Nature is as much an idea as a physical reality. By 'placing' nature within Byzantine culture and within the discourse of Orthodox Christian thought and practice, Landscape, Nature and the Sacred in Byzantium explores attitudes towards creation that are utterly and fascinatingly different from the modern. Drawing on Patristic writing and on Byzantine literature and art, the book develops a fresh conceptual framework for approaching Byzantine perceptions of space and the environment. It takes readers on an imaginary flight over the Earth and its varied topographies of gardens and wilderness, mountains and caves, rivers and seas, and invites them to shift from the linear time of history to the cyclical time and spaces of the sacred - the time and spaces of eternal returns and revelations.
Veronica della Dora is Professor of Human Geography at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her research interests and publications span historical and cultural geography, the history of cartography and Byzantine studies, with a specific focus on sacred space and landscape. She is the author of Imagining Mount Athos: Visions of a Holy Place from Homer to World War II (2011, shortlisted for the 2012 Criticos Prize) and Mountain (forthcoming).
Introduction: placing topographies; Part I. Topos and Cosmos: 1. Sacred topographies; 2. Sacred cosmographies; Part II. Land: 3. Gardens; 4. Wilderness; Part III. Rock: 5. Mountains; 6. Caves; Part IV. Water: 7. Rivers; 8. Seas; Epilogue.