Marcus Porcius Cato the Censor

original text from: (translation: Andrea Gaddini)
[4] Bubilia bona, bonas praesepis, faliscas clatratas, clatros inesse oportet pede. Si ita feceris, pabulum boves non eicient. (...) [4] You should have good stables, good mangers, faliscan hay racks, with one-foot bars. If you'll do so, cattle will not waste fodder on the ground (...)
[5] Haec erunt vilici officia. (...) Primus cubitu surgat, postremus cubitum eat. Prius villam videat clausa uti siet, et uti suo quisque loco cubet et uti iumenta pabulum habeant. Boves maxima diligentia curatos habeto. Bubulcis opsequito partim, quo libentius boves curent.
Aratra vomeresque facito uti bonos habeas. Terram cariosam cave ne ares, neve plostrum neve pecus inpellas. Si ita non caveris, quo inpuleris, trienni fructum amittes. Pecori et bubus diligenter substernatur, ungulae curentur. Scabiem pecoris et iumentis caveto; id ex fame et si inpluit fieri solet. opera omnia mature conficias face. Nam res rustica sic est, si unam rem sero feceris, omnia opera sero facies.
Stramenta si deerunt, frondem illigneam legito, eam substernito ovibus bubusque. Stercilinum magnum stude ut habeas.
Stercus sedulo conserva; cum exportabis, purgato et conminuito; per autumnum evehito. Circum oleas autumnitate ablaqueato et stercus addito. Frondem populneam, ulmeam, querneam caedito per tempus: eam condito non peraridam, pabulum ovibus.
Item faenum cordum, sicillimenta de prato, ea arida condito.
Post imbrem autumnum rapinam, pabulum lupinumque serito.
[5] These are the duties of a bailiff. (...) He must be the first to set up and the last to go to bed; first of all he must check that if farmhouse is locked up, if everybody is sleeping at his own place and if cattle have enough fodder. You should take care that oxen be tended with the greatest attention and you should be well-disposed towards the ploughmen, so they'll look after the oxen more willingly. You should provide to have good ploughs and ploughshares. Take care of not ploughing a land wet on the surface and not to compress it by making carts or livestock stamp on it: if you're not doing so, the land which have been trampled on is losing the harvest for three years. Strew with care the litter for sheep and cattle and take care of their hooves. Beware of livestock and beasts of burden's mange, which usually occurrs if they suffer hunger or are drenched with rain. Try to carry out all works in time; indeed agriculture is like that: if you make one thing late, then you'll do all the things late. If straw is lacking, gather holm-oak leafy branches and use them as a litter for cattle and sheep. Provide to have a big dunghill, keep dung with care, winnow and crumble it, before you take it out and you'd better carry it in autumn. In autumn dig a hollow around the olive trees and fill it up with manure. Reap the leafy branches of poplar, elm and oak, store them without drying them up too much as a sheep fodder. Do the same for tardy hay and meadow's new shoots, and store them dried. After autumn rains you'll sow turnips, fodder plants and lupin.
[30] Bubus frondem ulmeam, populneam, querneam, ficulneam, usque dum habebis, dato. Ovibus frondem viridem, usque dum habebis, praebeto; ubi sementim facturus eris, ibi oves delectato; et frondem usque ad pabula matura. Pabulum aridum quod condideris in hiemem quam maxime conservato, cogitatoque hiemis quam longa siet. [30] Give the cattle leafy branches of elm, poplar, oak, fig tree, as much as you have.
Give the sheep green leaves, as much as you have.
On the land, before you seed, let the sheep pasture and feed them leaves until fodder plants are ripe.
You should save the dried fodder you stored for winter as long as you can and remind how long is winter.
[53] Faenum, ubi tempus erit, secato cavetoque ne sero seces. Priusquam semen maturum siet, secato, et quod optimum faenum erit, seorsum condito, per ver cum arabunt, antequam ocinum des, quod edint boves. [53] You must scythe hay at the right time and take care on not doing it late. It's better if you scythe hay before the seeds are ripe, and if you want to make a good hay, store it separately, so you could give it to the oxen in springtime, when they must plough, before giving them clover.
