By Thomas M. Capuano
Published Online (2009)
Introduction: As Ana Moure Casas has shown, the Opus agriculturae of the 5th-century Latin writer Palladius Rutilius Taurus Aemilianus enjoyed widespread popularity in the waning years of the high Middle Ages, virtually eclipsing all other classical writers on the subject in both Latin and Arabic (51-60). Various Romance translations of this text have come under study in recent years, and certainly others have yet to be discovered. In the old Crown of Aragon, these Palladius translations are frequently accompanied by other, briefer texts, whose origins are obscure and whose purposes are only vaguely understood. What can be stated with considerable conviction, however, is that these texts arise from the period of Catalan hegemony in the western Mediterranean during the 14th and 15th centuries, that they point to a state of advanced agricultural development and prosperity in Catalonia and, especially, in the Valencian horta going back to the era of Jaume I, and that they represent the first original Iberian Romance writings on agriculture, predating Gabriel Alonso de Herrera’s Obra de agricultura (1513) by several decades at least.