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Bill Thayer

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Columella: Extant Works
(De Re Rustica and De Arboribus)

[image ALT: A photograph of a loose grove of large gnarled olive trees, with about eight trees visible, on a gently rising sward of grass. It was taken on the island of Isola Maggiore in Lake Trasimeno, Umbria (central Italy).]

An olive grove on the Isola Maggiore in Lake Trasimenus, Umbria.
The cultivation of olive trees, a mainstay of Mediterranean agriculture both ancient and modern, is covered in Book V of the Res Rustica.

© Eileen Cole 2002, by kind permission.

The Texts on LacusCurtius

The Latin texts of Columella on this site are, as stated in the Introduction, hybrids based in part on those established by Vilhelm Lundström, 1902‑1917, with cosmetic changes, and in part on a collation of several manuscripts with the Schneider edition of 1794, as printed in the Loeb edition, 1941‑1955.

A complete Latin text, in Lundström's original edition, unmodified, may be found at Latin Library.

As almost always, I'm retyping the texts by hand rather than scanning them — not only to minimize errors prior to proofreading, but as an opportunity for me to become intimately familiar with the works, an exercise which I heartily recommend: Qui scribit, bis legit. (Well-meaning attempts to get me to scan text, if success­ful, would merely turn me into some kind of machine: gambit declined.)

The transcription is being minutely proofread. In the table of contents below, the Books that I have completely proofread are shown on blue backgrounds; any red backgrounds indicate that the proofreading is still incomplete. The header bar at the top of each webpage will remind you with the same color scheme. In either case of course, should you spot an error, please do report it. I started entering both Latin and English in March 2005, and expect to be thru, proofreading included, sometime during the year.


All three volumes were printed in Great Britain and thus fall under British copyright law. Volume I has been in the public domain since Jan. 1, 2015, since its editor, Harrison Boyd Ash, died in 1944. The co-editors of Volumes II and III, however, were E. S. Forster and Edward H. Heffner, the latter of whom died in 1963: the volumes will thus remain under copyright thru the end of 2033, and I cannot put them onsite. (Details here on the copyright law involved.)

▸ Copyright violation notwithstanding, a scan of Volume II can be found online at Archive.Org.

As I input the Latin, you will be able to toggle back and forth from text to translation at any specific section by clicking on the nearest flag; the [Vatican flag]Latin text and the [American flag]English translation will display in separate windows. In the unproofread books, this toggling may be absent or erratic.

The Author

For the next to nothing we know about the life of Columella, as well as the manuscripts and editions and a basic appraisal of his work, see (eventually!) the Introduction to the Loeb edition.

Latin original
English translation
Liber I
Liber II
Liber III
Liber IV
Liber V
Book V
Liber VI
Book VI
Liber VII
Book VII
Liber VIII
Liber IX
Book IX
Liber X
Book X
Liber XI
Book XI
Liber XII
Book XII
De Arboribus
On Trees

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. Similarly, for citation purposes, the Loeb edition pagination is indicated by local links in the sourcecode.


Although the Loeb edition occasionally notes a textual difficulty or an alternative reading, it provides no systematic apparatus criticus. I have not seen Lundström's edition, which surely has such an apparatus. At some point I may go to that edition and reproduce it, but for now, in view of diminishing returns in terms of its slight use to the overwhelming majority of Web users, I've decided not to.

As elsewhere on my site, to streamline display of the text and simplify searches, editorial [square brackets] signifying text to be deleted are rendered in a paler colour; and <angled brackets> signifying added emendations are shown in a slightly different color, shown in the sourcecode as <SPAN CLASS="emend">.

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Site updated: 28 Mar 21