Imagining a Destroyed and Lost Garden Through Written Works

Last week we visited Langa and Yedikule Gardens in order to see a long transformation in a region in terms of the usage of the land and field. I would like start by stating a philosophical and imaginary difficulty in order to draw the framework of this paper. Our visit was to a field which had been transformed for many times into different areas for agricultural or monetary production and habitation. Even if we are able to find some archeological remains of different periods the field and its aura had been transformed many times. In this framework an imagination of the past decades seems impossible for scholars and researchers. As a research methodology looking into the written works might help us for to illustrate the past decades. These sources are more helpful with a combination of different sources in different periods. Similarities and differences misght show the researchers the continuity in the era in terms of cause and consequences.

Studying primary resources that had been translated and edited recently by scholars might demonstrate us the transformation of the fields and the usage of the soil. One of our resources that we had discussed in Yedikule Gardens; Geoponika is on the farmwork of the Roman and Byzantine. It starts by setting the methodology that had been used in the modern translation. In Geoponika previous books are attributed to the climat conditions sun, moon, wind, schedule, finding water, soil, forests, calenders, seasons and planting. For instance book four is dedicated to grapes and gardening of grapes and includes ideas and observations of different authors of that period such as Demokritos, Tarantinos. Wine and the production of wine is also included in this and following chapters. As we might see cultivation of grapes had occupated an important place for Roman and Byzantine Empire. Book nine is dedicated to olive trees and production of olive oil. Other books include cultivation of fruits such as citrons, pears, peach, cheries, plums etc. Book twelve which seems important for our research on Istanbul focuses on the vegetables and cultivation theories and observations for gardeners. Garlic, onions, lettuce, mushrooms, mint, cabbage, basil are the main products that are discussed as the used products for prophets and the citizens of Istanbul in that era. Florentinus states that “gardening is essential to life” (Geoponika, 247) . In this respect he focused on the value of differetn vegetables in terms of medicinal use in various illnesses.

Our second document “A Complete Translation of the Surviving Founders” Typika and Testaments” focuses firstly on a prior history of the foundation. Accordingly Mamas had been an important monastry and occupied an important patriarchal responsability before 1000s. We might find some information on the diet of the monks and the importance of finding water at that era. The previous chapters are dedicated to the usage of the gardens and the relation of the monks with the gardens inluding the financial matters. Accordingly some fields had been used as cementry. Again we might find some information on olive oil and wine including their daily usage and routine of fasting. Vineyards and their cultivation occupies an important position from 19th chapter onwards. It is interesting to see how religious affairs were organized through the cultivation of the soil and the products for decades. The translated chapters provides us the diet of the monks and the citizens of Istanbul based on the institutions and religious places. For instance we might see this organizations in these lines “Since man is an organic being and is clad in a body which has need of food and requires covering, and there is a divine law that one should not desire to die nor dissolve the bond of union prematurely, my majesty has deemed it necessary to discuss the needs of the nuns, I mean food and clothing and all other garments.” (Typikon 1275)

As for me these documents provide us an important source for understanding the organization made based on the production and how it had effected the social life and daily routines during that period. Besides we might find important information about the products that had been cultivated since that period and their usage. Using primary sources might frame us the missing information and the aura that the scholars are working on. In this sence going through these documents seems important.


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