The Ancient Library

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, 4. The dense (spissum}, 5. The wet (Immi-' dum, aquosum, idiginosum}, 6. The dry (siccum}, while the endless gradations and combinations of which the elementary qualities were susceptible produced all the existing varieties. These are named sometimes from their most obvious consti­tuents, the stony (lapidosum}, the gravelly (glareo-sum}, the sandy (arenosum}, the mortary (sabido-sum}, the chalky (cretosum}, the clayey (argilh-sum} ; sometimes from their colour, the. black (?iigrum}, the &axk(pidlum}, the grey (subalbum}, the red (rubicundum}, the white (album} ; some­times from their consistency, the crumbling (putre, friabile, cineritium}, as opposed to the tenacious (densum, crassum, spissum} ; sometimes from their natural products, the grassy (graminosum, herbo-sum}, the weedy (spurcum} ; sometimes from their taste, the salt (salsum}, the bitter (amarum} ; rubrica seems to have been a sort of red chalky clay, but what the epithets rudecta and materina applied to earth (terra} by Cato may indicate, it is hard to determine (Cato 34 ; comp. Plin. //. N. xviii. 17). The great object of the cultivator being to separate the particles as finely as possible (neque enim aliud est colere quam resolvere et fermentare terrain}, high value was attached to those soils which were not. only rich, but naturally pulveru­lent. Hence the first place was held by solum pingue et putre, the second by pinguiter densum, while the worst was that which was at once dry, tenacious, and poor (siccum pariter et densum et macrum}. The ancients were in the habit of form­ing an estimate of untried ground, not only from the qualities which could be detected by sight and touch, but also from the character of the trees, shrubs, and herbage growing upon it spontaneously, a test of more practical value than any of the others enumerated in the second Georgic (177— 258.)

When an estate was purchased, the land might be either in a state of culture (cidta novalia}, or in a state of nature (rudis ager}.

The comparative value of land under cultivation estimated by the crops which it was capable of bearing, is fixed by Cato (1), according to the fol­lowing descending scale: —

1. Vineyards (vinea}, provided they yielded good wine in abundance. 2. Garden ground well supplied with water (kortus irnguas}. 3. Osier beds (salictuni). 4. Olive plantations (oletum}. 5. Meadows (pratum}. 6. Corn land (camptis frumejitarius}. 7. Groves which might be cut for timber or fire-wood (silva caedua}. 8. Arbustum. This name was given to fields planted with trees in regular rows. Upon these vines were trained, and the open ground cultivated for corn or legu­minous crops in the ordinary manner, an arrange­ment extensively adopted in Campania, and many other parts of Italy in modern times, but by no means conducive to good husbandry. 9. Groves yielding acorns, beech-mast, and chestnuts (glan-daria silva}. The fact that in the above scale, corn land is placed below meadows may perhaps be re­garded as an indication that, even in the time of Cato, agriculture was upon the decline among the Romans.

When waste land was to be reclaimed, the or­dinary procedure was to root out the trees and brushwood (fruteta}, by which it might be encum­bered, to remove the rocks and stones which would impede the labours of men and oxen, to destroy by


fire or otherwise troublesome weeds, such as fenis and reeds (filices, junci), to drain off the super­fluous moisture, to measure out the ground into fields of a convenient size, and to enclose these with suitable fences. The three last-mentioned processes alone require any particular notice, and we therefore subjoin a few words upon drains, land-measures, fences.

drains (fossae., sulci alveati^ incilia} were of two kinds: —

1. Open (patentcs). 2. Covered (caecae}.

1. Fossae patentes, open ditches, alone were formed in dense and chalky soil. They were wide at top, and gradually narrowed in wedge fashion (imbricibus supinis similes} as they descended.

2. Fossae caecae, covered drains, or sivers as they are termed in Scotland, were employed where the soil was loose, and emptied themselves into the fossae patentes. They were usually sunk from three to four feet, were three feet wide at top and eighteen, inches at bottom ; one half of the depth was filled up with small stones or sharp gravel (nuda glared}, and the earth which had l.een dug out, was thrown in above until the surface was level. Where stones or gravel could not readily be procured, green willow poles were introduced, crossing each other in all directions (quoquoversus}, or a sort of rope was constructed of twigs twisted together so as to fit exactly into the bottom of the drain ; above this the leaves of some of the pine tribe were trodden down, and the whole covered up with earth. To prevent the apertures being choked by the falling down of the soil, the mouths were supported by two stones placed upright, and one across (utilissimum est.... ora earum binis utrimque lapidibus statuminari et olio superintegi}. To carry off the surface-water from land under crop, open furrows (sulci aquarii^ elices} were left at intervals, which discharged themselves into cross furrows (colliquiae} at the extremities of the fields, and these again poured their streams into the ditches. (Cat. 43. 155 ; Col. ii. 2. 8 ; xi. 2 ; Pallad. vi. 3 ; Plin. //. N. xviii. 6. 1,9. 26 ; Virg. Georg. i. 113.)

measures of land.—The measure employed for land in Latram was the jugerum, which was a double actus quadratus, the actus quadratus, an­ciently called acna, or acnua, or ognua, being a square, whose side was 120 Roman feet. The subdivisions of the as were applied to the jugerum, the loAvest in use being the scriptdum, a square whose side was ten feet. 200 jugera formed a ceniwia^ a term which is said to have arisen from the allotments of land made by Romulus to the citizens, for these being at the rate of 2 jugera to each man, 200 jugera would be assigned to every hundred men. Lastly, four centuriae made a saltus. We thus have the following table : —

1 scripulum =100 square feet, Roman measure. 144 scripula = 1 actus = 14,400 square feet.

2 actus = 1 jugerum =28,800 square feet. 200 jugera = 1 centuria.

4 centuriae = 1 saltus.

Now, since three actus quadrati contained 4800 square yards, and since the English imperial acre contains 4840 scjuare yards, and since the Roman foot was about f of an inch less than the im­perial foot, it follows that the Roman juger was less than | of an imperial acre by about 500 square yards.

In Campania the measure for land Avas the

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