Laurel & Flower wreath
We have brought together bunches of flowers known from antiquity. They are real flowers which we dried for your use in class.
Laurel & Flower wreath | Romans and cotton?
You can create wonderful flower wreaths and at the same time convey what kind of plants played important roles during the Roman period. For example, already the elder Pliny knows of cotton which he thought derived from China (Nat. Hist. VI 20): ‘The Seres [north-eastern China] are so famous for the wool that is found in their forests. After steeping it in water, they comb off a white down that adheres to the leaves; and then to the females of our part of the world they give the twofold task of unravelling their textures, and of weaving the threads afresh. So manifold is the labour, and so distant are the regions which are thus ransacked to supply a dress through which our ladies may in public display their charms.’ And in the same work (b. XII 21) we read: ‘On a more elevated plateau of the same island, we find trees that bear wool, but of a different nature from those of the Seres; as in these trees the leaves produce nothing at all, and, indeed, might very readily be taken for those of the vine, were it not that they are of smaller size. They bear a kind of gourd, about the size of a quince; which, when arrived at maturity, bursts asunder and discloses a ball of down, from which a costly kind of linen cloth is made. This tree is known by the name of gossypinus: the smaller island of Tylos, which is ten miles distant from the larger one, produces it in even greater abundance.’
Laurel & Flower wreath | permanent fun
From these pages of The Roman Shop, you can order a dried natural, cotton-soft cotton branch with genuine soft cotton balls. The cotton branch is permanently stable and can be shown again and again in the classroom or in museum education. Of course, you can also use the dried plant as a decoration of an exceptional kind.
As Pliny already indicates, cotton is a very old crop! And there are over 50 different varieties. Whether people independent of each other discovered the use of cotton, planted it and made linnen out of it, or whether this knowledge has travelled the world, is unknown, but we know of people in the Americas, in Asia and Africa who made use of it, before it came to Europe.
Braid flower wreath | Roman flowers
Or use our safflower or Palm fronds to create beautiful arrangements. They are suitable for illustrative school instructions, too. With its amazing way of staying bright green even when dried, it had an important role to play in Roman times. You can place the dried branch into the classroom, and tell the students to wave to the victorious players in Roman times, give the stories of the winning gladiators... Certainly, the listeners will hang on your lips!