Homer Hesiod Hymns Tragedy Remythologizing Tools Blackboard Info
Agriculture was in Greece a leading industry, at least as early as Homer. The soil was stubborn, fertile plains being comparatively few, and mountains and rocky ground preponderating. But, favoured by a genial climate, agriculture was carried on almost everywhere with a zeal to which the wants of a dense population added their stimulus. That it was regarded as the very groundwork of social life is shown by the fact that its guardian goddess Demeter (Lat. Ceres), presided also over wedlock and law. It was looked upon as the most legitimate way of earning a livelihood. It was carried to the highest pitch in the Peloponnesus, where every scrap of cultivable soil was made to yield its crop, as maybe seen to this day by the artificial terraces that scarp every mountain-slope. Much care was bestowed on irrigation. Scarcity of water was supplemented by artificial means; provision was made against irregular bursts of mountain torrents by embarking and regulating the natural outlets, while moist lands were channelled and stagnant waters drained. Water was distributed everywhere by ditches and canals, under the supervision of State officials; and laws of ancient date guarded against the unfair use of a water-course to a neighbour's damage. The land was mainly cultivated by slaves and serfs, though field-labour was not deemed dishonourable to the freeman, ex- cept where law and custom forbade his engaging in any sort of handicraft, as at Sparta. In some countries, especially Arcadia, the old-world plan of every man tilling his field with his own hand remained in force to the latest times; and even eminent statesmen like Philopoemen would not give it up. Four kinds of grain were chiefly grown: wheat, barley, and two kinds of spelt, to all of which the climate allowed two sowings in the year, beside millet, sesame, various leguminous plants, and several sorts of herbage for fodder. With no less diligence was Greek husbandry applied to gardening, especially to the cultivation of the vine. This, while steadily pursued on the mainland, was developed to an extraordinary extent in the islands, most of which, owing to their mountainous character, did not afford their inhabitants sufficient arable soil. In olive-culture no part of Greece competed with Attica, which also produced the best figs, the fruit most widely cultivated. Kitchen-gardening was practised on the largest scale in Boeotia. Considering the enormous consumption of flowers in wreaths, the rearing of them, especially of the rose, lily, narcissus, and violet, must have been a lucrative business, at least in the neighbourhood of great towns. Meadow-farming was of next to no importance, few districts having a soil adapted for it, and such meadows as there were being used for pasture rather than haymaking.
Type: Standard
gutter splint
gutter splint
gutter splint