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The Middle Ages was a time of great upheaval - the period between the seventh and fourteenth centuries saw great social, political and economic change. The radically distinct cultures of the Christian West, Byzantium, Persian-influenced Islam, and al-Andalus resulted in different responses to the garden arts of antiquity and different attitudes to the natural world and its artful manipulation. Yet these cultures interacted and communicated, trading plants, myths and texts. By the fifteenth century the garden as a cultural phenomenon was immensely sophisticated and a vital element in the way society saw itself and its relation to nature.
A Cultural History of Gardens in the Medieval Age presents an overview of the period with essays on issues of design, types of gardens, planting, use and reception, issues of meaning, verbal and visual representation of gardens, and the relationship of gardens to the larger landscape.