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Bill Thayer

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Cato: De Agricultura

The Author and the Manuscripts

Marcus Cato was an important public figure, and his life is well known. Ancient biographies of him were penned by Plutarch and Cornelius Neposqq.v.; and some further information can be found in Aurelius Victor (de Viris Illustribus, 47ff.), and surely the characterization of him in Cicero's Cato Maior de Senectute must be based on a living memory of the man. The Loeb edition provides a summary in its Introduction, and a separate section on the Manuscripts of Cato's and Varro's agricultural works, often transmitted together.

The Text on LacusCurtius

The Latin text is that of Goetz in the Teubner edition of 1922, with cosmetic changes as printed in the Loeb Classical Library edition, 1934. The English translation is by W. D. Hooper and H. B. Ash, printed in the same edition. Both text and translation are in the public domain.

As usual, I retyped the text rather than scanning it: not only to minimize errors prior to proofreading, but as an opportunity for me to become intimately familiar with the work, an exercise which I heartily recommend. (Well-meaning attempts to get me to scan text, if successful, would merely turn me into some kind of machine: gambit declined.)

The book is too long to fit comfortably on a single webpage. Making of this necessity a virtue, I divided the book into several webpages that, as far as possible in this somewhat chaotic text, hew to some common theme: and how could one not give the famous panegyric of cabbage a page of its own?

This transcription has been minutely proofread. In the table of contents below, the sections are therefore shown on blue backgrounds, indicating that I believe the text of them to be completely errorfree. As elsewhere on this site, the header bar at the top of each chapter's webpage will remind you with the same color scheme. Should you spot an error, however . . . please do report it.

Further details on the technical aspects of the site layout follow the Table of Contents.

Latin
Text
English
Translation
Main Subject

Establishing and equipping a farm. The essentials of running one.

Feeding cattle; feeding and clothing farm workers.

Planting, harvesting, and pressing olives.

Caring for the health of cattle.

Recipes for bread, cakes, porridge, starch, purifying salt, cramming fowl.

The many uses of amurca.

Wine and preparations made from wine; preserved olives, lentils, etc.

A very miscellaneous small section: medicinal recipes, construction tips, propagation and layering of plants, religious formulas.

Religious rites applicable to farming.

Contractual arrangements.

In praise of cabbage.

A bit of folk medicine, followed by asparagus and ham.

Chapter and Section Numbering, Local Links

Both chapters (large numbers) and sections (small numbers) mark local links, according to a consistent scheme; you can therefore link directly to any passage.

In the Latin text, each American flag [American flag] is a link to the corresponding section of the English translation, opening in another window; in the English text, each Vatican flag [Flag of the Holy See] is a link to the corresponding section of the Latin text, opening in another window.

Apparatus and Notes

On the Latin side, the Loeb edition provides no comprehensive apparatus criticus, but occasionally marks a variant or a crux; and on the English side, it provides a few notes. I'm including both sets of notes.


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Site updated: 29 Sep 12