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Roman Farm Management by Marcus Porcius Cato

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grapes to be sour which grew on a trellis, for he had expected to find
them of easy access on the ground. Aesop was a Phrygian, and, while
Bentley has proved that Aesop never wrote the existing fables which go
by that name, yet it is recognized that they are of Oriental origin
and it is evident that that of the Fox and the Grapes came out of
Asia, where, as Varro says, the grapes were usually allowed to grow on
the ground.]

[Footnote 65: One is tempted to include here Pliny's observations upon
the tests of good soil if only for the sake of his description of one
of the sweetest sensations of the farmer every where, the aroma of new
ploughed fertile land:--

"Those unguents which have a taste of earth are better," says Cicero,
"than those which smack of saffron," it seeming to him more to the
purpose to express himself by the word taste than smell. And such is
the fact no doubt, that soil is the best which has the savour of a
perfume. If the question should be put to us, what is this odour of
the earth that is held in such estimation; our answer is that it
is the same that is often to be recognized at the moment of sunset
without the necessity even of turning up the ground, at the spots
where the extremities of the rainbow have been observed to meet the
earth: as also, when after long continued drought, the rain has soaked
the ground. Then it is that the earth exhales the divine odour that is
so peculiarly its own, and to which, imparted to it by the sun, there
is no perfume however sweet that can possibly be compared. It is this
odour which the earth, when turned up, ought to emit, and which, when
once found, can never deceive any person: and this will be found the
best criterion for judging of the quality of the soil. Such, too, is
the odour that is usually perceived in land newly cleared when an
ancient forest has been just cut down; its excellence is a thing that
is universally admitted.]

[Footnote 66: The _actus_ was the head land or as much land as a yoke
of oxen could plough at a single spell without stopping, and measured
120 feet in length and four feet in width. Cf. Pliny, H.N. XVIII, 3.
Hence the square of the head land became the basis of the Roman land
measure. With the derivation of the _actus_ may be compared that of
the English furlong (furrow-long) and the French _arpent_ (literally,
head land).]

[Footnote 67: On the socialistic principle of Strepsiades in
Aristophanes' _Clouds_ that the use of geometry is to divide the land
into _equal_ parts.]

[Footnote 68: As it is difficult to appreciate that the Roman Campagna
was formerly populous with villas, when one contemplates its green
solitudes today, so when one faces the dread malaria which there
breeds, one wonders how the Romans of the Republic maintained so long
their hardy constitutions. It is now agreed that there was no malaria
in the Land of Saturn so long as the volcanos in the Alban hills
were active, because their gases purified the air and kept down the
mosquitoes, and geology tells us that Monte Pila was in eruption for
two or three centuries after the foundation of Rome. By the beginning
of the second century B.C. the fever seems to have become endemic.
Plautus and Terence both mention it and Cato (CLVII) describes its
symptoms unmistakably. In his book on the effect of malaria in
history, W.H. Jones expresses the opinion that the malady was brought
into Italy from Africa by Hannibal's soldiers, but it is more probable
that it was always there. See the discussion in Lanciani's _Wanderings
in the Roman Campagna_. In Varro's time the Roman fever had begun to
sap the vitality of the Roman people, and the "animalia minuta" in
this passage suggests that Varro had a curious appreciation of what
we call the modern science of the subject. Columella (I, 5, 6) indeed
specifically mentions mosquitoes (infestis aculeis armata animalia) as
one of the risks incident to living near a swamp.]

[Footnote 69: In the thirteenth century Ibn-al-Awam, a learned Moor,
wrote at Seville his _Kitab al-felahah_, or Book of Agriculture, which
has preserved for us not only the wisdom of the Moorish practice in
agriculture and gardening which made Spain an enchanted paradise, but
also the tradition of the Arabs in such matters, purporting to go
back, through the Nabataeans to the Chaldaean books, which recorded
the agricultural methods that obtained "by the waters of Babylon."
Ibn-al-Awam's book has, therefore, a double interest for us, and
we are fortunate in having it available in an admirable French
translation from the Arabic by J.J. Clement-Mullet (Paris, Librairie
A. Franck, 1864). Not the least profitable chapters in this book are
those devoted to the preparation of manure in composts, to be ripened
in pits as Varro advises in the text. They show a thoroughness, a care
and an art in the mixing of the various animal dungs, with straw,
woodsearth and cinders, which few modern gardeners could equal. German
scholarship has questioned the Chaldaean origin of the authorities
quoted, but there is internal evidence which smacks of an oriental
despotism that might well be Babylonian. In a recipe for a rich
compost suitable for small garden plants, we are advised (I, 2, I, p.
95), without a quiver, to mix in blood--that of the camel or the sheep
if necessary--_but human blood is to be preferred!_]

[Footnote 70: What Varro describes as the military fence of ditch and
bank was doubtless the typical Herefordshire fence of modern England
which Arthur Young, in _The Farmers' Letters_, recommends so highly as
at once most effective and most economical. The bank is topped with a
plashed hedge of white thorn in which sallow, ash, hazel and beech are
planted for "firing." The fencing practice of the American farmer has
followed the line of least resistance and is founded on the lowest
first cost: the original "snake" fences of split rails, upon the
making of which a former generation of pioneer American boys qualified
themselves for Presidential campaigns, being followed by woven wire
"made by a trust" and not the most enduring achievement of Big
Business. The practical farmer, as well as the lover of rural scenery,
has cause for regret that American agricultural practice has not yet
had the patience to enclose the land within live hedges and ditches.]

[Footnote 71: The kind of fence which Varro here describes as "ex terra
et lapillis compositis in formis" is also described by Pliny (H.N.
XXXV, 169), as formaceos or moulded, and he adds, "aevis durant." It
would thus clearly appear to have been of gravel concrete, the use of
which the manufacturers of cement are now telling us, is the badge of
the modern progressive farmer. Cato (XXXVIII) told how to burn lime on
the farm, and these concrete fences were, of course, formed with lime
as the matrix. When only a few years ago, Portland cement was first
produced in America at a cost and in a quantity to stimulate the
development of concrete construction, engineers began with rough
broken stone and sand as the constituents of what they call the
aggregate, but some one soon "discovered" that the use of smooth
natural gravel made more compact concrete and "gravel concrete" became
the last word in engineering practice. But it was older even than
Varro. A Chicago business man visiting Mycenae picked up and brought
home a bit of rubbish from Schliemann's excavations of the ancient
masonry: lying on his office desk it attracted the attention of an
engineering friend who exclaimed, "That is one of the best samples of
the new gravel concrete I have seen. Did it come out of the Illinois
tunnel?" "No," replied the returned traveller, "it came out of the
tomb of Agamemnon!"]

[Footnote 72: Varro here seems to forget the unities. He speaks in his
own person, when Scrofa has the floor.]

[Footnote 73: It will be recalled that Aristotle described slaves as
living tools. In Roman law a slave was not a _persona_ but a _res_.
Cf. Gaius II, 15.]

[Footnote 74: One of the most interesting of these freemen labourers of
whom we know is that Ofellus whom Horace (Satire II, 2) tells us
was working with cheerful philosophy as a hired hand upon his
own ancestral property from which he had been turned out in the
confiscations following the battle of Philippi. This might have been
the fate of Virgil also had he not chanced to have powerful friends.]

[Footnote 75: "Mais lorsque, malgre le degout de la chaine domestique,
nous voyons naitre entre les males et les femelles ces sentiments
que la nature a partout fondes sur un libre choix: lorsque l'amour a
commence a unir ces couples captifs, alors leur esclavage, devenu pour
eux aussi doux que la douce liberte, leur fait oublier peu a peu
leur droits de franchise naturelle et les prerogatives de leur etat
sauvage; et ces lieux des premiers plaisirs, des premieres amours,
ces lieux si chers a tout etre sensible, deviennent leur demeure de
predilection et leur habitation de choix: l'education de la famille
rend encore cette affection plus profonde et la communique en meme
temps aux petits, qui s'etant trouves citoyens par naissance d'un
sejour adopte par leur parents, ne cherchent point a en changer: car
ne pouvant avoir que pen ou point d'idee d'un etat different ni d'un
autre sejour ils s'attachent au lieu ou ils sont nes comme a leur
patrie; et l'on sait que la terre natale est chere a ceux meme qui
l'habitent en esclaves."

One might assume that this eloquent and comfortable essay on
contentment in slavery had been written to illustrate Varro's text
at this point, but, as a matter of fact, it is Buffon's observation
(VIII, 460) on the domestication of wild ducks!]

[Footnote 76: Saserna's rule would be the equivalent of one hand to
every five acres cultivated. With slave labour, certainly with negro
slave labour, the experience of American cotton planters in the
nineteenth century very nearly confirmed this requirement, but one of
the economic advantages of the abolition of slavery is illustrated by
this very point. In Latimer's _First Sermon before King Edward VI_,
animadverting on the advance in farm rents in his day, he says that
his father, a typical substantial English yeoman of the time of the
discovery of America, was able to employ profitably six labourers in
cultivating 120 acres, or, say, one hand for each twenty acres, which
was precisely what Arthur Young recommended as necessary for high
farming at the end of the eighteenth century. At the beginning of the
twentieth century the American farmer seldom employs more than one
hand for every eighty acres cultivated, but this is partly due to the
use of improved machinery and partly to the fact that his land is not
thoroughly cultivated.]

[Footnote 77: This example of Roman cost accounting is matched by
Walter of Henley in thirteenth century England.

"Some men will tell you that a plough cannot work eight score or nine
score acres yearly, but I will show you that it can. You know well
that a furlong ought to be forty perches long and four wide, and the
King's perch is sixteen feet and a half: then an acre is sixty-six
feet in width. Now in ploughing go thirty-six times round to make
the ridge narrower, and when the acre is ploughed then you have made
seventy-two furlongs, which are six leagues, for be it known that
twelve furlongs are a league. And the horse or ox must be very poor
that cannot from the morning go easily in pace three leagues in length
from his starting place and return by three o'clock. And I will show
you by another reason that it can do as much. You know that there are
in the year fifty-two weeks. Now take away eight weeks for holy days
and other hindrances, then are there forty-four working weeks left.
And in all that time the plough shall only have to plough for fallow
or for spring or winter sowing three roods and a half daily, and for
second fallowing an acre. Now see if a plough were properly kept and
followed, if it could not do as much daily."]

[Footnote 78: Stolo is quibbling. Cato's unit of 240 jugera was based
on the duodecimal system of weights and measures which the Romans had
originally derived from Babylon but afterwards modified by the use
of a decimal system. The enlightened and progressive nations of the
modern world who have followed the Romans in adopting a decimal system
may perhaps approve Stolo's remarks, but it behooves those of us who
still cling to the duodecimal system to defend Cato, if only to keep
up our own courage.]

[Footnote 79: Here, in a few words, is the whole doctrine of
intelligent agriculture. Cf. Donaldson's _Agricultural Biography,
tit_. Jethro Tull. "The name of Tull will ever descend to posterity as
one of the greatest luminaries, if not the very greatest benefactor,
that British agriculture has the pride to acknowledge. His example
furnishes the vast advantages of educated men directing their
attention to the cultivation of the soil, as they bring enlightened
minds to bear upon its practice and look at the object in a naked
point of view, being divested of the dogmas and trammels of the craft
with which the practitioners of routine are inexpugnably provided and

[Footnote 80: Pliny quotes Cato: "What ever can be done by the help
of the ass costs the least money," which is the philosophy of modern
power machinery on the farm, as elsewhere. It is largely a question of
the cost of fuel, as Varro says.]

