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Compendium of Symbolic and Ritual Plants in Europe: Vol I Trees & Shrubs/Vol II Herbs Hardcover – Oct 2003


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 1588 pages
  • Publisher: mens & cultuur uitgevers n.v.; 1 edition (Oct 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9077135049
  • ISBN-13: 978-9077135044
  • Product Dimensions: 17 x 9 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 834,346 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

This compendium is a rich plum pudding of a book. Put in your
thumb anywhere and you will pull out some fascinating fact or story. Which
fruit tree really grew in the Garden of Eden? Why did Napoleon's supporters
wear violet waistcoats? Why did no keys appear on the ash tree of England
in 1648? What is the botanical origin of the word "bachelor"? Why do we
describe something that is secret as sub rosa? It answers these and other
burning questions.
You don't have to believe everything you read in this marvellous - if
austerely presented - book, but you will learn a huge amount and may end up
treating your plants with a little of the respect they have been accorded
down the centuries. -- THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, Saturday December 11, 2004 by Peter Parker

This is an academic work by two Belgian authors, but fully
accessible to the layman. One should not expect a comprehensive treatise on
economic and cultural botany, but rather an academically sound,
comprehensible, broad and exhaustively-referenced compendium. As this, it
succeeds admirably.
-- THE GARDEN, Journal of the Royal Horticulture Society, Vol. 130 - November 2005, page 827, by Sue Minter

Why do we give a red rose to the one we love? Or touch wood when
we make a wish? When did Christmas trees become popular in Britain, and
what is the origin of the word "marzipan"?
The answers to these and countless other questions about the interactions
between people and plants can be found in this extraordinary work. Do not
be put off by the rather daunting title, the long lists of academic
references, or the price. For the Compendium of Symbolic and Ritual Plants
in Europe offers a near-perfect mix of scholarship and readability, being
not just informative, but entertaining too. -- THE GUARDIAN, Saturday October 30, 2004 by Stephen Moss

From the Author

Many things that seem normal to 21st-century man once had
a deeper significance. Few people realize that many of our
customs grew out of age-old rituals or things that had great symbolic value
to our ancestors. There is, however, no full modern survey of the part
played by plants in mythology and in religious and secular rituals, and the
symbolism that derives from them. All this information lies scattered
throughout the specialist literature: either
one particular group is examined,such as biblical plants or
hallucinogenic plants, or else plants with some folkloric
value (often local).
In addition,these works are usually not very critical from a botanical
point of view (which plant is actually being
referred to?). This compendium comprises more than a
hundred chapters on trees and shrubs (vol. I) and herbs
(vol. II) that have played or still play a part in rituals of some sort. It
is based on a thorough study of the literature and evidence from
librarians,historians, ethnologists,archaeologists, anthropologists and
medical practitioners.
The authors opted to restrict themselves to ritual plants
that are either indigenous, or have become established in
Europe (e.g. the Lime and the Rose), or which are exotic but have ritual
uses in Europe (e.g. Myrrh, Incense and Rice).

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By "washkuk" on 20 Dec 2003
Format: Hardcover
Finally an English version. This book will satisfy anyone looking for more information on the subject. The book is easy to understand and nevetheless of a very high scientific level. Do not compare thes publication with the many books treating "baked air" (magic, alternative healing, homeopathy...)and not giving any reference or bibliography to sustain their claims. The reader will be astonished by the number of references and the size of the index.A must for anybody interested in ethnobotany, man-nature relation..etc
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By frank vermeiren on 20 Dec 2003
Format: Hardcover
The compendium is a unique, interdisciplinary compendium on shrubs and trees in mythology and religious and profane rituals in Europe, and on the symbolism that derives from them. Many customs that 21 st-century man finds perfectly normal once had a far deeper significance.It is an academically sound survey of the knowledge of ritual plants over the centuries,taking a broad view, plus a critical look at how correctly plant species are named in the literature. More than 12000 footnotes help those who want to go further.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The staff at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Library brought this book to my attention, and it blew my mind! Although it did not give complete coverage of the subject of my research, I found it so comprehensive that I ordered a copy as soon as I got home. It is rare to find a book with so much for everyone, from the general reader to the academic; and the references are sufficiently generous to allow topics to be followed up elsewhere. The authors have worked hard to bring such a lot of scattered material together. It's and expensive item, but could save a lot of time and trouble over the years.
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Format: Hardcover
I was recommended this book and have found it the most useful and interesting reference/read.
I cannot recommend it enough really be your interest tree's herbs magik or just a interested gardener.
I will treasure these books for years and will see that they are handed down to a worthy owner.
Love it.
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