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

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

The Ascent of Jumbo: Twentieth Century Mountaineers on the Search for Hannibal’s Pass

Dawn considers the surprising story of a twentieth-century elephant and Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps. I am currently beginning to make the first cautious steps into a new area of research. During my PhD, which focussed on sixteenth- and seventeenth- century responses to mountains, I trawled through the first thirty or so volumes of the Alpine Journal … 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

Olympus

Jason considers both ancient and modern responses to one of Greece’s most enigmatic mountains. One of the projects I have been working on for a while now is a biography of Mt Olympus. Olympus is the highest mountain in mainland Greece, at just under 3000 metres. It’s a complex mountain, with multiple peaks and steep … Read more