[Footnote 81: Green manuring is one of the oldest, as it is one of
the best, of agricultural practices. Long before Varro, Theophrastus
(II.P. 9, I) had recorded what the agricultural colleges teach
today--that beans are valuable for this purpose because they rot
readily, and, he adds, in Macedonia and Thessaly it has always been
the custom to turn them under when they bloom.]

[Footnote 82: Although Varro advises the first ploughing in the spring,
the ancients were not unmindful of the advantages of winter ploughing
of stiff and heavy clay. Theophrastus, who died in B.C. 287, advises
it "that the earth may feel the cold." Indeed, he was fully alive to
the reasons urged by the modern professors of agronomy for intensive
cultivation. "For the soil," he says (C.P. III, 25), "often inverted
becomes free, light and clear of weeds, so that it can most easily
afford nourishment."

King Solomon gives the same advice, "The sluggard will not plough
by reason of the winter, therefore shall he begin harvest and have
nothing." _Proverbs_, XX, 4.]

[Footnote 83: The Romans understood the advantages of thorough
cultivation of the soil. As appears from the text, they habitually
broke up a sod in the spring, ploughed it again at midsummer, and once
more in September before seeding. Pliny prescribes that the first
ploughing should be nine inches deep, and says that the Etruscans some
times ploughed their stiff clay as many as nine times. The accepted
Roman reason for this was the eradication of weeds, but it also
accomplished in some measure the purpose of "dry farming"--the
conservation of the moisture content of the soil, as that had
been practised for countless generations in the sandy Valley of
Mesopotamia. Varro makes no exception to this rule, but Virgil was
here, as in other instances, induced to depart from Varro's wisdom,
with the result that he imposed upon Roman agriculture several
thoroughly bad practices. Thus, while he applies Varro ploughing rules
to rich land and bids the farmer "exercetque frequens tellurem atque
imperat arvis," he says (Geo. I, 62) that it will suffice to give
sandy land a single shallow ploughing in September immediately before
seeding, for fear, forsooth, that the summer suns will evaporate
whatever moisture there is in it! Again, Virgil recommends, what Varro
does not, cross-ploughing and burning the stubble and Virgil's advice
was generally followed.

In William Benson's edition (1725) of the _Georgics_ "with notes
critical and rustick," it is stated that "the husbandry of England
in general is Virgilian, which is shown by paring and burning the
surface: by raftering and cross-ploughing, and that in those parts of
England where the Romans principally inhabited all along the Southern
coast Latin words remain to this hour among shepherds and ploughmen in
their rustick affairs: and what will seem more strange at first sight
to affirm though in fact really true, there is more of Virgil's
husbandry put in practice in England at this instant than in Italy
itself." That this was the fact in the thirteenth century is clear
from the quotations we have made from Walter of Henley's _Dite de
Hosebondrie_. Cf. also Sir Anthony Fitzherbert and the account of the
manorial system of farming in England in Prothero's _English Farming
Past and Present_.

It remained for Jethro Tull of the _Horseshoeing Husbandry_ to unloose
in England the long spell of the magic of Virgil's poetry upon
practical agriculture.]

[Footnote 84: The Julian calendar, which took effect on January 1, B.C.
45, had been in use only eight years when Varro was writing.]

[Footnote 85: Schneider and others have attempted to emend the
enumeration of the days in this succession of seasons, but Keil
justly observes: "As we do not know what principle Varro followed in
establishing these divisions of the year, it is safer to set them
down as they are written in the codex than to be tempted by uncertain
emendation." I have accordingly followed Keil here.]

[Footnote 86: The practice of ridging land seeded to grain was
necessary before the invention of the modern drill. Dickson, in his
_Husbandry of the Ancients_, XXIV, argues that, while wasteful of
land, it had the advantage of preventing the grain from lodging.
Walter of Henley, who followed the Roman methods by tradition without
knowing it, advises with them that to be successful in this kind of
seeding the furrow at the last ploughing of the fallow should be so
narrow as to be indistinguishable. "At sowing do not plough large
furrows," he says, "but little and well laid together that the seed
may fall evenly: if you plough a large furrow to be quick you will do
harm. How? I will tell you. When, the ground is sown then the harrow
will come and pull the corn into the hollow which is between the two
ridges and the large ridge shall be uncovered, then no corn shall grow
there. And will you see this? When the corn is above ground go to the
end of the ridge and you will see that I tell you truly. And if the
land must be sown below the ridge see that it is ploughed with small
furrows and the earth raised as much as you are able. And see that the
ridge which is between the two furrows is narrow. And let the earth,
which lies like a crest in the furrow under the left foot after the
plough, be over-turned, and then shall the furrow be narrow enough."]

[Footnote 87: Farrago was a mixture of refuse _far_, or spelt, with
vetch, sown thick and cut green to be fed to cattle in the process
now called soiling. The English word "forage" comes from this Latin

[Footnote 88: Spanish American engineers today insert in their
specifications for lumber the stipulation that it be cut on the wane
of the moon. The rural confidence in the influence of the moon upon
the life of a farm still persists vigorously: thus as Pliny (H.N.
XVIII, 75) counselled that one wean a colt only when the moon is on
the wane, so it will be found that the moon is consulted before a colt
is weaned on most American farms today: for that may be safely done,
says the rural oracle, only when the moon's sign, as given in the
almanack, corresponds with a part of the almanack's "moon's man" or
"anatomic" at or below the knees, i.e., when the moon is in one or the
other of the signs Pisces, Capricornus or Aquarius: but never at a
time of day when the moon is in its "Southing."]

[Footnote 89: Modern agricultural chemistry has contradicted this
judgment of Cassius, for the manure of sea birds, especially that
brought from the South American islands in the Pacific, known
commercially as Peruvian guano, is found on analysis to be high in the
elements which are most beneficial to plant life.]

[Footnote 90: Seed selection, which is now preached so earnestly by
the Agricultural Department of the United States as one of the things
necessary to increase the yield of wheat and corn, has ever been good
practice. Following Varro Virgil (_Georgic_ I, 197) insists upon it:
"I have seen those seeds on whose selection much time and labour
had been spent, nevertheless degenerate if men did not every year
rigorously separate by hand all the largest specimens."]

[Footnote 91: Cicero (de Div. II, 24) records a _mot_ of Cato's that
he wondered that an haruspex did not laugh when he saw another--"qui
mirari se aiebat, quod non rideret aruspex, aruspicem quum vidisset."]

[Footnote 92: This process of propagation which Varro describes as
"new" is still practised by curious orchardists under the name
"inarching." The free end of a growing twig is introduced into a
limb of its own tree, back of a specimen fruit, thus pushing its
development by means of the supplemental feeding so provided. Cf. Cyc.
Am. Hort. II, 664.]

[Footnote 93: _Alfalfa_ is the Moorish name which the Spaniards brought
to America with the forage plant _Medicago Sativa_, Linn., which all
over Southern Europe is known by the French name _lucerne_. It is
proper to honour the Moors by continuing in use their name for this
interesting plant, because undoubtedly they preserved it for the use
of the modern world, just as undoubtedly they bequeathed to us that
fine sentiment known as personal honour.

Alfalfa was one of the standbys of ancient agriculture. According to
Pliny, it was introduced into Italy from Greece, whence it had been
brought from Asia during the Persian wars, and so derived its Greek
and Roman name _Medica_. As Cato does not mention it with the other
legumes he used, it is probable that the Romans had not yet adopted
it in Cato's day, but by the time of Varro and Virgil it was well
established in Italy. In Columella's day it was already a feature of
the agriculture of Andalousia, and there the Moors, who loved plants,
kept it alive, as it were a Vestal fire, while it died out of Italy
during the Dark Ages: from Spain it spread again all over Southern
Europe, and with America it was a fair exchange for tobacco. Alfalfa
has always been the subject of high praise wherever it has been known.
The Greek Amphilochus devoted a whole book to it, as have the English
Walter Harte in the middle of the eighteenth century and the American
Coburn at the beginning of the twentieth century, but none of them is
more instructive on the subject of its culture than is Columella in a
few paragraphs. Because of the difficulty of getting a stand of it in
many soils, it is important to realize the pains which the Romans took
with the seed bed, for it is on this point that most American farmers
fail. Says Columella (II, 10):

"But of all the legumes, alfalfa is the best, because, when once it is
sown, it lasts ten years: because it can be mowed four times, and even
six times, a year: because it improves the soil: because all lean
cattle grow fat by feeding upon it: because it is a remedy for sick
beasts: because a jugerum (two-thirds of an acre) of it will feed
three horses plentifully for a year. We will teach you the manner of
cultivating it, as follows: The land which you wish to set in alfalfa
the following spring should be broken up about the Kalends of October,
so that it may mellow through the entire winter. About the Kalends of
February harrow it thoroughly, remove all the stones and break up the
clods. Later, about the month of March, harrow it for the third time.
When you have so got the land in good order, lay it off after the
manner of a garden, in beds ten feet wide and fifty feet long, so that
it may be possible to let in water by the paths, and access on every
side may be had by the weeders. Then cover the beds with well rotted
manure. At last, about the end of April, sow plentifully so that a
single measure (cyanthus) of seed will cover a space ten feet long
and five wide. When you have done this brush in the seed with wooden
rakes: this is most important for otherwise the sprouts will be
withered by the sun. After the sowing no iron tool should touch the
beds; but, as I have said, they should be cultivated with wooden
rakes, and in the same manner they should be weeded so that no foreign
grass can choke out the young alfalfa. The first cutting should be
late, when the seed begins to fall: afterwards, when it is well
rooted, you can cut it as young as you wish to feed to the stock. Feed
it at first sparingly, until the stock becomes accustomed to it, for
it causes bloat and excess of blood. After cutting, irrigate the beds
frequently, and after a few days, when the roots begin to sprout, weed
out all other kinds of grass. Cultivated in this way alfalfa can be
mowed six times a year, and it will last for ten years."]

[Footnote 94: See the explanation of what the Romans meant by _terra
varia_ in the note on Cato V. _ante_, p. 40.]

[Footnote 95: It is interesting to note from the statements in the text
that in Varro's time the Roman farmer in Italy both sowed and reaped
substantially the same amount of wheat as does the American farmer
today. Varro says that the Romans sowed five modii of wheat to the
jugerum and reaped on the maximum fifteen for one. As the modius was
nearly the equivalent of our peck, the Roman allowance for sowing
corresponds to the present American practice of sowing seven pecks
of wheat to the acre: and on this basis a yield of 26 bushels to the
acre, which is not uncommon in the United States, is the equivalent of
the Roman harvest of fifteen for one.

It is fair to the average Italian farmer of the present day who is
held up by the economists to scorn because he does not produce
more than eleven bushels of wheat to the acre, to record that in
Columella's time, when agriculture had declined as compared with
Varro's experience, the average yield of grain in many parts of Italy
did not exceed four for one (_Columella_, III, 3), or say seven and a
half bushels to the acre.

Varro's statement that at Byzacium in Africa wheat yielded 100 for
one, which Pliny (_II.N._ XVIII, 23) increases to 150 for one, means
from 175 to 260 bushels per acre, seems incredible to us, but is
confirmed by the testimony of agricultural practice in Palestine.
Isaac claimed to reap an hundred fold, and the parable of the Sower
alludes to yields of 30, 60 and 100 fold.

