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Book I

This webpage reproduces a Book of
De Re Rustica

by
Varro

published in the Loeb Classical Library, 1934

The text is in the public domain.

This page has been carefully proofread
and I believe it to be free of errors.
If you find a mistake though, please let me know!


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Book III

Marcus Terentius Varro
on Agriculture

Book II

p307 [link to original Latin text] It was not without pleasure that those great men, our ancestors, put the Romans who lived in the country ahead of those who lived in the city. For as in the country those who live in the villa are lazier than those who are engaged in carrying out work on the land, so they thought that those who settled in town were more indolent than those who dwelt in the country. Hence they so divided the year that they attended to their town affairs only on the ninth days, and dwelt in the country on the remaining seven.1 2 So long as they kept up this practice they attained both objects — keeping their lands most productive by cultivation, and themselves enjoying better health and not requiring the citified gymnasia of the Greeks. In these days one such gymnasium is hardly enough, and they do not think they have a real villa unless it rings with many resounding Greek names, places severally called procoetion (ante-room), palaestra (exercise-room), apodyterion (dressing-room), peristylon (colonnade), ornithon (aviary), peripteros (pergola), oporotheca (fruit-room). 3 As therefore in these days practically all the heads of families have sneaked within the walls, abandoning the sickle and the plough, and would rather busy their hands in the theatre and in the circus than in the grain-fields and the vineyards, we hire a man to bring us from Africa and Sardinia the grain with which to fill our stomachs, and the vintage we store comes in ships from the islands of Cos and Chios.

p309 4 And so, in a land where shepherds who founded the city taught their offspring the cultivation of the earth, there, on the contrary, their descendants, from greed and in the face of the laws, have made pastures out of grain lands2 — not knowing that agriculture and grazing are not the same thing. For the shepherd is one thing and the ploughman another; and it does not follow that because cattle can graze in a field the herdsman is the same as the ploughman. For grazing cattle do not produce what grows on the land, but tear it off with their teeth; while on the other hand the domestic ox becomes the cause why the grain grows more easily in the ploughed land, and the fodder in the fallow land.3 5 The skill and knowledge of the farmer, I repeat, are one thing, and those of the herdsman another; in the province of the farmer are those things which are made to spring from the earth by cultivation of the land; in that of the herdsman, however, those that spring from the herd. As the association between them is very close, inasmuch as it is frequently more profitable to the owner of the farm to feed the fodder on the place than to sell it, and inasmuch as manure is admirably adapted to the fruits of the earth, and cattle especially fitted to produce it, one who owns a farm ought to have a knowledge of both pursuits, agriculture and cattle-raising, and also of the husbandry of the steading. For from it, too, no little revenue can be derived — from the poultry-yards, the rabbit-hutches, and the fishponds. 6 And since I have written a book4 for my wife, Fundania, on one of these subjects, that of agriculture, on account of her owning a farm, for you, my dear Turranius Niger, who take keen delight p311in cattle, inasmuch as your feet often carry you, on buying bent, to market at Campi Macri,5 that you may more easily meet the outlay incurred by the many demands made upon you, I shall run over briefly and summarily the subject of cattle-raising; and I shall the more readily do this because I have myself owned large stocks of cattle, sheep in Apulia and horses in the district of Reate. I shall take as the foundation the conversations I had with extensive cattle-owners in Epirus, at the time when, during the war with the pirates,6 I was in command of the Greek fleets operating between Delos and Sicily. At this point I shall begin. . . .

1 1   [link to original Latin text] When Menates had left, Cossinius remarked to me: "We shall not let you go until you have set forth those three topics of which you had begun to speak when we were interrupted." "Which three?" inquired Murrius; "do you mean what you were saying to me yesterday about animal husbandry?" "The points our friend here had begun to discuss," said he, "the origin, the dignity, and science. . ."7 2 "Well," said I, "I shall speak at least of the historical side and tell what I have learned of the two topics first mentioned — the origin and the dignity. Scrofa will take up the tale at the third division, when it becomes a science. He is, if I may quote Greek to half-Greek shepherds, 'a much better man than I am.' For he is the man who taught your son-in‑law, Gaius Lucilius Hirtius, whose flocks in the country of the Bruttii are renowned." "But you shall have this discussion by us," said Scrofa, "only on condition that you, who p313are the cattle-raising champions of Epirus, shall repay us by disclosing what you know of the subject; for no man can know everything." 3 When I had accepted the proposal and was to open the play — not that I do not own flocks myself in Italy, but not all who own a harp are harpers" — I began: "As it is a necessity of nature that people and flocks have always existed (whether there was an original generating principle of animals, as Thales of Miletus and Zeno of Citium thought, or, on the contrary, as was the view of Pythagoras of Samos and of Aristotle of Stagira, there was no point of beginning for them),8 it is a necessity that from the remotest antiquity of human life they have come down, as Dicaearchus teaches, step by step to our age, and that the most distant stage was that state of nature 4 in which man lived on those products which the virgin earth brought forth of her own accord; they descended from this stage into the second, the pastoral, in which they gathered for their use acorns, arbutus berries, mulberries, and other fruits by plucking them from wild and uncultivated trees and bushes, and likewise caught, shut up, and tamed such wild animals as they could for the like advantage. There is good reason to suppose that, of these, sheep were first taken, both because they are useful and because they are tractable; for these are naturally most placid and most adapted to the life of man. For to his food they brought milk and cheese, and to his body wool and skins for clothing. 5 Then by a third stage man came from the pastoral life to that of the tiller of the soil; in this they retained much of the former two stages, and after reaching it they went far before reaching p315our stage. Even now there are several species of wild animals in various places: as of sheep in Phrygia, where numerous flocks are seen, and in Samothrace those goats which are called in Latin rotae;9 for there are many wild goats in Italy in the vicinity of Mount Fiscellum and Mount Tetrica. As to swine, everybody knows — except those who think that wild boars ought not to be called swine. There are even now many quite wild cattle in Dardania, Maedica,10 and Thrace; wild asses in Phrygia and Lycaonia, and wild horses at several points in Hither Spain.

6 "The origin is as I have given it; the dignity, as I shall now show. Of the ancients the most illustrious were all shepherds, as appears in both Greek and Latin literature, and in the ancient poets, who call some men 'rich in flocks,' others 'rich in sheep,' others 'rich in herds';11 and they have related that on account of their costliness some sheep actually had fleeces of gold — as at Argos the one which Atreus complains that Thyestes stole from him; or as in the realm of Aeetes in Colchis, the ram in search of whose golden fleece the Argonauts of royal blood are said to have fared forth; or as among the Hesperides in Libya, from which Hercules brought from Africa to Greece golden mala,12 which is the ancient manner of naming goats and sheep. For the Greeks called these mela from the sound of their bleating; 7 and in fact our people give them a similar name from the same bleating, but with a different consonant (for the bleating seems to give the sound be, and not me), and they call the bleating of sheep baelare, and hence later, by the excision of a letter, as occurs in many words, balare. But if the flock had not been held in high honour among the ancients, the p317astronomers, in laying out the heavens, would not have called by their names the signs of the zodiac; they not only did not hesitate to give such names, but many of them begin their enumeration of the twelve signs with the names of the Ram and the Bull, placing them ahead of Apollo and Hercules. For those gods follow them, but are called the Twins.13 8 And they were not content to have one-sixth of the twelve signs bear the names of domestic animals, but added Capricornus, so that one-fourth might have them. And besides this, they added of the domestic animals the she-goat, the kid, and the dog. Or are not tracts on land and sea also known by the names of animals? For instance, they named a sea Aegean from the word for goats,14 a mountain on the border of Syria, Taurus,15 a mountain in the Sabine country, Cantherius,16 and two straits Bosphorus (ox‑ford)17 — the Thracian and the Cimmerian. 9 Did they not give such names to many places on land, as, for instance, the city in Greece called 'Hippion (horse-rearing) Argos'? And, finally, is not Italy named from vituli (bullocks), as Piso states?18 Further, does not everyone agree that the Roman people is sprung from shepherds? Is there anyone who does not know that Faustulus, the foster-father who reared Romulus and Remus, was a shepherd? Will not the fact that they chose exactly the Parilia19 as the time to found a city demonstrate that they were themselves shepherds? Is not the same thing proved by the following facts: that up to this day a fine is assessed after the ancient fashion in oxen and sheep; that the oldest copper coins are marked with cattle;20 10 that when the city was founded the position of walls and gates was marked out by a bull and a p319cow; that when the Roman people is purified by the suovetaurilia,21 a boar, a ram, and a bull are driven around; that many of our family names are derived from both classes, the larger and the smaller, such as Porcius, Ovinius, Caprilius from the smaller, and Equitius, Taurius, Asinius from the larger;22 and that the so‑called cognomina [surnames] prove the same thing, as, for instance, the Annii Caprae, the Statilii Tauri, the Pomponii Vituli, and many others, derived from the names of domestic animals?

11 "It remains to speak of the science of animal husbandry, and our friend, Scrofa,23 to whom this generation presents the palm in all agricultural matters, and who is therefore better fitted, will discuss it." When the eyes of all were turned on him Scrofa began:— "Well, there is a science of assembling and feeding cattle in such fashion as to secure the greatest returns from them; the very word for money is derived from them, for cattle24 are the basis of all wealth. 12 The science embraces nine divisions under three topics of three divisions each: the topic of the smaller animals, with its three divisions, sheep, goats, swine; the second topic, that of the larger animals, with likewise its three classes naturally separate, oxen, asses, horses. The third topic comprises animals which are kept not for the profit derived from them, but for the purpose of the above groups, or as a result of them, mules, dogs, and herdsmen. Each one of these divisions includes at least nine general subdivisions; and of these four are necessarily involved in assembling and an equal number in feeding; while one is common to both. There are, then, at the lowest 81 subdivisions, all of them important and not one insignificant. p32113 First: in order to assemble a sound flock one must know one item — at what age it is profitable to get and keep each several kind. Thus, in the matter of cattle, they can be purchased at a lower price below the age of one year and beyond that of ten years, for they begin to yield a profit after the age of two or three, and do not continue to do so much beyond the age of ten years — 14 the earliest youth and extreme age of all animals being barren. The second of the first four heads is a knowledge of the proper characteristics of each species of animal, as this has a very important bearing on the profit. Thus, one buys an ox with dark rather than with white horns, a full-bodied she-goat rather than a thin one, and swine with long bodies provided the head is small. The third point of inquiry is as to the breed; it is for this reason that in Greece the asses of Arcadia are noted, and in Italy those of Reate — so much so that within my recollection an ass fetched 60,000 sesterces, and one team of four at Rome sold for 400,000. 15 The fourth topic is the law of purchase — the proper legal form to be followed in the purchase of each separate species. In order that the property of another may become mine an intermediate step is necessary, and not in all purchases is an agreement or the payment of money sufficient to effect a change of ownership; and in a purchase it is sometimes to be stipulated that the animal is sound, sometimes that it is from a sound flock, while at other times neither stipulation is made.

