Vergil's Garden
Hortus Vergilianus
Le Jardin de Vergile

Il Giardino virgiliano

Die Planzenwelt Vergils

Vergil's Garden is an illustrated guide to the plants in Vergil's Georgics. I plan to expand the site later to include the Eclogues and Aeneid.

You can enter and navigate in any number of ways.

Click on one of the link below to go to the text of the Georgics.

Each book is linked to the Latin text as broken up into segments at Perseus (with dictionary and parsing aids). You can set either Latin or English translation as your default there. The names of the plants are highlighted and a click will take you to a page with pictures of the plants, their scientific names (genus and species), and the common names in English, French, German, and Italian. Clicking the Latin name will take you to the entry in Lewis and Short. Almost all links open in a new page, so you can have the text, the pretty pictures, etc., all open on your desktop. At the bottom of each page is a set of navagation links to return you to the main pages in that same window.

OR you can look up the names of the plant from the list below.

The identification of the plants have been taken primarily from:

Abbe, Elfriede. 1962. The Plants of Virgil's Georgics. Commentary and Woodcuts. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

André, Jacques. 1985. Les noms de plantes dan la Rome antique. Paris: Les Belles Lettres.

Jashemski, Wilhelmina Feemster, and Frederick G. Meyer. 2002. The Natural History of Pompeii. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Maggiulli, Gigliola. 1995. Incipiant silvae cum primum surgere: mondo vegetale e nomenclatura della flora di Virgilio. Roma: Gruppo Editoriale Internazionale, 1995.

Mynors, R. A. B. 1990. Virgil. Georgics. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (a work of rare and beautiful learning).

Sargeaunt, John. 1920. The Trees, Shrubs, and Plants of Virgil. Oxford: Blackwell. (still very useful).

The pictures have been taken from all over the net. I've had to change the original file names in most cases. My thanks to all the botanists whose work I have pillaged.

Some excellents sites for plants and pictures:


My students and I are triply removed from Vergil’s world.  First, we are almost all city kids.  We barely know a oak from an elm.  Second, we’re Americans.  Even if we have some vague mental picture of a pine tree, we’re probably thinking of an American Christmas tree, a scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris) or the like, and not what Vergil saw: pinus the huge, spreading Italian Umbrella Pine (Pinus pinea).  Third, we’re separated by time.  We read rosa, but we think huge hybridized tea roses or long-stemmed Valentine roses the color of coagulated blood, rather than the simpler flower of Vergil’s day.

This means that when we're reading Vergil, we look up ilex and we find “holmoak.”  All we’ve done is translate one word we don’t know into another we don’t know.  The purpose of Vergil’s Garden is to give us at least some idea for what Vergil saw and smelled and tasted and heard.

Ideally, of course, the only thing to do is for me and my students to pack our copies of Vergil and go to Italy.  We’d spend the mornings going to farms, parks, forests, and especially wineries, and the afternoons (post nap) reading Latin together.  Donations are gladly accepted.

Dept. of Classics,
University of Cincinnati,
410 Carl Blegen Library,
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0226
(513) 556-1944 fax: 556-4366

Holt Parker,

his home page

Please free free to report errors, broken links, or to offer new pictures.