Harte _Essays on Husbandry_, 91, says that the average yield in
England in the middle of the eighteenth century was seven for one,
though he records the case of an award by the Dublin Society in 1763
to an Irish gentleman who raised 50 bushels of wheat from a single
peck of seed! Harte was a parson, but apparently he did not bring the
same unction into his agriculture as did the Rev. Robert Herrick to
the husbandry of his Devonshire glebe, a century earlier. In Herrick's
_Thanksgiving to God for his House_ he sings:

"Lord, 'tis thy plenty dropping hand
That soils my land
And giv'st me for my bushel sown
Twice ten for one.
Thou makst my teeming hen to lay
Her egg each day:
Besides my healthful ewes to bear
Me twins each year."]

[Footnote 96: As the Gallic header here described by Varro is the
direct ancestor of our modern marvellous self-binding harvester, it is
of interest to rehearse the other ancient references to it.

Pliny (_H. N_. XVIII, 72) says:

"In the vast domains of the provinces of Gaul a large hollow frame
armed with teeth and supported on two wheels is driven through the
standing corn, the beasts being yoked behind it, the result being that
the ears are torn off and fall within the frame." Palladius (VII, 2)
goes more into detail:

"The people of the more level regions of Gaul have devised a method of
harvesting quickly and with a minimum of human labour, for thereby a
single ox is made to bear the burden of the entire harvest. A cart is
constructed on two low wheels and is furnished with a square body, of
which the side boards are adjusted to slope upward and outward to make
greater capacity. The front of the body is left open and there across
the width of the cart are set a series of lance shaped teeth spaced to
the distance between the grain stalks and curved upward. Behind the
cart two short shafts are fashioned, like those of a litter, where the
ox is yoked and harnessed with his head towards the cart: for this
purpose it is well to use a well broken and sensible ox, which will
not push ahead of his driver. When this machine is driven through the
standing grain all the heads are stripped by the teeth and are thrown
back and collected in the body of the cart, the straw being left
standing. The machine is so contrived that the driver can adjust its
height to that of the grain. Thus with little going and coming and in
a few short hours the entire harvest is made. This method is available
in level or prairie countries and to those who do not need to save the

That ingenious Dutchman Conrad Heresbach refers, in his _Husbandry_,
to Palladius' description of the Gallic header with small respect,
which indicates that in the sixteenth century it was no longer in use.
I quote from Barnaby Googe's translation of Heresbach (the book which
served Izaak Walton as the model for his _Compleat Angler_): "This
tricke might be used in levell and champion countries, but with us it
would make but ill-favoured worke."

Dondlinger, in his excellent _Book of Wheat_ (1908), which should be
in the hands of every grain farmer, gives a picture reproducing the
Gallic header and says:

"After being used during hundreds of years the Gallic header
disappeared, and it seems to have been completely forgotten for
several centuries. Only through literature did it escape the fate of
permanent oblivion and become a heritage for the modern world. The
published description of the machine by Pliny and Palladius furnished
the impulse in which modern harvesting inventions originated. Its
distinctive features are retained in several modern inventions of this
class, machines which have a practical use and value under conditions
similar to those which existed on the plains of Gaul. Toward the close
of the eighteenth century, the social, economic and agricultural
conditions in England, on account of increasing competition and the
higher value of labour, were ripe for the movement of invention that
was heralded by the printed account of the Gallic header. The first
header was constructed by William Pitt in 1786. It was an attempted
improvement on the ancient machine in that the stripping teeth were
placed in a cylinder which was revolved by power transmitted from the
wheels. This 'rippling cylinder' carried the heads of the wheat into
the box of the machine, and gradually evolved into the present day

It may be added that the William Pitt mentioned was not the statesman,
but a contemporary agricultural writer of the same name.]

[Footnote 97: According to Sir Anthony Fitzherbert it was the custom in
England to shear wheat and rye and to leave the straw standing after
the third method described by Varro, the purpose being to preserve the
straw to be cut later for thatching, as threshing it would necessarily
destroy its value for thatching. It was the custom in England,
however, to mow barley and oats.]

[Footnote 98: Pliny advises that the grain which collects on the
circumference of a threshing floor of this description be saved for
seed because it is evidently the heaviest.]

[Footnote 99: In the Apennines today the threshing floor, or _aja_, is
anointed with cow dung smeared smooth with water, doubtless for the
same reason that the Romans so used amurca.]

[Footnote 100: Between harvests the winnowing basket is quite generally
used in Italy today for a cradle, as it was from the beginning of
time, for there is an ancient gem representing the infant Bacchus
asleep in a winnowing basket.]

[Footnote 101: What the French call, from the same practice, _vin de

[Footnote 102: Varro does not mention the season of the olive harvest,
but Virgil tells us (G. II, 519) that in their day as now it was
winter. Cato (XX-XXII) described the construction and operation of the
_trapetus_ in detail. 'It can still be seen in operation in Italy,
turned by a patient donkey and flowing with the new oil of an intense
blue-green colour. It is always flanked by an array of vast storage
jars (Cato's _dolii_ now called _orci_), which make one realize the
story of _Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves_.]

[Footnote 103: The Roman waste of amurca, through ignorance of its
value, was like the American waste of the cotton seed, which for many
years was thrown out from the gin to rot upon the ground, even its
fertilizing use being neglected. Now cotton seed has a market value
equivalent to nearly 20 per cent of that of the staple. It is used for
cattle feed and also is made into lard and "pure olive oil," being
exported in bulk and imported again in bottles with Italian labels.]

[Footnote 104: Cf. Fowler, _Social Life at Rome in the Age of Cicero_.
"Let us consider that in a large city today the person and property
of all, rich or poor, are adequately protected by a sound system of
police and by courts of first instance which are sitting every day.
Assault and murder, theft and burglary are exceptional. It might be
going too far to say that at Rome they were the rule: but it is the
fact that in what we may call the slums of Rome there was no machinery
for checking them.... It is the great merit of Augustus that he made
Rome not only a city of marble but one in which the persons and
property of all citizens were fairly secure."

There are several contemporary references to the crowded and dangerous
condition of the streets of Rome at the end of the Republic. Cicero
(_Plancius_, 7) tells how he was pushed against the arch of Fabius
while struggling through the press of the Via Sacra, and exonerates
from blame the man who was the immediate cause of his inconvenience,
holding that the one next beyond was more responsible: in which
judgment Cicero was of the opinion of Mr. Justice Blackstone in the
famous leading case of Scott _v_. Shepherd (1 _Smith's L.C._, 480),
where the question was who was liable for the damage eventually done
by the burning squib which was passed about the market house by
successive hands. The majority of the court held, however, against
Blackstone and Cicero, and established the doctrine of proximate

[Footnote 105: The Roman week (_nundinum_, or more properly _inter
nundinum_) was of eight days, the last being the market day on which
the citizens rested from agricultural labour and came into town to
sell and buy and talk politics. Cf. Pliny, XVIII, 3. This custom which
Varro regrets had fallen into desuetude so far as Rome was concerned
was in his day still practised in the provinces. Thus the five tenants
on Horace's Sabine farm were wont to go every _nundinum_ to the market
town of Varia (the modern Vicovaro) to transact public business
(_Epist_. I, 14, 2).]

[Footnote 106: Varro here refers to the great economic change which was
coming over Italian husbandry in the last days of the Republic, the
disappearance of the small farms, the "septem jugera" which nurtured
the early Roman heroes like Cincinnatus and Dentatus, and even the
larger, but still comparatively small, farms which Cato describes, and
the development of the _latifundia_ given over to grazing.]

[Footnote 107: The tradition is, says Pliny, that King Augeas was the
first in Greece to use manure, and that Hercules introduced the
practice into Italy. To the wise farmer the myth of the Augean stables
is the genesis of good agriculture.]

[Footnote 108: This was the "crowded hour" in Varro's life, and, as M.
Boissier has pointed out, he loved to dwell upon its episodes. It
will be recalled that Pompey divided the Mediterranean into thirteen
districts for the war with the Pirates and put a responsible
lieutenant in command of each, thus enabling him by concurrent action
in all the districts to clear the seas in three months. Appian gives
the list of officers and the limits of their commands, saying: "The
coasts of Sicily and the Ionian sea as far as Acarnania were entrusted
to Plotius and Varro." It is difficult to understand Varro's own
reference to Delos, but Appian makes clear how it happened that Varro
was stationed on the coast of Epirus and so fell in with the company
of "half Greek shepherds" who are the _dramatis personae_ of the
second book. As the scene of the first book was laid in a temple of
Tellus, so this relating to live stock is cast in a temple of Pales,
the goddess of shepherds, on the occasion of the festival of the
Parilia, and the names of the characters have a punning reference to
live stock.]

[Footnote 109: The codices here contain an interpolation of the words
"HIC INTERMISIMUS," to indicate that a part of the text is missing,
with which judgment of some early student of the archetype Victorius,
Scaliger and Ursinus, as well as their successors among the
commentators on Varro, have all agreed. It is a pleasure to record the
agreement on this point, because it is believed to be unique: but
many precedents for plunging the reader _in medias res_, as does the
surviving text, might be found in the modern short story of the
artist in style. As M. Boissier points out Varro might have cited the
beginning of the Odyssey as a precedent for this.]

[Footnote 110: This is a paraphase of a favorite locution of Homer's
heroes, whose characteristic modesty does not, however, permit them
to apply it to themselves, as Varro does. Thus in _Iliad_, VII, 114,
Agamemnon advises Menelaos not to venture against Hector, whom "even
Achilles dreadeth to meet in battle, wherein is the warrior's glory,
and Achilles is better far than thou."]

[Footnote 111: Virgil (Aen. VII, 314) made a fine line out of this
tradition, endowing the sturdy race of Fauns and Nymphs who inhabited
the land of Saturn before the Golden Age, with the qualities of the
trees on whose fruit they subsisted, "gensque virum truncis et duro
robore nata."]

[Footnote 112: In the registers of the censors every thing from which
the public revenues were derived was set down under the head of
_pascua_, or "pasture lands," because for a long time the pasture
lands were the only source of such revenue. Cf. Pliny, _H.N._ XVIII,

[Footnote 113: Olisippo is the modern Lisbon. This tradition about the
mares of the region is repeated by Virgil (Geo. III, 272) by Columella
(VI, 27) and by Pliny (VIII, 67). Professor Ridgeway in _The Origin
and Influence of the Thoroughbred Horse_ describes it as "an
aetiological myth to explain the swiftness of horses" for the fleetest
horses came out of the West; thus Pegasus was born at the springs of
the ocean, and there is the passage in Homer (_Iliad_, XVI, 149) about
the horses "that flew as swift as the winds, the horses that the
harpy Podarge (Swift Foot) bare to the West Wind as she grazed on the
meadows by the stream of the Ocean." Hence we may conclude that there
was a race of swift horses in Portugal in the earliest times, which
Professor Ridgeway would doubtless like very much to prove, in support
of his interesting thesis, were derived from Libya.]

[Footnote 114: _Hypenemia_, or barren eggs, are described intelligently
by Aristotle (H.A.V. 1, 4, VI. 2, 5), and, with Varro's confidence in
the country traditions, by Pliny, H.N. X, 80.

If he had known it, Varro might have here cited the fact that the
unfertilized queen bee is parthenogenetic, though producing only male
bees; i.e., drones: but it remained for a German clergyman, Dzierzon,
to discover this in the eighteenth century.]

