Hortus: The Roman Book of Gardening

By John Henderson | Go to book overview

NOTES

Tying up loose ends

INTRODUCTION: RESERVING A PLOT

1
If this means roses could be grown there (in Lucania, south Italy) for spring and for autumn, it's unstartling; if the same plant bloomed in both seasons, it's a marvel in the pursuit of paradise. Virgil waves it at us as his sampler for all we are missing from him; as such, it is much-quoted by later writers (usually minus the 'twice cropping' (e.g. C.10.37). In terms of poetics, it speaks to the text and topic as a paradisal double-act. And it is a bridge, too, since Roman 'rose-beds' flower on the farm, although roses did grow in the garden.
2
Throughout, intibum will be translated into English as the inevitable, etymological, and traditional 'endive': but experts such as Jacques André are sure the plant is our 'chicory' (see Further Reading: General).
3
The sample of the garden we must imagine (write) for ourselves begins with mythic geography as the poet bids to memorialize the classical tradition of the garden of poetry: Oebalus (a founding father, cf. Chapter 2, n. 24 below) and Galaesus (black 'River of Milk'?) specify Tarentum. The Old Gardener is allusively named after a poetic cave of inspiration on Mt Parnassus. See Preface.
4
Virgil has now put the garden onto the farm, where it belongs, in a corner. See Preface. The ancient commentary on Virgil tells us that Q. Gargilius Martialis was the one to step into this breach (Servius' note on V.G.4.147-8. See Maire (2002) in Further Reading: General.): Columella would be peeved, after all his hard work in following Virgil's instructions (10 Preface 3).

CHAPTER 1:

PRODUCE IN PROSE
1
Claudius, priest in the cult of the divinised emperor Augustus, sounds like the right sort of modest force for 'clos-ure' that a garden requires in order to be a garden, and a textual cameo (meaning 'enclosure': C.10.28, claud-atur). Augustalis hints at 'increase' (augeo), the hallowed aim of the Roman farm: Book 11 grows the work bigger, moving beyond the 'bonus' of Book 10, and appearing to claim the role of closure for itself. (Book 12 will come as another complete surprise: cuisine. See Preface.)
2
C.'s unknown addressee, P. Silvinus, bears a 'significant name' - culture clears woodland (silua) into farm, works raw nature into cultivated art.

-125-

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Hortus: The Roman Book of Gardening
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Note on the Text ix
  • Introduction - Virgil: Reserving a Plot 29
  • 1 - From Columella Eleven 33
  • 2 - Columella Ten 51
  • 3 - Pliny's Encyclopaedia 67
  • 4 - With Palladius 103
  • Notes 125
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