Montaigne, Michel de (m)
Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) was an influential leader of the French Renaissance. He had studied law but abandoned it to devote himself to writing, producing three volumes of essays(a) on a wide range of subjects. For over four centuries Montaigne has influenced western philosophy and literature.*[Ignatius Donnelly ascribed the essays of Montaigne as well as the plays of both William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe to Francis Bacon!]*
In one of his essays, On Cannibals, he referred to Plato’s Atlantis and apparently accepted its reality. However, he did not express any opinion on the date of the lost civilisation or its location, apart from ruling out America, except to interpret Plato as saying that Atlantis was “situate directly at the mouth of the Straits of Gibraltar”. Modern commentators such as J. Warren Wells have also pointed out that in describing the location of Atlantis, Plato used the Greek word ‘pro’ means before and “that this in turn implies closeness.”[783.79] This conflicts with the idea that Atlantis was situated on or near the Azores, Canaries or Cape Verde archipelagos or further afield in the Americas or Antarctica.
Another small point is that Montaigne refers to ‘Africa and Asia combined’ (Timaeus 24e) rather than ‘Libya and Asia’ confirming that scholars in the 16th century understood that ‘Libya’ in Plato’s time had a broader meaning than just the territory west of Egypt.