[Footnote 115: Cf. Plautus _Menaechmi_, II, 2, 279. One of the two
Menaechmi is, on his arrival at Epidamnus, mistaken for his brother,
of whose existence he does not know, and much to his amazement is
introduced into the brother's life and possessions. At first he
expostulates, accusing the slave of the brother, who has mistaken his
identity, of being crazy and offers to exorcise him by a sacrifice
of weanling pigs, wherefore he asks the question quoted in the text.
Varro was evidently fond of this passage, as he quotes it again,
_post_, p. 221. The _Menaechmi_ is one of the immortal comedies and
has survived in many forms on the modern stage all over Europe. From
it Shakespeare derived the plot of the _Comedy of Errors_.]

[Footnote 116: It is interesting to compare these sane therapeutics with
Cato's practice less than two hundred years previous (_ante_, p. 47),
which was characteristic of the superstitious peasant who in Italy
still seeks the priest to bless his ailing live stock.]

[Footnote 117: This Atticus was Cicero's intimate friend to whom he
addressed so many of his charming letters. He changed his name as
stated in the text, the new name being that of an uncle who adopted
him, as we learn from his life by Nepos. As is well known to all
students of Cicero, Atticus had dwelt in Athens many years and derived
his income from estates in Epirus, which is the point of Scrofa's

[Footnote 118: This requirement of short legs is the more remarkable
because of the long journeys which Varro says the Roman sheep were
required to make between their summer and winter pastures. A similar
necessity and bad roads created in England, before the eighteenth
century, a demand for long legged sheep. Prothero (_English Farming
Past and Present_) quotes a description of the "true old Warwickshire
ram" in 1789: "His frame large and remarkably loose. His bone
throughout heavy. His legs long and thick, terminating in large splaw

One of the things which Bakewell accomplished was to shorten the legs
as well as to increase the mutton on his New Leicesters. Of Bakewell,
Mr. Prothero justly says, "By providing meat for the million he
contributed as much to the wealth of the country as Arkwright or

[Footnote 119: Shepherds still look for the black or spotted tongue in
the mouth of the ram, for the reason given by Varro, but the warning
is no longer put in the shepherds' manual.]

[Footnote 120: Varro would still feel at home in Apulia, for there the
sheep industry is carried on much as it was in his time, and thence
the _calles publicae_, to which he refers, still lead to the summer
pastures in the Apennines. Cf. Beauclerk _Rural Italy_, chap. V. "The
extensive pasturages of the 'Tavoliere di Puglia' (Apulia) are of
great importance and have a history of their own. This vast domain
covers 750,000 acres: its origin belongs to the time of the Roman
Conquests and the protracted wars of the Republic, which were fought
out in the plains, whence they became deserted and uncultivated, fit
only for public pastures in winter time ... the periodical emigrations
of the flocks continue as in the past times: they descend from the
mountains into the plains by a network of wide grassy roads which
traverse the region in every direction and are called _tratturi_.
These lanes are over 100 yards in width and cover a total length
of 940 miles.... Not less than 50,000 animals are pastured on the
Tavoliere, requiring over 1,500 square miles of land for their
subsistence.... Five thousand persons are employed as shepherds."]

[Footnote 121: Varro quite uniformly uses words which indicate that he
was accustomed to see sheep driven (_abigere, propellere, adpellere_)
but we can see the flocks _led_ in Italy today, as they were in
Palestine soon after Varro's death, according to the testimony of that
beautiful figure of the Good Shepherd (_St. John_, X, 4): "And when he
putteth forth his own sheep he goeth before them, and the sheep follow
him, for they know his voice." R. Child, in his "Large Letter" in
Hartlib's _Legacie_, gives the explanation of the difference in the

"Our sheep do not follow their shepherds as they do in all other
countries: for the shepherd goeth before and the sheep follow like a
pack of dogs. This disobedience of our sheep doth not happen to us,
as the Papist Priests tell their simple flocks, because we have left
their great shepherd the Pope; but because we let our sheep range
night and day in our fields without a shepherd: which other countries
dare not for fear of wolves and other ravenous beasts, but are
compelled to guard them all day with great dogs and to bring them home
at night, or to watch them in their folds."]

[Footnote 122: Cf. Dante, _Purg_. XXVII, 79.

"Le capre
Tacite all' ombra mentre che'l sol ferve
Guardate dal pastor che'n su la verga
Poggiato s'e, e lor poggiato serve."]

[Footnote 123: It will be recalled that when Odysseus, disguised as a
beggar, was making his way to his house in company with the faithful
swineherd Eumaeus, they met the goatherd Melanthius "leading his goats
to feast the wooers, the best goats that were in all the herds."
(_Odyssey_, XVII, 216), and that subsequently he suffered a terrible
punishment for this unfaithfulness to his master's interests.]

[Footnote 124: Pliny (VIII, 76) calls these excrescences _lanciniae_, or
folds, and attributes them exclusively to the she goat, as Varro seems
to do also, but Columella (VII, 6) attributes them to the buck.]

[Footnote 125: Aristotle (H.A. I, 9.1) refers to this opinion and
denounces it as erroneous.]

[Footnote 126: The Roman _denarius_, which has been here and later
translated _denier_, may be considered for the purpose of comparing
values as, roughly, the equivalent of the modern franc, or lira, say
20 cents United States money.]

[Footnote 127: Macrobius (_Saturn_. I, 6) tells another story of the
origin of this cognomen, which, if not so heroic as that in the text,
is entertaining. It is related that a neighbour's sow strayed on
Tremelius' land and was caught and killed as a vagrant. When the
owner came to claim it and asserted the right to search the premises
Tremelius hid the carcass in the bed in which his wife was lying and
then took a solemn oath that there was no sow in his house except that
in the bed.]

[Footnote 128: It would seem, as Gibbon says of the Empress Theodora,
that this passage could be left "veiled in the obscurity of a learned
language"; but it may be noted that the _locus classicus_ for the
play on the word is the incident of the Megarian "mystery pigs" in
Aristophanes' _Acharnians_, 728 ff. Cf. also Athenaeus, IX, 17, 18.]

[Footnote 129: Cf. Pliny (_H.N._ VIII, 77): "There is no animal that
affords a greater variety to the palate of the epicure: all the others
have their own peculiar flavour, but the flesh of the hog has nearly
fifty different flavours."]

[Footnote 130: In his stimulating book, _Comment la route cree le type
Social_, Edmond Desmolins submits an ingenious hypothesis to explain
the pre-eminence of the Gauls in the growing and making of pork,
and how that pre-eminence was itself the explanation of their early
success in cultivating the cereals. He describes their migrating
ancestors, the Celts, pushing their way up the Danube as hordes of
nomad shepherds with their vast flocks and herds of horses and cattle,
on the milk of which they had hitherto subsisted. So long as they
journeyed through prairie steppes, the last of which was Hungary, they
maintained their shepherd character, but when they once passed the
site of the present city of Vienna and entered the plateau of Bavaria,
they found new physical conditions which caused them to reduce and to
separate their herds of large cattle--an unbroken forest affording
little pasture of grass. Here they found the wild boar subsisting upon
the mast of the forest, and him they domesticated out of an economic
necessity, to take the place of their larger cattle as a basis of food
supply. Until then they had not been meat eaters, and so had known no
necessity for cereals, for milk is a balanced ration in itself. But
this change of diet required them also to take to agriculture and so
to abandon their nomad life.

'By reason of the habits of the animal, swine husbandry has a tendency
in itself to confine those engaged in it to a more or less sedentary
life, but we are about to see how the Celts were compelled to
accomplish this important evolution by an even more powerful force.
Meat cannot be eaten habitually except in conjunction with a
cereal ... and of all the meats pork is the one which demands this
association most insistently, because it is the least easily digested
and the most heating of all the meats.... So that is how the adoption
of swine husbandry and a diet of pork compelled our nomad Celts to
take the next step and settle down to agriculture.']

[Footnote 131: This Gallic _tomacina_ was doubtless the ancestor of the
_mortadella_ now produced in the Emilia and known to English speaking
consumers as "Bologna" sausage.]

[Footnote 132: The Gaul of which Cato was here writing is the modern
Lombardy, one of the most densely populated and richest agricultural
districts in the world. Here are found today those truly marvellous
"marchite" or irrigated meadows which owe the initiative for their
existence to the Cistercian monks of the Chiaravalle Abbey, who began
their fruitful agricultural labours in the country near Milan in the
twelfth century. There is a recorded instance of one of these meadows
which yielded in a single season 140 tons of grass per hectare, equal
to 75 tons of hay, or 30 tons per acre! The meadows are mowed six
times a year, and the grass is fed green to Swiss cows, which are kept
in great numbers for the manufacture of "frommaggio di grana," or
Parmesan cheese. This system of green soiling maintains the fertility
of the meadows, while the by-product of the dairies is the feeding of
hogs, which are kept in such quantity that they are today exported as
they were in the times of Cato and Varro. There is no region of the
earth, unless it be Flanders, of which the aspect so rejoices the
heart of a farmer as the Milanese. Well may the Lombard proverb say,
"Chi ha prato, ha tutto."]

[Footnote 133: Virgil (_Aen_. VII, 26) subsequently made good use of
this tradition of the founding of Lavinium, the sacred city of the
Romans where the Penates dwelt and whither solemn processions were
wont to proceed from Rome until Christianity became the State
religion. The site has been identified as that of the modern village
of Practica, where a few miserable shepherds collect during the winter
months, fleeing to the hills at the approach of summer and the dread

[Footnote 134: Cf. Polybius, XII, 4: 'For in Italy the swineherds manage
the feeding of their pigs in the same way. They do not follow close
behind the beasts, as in Greece, but keep some distance in front of
them, sounding their horn every now and then: and the animals follow
behind and run together at the sound. Indeed, the complete familiarity
which the animals show with the particular horn to which they belong
seems at first astonishing and almost incredible. For, owing to the
populousness and wealth of the country, the droves of swine in Italy
are exceedingly large, especially along the sea coast of the Tuscans
and Gauls: for one sow will bring up a thousand pigs, or some times
even more. They, therefore, drive them out from their night styes to
feed according to their litters and ages. When if several droves are
taken to the same place they cannot preserve these distinctions of
litters: but they, of course, get mixed up with each other both as
they are being driven out and as they feed, and as they are being
brought home. Accordingly, the device of the horn blowing has been
invented to separate them when they have got mixed up together,
without labour or trouble. For as they feed one swineherd goes in
one direction sounding his horn, and another in another and thus the
animals sort themselves of their own accord and follow their own horn
with such eagerness that it is impossible by any means to stop or
hinder them. But in Greece when the swine get mixed up in the oak
forests in their search for the mast, the swineherd who has most
assistants and the best help at his disposal, when collecting his own
animals drives off his neighbours' also. Some times, too, a thief lies
in wait and drives them off without the swineherd knowing how he has
lost them, because the beasts straggle a long way from their drivers
in their eagerness to find acorns, when they are just beginning to

Bishop Latimer in one of his sermons quotes the phrase used in his
youth, at the time of the discovery of America, in calling hogs: 'Come
to thy minglemangle, come pur, come pur.' It would be impossible to
transcribe the traditional call used in Virginia. One some times
thinks that it was the original of the celebrated 'rebel yell' of
General Lee's army.]

[Footnote 135: The use of the Greek salutation was esteemed by the more
austere Romans of the age of Scipio an evidence of preciosity, to be
laughed at: and so Lucienus' jesting apology for the use of it here
doubtless was in reference to Lucilius' epigram which Cicero has
preserved, _de Finibus_, I, 3.

"Graece ergo praetor Athenis
Id quod maluisti te, quum ad me accedi, saluto
[Greek: Chaire] inquam, Tite: lictores turma omni cohorsque
[Greek: Chaire] Tite! Hinc hostis mi Albucius, hinc inimicus."

