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Keywords:

  • Alexander the Great;
  • Greece;
  • Mount Athos;
  • natural landscapes;
  • reception theory.

ABSTRACT. The metaphorical power of natural landscapes and geographical objects has attracted an increasing amount of critical interest. The myth of Dinocrates planning to carve Mount Athos into the figure of Alexander the Great epitomizes the complex relationship between the insistent materiality of prominent geographical features such as mountains and imagination. Through an iconographic reading of different renderings of the Dinocratic myth in western Europe, this article explores the way Mount Athos turned into a powerful emblem circulating across space and time. While considering the continuity of a Classical vision projected on rock, the article focuses on its constant reappropriations and transformations in different historical and geographical contexts. Dinocratic Athos becomes a metaphor of egotism, power, and desire but also a free-floating referent, reflecting a shifting relationship between the microcosm of the human body and the natural macrocosm.