|Reconstruction of a Roman villa garden|
I'm revealing the value of a library garden for Marcus Tullius Cicero, the famous Roman orator, lawyer and philosopher. A sample:
From Cicero himself to the villa vines he adored, was the same perfection of form and function; the same cosmic blueprint. And above it all, the bright blue sky - so often overlooked by pedantic babblers, but for the simple, patient Stoic a cause for awe, reverence.
If he had no truck with deified abstractions and the crowded fancy of Olympus, Cicero had a genuine feeling for the mind at the heart of things; for the external fire of nature. Even after his even-handed exposition, he was unshaken. He believed that the Stoic cosmology 'approximated more nearly to a semblance of truth.' A guarded confession, but a confession nonetheless: Cicero's nature had a divinity in it, which no clever analysis shook off.
In Varro's villa garden, and his own at Tusculum, Cicero confronted this god. Not in the wilderness, but in a new nature: forged from human intelligence and the unfurling stuff of plant and animal life. It spoke of the Stoic god's perfect, providential divinity, but in a new language, comprehensible to mortals requiring agriculture, leisure, creature comforts. 'By means of our hands we struggle to create,' wrote Cicero, 'a second world within the world of nature.'
The garden was the statesman's second, sacred world. Nature gave man the 'power and process' of life, and then gave him reason to master it - Varro's garden library brought both gifts together.(Photo: Sailko)