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date: 31 January 2023

Columella, Lucius Iunius Moderatuslocked

Columella, Lucius Iunius Moderatuslocked

  • M. Stephen Spurr


Lucius Iunius Moderatus Columella (cf. CIL 9. 235) fl. 50 ce, b. *Gades in Spain (Rust. 8. 16. 9; 10. 185) author of the most systematic extant Roman agricultural manual (written c.60–5 ce) in twelve books. Book 1: introduction, layout of villa, organization of slave workforce; 2: arable cultivation; 3–5: viticulture (mainly) and other arboriculture; 6, 7: animal husbandry; 8, 9: pastio villatica (e.g. specialized breeding of poultry, fish and game, and bees); 10: horticulture (in hexameter verse); 11: duties of vilicus (slave estate-manager), calendar of farm work and horticulture; 12: duties of vilica (female companion of vilicus), wine and oil processing and food conservation. Another surviving book (the so-called Liber de arboribus) probably belonged to a shorter first version of the subject, while his works criticizing astrologers (11. 1. 31) and on religion in agriculture (if ever written, 2. 21. 5) are not extant. Columella defends the intensive slave-staffed villa—characterized by capital investment (1. 1. 18), close supervision by the owner (1. 1. 18–20), and the integration of arable and animal husbandry (6 praefatio 1–2)—against influential contrary views on agricultural management (1 praefatio 1).


  • Latin Literature
  • Roman Material Culture

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