Roman Agriculture: Facts About Roman Farms

Here are some facts about Roman farms and farming.

  • Roman farming was necessary to feed the population, and it was also seen as a noble profession. Citizens were considered important if they owned a lot of land.
  • Wheat was one of the most important crops and was widely grown in England. Plenty of wheat was needed to make the bread to feed the large Roman armies.
  • The Romans also grew olives and grapes, kept oxen, cows and goats for milk and cheese, and bees for honey. They also grew onions, peaches, apricots, cabbage, garlic and mustard. (Learn more about Roman Food and Drink)
  • The Romans used aqueducts to carry water to their crops and plants. They also used waterwheels and mills as well as a mechanical device to cut crops without damaging them.
  • Dams and reservoirs were also built to provide fresh water for crops, animals and people. Some of the reservoirs covered over 2,000 square metres and were lined with a type of waterproof cement.
  • In Roman farming, making sure that the Gods were happy was an important of the agricultural process. Fresh bread was put in the fields at harvest time for the Gods to eat.
  • Roman farms were of different sizes. A large farm could cover about 130 hectares. Land was either bought, or given to citizens as a reward for going to war in the Roman Army.
  • Slaves were often used to work on farms as they were a cheap source of labour.
  • Roman farmers faced various problems, including slaves who often rebelled. The weather and rainfall were often unreliable and many battles were fought on valuable farming land.
  • Roman farming used tools including hoes, rakes and spades, made from iron or wood. They also developed a form of the plough and used sickles to cut barley, grass and wheat.

What next? Discover more facts about the Romans by visiting our Romans resources page.

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