Pliny the Elder, Natural History

LCL 371: 2-3

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Pliny: Natural History

Plinii: Naturalis Historiae

Liber XVII

I. Natura arborum terra marique sponte sua provenientium dicta est; restat earum quae arte et humanis ingeniis fiunt verius quam nascuntur. sed prius mirari succurrit qua retulimus paenuria pro indiviso possessas a feris, depugnante cum his homine circa caducos fructus, circa pendentes vero et cum alitibus, in tanta deliciarum pretia venisse, clarissimo, ut equidem arbitror, exemplo L. Crassi atque Cn. 2Domitii Ahenobarbi. Crassus orator fuit in primis nominis Romani; domus ei magnifica, sed aliquanto praestantior in eodem Palatio Q. Catuli qui Cimbros cum C. Mario fudit, multo vero pulcerrima consensu omnium aetate ea in colle Viminali C. Aquilii equitis Romani clarioris illa etiam quam iuris civilis scientia,

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Book XVII

Pliny: Natural History

Book XVII

I. We have now stated the nature of the trees that Arboriculture. Valuable trees. grow of their own accord on land and in the sea; and there remain those which owe what is more truly described as their formation than their birth to art and to the ingenious devices of mankind. But it is in place first to express surprise at the way in which the trees that, under the niggardly system that we have recorded, were held in common ownership by the wild animals, with man doing battle with them for the fruit that fell to the ground and also with the birds for that which still hung on the tree, have come to command such high prices as articles of luxury—the most famous instance, in my judgement, being the affair of Lucius Crassus and Gnaeus Domitius Ahenobarbus. Crassus was one of the leading Roman orators; he owned a splendid mansion, but it was considerably surpassed by another that was also on the Palatine Hill, belonging to Quintus Catulus, the colleague of Gaius Marius in the defeata of the Cimbrians; while by far the finest house of that period was by universal agreement the one on the Viminal Hill owned by Gaius Aquilius, Knight of Rome, who was even more celebrated for this property than he was for his knowledge of civil law, although nevertheless in the case of

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DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.pliny_elder-natural_history.1938