Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Columella, Lucius Junius Moderatus


Roman writer and agronomist of the first century A.D. Circa 36 he was tribune in Syria and Cilicia.

At the beginning of Claudius’ reign, Columella established himself in Italy, where he acquired several estates (in Árdea, Carsioli, Alba Longa, and Caere). Columella’s extensive work De re rustica (On Agriculture) at first consisted of four books; late in his life Columella reworked it and expanded it to ten and then to 12 books (his best manuscript, the Saint-Germain, is preserved in Leningrad). The work is an encyclopedia of the agriculture of classical times, including a detailed survey of farming (especially viticulture), fruit culture, and animal husbandry. Columella’s work summarized the theory and practice of agriculture in the entire ancient Mediterranean region. His argument that soil fertility is inexhaustible when the soil is properly treated was a great scientific discovery. Not conceiving agriculture without slave labor, Columella gave practical advice on the rational organization of a slave-worked farm.


In Russian translation:
Katon, Varron, Kolumella, Plinii o sel’skom khoziaistve, 2nd ed. Edited by M. I. Burskii. Moscow, 1957.


Sergeenko, M. E. “Iz istorii sel’skogo khoziaistva drevnei Italii.” Vestnik drevnei istorii, 1953, no. 3.
Sobel, R. Studia columelliana palaeographica et critica. Goteborg, 1928.
Josephson, Å. Die Columella Handschriften. Uppsala-Wiesbaden, 1955.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.