Varro, On Agriculture

LCL 283: 160-161

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Marcus Terentius Varro

M. Terenti Varronis Rerum Rusticarum

Liber Primus

I. Otium si essem consecutus, Fundania, commodius tibi haec scriberem, quae nunc, ut potero, exponam cogitans esse properandum, quod, ut dicitur, si est homo bulla, eo magis senex. Annus enim octogesimus admonet me ut sarcinas conligam, antequam proficiscar 2e vita. Quare, quoniam emisti fundum, quem bene colendo fructuosum cum facere velis, meque ut id mihi habeam curare roges, experiar; et non solum, ut ipse quoad vivam, quid fieri oporteat ut 3te moneam, sed etiam post mortem. Neque patiar Sibyllam non solum cecinisse quae, dum viveret, prodessent hominibus, sed etiam quae cum perisset ipsa, et id etiam ignotissimis quoque hominibus; ad cuius libros tot annis post publice solemus redire, cum desideramus, quid faciendum sit nobis ex aliquo portento; me, ne dum vivo quidem, necessariis meis 4quod prosit facere. Quocirca scribam tibi tres libros indices, ad quos revertare, siqua in re quaeres, quem ad modum quidque te in colendo oporteat facere. Et quoniam, ut aiunt, dei facientes adiuvant, prius


On Agriculture

Marcus Terentius Varro on Agriculture

Book I

I. Had I possessed the leisure, Fundania,1 I should write in a more serviceable form what now I must set forth as I can, reflecting that I must hasten; for if man is a bubble, as the proverb has it, all the more so is an old man. For my eightieth year admonishes me to gather up my pack before I set forth from life. Wherefore, since you have bought an estate and wish to make it profitable by good cultivation, and ask that I concern myself with the matter, I will make the attempt; and in such wise as to advise you with regard to the proper practice not only while I live but even after my death. And I cannot allow the Sibyl to have uttered prophecies which benefited mankind not only while she lived, but even after she had passed away, and that too people whom she never knew—for so many years later we are wont officially to consult her books when we desire to know what we should do after some portent—and not do something, even while I am alive, to help my friends and kinsfolk. Therefore I shall write for you three handbooks to which you may turn whenever you wish to know, in a given case, how you ought to proceed in farming. And since, as we are told,

  • 1Varro’s wife.
DOI: 10.4159/DLCL.varro-agriculture.1934