Prospettive di studio per l'immaginario del bosco nella letteratura latina
Latin has four words meaning “wood”: lucus, nemus, saltus and silva. These words are more or less synonymic, and none of them shows a truly distinctive connotation when compared to the others. The association of the wood with polar entities such as locus amoenus – locus horridus, sacred – profane, work – leisure is the starting point for the understanding of the amphibology, which is conclusively clarified by the Virgilian use of the words meaning “wood”. Before Vergil, lucus referred to the sacred wood, whereas silua referred to the non-sacred wood, with its prodigious nature or even its mere antiquity. After Virgil, this basic opposition fades away; rhetoric and style become the criteria governing the selection and grouping of the words meaning “wood”. This paper suggests historical, anthropological and literary reasons for the evolution of the “wood”, emphasizing the increasing ambiguity character of the concept.