The design philosophy of Edenic gardens: tracing ‘Paradise Myth’ in landscape architecture, Nasinm Yazdani and Miurjana Lozanovska

This paper explores the Eden mythology in both western and eastern cultures, and its reflection on people’s perception and use of nature. It aims to examine how cultural ideologies and systems of beliefs in relation to Eden have affected landscape making and how landscape icons influenced other cultures subsequently. This study describes how narratives of Eden evolved and influenced landscape design by explaining the narratives of Paradise and Arcadia in eastern and western cultures as two distinct landscape narratives, with a brief history of their emergence and evolution. It discusses the ways in which landscape architecture reflects the prevailing attitudes towards nature in a society by studying the ancient world’s philosophies and ideologies as a starting-point for this investigation. The paper then focuses on the Persian paradise garden and explains the notion of iconography, as a visual explanation of an idea in landscape design. It projects the transformation of Persian paradise gardens’ icons and patterns in landscape architecture through historical and spatial explorations. 

A Landscape for the Sultan, an architecture for the eye: Edirne and its fifteenth-century royal tower, Panagiotis Kontolaimos

This present essay is about the visibility properties of Early Modern Ottoman architecture and its contribution to the formation of a politically and culturally significant landscape. By using the royal tower of Edirne (Cihannüma Kasrɪ), a structure of the mid-fifteenth century, as a case study, the impact of architecture in the visualisation of the cultural and political meanings of Ottoman urban and rural landscape is explored in an effort to reveal the interconnections between architectural design and landscape during the Early and Classical Ottoman Period (fifteenth–sixteenth centuries). Τhis task is assisted by a variety of imagery that narrates the history of the royal tower as well as its interconnection with other aspects of its built and natural environment, thus visualising a unique assembly of meanings and spatial properties. Furthermore, this view is related to comparable developments in Renaissance Italy, thus seeing the relevant Ottoman developments within the context of wider socio-economic changes in the fourteenth–fifteenth-century Mediterranean.

‘Saved from the sordid axe’: representation and understanding of pine trees by English visitors to Italy in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, Pietro Piana, Charles Watkins and Ross Balzaretti 

Pine trees were frequently depicted and celebrated by nineteenth-century English artists and travellers in Italy. This paper examines how British visitors gained knowledge of Italian trees through drawings, paintings and prints, before and during their visits to Italy. It considers knowledge of pines by late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century authorities such as William Gilpin and John Claudius Loudon and then focuses on the representation and understanding of pines in three contrasting sites: the pines of Rome, the coastal pines of Liguria and finally the famous pine wood of Ravenna. These trees were also an important element of local agriculture and the authors combine the analysis of local land management records, paintings and traveller’s accounts to reclaim differing understandings of the role of the pine in nineteenth-century Italy.

Urbanising rainforests: emergent socio-ecologies in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Diogo de Carvalho Cabral, Alexandro Solórzano and Rogério Ribeiro de Oliveira

Recently included on the UNESCO World Heritage list, the urban forests of Rio de Janeiro are one of the most thorough expressions of the more-than-human character of the so-called ‘cultural landscapes’. Far from pristine nature, Rio’s forests are plant communities that developed on land previously used for agriculture, energy and water supply, human habitation, among other purposes. Traces of such activities can still be seen in every corner of these forests, currently protected areas. Some of the human marks are very conspicuous and can be noticed by anyone: water tanks, stairways, arches, banana plantations, and the like. But some other traces are so organically integrated in the landscape that only a trained eye can discern them; for example, whole sections of forest dominated by jackfruit, an Asian species, and small plateaus carved into the hillside with a strangely blackened soil. In this article, we investigate the origins of these two kinds of landscape features. Based on primary written sources and iconography, in addition to the relevant historiography, this work of historical reconstruction reveals an inextricable interpenetration between socio-economic and cultural processes — such as cash crop expansion and urban sprawl — on the one hand and bio-ecological processes — such as secondary succession and ecosystem invasion — on the other. In fact, as we argue, both are part of the same moving life-world, a continuous web of more-than-human relationships that generates both city and forest. This socionatural dialectic is responsible for Rio de Janeiro currently being a city full of forests which, if carefully inspected, reveal themselves full of urban history.

