Gardens of Power
"Western Roman gardens in Late Antiquity: between continuity and rupture (4th-5th centuries)" by Eric Morvillez
Under the Empire, the Romans pushed the art of garden living between Rome and its provinces to its apogee. They offered the West a whole range of architectural concepts for enhance vegetation, works of art and banqueting facilities. In the 4th century, fountains, nymphaeums and plantations flourished, along with new creations of secular gardens in domus and villas: people set the scene in their viridaria. But the garden also gradually took on a new connotation, with the emergence of the Christian Paradise. At the turn of the 5th century, only the invasions and their disruptions caused a break. However, faced with the particular climates and vegetation of Spain and North Africa, the Romans developed solutions that were to be found later in the Islamic gardens of these same regions.
Dr. Eric Morvillez studied archaeology, art history and history at the University of Paris IV-Sorbonne, where he holds a doctorate. He teaches at the Ecole du Louvre, the Ecole de Chaillot in Paris and the University of Avignon, and specializes in domestic architecture and decoration (mosaic ans painting), with a particular focus on the archaeology of gardens between the Empire and Late Antiquity. From 2002 to 2017, he collaborated with Wilhelmina Jashemski's Gardens of the Roman Empire team.
"Living on the Land: the practicalities of agriculture" by Fairchild Ruggles
Was the landscape of medieval al-Andalus a cultural system that introduced new practices and thus broke away from Roman land and water management systems? Or was it experimental and innovative, seeking new knowledge and practical changes, sparking what Andrew Watson called a “medieval green revolution”? To what extent was the agricultural prosperity of al-Andalus a product of the classical world, with its triad of wheat olives, and grapes, and to what extent was it a departure? The answer depends to some degree on whether we regard the human-environment relationship as something negotiated by culture or plain necessity.
Dr. D. Fairchild Ruggles holds the Debra Mitchell Chair in Landscape Architecture and directs the Center for Criticism and Interpretive Theory at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She is the author or editor of 12 books on Islamic art, architecture, landscape, and gender, notably Gardens, Landscape, and Vision in the Palaces of Islamic Spain (2000; 2003), Islamic Gardens and Landscapes (2008; 2020), Islamic Art and Visual Culture: An Anthology of Sources (2011), and Tree of Pearls: The Extraordinary Architectural Patronage of the 13th-Century Egyptian Slave-Queen Shajar al-Durr (2020). Since 2016, she has served as the art and architecture editor for the Encyclopaedia of Islam (EI3).