Social Distancing in the Field: Be Goats, Not Sheep

Varro, On Agriculture 2. 9-11

“What can I say about the health of animals that are never healthy? There’s only this: the masters of the flock have special written instructions on what treatments to use for some of their diseases and for bodily wounds which they often suffer, since they are often fighting one another with horns and since they graze in thorny areas.

All that remains is the topic of numbers. This is smaller for herds of goats than for flocks of sheep, since goats are horny and spread themselves out but sheep gather together and crowd in a single space. In the Gallic territory, people keep greater numbers of flocks instead of bigger ones because an epidemic develops quickly in large ones, which will bring an owner to ruin. They believe that a flock of fifty people is big enough.”

Quid dicam de earum sanitate, quae numquam sunt sanae? Nisi tamen illud unum: quaedam scripta habere magistros pecoris, quibus remediis utantur ad morbos quosdam earum ac vulneratum corpus, quod usu venit iis saepe, quod inter se cornibus pugnant atque in spinosis locis pascuntur. Relinquitur de numero, qui in gregibus est minor caprino quam in ovillo, quod caprae lascivae et quae dispargant se; contra oves quae se congregent ac condensent in locum unum. Itaque in agro Gallico greges plures potius faciunt quam magnos, quod in magnis cito existat pestilentia, quae ad perniciem eum perducat. Satis magnum gregem putant esse circiter quinquagenas.

A daily reminder, Od. 17.246 (for more, go here)

“Bad shepherds ruin their flocks.”

… αὐτὰρ μῆλα κακοὶ φθείρουσι νομῆες.

Also, to practice your imitation:

Sheep say baa, βῆ λέγειν. while goats say may, Μῆ μῆ (as in, may I stand at least six feet away from you?)

File:KAMA Ulysse fuyant Polyphème.jpg
For some cognitive dissonance. Pelikè représentant Ulysse s’échappant de la caverne de Polyphème en s’agrippant à la toison d’un bélier. Vers 500 a. C. Musée archéologique du Céramique n°THW 195.

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