A William Morris tapestry incorporating grapevines and cabbages. To the Ancient Greeks this was an unthinkable combination- didn’t everybody know that vines and cabbages hated each other? (Which, incidentally, is why cabbage was recommended by many classical authors as a cure or a preventative for hangovers!) In fact, many plants were supposed to either harbour sympathetic or antipathetic feelings towards each other.
This afternoon I went to a seminar at the Department of the History and Philosophy of Science about the anthropomorphising of the vegetable kingdom in classical natural philosophy and literature. Of particular interest to me was the discussion of treatments of pollination events by Greek and Roman authors, who often described the reproductive processes of plants- whilst not comprehending the details- in terms of lovesick yearning followed by romantic fulfilment.
I knew none of this before reading this and I am a better person for having read it! ~AR