The Ancient Library

Scanned text contains errors.

On this page: Agraulia – Agricultura



was a system that developed itself of necessity in a state constituted like Rome.

Those who may choose to investigate the sub­ ject of the agrarian laws, will find the following references sufficient for the purpose: — Liv. i. 46, 47 ; ii. 41, 42, 43, 44, 48, 52, 61, 63, iii. 1, 9, iv. 12, 36, 43, 44, 47, 48, 49, 51, 52, 58, v. 24. 30, vi. 5, 6, 16, 21, 35, vii. 16, x. 13, 47, xxxiii. 42, xxxiv. 40 ; Dionys. ii. 15, viii. 70, &c., ix. 51, &c., x. 36 ; Pint. Camillus, c. 39, T. Grac- chus, C. Gracchus; Appian, B. C. i. 7, &c ; Cic. c. Rullum; ad AtL i. 19, ii. 16 ; Dion Cass. xxxviii. 1, &c. xlv. 9, &c. xlvii. 14, xlviii. 2 ; Veil. Pat. ii. 2, 6, 44 ; Florus, iii. 13, &c.; Zeitsclirift fur Gescliichtliclie Rechtswissenscliaft, Das Ackergesetz von Spurius Thorius, vol. x. by Rudorff; Niebuhr, Roman History, vol. ii. p. 129, &c. ; Savigny, Das Redd des Besitzes^ 5th ed.; Classical Museum, Parts V. VI. VII., articles by the author of this article, and an article by Professor Puchta, of Berlin ; Political Dictionary, art. Agrarian Law, by the author of this article. [G. L.]

AGRAULIA (dypauAia) was a festival cele­brated by the Athenians in honour of Agraulos, the daughter of Cecrops. (Diet, of Biogr. s. v.) We possess no particulars respecting the time or mode of its celebration ; but it was, perhaps, con­nected with the solemn oath, which all Athenians, when they arrived at manhood (c^rj&n), were obliged to take in the temple of Agraulos, that they would fight for their country, and always observe its laws. (Lycurg. c. Leocr. p. 189 ; Dem. de Legat. p. 438 ; Plut. Alcib. 15 ; Stobaeus, Serin, xli. 141 ; Schomann, DeComitiis^ p. 332 ; Wachsmuth, Hel-len. Altertli. vol. i. p. 476, 2nd ed.)

Agraulos was also honoured with a festival in Cyprus, iu the month Aphrodisius, at which human victims were offered. (Porphyr. De Abstin. ab Anim. i. 2.)

AGRICULTURA, agriculture.

Authorities. — When we remember that agricul­ture, in the most extended acceptation of the term, was for many centuries the chief, we may say, almost the sole peaceful occupation followed by any large portion of the free population in those European nations which first became highly civilised, we shall not be surprised to find that the contemporaries of Cicero were able to enumerate upwards of fifty Greek writers who had contributed to this science. But although the Homeric poems are filled with a series of the most charming pictures derived from the business of a country life, although Hesiod supplies abundance of wise saws and pithy apho­risms, the traditional wisdom accumulated during many successive generations, although Xenophon has bequeathed to us a most graceful essay on the moral beauty of rustic pursuits interspersed with not a few instructive details, and although much that belongs to the Natural History of the subject will be found treasured up in the vast storehouses of Aristotle and Theophrastus, yet nothing which can be regarded in the light of a formal treatise upon the art as exhibited in the pastures and corn­fields of Hellas, has descended to us, except a volume, divided into twenty books, commonly known as the Geoponica (rewTrwi/ca), whose his­tory is somewhat obscure, but which, according to the account commonly received, was drawn up at the desire of Constantine VI. (a. d. 780—802) by a certain Cassianus Bassus, and consists of ex-tmcts from numerous writers, chiefly Greek, many


of whom flourished in the second, third, and fourth centuries. This collection is systematically ar­ranged and comprehends all the chief branches ; but it has never been considered of much value, except in so far as it tends to confirm or illustrate the statements found elsewhere. The information conveyed by it is, upon many points, extremely meagre, the materials were worked up at a late period by an editor with whose history and qualifications for his task we are altogether unacquainted, while the most important quotations are taken from authors of whom we know little or nothing, so that we can­not tell whether their precepts apply to the same or to different climates, whether they give us the fruit of their own experience, or, as we have great reason to suspect in many instances, were them­selves mere compilers.

The Romans, during the brightest periods of their history, were devotedly attached to the only lucrative profession in which any citizen could embark with honour, and from the first dawn until the decline of their literature, rural economy formed a favourite theme for composition both in prose and verse. The works of the Sasernae, father and son, those of Scrofa Tremellius, of Julius Hyginus, of Cornelius Celsus, of Julius Atticus, and of Julius Graecinus have perished ; but we still possess, in addition to Virgil, four " Scriptores de Re Rustica," two, at least, of whom were practical men. We have, in the first place, 162 chapters from the pen of the elder Cato (b.c. 234—149), a strange medley, containing many valuable hints for the management of the farm, the olive garden, and the vineyard, thrown together without order or method, and mixed up with medical prescriptions, charms for dislocated and broken bones, culinary receipts, and sacred litanies, the whole forming a remarkable compound of simplicity and shrewdness, quaint wisdom and blind superstition, bearing, moreover, a strong im­press of the national character; in the second place, we have the three books of Varro (b. c. 116 —28), drawn up at the age of eighty, by one who was not only the most profound scholar of his age, but likewise a soldier, a politician, an enthusiastic and successful farmer ; in the third place, the thirteen books of Colmnella (a. d. 40 [?]), more minute than the preceding, especially in all that relates to the vine, the olive, gardening, and fruit trees, but evidently proceeding from one much less familiar with his subject; and, lastly, the fourteen books of Palladius (a writer of uncertain date who closely copies Columella), of which twelve form a Farmer's calendar, the different operations being ranged according to the months in which they ought to be performed. Besides the above, a whole book of Pliny and many detached chapters are devoted to matters connected with the labours of the husbandman ; but in this, as in the other portions of that remarkable encyclopaedia, the assertions must be received with caution, since they cannot be regarded as exhibiting the results of original investigation, nor even a very correct repre­sentation of the opinions of others.

We ought not here to pass over unnoticed the great work of Mago the Carthaginian, who, as a native of one of the most fertile and carefully cul­tivated districts of the ancient world, must have had ample opportunities for acquiring knowledge. This production, extending to twenty-eight books, had attained such high fame that, after the de-

About | First | English Index | Classified Index | Latin Index | Greek Index



page #  
Search this site
All non-public domain material, including introductions, markup, and OCR © 2005 Tim Spalding.
Ancient Library was developed and hosted by Tim Spalding of