Course One Details

What can we learn from the Romans about environmental sustainability and personal well-being today? 



Key Details:

  • Twelve Weeks

  • One, 1.5 to 2.0 hour session per week

  • Live online teaching with Zoom conferencing


Week One: Introduction 

Basic introduction and background information

Week Two: Greek and Roman conceptions of the cosmos 

Ancient theories about the cosmos: The four elements; the atomic theory; and ideas about spiritus/pneuma. We explore how the Greeks and Romans understood these theories in relation to their environments and health. 

Week Three: The four humours: yellow bile, black bile, phlegm, and blood


Ancient medical theories about the four humours and health. We ask what we can learn from the Ancient Greeks and Romans about maintaining our health today.

Week Four: Greek and Roman theories on the five senses 


 Ancient theories on sensory function. We explore how sensory experiences connected people to nature.  

Week Five: Roman gardens

We explore the archaeology and history of Roman gardens and consider why the Romans thought they were important to health. 


Week Six: Ancient flowers and modern floristry


We ask how the Greeks and Romans made their flower crowns and garlands and question if we can learn anything from their methods to help make modern floristry sustainable.


Week Seven: Taste, diet and home-grown food: Roman agriculture, diets and recipes


Ancient agriculture, cooking techniques, and ideas about a healthy diet are explored. We compare Roman ideas to those we have today to help us think about our practices of sustainable and organic farming.

Week Eight: Beekeeping

We need bees to survive, and the ancient Greeks and Romans understood this, too. We examine how beekeeping worked in the ancient world and explore the uses for honey and bee’s wax.

Week Nine: Healthy spaces

In this session, we learn about healthy spaces in the ancient world: public gardens, baths, and gymnasia. We consider the link between a healthy body and mind and how the Romans thought these spaces encouraged both. 

Week Ten: Women in the gardens

In this session, we explore who used healthy spaces in the ancient world with a particular focus on women. 

Week Eleven: Inclusive gardens

We carry on from the previous session and consider ancient conceptions of gender, ethnicity, race, age, and ability in relation to healthy spaces. Can their ideas inform us about Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion issues today?


Week Twelve: Spirituality in gardens 

In the final session, we explore Roman religion in relation to nature. We look at their conception of ‘spirituality’ and how this might have made public spaces peaceful, and ultimately healthful for the body and mind.

Week Thirteen: Bonus week


This session is extra for anyone who has questions or ideas about any of the topics covered in the previous weeks. We will also discuss our ideas for helping the planet.

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