Books  General Natural History  Environmental History 

Landscape and Change in Early Medieval Italy: Chestnuts, Economy, and Culture

Shows how people and plants interacted to create historical outcomes, highlighting the constraints on human agency
Offers an environmental perspective on the fall of Rome, allowing a reconceptualisation of how empires change over time
Blends scientific and cultural information about historical processes
Winner, 2013 Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque Book Prize, American Association for Italian Studies

By: Paolo Squatriti (Author)

236 pages, 4 b/w maps

Cambridge University Press

Hardback | May 2013 | #211604 | ISBN-13: 9781107034488
Availability: Usually dispatched within 6 days Details
NHBS Price: £71.99 $92/€86 approx

About this book

This innovative environmental history of the long-lived European chestnut tree and its woods offers valuable new perspectives on the human transition from the Roman to the medieval world in Italy. Integrating evidence from botanical and literary sources, individual charters and case studies of specific communities, Landscape and Change in Early Medieval Italy traces fluctuations in the size and location of Italian chestnut woods to expose how early medieval societies changed their land use between the fourth and eleventh centuries, and in the process changed themselves. As the chestnut tree gained popularity in late antiquity and became a valuable commodity by the end of the first millennium, this study brings to life the economic and cultural transition from a Roman Italy of cities, agricultural surpluses and markets to a medieval Italy of villages and subsistence farming.

"[...] densely laden as it is with relevant facts and observations, [this] book is a solid achievement, and its modestly presented thesis deserves to be appreciated beyond the niche of medieval arboreal history."
– Jacob Wamberg, Speculum

"This book is an absolute treat, delicious in its detail, surprising in just how much a tree's view of medieval history can reveal about people. Paolo Squatriti's research on the rise of the chestnut, a tree little cultivated in the Roman period yet a major crop for medieval Italy, identifies the convergences between the worlds of men and woodlands. It is written with humour and intelligence, and nearly each page contains a discovery about botany, biology, cuisine or legal practice."
– Caroline Goodson, Early Medieval Europe


Contents

Introduction: trees, woods, and chestnuts in early medieval Italy

1. A natural history of the chestnut
2. The triumph of a tree
3. The poetics of the chestnut in the early Middle Ages
4. Chestnuts in medieval Campania
5. Chestnuts in the Po valley

Conclusion: Giovanni Pascoli and the old chestnut
Bibliography


Write a review

There are currently no reviews for this product. Be the first to review this product!


Biography

Paolo Squatriti is Associate Professor of History and Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Michigan. He specialises in the study of the pre-industrial environment and has published on ecological and landscape change in the 'Dark Ages'.

Bestsellers in this subject

Ancient Woodland

NHBS Special Offer Price: £29.99 £84.99 (Save £55.00) $38/€36 approx (ends 31/12/2016)

The Triumph of Seeds

NHBS Price: £10.99 $14/€13 approx

Grazing Ecology and Forest History

NHBS Price: £85.00 $108/€101 approx

Horse Nations

NHBS Price: £34.99 $45/€42 approx

Deforesting the Earth

NHBS Price: £27.99 $36/€33 approx