Quid faciat laetas segetes, quo sidere terram
vertere, Maecenas, ulmisque adiungere vites
conveniat, quae cura boum, qui cultus habendo
sit pecori, apibus quanta experientia parcis,
hinc canere incipiam. vos, o clarissima mundi
lumina, labentem caelo quae ducitis annum;
Liber et alma Ceres, vestro si munere tellus
Chaoniam pingui glandem mutavit arista,
poculaque inventis Acheloia miscuit uvis;
et vos, agrestum praesentia numina, Fauni
(ferte simul Faunique pedem Dryadesque puellae:
munera vestra cano); tuque o, cui prima frementem
fudit equum magno tellus percussa tridenti,
Neptune; et cultor nemorum, cui pinguia Ceae
ter centum nivei tondent dumeta iuvenci;
ipse nemus linquens patrium saltusque Lycaei
Pan, ovium custos, tua si tibi Maenala curae,
adsis, o Tegeaee, favens, oleaeque Minerva
inventrix, uncique puer monstrator aratri,
et teneram ab radice ferens, Silvane, cupressum:
dique deaeque omnes, studium quibus arva tueri,
quique novas alitis non ullo semine fruges
quique satis largum caelo demittitis imbrem.
(Vergil, Georg. 1.1-23)

What makes the crops joyous, beneath what star, Maecenas, it is well to turn the soil, and wed vines to elms, what tending the cattle need, what care the herd in breeding, what skill the thrifty bees—hence shall I begin my song. O most radiant lights of the firmament, that guide through heaven the gliding year, O Liber and bounteous Ceres, if by your grace Earth changed Chaonia’s acorn for the rich corn ear, and blended draughts of Achelous with the new-found grapes, and you Fauns, the rustics’ ever present gods (come trip it, Fauns, and Dryad maids withal!), ’tis of your bounties I sing. And Neptune, for whom Earth, smitten by your mighty trident, first sent forth the neighing steed; you, too, spirit of the groves, for whom thrice a hundred snowy steers crop Cea’s rich thickets; you too, Pan, guardian of the sheep, leaving your native woods and glades of Lycaeus, as you love your own Maenalus, come of your grace, Tegean lord! Come, Minerva, inventress of the olive; you, too, youth, who showed to man the crooked plough; and you, Silvanus, with a young uprooted cypress in your hand; and gods and goddesses all, whose love guards our fields—both you who nurse the young fruits, springing up unsown, and you who on the seedlings send down from heaven plenteous rain! (tr. Henry Rushton Fairclough, revised by George Patrick Goold)

Quod autem dicit ‘studium quibus arva tueri’, nomina haec numinum in indigitamentis inveniuntur, id est, in libris pontificalibus, qui et nomina deorum et rationem ipsorum numinum continent, quae etiam Varro dicit. nam, ut supra diximus, nomina numinibus ex officiis constat imposita, verbi causa, ut ab occatione, deus Occator dicatur, a sarritione, deus Sarritor, a stercoratione Sterculinus, a satione Sator. Fabius Pictor hos deos enumerat, quos invocat Flamen sacrum Cereale faciens Telluri et Cereri: Vervactorem, Reparatorem, Inporcitorem, Insitorem, Obaratorem, Occatorem, Sarritorem, Subruncinatorem, Messorem, Convectorem, Conditorem, Promitorem.
(Servius, Comm. in Verg. Georg. 1.21)

As to the words ‘whose love guards our fields’, the names of these deities can be found in invocation formulas, that is to say, in the books of the priests thatcontain both the names of the gods and the aspects of their divinity, as Varro too says. For, as we have said earlier, it is quite obvious that names have been given to divine spirits in accordance with the function of the spirit. For example, Occator was so named after the word occatio, harrowing; Sarritor, after sarritio, hoeing; Sterculinus, after stercoratio, spreading manure; Sator, after satio, sowing. Fabius Pictor lists the following as deities whom the flamen of Ceres invokes when sacrificing to Mother Earth and Ceres: Vervactor (ploughing fallow), Reparator (replough), Imporcitor (make furrows), Insitor (sow), Obarator (plough up), Occator, Sarritor, Subruncinator (clear weeds), Messor (harvest), Convector (carry), Conditor (store) and Promitor (bring forth). (tr. Matthew Dillon & Linda Garland; first few lines tr. David Bauwens)

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