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Geoponika: Farm Work — A Modern Translation of the Roman and Byzantine Farming Handbook

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by Andrew Dalby
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Linguist and classical scholar Andrew Dalby offers here a fresh translation of a collection of agricultural texts compiled in the tenth century. The original collection was ordered at the behest of Byzantine emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, who, in the complex politics of the time, was frequently sidelined and thus free to pursue scholarly endeavors.

Geoponika is prized in part because it preserves material from many earlier works that have since been lost, though Dalby speculates that Geoponika's existence may have made them less valued: "If the emperor had selected the best from these works, what further need would there to be to read them in full?"

Dalby's introduction explains his understanding of how the text was compiled, as well as his rationale for formatting it a manner that highlights how he believes to the text was drawn from earlier works, sometimes with and sometimes without attribution. In addition to the expected bibliographic information, he includes footnotes which may highlight similar or contrasting advice from other period sources—do not feed bitter vetch to white geese—or support his choice of particular translations.

Meticulous and thorough enough to inspire further investigation.

Hardcover. The original text is not included.

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