The authority of writing in Varro’s De re rustica

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Title: The authority of writing in Varro’s De re rustica
Authors: Doody, Aude
Permanent link: http://hdl.handle.net/10197/10033
Date: Jan-2017
Online since: 2019-04-18T08:52:24Z
Abstract: In Varro’s De re rustica, owning a farm does not make you a farmer, any more than owning a cithara means knowing how to use it. It is a playful analogy, comparing the business of Roman farming with the pleasures of Greek music, and one that points to a central theme in Varro’s dialogues on agriculture: the relationship between the elite Roman owners of country property and the knowledge they need in order to enjoy and profit from the land. Each of the three books of the De re rustica is addressed to someone who owns a farm, but apparently lacks knowledge on how to run it successfully. The first book, addressed to his wife Fundania, deals with arable farming, and is set at a dinner party that is called off abruptly when news comes that the absent host has been murdered in the forum. The second, on large livestock farming, is addressed to Turranius Niger, and set in Epirus when Varro was acting as a general in the war with the pirates. The final book is addressed to Pinnius, and deals with smaller livestock, such as birds, bees and game, and is set in the Villa Publica during the aedile elections. Varro writes of himself as a character in each of these dialogues, a participant in conversations with other elite Romans, both real and fictional, who exchange knowledge about farming in time borrowed from other responsibilities.
Type of material: Book Chapter
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Copyright (published version): 2017 Cambridge University Press
Keywords: Varro’s De re rusticaElite RomansFarmingAgriculture
DOI: 10.1017/9781107446724.009
Other versions: https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/authority-and-expertise-in-ancient-scientific-culture/6A20E04E2A6D5CEBB4441E855626A9D3
Language: en
Status of Item: Not peer reviewed
Is part of: König, J. (ed.). Authority and Expertise in Ancient Scientific Culture
ISBN: 9781107446724
Appears in Collections:Classics Research Collection

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