D 9. The Gardens of the Ancient Mediterranean: Cultural Exchange through Horticultural Design, Technology, and Plants

Scholars have traditionally studied cultural exchange in the ancient Mediterranean through the artifacts, art, sculpture, and architecture of its various regions. Ancient gardens and their associated horticultural practices are complex artifacts that contribute key information about cultural exchange in the Mediterranean, particularly notions about resources, cultivation, “nature”, power, and display. The ancient cultures of the Mediterranean and of the areas to the east and south, particularly Egypt and ancient Persia – had long, diverse garden traditions. Through commercial exchange and warfare throughout ancient times, these various traditions cross-pollinated. As a result, many of the gardens in the Hellenistic and Roman world fused evolving local traditions with imported features. The various papers in this session seek to examine these interactions archaeologically. For example, the session will touch on how other garden traditions influenced the Roman garden, how Roman gardens influenced the gardens of other cultures in the Mediterranean, and the means through which these exchanges occurred. Specifically, an examination of garden design, horticultural technology, and plant species suggests that gardens were a key space for the display of the fruits of cultural exchange.


  1. Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis (Oxford University, UK), Kathryn L. Gleason (Cornell University, Ithaca NY)


  1. James Schryver (University of Minnesota, Morris)

The Late Antique and Early Medieval Gardens of the East

  1. Kathryn Gleason (Cornell University, Ithaca NY)

Constructing Nature: The Built Garden. With Notice of a New Monumental Garden at the Villa Arianna, Stabiae

  1. Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis (Oxford University, UK)

Imported Exotica: Approaches to the Study of the Ancient Plant Trade

  1. Rona-Shani Evyasaf (The Hebrew University at Jerusalem)

Gardens at a Crossroads: The Influence of Persian and Egyptian Gardens on the Hellenistic Royal Gardens of Judea