In the early nineteenth century, the city of Edinburgh cultivated a reputation as "the Athens of the North." The paper explores the architectural aspects of this in relation to the city's sense of its own identity. It traces the idea of Edinburgh as a "modern Athens" back to the eighteenth century, when the connotations were cultural, intellectual, and topographical rather than architectural. With the emergence of the Greek revival, however, Edinburgh began actively to construct an image of classical Greece on the hilltops and in the streets of the expanding city. It is argued that the Athenian identity of Edinburgh should be viewed as the culmination of a series of developments dating back to the Act of Union between the Scottish and English Parliaments in 1707. As a result, Edinburgh lost its status as a capital city and struggled to reassert itself against the stronger economy of the south. Almost inevitably, the northern capital had to redefine itself in relation to London, the English and British capital. The major developments of Edinburgh in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, including the New Town and the urban proposals of Robert Adam, are interpreted in this light. As the eighteenth century progressed, the city grew more confident and by the early nineteenth century had settled upon its role within the Union and within the empire, which was that of cultural capital as a counterbalance to London, the political capital. The architectural culmination of the process of the redefinition of Edinburgh, however, coincided with the emergence of another mythology of Scottish identity, as seen through the Romantic vision of Sir Walter Scott. It implied a quite different, indigenous architecture that later found its expression in the Scots Baronial style. It is argued here, however, that duality does not contradict the idea of Edinburgh as Athens, nor, more generally, does it sit uneasily with the Scottish predilection for Greek architecture, but rather that it encapsulates the very essence of Scottish national identity: both proudly Scots and British.

Notes

Notes
1
Margaret A. Forbes, ed., Curiosities of a Scots Charta Chest (Edinburgh, 1897), 198
Forbes
198
Curiosities of a Scots Charta Chest
1897
Nicholas Philpson in Duncan Thomson, ed., Raeburn: The Art of Sir Henry Raeburn 1756-1823, exhibition catalogue, Scottish National Portrait Gallery (Edinburgh, 1997), 29
Philpson
29
Raeburn: The Art of Sir Henry Raeburn 1756-1823
1997
2
William Forbes Gray, "An Eighteenth-Century Riding School," The Book of the Old Edinburgh Club, 1st ser., 20 (1935): 111-159
Gray
1st ser.
111
20
The Book of the Old Edinburgh Club
1935
3
William Smellie in Literary and Characteristic Lives of Gregory, Kames, Hume, and Smith (Edinburgh, 1830), 161-162
Smellie
161
Literary and Characteristic Lives of Gregory, Kames, Hume, and Smith
1830
4
Alexander Carlyle to Gilbert Elliot of Minto, 29 July 1761, National Library of Scotland, Ms. 11015, 106.
Richard B. Sher, Church and University in the Scottish Enlightenment. The Moderate Literati of Edin- burgh (Edinburgh, 1985), 3
Sher
3
Church and University in the Scottish Enlightenment. The Moderate Literati of Edinburgh
1985
5
Colin McWilliam, Scottish Townscape (London, 1975), 118
McWilliam
118
Scottish Townscape
1975
William Forbes Gray, ed., Memorials of his Time by Lord Cockburn, abridged ed. (Edinburgh, 1945), 174 (editor's footnote)
Gray
174
Memorials of his Time by Lord Cockburn
1945
6
The Antiquities of Athens. Measured and Delineated by James Stuart ER.S. and ES.A. and Nicholas Revett ..., vols. 1-3 (London, 1762, 1787, 1796).
Stuart
The Antiquities of Athens. Measured and Delineated by James Stuart ER.S. and ES.A. and Nicholas Revett ...
1796
7
Eileen Harris, British Architectural Books and Writers 1556-1785 (Cam- bridge, 1990), 439-450.
Harris
439
British Architectural Books and Writers 1556-1785
1990
8
Edward Daniel Clarke, Travels in Various Countries of Europe, Asia and Africa, vol. 6 (London, 1818), 378.
Clarke
378
6
Travels in Various Countries of Europe, Asia and Africa
1818
9
Hugh William Williams, Travels in Italy, Greece and the Ionian Islands, 2 vols. (Edinburgh, 1820), vol. 2, Letter 60, 289.
