Universität Wien FIND

Return to Vienna for the summer semester of 2022. We are planning to hold courses mainly on site to enable the personal exchange between you, your teachers and fellow students. We have labelled digital and mixed courses in u:find accordingly.

Due to COVID-19, there might be changes at short notice (e.g. individual classes in a digital format). Obtain information about the current status on u:find and check your e-mails regularly.

Please read the information on https://studieren.univie.ac.at/en/info.

142107 UE Savannah, jungle, mountains, desert: Conceptions of landscape in ancient South Asia (2021W)

Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 24 participants
Language: English



Tue. 13:00-14:30, SR 3, from Oct. 5th (day and time can be shifted if necessary)


Aims, contents and method of the course

South Asia is rich in various climatic environments. And although they play an important role in cultural history, they are rarely mentioned in both primary and secondary literature. An exception are the works of Indian medicine or Ayurveda, in which landscapes are categorized and repeatedly discussed under various aspects. Francis Zimmermann dedicated himself to this topic in his 1987 monograph "The Jungle and the Aroma of Meats". On the basis of his observations, this course first examines concepts of environments in epic literature, returns to the source texts of Āyurveda and finally compares similar concepts in the Arthaśāstra.
The course is intended to give an insight into early environmental concepts according to various Sanskrit source texts. In addition, work on the selected passages, which serve as examples of epic and scientific Sanskrit, will improve translation skills.

The course will be held on-site. If this should not be possible during the whole semester, we will change to a digital format. If there are any attendants who are not able to join on-site, a hybrid format is possible.

Assessment and permitted materials

Preparation of the text passages to be translated for the lessons, active participation in the course, written exercises.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

Evaluation criteria: 50% participation in the course, 50% written exercises.

Examination topics

Reading list

Passages from texts like the Mahābhārata, the Carakasāṃhitā, the Suśrutasaṃhitā, the Aṣṭāṅgasaṃgraha, and the Arthaśāstra will be read during this course.

Introductory Literature:
• Parkhill, Thomas. The Forest Setting in Hindu Epics: Princes, Sages, Demons. Lewiston: Mellen, 1995.
(Based on his PhD thesis, available online: https://macsphere.mcmaster.ca/handle/11375/14199)
• Ray, Rita Ghosh. „The Attitude of Kautilya to Aranya“. Environment and History 2.2 (1996): 221–229. (Available online: http://www.environmentandsociety.org/mml/attitude-kautilya-aranya)
• Thapar, R. „Perceiving the Forest: Early India“. Studies in History 17, Nr. 1 (2001): 1–16. (Available online: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/025764300101700101)
• Zimmermann, Francis. The Jungle and the Aroma of Meats. An Ecological Theme in Hindu Medicine. Berkeley, Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1987.

Association in the course directory


Last modified: We 29.09.2021 09:08