Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 371: 218-219

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Pliny: Natural History

et ideo maiores fertilissimum in agro oculum domini esse dixerunt.

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Reliqua praecepta reddentur suis locis, quae propria generum singulorum erunt. interim communia quae succurrunt non omittemus, et in primis Catonis humanissimum utilissimumque, id agendum ut diligant te1 vicini; causas reddit ille, nos existimamus nulli esse dubias. inter prima idem cavet ne familiae male sit. nihil sero faciendum in agricultura omnes censent, iterumque suo quaeque tempore facienda, et tertio praecepto praetermissa frustra revocari. de terra cariosa execratio Catonis abunde indicata est, quamquam praedicere non cessantis: quidquid per asellum fieri potest vilissime 45constare. filix biennio moritur si frondem agere non patiaris; id efficacissime contingit germinantibus ramis baculo decussis, sucus enim ex ipsa defluens necat radices. aiunt et circa solstitium avolsas non renasci nec harundine sectas aut exaratas vomeri harundine inposita. similiter et harundinem exarari 46filice vomeri inposita praecipiunt. iuncosus ager 47verti pala debet, ante infractus bidentibus. frutecta igni optime tolluntur. umidiorem agrum fossis

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Book XVIII

forefathers that on a farm the best fertilizer is the master’s eye.

The remaining rules will be given in their properNeighbourliness. Treatment of farm hands. places, according as they belong to the various kinds of agriculture. In the meantime we will not omit the principles of general application which occur to us, and particularly that most humane and most profitable advice of Cato,a to do your best to win the esteem of your neighbours. Cato gives reasons for this advice, but for our part we imagine that nobody can doubt what the reasons are. Also one of Cato’s first pieces of adviceb is a warning to keep your farm hands in good condition. That in agriculture nothing must be done too late is a rule universally held, as is a second rule that each thing must be done at its own time, and a third that it is no use calling back lost opportunities. The malediction utteredKeep the land clean. XVII. 3. by Cato against rotten land has been pointed out at sufficient length; though he is never tired of declaring that whatever can be done by means of an ass costs the least money. Bracken dies in two years if you do not let it make leaf, the best way to kill it is to knock off the stalk with a stick when it is budding, as the juice trickling down out of the fern itself kills the roots. It is also said that ferns plucked up about midsummer do not spring up again, nor do those cut with a reed or ploughed up with a reed placed on the ploughshare. Similarly they also advise ploughing up reed with bracken placed on the ploughshare. A field grown over with rushes should be turned up with the spade after having been first broken with two-pronged forks. Brushwood is best removed by setting fire to it. WhenDrainag of land. land is too damp it is very useful to cut ditches

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938