Plants and Plant Lore in Ancient Greece

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9780904920406: Plants and Plant Lore in Ancient Greece

In 1976 John Raven presented four Grey Lectures at Cambridge University which sought to reappraise long-accepted identifications of ancient names for modern plants. These lectures, plus another given in 1971, form the main focus of this book and many of the issues raised within them are discussed further by William Stearn, Nicholas Jardine and Peter Warren, taking account of more research. Also includes an additional two papers by Alice Lindsell, as well as illustrations from her

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Published together with [Ravens] lectures are two articles by Alice Lindsell written in the Thirties. Her “Was Theocritus a botanist?” and “A note on Greek Crocus” are lucid and witty with flashes of poetry - as when she describes her first crocus sativus in the foothills of Attica. Its scarlet styles 'loll out of the flower like the tongue of a thirsty dog'. The watercolours which she painted in her botanical sketchbook of 1931 are printed here too as well as some fine photographs by Faith Raven.' (Noonle Minogue Tablet, 14, 2001)

There is little to censure and much to praise in this attractive, inspirational volume. Not only is it a significant contribution to the field of ancient botany, but it also represents a fitting appreciation of Ravens and Lindsells perceptive, if somewhat unforgiving and relentless, reexamination of plant identifications and of their affection for the plants that figured so prominently in the culture and learning of the ancients.'

'The work is attractively illustrated by Lindsells plant portraits and by photographs taken by Ravens wife Faith. As complementary elements of a whole, these diverse contributions, grafted together into a careful and colourful excursus through the byways of ancient botany, produce a fitting tribute to a pioneering investigator of ancient plants.' (John M McMahon Scholia 11, 2002)

Between the ignorance of the Stone Age and the ignorance of today, humans took a much closer interest in [the] field of flowers. For centuries our ancestors looked at the very same site and saw signs of death and rebirth, sex, madness, and then, a little later, satyrs, fauns and nymphs. About 400 years before the birth of Christ the local Greeks began to replace their many-faced religion with an even more influential science of categories, classification and names. This new science of naming became as fashionable for the middle classes as a Greek island vacation is today. And once the philosophers had spoken to the poets, the carefully delineated names for flowers and fruits and trees moved into literature too.

... But what was an aigipuros? Did the Greeks classify their plants in the same way that we do? Was a hyacinth in Hyettus the same as a hyacinth in Hull, a crocus in Cos the same as one in Kew? Throughout most of the 19th and 20th centuries, in the high days of classical scholarship, no one cared too much about that. The important fact was that a whole meadow of plants had been named at all - an act of the intellect that can be credited to the pupil of Aristotle and slightly older contemporary of Theocritus, Theophrastus.

To the Cambridge classicist, John Raven, however, the correct identification between ancient names and modern flowers did matter ... this quiet gardening scholar cut a swath of indignant derision through the modern definitions of Greek botany. As an observant traveller rather than library-bound researcher, he showed that numerous flowers set out in Liddell and Scotts authoritative dictionary could not be what the compilers had said them to be. No mainland mountain was too high, no island meadow too boggy, if he could prove that the main 19th-century contributor on Greek flower names, the nepotistically appointed Director of Kew Gardens, Sir William Thiselton-Dyer, was in error.

The ingeniously sustained outrage at his predecessors follies still gives charm to these published versions of the 1976 lectures. Raven may have been harsh on Thiselton-Dyer, whose interests in religion and medicine were more conventionally classical than his own; but to read this book is to be taken back inside a most marvelous obsession, a journey enlivened by bold photographs from his widow, Faith, and elegant illustrations from another great traveller in the cause, the 1930s classicist and artist, Alice Lindsell.' (Peter Stothard The Times Literary Supplement)

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John Raven
Editore: Leopard s Head Press Ltd, United Kingdom (2000)
ISBN 10: 0904920402 ISBN 13: 9780904920406
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Descrizione libro Leopard s Head Press Ltd, United Kingdom, 2000. Hardback. Condizione libro: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. In 1976, John Raven caused a stir in the University of Cambridge when he began his Gray Lectures on Plants and Plant Lore in Ancient Greece with a reappraisal of long-accepted identifications of ancient names for modern plants. He soon ranged to wider questions of classical botany, in myth, medicine and illustration, from the plants of Homer and Sappho, to Theophrastus and Theocritus, Hippocrates and Dioscorides. He examined Minoan art and the tulips of modern Crete. In a tour-de-force, he sought the very pool on Cos, where fair Hylas was snatched by waternymphs, to the dismay of Hercules. John Raven s four Gray lectures are here presented with another he gave in Oxford in 1971, which is illustrated with photographs by Faith Raven. These lectures display John Raven s lifetime s intimacy with Greek plants on the ground. His themes are discussed and expanded in the light of recent research by distinguished and botanical and classical scholars: Dr William Stearn and Professors Nicholas Jardine and Peter Warren. Two related papers (one unpublished) by Alice Lindsell, a pioneer in the field, are included, and extracts from her Botanical Sketchbook, made in Greece in 1930-31 , are published among the abundant colour plates. Codice libro della libreria BTE9780904920406

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