Williams
2
Travels in Italy, Greece and the Ionian Islands
1820
10
Alistair Rowan, "The Athens of the North Exposed," Country Life 26 October 1967, p. 1052.
Rowan
26 October
1052
Country Life
1967
Views of Greece (1827-1829)
Rowan
Views of Greece
1829
Joseph Mordaunt Crook, The Greek Revival, Neoclassical Attitudes in British Archi- tecture, 1760-1870 (London, 1972), 104
Crook
104
The Greek Revival, Neoclassical Attitudes in British Architecture, 1760-1870
1972
11
Rowan, "Athens," 1052.
Rowan
1052
Athens
12
Williams, Travels, vol. 2, 419-420.
Williams
419
2
Travels
13
Charles McKean, Edinburgh Portrait of a City (London, 1991), 149.
McKean
149
Edinburgh Portrait of a City
1991
Ian Gow, "The North- ern Athenian Teapot," Burlington Magazine 131, no. 1034 (1989): 353-35510.2307/883875
353
14
McKean, Edinburgh, 149.
McKean
149
Edinburgh
15
Williams, Travels, vol. 2, 384.
Williams
384
2
Travels
16
Benjamin Crombie, Modern Athenians, a Series of Original Portraits of Memorable Citizens of Edinburgh (Edinburgh, 1837), 47.
Crombie
47
Modern Athenians, a Series of Original Portraits of Memorable Citizens of Edinburgh
1837
17
Eleni Bastia, The Creation of Modern Athens. Planning the Myth (Cambridge, 2000), 70
Bastia
70
The Creation of Modern Athens. Planning the Myth
2000
18
Christopher Montague Wood- house, The Philhellenes (London, 1969), 77
Woodhouse
77
The Philhellenes
1969
19
David Daiches, "The Scottish Enlightenment," in David Daiches, Jean Jones, and Peter Jones, eds., The Scottish Enlightenment 1730-1790. A Hotbed of Genius (Edinburgh, 1996), 8
Daiches
The Scottish Enlightenment
8
The Scottish Enlightenment 1730-1790. A Hotbed of Genius
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20
John Logan, Elements of the Philosophy of History. Part First. Dissertation on the Governments, Manners, and Spirit, of Asia, reprint of 1781 and 1787 editions, with an introduction by Anthony Sher (Bristol, 1995), 52-53.
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Elements of the Philosophy of History. Part First. Dissertation on the Governments, Manners, and Spirit, of Asia
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21
Woodhouse, Philhellenes, 38.
Woodhouse
38
Philhellenes
22
Sher, Church and University, 317 (see n. 4).
317
23
Forbes Gray, ed., Memorials, 174 (see n. 5).
174
24
Robert Mudie, The Modern Athens, A Dissection and Demonstration of Men and Things in the Scotch Capital, by a Modern Greek (London, 1825).
Mudie
The Modern Athens, A Dissection and Demonstration of Men and Things in the Scotch Capital, by a Modern Greek
1825
25
McKean, Edinburgh, 171 (see n. 13).
171
26
Angus Macdonald, "The Athens of the North, " Rassegna 64, no. 4 (1995): 34-39
Macdonald
4
34
64
Rassegna
1995
27
Rowan, "Athens," 1052.
Rowan
1052
Athens
28
Ian Gow, "The Northern Athenian House," Rassegna 64 , no. 4 (1995): 40-47
Gow
4
40
64
Rassegna
1995
29
J. Mordaunt Crook, Greek Revival, 104 (see n. 10).
104
30
Roger Kennedy, Greek Revival America (New York, 1989), 5.
Kennedy
5
Greek Revival America
1989
31
Ibid., 190.