It was the word which the Romans taught their parrots. Cf. Persius,
_Prolog_. 8.]

[Footnote 136: The working ox was respected by the ancient Romans as a
fellow labourer. Valerius Maximus (VIII, 8 _ad fin_.) cites a case of
a Roman citizen who was put to death, because, to satisfy the craving
of one of his children for beef to eat, he slew an ox from the plough.
Ovid puts this sentiment in the mouth of Pythagoras, when he agrees
that pigs and goats are fit subjects for sacrifice, but protests
against such use of sheep and oxen. (_Metamor_. XV, 139.)

"Quid meruere boves, animal sine fraude dolisque
Innocuum, simplex, natum tolerare labores?
Immemor est demum, nee frugum manere dignus
Qui potuit curvi demto modo pondere arati
Ruricolam mactare suum: qui trita labore
Ilia quibus toties durum renovaverat arvum
Tot dederse messes, percussit colla securi."]

[Footnote 137: The learned commentators have been able to discover
nothing about either this Plautius or this Hirrius, but it appears
that Archelaus wrote a book under the title Bugonia, of which nothing
survives. It may be conjectured, however, on the analogy of Samson's
riddle to the Philistines, "Out of the eater came forth meat, and
out of the strong came forth sweetness," (_Judges_, XIV, 14), that
Plautius meant to imply that some good might be the consequence of the
evil Hirrius had done: and that Vaccius cited the allusion to suggest
to Varro that, while he might know nothing much about cattle,
his attempt to deal with the subject might provoke some useful

[Footnote 138: Darwin, _Animals and Plants_, II, 20, cites this passage
and says that "at the present day the natives of Java some times drive
their cattle into the forests to cross with the wild Banteng." The
crossing of wild blood on domestic animals is not, however, always
successful. A recent visitor to the German agricultural experiment
station at Halle describes "a curious hairy beast with great horns,
a wild look in his eye, a white streak down his back and a bumpy
forehead, which had in it blood from cattle which had lived on the
plains of Thibet, which had grazed on the lowland pastures of Holland,
which had roamed the forests of northeast India and of the Malay
Peninsular, and had wandered through the forests of Germany. We
Americans had sympathy for this beast. He was some thing like
ourselves, with the blood of many different races flowing through his

[Footnote 139: Pliny (VIII, 66) cites the fact that the Scythians always
preferred mares to stallions for war, and gives an ingenious reason
for the preference. Aristotle (_H.A._ VI, 22) says that the Scythians
rode their pregnant mares until the very last, saying that the
exercise rendered parturition more easy. Every breeder of heavy draft
horses has seen a mare taken from the plough and have her foal in the
field, with no detriment to either: and the story of the mare Keheilet
Ajuz, who founded the best of the Arab families, is well known, but
bears repetition. I quote from Spencer Borden, _The Arab Horse_, p.
44: "It is related that a certain Sheik was flying from an enemy,
mounted on his favourite mare. Arab warriors trust themselves only to
mares, they will not ride a stallion in war. The said mare was at the
time far along toward parturition: indeed she became a mother when the
flying horseman stopped for rest at noonday, the new comer being a
filly. Being hard pressed the Sheik was compelled to remount his mare
and again seek safety in flight, abandoning the newborn filly to her
fate. Finally reaching safety among his own people, great was the
surprise of all when, shortly after the arrival of the Sheik on his
faithful mare, the little filly less than a day old came into camp
also, having followed her mother across miles of desert. She was
immediately given into the care of an old woman of the tribe (Ajuz
= an old woman), hence her name Keheilet Ajuz, 'the mare of the old
woman,' and grew to be the most famous of all the animals in the
history of the breed."]

[Footnote 140: Varro does not describe the livery of the horses of his
day, as he does of cattle, but Virgil (_Georg_. III, 81) supplies the
deficiency, asserting that the best horses were bay (_spadices_) and
roan (_glauci_) while the least esteemed were white (_albi_) and dun
(_gilvi_), which is very interesting testimony in support of the most
recent theory of the origin of the thoroughbred horse. Professor
Ridgeway who, opposing Darwin's conclusion, contends for a multiple
origin of the historic and recent races of horses, has collected a
mass of information about the marking of famous horses of all ages in
his _Origin and Influence of the Thoroughbred Horse_. He maintains
that a bay livery, with a white star and stockings, the development
of protective coloration from an originally striped coat, such as has
gone on more recently in the case of the quaggas, is absolute evidence
of the North African origin of a horse, and he shows that all the
swiftest horses mentioned in history are of that race, while the
heavier and less mettlesome horses of Northern origin have been, when
pure bred, dun coloured or white.

Of the Italian breeds mentioned by Varro, Professor Ridgeway
conjectures that the Etruscan (or Rosean) was probably an improved
Northern horse, while the Apulian, from the South of Italy,
represented an admixture of Libyan blood.]

[Footnote 141: Aristotle (_H.A._ VI, 22) preceded Varro with this good
advice, saying that a mare "produces better foals at the end of four
or five years. It is quite necessary that she should wait one year
and should pass through a fallow, as it were--[Greek: poiein osper

[Footnote 142: Mules were employed in antiquity from the earliest times.
In Homer they were used for drawing wagons: thus Nausicaa drove a mule
team to haul out the family wash, and Priam made his visit to Achilles
in a mule litter. Homer professes to prefer mules to oxen for
ploughing. There were mule races at the Greek games. Aristotle
(_Rhetoric_, III, 2) tells an amusing story of Simonides, who, when
the victor in the mule race offered him only a poor fee, refused to
compose an ode, pretending to be shocked at the idea of writing about
"semi-asses," but, on receipt of a proper fee, he wrote the ode
beginning: "Hail, daughters of storm-footed mares," although they were
equally daughters of the asses.]

[Footnote 143: The breed of Maremma sheep dogs, still preferred in
Italy, is white. He is doubtless the descendant of the large woolly
"Spitz" or Pomeranian wolf dog which is figured on Etruscan coins.]

[Footnote 144: In his essay,_Notre ami le chien_, Maeterlinck maintains
eloquently that the dog alone among the domestic animals has given his
confidence and friendship to man. "We are alone, absolutely alone, on
this chance planet: and amid all the forms of life that surround us
not one excepting the dog has made alliance with us. A few creatures
fear us, most are unaware of us, and not one loves us. In the world of
plants, we have dumb and motionless slaves: but they serve us in spite
of themselves.... The rose and the corn, had they wings, would fly at
our approach, like birds. Among the animals, we number a few servants
who have submitted only through indifference, cowardice or stupidity:
the uncertain and craven horse, who responds only to pain and is
attached to nothing ... the cow and the ox happy so long as they are
eating and docile because for centuries they have not had a thought of
their own.... I do not speak of the cat, to whom we are nothing more
than a too large and uneatable prey: the ferocious cat whose side long
contempt tolerates us only as encumbering parasites in our own homes.
She at least curses us in her mysterious heart: but all the others
live beside us as they might live beside a rock or a tree."

The effective use of this thesis in the scene of the revolt of the
domestic animals in the Blue Bird will be remembered.]

[Footnote 145: This method of securing the faithful affection of a dog
is solemnly recommended, without acknowledgment to Saserna, in the
seventeenth century editions of the _Maison Rustique_ (I, 27).]

[Footnote 146: Keil happily points out that in his book on the Latin
language (VII, 31), Varro quotes the "ancient proverb" to which he
here refers, viz.: "canis caninam non est" dog doesn't eat dog.]

[Footnote 147: Aristotle (_H.A._ VI, 20) says that puppies are blind
from twelve to seventeen days, depending upon the season of the year
at which they are born. Pliny (_H N._ VIII, 62) says from seven to
twenty days, depending upon the supply of the mother's milk.]

[Footnote 148: It was among these hardy shepherd slaves that Spartacus
recruited his army in 72-71 B.C., as did Caelius and Milo in 48 B.C.,
while their descendants were the brigands who infested Southern Italy
even in the nineteenth century.]

[Footnote 149: Gaius, I, 119, II, 24, 41, describes in detail the
processes here referred to by which a slave was acquired under the
Roman law.]

[Footnote 150: Dennis, in his _Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria_, draws
a picture of modern Italy which may serve to illustrate Varro's sketch
of the mountain life of the shepherds of his day:

"Occasionally in my wanderings on this site (Veii) I have entered,
either from curiosity or for shelter, one of the _capanne_ scattered
over the downs. These are tall conical thatched huts which the
shepherds make their winter abode. For in Italy, the lowlands being
generally unhealthy in summer, the flocks are driven to the mountains
about May, and as soon as the great heats are past are brought back to
the rich pastures of the plains. It is a curious sight, the interior
of a _capanna_, and affords an agreeable diversity to the antiquity
hunter. A little boldness is requisite to pass through the pack of
dogs, white as new dropt lambs, but large and fierce as wolves, which,
were the shepherd not at hand, would tear in pieces whoever might
venture to approach the hut: but with one of the _pecoraj_ for a
Teucer, nothing is to be feared. The _capanne_ are of various sizes.
One I entered not far from Veii was thirty or forty feet in diameter
and fully as high, propped in the centre by two rough masts, between
which a hole was left in the roof for the escape of smoke. Within the
door lay a large pile of lambs, there might be a hundred, killed that
morning and already flayed, and a number of shepherds were busied
in operating on the carcases of others: all of which were to be
dispatched forthwith to the Roman market. Though a fierce May sun
blazed without, a huge fire roared in the middle of the hut: but this
was for the sake of the _ricotta_, which was being made in another
part of the _capanna_. Here stood a huge cauldron, full of boiling
ewes' milk. In a warm state this curd is a delicious jelly and has
often tempted me to enter a _capanna_ in quest of it, to the amazement
of the _pecoraj_, to whom it is _vilior alga_. Lord of the cauldron,
stood a man dispensing ladlefuls of the rich simmering mess to his
fellows, as they brought their bowls for their morning allowance:
and he varied his occupation by pouring the same into certain small
baskets, the serous part running off through the wicker and the
residue caking as it cooled. On the same board stood the cheeses,
previously made from the cream. In this hut lived twenty-five men,
their nether limbs clad in goat skins, with the hair outwards,
realizing the satyrs of ancient fable: but they had no nymphs to
tease, nor shepherdesses to woo, and never

'sat all day
Playing on pipes of corn, and versing love
To amorous Phillida.'

They were a band of celibates without the vows. In such huts they
dwell all the year round, flaying lambs or shearing sheep, living
on bread, _ricotta_ and water, very rarely tasting meat or wine and
sleeping on shelves ranged round the hut, like berths in a ship's
cabin. Thus are the dreams of Arcadia dispelled by realities."]

[Footnote 151: In modern Italy the shepherds do not take their women
with them to the _saltus_, but, as Dennis says, lead there the life of
"celibates, without the vows."]

[Footnote 152: In the Venitian provinces of Italy today the women are
still seen at work in the harvest and rice fields with their babes in
their bosoms: but the most amazing modern spectacle of this kind
is that of women coaling ships in the East, carrying their unhappy
youngsters up and down the coal ladders throughout the work.]

[Footnote 153: The author of _Maison Rustique_ did not agree with Varro
in this opinion. I quote from Surflet's translation of 1606 (I, 7):

"And for writing and reading it skilleth not whether he be able to
doe it or no, or that he should have any other charge to looke unto
besides that of yours, or else that he should use another to set downe
in writing such expences as he hath laid out: for paper will admit any

[Footnote 154: This temple and fig tree stood in Rome at the foot of the
Palatine hill, in the neighbourhood of the Lupercal. It was under this
fig tree that Romulus and Remus were supposed to have been suckled by
the wolf.]

