The Ancient Library

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pruned. The system of culture here indicated was followed so generally that it had become embodied in a proverb " Veteris proverbii meminisse con-venit, eum qui aret olivetum, rogare fructum ; qui stercoret, exorare ; qui caedat, cogere." (Columell. v. 9. § 15.) Besides this, the whole surface of the ground was regularly ploughed at the usual seasons, and cropped in alternate years, the manure applied for these crops being altogether inde­pendent of that supplied to the trees specially. Moreover, since olives bore fruit, in abundance at least, only once in two years, matters were so ar­ranged that the land should yield a crop in those years when the trees were unproductive.

2. A second method of propagation was to cut the roots of wild olives into small pieces in such a manner that each should contain an eye or rudi­ment of a lateral fibre (radicum oculis silvestrium olearum hortulos excolere\ and these pieces were treated precisely in the same manner as the taleae described above.

3. A third method is indicated by Virgil in the lines

Quin et caudicibus sectis, mirabile dictn, Truditur e sicco radix oleagina ligno,

and is still pursued in some parts of Italy, where, as we are told, " an old tree is hewn down and the stock cut into pieces of nearly the size and shape of a mushroom, and which from that circumstance are called novoli; care at the same time is taken that a small portion of bark shall belong to each novolo. These, after having been dipped in manure, are put into the earth, soon throw up shoots, are transplanted at the end of one year, and in three years are fit to form an olive yard."

Grafting or budding (inserere, insitio, oculos in-serere) were also resorted to for the purpose of in­troducing fine varieties or of rendering barren trees fruitful. (Cat. R. R. 40, 42, 48, 45 ; Varr. R. R. i. 40 ; Columell. v. 9, De Arbor. 17 ; Plin. H.N. xviii. 19. s. 30 ; Pallad. iii. 8, 18, x. 1, xi. 8 ; Geopon. ix. 5, 6, &c. ; Blunt's Vestiges of Ancient Manners, <fcc., in Italy., p. 215.)

olive gathering (Oleitas, Olivitas). The olive usually comes to maturity, in Italy, about the middle or latter end of December, but, according to the views of the proprietors, it was gathered in various stages of its progress, either while yet green (a/6«), or when changing colour (varia\ or when fully ripe (nigra), but it was considered highly desirable that it should never be allowed to re­main so long as to fall of its own accord. The fruit was picked as far as possible with the bare hand, but such as could not be reached from the ground or by the aid of ladders was beaten down with long reeds, which were preferred to sticks as less likely to injure the bark of the branches and the young bearers, a want of attention to this pre­caution on the part of the gatherers (leguli} being in the opinion of Varro the cause why olive trees so seldom yielded a full crop for two years con­secutively. (Varr. R. R. i. 55 j Plin. H. N. xv. 3. s. 6 ; Geopon. ix. 17.)

different uses. The fruit (bacca] of the olive was for the most part employed for one of two pur­poses.

1. It was eaten as a fruit, either fresh, pickled, or preserved in various ways.

2. It was pressed so as to yield the oil and other juices which it contained. And again, the



oil was employed for a variety of purposes, but

i • n " •» . i i 7


a. As an article of food.

ft. For anointing the body, and in this case was frequently made a vehicle for perfumes (unguenta). 7. For burning in lamps.

preserving olives. (Condere oleas,, oli-varum conditura, conditio.)

Olives might be preserved in various ways, either when unripe (albae, acerbae), or ripe (mgrae)\ or half-ripe (variae9fuscae).

Green olives, the Pausia being used principally for this purpose, were preserved in strong brine (murici), according to the modern practice, or they were beaten together into a mass, steeped in water which was frequently changed, then pressed and thrown with salt into a jar of vinegar, to which various spices or flavouring condiments were added, especially the seeds of the Pistachia Lentiscus, or Gum Mastich tree, and fennel. Sometimes, instead of vinegar, inspissated must (sapa, de/rutum), or sweet wine ( passum) or honey were employed, in which case the olives were preserved sweet, and sometimes salt pickle, vinegar, must and oil, seem to have been all mixed together.

Half-ripe olives (and here again the Pausia was the favourite ) were picked with their stalks and covered over in a jar with the best oil. In this manner they retained the flavour of the fresh fruit for more than a year.

Ripe olives, especially the orcliitis, were sprinkled with salt, and left untouched for five days, the salt was then shaken off, and they were dried in the sun. Or they were preserved sweet in defrutuiu without salt.

The peculiar preparation called Epiiyrum was made by taking olives in any of the three stages, extracting the stones, chopping up the pulp and throwing the fragments into a jar with oil, vinegar, coriander seeds, cumin, fennel, rue and mint, the quantity of oil being sufficient to cover up the com-; pound and exclude the air. In fact, it was an olive salad, and, as the name imports, eaten with cheese. (Cat. R. R. 117, 118, 119 ; Varr. R. R. i. 60 ; Columell. xii. 49 ; Geopon. ix. 3, 32.)

oil making (Oleum conficere). The fruit of the olive tree consists of two parts, the pulpy pericarp (raro), and the stone (nucleus].

The caro or pulp yielded two fluids: one of these of a watery consistence, clark in colour, bitter to the taste, flowed from the olive upon very slight pressure ; it was called a^pyr) by the Greeks, Amurca by the Latins, and was extensively used as a manure and for a great number of purposes con­ nected with domestic economy. The other fluid which flowed from the pulp, when subjected to more forcible pressure, was the oil (oleum, olivurn\ mingled however to a certain extent with amurca and other impurities (/races, faeces'), and this was of different qualities, according to the state of the fruit, and the amount of pressure. The finest oil was made from the fruit before it was fully ripe, and from this circumstance, or from its greenish colour, was termed Oleum viride, and by the Greeks o/ji.(f>dKivov: the quantity given out was how-: ever small, and hence the remark of Cato, Quam acerlrissima olea oleum fades tarn oleum optimum erit: domino de matura olea oleum fieri maxim* eocpediet. . /

A distinction is made by Columella, between the

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