The authority of writing in Varro’s De re rustica

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dc.contributor.authorDoody, Aude- Cambridge University Pressen_US
dc.description.abstractIn 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.en_US
dc.publisherCambridge University Pressen_US
dc.relation.ispartofKönig, J. (ed.). Authority and Expertise in Ancient Scientific Cultureen_US
dc.rightsThis material has been published in Authority and Expertise in Ancient Scientific Culture by Jason König. This version is free to view and download for personal use only. Not for re-distribution, re-sale or use in derivative works. © Cambridge University Press.en_US
dc.subjectVarro’s De re rusticaen_US
dc.subjectElite Romansen_US
dc.titleThe authority of writing in Varro’s De re rusticaen_US
dc.typeBook Chapteren_US
dc.statusNot peer revieweden_US
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