Green was given a different colour at the end of the last century. Green used to be just green, then it became green left, and now green is healthy and sensible. But how did people treat green even longer ago, in Ancient Times and in the Middle Ages? The size of the population was much smaller and people had never heard of sustainability, but they knew the natural world around them through and through.
This book is all about knowledge of plants and where this knowledge comes from. How has man used the Earth and plants since Ancient Times and did they know about their nutritional value or healing properties? Which plants could be used to make organic dyes, such as indigo, woad (both blue) and madder (red)? Can we use technical research methods to determine this today? Which plants could be found in nineteenth century monastery gardens and what is the symbolic meaning of plants in sacred and secular literature?
‘The Green Middle Ages’ examines all these questions, with a central role for script and beautiful illustrations taken from numerous medieval manuscripts that are the well-kept secrets of Dutch libraries and museums. Fantasy and reality are sometimes wonderfully intertwined. In first century texts, for example, the mandrake was known for its special properties.