Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies

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Varro the Agronomist: Political Philosophy, Satire, and Agriculture in the Late Republic

Varro the Agronomist: Political Philosophy, Satire, and Agriculture in the Late Republic

Some six years after his narrow escape from proscription in 43 BCE, Marcus Terentius Varro, the “most learned” of the Romans, wrote a technical treatise on farming in the form of a satirico-philosophical dialogue. Grant A. Nelsestuenargues that far from simply being just another encyclopedic entry of a seemingly aloof antiquarian or offering an escapist’s retreat into rustication, Varro’s De Re Rustica uses the model of the farm to craft an implicitly political treatise that grapples with multifarious challenges facing the contemporary Roman world.

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