Agriculture was a subject of the highest social relevance to Rome. Thus it is no surprise that Cato s, Varro s, Columella s and Palladius handbooks on farming, written at key moments in Roman history and reacting as they do to economic and socio-cultural upheaval, have survived. Silke Diederich shows that Rome s elite handbooks on farming became more than just a means of disseminating knowledge of the science of power and a form of sophisticated literature; they also became a medium for the preservation of identity and ensuring intellectual continuity.
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