Publication Date

April 2016


Christopher Parslow




English (United States)


This thesis analyzes animal husbandry practices for all major farm animals in ancient Italy, primarily relying upon literary sources to synthesize and clarify the advice of the prominent agricultural writers (Cato, Varro, Vergil, Columella, Pliny, and Palladius). Though it approaches the authors on their own terms, it also scrutinizes them in light of modern farming practices. Animal pasturage, feed, housing, breeding, health, draft work, and manure management are all considered. Though the work employs historical methodology and it acknowledges superstition, it also maintains that ancient authors have knowledge and advice that is not only forgotten to contemporary readers, but useful. After an overview of sources and practices emblematic of Roman livestock rearing generally, the ancient advice on each of ten major animals is thoroughly analyzed.



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