Mountaineering history and environmental thinking in the early Christian saints’ lives

Jason discusses some examples of early Christian representations of mountain peoples, and their relationship with their ancient and modern equivalents. I have spent quite a lot of time recently looking at the early Christian saints’ lives of the fourth century CE and after, and thinking about how they fit in with the history of mountains … Read more

Mountain Scholarship and Personal Experience: A Conversation

In this podcast, Dawn talks to Chloe Bray (University of Heidelberg) about the relationship between scholarship and personal experiences of the mountain landscape. Is it possible to move beyond our own preconceptions of mountain experiences to understand those of the past? Or is a personal experience of the physical experience of mountain landscapes in fact … Read more

Isolated mountains

Dawn shares examples from early modern literature presenting mountains as spaces of isolation, and reflects on whether the future of mountain engagement might learn valuable lessons from the past. In the middle of March, before the UK even went into lockdown, the Everest climbing season was cancelled. Base camp might be strangely empty this year, … Read more

‘Pagan’ classics, Christians, and a Late Antique world-mountain

In our first guest post, Douglas Whalin explores the sixth-century Christian author Kosmas Indicopleustes and his cosmological model of the world as, literally, a mountain. Douglas is a social historian of Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages (approx. 4th to 9th centuries CE). He has a chapter forthcoming in our Mountain Dialogues volume on … Read more

William Golding at Thermopylae

Jason explores the long history of representing the mountains around Thermopylae in both ancient and modern texts. I have just been reading William’s Golding’s essay ‘The Hot Gates’, published in 1965 (that title translates the Greek name Thermopylae). It has made me want to go back and look a lot more closely at some of … Read more

Mountain Gloom and Mountain Glory: The Genealogy of an Idea

Dawn shares a link to her latest article, unpicking the myth that Europeans feared and disliked mountains before the advent of modernity. Although the blog has been quiet, quite a lot has happened with the mountains project over the past few months. Book proposals have been submitted (watch this space), articles published… and a new … Read more

From ancient mountains to the Appalachians…

Dawn reports on yet another mountain trip, this time to the Appalachians. As my post about attending Thinking Mountains 2018 in Banff, Canada, may have suggested, one of the real advantages of studying mountains is getting to visit them. A few months ago, our mountains project was privileged to be invited to participate in the … Read more