16 "After the purchase has been made we come to the second group of four points which are to be observed: they are those concerned with pasturage, breeding, feeding, and health. Of pasturage, which p323is the first point, there are three divisions: the preferable locality for the pasturage of the several species, the time, and the manner; thus, it is better to pasture goats on a bushy hillside than on a grassy plain, while the opposite is true of mares. Again, the same localities are not equally suited in summer and winter to the pasturing of all species. Hence, flocks of sheep are driven all the way from Apulia into Samnium for summering, and are reported to the tax-collectors, for fear of offending against the censorial regulation forbidding the pasturing of unregistered25 flocks; 17 and mules are driven in summer from the level Rosea26 into the high mountains of Burbur.27 One must also consider the preferable method of pasturing each species — by which I do not mean merely that a horse or an ox is content with hay, but that barley and beans should be fed at intervals to some of them, and that lupines should be fed to oxen, and alfalfa and clover to milch cows; and besides that for thirty days before mating more food should be given rams and bulls to increase their vigour, and food should be lessened for the females, because it is claimed that they conceive more readily when they are thin. 18 The second topic is that of breeding — by which I mean the process from conception to birth, these being the limits of pregnancy. The first point to be observed, therefore, is that of mating — the time at which opportunity for coition should be allowed each species; thus, the period from the beginning of the west wind to the vernal equinox28 is deemed best suited to swine, while that from the setting of Arcturus to the setting of Aquila is considered best for sheep. Consideration should p325also be given to the proper period before breeding begins, during which the males should be kept away from the females — a period which both stockmen and shepherds usually fix at two months for all animals. 19 The second division comprises the points to be watched in breeding, arising from the difference among species in the period of gestation; thus, the mare carries her young twelve months, the cow ten, the sheep and the goat five, the sow four. (Speaking of breeding, there is a story from Spain which, though incredible,29 is quite authentic, that on the shore of the ocean in Lusitania, in the district in which is situated the town of Olisipo, certain mares on Mount Taurus, at a particular time of year, are impregnated by the wind; just as in this country frequently occurs in the case of those hens the eggs of which are called hypenemia.30 But the foals of these mares do not live beyond three years.) Care must be taken that the young which have gone the full time or longer have a clean, soft place to stand in, and that they be not trampled. Lambs which are born after the full period are called cordi, the name being derived from the fact that they have remained in those deep-lying folds which are called chorion.31 20 There is a third item — the practice to be observed in the matter of feeding, including the number of days on which the young may have the teat, at what times, and where; and if the mother is deficient in milk, that the young be allowed to suckle the udder of another mother. Such animals are called subrumi, 'under the udder,' the udder being called rumis, as I suppose, in old Latin.32 As a rule, lambs are not p327weaned under four months, kids under three, and pigs under two. Those of the last named which are pure for sacrifice and may be offered up, used to be called sacres; Plautus uses the term in his sentence:33 'What's the price of sacred pigs?' Similarly, oxen, fattened for public offerings, are called opimi, fatlings. 21 The fourth division is that of health — a complicated but extremely important matter, inasmuch as a sickly herd is a losing investment, and men frequently come to grief because it is not strong. There are two divisions of such knowledge, as there are in the treatment of human beings: in the one case the physician should be called in, while in the other even an attentive herdsman is competent to give the treatment. The topic has three heads: we must observe the cause of the several diseases, the symptoms displayed by such causes, and the proper method of treatment to be followed for each disease. 22 In general, sickness is caused by the fact that the animals are suffering from heat or from cold, or else from excessive work, or, on the other hand, from lack of exercise; or in case food or drink has been given them immediately after working, without a period of rest. The symptoms are that those which have fever from overwork keep the mouth open, pant fast with moist breath, and have hot bodies. The following is the treatment in such cases: 23 The animal is drenched with water, rubbed down with oil and warm wine, and, further, is sustained with food, and a covering is thrown over it to prevent a chill; in case of thirst tepid water is administered. If improvement is not obtained by such treatment, blood is let, usually from the head. Other diseases have other causes and other symptoms, and the man p329in charge of the herd should keep them all in written form.

24 "There remains the ninth point I have mentioned, common to both divisions — the proper number. For the man who is feeding a herd must decide on the size, determining how many herds and how large he is going to graze, so that his pasturage will not run short, and so that he will not have idle pasturage and hence lose his profit. He must also decide how many females to have in the flock for breeding, how many males, how many young of each sex, and how many culls34 are to be cut out. In the matter of feeding, if too many young are born you should follow the practice of some breeders, and wean some of them; the result usually being that the rest grow better."

25 "Don't get confused," said Atticus, "and let your ninefold division get away from the matter of smaller and larger animals. How will you get a ninefold division in the case of mules and herdsmen, where there is neither breeding nor bearing? 26 I see how you can use it in the case of dogs. I grant you also that even in the case of the humans the ninefold division can be retained, as they keep women in their huts in the winter ranches, and some have them even in the summer, thinking that this is worth while in order the more easily to keep the herdsmen with their herds; and by the natural increase they enlarge their slave gangs and make the cattle-raising more profitable." "The number," I remark,35 "is not to be taken as precisely accurate, just as we do not mean to be taken exactly when we say that a thousand ships set forth against Troy, or speak of the centumviral court at Rome. So, if you wish, subtract two of the topics, p331coition and foaling, when you speak of mules." 27 "Foaling?" asked Vaccius; "why, don't you know that it has several times been asserted that a mule has borne a colt at Rome?"36 To back up his statement, I add that both Mago and Dionysius remark that the mule and the mare bring forth in the twelfth month after conception. Hence we must not expect all lands to agree, even if it is considered a portent when a mule bears young here in Italy. Swallows and storks, for instance, which bear in Italy, do not bear in all lands. Surely you are aware that the date-palms of Syria bear fruit in Judea but cannot in Italy. 28 Scrofa, however, remarked: "If you insist on having 81 sub-heads, omitting the breeding and feeding of mules, you may easily fill that double gap; two very important sources of revenue fall outside the enumeration. There is the shearing — the clipping or pulling of wool and goat hair — and another, which is even more important, the matter of milk and cheese. The Greek authorities treat this as a separate topic, calling it tyropoiia (cheese-making), and have had a great deal to say about it.

2 1   [link to original Latin text] "But since I have completed my task, and the subject of stock-raising has been sketched in outline, you gentlemen of Epirus should take up the tale in your turn and let us see what the shepherds from Pergamis and Maledos37 can tell us under each head." 2 Then Atticus,38 who at the time bore the name Titus Pomponius, but is now called Quintus Cornelius though he retains the same cognomen, began: "I suppose I should start the discussion, p333as you all seem to be looking to me, and I shall speak of the earliest branch of animal husbandry, as you claim that sheep were the first of the wild animals to be caught and tamed by man. The first consideration is that these be in good condition when purchased; with respect to age that they be neither too old nor mere lambs, the latter being not yet, and the former no longer profitable — though the age which is followed by hope is better than the one which is followed by death. 3 As to form,39 sheep should be full-bodied, with abundant soft fleece, with fibres long and thick over the whole body, especially about the shoulders and neck, and should have a shaggy belly also. In fact, sheep which did not have this our ancestors called 'bald'40 (apicas), and would have none of them. The legs should be short; and observe that the tail should be long in Italy but short in Syria. The most important point to watch is to have a flock41 from good stock. 4 This can usually be judged by two points — the form and the progeny; by the form if the ram have a full coating of fleece on the forehead, have flat horns curving towards the muzzle, grey eyes, and ears overgrown with wool; if they are full-bodied, with wide chest, shoulders, and hind-quarters, and a wide, long tail. A black or spotted tongue is also to be avoided, for rams with such a tongue usually beget black or spotted lambs.42 The stock is determined by the progeny if they beget handsome lambs. 5 In purchasing we take advantage of the variation which the law allows, some making more and others fewer exceptions; thus, some purchasers, when the price is fixed by the head, stipulate that two late-born lambs count as one sheep, and in the case of those which have lost their teeth from age, p335that they also be reckoned two for one. With this exception, the ancient formula is generally employed: when the purchaser has said, 'They are sold at such a price?' and the seller has replied, 'Yes,' and the money has passed, the purchaser, using the old formula, says: 6 'You guarantee that the sheep in question are perfectly sound, up to the standard of a flock which is perfectly sound, excepting those blind of one eye, deaf, or minae (that is, with belly bare of wool),43 that they do not come from a diseased flock, and that title may legally pass — that all this may be properly done?' Even after this has been agreed on, the flock does not change owners unless the money has been counted; and the purchaser still has the right to obtain a judgment against the vendor against the law of purchase and sale if he does not make delivery, even though no money has passed; just as the vendor may obtain a judgment against the purchaser under the same law if he does not make payment.

7 "I shall discuss next the remaining four points — pasturage, breeding, feeding, health. It is first to be arranged that they feed properly the year round, indoors and out. The fold should be placed in a suitable situation, protected from the wind, and facing the east rather than the south. The ground on which they are to stand should be clear of undergrowth and sloping, so that it can easily be swept and kept clean; for the moisture of the ground injures not only the fleece of the sheep but their hoofs as well, and causes them to become scabby. 8 When they have been standing for some days, fresh brush should be spread for them, to give them a softer bed and keep them cleaner; for this increases p337their appetite. Separate enclosures should also be built, so that you may take the pregnant ones away from the flock, and also those that are sick. These measures concern most the flocks which are folded at the steading. 9 On the other hand, in the case of those that feed on the ranges and are far from cover, hurdles or nets are carried with which to make enclosures in a desolate district, as well as other necessary things; for they usually graze far and wide in all sorts of places, so that frequently the winter grazing grounds are many miles away from the summer." "I am well aware of that," said I,44 "for I had flocks that wintered in Apulia and summered in the mountains around Reate, these two widely separated ranges being connected by public cattle-trails, as a pair of buckets by their yoke." 10 "Such45 flocks, even when they feed in the same locality, are treated differently at different seasons; thus, in summer they begin feeding at daybreak, because at that time the grass, filled with dew,46 is superior to the grass of midday, which is drier. At sunrise they are driven47 to water, to make them more eager to graze when they come back. 11 During the midday heat they are driven under shady cliffs and wide-spreading trees to cool off until the day grows cooler; and they feed again in the evening until sunset. Sheep should be headed in grazing in such a way as to have the sun behind them, as the head of the sheep is its weakest part. A short time after sunset they are driven to water, and then again they graze until it becomes quite dark; for at this time the succulence comes again to the grass. This practice is usually kept up from the rising of the Pleiades until the autumnal equinox.48 12 It is profitable to drive p339them into stubble fields for two reasons: they get their fill of the ears that have fallen, and make the crop better the next year by trampling the straw and by their dung. The feeding during the rest of the year, winter and spring, varies from this, in that when the frost has melted they are driven out to feed and range the whole day, and it is considered sufficient for them to be driven to water only once, at midday.

13 "With regard to pasturage the foregoing remarks will suffice; the following apply to breeding. The rams which are to be used for breeding are to be removed from the flock two months ahead, and fed more generously. If barley is fed them on their return to the pens from the pasture, they are strengthened for the work before them. The best time for mating is from the setting of Arcturus to the setting of Aquila;49 as lambs which are conceived after that time grow undersized and weak. 14 As the period of pregnancy of the sheep is 150 days, the birth thus occurs at the close of autumn, when the air is fairly temperate, and the grass which is called forth by the early rains is just growing. During the whole time of breeding they should drink the same water, as a change of water causes the wool to spot and is injurious to the womb. When all the ewes have conceived, the rams should again be removed, as they are troublesome in worrying the ewes which have now become pregnant. Ewes less than two years old should not be allowed to breed, for the offspring of these is not sturdy and the ewes themselves are injured; and no others are better than the three-year-olds for breeding. They may be protected from the male by binding behind them p341baskets made of rushes or other material; but they are protected more easily if they feed apart.

