Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 371: 286-287


Pliny: Natural History

habentibus; e diverso carent ea ventosa et excelsa. inter vitia segetum et luxuria est, cum oneratae fertilitate procumbunt. commune autem omnium satorum vitium uricae, etiam ciceris cum salsilaginem eius abluendo imber dulcius id facit.


Est herba quae cicer enecat et ervum circum-ligando se, vocatur orobanche; tritico simili modo aera, hordeo festuca quae vocatur aegilops, lenti herba securiclata quam Graeci a similitudine pelecinum vocant; et hae conplexu necant. circa Philippos ateramum nominant in pingui solo herbam qua faba necatur, teramum qua in macro, cum udam 156quidam ventus adflavit. aerae granum minimum est in cortice aculeato. cum est in pane, celerrime vertigines facit, aiuntque in Asia et Graecia balneatores, cum velint turbam pellere, carbonibus id semen inicere. nascitur et phalangion in ervo, bestiola aranei generis, si hiems aquosa sit. limaces nascuntur in vicia, et aliquando e terra cocleae minutae mirum in modum erodentes eam.—Et morbi quidem fere hi sunt,


XLV. Remedia eorum quaecumque pertinent ad herbas in sarculo et, cum semen iactatur, cinere; qui1 vero in semine et circa radicem consistunt praecedente

  • 1Rackham: quae.


and in shut-in valleys that have no current of air through them, whereas windy places and high ground on the contrary are free from it. Among the vices of corn is also over-abundance, when the stalks fall down under the burden of fertility. But a vice common to all cultivated crops is caterpillars, which even attack chick-pea when rain makes it taste sweeter by washing away its saltness.

There is a weed that kills off chick-pea and bitter vetch by binding itself round them, called orobanchea; and in a similar way wheat is attacked by darnel, barley by a long-stalked plant called aegilops and lentils by an axe-leaved plantb which the Greeks call axe-grass from its resemblance; these also kill the plants by twining round them. In the neighbourhood of Philippic they give the name of ateramum to a weed growing in rich soil that kills the bean plant, and the name teramum to one that has the same effect in thin soil, when a particular wind has been blowing on the beans when damp. Darnel has a very small seed enclosed in a prickly husk. When used in bread it very quickly causes fits of giddiness, and it is said that in Asia and Greece when the managers of baths want to get rid of a crowd they throw darnel seed on to hot coals. Also the phalangium, a little creature of the spider class, breeds in bitter vetch, if there is a wet winter. Slugs breed amongst vetch, and sometimes small snails which are produced from the ground and eat away the vetch in a surprising manner.—These broadly speaking are the diseases of grain.

XLV. Such cures of these diseases as pertain toProtections for seeds against diseases, worms, birds, mice. grain in the blade are to be found in the hoe, and when the seed is being sown, in ashes; but the diseases that occur in the seed and round the root can

DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938