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.