15 "As to feeding: when they begin to bear they are driven into the pens which are kept separate for that purpose; and there the new-born lambs are placed near a fire until they get their strength. They are kept penned for two or three days, while they are learning to recognise their dams and are getting their fill of nourishment. Then the dams go to pasture with the flock, and the lambs are kept penned; when the dams are brought back to them toward evening, the lambs are suckled by them and are again separated to keep them from being trampled by the dams during the night. The same thing takes place in the morning, before the dams go out to pasture, so that the lambs may be filled with milk. 16 When about ten days have passed, stakes are set to which the lambs are fastened at intervals by bark or other smooth ropes, so that the tender young things may not knock the skin off any of their legs while frisking about together during the whole day. If the lamb will not come to its dam's udder, it should be held close and its lips smeared with butter or hog's lard and the lips be given the savour of milk.50 A few days later ground vetch or tender grass is thrown out to them before they go out to pasture and when they come back; 17 and this feeding is continued until they are four months old. During this time some breeders do not milk the dams; and it is even better not to milk them at all, as they both yield more wool and bear more lambs. When the lambs are removed from the dams, care must be taken that they do not sicken from the separation; and so in feeding they must be coaxed by the p343daintiness of the food and guarded from being harmed by cold and heat. 18 They must be driven into the flock only after they no longer miss the dam, because they have forgotten the taste of milk. Lambs should be castrated not earlier than the fifth month, and then not until the heat or the cold has broken. Those they wish to rear for rams are chosen preferably from the young of dams which usually bear twins. The treatment is, in general, the same in the case of jacketed sheep — those which, on account of the excellence of the wool, are jacketed with skins, as is the practice at Tarentum51 and in Attica, to prevent the fleece from being soiled, in which case it cannot be so well dyed, or washed and bleached. 19 More care is employed in the case of these than in the case of rough-fleeced sheep, to keep the folds and stalls clean; and so they are covered with a stone pavement so that the urine may not stand anywhere in the stalls. To these the food which they prefer, such as fig leaves, straw, grape dregs, and bran, is fed in moderate quantities, to avoid under-feeding or over-feeding; either of which is harmful to their fattening, while alfalfa and snail-clover are both beneficial, as these fatten them very easily and produce milk.

20 "In the matter of health there are many rules; but, as I said, the head shepherd keeps these written down in a book, and carries with him the remedies he may need. The only remaining division is that of number, and some make this larger, others smaller; for there are no natural limits in this respect. Our almost universal practice in Epirus is not to have less than one shepherd to the hundred rough-fleeced sheep, and two to the hundred jacketed sheep."

p345 3 1   [link to original Latin text] Cossinius, addressing him, said: "As you have bleated long enough, my dear Faustulus,52 now hear from me, as from Homer's Melanthius53 born out of due season, with regard to goats; and learn how one ought to speak, briefly and to the point. One who decides to assemble a flock of goats should, in choosing his animals, have regard first to age, picking those of the age which is already capable of bringing in a profit, and this age preferably the one which can bring it longer; for the young goat is more profitable than the old. 2 As to conformation, see that they be strong and large, and have a smooth coat with thick hair, unless, to be sure, they belong to the hairless breed, for there are two breeds of goats. They should have two teat-like growths hanging under the chin, as such goats are more fertile; they should have rather large udders, so that they may give a greater quantity of milk and of richer quality in proportion. The buck should have hair which is rather soft and by preference white; short shoulders and neck; and a somewhat long throat. The flock is better if it is not formed of animals bought here and there, but of those which are accustomed to run together. 3 As to the breed, I make the remark which Atticus made54 with regard to sheep; with this exception, that the race of sheep is more quiet, inasmuch as they are gentler, while on the other hand that of goats is more nimble. As to their activity, Cato says in his Origines: 'On Soracte and Fiscellum there are wild goats which make leaps of more than sixty feet from the cliffs.' For just as the domesticated sheep is sprung from the wild sheep, so the domesticated goat is sprung from the wild goat; and the island Caprasia, off the p347coast of Italy, derives its name from these. 4 As she-goats which bear twins are of better stock, it is from these, preferably, that the males are usually chosen for service.55 Some owners are even careful to import she-goats from the island Melia,56 because it is thought that the largest and finest kids are produced there.

5 "With regard to purchase, my rule is different from the usual practice, as no man sound of mind guarantees that goats (which are never free of fever) are sound of body. And so the bargain is struck with only a few exceptions made, after a formula derived from the code of Manilius:57 'Do you guarantee that the said goats are to‑day in good condition and able to drink, and that the title is in proper form?' There is a remarkable thing about these animals, and even Archelaus is authority for the statement: some shepherds who have watched quite closely claim that goats do not breathe, as other animals do, through the nostrils, but through the ears.a

6 "Of the other four points, I have this to say with regard to feeding: It is better to have the goat stalls face the sunrise in winter, as the animals feel the cold acutely. Such stalls, and in fact all stalls, should be floored with stone or tile, to prevent the goat-house from being wet and muddy. When they have to spend the night outdoors, their pens should face in the same direction, and they should be bedded down with twigs so that they may not be muddied. The care of this animal in the matter of feeding is about the same as that of the sheep, though each has certain peculiarities; 7 thus, the goat prefers wooded glades to meadows, as it eats eagerly the field bushes and crops the undergrowth on cultivated land. Indeed, their name capra is derived from carpere, p349to crop. It is because of this fact that in a contract for the lease of a farm the exception is usually made that the renter may not pasture the offspring of a goat on the place. For their teeth are injurious to all forms of growth; and though the astronomers have placed them in the sky, they have put them outside the circle of the twelve signs — there are two kids and a she-goat not far from Taurus.58 8 As to breeding, at the close of autumn, while the herd is at pasture, the bucks are driven from it into the goat-houses, as was directed with regard to rams. The female which has conceived drops her kid four months later, during the spring. As to rearing, when the kids reach the age of three months they are turned out and begin to form part of the flock. What can I say of the health of animals which are never healthy? I can only make one remark: that the head goatherds keep written directions as to the remedies to be used for some of their diseases and for flesh wounds which they frequently receive, as they are always fighting one another with their horns, and as they crop in thorny places. 9 One topic remains — that of number. This is smaller in the goat herd than in the flock, as goats are wanton and scatter widely, while sheep, on the contrary, huddle together and crowd into the same space. Hence in the Ager Gallicus59 breeders keep numerous herds rather than large ones, because in large herds an epidemic quickly spreads, and this may ruin the owner. 10 A flock of about fifty is considered quite large enough. The experience of the Roman knight, Gaberius, is thought to prove this: He had a place containing 1000 iugera near the city, and hearing from a certain goatherd who drove ten p351goats to the city that they yielded him a denarius a day per head, he bought 1000 goats, hoping that he would make 1000 denarii a day profit. In which he was sadly mistaken, for within a short time he lost the whole flock by disease. Among the Sallentini, however, and around Casinum, they have herds running as high as 100. As to the proportion of males to females, there is about the same difference of opinion, some (and this is my own practice) keeping one buck to every ten does; others, such as Menas, one to fifteen; and still others, such as Murrius, one to twenty.

4 1   [link to original Latin text] "But who sails forth from harbour, and preferably from an Italian harbour, to discourse about swine?60 I need hardly ask, for that Scrofa should be chosen to speak on that subject this surname of his indicates." "You seem," said Tremelius in reply, "not to know why I have the nickname Scrofa. That these gentlemen, too, may learn the reason while you are being enlightened, you must know that my family does not bear a swinish surname, and that I am no descendant of Eumaeus.61 My grandfather was the first to be called Scrofa. He was quaestor to the praetor Licinius Nerva, in the province of Macedonia, and was left in command of the army until the return of the praetor.62 The enemy, thinking that they had an opportunity to win a victory, began a vigorous assault on the camp. 2 In the course of his plea to the soldiers to seize arms and go to meet them, my grandfather said that he would scatter those people as a sow scatters her pigs; and he was as good as his word. For he so scattered and p353routed the enemy in that battle that because of it the praetor Nerva received the title of Imperator, and my grandfather earned the surname of Scrofa.63 Hence neither my great-grandfather nor any of the Tremelii who preceded him was called by this surname of Scrofa; and I am no less than the seventh man of praetorian rank in succession in our family. 3 Still, I will not shrink from the task of telling what I know about swine. For I have been a close student of agriculture since my earliest days, and this matter of swine is of equal interest to me and to you who are large cattle-owners. For who of our people cultivates a farm without keeping swine? and who has not heard that our fathers called him lazy and extravagant who hung in his larder a flitch of bacon which he had purchased from the butcher rather than got from his own farm?

"A man, then, who wishes to keep his herd in good condition should select, first, animals of the proper age, secondly, of good conformation (that is, with heavy members, except in the case of feet and head), of uniform colour rather than spotted. You should see that the boars have not only these same qualities, but especially that their shoulders are well developed. 4 The breed of swine is determined by their appearance, their litter, and the locality from which they come: from their appearance if both boar and sow are handsome; from their litter if they produce numerous pigs; from the locality if you get them from places where fat rather than thin swine are produced. 5 The formula of purchase usually runs as follows: 'Do you guarantee that the said swine are sound, and that the title is good, and that I am protected from suits for damage, and p355that they are not from a diseased herd?' Some buyers add the stipulation that they have got through with fever and diarrhoea.

"In the matter of feeding, ground proper for this animal is wet, as it likes not only water but even mud. It is for this reason, they say, that wolves, when they catch swine, always drag them to water, because their teeth cannot endure the heat of the flesh. 6 As this animal feeds chiefly on mast, and next on beans, barley, and other grains, this food produces not only fat but a pleasant flavour in the flesh. In summer they are driven to pasture early in the day, and before the heat grows intense they are driven into a shady spot, preferably where there is water; then in the afternoon, when the heat has diminished, they are again turned out to pasture. In winter they are not turned out until the frost has disappeared and the ice has melted. 7 In the matter of breeding, the boars are to be separated out two months ahead. The best time for service is from the beginning of the west wind to the spring equinox,64 as in this case the litter is produced in summer. For the sow is pregnant for four months and will thus bear her young when the land is rich in food. Sows should not be bred when less than a year old, and it is better to wait until they are twenty months old, so that they will be two years old when they bear. When they once begin bearing it is said that they continue to do so satisfactorily up to the seventh year. 8 At the time of breeding they are driven into muddy lanes65 and pools, so that they may wallow in the mud; for this is their form of refreshment, as bathing is to human beings. After all the sows have conceived, the boars are again separated. The p357boar begins to cover at eight months and keeps his vigour up to three years; after which time he begins to deteriorate until he reaches the butcher, the appointed go‑between of pork and the populace.

9 "The Greek name for the pig is ὕς, once called θῦς from the verb θῦειν, that is, 'to sacrifice'; for it seems that at the beginning of making sacrifices they first took the victim from the swine family. There are traces of this in these facts: that pigs are sacrificed at the initial rites of Ceres; that at the rites that initiate peace, when a treaty is made, a pig is killed;66 and that at the beginning of the marriage rites of ancient kings and eminent personages in Etruria, the bride and groom, in the ceremonies which united them, first sacrificed a pig. 10 The ancient Latins, too, as well as the Greeks living in Italy, seem to have had the same custom; for our women, and especially nurses, call that part which in girls is the mark of their sex porcus,b as Greek women call it choeros, meaning thereby that it is a distinctive part mature enough for marriage.67 There is a saying that the race of pigs is expressly given by nature to set forth a banquet; and that accordingly life was given them just like salt, to preserve the flesh.68 The Gauls usually make the best and largest flitches of them; it is a sign of their excellence that annually Comacine and Cavarine69 hams and shoulders are still imported from Gaul to Rome. 11 With regard to the size of the Gallic flitches, Cato70 uses this language: 'The Insubrians in Italy salt down three and four thousand p359flitches; in spring the sow grows so fat that she cannot stand on her own feet, and cannot take a step; and so when one is to be taken anywhere it is placed in a wagon.' Atilius of Spain, a thoroughly truthful man and one widely versed in a variety of subjects, used to tell the story that when a sow was killed in Lusitania, a district of Farther Spain, there was sent to the senator Lucius Volumnius a piece of the meat with two ribs attached which weighed three-and‑twenty pounds; and that the meat of that sow was one foot three fingers thick from skin to bone." 12 "No less remarkable a thing was told me in Arcadia," I remarked; "I recall that I went to look at a sow which was so fat that not only could she not rise to her feet, but actually a shrew-mouse had eaten a hole in her flesh, built her nest, and borne her young. I have heard that the same thing occurred in Venetia."

