In ancient Greece, the philosopher Aristotle distinguished plants from animals and humans with the idea that plants are only capable of growth and cannot desire (like animals) or reason (like humans). Yet Aristotle also connected plants with the basic material from which the entire cosmos was made. The first writer to give a name to "matter," Aristole called it "hyle," which also meant "wood," "timber," or "plant-stuff." The medieval enclycopedia shown above depicts God creating the world in front of a background of golden vines and leaves.
Aristotle, antiquity, hyle