Project Description


Our second round of online seminars is about to conclude after another exciting and illuminating series of presentations. The third series will resume in September 2020, and the seminar schedule will be published in the meantime. Please email if you are interested in participating. Our second conference has been postponed for the time being. 

Project description

The purpose of this project is to gather and share ongoing research on nature (φύσις) and plants (φυτά) in ancient Greece. It is based on a regular online seminar and yearly conferences. The range is from Homer to the Vth century for our first series of webinars and the first conference, and then including IVth century authors and beyond for the second series. 

Our main interests are: i) the representation of plants and vegetal processes in Greek thought and literature, with an emphasis on the linguistic analysis of the vegetal lexicon (e.g. φύω, θάλλω, ἀνθέω, βλαστάνω, ῥιζόω and their cognates and derivatives), throughout all sources, whether poetic, philosophical or technical; ii) the use of plants as analogical or metaphorical models for various areas of experience and speculation (such as cosmogony and cosmology, politics and society, the body, kinship, ethics, psychology, etc.), thus assessing how much botanical and agricultural practices might have nourished the development of Greek thought.


Alessandro Buccheri (Labex HASTEC – Centre Jean Pépin), Arnaud Macé (Université de Franche-Comté, Logiques de l’Agir EA 2274) and Leon Wash (University of Chicago)


Our first conference, Phusis kai Phuta I, took place 18-19 June 2019. It was a fantastic culmination of a year’s worth of lively and productive conversation. Many thanks to all the seminar participants, but especially those who were able to come to Paris, along with some others who joined us for the first time at the conference. We are eager to begin planning for Phusis kai Phuta II, which will be held in Chicago, in the spring or early summer of 2020.

A few highlights from the live reporting by Arnaud Macé: 

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