Arming the Alps through Art: Saints, Knights and Bandits on the Early Modern Roads

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


No blood will be drawn and no lives will be lost. Yet, the actual presence of these weapons in the Alps provide an interesting pretext to the staging of such recognizable objects and performances of bodily combat, and how they might correlate to a broader visual culture of normative violence. In the late medieval and early modern periods, there was a profusion of images of military saints and knights who watched the pathways of this strategic landscape. Crossing the medieval and early modern Alps required planning, resources and the courage to cope with often-treacherous terrain, pathways and climate. Banditry was also perceived as rife: without a competent guide, travelers – from solo voyagers to larger caravans – were vulnerable to a spontaneous or coordinated attack. The Alps continued to be the setting for warfare throughout the fourteenth century. The viamala has operated as a transit route in the Rhaetian Alps since Roman times, when it was used for military purposes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTravel and Conflict in the Early Modern World
EditorsGábor Gelléri, Rachel Willie
Place of PublicationOxford, United Kingdom
PublisherTaylor and Francis Ltd.
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9781003057871
ISBN (Print)9780367524210
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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