Article ID: CBB333541222

Echoes of Ancient Volcanic Representations: A Geo-Mythological Approach (2020)


Reflections, studies, and observations on volcanic phenomena, especially about Etna, and their consequences on natural and human landscapes can be traced back to early moments of Greek colonization on Sicily. Hesiod (8th-7th c. BC) was the first to mention the myth of the battle between Zeus and Typhon, which conceals the memory of an ancient volcanic eruption. This very same narrative motif is echoed in the production of later authors wherein a description of Etna’s volcanic eruptions is recognizable. The character of Typhon can be found in other volcanic contexts as well, thus becoming a topos alluding to volcanic activity. These considerations demonstrate an archaic aptitude in representing and explaining nature through myth, whose suggestive language permits to encode memories of real events. Defined as ‘geomythology,’ this methodological approach will be employed to analyse the figure of Typhon and its connection with Mount Etna, which will allow new insights into the analysis of ancient volcanic representations.

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Authors & Contributors
Slatkin, Laura M.
Clay, Jenny Strauss
Amigues, Suzanne
Holbrook, Jarita C.
Medupe, Rodney
Urama, Johnson O.
Journal of Medieval Latin
Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies
Acque Sotterranee
Physis: Rivista Intemazionale di Storia della Scienza
Cambridge University Press
University of New Hampshire
University of Washington
Science and literature
Volcanoes and volcanology
Science and culture
Earth sciences
Theophrastos of Eresos
Freud, Sigmund
Erigena, Johannes Scotus
Martianus Capella
Shakespeare, William
Paris (France)
Mediterranean region
19th century
18th century
20th century
20th century, late

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