Thursday, March 02, 2006

Italy's Umbrella Pine

In his letter describing the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius, Pliny the Younger writes,

Nubes...oriebatur, cuius similitudinem et formam non alia magis arbor quam pinus expresserit. Nam longissimo velut trunco elata in altum quibusdam ramis diffundebatur, credo quia recenti spiritu evecta, dein senescente eo destituta aut etiam pondere suo victa in latitudinem vanescebat, candida interdum, interdum sordida et maculosa prout terram cineremve sustulerat. (Epistulae VI.16, ll. 13-18)

This passage immediately came to mind when I saw this perfect example of an umbrella pine tree in the ruins of Ostia Antica. I took this photograph in July 2005 with the intention of flashing it up on the wall from the digital projector whenever we read Pliny. Pictures are indeed worth a thousand words!

1 comment:

Figgy said...

The umbrella pine is my favorite tree in the entire world. Ever time I think of Italy, especially Rome and south of Rome the tree comes to mind.

Do you know where I can find more photos/posters of the umbrella pine?