Ancient Botany

Author: Gavin Hardy
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1134386788
Format: PDF
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Gavin Hardy and Laurence Totelin have brought together their botanical and historical knowledge to produce this unique overview of ancient botany. It examines all the founding texts of botanical science, such as Theophrastus' Enquiry into Plants, Dioscorides' Materia Medica, Pliny the Elder's Natural History, Nicolaus of Damascus' On Plants, and Galen' On Simple Remedies, but also includes lesser known texts ranging from the sixth century BCE to the seventh century CE, as well as some material evidence. The authors adopt a thematic approach rather than a chronological one, considering important issues such as the definition of a plant, nomenclature, classifications, physiology, the link between plants and their environment, and the numerous usages of plants in the ancient world. The book also takes care to place ancient botany in its historical, social and economic context. The authors have explained all technical botanical terms and ancient history notions, and as a result, this work will appeal to historians of ancient science, medicine and technology; classicists; and botanists interested in the history of their discipline.

Science Writing in Greco Roman Antiquity

Author: Liba Taub
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 110813260X
Format: PDF, Kindle
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We access Greek and Roman scientific ideas mainly through those texts which happen to survive. By concentrating only on the ideas conveyed, we may limit our understanding of the meaning of those ideas in their historical context. Through considering the diverse ways in which scientific ideas were communicated, in different types of texts, we can uncover otherwise hidden meanings and more fully comprehend the historical contexts in which those ideas were produced and shared, the aims of the authors and the expectations of ancient readers. Liba Taub explores the rich variety of formats used to discuss scientific, mathematical and technical subjects, from c.700 BCE to the sixth century CE. Each chapter concentrates on a particular genre - poetry, letter, encyclopaedia, commentary and biography - offering an introduction to Greek and Roman scientific ideas, while using a selection of ancient writings to focus on the ways in which we encounter them.

Smell and the Ancient Senses

Author: Mark Bradley
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317565827
Format: PDF, Docs
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From flowers and perfumes to urban sanitation and personal hygiene, smell—a sense that is simultaneously sublime and animalistic—has played a pivotal role in western culture and thought. Greek and Roman writers and thinkers lost no opportunity to connect the smells that bombarded their senses to the social, political and cultural status of the individuals and environments that they encountered: godly incense and burning sacrifices, seductive scents, aromatic cuisines, stinking bodies, pungent farmyards and festering back-streets. The cultural study of smell has largely focused on pollution, transgression and propriety, but the olfactory sense came into play in a wide range of domains and activities: ancient medicine and philosophy, religion, botany and natural history, erotic literature, urban planning, dining, satire and comedy—where odours, aromas, scents and stenches were rich and versatile components of the ancient sensorium. The first comprehensive introduction to the role of smell in the history, literature and society of classical antiquity, Smell and the Ancient Senses explores and probes the ways that the olfactory sense can contribute to our perceptions of ancient life, behaviour, identity and morality.

Taste and the Ancient Senses

Author: Kelli C. Rudolph
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317515404
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Olives, bread, meat and wine: it is deceptively easy to evoke ancient Greece and Rome through a few items of food and drink. But how were their tastes different from ours? How did they understand the sense of taste itself, in relation to their own bodies and to other modes of sensory experience? This volume, the first of its kind to explore the ancient sense of taste, draws on the literature, philosophy, history and archaeology of Greco-Roman antiquity to provide answers to these central questions. By surveying and probing the literary and material remains from the Archaic period to late antiquity, contributors investigate the cultural and intellectual development towards attitudes and theories about taste. These specially commissioned chapters also open a window onto ancient thinking about perception and the body. Importantly, these authors go beyond exploring the functional significance of taste to uncover its value and meaning in the actions, thoughts and words of the Greeks and Romans. Taste and the Ancient Senses presents a full range of interpretative approaches to the gustatory sense, and provides an indispensable resource for students and scholars of classical antiquity and sensory studies.

The Mythology of Plants

Author: Annette Giesecke
Publisher: Getty Publications
ISBN: 1606063219
Format: PDF, Mobi
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This engaging book focuses on the perennially fascinating topic of plants in Greek and Roman myth. The author, an authority on the gardens, art, and literature of the classical world, introduces the book’s main themes with a discussion of gods and heroes in ancient Greek and Roman gardens. The following chapters recount the everyday uses and broader cultural meaning of plants with particularly strong mythological associations. These include common garden plants such as narcissus and hyacinth; pomegranate and apple , which were potent symbols of fertility; and sources of precious incense including frankincense and myrrh. Following the sweeping botanical commentary are the myths themselves, told in the original voice of Ovid, classical antiquity’s most colorful mythographer. The volume’s interdisciplinary approach will appeal to a wide audience, ranging from readers interested in archaeology, classical literature, and ancient history to garden enthusiasts. With an original translation of selections from Ovid’s Metamorphoses, an extensive bibliography, a useful glossary of names and places, and a rich selection of images including exquisite botanical illustrations, this book is unparalleled in scope and realization.

