Mountains in Scottish Gaelic poetry

I am currently redrafting the manuscript of my book,┬áMountains Before Mountaineering: The Call of the Peaks Before the Modern Age, which I’m delighted to say will be coming out with the History Press in spring 2024. I am finding, inevitably, that I am having to cut a lot of material: I have a word count … Read more

Mountain Dialogues – now available in paperback!

We are delighted to announce that our edited volume,┬áMountain Dialogues from Antiquity to Modernity, is now available in paperback! We are really honoured by this, as well as by the reviews the book has received thus far (see for example Terry Gifford’s generous take in The Classical Review). The volume contains contributions from scholars across … 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

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

Approaching Landscape: Panel Report

As mentioned in a recent blog post, one of the big events of the summer for our mountains project was the ‘Celtic Conference in Classics’, taking place at St Andrews in July, and for which we hosted a panel on ‘approaching landscape in the classical tradition’. As anticipated, the three-day panel proved to be an … Read more

Approaching Landscape: 11th-14th July 2018

At the time of writing, it is now less than a week until the 11th Celtic Conference in Classics opens in St Andrews. The ‘CCC’ – which has been running at a different institution each year since 1998 – will feature fourteen distinct panels on different topics within classical scholarship. We are extremely excited to … Read more

Visualising mountains: Atlas transformed

Dawn explores some early modern images of the classical story of Atlas’ mountainous metamorphosis. I’m currently working on a book proposal (on, you’ll be surprised to hear, mountains in early modernity…), which includes the optimistic selection of the images which, in a world free from printing expenses and copyright concerns, I would ideally see illustrating … Read more

Mental Landscapes, Classical Mountains

Dawn reveals that physical height was not the only thing that gave a peak prominence in the early modern cultural landscape. It is more or less taken as a given in most scholarly work on landscape that, insofar as human engagements with it are concerned, there is a distinction to be made between the ‘physical’ … Read more

Why study mountains? a question for a 21st-century historian

Dawn discusses what brought her to the study of premodern mountains. Last time I posted, I wrote about why a seventeenth-century traveller might choose to visit a mountain. Today, I want to turn that question on its head – why did I, a twenty-first century historian, choose to study such mountain interactions? I grew up … Read more

Why visit mountains? A seventeenth-century answer

Dawn discusses a passage from one of her favourite early modern travel accounts, which identifies mountains as sites of classical and Biblical memory. It does not happen often, but every now and then, in the midst of piecing together a coherent narrative from dozens of disparate texts, a historian can chance across a centuries-old text … Read more