Detail map of Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy Overview map of Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

A: Bologna, Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Crescentius's Ruralia Commoda: Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, and Horticulture

Circa 1304 to 1309
Crescenzi calendar

Monthly calendar of agricultural tasks from a manuscript of Pietro Crescenzi dated c. 1470 in the Condé Museum, Ms 340, f. 303v.

Folio 11 of MS M.232, the Morgan Library's 1470 Belgian manuscript of Ruralia Commoda. (View Larger)

Between 1304 and 1309 Bolognese jurist Pietro Crescenzi (Petrus de Crescentius, Petrus de Crescentiis) wrote Ruralia commoda. Derived in part from the writings of Romans ColumellaCato the Elder, and Varro, this was one of the most widely read medieval works on agriculture, animal husbandry, and horticulture, and it continued to be widely read throughout the 15th and 16th centuries, resulting in numerous printed editions, many illustrated. The text was divided into twelve sections:

1. The best location and arrangement of a manor, villa or farm

2. The botanical background needed to raise different crops

3.  Building a granary and cultivation of cereal, forage and food

4. On vines and wine-making

5 & 6.  Arboriculture and horticulture, including 185 plants useful for medicine and nourishment

7.  Meadows and woods

8.  Gardens

9.  Animal husbandry and bee-keeping

10. Hawking and hunting

11. General summary of the book

12. Calendar of duties and tasks, month by month

Ruralia commoda was first printed in an unillustrated edition in Augsburg by Johann Schüssler in 1471. In February 2014 a digital facsimile was available from the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek at this link.  ISTC no. ic00965000. Thirteen editions were printed in the 15th century: six in Latin, three in Italian and two each in French and German. Various were illustrated with woodcuts.

Timeline Themes