Roman fig cultivation and knowledge of fig origins according to Columella and Pliny

Pliny the Elder wrote what is arguably the 1st encyclopedia, completed in about C.E. 75. Books 12-16 concern Roman knowledge of trees including several we grow today for fruit.


Our horticulture methods of fig cultivation are not much different than the Romans of 2000 years ago. They knew about caprification methods, harvest periods in different climates, and so on. They also knew about cold hardy figs, saying that “the coolest fig” originate in the Balkans. Of course a fig growing in the Balkans today isn’t necessarily one from the naturally occurring native race of the region.