[54] Bubus pabulum hoc modo parari darique oportet. Ubi sementim patraveris, glandem parari legique oportet et in aquam conici. Inde semodios singulis bubus in dies dari oportet, et si non laborabunt, pascantur satius erit, aut modium vinaceorum, quos in dolium condideris. Interdiu pascito, noctu faeni P. XXV uni bovi dato. Si faenum non erit, frondem iligneam et hederaciam dato. Paleas triticeas et hordeaceas, acus fabaginum, de vicia vel de lupino, item de ceteris frugibus, omnia condito. Cum stramenta condes, quae herbosissima erunt, in tecto condito et sale spargito, deinde ea pro faeno dato. Ubi verno dare coeperis, modium glandis aut vinaceorum dato aut modium lupini macerati et faeni P. XV. Ubi ocinum tempestivum erit, dato primum. Manibus carpito, id renascetur: quod falcula secueris, non renascetur. Usque ocinum dato donec arescat: ita temperato. Postea viciam dato, postea panicum frondem ulmeam dato. Si populneam habebis, admisceto, ut ulmeae satis siet. Ubi ulmeam non habebis, querneam aut ficulneam dato. Nihil est quod magis expediat, quam boves bene curare. Boves nisi per hiemem, cum non arabunt, pasci non oportet. Nam viride cum edunt, semper id exspectant, et fiscellas habere oportet, ne herbam sectentur, cum arabunt. [54] Oxen fodder must be prepared and given this way. When you got the seeds, find and pick up acorns, then put them in a water bath, then give half a modium (4 kg) of it per head each day and, as to the oxen which are not working, let them pasture or give them a modium (8.5 kg) of the wine marc you stored in barrells. By day let the oxen pasture, for the night give every head 25 librae (7.5 kg) of hay. If you'll not have hay, give them holm-oak or ivy leaves. Put away wheat and barley straw and straw of broadbean, vetch, lupin and of every other cereal and legume. When you store the straw, keep under shelter the more grassy one and strew it with salt, then give it to the livestock instead of hay. When you begin to administer fodder in spring, give a modium (8.5 kg) of acorns or wine marc, or a modium of lupins and 15 librae (4.5 kg) of hay. When clover will be ripe, give it first; the one pulled up by hands will spring up again, the one cut down with a sickle will not grow any more. Keep giving clover, until it dries up: so you'd better act. Then give vetch, then past millet give elm leaves. If you'll get poplar leaves mix them up so that elm leaves will be enough. If you haven't elm leaves, give the animals oak or fig leaves. Nothing is more important than tending the oxen well. It's better if oxen don't pasture, except in winter, when they don't plough: in fact if they eat grass, then they always crave for it, and it must muzzle them, so they can't go looking for grass as they plough.
[60] Bubus cibaria annua in iuga singula lupini modios centum viginti aut glandis modios CCXL, faeni pondo DXX, ocini, fabae M. XX, viciae M. XXX.
Praeterea granatui videto satis viciae seras. Pabulum cum seres, multas sationes facito.
[60] The yearly requirements for oxen are, for each pair, 120 modios (1 t) of lupin or 240 (2 t) of acorns, 520 librae (150 kg) of clover hay, 20 modios (170 kg) of broad bean, 30 modios of vetch. Moreover, to have get seed, try to sow enough vetch. When you sow fodder plants, make many seedings.
[62] Quot iuga boverum, mulorum, asinorum habebis, totidem plostra esse oportet. [62] You should have as many carts as the pairs of oxen, mules and donkeys you own.
[70] Bubus medicamentum. Si morbum metues, sanis dato salis micas tres, folia laurea III, porri fibras III, ulpici spicas III, alii spicas III, turis grana tria, herbae Sabinae plantas tres, rutae folia tria, vitis albae caules III, fabulos albos III, carbones vivos III, vini S. III.
Haec omnia sublimiter legi teri darique oportet. Ieiunus siet qui dabit.
Per triduum de ea potione uni cuique bovi dato.
Ita dividito, cum ter uni cuique dederis, omnem absumas, bosque ipsus et qui dabit facito ut uterque sublimiter stent.
Vaso ligneo dato.
[70] Medicines for cattle. If you fear the diseases, you'll give to the healthy animals 3 grains of salt, 3 leaves of laurel, 3 stems of leek, 3 stems of chive, 3 cloves of garlic, 3 grains of incense, 3 plants of savine, 3 leaves of rue, 3 stems of old-man's beard, 3 white fodder broad beans, 3 pieces of burning charcoal, 3 sextarii (1.5 liters) of wine.
