Arysio dos Santos
Dhani Irwanto (1962- ) is an Indonesian hydraulic engineer, who is the latest proponent of the Sundaland location for Atlantis, in his April 2015 book, Atlantis: The lost city is in Java Sea. A review of his book online(a), shows quite clearly that the author has made a serious effort to match Plato’s narrative with his chosen location for Atlantis, namely off the southern coast of the island of Kalimantan in the Java Sea. Irwanto also uses his professional expertise to analyse Plato’s many references to the waterways of the Atlantean capital and it extensive plain. The review also includes a number of maps and video clips used to support Irwanto’s views.
Irwanto has also adopted(c) the 32-point checklist of dos Santos and expanded it to 60 points.(d)
Irwanto also claims that the biblical Garden of Eden and the legendary island of Taprobane were situated on the island of Kilimantan. In an extensive online(b) article in November 2015, he identified the Indonesian island of Sumatra as the land of Punt.
*In June 2017, Irwanto published an illustrated paper(e) on Aurea Chersonesus, referred to by Ptolemy in his 2nd century Geographia . Irwanto has matched details in Ptolemy’s description with a place in western Sumatra called Tanjungemas renowned for its gold mines in the ancient times.*
(Robert) Behzad Sarmast is an Iranian-American and an architect by profession. He abandoned his career to pursue his lifelong passion for ancient history. He is the author of a book, in which he controversially places Atlantis near Cyprus. His website(a) has an interesting collection of maps and diagrams. Coincidentally, the Urantia Book had previously identified a site in the Eastern Mediterranean as the location of Atlantis. Their description matches closely the underwater topography of Sarmast’s site and the
However, a 2016 sermon by Sarmast on the Urantia religion was published online
Urantians have not been slow to exploit this coincidence(b). However, the link between Sarmast and the Urantians has not been actively admitted, although Sarmast’s publisher, Byron Belitsos, revealedthat Urantian funding had been used to obtain the 3D computer modelling of the underwater topography of the seafloor off Cyprus where Sarmast claims Atlantis was located. In October and November 2008 a number of blogs appeared under the name of Robert Sarmast(c). The content of these is religious in tone, although they make some references to Atlantis.However, a 2016 sermon by Sarmast on the Urantia religion was published online.
In 2003 Sarmast compiled a list of similarities between Plato’s description of Atlantis and the Urantia Book’s ‘Garden of Eden’(d).
Sarmast organised an expedition in late 2004 that produced ‘evidence’ of manmade structures, including two ‘walls’ over 3 km long. The site is about seventy miles east of Cyprus towards Syria. At a press conference to announce his discoveries Sarmast was challenged by, Michel Morrisseau, a French geologist who lives on Cyprus, to prove that the Mediterranean had been inundated more recently than the conventionally accepted five million years. Sarmast had no convincing response. However, subsequent to that he attempted to support his views with the unsupported assertion that earliest geographers knew of the breaching of the Gibraltar Dam and that ancient traditions had it that Hercules used his giant mace to smash open the Dam and allow the Atlantic to flood the Mediterranean and so led to the association of Hercules with Gibraltar.
Much more work must be done before Sarmast can rightfully claim that he has discovered Atlantis. In the meanwhile, in an effort to raise funds for the next expedition, his website sought to charge a monthly fee to provide interested ‘members’ with addition information on the preparations for the second expedition. This took place in 2006 with inconclusive results.
Sarmast returned to Cyprus in June 2011 to film a documentary in support of his theory. He had support from the Cyprus Tourism Organisation as well as the History Channel together with some private investors. Filming took place during the Kataklysmos Festival which interestingly celebrates the Deluge and/or Flood of Deucalion.
Since 2013, almost nothing further has been heard from Sarmast, his blogspot(c) is empty and there are no updates on the Discovery of Atlantis website(a)! It is informative to contrast today’s silence with the rhetoric of the initial 2003 press release(e).
However, in 2014, Sarmast had the more than dubious honour of being included in the online Encyclopedia of American Loons(h).
The Arysio dos Santos website offers a critical review of Sarmast’s book(g).
(a) www.discoveryofatlantis.com (link broken June 2018)
*(d) http://www.squarecircles.com/articles/atlantiseden.htm (link broken July 2018)*
(f) http://urantiareligion.com/transcript-for-urantia-religion-video/ (offline April 2017)
The Mahabharata and The Puranas are two of the ancient epics of Hinduism that refer to events dated between 1500 and 1000 BC and probably developed into their present form between 400 BC and 200 AD. They make mention of Attala, the white island, a continent located in the western ocean. This vague similarity with the name of Atlantis may be purely coincidental, but it is regularly produced as ‘evidence’ of pre-Platonic reference to Plato’s flooded island.
A brief, but highly speculative attempt to link Atlantis with Mahabharata is offered by Santosh Kumar(c).
