Cassianus Bassus

Cassianus Bassus, called Scholasticus (lawyer) was one of the geoponici, the group of writers on agricultural subjects.

He lived at the end of the 6th or the beginning of the 7th century. He compiled from earlier writers a collection of agricultural literature;[1] the principal source was Vindonius Anatolius. Dedicated to his son Bassus, his work was entitled Eklogai peri georgias ("Selections on farming"); the usual Latin version of this title is Eclogae de re rustica.

The original Greek text of Cassianus Bassus has been lost, but some of the contents have survived as part of a collection entitled Geoponica, completed about the year 950 and dedicated to the emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus. It contains a full list of the authorities drawn upon, and the subjects treated include agriculture, birds, bees, horses, cattle, sheep, dogs, fishes and the like.[1] In addition, a 7th-century Middle Persian translation and two different Arabic language translations of respectively the 8th and 9th century have also survived.

According to a Byzantine tradition attributed to Cassianus Bassus, pig dung fertilizer should only be used for almond trees. Similar views were expressed by Columella, long pre-dating Islamic taboos related to the animal, though Ibn Bassal and some later writers from Yemen also recorded negative effects of pig dung "burning" (haraqa) plants.[2]


  • Wilhelm Gemoll in Berliner Studien, i. (1884)
  • Cassianus Bassus, Geoponica: Geoponica sive Cassiani Bassi Scholastici De re rustica eclogae, ed. H. Beckh, Leipzig 1895
  • Oder in Rheinisches Museum, xlv. (1890), xlviii. (1893)
  • De Raynal in Annuaire de l'Assoc. pour l'Encouragement des Etudes Grecques, viii. (1874).
  •   This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bassus, Cassianus". Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 498.