13 "It may usually be determined from the first litter which sow is prolific in breeding, as there is not much difference in the number of pigs in the succeeding litters. As to rearing, which is called porculatio, the pigs are allowed to remain with their mothers for two months; in the second month, after they are able to feed, they are removed. Pigs born in winter are apt to grow thin on account of the cold and because the mothers drive them off on account of the scantiness of the milk, and the consequent bruising of their teats by the teeth of the pigs. Each sow should have her separate sty in which to feed her pigs; because she does not drive away the pigs of a strange litter, and so, if they become mixed she deteriorates in breeding.71 14 Her year is naturally divided into two parts, as she bears twice a year, p361being with young for four months and giving suck for two. The sty should be constructed about three feet high, and a little more than that across, at such a height from the ground that if the sow when pregnant should try to jump out, she will not cast her young. The height of the pen should be such that the swineherd can easily look around it, to prevent the little pigs from being crushed by the mother, and be able to clean the bottom without trouble. The sty should have a door with the lower sill one and a third feet high, so that the pigs cannot jump over it when the mother leaves the sty. 15 Whenever the swineherd cleans the sty he should always cover the floor with sand, or throw into each sty something to soak up the moisture; and when a sow has young he should feed her more bountifully so that she may more easily supply milk. They are usually fed about two pounds of barley soaked in water; some double this amount, feeding both morning and evening, if they have no other food to give. 16 Pigs when weaned are by some people no longer called 'sucking-pigs,' but delici72 or shoats. On the tenth day after birth they are considered 'pure,' and for that reason the ancients called them sacres, because they are said to be fit for sacrifice first at that age. Hence in Plautus's play, the Menaechmi,73 the scene of which is laid in Epidamnus, a character who, thinking that another is mad, wants him to make sacrifice and be cured, asks: 'What's the price of porci sacres in this town?' Wine dregs and grape refuse are usually fed them if the farm produces these. 17 When they have outgrown the name of sucking-pigs they are called nefrendes, from the fact that they are not able to p363'crunch' (frendere), that is crush, beans. Porcus is an old Greek74 word, but it is obsolete, as they now use the word choeros. At the time of bearing, care is taken to see that the sows drink twice a day for the sake of the milk. The saying is that a sow should bear as many pigs as she has teats; if she bear less she will not pay for herself, and if she bear more it is a portent. 18 It is recorded that the most ancient portent of this kind is the sow of Aeneas75 at Lavinium, which bore thirty white pigs; and the portent was fulfilled in that thirty years later the people of Lavinium founded the town of Alba.76 Traces of this sow and her pigs are to be seen even to this day; there are bronze images of them standing in public places even now, and the body of the sow is exhibited by the priests, having been kept in brine, according to their account. 19 A sow can feed eight little pigs at first; but when they have taken on weight it is the practice of experienced breeders to remove half of them, as the mother cannot supply enough milk and the whole of the litter cannot grow fat. The mother is not driven out of the sty except for water during the first ten days after delivery; but after this time they are allowed to range for food in near-by parts of the steading, so that they may come back often and feed their pigs. 20 When these are grown they are allowed to follow the mother to pasture; but when they come home they are separated from the mothers and fed apart, so as to grow accustomed to the lack of the mother's nourishment, a point which they reach in ten days. The swineherd should accustom them to do everything to the sound of the horn. At first they are penned in; and then, when the p365horn sounds, the sty is opened so that they can come out into the place where barley is spread out. This is spread in a row because in that way less is wasted than if it is heaped up, and more of them can reach it easily. The idea in having them gather at the sound of the horn is that they may not become lost when scattered in wooded country. 21 The best time for castrating the boars is when one year old, and certainly not less than six months; when this is done their name is changed, and they are called 'barrows'77 instead of boars. As to the health of swine, I shall give but one illustration: if the sow cannot furnish enough milk for the sucking-pigs, toasted wheat should be fed (for raw wheat loosens the bowels), or barley soaked in water, until they are three months old. 22 As to numbers, ten boars are considered enough for 100 sows, and some breeders even lessen this number. The number in a herd varies; for myself I consider a herd of 100 a reasonable number, but some breeders have larger ones, the number sometimes going as high as 150. Some double the size of the herd, and others have even a larger herd. A rather small herd is less expensive than one too large, as the herdsman requires fewer helpers; and so the breeder determines the size of the herd by his own advantage, and not as he determines the number of boars to keep, as this latter point is derived from nature."

5 1   [link to original Latin text] So far he. At this point Quintus Lucienus, the senator, a thoroughly kindly and jovial person, and a friend to all the company, entered and said "Greetings, fellow-citizens of Epirus;78 for to Scrofa and to our friend Varro, shepherd of the people,79 I paid my greetings this morning." One returned his greeting p367and another chid him for coming late to his appointment; whereupon he remarked: "I'll see you again presently, my merry men, and bring my skin and whips back with me.80 But as for you, Murrius, come along as my backer while I am paying my pence to the Lares, so that if they demand them from me later you can bear me witness." 2 "Tell him while you are going," said Atticus to Murrius, "how far our conversation has gone and what has not been discussed, so that he may come back ready for his part; and let us meanwhile tack on the second act, on the larger animals." "That is where my part comes in," said Vaccius,81 "since there are cows in it. So I shall give the advantage of the knowledge I have acquired on the subject of the cattle herd, so that he who is ignorant may learn, and he who knows may see where I go wrong." "Watch your step, Vaccius," said I; 3 "for the cow should be in the highest esteem among cattle, and especially in Italy, which is supposed to have derived its name from the word for oxen. For the ancient Greeks, according to Timaeus,82 called bulls itali, and the name Italy was bestowed because of the number and beauty of its cattle, and the great number of calves. Others say it is so named from the fact that Hercules chased hither from Sicily a noble bull which was called italus.83 This is man's partner in his rustic labours and is the servant of Ceres; 4 and hence the ancients so wished his life to be safe that they made it a capital offence to kill one.84 In this matter Attica is witness p369as well as Peloponnesus; for it is to this animal that Buzuges owes his fame at Athens, and Bomagiros at Argos."85 "I am acquainted," replied Vaccius, "with the high esteem in which oxen are held, and the fact that many large things are named from them,86 such as busycos (bull fig), bupais (bull-boy), bulimos (bull hunger), boopis (cow-eyed), and that a grape also has the name bumamma (cow's udder).c 5 I know, further, that it was this animal into which Jupiter chose to change himself when he carried his beloved Europa over the sea from Phoenicia; that it was this animal which saved the sons of Neptune by Menalippa from being trampled in the stall, when they were infants, by a herd of cattle; further, that it is from the putrefied body of this animal that there spring the sweetest bees,d those honey-mothers from which the Greeks therefore call bees 'the ox-sprung' (βουγενεῖς); and we have the official record that the praetor reported to the Senate at Rome that it was this animal which said, in Latin, 'Plautius rather than Hirrius.'87 So be of good cheer; I shall give you as much satisfaction as the author of the Bugonia88 could.

6 "First: in the race of cattle four stages of life are distinguished, the first that of calf, the second that of yearling, the third that of prime, the fourth that of old; and a distinction of sex is indicated in each sex, in the first by bull-calf and heifer-calf, in the second by bullock and heifer, and in the p371third and fourth by bull and cow. A sterile cow is called taura, and a pregnant cow is called horda. It is from the fact that at that time pregnant cows are sacrificed that one of the days in the calendar is called hordicidia.89 7 One who wishes to buy a herd of cattle should be careful to have animals of such an age that they are sound for bearing calves rather than those which have already reached the age of barrenness. They should be well formed, that is, clean-limbed, square-built, large, with blackish horns, wide foreheads, large black eyes, hairy ears, narrow jaws, somewhat snub-nosed, not humpbacked, but with a slight depression of the spine, spreading nostrils, blackish lips, 8 thick, long neck, with dewlap hanging from it, body well ribbed, broad shoulders, sturdy rump, a long tail hanging down to the ankles, curling somewhat at the end with thick hair, with legs rather short and straight, knees prominent and a good distance apart, feet not wide and not splaying as they walk, the hoofs not widely cloven but with the two toes smooth and of equal size, the skin not hard and rough to touch. The best colour is black, next red, then dun, and then white; for those of the last mentioned colour are most delicate, and those of the first most hardy. 9 Of the other two colours the first is preferable to the second, while both are more common than the black and the white. He should furthermore see that the males be of good breed, and their conformation should be looked to, for their young reproduce the characteristics of the parents. It is also a matter of importance where they are born; thus in Italy many Gallic oxen of good breed are good workers, while the Ligurian are of small account; 10 of foreign cattle those of p373Epirus are not only the best in all Greece, but are even better than the Italian. Yet some people use cattle of Italian breeds, which they claim excel in size, as offerings, and these they reserve for solemn offerings to the gods. These are doubtless to be preferred for sacrificial purposes because of the splendour of their size and colour; and this is done all the more because white cattle are not so common in Italy as they are in Thrace on the shores of the Black Gulf90 where there are few of any other colour.91 In the purchase of oxen which have been broken in, the bargain is in these terms: 'Do you guarantee that the said oxen are sound, and that I am protected from suits for damage?' 11 In buying them unbroken, the formula runs: 'Do you guarantee that the said bullocks are quite sound and of a sound herd, and that I am protected from suits for damage?' Butchers use a somewhat fuller form, following the rule of Manilius,92 in buying for slaughter; those who buy for sacrifice do not usually demand a guarantee of soundness in the victim.

"Large cattle are most conveniently pastured on wooded land where there is much undergrowth and foliage; and those that spend the winter along the coast are driven in summer into the leafy hills. In the matter of breeding I usually follow these principles: 12 for one month before they are mated, cows should not have their fill of food and drink, because it is thought that when thin they are in better condition to conceive. On the other hand, I keep the bulls filled with grass, straw, and hay for two months before mating; and I keep them away from the females. I keep the same number of bulls as Atticus — two to every 70 brood cows — one a p375yearling, the other a two-year-old. I attend to this matter following the rising of the constellation which the Greeks call Lyra, and which our people call Fides9313 it is only then that I turn the bulls into the herd. The bull shows by the way he dismounts whether a male or female has been conceived by his act: if it is a male he comes down on the right side, and if a female on the left. Why this is true," he remarked to me, "you who read Aristotle94 will have to find out. Cows should not be covered which are less than two years old, so that they may be three years old when they bear; and it will be all the better if they are four years old. Most of them continue bearing up to ten years, and some of them even longer. The best time for mating is from the rising of the Dolphin up to forty days or a little more; for cows which conceive at that time drop their calves at the most temperate season, as cows carry their calves for ten months. 14 On this subject I have seen a remarkable statement — that if you turn in a bull immediately after he has been castrated, he can get a calf. The cows should be pastured in grassy and watered ground, and care should be taken not to let them crowd, be struck, or run against one another. As cattle-flies95 have a way of tormenting them in summer and certain minute insects grow under their tails, some breeders keep them shut up in pens, to keep them from being worried. The pens should be strewn with a bedding of leaves or some such thing, so that they may rest in greater comfort. In summer they should be driven to water twice, in winter once. 15 When they come to the p377time of calving, fresh fodder should be kept near the stalls for them to nibble at as they go out, for they become dainty. Care should also be taken that the place into which they turned shall not be chilly, for chill and hunger make them grow thin. 16 In the matter of rearing, the following rules should be observed with this kind of animal: Sucklings must not sleep with their dams, as they will be trampled; they should be admitted to their dams in the morning and when they have come back from pasture. When the calves have made some growth, the dams should be relieved by throwing green food before the calves in the pens. These stalls (and this holds good for practically all stalls) should be paved with stones or something of the sort, so that their hoofs may not rot. After the autumnal equinox calves pasture along with their dams. 17 They should not be castrated until they are two years old, because it is hard for them to recover otherwise; while those which are castrated later become tough and worthless. Just as in the case of other herds, there should be a culling once a year, and the culls should be cut out of the herd, as they take up the room of those which can bring in a profit. If a cow has lost her calf she should be given some whose dams do not give enough milk. Calves six months old are fed wheat bran and barley-meal and tender grass, and care is taken that they drink morning and evening. 18 On the subject of health there are many rules; these have been copied down from Mago's treatise, and I see to it that my head herdsman is reading some of them repeatedly. As to the number of bulls and cows, the rule is that there be, to every sixty cows, one yearling bull and one two-year-old. Some breeders p379make the number smaller or larger; as, for instance, in Atticus's herd there are two bulls to seventy breeding cows. The number of animals in a herd varies with the owner, some breeders (and I am one of them) considering a hundred a reasonable number. But Atticus has 120, as does Lucienus."