The transition of Wytham Woods from a working estate to unique research site (1943—1965), K. J. Kirby

Diaries written by Charles Elton and other unpublished material from 1942‒1965 illustrate the state of Wytham Woods and debates about its management in the first two decades after the estate came into the ownership of Oxford University. They reveal a legacy of wartime activity, the problems of rabbit control and the tensions between the different departments in the University. The Forestry Department sought to manage most of the Woods as a resource for teaching the then prevailing ideas of modern productive forestry: most of the Woods should therefore be converted to plantation. Elton and others regarded the rates of felling and replanting, the loss of old trees, as a serious threat to the value of the Woods from an ecological research perspective. In 1961, the University sided with the ecologists and active forestry management largely ceased. The legacy of this period survives though in the composition and structure of the Woods today. The issues and debates at Wytham foreshadow many of those that took place in the 1970s and 1980s between foresters and conservationists more generally across Britain.


Hugo Anderson-Whymark, Duncan Garrow and Fraser Sturt (eds), Continental Connections. Exploring Cross-Channel Relationships from the Mesolithic to the Iron Age (Andrew Meirion Jones)

Felix Retamero, Inge Schjellerup and Althea Davies (eds), Agricultural and Pastoral Landscapes in Pre-Industrial Society. Choices, stability and change (Della Hooke)

Jessica Smyth, Settlement in the Irish Neolithic: new discoveries at the edge of Europe (Eoin Grogan)

Caroline Wickham-Jones, Between the Wind and the Water. World Heritage Orkney (Victoria Whitworth)

Luke Lavan (ed.), Local Economies? Production and exchange of inland regions in Late Antiquity (Maria Duggan)

Mark Bowden, Sharon Soutar, David Field and Martyn Barber, The Stonehenge Landscape: analysing the Stonehenge World Heritage site (Andrew Fleming)

Duncan W. Wright, ‘Middle Saxon’ Settlement and Society (Richard Mortimer)

David Parsons and D. S. Sutherland, The Anglo-Saxon Church of All Saints, Brixworth, Northamptonshire. Survey, Excavation and Analysis, 1972–2010 (Susan Oosthuizen)

Marianne Eriksen et al. (eds), Viking Worlds. Things, spaces, movements (Tom Williams)

Stephen Harrison and Raghnall O’Floinn, Viking Graves and Gravegoods in Ireland (Martin Goldberg)

Ian Russell and Maurice Hurley (eds), Woodstown: a Viking-age settlement in Co. Waterford (Alison Leonard)

Howard Clarke and Ruth Johnson (eds), The Vikings in Ireland and Beyond: before and after the battle of Clontarf (Colleen Batey)

Barbara E. Mundy, The Death of Aztec Tenochtitlan, The Life of Mexico City (N. James)

Robert A. Dodgshon, No Stone Unturned. A history of farming, landscape and environment in the Scottish Highlands and Islands (James P. Bowen)

Bernadette Cunningham and Harman Murtagh (eds), Lough Ree. Historic lakeland setttlement (Graeme Cavers)

Howard B. Clarke and Anngret Simms (eds), Lords and Towns in Medieval Europe. The European Historic Towns Atlas Project (Mark Bailey)

David Cox, Church and Vale in Evesham 700─1215. Lordship, landscape and prayer (Della Hooke)

M. Kowaleski, J. Langdon and P. R. Schofield (eds), Peasants and Lords in the Medieval English Economy. Essays in honour of Bruce M. S. Campbell (Alexandra Sapoznik)

Vandra Costello, Irish Demesne Landscapes, 1660–1740 (David Brown)

Margaret Murphy and Matthew Stout (eds), Agriculture and Settlement in Ireland (Susan Oosthuizen)

David Lewis, Windsor and Eton, British Historic Towns Atlas, Volume IV (Michael Fradley)

John Hanson Mitchell, The Wildest Place on Earth. Italian gardens and the invention of wilderness (Caroline Holmes)

Malcolm Shifrin, Victorian Turkish Baths (Timothy Brittain-Catlin)

James Bettley, Suffolk: West. The Buildings of England

James Bettley, Suffolk: East. The Buildings of England (Leigh Alston)

Andrew Macnair, Anne Rowe and Tom Williamson, Dury and Andrews’ Map of Hertfordshire. Society and landscape in the eighteenth century (David Short)

Ronan O’Donnell, Assembling Enclosure: transformations in the rural landscape of post-medieval north-east England (Jon Gregory)

Joseph Sharples, David Wallace and Matthew Woodworth, Aberdeenshire: South and Aberdeen (Niall A. Logan)

Tom Williamson, Ivan Ringwood and Sarah Spooner, Lost Country Houses of Norfolk. History, archaeology and myth (Oliver Cox)

Hugh Hornby, Bowled Over. The bowling greens of Britain (David Day)

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Landscape History


Volume 37 (2016) Issue 2