The Oxford Biblical Studies Online and Oxford Islamic Studies Online have retired. Content you previously purchased on Oxford Biblical Studies Online or Oxford Islamic Studies Online has now moved to Oxford Reference, Oxford Handbooks Online, Oxford Scholarship Online, or What Everyone Needs to Know®. For information on how to continue to view articles visit the subscriber services page.

Related Content

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Classical studies


Show Summary Details


locus amoenus

Quick Reference

‘pleasant spot’, a phrase used by modern scholars to refer to the set description of an idyllic landscape, typically containing trees and shade, a grassy meadow, running water, song‐birds, and cool breezes. The tradition goes back to Homer's descriptions of the grotto of Calypso and the garden of Alcinous; the rural setting for the dialogue in Plato's Phaedrus was much imitated. In Theocritus' and Virgil's Eclogues such landscapes form the backdrop for the songs and loves of shepherds. Horace criticizes the fashion for such descriptions. This perfect nature is also the setting for the innocence of the golden age and the blessedness of the Elysian Fields (see elysium); among real places the vale of Tempē was idealized as a locus amoenus. There was an analogous fashion for ideal landscapes in Roman wall‐painting. See gardens.

Subjects: Classical studies

Reference entries