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The Art Of Making The Earth Fruitful: Medieval And Early Modern Improvements Of Soil Fertility

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Chapter Summary

According to Ibn Wahsiyya, the difference the fertilizing liquid makes can easily be seen by comparing two plants, one treated with such water, the other one without. Agricultural treatises have either been organized by theme, by time, or in combination of both systems. This chapter presents a few stepping stones in the vast corpus of soil knowledge. The Geoponika, a Byzantine collection of otherwise lost agricultural writings, were, according to current scholarly opinion, compiled in the tenth century for Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus, proof of the fact that agriculture was important for rulers. Taking the morphologically-caused diversity of soils into account, Eller holds that the materials of the third class are not part of the "usual" constituents: sand, yellow earth for bricks and clay. John Evelyn's Terra, A Philosophical Discourse of the Earth was presented to the Royal Society, of which he was a fellow, in London in 1675.

Keywords: agriculture; Eller; Geoponika; Ibn Wahsiyya; John Evelyn's Terra; soil fertility



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