Short URL for this page:

[image ALT: Much of my site will be useless to you if you've got the images turned off!]
Bill Thayer

[image ALT: Clicca hic ad Latinam paginam legendam.]

[image ALT: Cliccare qui per una pagina di aiuto in Italiano.]

[Link to a series of help pages]
[Link to the next level up]
[Link to my homepage]

[image ALT: link to previous section]
Chapters 1‑52

This webpage reproduces a section of
De Agri Cultura

Cato the Elder

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!


[image ALT: link to next section]
Chapters 61‑69

Marcus Cato
on Agriculture

[link to original Latin text] 53 1 Cut hay in season, and be careful not to wait too long. Harvest before the seed ripens, and store the best hay by itself for the oxen to eat during the spring ploughing, before you feed clover.

[link to original Latin text] 54 1 Feed for cattle should be prepared and fed as follows: When the sowing is over, gather the acorns and soak them in water. A half-modius of this should be fed each ox per day, though if the oxen are not working it will be better to let them forage; or feed a modius of the grape husks which you have stored in jars. During the day let them forage, and  p71 at night feed 25 pounds of hay a head; if you have no hay, feed ilex and ivy leaves. Store wheat and barley straw, husks of beans, of vetch, of lupines, and of all other crops. In storing litter, bring under cover that which has most leaves, sprinkle it with salt, and feed it instead of hay. When you begin feeding in spring, feed a modius of mast, or grape husks, or soaked lupine, and 15 pounds of hay. When clover is in season feed it first; pull it by hand and it will grow again, for if you cut it with the hook it will not. Continue to feed clover until it dries out, after which feed it in limited quantities; then feed vetch, then panic grass, and after this elm leaves. If you have poplar leaves, mix them with the elm to make the latter hold out; and failing elm, feed oak and fig leaves. There is nothing more profitable than to take good care of cattle. They should not be pastured except in winter, when they are not ploughing; for when they once eat green food they are always expecting it; and so they have to be muzzled to keep them from biting at the grass while ploughing.

[link to original Latin text] 55 1 Store firewood for the master's use on flooring, and cut olive sticks and roots and pile them out of doors.

[link to original Latin text] 56 1 Rations for the hands: Four modii of wheat in winter, and in summer four and a half for the field hands. The overseer, the housekeeper, the foreman, and the shepherd should receive three. The chain-gang​63 should have a ration of four pounds of bread through the winter, increasing to five when they begin to work the vines, and dropping back to four when the figs ripen.

[link to original Latin text] 57 1 Wine ration for the hands: For three  p73 months following the vintage let them drink after-wine.​64 In the fourth month issue a hemina a day, that is, 2½ congii a month; in the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth months a sextarius a day, that is, 5 congii a month; in the ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth months 3 heminae a day, that is, an amphora a month. In addition, issue 3½ congii per person for the Saturnalia and the Compitalia.​65 Total of wine for each person per year, 7 quadrantals; and an additional amount for the chain-gang proportioned to their work. Ten quadrantals of wine per person is not an excessive allowance for the year.

[link to original Latin text] 58 1 Relish for the hands: Store all the windfall olives you can, and later the mature olives which will yield very little oil. Issue them sparingly and make them last as long as possible. When they are used up, issue fish-pickle and vinegar, and a pint of oil a month per person. A modius of salt a year per person is sufficient.

[link to original Latin text] 59 1 Clothing allowance for the hands: A tunic 3½ feet long and a blanket every other year. When you issue the tunic or the blanket, first take up the old one and have patchwork made of it. A stout pair of wooden shoes should be issued every other year.

[link to original Latin text] 60 1 The following is a year's ration for a yoke of steers: 120 modii of lupines, or 240 of mast; 520 pounds of hay, and . . . of clover; 20 modii of beans; and 30 modii of vetch. See also that you sow enough vetch to allow some to go to seed. Make several sowings of forage crops.

The Editor's Notes:

63 Compare Columella, I, 8, 16. The field-hands, and especially the unruly, were chained together, and at night kept in an under­ground prison, the ergastulum.

64 See note 2, page 20.

65 See note 1, page 14.

[image ALT: Valid HTML 4.01.]

Page updated: 8 Mar 20