THE ORCHARD OF ALCINOOUS”

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“Ulysses at the court of Alcinous”, Hayez Fr. (1813-5)

” But without the courtyard, hard by the door, is a great orchard of four acres, and a hedge runs about it on either side. Therein grow trees, tall and luxuriant,  pears and pomegranates and apple-trees with their bright fruit, and sweet figs, and luxuriant olives. Of these the fruit perishes not nor fails in winter or in summer, but lasts throughout the year; and ever does the west wind, as it blows, quicken to life some fruits, and ripen others;  pear upon pear waxes ripe, apple upon apple, cluster upon cluster, and fig upon fig. There, too, is his fruitful vineyard planted, one part of which, a warm spot on level ground, is being dried in the sun, while other grapes men are gathering, and others, too, they are treading; but in front are unripe grapes that are shedding the blossom, and others that are turning purple. There again, by the last row of the vines, grow trim garden beds of every sort, blooming the year through, and therein are two springs, one of which sends its water throughout all the garden,  while the other, over against it, flows beneath the threshold of the court toward the high house;” Homer, Odyssey, book VII.112-9,  edit. Samuel Batler

The early Greek poetry marks the beginning of what will be known later as gastronomy. Most notably, it also highlights fruits and plants that still remain a significant part of  Greek diet

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5 thoughts on “THE ORCHARD OF ALCINOOUS”

  1. For the Greeks of Homer’s time and later, nature was unfriendly and wild. Of course, Alcinoous’ garden was a piece of paradise although it was not a pleasure garden; it was a piece of nature tamed by humans, a kitchen- garden.

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