Bodleian Library Volcanoes : Encounters Through the Ages exhibition catalogue

Volcanoes : Encounters Through the Ages

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'full of fascinating facts and curious byways, from the fate of Krakatoa to the mystery of Santorini, devastated by a colossal eruption in about 1600BC that shattered its ancient civilisation and may even have inspired the myth of Atlantis' - Guardian

Humboldt, Ein Naturgemälde der Anden (Chimborazo Map), 1805

For centuries, volcanic eruptions have captured our imaginations. Whether as signposts to an underworld, beacons to ancient mariners, or as an extraordinary manifestation of the natural world, volcanoes have intrigued many people, who have left records of their encounters in letters, reports and diaries and through sketches and illustrations. This exhibition catalogue for a show at the Bodleian Library tells the stories of volcanic eruptions around the world, using original illustrations and first-hand accounts to explore how our understanding of volcanoes has evolved through time.

Written accounts include Pliny's description of the 79 CE eruption of Vesuvius, stories recounted by seventeenth-century sea-farers, and reports of expeditions made by eighteenth- and nineteenth-century natural historians, including Alexander von Humboldt and Charles Darwin. Illustrations range from fragments of scrolls, buried in the great eruption of Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii, to Athanasius Kircher's extraordinarily detailed sketches, made in the seventeenth century, to the spectacular London sunsets caused by Krakatoa's eruption in 1883. They also include the first photograph of a volcanic eruption and twenty-first-century imaging of Santorini.

  • Author: David M. Pyle, Professor of Earth Sciences at the University of Oxford
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Date published: February 2017
  • Language: English
  • ISBN: 978-1851244591
  • Dimensions: 22.4 x 22.4 cm