Chapter 15 The Gentlemen Farmers Focus This presentation is all about civility and business of farming in ancient Rome. Look for: Who farmed How farming became big business Villas and Latifundia Roman Products Roman Techniques and Knowledge utilized by the Romans The Good Life For the Romans, farming was the one respectable way to earn a living. They idealized it so much that the nobility (senators) were only allowed to earn and store money through owning land. Thus, those who wanted status had villas, which originally were working farms. Farming Vacation Eventually, the villas became the vacation spots of their day. They became so luxurious some were devoid of agricultural activities but contained all of the features of the city without the overcrowding and diseases. As a consequence, the small family farmer became more scarce and larger farming operations more prevalent. Small Family Farms The Romans credit their hard working and persistent disposition to their beginnings as farmers. Being a farmer was difficult and required discipline. This is why it was such a noble profession. The small family farms were tended by ordinary citizens. There is little evidence for dwellings on these farms since the poor farmers would have wanted to farm all of the land. They would likely have farmed enough to feed their family. A Small Problem The problem with this lifestyle is that citizens had to serve in the military. While at war the farm often entered a state of disrepair. These dilapidated farms were bought up by the wealthy and combined to form larger agriculture businesses. A landowner might also acquire land confiscated from native landowners defeated in war. The Country Villa A villa rustica was a larger farm. It would have had a dwelling for the landowner as well as buildings for the slaves and livestock as well as working areas (such as a mill or press) and storage areas. This type of farm was generally owned by someone who did not leave on the farm. The owner likely lived in the city and vacationed on the farm to escape city life. The Beginning of Agribusiness The farm would have been managed by an overseer, perhaps a well trusted slave. Other slaves would do the actual hard work required to have a successful and profitable farm. Many communities were a mix of towns and farms since the community relied on agricultural activity to keep the citizens fed. Thus, farming became big business. Latifundia This type of farm might best be compared to modern corporate farms. A successful mid-sized farmer would buy a less profitable neighboring farm creating more of an estate. This agricultural estate required many slaves and was run as an efficient business. The latifundia had the means and ability to create new crops and breeds of animals. Changing the Way We Do Business The other small family farmers were unable to compete and thus sold out to their super-sized neighbors. Naturally, that only increased the size and efficiency of the large farms, making for a smoother and more profitable operation all together. A major difference in these farming estates and the previous farms were that they concentrated on exportation of their goods for profit. Crops So what did the Romans grow? • Olives which were pressed into oil as well as eaten. • Grapes which were crushed into wine as well as eaten. So what did the Romans grow? • Grains such as wheat • Apples and figs • Lettuce, carrots, radishes, beans • Nuts Livestock So what did the Romans raise? • Cattle, Goats, Sheep all produced food and milk and sheep also produced wool for warmth • Pigs a popular meat • Foul (chicken, duck,, geese) for eggs and meat • Bees kept for honey, the sweetener of the Romans Bee Hives Techniques It seems that the Romans were adept at various modern farming techniques. They were able to irrigate and drain their fields as well as plant the right crop in the given soil. They also practiced crop rotation and mixed crops as well as allowing the land to be unused periodically in order to maximize the fertility of the land. Hoe Blade Good to Know They knew which foods could be preserved, stored and transported and which should be eaten more quickly. They knew to store food goods in pottery underground. They knew that olive oil could be transported and store more easily then the olives; the same for wine and grapes. They also knew to dry the edible portions of grains, nuts and beans. Assignment Corporate farms overtaking small family farms are still a problem today. In your original post answer the following: What is your opinion of these corporate agribusinesses? What would you recommend as a good way for farming in America to thrive? Your response post should evaluate the ideas of your classmates’ for practicality. Please remember to use proper English, including spelling, grammar and punctuation. You must both post and respond to a classmate for full credit.