Marcus Terentius Varro [Varro]
Latin (Republican Era/Golden Age of Latin Literature/Augustan Era)
Otium si essem consecutus, Fundania, commodius tibi haec scriberem, quae nunc, ut potero, exponam cogitans esse properandum, quod, ut dicitur, si est homo bulla, eo magis senex.
1 [I could lead my life in leisure, Fundania, I would be writing these things to all more comfortably, things which I will reveal, as must I can, as I think I must hurry to do so--because, he will grew more and more older if a man is a dull knob.]
Annus enim octogesimus admonet me ut sarcinas conligam, antequam proficiscar e vita.
2 [You see, my eightieth year serves as a warning to me: it tells me to start packing my bags before I take my leave of life.]
Quare, quoniam emisti fundum, quem bene colendo fructuosum cum facere velis, meque ut id mihi habeam curare roges, experiar;
3 [And so, since you have bought a plantation, which you desire to make fruitful through good cultivation, and you request that be concerned about it, I will try.]
et non solum, ut ipse quoad vivam, quid fieri oporteat ut te moneam, sed etiam post mortem.
4 [As long as I, for my part, shall live, let me not only think it proper for me to give you advice, but after death too!]
Neque patiar Sibyllam non solum cecinisse quae, dum viveret, prodessent hominibus, sed etiam quae cum perisset ipsa, et id etiam ignotissimis quoque hominibus;
5 [And don't let me have to not have only endured the Sibyl's chanting about things that could happen to men, while she was alive, but also events that could happen after her death, and this too will be mark of the stupidest men you can find.]
ad cuius libros tot annis post publice solemus redire,
[for whose books we are accustomed after so many years to return,]
[whenever we desire to know,]
quid faciendum sit nobis ex aliquo portento:
[what we must do after some omen or another:]
me, ne dum vivo quidem, necessariis meis quod prosit facere.
[Indeed, while I am alive, follow my advice in whatever way it helps.]
Quocirca scribam tibi tres libros indices,
[Wherefore I shall write you three instructional books,]
ad quos revertare, siqua in re quaeres, quem ad modum quidque te in colendo oporteat facere.
[which you can refer to, if ever you have a question on the matter, and if you don't know what you must do when it comes to farming.]
Et quoniam, ut aiunt, dei facientes adiuvant,
[and since, as people say, the gods aid those who act,]
prius invocabo eos,
[first I will call upon those,]
nec, ut Homerus et Ennius, Musas, sed duodecim deos Consentis;
[not the Muses, in the way of a Homer, and Ennius, but rather the 12 gods of Consens, or Harmony;]
neque tamen eos urbanos, quorum imagines ad forum auratae stant, sex mares et feminae totidem,
[nor still those gods of the city, whose statues have gilded in front of the Forum, with 6 males and females in like number]
sed illos XII deos, qui maxime agricolarum duces sunt.
[those 12 well-known gods who are by far the leaders of farmers.]
Primum, qui omnis fructos agri culturae caelo et terra continent, Iovem et Tellurem:
[first, Jove, and the Earth, Tellus, who possess all the rewards of agriculture in sky and land:]
itaque, quod ii parentes, magni dicuntur, Iuppiter pater appellatur, Tellus terra mater.
[and so, these are the progenitors, these are called "great", and Jupiter is named the father, and Tellus, our earth mother.]
Secundo Solem et Lunam, quorum tempora observantur,
[following them, the Sun and Moon, whose periods we observe,]
cum quaedam seruntur et conduntur.
[whenever any harvests are sown and collected.]
Tertio Cererem et Liberum, quod horum fructus maxime necessari ad victum:
[thirdly, Ceres and Liber, becausae their fruit is by far a necessity when it comes to our livelihood;]
ab his enim cibus et potio venit e fundo.
[you see, our food and drink come in depth from these things.]
