 1910. GREENFIELD, K.R. Economics and Liberalism i n the Resorgimento. Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 1934. HEDRICK,. U.P. Manual of American Grape Growing. KacMillan Co., New York, 1919. McCOMNELL, Primrose. A g r i c u l t u r a l Handbook. Crosby Lockwood & co., London, 1897. McEAY, R.A. and SAUNDERS, S.A. The Modern World-P o l i t i c a l and Economic. Ryeraon Press, Toronto, PAGE, J.E., ed. Bucolics and Georgics of Vergil,edited by J.E. Page, McMillan and Co., London, 1929* - 156 -PECK, H. T., ed. Harper's Dictionary of Cla s s i c a l Literature and An t i q u i t i e s , edited by H.T. Peck. American Book Co., Hew York, 1897. "RUSSELL, E.J, S o i l Conditions and Plant Growth. Longmans, liew York, 1932* SCRAPIRO, J.S. Modern and Contemporary European  History. Houghton, M i f f l i n Co., Hew York*, 1929. VARROiTIS, M. Terenti. Rerum Rustic arum L i b r i 'Ires. Post Henri cum K e i l iterum. G. Goetz. Lipsiae in aedibus B. G. Teuberni, MCMKXII. WHITMEY, M. S o i l and C i v i l i z a t i o n . D. van Ho3 trand, Hew York, 1925, ZOLI, Corrado. The Organization ..of Italy's East A f r i c a n Empire. (In Foreign A f f a i r s ! October 1937.) Hew York, 1937. 


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