[Footnote 155: 'That is the beste grease that is to a shepe, to grease
hym in the mouthe with good meate,' says Sir Anthony Fitzherbert.]

[Footnote 156: Pliny (VII, 59) says that most nations learn the use of
barbers next after that of letters, but that the Romans were late in
this respect. Varro himself wore a beard, as appears on the coin he
struck during the war with the Pirates. It is reproduced in Smiths
_Dict. Gr. and Rom. Biog_., III, p. 1227.]

[Footnote 157: Cowper's verse in _The Task_ seems to be all that is
happy in the way of translation of Varro's text, "divina natura dedit
agros, ars humana aedificavit urbes": but Cowley's "God the first
garden made, and the first city Cain" was probably Cowper's source.
Cowley was a reader of Varro, as his pleasant and sane essay _Of
Agriculture_ shows.]

[Footnote 158: Following the precedent of the first and second books in
the matter of local colour, the scene of this third book, relating to
villas and the "small deer," which were there reared, is laid in
the _villa publica_ at Rome, and the characters of the dialogue are
selected for the suggestion which their names may make of the denizens
of the aviary, the barn yard and the bee-stand.]

[Footnote 159: This Appius Claudius Pulcher served in Asia under his
brother-in-law Lucullus, was Augur in B.C. 59, Consul in 54 and Censor
in 50. He wrote a book on augural law and the habits of birds at which
Cicero poked some rather mean fun. He fixes the date of the dialogue.]

[Footnote 160: In Varro's time, as today, the river Velinus drained the
fresh pastures of the Umbrian prairie of Rosea, "the nurse of Italy,"
which lay below the town of Reate (the modern Rieti), and was
originally the bed of a lake. Its waters are so strongly impregnated
with carbonate of lime that by their deposit of travertine they tend
to block their own channel. The drainage of Rosea has, therefore,
always been a matter of concern to the live stock industry of Reate,
and in B.C. 272 M. Curius Dentatus opened the first of several
successful artificial canals (the last dating from the sixteenth
century, A.D.), which still serve to lead the Velinus into the Nar at
the renowned Cascate delle Marmore. For two hundred years the people
of Interamna (the modern Terni) had complained that their situation
below the falls was endangered by Curius' canal, and finally in B.C.
54 the Roman Senate appointed the commission to which Appius Claudius
refers in the text, to hear the controversy. Cicero was retained as
counsel for the people of Reate, and during the hearing stopped, as
Appius Claudius did, with our friend Axius at his Reatine villa, and
wrote about the visit to the same Atticus whom we met in Varro's
second book, as follows (_ad Atticum_, IV, 15): "After this was over
the people of Reate summoned me to their Tempe to plead their
cause against the people of Interamna, before the Consul and ten
commissioners, the question being concerning the Veline lake, which,
drained by M. Curius by means of a channel cut through the mountain,
now flows into the Nar: by this means the famous Rosea has been
reclaimed from the swamp, though still fairly moist. I stopped with
Axius, who took me also to visit the Seven Waters." What was once
deemed a danger is a double source of profit to the modern folk of
Interamna. Tourists today crowd to see the same waterfall which Cicero
visited, taking a tram from the busy little industrial town of Terni:
and the waters which flow from Velinus now serve to generate power
with which armour plates are manufactured for the Italian navy on the
site of the ancient Interamna.]

[Footnote 161: Sicilian honey was famous for its flavour because of
the bee pasture of thyme which there abounded, especially at Hybla.
Theophrastus (H.P. III, 15, 5) explains that the honey of Corsica had
an acrid taste, because the bees pastured there largely on box trees.]

[Footnote 162: These denizens of the Roman villa are all enumerated by
Martial in his delightful verses (III, 38) upon Faustinus' villa at
Baiae. The picture of the barn yard is very true to life in all ages,
especially the touch of the hungry pigs sniffing after the pail of the
farmer's wife:

"Vagatur omnis turba sordidae cortis
Argutus anser, gemmeique pavones
Nomenque debet quae rubentibus pennis,
Et picta perdix, Numidicaeque guttatae
Et impiorum phasiana Colchorum.
Rhodias superbi feminas prement galli
Sonantque turres plausibus columbarum,
Gemit hinc palumbus, inde cereus turtur
Avidi sequuntur villicae sinum porci:
Matremque plenam mollis agnus exspectat."]

[Footnote 163: The _sestertius_ was one quarter of a _denarius_, or,
say, the equivalent of five cents. It was also called _nummus_, as
we say "nickel." The ordinary unit used by the Romans in reckoning
considerable sums of money was 1,000 sesterces, which may accordingly
be translated as the equivalent of (say) $50. Axius' jackass thus cost
$2,000, while Seius' income from his villa was $2,500 per annum, that
of Varro's aunt from her aviary was $3,000, and that of Axius from
his farm $1,500. Cicero records that Axius was a money lender, which
explains the fun here made of his avarice.]

[Footnote 164: Columella, writing about one hundred years after Varro,
refers to this passage and says that luxury had so developed since
Varro's time that it no longer required an extraordinary occasion,
like a triumph, to bring the price of thrushes to three _denarii_ a
piece, but that that had become a current quotation.]

[Footnote 165: A minerval was the fee (of Minerva) paid to a school

[Footnote 166: The inventor of the auspices _ex tripudiis_ or the
feeding of chickens was evidently an ingenious poultry fancier who
succeeded in securing the care of his favourites at the public

[Footnote 167: This was L. Marcius Philippus, the orator mentioned
by Horace (_Epist_. I, 7, 46), who was Consul in B.C. 91, and was
celebrated for his luxurious habits, which his wealth enabled him to
gratify. His son married the widow of C. Octavius and so became the
step-father of the Emperor Augustus.]

[Footnote 168: This was _turdus pilaris_, the variety of thrush which is
called field fare.]

[Footnote 169: The traveller by railway from Rome to Naples passes near
Varro's estate of Casinum, and if he stops at the mediaeval town of
San Germano to visit the neighbouring Badia di Monte Cassino, where
the "angelic doctor" Thomas Aquinas was educated, he will find Varro's
memory kept green: for he will be entertained at the _Albergo Varrone_
("very fair but bargaining advisable," sagely counsels Mr. Baedeker)
and on his way up the long winding road to the Abbey there will be
pointed out to him the river Rapido, on the banks of which Varro's
aviary stood, and nearby what is reputed to be the site of the
old polymath's villa which Antony polluted with the orgies Cicero
described in the second Philippic. Antony's destruction of his library
was a great blow to Varro, but one likes to think that his ghost can
take satisfaction in the maintenance, so near the haunts of his flesh,
of such a noble collection of books as is the continuing pride of the
Abbey on the mountain above.]

[Footnote 170: Varro's Museum, or study where he wooed the Muses, on his
estate at Casinum was not unlike that of Cicero at his native Arpinum,
which he described (de Leg. II, 3) agreeably as on an island in the
cold and clear Fibrenus just above its confluence with the more
important river Liris, where, like a plebeian marrying into a
patrician family, it lost its name but contributed its freshness. The
younger Pliny built a study in the garden of his Laurentine villa near
Ostia, which he describes (II, 17) with enthusiasm: "horti diaeta est,
amores mei, re vera amores": and here he found refuge from the tumult
of his household during the festivities of the Saturnalia, which
corresponded with our Christmas. In the ante bellum days every
Virginia gentleman had such an "office" in his house yard where he
pretended to transact his farm business, but where actually he
was wont to escape from the obligations of family and continuous

[Footnote 171: The commentators on this interesting but obscure
description of Varro's aviary have at this point usually endeavoured
to explain the arrangements of the chamber under the lantern of
the _tholus_ with respect to its use as a dining room which Varro
frequented himself, and hence have been amused into all kinds of
difficulties of interpretation. The references to the _convivae_ are
what lead them astray, and it remained for Keil to suggest that this
was a playful allusion to the birds themselves, a conclusion which is
strengthened by Varro's previous statement of the failure of Lucullus'
attempt to maintain a dining room in his aviary.]

[Footnote 172: Cf. Vitruvius, I, 6: "Andronicus Cyrrhestes built at
Athens an octagonal marble tower, on the sides of which were carved
images of the eight winds, each on the side opposite that from which
it blew. On the pyramidal roof of this tower he placed a bronze Triton
holding a rod in his right hand, and so contrived that the Triton,
revolving with the wind, always stood opposed to that which prevailed,
and thus pointed with his rod to the image on the tower of the wind
that was blowing at the moment." The ruins of this Tower of the Winds
may still be seen in Athens. There is a picture of it in Harper's
Dictionary of Classical Antiquities in the article _Andronicus_.]

[Footnote 173: One ventures to translate _athletoe comitiorum_ by Mr.
Gladstone's famous phrase.]

[Footnote 174: Reading "tesserulas coicientem in loculum."]

[Footnote 175: A French translator might better convey the intention
of the pun, contained in the _ducere serram_ of the text, by the
locution, _une prise de bec_.]

[Footnote 176: It probably will not comfort the ultimate consumer who
holds in such odium the celebrated "Schedule K" of the Payne-Aldrich
tariff, to realize that the American wool grower puts no higher
value on his sheep than did his Roman ancestor, as revealed by this
quotation from the stock yards of Varro's time. It is interesting,
however, to the breeder to know that a good price for wool has always
stimulated the production of the best stock. Strabo says that the wool
of Turdetania in Spain was so celebrated in the generation after Varro
that a ram of the breed (the ancestors of the modern Merino) fetched
a talent, say $1,200; a price which may be compared with that of the
prize ram recently sold in England for export to the Argentine for as
much as a thousand pounds sterling, and considered a good commercial
investment at that. Doubtless the market for Rosean mules comforted
Axius in his investment of the equivalent of L400 in a breeding jack.]

[Footnote 177: In feudal times the right to maintain a dove cote was
the exclusive privilege of the lord of the manor. According to their
immemorial custom, which Varro notices, the pigeons preyed on the
neighbourhood crops and were detested by the community in consequence.
During the French revolution they were one of the counts in the
indictment of the land-owning aristocracy, and in the event the
pigeons as well as their owners had the sins of their forefathers
justly visited upon them. The American farmer who has a pigeon-keeping
neighbour and is restrained by the pettiness of the annoyance from
making a point on their trespasses, feels something of the blind and
impotent wrath of the French peasant against the whole pigeon family.]

[Footnote 178: It appears that the Romans actually hired men to chew the
food intended for cramming birds, so as to relieve the unhappy victims
even of such exercise as they might get from assimilating their diet.
Columella (VII, 10) in discussing the diet of thrushes deprecates
this practice, sagely saying that the wages of the chewers are out
of proportion to the benefit obtained, and that any way the chewers
swallow a good part of what they are given to macerate.

The typical tramp of the comic papers who is forever looking for
occupation without work might well envy these Roman professional
chewers. Not even Dr. Wiley's "poison squad" employed to test food
products could compare with them.]

[Footnote 179: These prices of $10 and $50 and even $80 a pair for
pigeons, large as they seem, were surpassed under the Empire.
Columella says (VIII, 8): "That excellent author, M. Varro, tells us
that in his more austere time it was not unusual for a pair of pigeons
to sell for a thousand sesterces, a price at which the present day
should blush, if we may believe the report that men have been found to
pay for a pair as much as four thousand _nummi_." ($200.)]

