In Search of Roman Arboriculture: Ideology, Display, and Economy



Annalisa Marzano (Reading; BSR)

This event will be in English.

This event will take place via Zoom and requires advance registration. Please click here to reserve your place.

A limited number of in-person spaces are also available. Everyone attending an event in Rome must pre-register using the link below, and will be required to present a valid Covid vaccination pass.

Arboriculture was an important part of Roman agriculture, as attested by the writings of the Latin agronomists. Identifying it archaeologically is difficult since, unlike the case of olive and grapevine cultivation, fruit production did not involve processing in dedicated facilities. Yet, besides featuring in considerations about the management and financial returns of agricultural estates, arboriculture also had an ideological dimension in ancient Rome. Fruit trees were highly appreciated for their ornamental qualities and became an important element of elite literary discourse on self-representation. Recent archaeological discoveries offer clues regarding the connection between arboriculture and the households of the wealthy. This lecture will discuss the emergence of Roman commercial arboriculture from an archaeological and textual perspective. It will examine how arboriculture and plant-transplantation became a signifier of power in ancient Rome as well as the effects of Caesar and Augustus’ provincial colonisation on stimulating interest in the creation of new fruit varieties.