L. Iuni Moderati Columellae Rei Rusticae
Saepenumero civitatis nostrae principes audio culpantes modo agrorum infecunditatem, modo caeli per multa iam tempora noxiam frugibus intemperiem; quosdam etiam praedictas querimonias velut ratione certa mitigantes, quod existiment ubertate nimia prioris aevi defatigatum et effetum1 solum nequire pristina benignitate praebere mortalibus alimenta. 2Quas ego causas, P.2 Silvine, procul a veritate abesse certum habeo, quod neque fas est existimare rerum3 Naturam, quam primus ille mundi genitor perpetua fecunditate donavit, quasi quodam morbo sterilitate adfectam; neque prudentis est credere Tellurem, quae divinam et aeternam iuventam sortita communis
- 1effectum R.
- 2om. R.
- 3humi R.
Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella on Agriculture
Again and again I hear leading men of our state condemning now the unfruitfulness of the soil, now the inclemency of the climate for some seasons past, as harmful to crops; and some I hear reconciling the aforesaid complaints, as if on well-founded reasoning, on the ground that, in their opinion, the soil was worn out and exhausted by the over-production of earlier days and can no longer furnish sustenance to mortals with its old-time benevolence.a Such2 reasons, Publius Silvinus,b I am convinced are far from the truth; for it is a sin to suppose that Nature, endowed with perennial fertility by the creator of the universe, is affected with barrenness as though with some disease; and it is unbecoming to a man of good judgment to believe that Earth, to whose lot was assigned a divine and everlasting youth, and who is called the common mother
- aAn Epicurean theory; cf., e.g., Lucretius, II. 1150–1174. Columella holds to the Aristotelian theory.
- bSee Introduction p. xiii.