[Footnote 180: The market for chickens and eggs in the United States
would doubtless astonish the people of Delos as much as the statistics
do us (ipsa suas mirantur Gargara messes!). It is solemnly recorded
that the American hen produces a billion and a quarter dozen eggs per
annum, of a value greater than that of either the wheat or cotton
crops, and yet there are many of us who cannot get our hens to lay
more than a hundred eggs a year!]

[Footnote 181: Reading _ad infirma crura_. This practice is explained
more at length by Columella (VIII, 2, 3) who specifies the spurs,
_calcaribus inustis_.

Buffon, who describes a 'practice of trimming the combs of capons,
adds (V, 302) an interesting account of an experiment which he says he
had made "une espece de greffe animale": after trimming the comb of
a growing cockerel his budding spurs were cut out and grafted on the
roots of the comb, where they took root and flourished, growing to a
length of two and a half inches, in some cases curving forward like
the horns of a ram, and in others turning back like those of a goat.]

[Footnote 182: The dusting yard which Varro here describes was in the
open, but Columella (VIII, 3) advises what modern poultry farmers
pride themselves upon having recently discovered,--a covered
scratching pen strewn with litter to afford exercise for the hens in
rough weather. It will be observed that, so far as ventilation is
concerned, Varro recommends a hen house open to the weather: this is
another standard of modern practice which has had a hard struggle
against prejudice. Columella adds two more interesting bits of advice,
that for the comfort of the hens the roosts should be cut square, and
for cleanliness their water trough should be enclosed leaving
only openings large enough to receive a hen's head. With so much
enlightenment and sanitation one would expect one or the other of
these Romans to tell us of some "teeming hen" like Herrick's who laid
"her egg each day."

We are proud to be able to cite the eminent Roseburg Industrious Biddy
who, in the year of grace 1912, achieved the championship of America
with a record of 266 eggs in ten months and nineteen days, and was
sold for $800: but Varro is content to suggest that a hen will lay
more eggs in a season than she can hatch, and the conservative
Columella (VIII, 5) that the number of eggs depends upon diet.]

[Footnote 183: The guinea fowl got their Greek name, _meleagrides_,
because the story was that the sisters of Meleager were turned into
guinea hens. Pliny (_H.N._ X, 38) says that they fight every year on
Meleager's tomb. It is a fact that they are a pugnacious fowl. Buffon
says that guinea fowl disappeared from Europe in the Dark Ages and
were not known again until the route to the Indies via the Cape of
Good Hope was opened when they were imported anew from the west coast
of Africa.]

[Footnote 184: Reading, "propter fastidium hominum." Cf. Pliny (X, 38),
whose explanation is "propter ingratum virus."]

[Footnote 185: There is a Virginia practice of feeding a fat turkey
heavily on bread soaked in wine or liquor just before he is killed,
the result being that as the turkey gets into that condition which
used to put our ancestors under the table, he relaxes all his tendons
and so is sweeter and more tender when he comes above the table. There
is a humanitarian side to the practice which should recommend it even
to the W.C.T.U. as well as to the epicure.]

[Footnote 186: Many thousands of geese used to be driven every year to
Rome from the land of the Morini in Northern Gaul, but the Germans are
the modern consumers. A British consular report says that in addition
to the domestic supply a special "goose train" of from fifteen to
forty cars is received daily in Berlin from Russia. It would seem that
the goose that lays the golden egg has emigrated to Muscovy. Buffon
says that the introduction of the Virginia turkey into Europe drove
the goose off the tables of all civilized peoples.]

[Footnote 187: Columella (VIII, 14) repeats this myth, but Aristotle
(_H.A._ V, 2, 9) says that geese bathe _after_ breeding. Buffon gives
a Gallic touch, "ces oiseaux preludent aux actes de l'amour en allant
d'abord s'egayer dans l'eau."]

[Footnote 188: Reading _seris_. It is the _Cichorium endivia_ of
Linnaeus. Cf. Pliny (_H.N._ XX, 32.)]

[Footnote 189: Varro does not mention it, but the Romans knew and prized
_pate de foie gras_ under the name _ficatum_, which indicates that
they produced it by cramming their geese with a diet of figs. Cf.
Horace's verse "pinguibus et ficis pastum iecur anseris albi."

In Toulouse, whence now comes the best of this dainty of the epicure,
the geese are crammed daily with a dough of corn meal mixed with the
oil of poppies, fed through a tin funnel, which is introduced into the
esophagus of the unhappy bird. At the end of a month the stertorous
breathing of the victim proclaims the time of sacrifice to Apicius.
The liver is expected to weigh a kilogram, (say two pounds), while
at least two kilograms of fat are saved in addition, to garnish the
family _plat_ of vegetables during the remainder of the year.]

[Footnote 190: Reading _foeles_, which Keller, in his account of the
fauna of ancient Italy in the Cambridge _Companion to Latin Studies_,
identifies with _Martes vulgaris_. Sir Anthony Fitzherbert calls them
fullymartes. It does not appear that the Romans had in Varro's time
brought from Egypt our household cat, _F. maniculata_. They used
weasels and tame snakes for catching mice.]

[Footnote 191: Darwin (_Animals and Plants_, I, 8) cites this passage
and argues that Varro's advice to cover the duck yard with netting to
keep the ducks from flying out is evidence that in Varro's time ducks
were not entirely domesticated, and hence that the modern domestic
duck is the same species as the wild duck. It may be noted, however,
that Varro gives the same advice about netting the chicken yard,
having said that chickens had been domesticated from the beginning of

[Footnote 192: The ancient Etruscan city of Tarquinii is now known
as Corneto. The wild sheep which Lippinus there kept in his game
preserves were probably the _mouflon_ which are still hunted in
Sardinia and Corsica, though they may have been the Phrygian wild
sheep (_Aegoceros argali_) which Varro mentions in Book II. Pliny
(_H.N._ VIII, 211) says that this Lippinus was the first of the Romans
to keep wild animals enclosed; that he established his preserves
shortly before the Civil Wars, and that he soon had imitators.]

[Footnote 193: Reading * * * * [Transcriber's note: the preceding four
*s are actually four instances of the "infinity" symbol (like a digit
8 rotated horizontally)]_passum_. The Roman mile, _mille passuum_, was
142 yards less than the English mile.]

[Footnote 194: Of the three kinds of hares mentioned by Varro the
"common Italian kind" was _L. timidus_, a roast shoulder of which
Horace vaunts as a delicacy: the Alpine hare was _L. variabilis_,
which grows white on the approach of winter: and the _cuniculus_ was
the common rabbit known to our English ancestors as the coney. Strabo
records (Casaub, 144) that the inhabitants of the Gymnesian (Balearic)
Islands in Spain sent a deputation to Augustus to request a military
force to exterminate the pest of rabbits, for such was their multitude
that the people were being crowded out of their homes by them, in
which their plight was that of modern Australia. They were usually
hunted in Spain with muzzled ferrets imported from Africa.]

[Footnote 195: The edible snail, _helix pomatia_, L., is still an
article of commerce in France and Italy. They prey upon vines and
give evidence of their appreciation of the best by abounding in the
vineyards of the _Cote d'or_, the ancient Burgundy. There at the end
of summer they are gathered for the double purpose of protecting the
vines and delighting the epicure: are then stored in a safe place
until cold weather, when they considerately seal up their own shells
with a calcareous secretion and so are shipped to market.

Here is the recipe for 'escargots a la bourguignonne,' which despite
the prejudice engendered by _Leviticus_ (XI, 30.) may be recommended
to the American palate jaded by beefsteak and potatoes and the high
cost of living: "Mettre les escargots a bouillir pendant 5 a 10
minutes dans de l'eau salee, les retirer de leur coquille, les laver
a l'eau froide pour les debarrasser du limon, les cuire dans un
court-bouillon fortement assaisonne. Apres cuisson les replacer dans
le coquille bien nettoyee, en les garnissant au fond et par dessus
d'une farce de beurre frais manipule avec un fin hachis de persil,
cerfeuil, ail, echalote, sel et poivre. Avant de servir, faire
chauffer au four."]

[Footnote 196: Reading LXXX _quadrantes_. A comparison may be made of
this capacity with that of the ordinary snail known to the Romans,
for their smallest unit of liquid measure was called a _cochlear_, or
snail shell, and contained.02 of a modern pint, or, as we may say,
a spoonful: indeed the French word _cuiller_ is derived from

[Footnote 197: It is perhaps well to remind the American reader that the
European dormouse (_Myoxus glis_. Fr. _loir_. Ger. _siebenschlafer_)
is rather a squirrel than a mouse, and that he is still esteemed a
dainty edible, as he was by the Romans: indeed when fat, just before
he retires to hibernate, he might be preferred to 'possum and other
strange dishes on which some hospitable Americans regale themselves
and the patient palates of touring Presidents. In his treatise _De re
culinaria_ Apicius gives a recipe for a ragout of dormice which sounds

[Footnote 198: Darwin (_Animals and Plants_, XVIII) says: "I have never
heard of the dormouse breeding in captivity."]

[Footnote 199: Varro makes no mention of tea and bread and butter as
part of the diet of a dormouse; so we are better able to understand
his abstinence at the mad tea party in _Alice in Wonderland_. As
Martial (III, 58) calls him _somniculosus_, it is probable that his
table manners on that occasion were nothing new and that his English
and German names were always justified.]

[Footnote 200: This is one of Varro's puns which requires a surgical
operation to get it into one's head. Appius is selected to talk about
bees because his name has some echo of the sound of _apis_, the word
for bee.]

[Footnote 201: The study of bees was as interesting to the ancients as
it is to us. There have survived from among many others the treatises
of Aristotle, Varro, Virgil, Columella and Pliny, but they are all
made up, as Maeterlinck has remarked, of "erreurs charmantes," and for
that reason the antique lore of bees is read perhaps to best advantage
in the mellifluous verses of the fourth _Georgic_, which follow Varro

[Footnote 202: He might have said also that the hexagonal form of
construction employed by bees produces the largest possible result
with the least labour and material. Maeterlinck rehearses (_La Vie des
Abeilles_, 138) the result of the study of this problem in the highest

"Reaumur avait propose au celebre mathematicien Koenig le problem
suivant: 'Entre toutes les cellules hexagonales a fond pyramidal
compose de trois rhombes semblables et egaux, determiner celle qui
peut etre construite avec le moins de matiere?' Koenig trouva qu'une
telle cellule avait son fond fait de trois rhombes dont chaque grand
angle etait de 109 degres, 26 minutes et chaque petit de 70 degres, 34
minutes. Or, un autre savant, Maraldi, ayant mesure aussi exactement
que possible les angles des rhombes construits par les abeilles fixa
les grands a 109 degres, 28 minutes, et les petits a 70 degres, 32
minutes. Il n'y avait done, entre les deux solutions qu'une difference
de 2 minutes. II est probable que l'erreur, s'il y en a une, doit etre
imputee a Maraldi plutot qu'aux abeilles, car aucun instrument ne
permet de mesurer avec une precision infaillible les angles des
cellules qui ne sont pas assez nettlement definis."

Maclaurin, a Scotch physicist, checked Koenig's computations and
reported to the Royal Society in London in 1743 that he found a
solution in exact accord with Maraldi's measurements, thereby
completely justifying the mathematics of the bee architect.]

[Footnote 203: The Romans were as curious and as constant in the use of
perfumes as we are of tobacco. It is perhaps well to remember that
they might find our smoke as offensive as we would their unguents.]

[Footnote 204: Indeed one of the marvels of nature is the service
which certain bees perform for certain plants in transferring their
fertilizing pollen which has no other means of transportation. Darwin
is most interesting on this subject.]

