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Much of roman architecture is closely related to the natural world. Decorations and forms were originally reproductions of 'structures' created by the gods such as plants and rocks, etc. The first sacred enclosures were simply clearings in the woods, and the temple surrounded by columns is a descendant of the same space. The acanthus is abundant in architecture, principally in the capitals of Corinthian columns. Vines, oak or laurel leaves can have specific associations with gods. The date palm appears often in christian mosaics representing the Tree of Life, and it's branches are carried by martyred saints. The botanical gardens offer the opportunity to study the most primitive origins of man's artistic development.