2.B - The gardens of philosophy

Some of antiquity’s most famous philosophical schools grew up around the green spaces created in the outskirts of Athens in the 4th and 3rd centuries B.C.

The Gymnasium, occupying an area near the grove dedicated to the hero Akademos, became the place favoured by Plato and his school, while not far off, the sacred precincts consecrated to Apollo Liceus were home to the famous Lyceum of Aristotle.

As reported already by ancient authors, a turning point was marked by the philosopher Epicurus, when he brought the garden, the site of his philosophical school, into his house. The green lawn adjacent to his home became a place symbolic of Epicurus’ thought, aimed at revealing the path that led to true happiness and freedom, secluded and sheltered from the cares of political life

  The gymnasium   Plato, Il Timeo, overo, Della natura del mondo   Herma of Plato   Aristotle, Omnia quae extant opera   Portrait of Aristotle   Portrait of Epicurus   Herma of Pythagoras   Sarcophagus with Muses   Tetradrachma   Aristotelis et Theophrasti Historiae, cùm de natura animalium, tum de plantis & earum causis   Herma of Theophrastus   Branch with birds   Heron of Alexandria, Gli artifitiosi et curiosi moti spiritali ... tradotti da M. Gio. Battista Aleotti   Working diagram for Heron£s Fountain and the Branch with singing birds   Heron£s Fountain and Branch with singing birds   Heron£s Fountain and singing bird

The plants of the Greek world

Although Pliny held Democritus to be the greatest authority on the flora of Greece, among the authors whose work has come down to us it is Theophrastus who describes the greatest number of species, mentioned also by other authors both before and after him.

In the Greek world, interest in plants focused mainly on the possibility of utilizing them in all the different moments of daily life. This requisite is reflected in classical texts, especially as concerns their nutritional, economical and therapeutic uses.

Citations from classics cannot be verified, due to the difficulty in conducting palynological analysis. What is clear, however, is that some islands, such as Cyprus and Crete, served as a bridge between Mesopotamia and Greece for the exchange of species.

  Plants of the Greek world   Dioscorides

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