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.

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.

More Wonder for A Wednesday: Whose Intestines Sing?

From the Paradoxagraphus Palatinus Admiranda 20

“Antigonos says [of sheep intestines] that those of rams are voiceless, but those from females can sing. This fact has not escaped the poet, for he says “He stretched the seven strings from female sheep.”

Επὶ τῶν <ἐντέρων τῶν> προβάτων φησὶν ᾿Αντίγονος τὰ μὲν τῶν κριῶν ἄφωνα εἶναι, τὰ δὲ τῶν θηλέων ἔμφωνα· οὐ λεληθέναι δὲ τοῦτο τὸν ποιητήν. φησὶ γάρ· ἑπτὰ δὲ θηλυτέρων οἴων ἐτανύσσατο χορδάς.

This last line is a variant for the Homeric Hymn to Hermes 51

“He stretched out seven symphonic sheep-gut strings”

ἑπτὰ δὲ συμφώνους ὀΐων ἐτανύσσατο χορδάς.

Zodiac Sign: Aries | Breviary | Belgium, Bruges | ca. 1500 | The Morgan Library & Museum
Breviary | Belgium, Bruges | ca. 1500 | The Morgan Library & Museum

Safe Dinner Topics From Antiquity: Why Are Wolf-Bitten Sheep so Sweet?

Plutarch, Moralia: Table-Talk Book 3, Question 9—Why wolf-bitten sheep have sweeter meat but a lice-ridden wool

“After that, we considered the problem of wolf-bitten sheep which are said to have the sweetest meat while furnishing wool filled with lice. Patrokleas, my brother-in-law, seemed to propose a not altogether foolish idea about the sweetness, namely that the bite of the beast tenderizes the flesh. For the breath of the wolf is really hot and on fire—which makes the hardest parts of bones melt and liquefy in its belly.

For this reason wolf-bitten sheep dissolve more speedily than others. We were less certain about the wool—perhaps it does not breed the lice but attracts them as it separates the flesh by the effect of the rough ripping or that special heat. This ability develops in the wool thanks to the wolf’s bite and the breath of the wolf as the hair of the slaughtered sheep changes…”

Image result for Ancient Greek sheep

Διὰ τί τὰ λυκόβρωτα τῶν προβάτων τὸ κρέας μὲν γλυκύτερον τὸ δ᾿ ἔριον φθειροποιὸν ἴσχει

Μετὰ τοῦτο περὶ τῶν λυκοβρώτων ἐζητεῖτο προβάτων, ἃ λέγεται τὸ μὲν κρέας γλυκύτατον παρέχειν τὸ δ᾿ ἔριον φθειροποιόν. οὐ φαύλως οὖν ἐδόκει Πατροκλέας ὁ γαμβρὸς ἐπιχειρεῖν περὶ τῆς γλυκύτητος, ὡς τοῦ θηρίου τῷ δήγματι τὴν σάρκα τακερὰν ποιοῦντος· καὶ γὰρ εἶναι τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ λύκου περίθερμον οὕτω καὶ πυρῶδες, ὥστε τὰ σκληρότατα τῶν ὀστῶν ἐν τῇ κοιλίᾳ τήκειν καὶ καθυγραίνειν· διὸ καὶ σήπεσθαι τὰ λυκόβρωτα τῶν ἄλλων τάχιον. περὶ δὲ τῶν ἐρίων διηποροῦμεν, μήποτ᾿ οὐ γεννᾷ τοὺς φθεῖρας ἀλλ᾿ ἐκκαλεῖται, τραχύτητός τινος ἀμυκτικῆς ἢ θερμότητος ἰδιότητι διακρίνοντα τὴν σάρκα· ταύτην δὲ τοῖς ἐρίοις τὴν δύναμιν ἐγγίγνεσθαι πρὸς τὸ τοῦ λύκου δῆγμα καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα μεταβάλλοντος ἄχρι τῶν τριχῶν τοῦ σφαττομένου.