Victoria E. Pagán
In the Roman world, horticulture (the art and practice of garden cultivation and management) is one aspect of the larger enterprise of farming and agriculture. Hortus denotes a kitchen garden near the house for growing vegetables; horti are large-scale pleasure grounds or parks, privately owned but sometimes open to public use. The literary and material sources from the second century b.c.e. to the second century c.e. in the regions of Latium and Campania adhere to and diverge from generic conventions, distort and exaggerate their subject, and provide social commentary on the purposes and meanings of gardens. After surveying the sources, the second section of this article reviews scholarship on gardens: archaeological studies that ask what gardens are, and cultural studies that ask what gardens mean. The conclusion suggests two future directions: reception studies and environmental sustainability.
Stephen A. Nimis
The novel flourished at a time when Greek identity was above all a matter of cultural affiliation. This article argues that the characters in the novels are fundamentally concerned with issues of gender, ethnicity, culture, and identity – and that their readers must have been too. However, the relationship between the world depicted in the novels and that in which they were written and read remains difficult to characterize: it is remarkable, for example, that Rome, the great imperial power of the time, is never so much as mentioned in the extant Greek novels.
This chapter considers the reception, projection, and invention of Babylonian literature in the Roman Empire, taking into account the perspectives of classical authors as well as the experiences and aspirations of ancient readers. It first reviews the development of cuneiform literature in the Hellenistic period and how it influenced Greek and Roman ideas about the wisdom of the Chaldeans. It then discusses Babylonian fictions before turning to the ancient reception and definition of Babylonian literature, with particular emphasis on how maps of reading interacted with literary production in the Roman Empire. It also describes how the development of individual literatures in the empire was informed by shared notions about place, language, and literature and how, under different circumstances, the very idea of what constituted a literature (Syrian, Egyptian, Greek, etc.) could change over time.