Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cato the Elder and a proper sacrifice

There are several ancient authors writing on the subject of agriculture. One of the more famous is Cato the Elder who's work De Agricultura seems to have been intended as a guide to his sons on how to take care of the family farm. Here's a short passage on sacrificing:

The so called "Laurentian Sow" from the first or second century ad.

"Before harvest the sacrifice of the porca praecidanea94 [sic. I.e. "old sow"]should be offered in this manner: Offer a sow as porca praecidanea [i.e. "old sow"] to Ceres before harvesting spelt, wheat, barley, beans, and rape seed; and address a prayer, with incense and wine, to Janus, Jupiter, and Juno, before offering the sow."

Cato the Elder - De Agricultura (On agriculture) 134
Translated by W. D. Hooper and H. B. Ash

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