152 pages, 13 b/w figs
Fungi in the Ancient World is a comprehensive review on the impact of fungi in helping to shape ancient civilizations. Mushrooms, mildews, molds, and yeast had a surprisingly profound impact on: diet, custom, politics, religion; human, animal, plant health; art, folklore, and the beginnings of science. This insightful book is a gateway to current methodologies for investigation of the co-evolution of plants, fungi, and humans from the Neolithic to the Middle Ages.
This well documented book presents reproductions and descriptions of fungal motifs in ancient art, myth, and folklore that enable direct examination of evidence by any reader, professional or lay. Interdisciplinary in scope, this detailed and illustrated book includes a historical perspective on co-evolution of fungi with early agriculture that provides documented summaries of contemporary research in this area, from archaeology to molecular-genetics. It also delivers a historical perspective on the impact of fungi on human and animal health in early times, with examples of current methods used to assess historical impacts of mycotoxins, allergens, and pathogens. Translations and summaries from relevant ancient Greek, Roman, Sumerian and other texts are included, demonstrating how ancients themselves observed and recorded significant impacts of fungi.
Peer reviewed for accuracy and balance, the book provides multiple perspectives from professionals in mycology, plant pathology, ancient history, and folklore. It summarizes a wide range of highly controversial published views on the impact of fungi on customs, folklore, and religion. In doing this, the title presents perspectives on what is probable, plausible, or improbable in this highly debated area that helped form western civilization.
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