6 1   [link to original Latin text] So far Vaccius. Then Murrius, who had returned with Lucienus while Vaccius was speaking, said: "I shall speak by preference on the subject of asses, as I am from Reate, where the best and largest are grown; out of this stock I have bred colts here and several times sold them even to Arcadians.96a 2 One who wishes, then, to start a good herd of asses should first be careful to get males and females of the proper age, so that they both may continue to bring in a profit as long as possible. They should be sturdy, sound in all parts, full-bodied, of good stock, and from those districts from which the best come; this is a point considered by those breeders in Peloponnesus who, by preference, buy in Arcadia, and those in Italy who buy in the neighborhood of Reate.96b For it does not at all follow that, because the best 'floating' lampreys grow in Sicily and the helops97 off Rhodes, these fish grow of the same excellence in all seas. There are two species of these animals: the wild ass, called onagrus, 3 of which there are many herds, as, for instance, in Phrygia and Lycaonia; and the domesticated, such as are all those in Italy. The wild ass is well suited for breeding, because he is easily changed from wild to tame and never changes p381back from tame to wild.98 As the young reproduce the qualities of their parents, both sire and dam should be chosen with an eye to their worth. In the matter of transfer of title, they change owners, as do other animals, by purchase and delivery; and there is the usual guarantee of soundness and against liability for damage. 4 The best food for them is spelt and barley bran. They are bred before the solstice,99 so that they may drop their colts at the same season the next year; for they foal in the twelfth month after conception. Pregnant jennies are relieved of work, as work makes the womb bear a poorer offspring. The male is not kept from work, as he loses vigour from lack of labour. In the matter of foaling about the same rules are followed as in the case of mares. The young are not separated from their dams for a year after birth; but during the next year they are allowed to be with them at night, and are kept loosely tied with a leather halter or the like. In the third year they begin their training for the work for which their owners wish to keep them. 5 There remains the question of number; but there really are no herds of these animals except of those which form pack trains, for the reason that they are usually separated and sent to the mills, or to the fields for hauling, or even for ploughing where the land is porous, as it is in Campania. The trains are usually formed by the traders, as, for instance, those who pack oil or wine and grain or other products from the region of Brundisium or Apulia to the sea in donkey panniers."

7 1   [link to original Latin text] "I too," broke in Lucienus, "shall open the barriers100 as I come, and begin to let out the steeds, p383and not the stallions only, which I keep for breeding, as Atticus does, one to every ten mares. The females of these Quintus Modius Equiculus, a very gallant gentleman whose father was also a soldier, used to value as highly as the males. Those who wish to establish a herd of horses and mares, as some do in the Peloponnesus and in Apulia, should first have an eye to age; and the following rules are laid down: We are careful to have them not less than three nor more than ten years old. 2 The age of horses and of almost all animals with solid hoof, and in fact of those with horns, is determined by the teeth, the horse being said to drop, at thirty months, first the middle teeth, two upper and as many lower; at the beginning of the fourth year they again cast, this time dropping the same number of those coming next to those which they have lost; and to so‑called canine teeth101 begin to grow. 3 At the beginning of the fifth year they again shed two in each jaw in the same way, as at that time the animal has hollow fresh teeth which fill out in the sixth year, so that in the seventh it usually has a full set of permanent teeth.102 It is said that there is no way of determining those which are older than this, except that when the teeth become prominent103 and the brows grey with hollows under them, they determine by looking at him that such a horse is sixteen years old. 4 As to conformation they should be of moderate size, neither over nor under size, and the mares should have broad quarters and bellies. Stallions kept for breeding should be chosen of broad body, handsome, with no part of the body breaking the harmony. 5 What sort of a horse is going to turn out can be determined from the colt: if it has a head not over p385size and well-proportioned limbs, dark eyes, full nostrils, close-lying ears; mane abundant, dark, slightly curling, with very fine hair falling on the right side of the neck; broad, full chest, broad shoulders, fair-sized barrel, flanks converging downward, broad shoulder-blades, preferably with a double spine104 or at least with the backbone not prominent, full, somewhat curly tail, legs straight and sloping symmetrically rather inward than outward, the knees round but not large, and hard hoofs. The veins should be visible over the whole body, as a horse of this kind is capable of easy treatment when it is sick.105 6 The stock from which they come is of great importance, as there are a number of breeds; hence noted breeds are named from the districts from which they come, as in Greece the Thessalian from Thessaly, in Italy the Apulian from Apulia, and the Rosean from Rosea. It is a sign that the horse will be a good one if, when in pasture with its mates, it vies with them in racing or in other ways to show its superiority; if, when a river is to be crossed by the herd, it runs with the leaders and does not look back at the rest of the herd. The terms of purchase for horses are practically the same as those for cattle and asses, as they change owners by purchase on the same terms, as laid down in the decisions of Manilius.106

7 "The breeding stud of horses is best fed in meadows on grass, and in stalls and enclosures on dry hay; and when they have foaled, with an additional ration of barley, and with water twice a day. In the matter of breeding, the beginning of mating should be at the vernal equinox and it should continue until the solstice, so that the foal may come at a seasonable time; for it is said that they are born on the tenth p387day of the twelfth month after conception. Foals which are born after this time are usually defective and unprofitable. 8 When the proper season arrives, the stallion should be admitted twice daily, morning and evening, with the help of the groom107 — as they call the man who attends to the mating. For with his help, when the mare is tied, the coition takes place more quickly, and the stallions do not, in their eagerness, eject the seed to no purpose. The mares show when they have conceived by defending themselves. If the horse will not cover the mare, the centre of a squill is crushed in water and reduced to the consistency of honey; with this the natural parts of the mare are touched when she is in heat, and on the other hand the nostrils of the horse are touched with what comes from the natural parts of the mare. 9 (Though it is incredible, as it actually happened the following story should be recorded: when a horse could not be induced to mount his dam, the groom covered his head, led him up, and forced him to do so; but when he took the cloth from the horse's eyes after he had come down, the horse dashed at him and killed him with his teeth.) 10 Care must be taken that the mares, after conceiving, are not worked over hard or kept in cold places, as chill is extremely injurious to those with foal. So in their stalls the ground should be kept free of dampness, the doors and windows should be kept shut, and poles should be placed in the pen to separate each mare, so that they cannot fight one another. A mare with foal should not be over-fed or under-fed. 11 Those who mate their mares every other year claim that they breed for a longer time and that the colts are better; and that those which become pregnant every p389year are sooner exhausted, just as are fields which are planted every year.108

"Within ten days after birth colts should be driven to pasture with their dams, so that the dung may not burn their tender hoofs. When the colts are five months old, on being driven back to the stable they should have spread before them barley-meal ground with bran, and whatever other product of the soil they relish. 12 When they become yearlings they should be fed with barley and bran so long as they suckle. And they should not be removed before the end of two years; and while they are still with the dam they should be handled from time to time, to prevent them from being frightened when they are separated. For the same purpose harness should be hung in the stall, so that the young horses may become accustomed both to the sight of it and to its jingling when it moves. 13 As soon as they have become accustomed to coming up and being handled it is well to let a boy mount them two or three times, first lying flat on his stomach and then seated. This should be done when the colt is a three-year-old, for at that age it is growing most rapidly, and putting on muscle. Some breeders claim that a young horse can be broken at eighteen months; but it is better to wait until they are three-year-olds; from which time it is customary to feed mixed forage, for this is a most necessary form of purging for horses. It should be fed for ten days, and the horse should be allowed to taste no other food. 14 From the eleventh to the fourteenth day barley should be fed, the amount being increased gradually from day to day; and the amount fed on the fourth day should be continued for the next ten days. After that time p391he should have gentle exercise, and be rubbed down with oil after he has sweated. If the weather is chilly, a fire should be built in the stall.

15 "As some horses are fitted for military service, others for hauling, others for breeding, and others for racing, all are not to be judged and valued by the same standards. Thus the experienced soldier chooses his horses by one standard and feeds and trains them in one way, and the charioteer and circus-rider in another; and the trainer who is breaking horses for riding under the saddle or for the carriage does not use the same system as the man who has military service in view; for as on the one hand, in the army, they want spirited horses, so on the other hand they prefer more docile ones for road service. It is for this reason that there has grown up the greatest difference in the matter of castrating horses; for when the testicles have been removed they become more steady for the reason that they no longer have seed. Such horses are called geldings,109 just as castrated boars are called barrows,110 and castrated cocks are called capons. 16 In the matter of treatment there are, in the case of horses, a great many symptoms of disease and methods of treatment, and the head groom should have these written out. It is for this reason that in Greece those who treat cattle in general are called by the special name ἱππίατροι, 'horse-doctors.' "

8 1   [link to original Latin text] While we were thus speaking a freedman comes from Menates111 to tell us that the cakes had been offered and the sacrifice was made ready; if the gentlemen wished they might come there and perform their sacrifices for themselves. "But," I said, "I shan't let you go until you have played out the third act112 — on p393mules, dogs, and herdsmen." "It will take only a short time to discuss them," said Murrius; "for mules and hinnies are hybrids and grafts, not from roots after their own kind; for the mule is the offspring of a mare and an ass, while the hinny is the offspring of a horse and a jenny; 2 each is useful work, but neither brings any return from young. When an ass colt is newly born it is placed under a mare and becomes fatter on her milk, as they claim that such nourishment is more nutritious than the ass's milk. They are reared, in addition, on straw, hay, or barley. Special care is also taken of the foster-mother, so the mare may furnish the colt with an abundant supply of milk. A jack so reared may be used for breeding after three years, and because it is accustomed to horses it will not refuse to mate.113 3 If you use him at an early age, he himself tires sooner, and his offspring will be of poorer quality. Those who do not have such a jack, reared on mare's milk, but want a breeding jack, pick one as heavy and handsome as they can find and of good breed — of the Arcadian breed, our ancestors used to say, but of Reatine breed, as we have found by experience; in that district several breeding asses have sold for three hundred and even four hundred thousand sesterces. In purchasing we observe the same rules as in the case of horses, and make the same stipulations in the matter of purchase and acceptance as were named in the case of horses.114 4 We feed these chiefly on hay and barley and increase the amount before breeding, so that we may furnish strength from the food for begetting; and we mate them at the same season in which we mate horses, and we are careful also to have them cover the mares with the help of a groom. p395When a mare drops a horse-mule or a mare-mule we rear it at the teat. 5 If these are born in swampy or damp ground they have soft hoofs; but if they are driven into the mountains in summer, as is done in the district of Reate, their hoofs grow quite hard. In assembling a herd of mules both age and build must be watched — the former that they may be strong enough to bear the labour of hauling, and the latter that they may please the eyes with the appearance; for it is by pairs of these animals that all vehicles are drawn on the roads. 6 You would take my word for this as being an expert from Reate," he remarked to me, "if you did not keep herds of mares at home yourself, and had not sold herds of mules. The so‑called hinny is the offspring of a horse and a jenny; smaller than the mule, usually rather redder, with ears like a horse's, but with mane and tail like those of the ass. These are reared and fed just as young horses are, and their age is determined by the teeth."

