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Back to the garden : nature and the Mediterranean world from prehistory to the present / James H.S. McGregor.

McGregor, James H. 1946-
  • Books

About this work


"The garden was the cultural foundation of the early Mediterranean peoples; they acknowledged their reliance on and kinship to the land, and they understood nature through the lens of their diversely cultivated landscape. Their image of the garden underwrote the biblical book of Genesis and the region's three major religions. In this important melding of cultural and ecological histories, James H. S. McGregor suggests that the environmental crisis the world faces today is a result of Western society's abandonment of the "First Nature" principle--of the harmonious interrelationship of human communities and the natural world. The author demonstrates how this relationship, which persisted for millennia, effectively came to an end in the late eighteenth century, when "nature" came to be equated with untamed landscape devoid of human intervention. McGregor's essential work offers a new understanding of environmental accountability while proposing that recovering the original vision of ourselves, not as antagonists of nature but as cultivators of a biological world to which we innately belong, is possible through proven techniques of the past"--


New Haven : Yale University Press, [2015]

Physical description

xii, 366 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm


Introduction : How did we get here? -- Part I. Forging First Nature. 1. The Paleolithic landscape ; 2. Neolithic revolutions ; 3. The spread of farming culture ; 4. Uruk and Egypt, the great powers ; 5. The primacy of landscape in West Asia ; 6. Mediterranean trade and regional cooperation -- Part II. Perseverance and Attack. 7. The Greek link between landscape and cosmology ; 8. Roman agriculture : three case studies ; 9. Medieval Christian ecological understanding ; 10. Muslim ecological understanding ; 11. Renaissance landscape and food ; 12. Mechanistic models and romantic wilderness -- Part III. Age of Crisis. 13. Silence, loss, and catastrophe ; 14. The modern Mediterranean -- Conclusion : What is to be done?

Bibliographic information

Includes bibliographical references (pages 305-353) and index.



  • English

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  • 9780300197464
  • 0300197462