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Bill Thayer

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Chapters 104‑125

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.
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Chapters 135‑141

Marcus Cato
on Agriculture

[link to original Latin text] 126 1 For gripes, for loose bowels, for tapeworms and stomach-worms, if troublesome: Take 30 acid pomegranates, crush, place in a jar with 3 congii of strong black wine, and seal the vessel. Thirty days later open and use. Drink a hemina before eating.

[link to original Latin text] 127 1 Remedy for dyspepsia and strangury: Gather pomegranate blossoms when they open, and place 3 minae of them in an amphora. Add one quadrantal of old wine and a mina of clean crushed  p111 root of fennel; seal the vessel and thirty days later open and use. You may drink this as freely as you wish without risk, when you wish to digest your food and to urinate. The same wine will clear out tapeworms and stomach-worms if it is blended in this way. Bid the patient refrain from eating in the evening, and the next morning macerate 1 drachm of pulverized incense, 1 drachm of boiled honey, and a sextarius of wine of wild marjoram. Administer to him before he eats, and, for a child, according to age, a triobolus​91º and a hemina. Have him climb a pillar and jump down ten times, and walk about.

[link to original Latin text] 128 1 To plaster a dwelling: Take very chalky or red earth, pour amurca over it, and add chopped straw; let it soften for four days, and when it has softened thoroughly, work up with a spade; and when you have worked it up, plaster. With this treatment, the moisture will not injure the walls, nor the mice burrow in them, nor weeds grow, nor the plaster crack.

[link to original Latin text] 129 1 To make a floor for threshing grain: Break the ground fine, soak thoroughly with amurca and let it absorb as much as possible; then pulverize the dirt and level with a roller or rammer. When it is levelled the ants will not be troublesome, and there will be no mud when it rains.

[link to original Latin text] 130 1 Wet olive logs and other firewood with crude amurca and expose them to the sun so that they will absorb it thoroughly; with this treatment, they will not be smoky, but will burn well.​a

[link to original Latin text] 131 1 Make the offering for the oxen when the pear trees bloom; then begin the spring ploughing. Plough first the spots which are dry and sandy. Then, the heavier and wetter the spots are, the later they should be ploughed.

 p113  [link to original Latin text] 132 1 The offering is to be made in this way: Offer to Jupiter Dapalis​92 a cup of wine of any size you wish, observing the day as a holiday for the oxen, the teamsters, and those who make the offering. In making the offering use this formula: "Jupiter Dapalis, forasmuch as it is fitting that a cup of wine be offered thee, in my house and in the midst of my people, for the sacred feast; and to that end, be thou honoured by the offering of this food." Wash the hands, then take the wine, and say: "Jupiter Dapalis, be thou honoured by the offering of thy feast, and be thou honoured by the wine placed before thee." You may make an offering to Vesta if you wish. Present it to Jupiter religiously, in the fitting form. The feast to Jupiter consists of roasted meat and an urn of wine. After the offering is made plant millet, panic grass, garlic, and lentils.

[link to original Latin text] 133 1 To layer fruit and other trees: Press back into the ground the scions which spring up from the ground, but raise their tips out, so that they will take root; dig up at the proper time and transplant vertically. In this way you should propagate from the crown and transplant fig, olive, pomegranate, quince, wild quince, and all other fruits, Cyprian and Delphic laurel, plum, conjuglan myrtle,​93 as well as white and black myrtle, Abellan and Praenestine nuts, and plane trees. Those which you wish to have planted more carefully should be planted in pots. To make them take root while on the tree, take a pot perforated at the bottom or a basket, run the shoot through it, fill the basket with earth, pack it, and leave it on the tree. When it is two years old cut off the tender branch below and plant  p115 along with the basket. By this method you can make any variety of tree take root firmly. Vines may also be layered by thrusting them through a basket, packing firmly with earth, cutting a year later, and planting along with the basket.

[link to original Latin text] 134 1 Before harvest the sacrifice of the porca praecidanea94 should be offered in this manner: Offer a sow as porca praecidanea to Ceres before harvesting spelt, wheat, barley, beans, and rape seed; and address a prayer, with incense and wine, to Janus, Jupiter, and Juno, before offering the sow. Make an offering of cakes​95 to Janus, with these words: "Father Janus, in offering these cakes, I humbly beg that thou wilt be gracious and merci­ful to me and my children, my house and my household." Then make an offering of cake to Jupiter with these words: "In offering this cake, O Jupiter I humbly beg that thou, pleased by this offering, wilt be gracious and merci­ful to me and my children, my house and my household." Then present the wine to Janus, saying: "Father Janus, as I prayed humbly in offering the cakes, so wilt thou to the same end be honoured by this wine placed before thee." And then pray to Jupiter thus: "Jupiter, wilt thou deign to accept the cake; wilt thou deign to accept the wine placed before thee." Then offer up the porca praecidanea. When the entrails have been removed, make an offering of cakes to Janus, with a prayer as before; and an offering of a cake to Jupiter, with a prayer as before. After the same manner, also, offer wine to Janus and offer wine to Jupiter, as was directed before for the offering of the cakes, and the consecration of the cake. Afterwards offer entrails and wine to Ceres.

The Editor's Notes:

91 See Glossary.

92 An epithet of Jupiter, derived from the old Roman custom of spreading an offering of food (daps) before the gods.

93 See note 1, page 22.

94 The hog offered in sacrifice before the harvest. Aulus Gellius, IV, 6, 7 contrasts it with the porca succidanea, offered after the harvest.

95 The strues was a heap of little offering-cakes, "not unlike the fingers joined together," as Festus describes them; and the fertum was an oblation-cake.

Thayer's Note:

a Smokeless wood, or ligna acapna: for full details see the article Acapna in Daremberg & Saglio.

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Page updated: 7 Dec 22