Lucius Junius Moderatus, nicknamed Columela, was a Roman agronomic and military writer, born in Gades (Cadiz), in the year 4 AD.
Since his childhood, Columela broadened his mind with the love of nature and agriculture and livestock.
This love grew due to his numerous trips for the empire and Columela was compiling all the data and examples that he saw. At the end of his military service, he settled in Rome, where he put all the skills learned into practice, and to then compile them in various works.
His work is considered the most extensive and documented repertoire on Roman agriculture. It comprises of 12 books, published successively, and to which probably preceded another shorter work in three or four books. To this day, we have had “De arboribus” (Book of trees), on shrub crops such as grapes, trees such as olive trees or fruit trees, and even flowers such as the violet or rose and “De res rusticae” (On Agriculture), considered as the most complete thesis about agriculture and production and animal health of antiquity, and contains key principles, and norms, that surprise us two thousand years after having been written.
His knowledge of agronomy had great influence on subsequent authors on the subject, such as Pliny the Elder, the garden and veterinary writer Gargilio Marcial, the veterinarian Pelagonio and, above all, Palladio.
As a close friend of Seneca, he met Tiberius, Caligula, Claudio or Nero. He was also a precise historian, a positive philosopher and an inspired poet, as his work convincingly demonstrates.
“Debes guardarte de labrar la tierra
que engendra texos, árboles que dañan
aun con su sola sombra; mas no arguye
malicia en el terreno, si en su sitio
la mandrágora nace o la triste cicuta…”