The Introduction provides cultural, theoretical, and literary backgrounds for approaches to plants in the ancient world in general, as well as setting out the framework for this particular study of Vergil’s plants. Both scientific, philosophical, and religious outlooks are outlined, as are some persistent trends in ancient literary representations of plants, which often treat them as symbols and metapoetic markers as much as entities in their own right. The twin themes of this book—plants as part of the religious, or more broadly supernatural, landscape, and plants as both representatives of and participants in the relationship between humans and the natural world—are thus given wider context, while brief sketches are also made of further aspects relevant to Vergilian flora that are approached more tangentially in this work.
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