April 20, 2013

A Farmer's Calendar in Ancient Greece According to Hesiod

"But when House-on-Back, the snail, crawls from the ground up the plants, escaping the Pleiades, it's no longer time for vine-digging; time rather to put an edge to your sickles, and rout out your helpers.  Keep away from sitting in the shade or lying in bed till the sun's up in the time of the harvest, when the sunshine scorches your skin dry.  This is the season to push work and bring home your harvest; get up with the first light so you'll have enough to live on.  Dawn takes away from work a third part of the work's measure.  Dawn sets a man well along on his journey, in his work also, Dawn, who when she shows, has numerous people going their ways; Dawn who puts the yoke upon many oxen.
But when the artichoke is in flower, and the clamorous cricket sitting in his tree lets go his vociferous singing, that issues from the beating of his wings, int he exhausting season of summer, then is when goats are at their fattest, when the wine tastes best, women are most lascivious, but the men's strength fails them most, for the Star Sirius shrivels them, knees and heads alike, and the skin is all dried out in the heat; then, at that season, one might have the shadow under the rock, and the wine of Biblis, a curd cake, and all the milk that the goats can give you, the meat of a heifer, bred in the woods, who has never borne a calf, and of baby kids also.
Then, too, one can sit in the shadow and drink the bright-shining wine, his heart satiated with eating and face turned in the direction where Zephyros blows briskly, make three libations of water fro a spring that keeps running forever and has no mud in it; and puor wine for the fourth libation."
~Hesiod, Works and Days, translated by Richmond Lattimore

Heritage of World Civilizations

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