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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 6

Means of Husbandry - Cattle

The labours of the field were performed by means of oxen which were employed for ploughing, and of asses, which were used specially for the carriage of manure and for driving the mill; perhaps a horse also was kept, apparently for the use of the master. These animals were not reared on the estate, but were purchased; oxen and horses at least were generally castrated. Cato assigns to an estate of 100 -jugera- one, to one of 240 -jugera- three, yoke of oxen; a later writer on agriculture, Saserna, assigns two yoke to the 200 -jugera-. Three asses were, according to Cato's estimate, required for the smaller, and four for the larger, estate.


The human labour on the farm was regularly performed by slaves. At the head of the body of slaves on the estate (-familia rustica-) stood the steward (-vilicus-, from -villa-), who received and expended, bought and sold, went to obtain the instructions of the landlord, and in his absence issued orders and administered punishment. Under him were placed the stewardess (-vilica-) who took charge of the house, kitchen and larder, poultry-yard and dovecot: a number of ploughmen (-bubulci-) and common serfs, an ass-driver, a swineherd, and, where a flock of sheep was kept, a shepherd. The number, of course, varied according to the method of husbandry pursued.

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