All these things should be gathered, crumbled and given without touching the ground. The one who administers it must be fasted. This draught will be given to each ox for three days. You'll share it so that, giving it three times to each head, you will use up it all. You must see that both the ox and who gives the draught aren't touching the ground.
The draught must be given in a wooden vessel.
[71] Bos si aegrotare coeperit, dato continuo ei unum ovum gallinaceum crudum; integrum facito devoret.
Postridie caput ulpici conterito cum hemina vini facitoque ebibat.
Sublimiter terat et vaso ligneo det, bosque ipsus et qui dabit sublimiter stet. Ieiunus ieiuno bovi dato.
[71] If cattle begins to fall ill, give it at once a raw hen's egg; try to let swallow it whole. Then make it swallow a head of chive ground in a hemina (0,25 l) of wine. Crumble it without touching the ground and give it in a wooden vessel, and cattle and the one who administer it must not touch the ground. You must administer it when you are fasted and to a fasted animal.
[72] Boves ne pedes subterant, priusquam in viam quoquam ages, pice liquida cornua infima unguito. [72] To avoid that cattle hooves are worn out, before let them go on the roadsmear with liquid pitch the lower surface of the hoof.
[73] Ubi uvae variae coeperint fieri, bubus medicamentum dato quotannis, uti valeant. Pellem anguinam ubi videris, tollito et condito, ne quaeras cum opus siet. Eam pellem et far et salem et serpullum, haec omnia una conterito cum vino, dato bubus bibant omnibus. Per aestatem boves aquam bonam et liquidam bibant semper curato; ut valeant refert. [73] Every year, as grapes begin to grow coloured, give this medicine to cattle, to keep them healthy. As you'll find a snakeskin pick it up and put it aside, so you'll not have to look for it when you'll need it. You must pulverize the skin, with spelt, salt and wild thyme and put them all into wine, then give it to drink to all cattle. In summertime take always care that livestock drink a good and clear water: it's good for their health.
[83] Votum pro bubus, uti valeant, sic facito. Marti Silvano in silva interdius in capita singula boum votum facito.
Farris L. III et lardi P. IIII S et pulpae P. IIII S, vini S. III, id in unum vas liceto coicere, et vinum item in unum vas liceto coicere.
Eam rem divinam vel servus vel liber licebit faciat.
Ubi res divina facta erit, statim ibidem consumito. Mulier ad eam rem divinam ne adsit neve videat quo modofiat.
Hoc votum in annos singulos, si voles, licebit vovere.
[83] A votive offer for cattle's health must be made this way. Make the offer to Mars Silvanus, in the wood, by day, for each single head. Three librae (900 g) of spelt, 4.5 librae (1350 g) of lard and 4.5 librae of lean meat, 3 sextarii (1.5 l) of wine, you are allowed to put all ingedients in the same container, and also to put the wine in one container. These rites can be accomplished both by slaves and freemen. When the votive offering will be prepared, it must be consumed at once. Women must not be present at these religious rites, nor see how they develop. You are allowed to make this offer once a year, if you want.
[102] Si bovem aut aliam quamvis quadrupedem serpens momorderit, melanthi acetabulum, quod medici vocant zmurnaeum, conterito in vini veteris hemina: id per nares indito et ad ipsum morsum stercus suillum apponito. Et idem hoc, si usus evenerit, homini facito. [102] If an ox or another four-footed animal has been bitten by a snake, you will grind a calyx of melanthus flower, which the physicians call zmurnaeum, in a quarter of liter of aged wine: let cattle swallow it up by nostrils and put pig dung on the bite. If the bit occurrs to a man, use the same method.
[103] Boves uti valeant et curati bene sint, et qui fastidient cibum, uti magis cupide adpetant, pabulum quod dabis amurca spargito; primo pabulum, dum consuescant, postea magis, et dato rarenter bibere conmixtam cum aqua aequabiliter. Quarto quinto quoque die hoc sic facies. Ita boves et corpore curatiores erunt, et morbus aberit. [103] To keep cattle in good health and well cured, and to make those refusing food to eat more willingly, pour olive oil dregs on the food; first not much, until they get used to, then more, and seldom give it even to drink, mixed evenly to water.
Keep doing this four or even five days.
So cattle will have a healthier body and sickness will stay away.
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page created: July 4th 2004 and last updated: November 1st 2007