|2. Cato, Marcus Porcius, On Agriculture, 56-58 (3rd cent. BCE - 2nd cent. BCE)
Tagged with subjects: • barley • food, barley
Found in books: McGowan (1999), Ascetic Eucharists: Food and Drink in Early Christian Ritual Meals, 37; Richlin (2018), Slave Theater in the Roman Republic: Plautus and Popular Comedy, 129
56 Rations for the hands: Four modii of wheat in winter, and in summer four and a\xa0half for the field hands. The overseer, the housekeeper, the foreman, and the shepherd should receive three. The chain-gang should have a ration of four pounds of bread through the winter, increasing to five when they begin to work the vines, and dropping back to four when the figs ripen.' "
56 \xa0Conjecturing, now, that Pompey the Great would make his escape into Egypt or Libya, and being eager to join him, Cato put to sea with all his company and sailed away, after first giving those who had no eagerness for the expedition leave to depart and remain behind. After reaching Libya, and while sailing along its coast, he fell in with Sextus, the younger son of Pompey, who told him of his father's death in Egypt. \xa0All, of course, were deeply distressed, but no one, now that Pompey was gone, would even listen to any other commander while Cato was at hand. For this reason also Cato, who had compassion on men who were brave and had given proof of fidelity, and was ashamed to leave them helpless and destitute in a foreign land, undertook the command, and went along the coast to Cyrene, the people of which received him kindly, although a\xa0few days before they had closed their gates against Labienus. \xa0There he learned that Scipio, the father-inâ\x80\x91law of Pompey, had been well received by Juba the king, and that Attius Varus, who had been appointed governor of Libya by Pompey, was with them at the head of an army. Cato therefore set out thither by land in the winter season, having got together a great number of asses to carry water, and driving along with him many cattle. Besides, he took with him chariots, and the people called Psylli. These cure the bites of serpents by sucking out the venom, and charm and deaden the serpents themselves by means of incantations. \xa0Though the march lasted for seven days consecutively, Cato led at the head of his force, without using either horse or beast of burden. Moreover, he used to sup in a sitting posture from the day when he learned of the defeat at Pharsalus; yes, this token of sorrow he added to others, and would not lie down except when sleeping. After finishing the winter in Libya, he led forth his army; and it numbered nearly ten thousand. <"57 Wine ration for the hands: For three months following the vintage let them drink after-wine. In the fourth month issue a hemina a\xa0day, that is, 2½\xa0congii a\xa0month; in the fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth months a sextarius a\xa0day, that is, 5\xa0congii a\xa0month; in the ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth months 3\xa0heminae a\xa0day, that is, an amphora a\xa0month. In addition, issue 3½\xa0congii per person for the Saturnalia and the Compitalia. Total of wine for each person per year, 7\xa0quadrantals; and an additional amount for the chain-gang proportioned to their work. Ten quadrantals of wine per person is not an excessive allowance for the year. 57 \xa0But matters were in a bad way with Scipio and Varus. Their dissension and quarrelling led them to pay court to Juba in efforts to win his favour, and the king was unendurable for the severity of his temper and for the arrogance which his wealth and power gave him. When he was going to have an interview with Cato for the first time, he placed his own seat between that of Scipio and that of Cato. \xa0Cato, however, when he saw the arrangement, took up his own seat and moved it over to the other side, thus placing Scipio in the middle, although Scipio was an enemy, and had published a book which contained abuse of Cato. And yet there are those who give Cato no credit for this, although they censure him because, in Sicily, as he was walking about with Philostratus, he placed him in the middle, to show his respect for philosophy. But at the time of which I\xa0speak, Cato actually put a check upon Juba, who had all but made Scipio and Varus his satraps, and reconciled the two Romans. \xa0And though all thought it meet that he should have the command, especially Scipio and Varus, who resigned and tendered to him the leadership, he refused to break the laws to support which they were waging war with one who broke them, nor, when a pro-consul was present, would he put himself, who was only a pro-praetor, above him. For Scipio had been made pro-consul, and the greater part of the army were emboldened by his name; they thought that they would be successful if a Scipio had command in Africa. < 58 Relish for the hands: Store all the windfall olives you can, and later the mature olives which will yield very little oil. Issue them sparingly and make them last as long as possible. When they are used up, issue fish-pickle and vinegar, and a pint of oil a\xa0month per person. A\xa0modius of salt a\xa0year per person is sufficient. 58 \xa0When Scipio, however, after assuming the command, straightway desired to gratify Juba by putting all the people of Utica to death and demolishing their city, on the ground that it favoured the cause of Caesar, Cato would not suffer it, but by adjurations and loud outcries in the council, and by invoking the gods, with difficulty rescued the people from this cruelty; \xa0and partly at the request of the people, and partly at the instance of Scipio, he undertook to watch over the city, that it might not, either willingly or unwillingly, attach itself to Caesar. For the place was in every way advantageous for those who held it, and fully capable of defence; and it was still further strengthened by Cato. For he brought in a great abundance of grain, and perfected the walls by building towers and by running formidable trenches and palisades in front of the city. \xa0To the men of Utica who were of military age he assigned the palisades for quarters, and made them give up their arms to him; the rest he kept together in the city, taking great pains that they should not be wronged or suffer harm at the hands of the Romans. Moreover, he sent out great quantities of arms and stores and grain to the Romans in their camp, and, in a word, made the city a store-house for the war. \xa0But as for the advice which he had given Pompey before and now gave Scipio, namely, not to give battle to a man who was versed in war and of formidable ability, but to trust to time, which withers away all the vigour which is the strength of tyranny, â\x80\x94 this advice Scipio, out of obstinate self-will, despised. And once he wrote to Cato reproaching him with cowardice, seeing that he was not only well content to sit quietly in a walled city himself, but would not even allow others to carry out their plans with boldness as opportunity offered. \xa0To this Cato wrote in reply that he was ready to take the legionaries and the horsemen whom he himself had brought to Libya and cross the sea with them to Italy, thus forcing Caesar to change his plan of campaign, and turning him away from Scipio and Varus against himself. When Scipio mocked at this also, it was very clear that Cato was distressed at having declined the command, being convinced that Scipio would neither conduct the war well, nor, in case he should have unexpected good fortune, behave with moderation towards his fellow citizens in the hour of victory. \xa0Therefore Cato made up his mind, and said to his intimate friends, that there were no good hopes for the war owing to the inexperience and rashness of the commanders; but that if, then, by any good fortune, Caesar should be overthrown, he himself would not remain in Rome, but would fly from the harshness and cruelty of Scipio, who was even then making extravagant and dreadful threats against many. \xa0But his fears were realized more fully than he expected; for late one evening there came a messenger from the camp who had been three days on the road, announcing that there had been a great battle at Thapsus, that their cause was utterly ruined, that Caesar was in possession of their camps, that Scipio and Juba had escaped with a\xa0few followers, and that the rest of his force had perished. < ' None