The Science of Roman History

Author: Walter Scheidel
Publisher: Princeton University Press
ISBN: 1400889731
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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How the latest cutting-edge science offers a fuller picture of life in Rome and antiquity This groundbreaking book provides the first comprehensive look at how the latest advances in the sciences are transforming our understanding of ancient Roman history. Walter Scheidel brings together leading historians, anthropologists, and geneticists at the cutting edge of their fields, who explore novel types of evidence that enable us to reconstruct the realities of life in the Roman world. Contributors discuss climate change and its impact on Roman history, and then cover botanical and animal remains, which cast new light on agricultural and dietary practices. They exploit the rich record of human skeletal material--both bones and teeth—which forms a bio-archive that has preserved vital information about health, nutritional status, diet, disease, working conditions, and migration. Complementing this discussion is an in-depth analysis of trends in human body height, a marker of general well-being. This book also assesses the contribution of genetics to our understanding of the past, demonstrating how ancient DNA is used to track infectious diseases, migration, and the spread of livestock and crops, while the DNA of modern populations helps us reconstruct ancient migrations, especially colonization. Opening a path toward a genuine biohistory of Rome and the wider ancient world, The Science of RomanHistory offers an accessible introduction to the scientific methods being used in this exciting new area of research, as well as an up-to-date survey of recent findings and a tantalizing glimpse of what the future holds.

Gardens and Gardeners of the Ancient World

Author: Linda Farrar
Publisher: Windgather Press
ISBN: 1909686867
Format: PDF, ePub
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From the earliest of times people have sought to grow and nurture plants in a garden area. Gardens and Gardeners of the Ancient World traces the beginning of gardening and garden history, from Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, to the Minoans and Mycenaeans, Greeks, Etruscans and Romans, through Byzantine, Islamic and Persian gardens right up to the Middle Ages. It shows how gardens in each period were designed and cultivated. Evidence for garden art and horticulture is gathered from surviving examples of ancient art, literature, archaeology, actual period gardens that have survived the centuries and the wealth of garden myths associated with certain plants. These sources bring ancient gardens and their gardeners back to life, and provide information on which plants were chosen as garden worthy, their setting and the design and appearance of ancient gardens. Deities associated with aspects of gardens and the garden's fertility are featured - everyone wanted a fertile garden. Different forms of public and domestic gardens are explored, and the features that you would find there; whether paths, pools, arbors and arches, seating or decorative sculpture. The ideal garden could be like the Greek groves of the Academy in Athens, a garden so fine that it was comparable with that of the mythical king Alcinoos, the paradise contemplated by the Islamic world, or a personal version of a garden of Eden that Early Christians could create for themselves or in the forecourt of their churches. In general books on garden history cover all periods up to the present, often placing all ancient gardens in one chapter at the beginning. But there is so much of interest to be found in these early millennia. Generously illustrated with 150 images, with plant lists for each period, this is essential reading for everyone interested in garden history and ancient societies.

Dioscorides on Pharmacy and Medicine

Author: John M. Riddle
Publisher: University of Texas Press
ISBN: 0292729847
Format: PDF, ePub
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For 1,600 years Dioscorides (ca. AD 40–80) was regarded as the foremost authority on drugs. He knew mild laxatives and strong purgatives, analgesics for headaches, antiseptics for wounds, emetics to rid one of ingested poisons, chemotherapy agents for cancer treatments, and even oral contraceptives. Why, then, have his works remained obscure in recent centuries? Because of one small oversight (Dioscorides himself thought it was self-evident): he failed to describe his method for organizing drugs by their affinities. This omission led medical authorities to use his materials as a guide to pharmacy while overlooking Dioscorides' most valuable contribution—his empirically derived method for observing and classifying drugs by clinical testing. Dioscorides' De materia medica, a five-volume work, was written in the first century. Here revealed for the first time is the thesis that Dioscorides wrote more than a lengthy guide book. He wrote a great work of science. He had said that he discovered the natural order and would demonstrate it by his arrangement of drugs from plants, minerals, and animals. Until John M. Riddle's pathfinding study, no one saw the genius of his system. Botanists from the eighteenth century often attempted to find his unexplained method by identifying the sequences of his plants according to the Linnean system but, while there are certain patterns, there remained inexplicable incoherencies. However, Dioscorides' natural order as set down in De materia medica was determined by drug affinities as detected by his acute, clinical ability to observe drug reactions in and on the body. So remarkable was his ability to see relationships that, in some cases, he saw what we know to be common chemicals shared by plants of the same and related species and other natural product drugs from animal and mineral sources. Western European and Islamic medicine considered Dioscorides the foremost authority on drugs, just as Hippocrates is regarded as the Father of Medicine. They saw him point the way but only described the end of his finger, despite the fact that in the sixteenth century alone there were over one hundred books published on him. If he had explained what he thought to be self-evident, then science, especially chemistry and medicine, would almost certainly have developed differently. In this culmination of over twenty years of research, Riddle employs modern science and anthropological studies innovatively and cautiously to demonstrate the substance to Dioscorides' authority in medicine.

Polis

Author: Mogens Herman Hansen
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0199208492
Format: PDF, Kindle
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An accessible introduction to the polis (plural: poleis), or ancient Greek city-state. Mogens Herman Hansen addresses such topics as the emergence of the polis, its size and population, and its political culture, ranging from famous poleis such as Athens and Sparta through more than 1,000 known examples.