Columella, On Agriculture

LCL 407: 320-321

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Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella

Liber VIII

I. Quae fere consummabant, Publi Silvine, ruris experiendi1 scientiam, quaeque pecuariae negotiationis exigebat ratio, septem memoravimus libris. Hic nunc sequentis numeri titulum possidebit: nec2 quia proximam propriamque rustici curam desiderent ea, quae dicturi sumus, sed quia non alio loco, quam in agris aut villis debeant administrari, et tamen 2agrestibus magis, quam urbanis prosint. Quippe villaticae pastiones, sicut pecuariae, non minimam colono stipem conferunt, cum et avium stercore macerrimis vineis et omni surculo atque arvo medeantur; et eisdem familiarem focum3 mensamque pretiosis4 dapibus opulentent;5 postremo venditorum animalium pretio villae reditum augeant. Quare6 de hoc quoque genere pastionis dicendum 3censui. Est autem id fere7 vel in villa, vel circa villam.

In villa est, quod appellant Graeci ὀρνιθῶνας, καὶ περιστερεῶνας; atque etiam cum datur liquoris8 facultas ἰχθυοτροφεῖα sedula cura exercentur. Ea




I. We have now, Publius Silvinus, dealt in seven Of the keeping of birds and fishes on the farm. books with what practically constituted a complete account of the science of gaining knowledge of the land and all that was required for the business of raising cattle. Our present book shall bear the next number, eight, for its title, not that the subject of which we are going to speak demands the close and particular attention of the farmer, but because it ought not to be undertaken except in the country and on the farm, and brings benefit to country-folk rather than to town-dwellers. For the keeping of animals2 at the farm, as of cattle on the pasture, brings no small profit to farmers, since they use the dung of fowls to doctor the leanest vines and every kind of young tree and every kind of soil, and with the fowls themselves they enrich the family kitchen and table by providing rich fare; and, lastly, with the price which they obtain by selling animals they increase the revenue of the farm. Therefore I have thought it fitting that I should speak also of the keeping of this kind of animal. But it is generally carried on either at the farm or in its neighbourhood.

At the farm there are what the Greeks call ὀρνιθῶνες3 and περιστερεῶνες (poultry-houses and dovecotes), and also, where a supply of water is available, ἰχθυοτροφεῖα (fish-ponds), the management of which requires unremitting care. All these, to use by

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.columella-agriculture.1941