Quarto Robigum ac Floram,
[fourthly, Robigus and Flora]
quibus propitiis neque robigo frumenta atque arbores corrumpit,
[through whom, once propitiated, neither can rust or blight ruin crops nor trees]
neque non tempestive florent.
[nor things come to bloom at the improper time.]
Itaque publice Robigo feriae Robigalia, Florae ludi Floralia instituti.
[and so, in public, Robigo was honored with the festival of the Robigalia, and Flora with the Floralian games.]
Item adveneror Minervam et Venerem,
[Likewise, I worship Minerva and Venus,]
quarum unius procuratio oliveti, alterius hortorum;
[the realm of one being olive grounds, the other of gardens;]
quo nomine rustica Vinalia instituta.
[By this name was the rustic festival of the Vinalia founded.]
Nec non etiam precor Lympham ac Bonum Eventum,
[Nor do I forget to pray to Lympha, and Bonus Eventus,]
quoniam sine aqua omnis arida ac misera agri cultura, sine successu ac bono eventu frustratio est, non cultura.
[since agriculture would be dry and miserable with water, and there'd be no farming, it would be a useless act without success and a good outcome.]
Iis igitur deis ad venerationem advocatis ego referam sermones eos
[And so, let me, for my part, recall, with those gods called to my aid through my worshi, those speeches,]
quos de agri cultura habuimus nuper,
[speeches about agriculture which I've recently come into possession,]
ex quibus quid te facere oporteat animadvertere poteris.
[and from which you might be able to inform yourself upon something you should.]
in quis quae non inerunt et quaeres,
[in which things you also ask what will not be present,]
indicabo a quibus scriptoribus repetas et Graecis et nostris.
[I will reveal such topics, ones which have been researched by our writers and Greeks ones too.]
Qui Graece scripserunt dispersim alius de alia re,
[There were men who wrote in Greek, with each man individually taking their own subject-matter]
sunt plus quinquaginta.
[and they numbered more than 40 in total]
Hi sunt, quos tu habere in consilio poteris,
[These were men whom you, for your part, could've gained advice]
cum quid consulere voles, Hieron Siculus et Attalus Philometor:
[since you wished for somebody to give counsel, like the Sicilian Hieron, and Attalus Philometer;]
de philosophis Democritus physicus,
[and the physicist Democritus, his expertise being philosophy]
[and the student of Socrates, Xenophon]
Aristoteles et Theophrastus peripatetici,
[the Peripateticians Aristotle and Theophrastos]
[and Archytas the Pythagorean]
item Amphilochus Atheniensis, Anaxipolis Thasius, Apollodorus Lemnius, Aristophanes Mallotes, Antigonus Cymaeus, Agathocles Chius, Apollonius Pergamenus, Aristandros Atheniensis, Bacchius Milesius,
[and likewise, Amphilochus the Athenian, Anaxipolis from Thasos, Apollodoros of Lemnos, Aristophanes from Mallote, Antigonos from Cuma, Agathocles from Chios, Apollonios from Pergamum, Aristandros of Athens, Bacchios of Miletus]
Bion Soleus, Chaeresteus et Chaereas Athenienses, Diodorus Prieneus, Dion Colophonius, Diophanes Nicaeensis,
[and Bion of Sole, Chaeresteos and Chaereas from Athens, Diodoros of Priene, Dion of Colophon, Diophanes of Nicaea,]
Epigenes Rhodios, Euagon Thasius, Euphronii duo, unus Atheniensis, alter Amphipolites, Hegesias Maronites, Menandri duo, unus Prieneus, alter Heracleotes, Nicesius Maronites, Pythion Rhodius.
[Epigenes of Rhodes, Euagon of Thasos, two fellows named Euphrones --one from Athens, the other from Amphipolis--a Hegesias of Maronis, two Menanders --on from Prienos, the other from Heracleos--Nicesios of Maronis, and Pythion of Rhodes.]
