Pan's Travail: Environmental Problems of the Ancient Greeks and Romans

Pan's Travail: Environmental Problems of the Ancient Greeks and Romans

Paperback Ancient Society & History

By (author) J. Donald Hughes

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  • Publisher: JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Format: Paperback | 292 pages
  • Dimensions: 140mm x 216mm x 16mm | 374g
  • Publication date: 1 January 1996
  • Publication City/Country: Baltimore, MD
  • ISBN 10: 080185363X
  • ISBN 13: 9780801853630
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 932,361

Product description

In Pan's Travail, J. Donald Hughes examines the environmental history of the classical period and argues that the decline of ancient civilizations resulted in part from exploitation of the natural world. Focusing on Greece and Rome, as well as areas subject to their influences, Hughes offers a detailed look at the impact of humans and their technologies on the ecology of the Mediterranean basin. He also compares the ancient world's environmental problems to those of other eras and discusses attitudes toward nature expressed in Greek and Latin literature.

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Author information

J. Donald Hughes is professor of history at the University of Denver. His books include Ecology in Ancient Civilizations and Ecological Consciousness.

Review quote

A significant contribution to understanding the relationship between Classical Civilization in the Mediterranean Basin and its contemporary natural environment during the period from 800 B.C. to 600 A.D... Worthwhile and thought-provoking reading. Bryn Mawr Classical Review This backward glance at glorious civilizations-now vanished, in part, because they neglected the long-term limits of their growth-should serve as an object lesson to those who argue that goodwill and technical ingenuity alone can sustain societies indefinitely. Sciences A book on green issues is something new and Pan's Travails, moreover, is a compelling recital of man's mistreatment of the Mediterranean environment. Greece and Rome

Back cover copy

"Many people express surprise", writes J. Donald Hughes, "when they are told that environmental problems existed in the ancient world; they are used to thinking of the environment as an exclusively modern concern. But an examination of the evidence shows that the Greeks and Romans not only suffered from some of the same predicaments that plague the present scene, but in many cases they were aware of them and commented on them". In Pan's Travail Hughes examines the environmental history of the classical period and argues that the decline of ancient civilizations resulted in part from exploitation of the natural world. Focusing on Greece and Rome, as well as on areas subject to their influences, Hughes offers a detailed look at the impact of humans and their technologies on the ecology of the Mediterranean basin. He explores the complex relationships of human culture and the environment with topics that include deforestation and overgrazing, soil erosion, depletion of wildlife and natural resources, pollution, and urban problems such as water supply and sewage disposal. He also compares the ancient world's environmental problems to those of other eras and discusses attitudes toward nature expressed in Greek and Latin literature.