[MUSIC] Mountains are much more than just physical entities. The high places of the world have represented an amazing spectrum of ideas and needs for various people at different times in history. We have learned how mountains have been gradually shaped by geological processes and weather. But how has human imagination and perception shape mountain landscapes? For British historian Simon Schama, landscape is the work of the mind. It's scenery is built up as much from strata of memory, as from layers of rock. In this lesson we're going to examine some of the various ways people have imagined and reimagined mountains throughout time and try to place those ideas and attitudes in their respective context. Appreciating the diversity of views, their reception in oral traditions, in art and literature, and other cultural forms gives us some context for the more dominant ways we think about and celebrate mountains today. [SOUND] Today mountains are considered with admiration and affection around the world, but positive attitudes towards mountains haven't always been so universal. For example, during the Middle Ages and much of the Renaissance, many people in Europe shunned mountain ranges. They were believed to be dreadful places, the haunts of demonic beings like witches and trolls. Do you remember Johan Schweitzer from our last lesson on glaciers? His suggestion that dragons could be found in the mountains of Switzerland was in the very early 1700's, a late example of this dark brooding tradition. Earlier Europeans, however, like the Ancient Greeks or the Celts, revered mountains and hills as divine places. For the Greeks, high peaks were the abodes of gods and other deities. The 12 major gods and goddesses of Greek mythology resided in a fortress paradise on Mount Olympus. Zeus was the kings of gods. And he was born and raised in mountain caves. The muses who inspired music and art and literature and science, they lived in the mountains. Mountains were also the haunts of nymphs and centaurs and other fantastic magical creatures. The wildness and isolation of mountains also impressed the ancient Greeks. In the eighth century epic poem The Iliad, one of the oldest extant works of Western literature, Homer vividly describes mountain weather. >> In the spring, snow-water torrents risen and flowing down the mountainsides hurl at a confluence their mighty waters out of gorges, filled by tributaries. And far away upon the hills a shepherd hears the roar. As south wind and the southeast wind, contending in mountain groves, make all the forest thrash, swaying their pointed boughs toward one another in roaring wind, and snapping branches crack. >> The mountain that figures most prominently in Greek mythology and literature is of course, Mount Olympus in Thessaly. Olympus, a word that predates the Greeks, was likely used to mean peak or mountain in a generic sense for there are a number of Greek mountains named Olympus. Several of these, like Mount Olympus in Thessaly, were associated with weather cults. The mighty Zeus, after all, was the god of storms and weather, presiding over both gods and mortals from mountain heights. Italy, much like Greece is a mountainous country. The Apennines run it's entire length and the European Alps form its northern borders. But Romans didn't generally share Greeks appreciation for mountains. Far from it. For the Romans, mountains were primarily viewed as obstacles for commerce and conquests. By Caesar's time, Romans were regularly crossing the Alps and they seemed to have generally dreaded the experience. To appease their primarily Celtic deities of the alpine Passes, to commemorate their safe passage, the Romans made offerings of coins and small bronze tablets inscribed with the names of the deity and the traveler. Roman attitudes toward mountains are well illustrated in this description of a very famous crossing of the Alps made by Hannibal, a Carthaginian general in 281 BC. >> Here everything is wrapped in eternal frost, white with snow, and held in the grip of primeval ice. The mountain steeps are so stiff with cold that although they tower up into the sky, the warmth of the sunshine cannot soften their hardened rime. No spring comes to this region, nor the charms of summer. Misshapen winter dwells alone on these dread crests, and guards them as her perpetual abode. Thither from all sides she gathers the somber mists and the thunder-clouds mingled with hail. Here, too, in this Alpine home, have the winds and the tempests fixed their furious dominion. Men grow dizzy amidst the lofty crags, and the mountains disappear in the Clouds. >> Knowingly or not, Hannibal's caravan may well have been observing some of the physiological effects of altitude that we discussed in lesson four. Later, medieval Europeans, much like their Roman predecessors, seemed to pay little attention to the grander aspects of nature. There are actually very few favorable references to mountains in either the literature or the graphic art of the age. As Christianity spread throughout Europe, the natural sacred sites, central to the practice of pre-Christian religions, were destroyed to a great extent. Mountains were now dangerous places for the most part, sacred only in a very negative demonic sense. These suspicions would persist well into the 18th and 19th centuries, when medieval fears would subside to a new romantic enthusiasm. Other major cultures