The Green Middle Ages
The Green Middle Ages
The Depiction and Use of Plants in the Western World 600-1600
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Table of Contents
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PART 1 - Chronological Development: from herbarium pictum to herbarium vivum
Introduction | Early Writings on Beneficial Plants: Perceptions and Prescriptions (Claudine A. Chavannes-Mazel)
The Web of Written and Illustrated Plant Books from Antiquity to the Invention of the Printing Press
Chapter 1. From Copy to Copy. 1500 years of Plant Illustrations (Claudine A. Chavannes-Mazel)
Chapter 2 Early Printed Herbaria. A Brief Sketch Based on Examples from the Liberna Collection (Iris Ellers)
Chapter 3. ‘Everlasting Gardens’ . Origin, Distribution and Purpose of the First herbaria viva (Gerard Thijsse)
Part II - The Use of Plants in the Middle Ages
Chapter 4. Painting with Plants. The Use of Vegetable-based Dyes in Medieval Manuscripts (Micha Leeflang and Annabel Dijkema)
Chapter 5. Naming Names. Plants in the Age of Charlemagne (Claudine A. Chavannes-Mazel and Gerda van Uffelen)
Chapter 6. The Long Shadow of Antiquity Medicine and Plants (Claudine A. Chavannes-Mazel)
Chapter 7. ‘The Cook is the Best Doctor'. Plants for Food and Health: Recipes and Prescriptions (Johanna Maria van Winter)
Part III - Plants in medieval literature
Chapter 8. ‘And it Grew and Waxed a Great Tree' A Short Survey of Plants in the Bible (Linda IJpelaar)
Chapter 9. Good Trees, Bad Trees Biblical Tree and Plant Symbolism in the Liber floridus (Linda IJpelaar)
Chapter 10. The Herb Book in Jacob van Maerlant's Der naturen bloeme (Jos A.A.M. Biemans)
Chapter 11. A Thorny Rosebush and Other Greenery: Love, Lust and Suffering in the Romance of the Rose (Esther Mulders)
Part IV - Plants in Medieval Book Illumination
Chapter 12. Names of Flowers and Plants in the Margins of late Medieval Manuscripts (Saskia van Bergen)
Chapter 13. Flowering Margins. The Development of Strewn-Flower Borders in Early Netherlandish Manuscript Illumination in the Fifteenth Century (Anne Margreet W. As-Vijvers)
Chapter 14. Flowers of Meaning. The Interpretation of Marginal Decoration in Southern Netherlandish Manuscripts from around 1500 (Anne Margreet W. As-Vijvers)
Appendix I: A Hand-written Text from Late Antiquity in the Leiden University Library. The Wonders of Plantain in Apuleius Platonicus’ herbarium (Leiden, UB ms VLQ 9) (Claudine A. Chavannes-Mazel)
Appendix II: A Late Medieval Printed Text in the Athenaeum Library in Deventer. Recipes in a Herb Book from 1497, the Ortus sanitatis (Deventer, AB 2000 E 45 KL) (Jan Willem Briët)
Picture acknowledgments
About the authors

Claudine Chavannes-Mazel, Linda IJpelaar (eds)

The Green Middle Ages

The Depiction and Use of Plants in the Western World 600-1600

How ‘green’ were people in late antiquity and the Middle Ages? Unlike today, the nature around them was approached with faith, trust and care. The population size was many times smaller than today and human impact on nature not as extreme as it is now. People did not have to worry about issues like deforestation and sustainability.
This book is about the knowledge of plants and where that knowledge came from. How did people use earth and plants in ancient times, and what did they know about their nutritional or medicinal properties? From which plants one could make dyes, such as indigo, woad and dyer’s madder? Is it possible to determine that through technical research today? Which plants could be found in a ninth-century monastery garden, and what is the symbolic significance of plants in secular and religious literature?
The Green Middle Ages addresses these and other issues, including the earliest herbarium collections, with a leading role for the palaeography and beautiful illuminations from numerous medieval manuscripts kept in Dutch and other Western libraries and museums.

Claudine Chavannes-Mazel

Claudine Chavannes-Mazel (1949) studied Art History and Palaeography/Codicology at Leiden University and earned her Ph.D in 1988. Her dissertation topic was the richly illustrated fourteenth-century encyclopaedia, Le Miroir historial that was made for the dauphin of France and is now kept in the Leiden University Library. From 1977-1983, she was part-time teacher of Manuscript Studies and Art History at the Tiele Academy in The Hague (now The Hague University of Applied Sciences). Except for an interval of four years doing research in London, she taught Medieval Art History at the University of Leiden (1979-1983, 1987-1993). In 1993, she was appointed Professor of Medieval Art History at the University of Amsterdam. She has had emeritus status since 2014.

Linda IJpelaar

Linda IJpelaar (1970) studied art history at the University of Amsterdam, where she received her Master’s degree cum laude. Her areas of specialisation are iconography and the history of the book. In cooperation with the Royal Library in The Hague and the Edam Museum, she curated the exhibition Machtige Boeken! De librije van Edam en de Reformatie. She works on contract as an instructor and contributes to museum exhibitions and publications.