Thinking Mountains 2018

 Dawn reports on a project trip to an international mountain studies conference in the snow-covered mountains of Banff National Park, Canada: it’s a hard life being a mountain historian. Just last week, the mountains in ancient literature and culture project team had the pleasure and privilege of attending Thinking Mountains 2018, a four-day interdisciplinary summit in … Read more

Scottish Mountains and the Classical Tradition

Not as unconnected as you might think: Jason traces some initial connections between classical literature and imagery and the mountains of Scotland.  I have been trying to work out recently in some spare moments how far travellers’ accounts from Scotland from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries are influenced by the classical tradition in their portrayal … 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

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

Approaching Landscapes: 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

Edward Dodwell on Mt Hymettos

Jason considers the merging of modern categories of the sublime and the picturesque with an appreciation of the classical past in the works and writings of Edward Dodwell (1767-1832). A lot of my work on the project recently has been on ancient texts and contexts. One of the goals of that work is to recapture … 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

Mountain Conquest

Jason highlights the connection between ancient traditions of military mountain activity and twentieth-century mountaineering.  Greek and Roman history writing is packed with descriptions of military activity in the mountains: it’s probably the category of mountain description that survives in the biggest volume from the ancient Mediterranean world, especially from the Roman empire. In classical Greece … 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

Ecotourism and Environment

Jason explores the nature of environmental attitudes in antiquity. How do ancient Greek and Roman attitudes to the environment relate to our own? There has been a tendency to answer that question in very sweeping terms. In some cases, Greek and Roman culture are viewed as the starting-points for modern willingness to exploit the environment … Read more