Professor Elizabeth Minchin ‘Exploring Ancient Gardens of the Roman World’

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Thursday, 21 August 2014 - 12:30pm to 1:30pm

The external view of most, if not all, of the townhouses of Pompeii and Herculaneum is unpromising and unrelieved. It is the interior of the house which reveals the individuality of the owner - and which would have been a source of delight to the visitor. In this talk Elizabeth looks at the garden area within the freestanding, atrium houses of Pompeii, to reconstruct the appearance - the layout, the plantings and the ornamentation - of gardens in this world and to assess, if we can, the importance which a garden assumed in the Roman world. Because of the nature of the evidence available to us  she will focus mainly on the domestic garden in a townhouse rather than on the extensive villa gardens about which we read in our literary sources, especially the letters of Pliny the Younger.

Elizabeth Minchin is Professor of Classics in the Centre for Classical Studies at the ANU, where she has taught Ancient Greek and Latin and their literatures, and social history. A course which she has always enjoyed teaching is one which touches on many aspects of everyday life in the Greco-Roman world. This lecture emerges from her interest in the gardens of the ancient Roman world.

Update: The handout that Professor Minchin provided at her talk is available here for download (PDF, 318 KB).