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(II.P. 9, I) had recorded what the agricultural colleges teach today--that beans are valuable for this purpose because they rot readily, and, he adds, in Macedonia and Thessaly it has always been the custom to turn them under when they bloom.]

[Footnote 82: Although Varro advises the first ploughing in the spring, the ancients were not unmindful of the advantages of winter ploughing of stiff and heavy clay. Theophrastus, who died in B.C. 287, advises it "that the earth may feel the cold." Indeed, he was fully alive to the reasons urged by the modern professors of agronomy for intensive cultivation. "For the soil," he says (C.P. III, 25), "often inverted becomes free, light and clear of weeds, so that it can most easily afford nourishment."

King Solomon gives the same advice, "The sluggard will not plough by reason of the winter, therefore shall he begin harvest and have nothing." Proverbs, XX, 4.]

[Footnote 83: The Romans understood the advantages of thorough cultivation of the soil. As appears from the text, they habitually broke up a sod in the spring, ploughed it again at midsummer, and once more in September before seeding. Pliny prescribes that the first ploughing should be nine inches deep, and says that the Etruscans some times ploughed their stiff clay as many as nine times. The accepted Roman reason for this was the eradication of weeds, but it also accomplished in some measure the purpose of "dry farming"--the conservation of the moisture content of the soil, as that had been practised for countless generations in the sandy Valley of Mesopotamia. Varro makes no exception to this rule, but Virgil was here, as in other instances, induced to depart from Varro's wisdom, with the result that he imposed upon Roman agriculture several thoroughly bad practices. Thus, while he applies Varro ploughing rules to rich land and bids the farmer "exercetque frequens tellurem atque imperat arvis," he says (Geo. I, 62) that it will suffice to give sandy land a single shallow ploughing in September immediately before seeding, for fear, forsooth, that the summer suns will evaporate whatever moisture there is in it! Again, Virgil recommends, what Varro does not, cross-ploughing and burning the stubble and Virgil's advice was generally followed.

In William Benson's edition (1725) of the Georgics "with notes critical and rustick," it is stated that "the husbandry of England in general is Virgilian, which is shown by paring and burning the surface: by raftering and cross-ploughing, and that in those parts of England where the Romans principally inhabited all along the Southern coast Latin words remain to this hour among shepherds and ploughmen in their rustick affairs: and what will seem more strange at first sight to affirm though in fact really true, there is more of Virgil's husbandry put in practice in England at this instant than in Italy itself." That this was the fact in the thirteenth century is clear from the quotations we have made from Walter of Henley's Dite de Hosebondrie. Cf. also Sir Anthony Fitzherbert and the account of the manorial system of farming in England in Prothero's English Farming Past and Present.

It remained for Jethro Tull of the Horseshoeing Husbandry to unloose in England the long spell of the magic of Virgil's poetry upon practical agriculture.]

[Footnote 84: The Julian calendar, which took effect on January 1, B.C. 45, had been in use only eight years when Varro was writing.]

[Footnote 85: Schneider and others have attempted to emend the enumeration of the days in this succession of seasons, but Keil justly observes: "As we do not know what principle Varro followed in establishing these divisions of the year, it is safer to set them down as they are written in the codex than to be tempted by uncertain emendation." I have accordingly followed Keil here.]

[Footnote 86: The practice of ridging land seeded to grain was necessary before the invention of the modern drill. Dickson, in his Husbandry of the Ancients, XXIV, argues that, while wasteful of land, it had the advantage of preventing the grain from lodging. Walter of Henley, who followed the Roman methods by tradition without knowing it, advises with them that to be successful in this kind of seeding the furrow at the last ploughing of the fallow should be so narrow as to be indistinguishable. "At sowing do not plough large furrows," he says, "but little and well laid together that the seed may fall evenly: if you plough a large furrow to be quick you will do harm. How? I will tell you. When, the ground is sown then the harrow will come and pull the corn into the hollow which is between the two ridges and the large ridge shall be uncovered, then no corn shall grow there. And will you see this? When the corn is above ground go to the end of the ridge and you will see that I tell you truly. And if the land must be sown below the ridge see that it is ploughed with small furrows and the earth raised as much as you are able. And see that the ridge which is between the two furrows is narrow. And let the earth, which lies like a crest in the furrow under the left foot after the plough, be over-turned, and then shall the furrow be narrow enough."]

[Footnote 87: Farrago was a mixture of refuse far, or spelt, with vetch, sown thick and cut green to be fed to cattle in the process now called soiling. The English word "forage" comes from this Latin original.]

[Footnote 88: Spanish American engineers today insert in their specifications for lumber the stipulation that it be cut on the wane of the moon. The rural confidence in the influence of the moon upon the life of a farm still persists vigorously: thus as Pliny (H.N.

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