190
32
Linda Coley, Britons: Forging a Nation (New Haven, 1992)
Coley
Britons: Forging a Nation
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33
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Glendinning
The Architecture of Imperial Scotland
185
A History of Scottish Architecture, From the Renaissance to the Present Day
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34
Playfair's by Alexander John Youngson, The Making of Classical Edinburgh (Edinburgh, 1988), 159
Youngson
159
The Making of Classical Edinburgh
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35
O Caledonia! Sir Walter Scott and the Creation of Scotland, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, 7 May-17 October 1999 (catalogue available on CD-ROM)
36
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Stark
Report to the Right Honourable the Lord Provost, Magistrates and Council of the City of Edinburgh, ... on the Plans for Laying out the grounds for Buildings between Edinburgh and Leith
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37
Youngson, Classical Edinburgh, 164-165.
Youngson
164
Classical Edinburgh
38
Robert Louis Stevenson, Edinburgh: Picturesque Notes (1878)
Stevenson
Edinburgh: Picturesque Notes
1878
Edmund Gosse, ed., The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson (London, 1906), 295-296
Gosse
295
The Works of Robert Louis Stevenson
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40
Frank Walker, "National Romanticism and Architecture," in George Gordon, ed., Perspectives on the Scottish City (Aberdeen, 1985), 129.
Walker
National Romanticism and Architecture
129
Perspectives on the Scottish City
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Shakespeare
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184
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44
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45
Hansard, 31, 1816, 102 (Commons), 30 April 1816.
30 April
102
31
Hansard
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46
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Royal Association of Contributors to the National Monument of Scotland
4
Report on the Foundation
1822
47
Robert T. Skinner, "National Memorial, Scotland's 'Dis- grace', The Architect's Letters," The Scotsman (Edinburgh), 3 December 1930
Skinner
3 December
The Scotsman
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48
O Caledonia! (see n. 35).
50
Michael Lynch, Scotland A New History (London, 1992), 313.
Lynch
313
Scotland A New History
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51
Gilbert Elliot, Proposals, quoted in detail by Youngson, Classical Edin- burgh, 4-12 (see n. 34).
52
Ibid., 5.
5
53
Samuel Johnson. A Journey to the Western Isles of Scotland, 1775, letter dated 10 November 1775, Canongate Classics (Edinburgh, 1996), 458.
Johnson
458
A Journey to the Western Isles of Scotland
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Elliot in his Proposals
Elliot
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Lawson
2
47
3
Scotlands
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Scotticisms and the Problem of Cultural Identity in Eighteenth-Century Britain
81
Sociability and Society in Eighteenth-Century Scotland
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55
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O'Donoghue
William Roy, 1726-1790: Pioneer of the Ordnance Survey
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56
Youngson, Classical Edinburgh, chap. 4
Youngson
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n. 34
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41
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58
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4
18
64
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4
26
64
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David Hume's Tomb: a Roman Mausoleum by Robert Adam
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Blackwood
28
377
5
Edinburgh Magazine
1819
"Restoration of the Parthenon," Edinburgh Review 38 (February 1823): 26
February
26
38
Edinburgh Review
1823
64
Alison, Blackwood's, 377.
Alison
377
Blackwood's
66
Alison, Blackwood's, 379.
Alison
379
Blackwood's
68
Alison, Blackwood's, 380.
Alison
380
Blackwood's
69
Ibid., 385.
385
70
Ibid.
71
"Restoration of the Parthenon, " Scots Magazine, February 1820, pp. 1-7, from "A Traveller."
February
1
Scots Magazine
1820
72
Alison, Blackwood's, 385.
Alison
385
Blackwood's
73
Horace, Epistles 2.1.156
Horace
Epistles
74
Stuart and Revett, Antiquities, vol. 1 (1762), i-iv (see n. 6).
75
National Library of Scotland, Ms. 638, 2-3
Times, Paris, 17 April 1817
17 April
Times
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76
Archibald Alison, Some Account of my Life and Writings. An Autobiography (Edinburgh and London, 1883), 220.
Alison
220
Some Account of my Life and Writings. An Autobiography (Edinburgh and London
1883
77
William Steven, The History of the High School of Edinburgh (Edinburgh, 1849), 218.
Steven
218
The History of the High School of Edinburgh
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78
Julien-David Le Roy, Les Ruines des plus beaux monuments de la Grece (Paris, 1758).
Roy
Les Ruines des plus beaux monuments de la Grece
1758
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