Ancient Greek Agriculture: An Introduction
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The initial focus of Ancient Greek Agriculture is firmly on the art of agriculture proper, the tools and the technique, the plants cultivated and the animals reared. Thereafter, Isager and Skydsgaard focus on the position of agriculture in the society of gods and men in the Greek city-states . The arguments of Ancient Greek Agriculture are strengthened by the book's close adherence to contemporary Greek sources, literary as well as archaeological, avoiding the use of later as well as Roman material.
press-houses in Athens as well as in the city of Delos, but there is little doubt that to a very large extent the population of Athens, for instance, lived outside the walls of the city. The brief remarks of Thucydides concerning the evacuation of Attica at the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War support this view (2.14): here, it is stated, the difficulty with evacuation was that most people had always lived in the countryside (en tois agrois). Unfortunately the expression is couched in very
near the small village of Delphinion north of the city of Chios.59 This place plays a part in the Peloponnesian War (Thucydides 8.38 and 54. 1987, 56 ff. 55. Coarelli 1981. 56. Yalouris 1986. 57. Bouras 1984. 58. Boardman 1967. 71 TH E A R T O F AG R IC U LT U RE 40). Neither excavation provides a clear picture of the farm buildings, but they both show clear evidence of terraces carefully laid out; upon them elements of buildings were placed. Besides, on the plateau to the north-west of
aspects are of no interest to Aristotle, the zoologist, and consequently they are not mentioned. SHEEP AND GOATS According to Aristotle, the sheep’s lifespan is 10 years and the goat’s 8, but few are allowed to live as long as that. The castrated leading ram may live to be 15 years (573b). The ewe’s pregnancy lasts 5 months, and mostly she lambs twins or more. Normally they lamb only once a year, but under favourable conditions they may lamb twice. Sheep and goats are sexually mature when they
Translated by C.L. Brownson, Loeb edn. 15 3 STAT E AN D AG R I C U LT UR E There would have been no reason why the slaves of Ischomachos might not also have been known as georgoi (cf. 3.10.1–3; cf. Aristotle, Politics 1329a). In inscriptions from about 330 BC, discovered on the Acropolis, containing lists of freedmen and freedwomen who have presented a silver bowl to Athene upon being given their freedom, the word georgos to denote the profession of the freedman occurs frequently.216 After
left to rot or dry up. As we shall see, this characteristic is not always at hand in the period with which we are dealing. As aparche you might offer inedible things such as the hairs from a sacrificial animal, part of your spoils of war, or perhaps a statue which had been bought for this share (Demosthenes 12.21). But frequently it was precisely articles of food that were involved, a casual part of a crop or a certain fraction of it. Sometimes this offering was named from the portion that