This book illuminates Byzantines' relationship with woodland between the seventh and twelfth centuries. Using the oak and the olive as objects of study, this work explores shifting economic strategies, environmental change, and the transformation of material culture throughout the middle Byzantine period. Drawing from texts, environmental data, and archaeological surveys, this book demonstrates that woodland's makeup was altered after Byzantium's seventh-century metamorphosis, and that people interacted in new ways with this re-worked ecology. Oak obtained prominence after late antiquity, illustrating the shift from that earlier era's intensive agriculture to a more sylvan middle Byzantine economy. Meanwhile, the olive faded into the background, re-emerging in the eleventh and twelfth centuries thanks to the initiative of people adapting yet again to newly changed political and economic circumstances. This book, therefore, shows that Byzantines' relationship with their ecology was far from static and that Byzantines' decisions had environmental impacts.
Alexander Olson received a PhD at the University of Wisconsin, USA, where he studied Byzantine and environmental history. He now enjoys working as a bureaucrat.