9 1   [link to original Latin text] "There is left," said Atticus, "of the discussion of quadrupeds only the topic of dogs; but it is of great interest to those of us who keep fleece-bearing flocks, the dog being the guardian of the flock, which needs such a champion to defend it. Under this head come especially sheep but also goats, as these are the common prey of the wolf, and we use dogs to protect them. In a herd of swine, however, there are some members which can defend themselves, namely, boars, barrows, and sows; for they are very much like wild boars, which have often killed dogs in the forest with their tusks. 2 And why speak about the larger animals? For I know that while p397a herd of mules was feeding and a wolf came upon them, the animals actually whirled about and kicked him to death; that bulls often stand facing different ways, with their hind-quarters touching, and easily drive off wolves with their horns. As there are, then, two sorts of dogs — the hunting-dog suited to chase the beasts of the forest, and the other which is procured as a watch-dog and is of importance to the shepherd — I shall speak of the latter under nine divisions, according to the scientific division which has been set forth.115

3 "In the first place, they should be procured of the proper age, as puppies and dogs over age are of no value for guarding either themselves or sheep, and sometimes fall a prey to wild beasts. They should be comely of face, of good size, with eyes either darkish or yellowish, symmetrical nostrils, lips blackish or reddish, the upper lip neither raised too high nor drooping low, stubby jaw with two fangs projecting somewhat from it on the right and left, the upper straight rather than curved, 4 their sharp teeth covered by the lip, large head, large and drooping ears, thick shoulders and neck, the thighs and shanks long, legs straight and rather bowed in than out, large, wide paws which spread as he walks, the toes separated, the claws hard and curving, the sole of the foot not horny or too hard, but rather spongy, as it were, and soft; with the body tapering at the top of the thigh, the backbone neither projecting nor swayed, tail thick; with a deep bark, wide gape, preferably white in colour, so that they may the more readily be distinguished in the dark; and of a leonine appearance.116 5 Bitches, in addition, should have well formed dugs with teats of equal size. p399Care should also be taken that they be of good breed; accordingly they receive their names from the districts from which they come: Spartans, Epirotes, Sallentines. You should be careful not to buy dogs from huntsmen or butchers — in the latter case because they are too sluggish to follow the flock, and in the other because if they see a hare or a stag they will follow it rather than the sheep. It is better, therefore, to buy from a shepherd a bitch which has been trained to follow sheep, or one that has had no training at all; for a dog forms a habit for anything very easily, and the attachment he forms for shepherds is more lasting than that he forms for sheep. 6 Publius Aufidius Pontianus, of Amiternum, had bought some herds of sheep in furthest Umbria, the purchase including the dogs but not the shepherds, but providing that the shepherds should take them to the pastures of Metapontum and to market at Heraclea.e When the men who had taken them there had returned home, the dogs, without direction and simply from their longing for their masters, returned to the shepherds in Umbria a few days later, though it was a journey of many days,117 having lived off the country. And yet not one of those shepherds had done what Saserna, in his book on agriculture,118 directed: that a man who wanted a dog to follow him should throw him a boiled frog! It is very important that the dogs be all of the same family, as those which are related are the greatest protection to one another. 7 The fourth point is that of purchase: possession passes when the dog is delivered by the former owner to the next. With regard to health and liability to damage, the same precautions are taken as in the case of sheep,119 p401except that it is advisable to make the following stipulation: some people fix the price of dogs per head, others stipulate that pups go with their mother, others that two pups count as one dog just as usually two lambs count as one sheep, and many that dogs be included which have become accustomed to being together.

8 "The food of dogs is more like that of man than that of sheep: they eat scraps of meat and bones, not grass and leaves. Great care must be taken for their supply of food; for hunger will drive them to hunt for food, if it is not provided, and take them away from the flock — 9 even if they do not, as some think, come to the point of disproving the ancient proverb,120 or even go so far as to enact the story of Actaeon,121 and sink their teeth in their master. 10 You should also feed them barley bread, but not without soaking it in milk; for when they have become accustomed to eating that kind of food they will not soon stray from the flock. They are not allowed to feed on the flesh of a dead sheep, for fear that the taste will make them less inclined to spare the flock. They are also fed on bone soup and even broken bones as well; for these make their teeth stronger and their mouths of wider stretch, because their jaws are spread with greater force, and the savour of the marrow makes them more keen. Their habit is to eat during the day when they are out with the flocks, and at evening when these are folded. 11 The beginning of breeding is fixed at the opening of spring, for at that time they are said to be 'in heat,'122 that is, to show their desire for mating. Those that conceive at that time have a litter about the time of the summer solstice, for they usually p403carry their young for three months. During the period of gestation they should be fed barley bread rather than wheat bread, for they are better nourished on the former and yield a larger supply of milk. 12 In the matter of rearing after birth, if the litter is large you should at once pick those that you wish to keep and dispose of the others. The fewer you leave the better they will grow, because of the abundance of milk. Chaff and other like stuff is spread under them, because they are more easily reared on a soft bedding. The pups open their eyes within twenty days; for the first two months after birth they are not taken from the mother, but are weaned by degrees. Several of them are driven into one place and teased to make them fight, so as to make them more keen; but they are not allowed to tire themselves out, as this makes them sluggish. 13 They are also accustomed to being tied, at first with slight leashes; and if they try to gnaw these they are whipped to keep them from forming the habit of doing this. On rainy days the kennels should be bedded with leaves or fodder, and this for two purposes: to keep them from being muddied, and to keep them from getting chilled. 14 Some people castrate them, because they think that by this means they are less likely to leave the flock; others do not, because they think this makes them less keen. Some people crush filberts in water and rub the mixture over their ears and between their toes, as the flies and worms and fleas make ulcers there if you do not use this ointment. 15 To protect them from being wounded by wild beasts, collars are placed on them — the so‑called melium, that is, a belt around the neck made of stout leather with nails having heads; under p405the nail heads there is sewed a piece of soft leather, to prevent the hard iron from injuring the neck. The reason for this is that if a wolf or other beast has been wounded by these nails, this makes the other dogs also, which do not have the collar, safe. 16 The number of dogs is usually determined by the size of the flock; it is thought to be about right for one dog to follow each shepherd. But the number varies with the circumstances; thus in countries where wild beasts are plentiful there should be more, as is usually the case with those who escort the flocks to summer and winter pastures through distant woodland trails. On the other hand, for a flock feeding near the steading two dogs to the farm are sufficient. These should be a male and a female, for in this case they are more watchful, as one makes the other more keen, and if one of the two is sick that the flock may not be without a dog."

10 1   [link to original Latin text] As he glanced around to see if he had overlooked anything, I123 remarked: "Your silence gives the cue to another actor; for the remaining scene in this act concerns the number and kind of herdsmen to be kept." Whereupon Cossinius: "For herds of larger cattle older men, for the smaller even boys; but in both cases those who range the trails should be sturdier than those on the farm who go back to the steading every day. Thus on the range you may see young men, usually armed, while on the farm not only boys but even girls tend the flocks. 2 The herdsmen should be required to stay on the range the entire day and have the herds feed together; but, on the other hand, to spend the night each with his own herd. They should all be under one herd-master; he should preferably be older than the p407rest and more experienced, as the other herdsmen will be more disposed to take orders from one who surpasses them in both age and knowledge. 3 Still, he should not be so much older that his age will prevent him from being as able to stand hard work; for neither old men nor boys can easily endure the hardships of the trail and the steepness and roughness of the mountains — all of which must be encountered by those who follow the herd, and especially herds of cattle and oats, which like cliffs and woods for pasturage. The men chosen for this work should be of a sturdy sort, swift, nimble, with supple limbs; men who can not only follow the herd but can also protect it from beasts and robbers, who can lift loads to the backs of pack animals, who can dash out, and who can hurl the javelin. 4 It is not every people that is fitted for herding; thus neither a Bastulan nor a Turdulan124 is suited, while Gauls are admirably adapted, especially for draught cattle. In the matter of purchase there are some six methods of acquiring a legitimate title: by legal inheritance; by receiving, in due form, through mancipation125 from one who had a legal right to transfer; by legal cession,126 from one who had the right to cede, and that at the proper time; by right of possession;127 by purchase at auction from war-booty; and lastly by official sale among other property or in confiscated128 property. 5 In the purchase of slaves, it is customary p409for the peculium to go with the slave, unless it is expressly excepted; and for a guarantee to be given that he is sound and has not committed thefts or damage; or, if the transfer is not by mancipation, double the amount is guaranteed, or merely the purchase price, if this be agreed on.129 They should eat during the day apart, each with his own herd, but in the evening all those who are under one head-herdsman should eat together. The head-herdsman is to see that all equipment needed for the animals and herdsmen, and especially for sustenance of the men and the treatment of the cattle, shall accompany them; for which purpose owners keep pack animals, in some cases mares, in others any animal instead, which can carry a load on its back.

6 "As to the breeding of herdsmen; it is a simple matter in the case of those who stay all the time on the farm, as they have a female fellow-slave in the steading, and the Venus of herdsmen looks no farther than this. But in the case of those who tend the herds in mountain valleys and wooded lands, and keep off the rains not by the roof of the steading but by makeshift huts, many have thought that it was advisable to send along women to follow the herds, prepare food for the herdsmen, and make them more diligent. 7 Such women should, however, be strong and not ill-looking. In many places they are not inferior to the men at work, as may be seen here and there in Illyricum, being able either to tend the herd, or carry firewood and cook the food, or to keep things in order in their huts. 8 As to feeding their young, I merely remark that in most cases they suckle them as well as bear them." At the same time, turning to me, he said: "As I have p411heard you say that you, when you were in Liburnia, saw mothers carrying logs and children at the breast at the same time, sometimes one, sometimes two; showing that our newly-delivered women, who lie for days under their mosquito-nets,130 are worthless and contemptible." 9 "It is quite true," I replied; "and in Illyricum I have seen something even more remarkable: for it often happens there that a pregnant woman, when her time has come, steps aside a little way from her work, bears her child there, and brings it back so soon that you would say she had not borne it but found it. They have also another remarkable practice: their custom does not refuse to allow women, often as much as twenty years old (and they call them maidens, too), before marriage to mate with any man they please, to wander around by themselves, and to bear children." 10 (Cossinius resumes), "All directions for caring for the health of human beings and cattle, and all sicknesses which can be treated without the aid of a physician, the head-herdsman should keep in writing. For one who does not know his letters is not fit for the place, because he cannot possibly keep his master's cattle accounts correctly. The number of herdsmen is determined differently, some having a smaller, some a larger number. 11 My own practice is to have a herdsman to every eighty wool-bearing sheep, while Atticus has one to every hundred. If flocks of sheep are very large (and some people have as many as 1000) you can decrease the number of shepherds more easily than you can in smaller flocks, such as those of Atticus and mine. My own flocks contain 700, and yours, I think, had 800; but still you had one tenth of them rams, as I do. p413Two men are needed for a herd of fifty mares, and each of these should certainly have for his use a mare which has been broken to the saddle, in those districts where it is customary for the mares to be rounded up and driven to stalls, as is frequently true in Apulia and Lucania.

