Overcoming Environmental Determinism: Introduced Species, Hybrid Plants and Animals, and Transformed Lands in the Hellenistic and Roman Worlds
MetadataShow full item record
The botanical and zoological literature of the Hellenistic and Roman worlds displayed a triumphalist attitude about the possibilities of introducing animals and plants to new lands. Animals and plants could be reshaped to suit human desires by training and cultivation, and by experiments in interbreeding and grafting. Entire lands could even be transformed to make them more hospitable. Little concern was displayed about maintaining a land in its original state, or about preserving the purity and autochthony of its indigenous creatures. The celebration in botanical and zoological literature of the world’s plasticity calls into question the seeming rigidity and pessimism of environmentally deterministic theories in the ancient world.