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Three Millennia of Greek Literature
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Please note that Mommsen uses the AUC chronology (Ab Urbe Condita), i.e. from the founding of the City of Rome. You can use this reference table to have the B.C. dates


III. From the Union of Italy to the Subjugation of Carthage and the Greek States

From: The History of Rome, by Theodor Mommsen
Translated with the sanction of the author by William Purdie Dickson

The History of Old Rome

Chapter XII - The Management of Land and of Capital


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Page 5

Figs, apples, pears, and other fruit trees were cultivated; and likewise elms, poplars, and other leafy trees and shrubs, partly for the felling of the wood, partly for the sake of the leaves which were useful as litter and as fodder for cattle. The rearing of cattle, on the other hand, held a far less important place in the economy of the Italians than it holds in modern times, for vegetables formed the general fare, and animal food made its appearance at table only exceptionally; where it did appear, it consisted almost solely of the flesh of swine or lambs. Although the ancients did not fail to perceive the economic connection between agriculture and the rearing of cattle, and in particular the importance of producing manure, the modern combination of the growth of corn with the rearing of cattle was a thing foreign to antiquity.

The larger cattle were kept only so far as was requisite for the tillage of the fields, and they were fed not on special pasture-land, but, wholly during summer and mostly during winter also, in the stall Sheep, again, were driven out on the stubble pasture; Cato allows 100 head to 240 -jugera-. Frequently, however, the proprietor preferred to let his winter pasture to a large sheep-owner, or to hand over his flock of sheep to a lessee who was to share the produce, stipulating for the delivery of a certain number of lambs and of a certain quantity of cheese and milk. Swine--Cato assigns to a large estate ten sties--poultry, and pigeons were kept in the farmyard, and fed as there was need; and, where opportunity offered, a small hare-preserve and a fish-pond were constructed--the modest commencement of that nursing and rearing of game and fish which was afterwards prosecuted to so enormous an extent.

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