11 [link to original Latin text] "As we have completed what we promised," he said, "let us leave." "Yes," said I, "but not until you have added, as was promised, something about supplementary profit from the flock, including under it the milk and the shearing." (Cossinius continues) "Of all the liquids which we take for sustenance, milk is the most nourishing — first sheep's milk, and next goat's milk. Mare's milk, however, has the greatest purgative effect, secondly ass's milk, then cow's milk, and lastly goat's milk. 2 But there are certain differences among these which arise from a difference of pasturage, a difference in the nature of the animal, and a difference in the milking. As affected by pasturage, milk is best for nourishment which comes from animals fed on barley and straw, and, in general, on solid dry food; while that from animals fed on green food is best for purging, and especially if the green food such as purges us when we eat it ourselves. As affected by the nature of the animal, milk from healthy animals and those not yet old is better than if it is the reverse. As affected by milking and birth, the best milk is that which has not been kept too long after milking and which has not been milked immediately after parturition. 3 Of the cheeses which are made from this milk, those made of cow's milk have the most nutriment, but when eaten are discharged with most difficulty; next come those made of sheep's milk, p415while those made of goat's milk have the least nutriment and are most easily voided. There is also a difference depending on whether the cheeses are soft and fresh or dry and old, as the soft cheeses are more nutritious and less constipating, while the old, dry cheeses are just the opposite. 4 The period for making cheese extends from the rising of the Pleiades in spring until the Pleiades in summer.131 In spring the milk for cheese making is drawn in the morning, while at other seasons the milking takes place toward midday; but the practice is not entirely uniform because of differences in locality and food. To two congii of milk is added a bit of rennet the size of an olive, to make it coagulate; this is better when made from a hare or a kid than when made from a lamb. Others use, instead of rennet, the milk from the stem of a fig, and vinegar; they also curdle with various other substances — a thing which, in Greek, is sometimes called ὀπός, and sometimes δάκρυον."132 5 "I should not be surprised," I remarked, "if that is the reason that a fig tree was planted by shepherds near the shrine of the goddess Rumina; you know at that place sacrifice is offered with milk instead of with wine and sucklings. For people used to call the udder rumis, and even to‑day we have lambs called subrumi133 from this word, just as they are called lactantes (sucklings) from lac (milk). Those who sprinkle salt prefer mineral salt to sea salt.

6 "As to the shearing of sheep, I first am careful to see, before beginning it, whether the sheep have the scab or sores, so that they may be treated if necessary before being sheared. The proper time p417for shearing is the period from the spring equinox to the solstice, after the sheep have begun to sweat; it is because of this sweat (sudor) that freshly shorn wool is called 'juicy' (sucida). 7 Freshly clipped sheep are rubbed down on the same day with wine and oil, to which some add a mixture of white chalk and hog lard; and if they have been accustomed to wear a jacket,134 the skin with which they were covered is greased on the inside with the same mixture and placed on them again. If a sheep has been cut during the shearing, the wound is smeared with soft pitch. Sheep with coarse fleece are shorn about the time of the barley harvest, or at other places before the cutting of the hay. 8 Some shear their sheep twice a year, as is done in Hither Spain, shearing every six months. They undergo the double work on the supposition that more wool is secured by this method — which is the same motive that leads some to mow their meadows twice a year. The more careful farmers spread out cloths and shear the sheep over them to prevent loss of the wool. 9 Calm days are chosen for this work, and on these the shearing is done from about the fourth to the ninth hour. The fleece from a sheep that is clipped when the sun is rather warm is rendered softer by the sweat, as well as heavier and of better colour. When the fleece has been removed and rolled up it is called by some vellus, by others vellimnum; and it may be seen from these words that in the case of wool, plucking was discovered earlier than shearing.135 Some people pluck the wool even to‑day; and these keep the sheep without food for three days before, as the roots of the wool hold less tightly when the sheep are weak."

p419 10 "In fact, it is claimed that barbersf first came to Italy from Sicily 453 years after the founding of the city of Rome136 (as is recorded still on a public monument at Ardea), and that they were introduced by Publius Titinius Mena. That there were no barbers in early days is evident from the statues of the ancients, many of which have long hair and a large beard."

11 Cossinius resumed: "As the sheep affords a profit from its wool to be used for clothing, so the goat from her hair is of service for nautical purposes, as well as for military engines and for workmen's equipment.137 Some barbarous people, too, use their skins for clothing, as, for instance, in Gaetulia and Sardinia. That this usage obtained among the ancient Greeks also is evident from the fact that the old men who appear in the tragedies get their name of diphtheriae138 from the goat skin, and in comedies those who are engaged in rustic labour, such as the young man in Caecilius's Hypobolimaeus, and the old man in Terence's Heautontimorumenos. 12 Because they have long hair, goats are clipped over a large part of Phrygia; and it is from this that hair-cloth (cilicia) and other fabrics of the kind are made. But it is said that the Cilicians gave the name to it from the fact that this clipping was first practised in Cilicia."

This was their contribution, and Cossinius found nothing to alter in it.g At the same time a freedman of Vitulus, on his way to the city from the park, turned aside to us and said: "I was sent to you, and was on my way to your house to ask you not to make the holiday shorter but to come early." And so Scrofa and I set out to Vitulus's place, and the others, my dear Turranius Niger, some for their homes and some to Menates.


The Loeb Editor's Notes:

1 According to the Roman method of counting, which includes both ends of the series. He is alluding to the nundina or market-day, the last day of the eight-day week.

Thayer's Note: The better form by far is nundinae, plural. At any rate, for full details see the article Nundinae in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

2 A tendency already noted in Cato, Chapter 2, had increased; and by the time of Columella (I.3) had grown into a peril.

3 Practically all ploughing and farm work was done by oxen, which had to be broken to the yoke (boves domiti). These were kept shut up, and it is their manure (as may be seen on the Continent to‑day) which enriches the land which produces both field-crops and forage. What the armentum (which seems to include sheep) does is to produce young animals.

4 i.e. Book I; but there he promised all three books to his wife.

5 A district in Cisalpine Gaul.

6 In 67 B.C. Varro gained the corona rostrata for his services.

7 It is generally agreed that there is at this point a considerable lacuna, providing the setting for the new scene and introducing the new speakers. See also critical note 2.

8 Thales made this principle water, and Zeno made it fire. Pythagoras taught an unending transmigration of souls, and Aristotle that they exist by φύσις, nature, as a generating cause.

Thayer's Note: see this better explanation — better in the sense that it is more relevant to what Varro meant.

9 The text is clearly corrupt. Scaliger conjectures platycerotae (with spreading horns); Schneider suggests strepsicerotae (with twisted horns). But Keil notes that some Latin term would seem to be indicated because of the following clause.

10 In Macedonia, on western bank of the Strymon river; cf. Livy, XXVI.25.8.

11 i.e. πολυάρνους; πολυμήλους; πολυβούτας.

12 i.e. μῆλα.

13 The Egyptians represented the constellation by two kids. The Greeks altered the symbol to two children, variously said to be Castor and Pollux, Apollo and Hercules, or Triptolemus and Jason.

Thayer's Note: For exhaustive details (although tread with caution), see the section Gemini of Allen's Star Names.

14 i.e. αἴγες.

15 "Bull."

16κανθήλιος, a beast of burden.

17 i.e. βόσπορος.

18 Another explanation is given in Chapter 5.3, below.

19 The shepherds' festival, held on April 21. See Ovid, Fasti, IV.721‑782.

Thayer's Note: For full details, see the article Palilia in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

20 The as, first coined and stamped with figures of cattle by Servius Tullius; cf. Pliny, N. H., XVIII.12.

21 Cato, Chapter 141, describes the ceremony, and gives the formula used.

22 The names are from the words for pig, sheep, goat, horse, bull, ass, respectively.

23 Varro's usual pun on a proper name; see Chapter 4 of this book, where Scrofa explains the origin of the name.

24 pecus, from which comes pecunia as here used, not of a "flock," but of all sorts of domestic animals.

25 Flocks so registered could be pastured on public lands on payment of the scriptum (registration tax).

Thayer's Note: For details see the article Scriptura in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

26 A very fertile plain near Reate. See Book I.7.10.

27 See critical note.

Thayer's Note: Nisard's edition reads Gurgur.

28 For the dates see Book I, Chapter 28.

29 The same "wondrous tale" is told by Virgil, Georg., III.273 ff., and by many other writers, including Aristotle.

30 ὑπηνέμια, "wind-eggs," i.e. unfertilized eggs.

31 The membrane surrounding the foetus in the womb. Cf. Arist., H. A., VI.10.58: χόριον δὲ καὶ ὕμενες ἴδιοι περὶ ἕκαστον γίγνονται τῶν ἐμβρύων. The term is still in use in physiology.

32 From the name was derived that of the goddess, Rumina, "she who gives suck," who had a temple near the fig-tree (ficus Ruminalis) under which Romulus and remus were suckled.

33 Menaechmi, 290.

34 See Cato, 2.7.

35 Varro is the speaker here, and in support of Scrofa's contention.

36 Aristotle (H. A. VI.24) states that there are no authenticated instances. Columella (VI.37.3) cites this them of Varro, but in a different form: "that in parts of Africa the offspring of mules is so far from being a prodigy, that it is as familiar as the offspring of mares among us." Livy gives several cases of such prodigies (XXVI.23; XXXVII.3) — both, incidentally, at Varro's Reate!

37 The places are not mentioned elsewhere.

38 Well known as the intimate friend and correspondent of Cicero. In 58 B.C. he was adopted by his uncle, Quintus Caecilius, and his name became, according to Cicero (ad Att., III.20) and Nepos (Att., 5), Quintus Caecilius Pomponianus Atticus.

39 But the word includes more than "form," as can be seen from Section 4 below. "Type" would perhaps be a better word.

40 The word is possibly from ἄποκος, "fleece-less."

41 So the accepted text; but Schneider says it is clear that it should read arietem, "sire," because of the next sentence.

42 So Virgil, Georg., III.387‑395, but it is no longer believed.

43 If the words id est ventre glabro are not an interpolation, mina and apica (Sec. 3) mean the same thing. The seller could not know whether they were luscae or surdae; and the buyer could see if they were minae.

44 Varro himself speaks, cf. II, Introd. 6.

45 Atticus resumes.

46 Compare Virgil, Georg., III.324 ff. for a beautiful paraphrase of the whole passage.

47 Varro regularly uses words which imply that sheep were driven, instead of led. This word is used of cattle in Chapter 5.15.

48 See I.28.2.

49 Pliny, N.H. VIII.187 gives precise dates — from May 13 to July 23.

50 Cf. Columella, VII.3.17: "When a lamb is born, it should be set on its feet and put to the udder; then, too, its mouth should be opened and moistened, by pressing the teats, so that it may learn to draw nourishment from its mother."

51 Cf.  Horace, Odes, II.6.10, and Pliny, N. H., VIII.189‑190.

52 The name of the shepherd who brought up Romulus and Remus; cf. II.1.

53 A goatherd of Odysseus (Odyss., XVII.217) who supplied the suitors with the best of the flock, and was killed by Telemachus. The term cordus was explained in I.19.

54 In sections 2, 3, 4 of Chapter 2.

55 Cf. the selection of young rams, II.2.18.

56 Scaliger thinks that Melos is meant.

Thayer's Note: My money is on Melita — Malta.

57 Manius Manilius, consul 149 B.C., author of laws concerning purchase and sale.

58 Cf. II.1.8.

Thayer's Note: Somewhat more to the point, see my note on I.2.17.

59 See p217, note 5.

60 The other speakers are "half-Greek" (II.1.2). Now a genuine Italian is to speak of swine. And who more fittingly than one who bears a name Scrofa, which also means "brood-sow"?

61 The swineherd of Odysseus (Odyss., XIV.22) who received and fed his master on his return.

62 This cannot refer to the year 167 B.C., in which Nerva was praetor (Livy, XLV.44); and it is possible that it occurred in 142 B.C., during a revolt in Macedonia.

63 But Macrobius (Saturn., I.6) gives a different story: His slaves had stolen and killed a neighbour's sow, and had hidden it under his wife's bed. When the house was searched, he swore that he had no other sow in the house than the one under the bed-clothes, where his wife was lying.

