Part of the research and activities planned for the Labyrinth through time cultural project implemented by my NGO Virtus Antiqua I have recently taken an interest in the issue of what plants did the Romans know and use. The first step was to compile a Pinterest album on the topic, reuniting ancient depictions of plants (mostly used as cooking ingredients or spices), actual remains (mostly from Pompeii), but also reconstructions of gardens or cooking tables. See it HERE.
|"Roman plants" Pinterest album|
Then, I devised several activities for our meetings with reenactors and volunteers. The first is a test for the senses, asking participants to guess certain plants according to their shape and smell, thus discussing their possible origin and uses in the Roman world.
|Smelling and guessing Roman plants|
|Vanilla bean - unknown during Antiquity in the Mediterranean|
The second activity focuses on plants unknown in Europe during the Classical Period. Several plants introduced from the new continents - tobacco, tomatoes, potatoes etc. - are shown to the participants who guess them according to ancient prints and then try to discover when they were introduced and from where.
Read more about the project and its activities HERE
|Plants introduced to Europe after the great geographic discoveries of the Early Modern Period|