De reliquis, quorum quae fuerit patria non accepi,
[Regarding the others, whose homelands I've not learned]
sunt Androtion, Aeschrion, Aristomenes, Athenagoras, Crates, Dadis, Dionysios, Euphiton, Euphorion, Eubulus, Lysimachus, Mnaseas, Menestratus, Plentiphanes, Persis, Theophilus.
[they are Androtion, Aeschrion, Aristomenes, Athenagoras, Crates, Dadis, Dionysios, Euphiton, Euphorion, Eubulus, Lysimachos, Mnasias, Menestratos, Plentiphanes, Persis and Theophilos.]
Hi quos dixi omnes soluta oratione scripserunt;
[These men whom I named all wrote down the speeches they made,]
easdem res etiam quidam versibus,
[and certain ones even composed the same ones in verse]
ut Hesiodus Ascraeus, Menecrates Ephesius.
[such as Hesiod of Ascreos, and Menecrates of Ephesos.]
Hos nobilitate Mago Carthaginiensis praeteriit,
[Mago from Carthage excelled these men in his noble lineage,]
poenica lingua qui res dispersas comprendit libris XXIIX,
[and he was a man who compiled all sorts of topics in 28 books written in the Punic language,]
quos Cassius Dionysius Uticensis vertit libris XX
[and these did Cassius Dio, from Utica, organize into 20 books,]
ac Graeca lingua Sextilio praetori misit:
[and sent them to the praetor Sextilius, now written in the Greek tongue.]
in quae volumina de Graecis libris eorum quos dixi adiecit non pauca
[for which volumes he translated many of the books I mentioned into Greek]
et de Magonis dempsit instar librorum VIII.
[and 8 of Mago's books went missing.]
Hosce ipsos utiliter ad VI libros redegit Diophanes in Bithynia
[These are the very same books that Diophanes in Bithynia in a collection of 6 books, for his own book, restored]
et misit Deiotaro regi.
[and sent to King Deiotaros.]
Quo brevius de ea re conor tribus libris exponere,
[For which reason, I will now more briefly expound upon this matter in three books,]
uno de agri cultura,
[the first book on agriculture]
altero de re pecuaria,
[the second book on herding cattle,]
tertio de villaticis pastionibus,
[and the third on shepherds of the village]
hoc libro circumcisis rebus,
[and in this book, shall I summarize the topics]
quae non arbitror pertinere ad agri culturam.
[which I think do not pertain to the subject of agriculture]
Itaque prius ostendam
[And so first of all shall I show]
, quae secerni oporteat ab ea,
[those things that one ought to distinguish from this topic]
tum de his rebus dicam sequens naturales divisiones.
[and afterward shall I speak about these matters, while I follow its natural categories.]
Ea erunt ex radicibus trinis,
[These matters will emerge from three sources,]
et quae ipse in meis fundis colendo animadverti,
[things which I for my part turned my focus to by farming in my own plots of land]
et quae legi,
[things I read]
et quae a peritis audii.
[and things I heard from experts.]
Sementivis feriis in aedem Telluris veneram rogatus ab aeditumo,
[I had previously arrived at the Temple of Earth during the wild times of harvests, after I had been requested by the aeditumus <that is, temple custodian>,]
ut dicere didicimus a patribus nostris
[or so I learned to call him from my parents,]
ut corrigimur a recentibus urbanis, ab aedituo.
[as I am corrected by our more up-to-date and urbane folks, by the aedituus.]
Offendi ibi C. Fundanium, socerum meum, et C. Agrium equitem R.
Socraticum et P. Agrasium publicanum spectantes in pariete pictam
[And there I ran into Gaius Fundanius, my father in law, and a knight Gaius Agrius, and Rufus Socraticus, as well as Publius Agrasius, a tax collector, all staring at picture of Italy painted on a wall,]
Quid vos hic? inquam,
["What are y'all doing here," I say,]
num feriae sementivae otiosos huc adduxerunt,
["Surely the harvest break didn't compel you men to spend your off-time here,]
ut patres et avos solebant nostros?
[as our fathers and grandfathers used to do?"]