[Footnote 205: The ancients, even Aristotle, did not know that the queen
bee is the common mother of the hive. They called her the king, and it
remained for Swammerdam in the seventeenth century to determine with
the microscope this important fact. From that discovery has developed
our modern knowledge of the bee; that the drones are the males and are
suffered by the (normally) sterile workers to live only until one of
them has performed his office of fertilizing once for all the new
queen in that nuptial flight, so dramatically fatal to the successful
swain, which Maeterlinck has described with wonderful rhetoric,
whereupon the workers massacre the surviving males without mercy. This
is the "driving out" which Varro mentions.]

[Footnote 206: This picture of the queen bee is hardly in accord with
modern observations. It seems that while the queen is treated with
the utmost respect, she is rather a royal prisoner than a ruler, and,
after her nuptial flight, is confined to her function of laying eggs
incessantly unless she may be unwillingly dragged forth to lead a
swarm. Maeterlinck thus pictures (_La Vie des Abeilles_, 174) her
existence with a Gallic pencil:

"Elle n'aura aucune des habitudes, aucunes des passions que nous
croyons inherentes a l'abeille. Elle n'eprouvera ni le desir du
soleil, ni le besoin de l'espace et mourra sans avoir visite une
fleur. Elle passera son existence dans l'ombre et l'agitation de la
foule a la recherche infatigable de berceaux a peupler. En revanche,
elle connaitra seule l'inquietude de l'amour."]

[Footnote 207: It would have interested Axius to know that the annual
consumption of honey in the United States today is from 100 to 125
million pounds and that the crop has a money value of at least ten
million dollars. To match Seius, we might put forward a bee farmer in
California who produces annually 150,000 pounds of honey from 2,000

[Footnote 208: Maeterlinck has made a charming picture of this habit of
propinquity of the bee-stand to the human habitation. He describes
(_La Vie des Abeilles_, 14) the old man who taught him to love bees
when he was a boy in Flanders, an old man whose entire happiness
"consistait aux beautes d'un jardin et parmi ces beautes la mieux
aimee et la plus visitees etait un roucher, compose de douze cloches
de paille qu'il avait peint, les unes de rose vif, les autres de jaune
clair, la plupart d'un bleu tendre, car il avail observe, bien avant
les experiences de Sir John Lubbock, que le bleu est la couleur
preferee des abeilles. Il avait installe ce roucher centre le mur
blanchi de la maison, dans l'angle que formait une des ces savoureuses
et fraiches cuisines hollondaises aux dressoirs de faience ou
etincalaient les etains et les cuivres qui, par la porte ouverte,
se refletaient dans un canal paisible. Et l'eau charges d'images
familieres, sous un rideau de peupliers, guidait les regards jusqu'au
repos d'un horizon de moulins et de pres."]

[Footnote 209: Reading _Apiastro_. This is the _Melissa officinalis_ of
Linnaeus. Cf. Pliny, XX, 45 and XXI, 86.]

[Footnote 210: Bee keepers attribute to Reaumur the invention of the
modern glass observation hive, which has made possible so much of our
knowledge of the bee, but it may be noted that Pliny (_H.N._ XXI, 47)
mentions hives of "lapis specularis," some sort of talc, contrived for
the purpose of observing bees at work. The great advance in bee hives
is, however, the sectional construction attributed to Langstroth and
developed in America by Root.]

[Footnote 211: Columella, (IX, 14) referring to the myth of the
generation of bees in the carcase of an ox (out of which Virgil made
the fable of the pastor Aristaeus in the Fourth Georgic), explains
the practice mentioned in the text with the statement "hic enim quasi
quadam cognatione generis maxime est apibus aptus." The plastering
of wicker hives with ox dung persisted and is recommended in the
seventeenth century editions of the _Maison Rustique_.]

[Footnote 212: Reading _seditiosum_.]

[Footnote 213: This is a mistake upon which Aristotle could have
corrected Varro.]

[Footnote 214: After studying the commentators on this obscure passage,
I have elected to follow the emendation of Ursinus, which, although
Keil sneers at its license, has the advantage of making sense.]

[Footnote 215: _Sinapis arvensis_, Linn.]

[Footnote 216: _Sium sisarum_, Linn.]

[Footnote 217: The philosophy of the bee is not as selfish as that human
principle which Varro attributes to them. The hive does not send forth
its "youth" to found a colony, but, on the contrary, abandons its home
and its accumulated store of wealth to its youth and itself ventures
forth under the leadership of the old queen to face the uncertainties
of the future, leaving only a small band of old bees to guard the
hive and rear the young until the new queen shall have supplied a new

[Footnote 218: Reading _imbecilliores_.]

[Footnote 219: Pliny (_H.N_. IX, 81) relates that this loan was made to
supply the banquet on the occasion of one of the triumphs of Caesar
the dictator, but Pliny puts the loan at six thousand fishes.]

[Footnote 220: It is impossible to translate this pun into English,
_dulcis_ being the equivalent of both "fresh" and "agreeable," and
_amara_ of "salt" and "disagreeable." A French translator would have
at his command _doux_ and _amer_.]

[Footnote 221: Cf. Pliny (_H.N_. II, 96): "In Lydia the islands called
Calaminae are not only driven about by the wind, but may even be
pushed at pleasure from place to place, by which means many people
saved themselves in the Mithridatic war. There are some small islands
in the Nymphaeus called the Dancers, because, when choruses are sung,
they move in tune with the measure of the music."]

[Footnote 222: Reading _in ius vocare_, with the _double entendre_ of
service in a sauce and bringing to justice.]


_Actus (actus guadratus)_, unit of area in land measurement
Aegean Sea, derivation of name
Aesop's fable of the fox
Agriculture, distinguished from grazing, pottery-making, etc.
definition of scope of
purposes of, are profit and pleasure
four divisions for the study of
effect of conformation of the land on,
effect of character of soil
Albutius, L.
Alfalfa, advice concerning
Alfius, Roman farmer banker
Alpine hares
Amurca, farm uses of
used for anointing threshing floors
waste of, by Romans
method of preserving
Apiaries, location of
_See_ Bees.
Apicius, recipe for ragout of dormice by,
Appian, quoted
Appius Claudius Pulcher
Apples, storing
Apulian breed of horses
Aquinas, Thomas
_Arbusta_, the Italian
_Arista_, etymology of word
Aristotle, on blindness of puppies
on goats' breathing through their ears
on exercising of pregnant mares
on breeding of mares
story related by
_Arpent_, derivation of
Asparagus planting,
Asses, use of, as compared with other draught animals
manure of
certain choice breeds of
buying, breeding, care of, etc.
milk of
Atticus, T. Pomponius

Augeas, King, tradition concerning
Augustine, St., on Varro
indebtedness of, to works of Varro
Aviaries, profits from
two classes of
those kept for profit
those kept for pleasure
Aviary, Varro's, at Casinum


Bakewell, breeding of sheep by
Barbers, the first, in Italy
Barn yards, arrangement of
Barrows, hogs called
Bavaria, agriculture in Iowa contrasted with that in
Beans, use of, for green manuring
Beauclerk, W.N., on agriculture in modern Italy
Bees, eggs of unfertilized queen
the keeping of
theories concerning generation of
treatises on, by ancient writers
habits and houses of
money to be made from
location of stands for
food for;
structure and care of hives
kinds of
selection of
swarming of
removal of honey
general care of
Benson, William, edition of _Georgics_ by, quoted
Birds, manure of
Blackbirds, houses for keeping
Blackstone, opinion by, cited
Bleat, etymology of word
Blood, use of, in composts
Boars, advice concerning
altering; wild
Boissier, Gaston
quoted and cited
_Boke of Husbandry_, Fitzherbert's
Bologna sausages
Bones, remedy for injuries to
Borden, Spencer, _The Arab Horse_ by, quoted
Boundaries, protection of farm
Buffon, quotations from
Bugs, recipe for exterminating
Buildings on farm


Cabbage, Cato's advocacy of the
Cakes, recipes for
Calendar of agricultural operations
Capons, chickens called
method of caponizing cocks
_Caprae_, goats, derivation of word
_Capreolus_, a spiral tendril
Cascate delle Marmore
Casinum, Varro's estate of
Cassius, quoted
Cassius Dionysius
Cat, the modern household, unknown to Varro
Cato, Marcus Porcius
the _De re rustica_ of
literary style of, compared with Varro
Cats, contrasted with dogs in relations with man
Cattle, leaves as fodder for
feeding of
care of
number and selection of, for a farm
honour paid to, in naming Zodiacal signs and the constellations
advice on breeding and feeding
number of, to be kept
advice on neat cattle
_Centuria_, defined
Chaff, derivation of word
Cheese, varieties and qualities of
Cheese cake
Chestnuts as food in Italy
Child, R., quoted
Cicero, quoted concerning Varro
verse from
Cleaning grain
Clement-Mullet, J.J., translation by
Climate, choice of, in buying a farm
connection between conformation of land and
Clover, advice on seeding
Coburn, book on alfalfa by
Colours of horses, significance of
on ploughing
rules about the compost heap
on soil improvement with legumes
on dangers from mosquitoes
on alfalfa
_Comedy of Errors_, origin of
Compost heap, rules concerning the
Concrete, fences of
Conformation of land, effect of, on agriculture
Constellations, names of cattle given to
Corn, structure of plant
_See_ Grain
Corn land as distinguished from plough land
Corsican honey
Cotton seed, utilization of
Country life, antiquity of
Cowper and Cowley, lines by
Crescenzi, Pietro, cited
Cultivating time
Curing hams
Cuttage of plants
Cyrrhestes, Tower of the Winds built by


Dante, quotation from
Darwin, Charles, _Animals and Plants_ by
on dormice
Dates, eating preserved
_Denarius_, value of the
Dennis, _Cities and Cemeteries of Etruria_ by, quoted
_De re rustica_, Cato's
Desmolins, Edmond, cited
Dickson, Andrew, quoted
Diophanes of Bithynia
Disease in cattle, and remedies
Dislocations of bones, remedy for
Dogs, watch
Donaldson's _Agricultural Biography_, quoted
Dondlinger, _Book of Wheat_ by, quoted
Dormice, enclosures for, feeding, etc.
period for
Draught animals on farm
number and choice of
Dry farming
Ducks, housing, care of, etc.
Dunghill fowl
Dusting yard for poultry


Eggs, the first course in Roman dinners
number for setting
Elm trees, planting of
for marking boundaries
Endive, as food for geese
Ensilage, question of use of, by ancients
Equipment of a farm


Fallow, as managed by the Romans
Farm, buying a
laying out of the
stocking the
as a source of both profit and pleasure
effect of conformation of the land
effect of character of the soil
Farm hands, allowances for
selection, treatment, number of, etc.,
_Farrago_, mixed fodder
as food for geese
Feast days, observance of
Feed racks, construction of
Ferrero, cited
Field crops, planting of
Figs, season for propagating
eating preserved
Fining the soil
Fishes, feeding and care of
Fish ponds
fresh-water and salt-water
number of, on one estate
Fitzherbert, Sir Anthony
quoted; cited
on combining two kinds of husbandry
on greasing of sheep
Flock masters, duties of
Forage, derivation from _farrago_
Forage crops
Foremen of farm hands, qualifications of
Fowl. _See_ Poultry
Fowler, _Social Life at Rome_ by, quoted
France, yields of wine in
Freemen as agricultural labourers
Fruits, preserving
time for using stored
Furlong, derivation of


Game preserves

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