The mythology of plants : botanical lore from ancient Greece and Rome / Annette Giesecke.

  • Giesecke, Annette
  • Books

About this work


This engaging book focuses on the perennially fascinating topic of plants in Greek and Roman myth. The author, an authority on the gardens, art, and literature of the classical world, introduces the book's main themes with a discussion of gods and heroes in ancient Greek and Roman gardens. The following chapters recount the everyday uses and broader cultural meaning of plants with particularly strong mythological associations. These include common garden plants such as narcissus and hyacinth; pomegranate and apple, which were potent symbols of fertility; and sources of precious incense including frankincense and myrrh. Following the sweeping botanical commentary are the myths themselves, told in the original voice of Ovid, classical antiquity's most colorful mythographer. The volume's interdisciplinary approach will appeal to a wide audience, ranging from readers interested in archaeology, classical literature, and ancient history to garden enthusiasts. With an original translation of selections from Ovid's 'Metamorphoses, ' an extensive bibliography, a useful glossary of names and places, and a rich selection of images including exquisite botanical illustrations, this book is unparalleled in scope and realization.


Los Angeles, CA : J. Paul Getty Museum, [2014]

Physical description

144 pages : colour illustrations, colour map ; 23 cm


Ovid's Metamorphoses and the mythology of plants -- Gods in love -- Hubris and human excess -- Piety and devotion -- Mortals in love -- A guided walk through Ovid's garden.

Bibliographic information

Includes bibliographical references (pages 141-143).


Where to find it

  • LocationStatus
    History of Medicine
    Open shelves

Permanent link



  • 1606063219
  • 9781606063217