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.
- Prefaces vii
- Introduction xiii
- Bibliography xxvii
- Sigla xxxiii
- On Agriculture
- Book I 2
- Book II 104
- Kinds of Land. Ditching and Draining. Tests of Soil. Ploughing. Care of Oxen in Ploughing. Seasons for Cultivation. Manuring. Grains. Seasons for Sowing. Quantity of Seed Required. Sowing of Legumes, Flax, Hemp, Turnips. Fodder Crops. Cultivation of Grains and Legumes. Number of Labourers Required. Qualities of Various Manures. Times for Manuring. Care of Meadows. Hay. Reaping and Threshing. Precepts for the Husbandman on Holidays.
- Book III 226
- Soils Suitable for Vines. Varieties of the Vine. Advantages of the Vineyard to Husbandmen. Vine Nurseries. Cuttings. Fruitfulness of Vines. Choice of Shoots and Cuttings. Qualities of Soil Required for Vineyards. Preparation of the Soil. Methods of Planting the Vine. Seasons for Planting the Vine. Length of Cuttings. Number of Varieties to be Planted.
- Book IV 352
- Depth of Trenches for Vine-plants. Supports for the Vine. Training the Young Vine. Cultivation and Pruning of the Vine. Pruning of Quicksets and Cuttings. Methods of Propping. Layering. Transplanting. Vine Frames of Reeds. Pruning of Young Vineyards. Restoration of Old Vineyards. General Precepts for the Vineyardist. The Pruning-knife. Training the Vine to the Frame. Duties of the Vine-dresser. Leaf-pruning. Grafting. Willow Plantations. Broom. Reeds. Chestnut-trees.
- Volume II: Books 5-9 LCL 407
- Volume III: Books 10-12. On Trees LCL 408