Annette Giesecke is Professor of Classics at the University of Delaware. Her research interests include the history and meaning of gardens in ancient Greece and Rome, urbanism and ethics of land use in classical antiquity, as well as expressions of the utopian impulse in classical art, literature, and architecture. With that background you would expect a well researched and informative work and indeed it is. However, it must be stressed that the book focuses only on plants that appear in Ovid`s Metamorphoses.
The book starts with a brief overview of gardens, plants and plant lore of ancient Greece and Rome. This is quite useful as it gives enough background to appreciate what follows next. In the introduction, the author highlights the fact that the history of ancient gardens was also a history of the Roman villa. It helps the reader understand how the ancient Roman garden went from an afterthought at the back of the house to a focal point and highlight.
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