64 See I.28.2.

65 Schneider suggests lamas, "swamps," for limites; cf.  Hor. Epist., I.13.10, Viribus uteris per clivos flumina lamas, on which the scholiast quotes a verse from Ennius containing the words lamasque lutosas.

66 Cf. Virgil, Aeneid, VIII.641: caesa iungebant foedera porca.

67 Ursinus would read esse id insigne nuptiarum. A scene in the Acharnians of Aristophanes is based on the pun, especially 758‑759.

68 Pliny (N. H., VIII.207), commenting on the great stupidity of the pig, passes on the humorous saying (attributed by Cicero (Nat. Deor., II.64; De Fin., V.13) to Chrysippus the Stoic) that this animal was given life instead of salt (wit) as a preservative.

69 Both tribes probably lived in Gallia Narbonensis.

70 The passage does not occur verbatim in the works of Cato as we have them; but cf. Jordan, Catonis Frag., p11.

71 Columella (VII.9.11): "For pigs, if they get out of the sty, very easily become mixed, and the sow, when she lies down, offers her teats to a strange pig as readily as to her own." Hence Keil has here inserted non before aspernatur. Compare Section 19 below.

72 Literally, "weaned."

73 See note 1, page 326.

74 Varro, de Ling. Lat., V.19: Porcus nisi si a Graecis quod Athenis in libris sacrorum scriptum est porcae, porco.

75 Cf. Virgil, Aeneid, III.390‑393.

76 i.e. "white."

77 The word maialis was derived from Maia, to whom this sacrifice was made.

78 Cf. II.4.1, where Atticus and Cossinius are called semi-Graeci. This explains the use of the greeting, χαίρετε.

79 The usual Homeric address to kings and generals. Varro was the commanding officer at the time; cf. the Introduction to this book, Sec. 6. But the entire passage is jocular.

80 For the whipping he has earned for being late; but no satisfactory explanation of the next sentence has been given.

81 The inevitable pun on vacca, "cow."

82 A Greek historian of whose history of Sicily down to 264 B.C. only a few fragments remain. The etymology is accepted.

83 Doubtless one of the cattle of Geryon, perhaps one stolen by Cacus, to whom Columella refers in I.3.7.

84 Cf. Columella, Book VI, Sec. 7 of Introduction: "At Athens in Attica the servant of Ceres and Triptolemus, shares the skies with the brightest constellations, is the most hard-working comrade of man, and such was the veneration for this animal among our ancestors, that it was as much an offence to kill an ox as to kill a citizen." Cf. also Aratus, Phaen., 134 (p390 of L. C. L.); Virgil, Georg., II.537.

85 Buzuges, "he who yoked oxen," is either Triptolemos or Epimenides; later it was the title of the keeper of the sacred cattle at Athens or Eleusis. Because Homogyros, the reading of the older editions, does not contain the prefix Bo, Wilamowitz suggested Bomagiros, which Keil accepts into his text.

86 i.e. with the prefix bu = βου.

87 The text is hopelessly corrupt, and various efforts have been made either to emend or to explain. The speaking of an ox is frequently mentioned as a prodigy (Livy, XXXV.21.4‑5; Pliny, VIII.183), but we have no anecdote of this nature. The translation follows the explanation of Schöll.

88 The work is unknown. Various editors have taken this to be a poem in praise of bees because of the connection with βουγενεῖς above. There seems no evidence for this and βουγονία must refer to the birth of oxen, who form the main subject of the whole paragraph.

89 A festival in honour of Tellus, held at Rome, 15th April.

Thayer's Note: For full details, see the article Fordicidia in Daremberg & Saglio's Dictionnaire. As for the derivation from horda, it has been doubted by at least one recent scholar; it is known only from this passage, and Varro's etymologies can be absolutely on the mark — or in far left field.

90 Now the Gulf of Samos [= Saros].

91 For the white oxen of Umbria, used especially at triumphs, cf. Virgil, Georg., II.146.

Thayer's Note: See also Propertius IV.1; for further citations and details, including the precise region of Umbria and a photograph of what may be a descendant of the Roman breed, see Bovara.

92 Cf. Chap. 2.5‑6; Chap. 3.5; Chap. 4.5 of this book.

93 Columella, XI.2.40 gives the date 13th May.

Thayer's Note: For the constellation and its names in Antiquity, see Lyra in Allen's Star Names; for the instrument, see the article Fidicula in Daremberg & Saglio, and "Nero Fiddled While Rome Burned" (CJ 42:211‑217).

94 De Gen. An., IV.1, states that sex is distinguishable in the embryonic stage, but whether such distinction is made before we can observe it, is debated. "For some say that this distinction is in the very seeds; thus Anaxagoras and some of the physiologists: that the seed is produced from the male and that the female vagina supplies the female; that the male comes from the right and the female from the left, and that the male is on the right side of the womb and the female on the left." Columella (VI.24.3) repeats this statement of Varro's, which is absurd.

95 Tabanus was the popular name for the Greek οἴστρος. Virgil, Georg., III.146, calls it asilus and says Juno sent it to plague Io.

96a 96b Cf. II.1.14 and II.8.3.

97 Murenae flutae were so designated for the reason that they floated because of their fatness. Columella, VIII.17.8, calls them the most highly valued of the lampreys. Pliny says (IX.60) that the helops was the same as the acipenser (perhaps the sturgeon) and was of no esteem in his day. Columella, VIII.16.9, says that it fed only in the depths of the Pamphylian Sea (Gulf of Adalia), in Asia Minor.

98 But this statement seems to be contradicted by Job, xxxix.5 ff.; and Columella, VI.37.4, seems also to contradict it indirectly, saying that the offspring of an onager and a mare is unbroken and stubborn. He advises that the male offspring be put to a mare, so that the wildness of the onager may be mitigated in the third generation.

99 Undoubtedly the summer solstice.

100 In the race, the horses started from stalls which were closed by barriers.

101 Lit. "little columns." The four sharp-pointed tearing-teeth, between the incisors and the molars.

102 Varro here follows Aristotle (H. A., VI.22), and is quite accurate. Xenophon, in his treatise On Horsemanship, Chapter I, goes into more detail.

103 brocchi. Nonius (Bk. Is.v.) says that the word was used of horses producto ore dentibus prominentibus.

104 Meaning with the spine lying in a groove between two ridges of muscles; cf. Virgil, Georg., III.75‑88, and Columella, VI.29.2.

105 By means of letting blood.

106 Cf. II.3.5.

107 origa, an old (and popular) form of auriga.

108 Cf. I.44.2 and 3.

109 The word cantherius is perhaps the same as κανθήλιος, pack-ass.

110 Cf. II.4.21.

111 Cf. II.1.1.

112 Cf. II.1.12. Varro is the speaker.

113 i.e. with a mare.

114 Cf. II.7.6.

115 Cf. II.1.12.

116 Columella, VII.12, discusses the same subject with his usual eloquence.

117 The distance was some 300 miles.

118 Cf. I.2.22‑26.

119 Cf. II.2.5‑6.

120 In his De Ling. Lat. (VII.31) Varro quotes the proverb: canis caninam non est: "dog doesn't eat dog."

121 A famous hunter who, having come upon Diana in her bath, was changed into a stag and torn to pieces by his own dogs.

122 Literally, "to want puppies."

123 i.e. Varro, cf. II.8.1.

124 Inhabitants of the Baetic Province in Southern Spain, modern Andalusia.

125 Mancipium was the most formal act of purchase. In the presence of six Roman citizens of full age, the purchaser laid his hand on the object purchased (here the slave), asserted his ownership, struck with a piece of money the scale held by one of the witnesses (per aes et libram), and gave the coin to the seller. See Gaius, Inst., I.119.

Thayer's Note: For comprehensive details see the article Mancipium in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

126 A legal fiction, in which the owner (dominus qui cessit) and the prospective purchaser (cui cedebatur) appeared before the magistrate (qui addixit). The purchaser claimed the object as his own; the magistrate asked the owner if he had any defence; and when he replied that he had none, the magistrate adjudged the object to the claimant. See Gaius, Inst.I.2.

Thayer's Note: For comprehensive details see the article In Jure Cessio in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

127 Usucapio is unchallenged possession for one year in the case of movable property, for two years in the case of immovable property. See Gaius, Inst.II.41.

Thayer's Note: For comprehensive details see the article Usucapio in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

128 Sectio is the official term for the sale at auction of confiscated property, e.g. the property of a person who had been proscribed.

Thayer's Note: For details, see the article Sectio in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities.

129 In the case of transfer without mancipation, the seller was bound by law in double the value of the property. This guarantee is exacted in case the title prove bad, before the purchaser is secured by usucapio.

130 Horace (Epod., 9, 16) and Propertius (III.11.45)º use the word canopium contemptuously of Cleopatra's luxury.

131 According to the Caesarian calendar, which Varro follows, the Pleiades rose in spring on 10th May. In the farmer's calendar which Columella gives (XI.2), they are said to "appear fully" on that day, in the morning. He states that they rise in the evening on 10th October. The only explanation of the term "Pleiades in summer" would seem to be that at that time they appear near midnight, which would fix the period from May to mid-July. Columella (XII.13) advises July for cheese-making. The ancients (Festus and Isidore) derive their name for the constellation, Vergiliae, from ver, "spring," because of its appearance at that time.

132 όπός, the juice of the fig, and δάκρυον (literally "tear") used of the same juice.

133 Cf. II.1.20.

134 Cf. II.2.18.

135 Since the words vellus and vellimnum are derived from vellere, "pluck."

136 i.e. 300 B.C., as the traditional date of the founding of the city was 753 B.C.

137 The use of ropes and cloth made from the long hair of the Cilician goat (which we call Angora) for nautical purposes, and for the catapulta and the ballista, is well known; cf. Virgil, Georg., III.312. But the "workmen's equipment" has puzzled all readers; among the most plausible suggestions are that their tool-bags were made of this cloth; or that their water-jars were covered with it, in the fashion of the olla.

138 i.e. διφθερίας, clad in a leather coat.


Thayer's Notes:

a Or sometimes thru their horns; see Oppian, Cyneg. II.338‑342 and Mair's note (63).

b This may explain one of the more puzzling swear-words in modern Italian. One of the most offensive things one can say in that language in two words, is porca N: filling in N with the female reference of the speaker's choice. Now while the pig (porco) is of course hardly complimentary, this meaning would dot the i's with a jolt. On the other hand porco N with a male reference is also heard, if much less frequently; it may be a more recent extension. (Filthy habit, cussing: no decent pig would do it!)

c See the "bumast" in Columella, R. R. III.2.1; with further citations in the note.

d One of the commonest ancient notions of spontaneous generation; see Spontaneous Generation in Antiquity (TAPA 51:105 ff.), and especially note 52.

e Umbria ultima means the part of Umbria farthest from Rome; since ancient Umbria — only partly the same as today's Italian region — extended to the mid-northern reaches of the Adriatic coast. The dogs therefore made their way from Heraclea (near the modern Policoro) back to the area around Rimini: roughly 525 km as the crow flies.

f Neither the Latin text as we have it nor the Loeb editor marks the change of speaker here, but in the next paragraph, Cossinius, who has been the speaker all along, is said to "resume". Since the jump in subject is also noticeable, I suspect a small lacuna here; and it's very tempting to make the speaker Agrasius, who seems to have a thing about hair, to judge from a previous off-topic and even more off-the‑wall comment of his in I.37.2. There is, thruout the de Re Rustica, an undertow of banter and inside jokes: who, among Varro's friends, hides under this pseudonym Agrasius and surfaces only to worry about his hair?

g Yet Cossinius is the last recorded speaker, just a few sentences up (§ 11); see my previous note.

Page updated: 12 Nov 12