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By Carroll Moulton

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They improved the quality of soil by adding natural fertilizers, such as manure and the pulp from making wine and olive oil. They varied the size of their fields to suit the crop and the farming methods used. Many large farms had elaborate systems of crop rotation to keep soils fertile. The normal rotation cycle included a fallow period, during which time the land was left unplanted. Farmers usually continued to plow fallow fields two or three times a year to kill weeds and to help the soil retain moisture.

Anyone considered impure could be denied entrance to theagora. Those barred fromthe agora would also be excludedfrom participationin thedecision making of the polis. Lastly, the agorawaslively a commercial andsocial center. served It as a public marketplace where merchants boughtand sold goods and where citizens shopped. People also drew waterat the agora's public fountains. As the main public areaof thepolis, theagora provided opportunities for citizens to gatherandexchange information—and gossip—and for teachers to 13 AGRICULTURE, GREEK hold informal outdoor classes.

The ETRUSCANS, who lived in central Italy, had adopted the Chalcidian alphabet. They may have learned it from a Greek colony in Italy. The Etruscan alphabet had 26 letters—22 from the original Phoenician system and four that had been added by the Greeks. , the Romans adopted the alphabet of their Etruscan neighbors, using only 20 letters. The Romans later added letters to represent additional sounds. The letter g was added to distinguish the hard "g" sound from the "k" sound of the Etruscan letter c.

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