Forget Fighting and Farm the Fields

Strabo, Geography 4.1.2:

“All of Narbonese Gaul brings forth the same crops as Italy. To one advancing north toward the Cevennes Mountains, the olive and the fig disappear, but the rest continues to be grown. Also, as you go north, the vine does not easily grow to maturity. The rest of the region produces much grain, millet, acorns, and all kinds of other edibles, and no part of the region is uncultivated except that which is covered by marshes and woods. The women are good at bearing and nursing children, but the men are more adapted to fighting than to farming. Yet, having set down their weapons, they are now compelled to the practice of agriculture.”

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τοὺς γὰρ αὐτοὺς ἐκφέρει καρποὺς ἡ Ναρβωνῖτις ἅπασα ὥσπερ ἡ Ἰταλία. προϊόντι δ᾽ ἐπὶ τὰς ἄρκτους καὶ τὸ Κέμμενον ὄρος ἡ μὲν ἐλαιόφυτος καὶ συκοφόρος ἐκλείπει, τἆλλα δὲ φύεται. καὶ ἡ ἄμπελος δὲ προϊοῦσιν οὐ ῥᾳδίως τελεσφορεῖ: ἡ δ᾽ ἄλλη πᾶσα σῖτον φέρει πολὺν καὶ κέγχρον καὶ βάλανον καὶ βοσκήματα παντοῖα, ἀργὸν δ᾽ αὐτῆς οὐδὲν πλὴν εἴ τι ἕλεσι κεκώλυται καὶ δρυμοῖς: καίτοι καὶ τοῦτο συνοικεῖται πολυανθρωπίᾳ μᾶλλον ἢ ἐπιμελείᾳ. καὶ γὰρ τοκάδες αἱ γυναῖκες καὶ τρέφειν ἀγαθαί, οἱ δ᾽ ἄνδρες μαχηταὶ μᾶλλον ἢ γεωργοί: νῦν δ᾽ ἀναγκάζονται γεωργεῖν καταθέμενοι τὰ ὅπλα.

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