Columella, On Agriculture, Volume I: Books 1-4

LCL 361:

Columella (Lucius Iunius Moderatus) of Gades (Cadiz) lived in the reigns of the first emperors to about 70 CE. He moved early in life to Italy where he owned farms and lived near Rome. It is probable that he did military service in Syria and Cilicia and that he died at Tarentum.

Columella's On Agriculture (De Re Rustica) is the most comprehensive, systematic and detailed of Roman agricultural works. Book I covers choice of farming site; water supply; buildings; staff. II: Ploughing; fertilising; care of crops. III, IV, V: Cultivation, grafting and pruning of fruit trees, vines, and olives. VI: Acquisition, breeding, and rearing of oxen, horses, and mules; veterinary medicine. VII: Sheep, goats, pigs, and dogs. VIII: Poultry; fish ponds. IX: Bee-keeping. X (in hexameter poetry): Gardening. XI: Duties of the overseer of a farm; calendar for farm work; more on gardening. XII: Duties of the overseer's wife; manufacture of wines; pickling; preserving. There is also a separate treatise, Trees (De Arboribus), on vines and olives and various trees, perhaps part of an otherwise lost work written before On Agriculture.

The Loeb Classical Library edition of Columella is in three volumes.

Table of Contents
  • Prefaces vii
  • Introduction xiii
  • Bibliography xxvii
  • Sigla xxxiii
  • On Agriculture
  • Volume II: Books 5-9 LCL 407
  • Volume III: Books 10-12. On Trees LCL 408

Bibliographic reference

Columella. On Agriculture, Volume I: Books 1-4. Translated by Harrison Boyd Ash. Loeb Classical Library 361. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1941.