had very different views of mountains. Attitudes in the East, for example, greatly contrast with those from West. In the east, the appreciation of mountains began much, much earlier. According to the origin myth of the Korean people, they're descended from the union of a sky god and a bear woman on the sacred volcano Mount Paektu, the highest mountain on the Korean peninsula. Its large crater lake on top is suitably named Heaven Lake. In Japan, China, Tibet and India, mountains have also been long adored and worshiped. They were considered sacred in China, at least 2,000 years before the birth of Christ. The impact of mountains on early Chinese cultures was huge. The great ranges of that country were considered to be the body of a cosmic being, according to some, a dragon. The rocks were its bones, the water was its blood, the vegetation its hair, the clouds and mists were its breath. In many Asian cultures dragons don't generally have an evil connotation, as the they do in the West. Dragons are benevolent creatures, controlling the elements, and guarding sources of wisdom. Until the 3rd century AD, the Chinese regarded mountains as dangerous places of supernatural power. Places that only those with proper spiritual training could safely enter. But that changed around the 4th century. A shift in the Chinese capital to the more attractive mountains in the south, as well as growing discontent with imperial bureaucracy meant that people were increasingly traveling to mountains for leisure purposes. They were now pursuing painting and poetry. They were seeking inspiration in the beautiful mountain landscape. A similar transformation wouldn't happen for over 1,000 years in the west. The following Chinese poem, this is from the 5th century, nicely shows this early reimagining of mountain landscapes. >> In the mountains, all is pure, all is calm, all complication is cut off. Rare are they who know to listen, happy they who possess wisdom. If the cold wind stings and bothers you, sit in the sun, it is always warm there. Its hot rays burn like flames, while, opposite, in the shade, all is frost and snow. One pauses on ledges, one climbs to the foot of high clouds. One sits in the depths of a gorge, one passes windy grottos. Here is the realm of harmony and joy, where the past and the present become eternal. >> For many people in the east sacred mountains were a focus for religious pilgrimage. And one notable site is Mount Kailash in Tibet. And this is perhaps one of the most holy mountains on Earth. Kailash is sacred to adherence of the Hindu, the Buddhists and the Jain and Bon religions. That's about a quarter of the world's population. For Hindus, Kailash is home to Lord Shiva, one of the three major deities. For Buddhists, it's the deity Demchog, who represents supreme bliss. The summit of Kailash remains untrodden to this day. No one has ever stood on its summit. To climb the mountain would be sacrilegious. Instead, it's a favorite for circumambulation, which is the act of walking around a sacred object or idol. Many of the higher peaks of the Himalayas are considered sacred by the people of that region. With the arrival of tourism, and mountaineering in particular, governments have had to restrict access to particular areas. In Nepal, for example, the summits of Kangchenjunga and Machapuchare, are both off limits for religious reasons. Airplane flights are also prohibited over certain peaks. This restriction would relax with the advent of jet travel in the 1960s, but when aviation first began, a planned English flight over Mount Everest in the 1930s caused enormous controversy, in both Tibet and Nepal. Mount Everest is known to the Nepalese as Sagarmatha, meaning forehead in the sky. To Tibetans, the mountain is Chomolungma, mother goddess of the world. We don't know exactly when settlement in mountains began. In the European Alps in the mountains of the Middle East, archeological sites indicate the presence of humans as far back as the Stone Age. That's 100,000 years ago. In the Americas, radiocarbon dating of bone, shells, and artifacts, reveal a human presence in mountains for 10 or 11,000 years. Almost as long as humans are known to have inhabited the Americas. Mountains played and continue to play an important role in the indigenous cultures of North and South America. The Andes contain perhaps the most spectacular display of human settlement in the mountains. Here, thousands of years ago at elevations nearing 4,500 meters, there are flourished civilizations that remained a marvel to the modern world. The culmination of these cultures is reflected at the stone ruins of Machu Picchu, a 15th century Inca settlement located high in the Peruvian Andes. Machu Picchu appears to lie at the center of a network of related sites and trails. And many landmarks, both human made and mountainous, appear to align with astronomical events like the solstice sunset for example. The Incas had no written language, and so they left no record as to why they built the site or how they used it before it was abandoned in the early 16th century. What attitude did these people have about the mountains that were their home? We know that among their deities was the sun, the moon, stars, and mountains. Today Machu Picchu is among the greatest artistic, architectural and land used achievement anywhere, and the most significant tangible legacy of the Inca civilization.