A quite radical suggestion has come from the Italian writer, Michele Manher, who has proposed(a) that Homer’s Iliad originated in India where elements of it can be identified in the Mahabharata!
The website(b) supporting the ‘Atlantis in Indonesia’ theory of Arysio dos Santos has an extensive article with the self explanatory title of The Hindu Origin of the Myth of Atlantis.
The Pillars of Heracles is the name given by Plato to describe a maritime boundary marker of the ancient Greek world. According to his text, Atlantis lay just beyond or just before this boundary. However, strictly speaking, Plato does not call them ‘pillars’ but refers to them as stelai (pronounced “stee-lie”) and its singular Stele (pronounced “stee-lee”) which are the Greek words for stone slabs used as boundary or commemorative markers, not a reference to supportive columns. Rhys Carpenter favours the idea that the term when applied to the Strait of Gibraltar was used with the sense of boundary markers, indicating ”the limits of the Inner Sea that, for the Greeks, was the navigable world.”[221.156]
According to Aristotle, the Pillars of Heracles were also known by the earlier name of ‘Pillars of Briareus’. Plutarch places Briareus near Ogygia, from which we can assume that the Pillars of Heracles are close to Ogygia. Since Malta has been identified as Ogygia, it was not unreasonable, to conclude, as some do, that the Pillars were probably in the region of the Maltese Islands.
However, Ogygia has also been identified with one of the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic by Felice Vinci[019.3], who then proposed that the Pillars of Heracles had also been located in that archipelago. John Larsen has made similar suggestions.
Furthermore, Aristotle also wrote that “outside the pillars of Heracles the sea is shallow owing to the mud, but calm, for it lies in a hollow.” This is not a description of the Atlantic that we know, which is not shallow, calm or lying in a hollow and which he refers to as a sea not an ocean.
Classical writers frequently refer to the Pillars without being in anyway specific regarding their location. Rosario Vieni has suggested that the Symplegades, at the Bosporus, encountered by Homer’s Argonauts were precursors of the Pillars of Heracles, although Vieni settled on the Strait of Sicily as their location, before Sergio Frau adopted the same location.
However, there is little doubt that during the last centuries BC ‘the Pillars’ referred almost exclusively to the Strait of Gibraltar. The online encyclopaedia Wikipedia notes that Pillars were, in earlier times, identified with the Strait of Sicily, but from the time of Erastosthenes (c. 250 BC) the term was used to refer to the Strait of Gibraltar, reflecting the expansion of Greek maritime knowledge.
I consider it highly relevant that no writer prior to Eratosthenes had referred to the Pillars of Heracles being located at Gibraltar. It is not unreasonable to conclude that this silence reflects the lack of knowledge possessed by the ancient Greeks regarding the western Mediterranean, which only improved gradually, as their colonising and trading expanded westward.
Alessio Toscano has suggested that the Pillars were situated at the Strait of Otranto and that Plato’s ‘Atlantic’ was in fact the Adriatic Sea. A more distant location was proposed by Chechelnitsky who placed the ‘Pillars’ at the Bering Strait between the Chukchi and Seward peninsulas in Russia and the USA respectively.
It always seemed to me that when the Greeks began their expansion westward, they did so hugging the northern shores of the Mediterranean. Understandably, they would have taken the shortest route from the Greek mainland to the heel of Italy and later on to Sicily. As they progressed with their colonisation, new limits were set, and in time, exceeded. I suggest that these limits were each in turn designated the ‘Pillars of Heracles’ as they expanded further. I speculate that Capo Colonna (Cape of the Column) in Calabria may have been one of those boundaries. Interestingly, 18th century maps shown up to five islands near the cape that are no longer visible(g), suggesting the possibility that in ancient times they could have been even more extensive, creating a strait that might have matched Plato’s description. On the other hand, the Strait of Messina was one of the locations recorded as the site of the ‘Pillars’ and considering that mariners at that time preferred to stay close to the coast, I would opt for the Strait of Messina rather than the more frequently proposed Strait of Sicily.
An extensive collection of classical references to the ‘Pillars’ is to be found on the Internet(j).
However, the poet Pindar in the Third Nemean Ode would appear to have treated the Pillars as a metaphor for the limit of established Greek geographical knowledge (Olympian 3.43-45), a boundary that was never static. In 1778, Jean-Silvain Bailly was certain that the Pillars of Hercules were just “a name that denotes limits or boundaries.” [926.v2/293]
Dag Øistein Endsjø, a Norweigan professor, has added the use of the ‘Pillars’ as a metaphor to include the limits of human endeavour(d) and quotes the classicist, James S. Romm in support(e). My own view is that where the term may have initially referred to physical pillars, over time a metaphorical usage became the norm.
Paulino Zamarro has mapped 13 locations(f) identified as the ‘Pillars’ by classical authors (see map below) and expands on this further in his book. He identified Pori, a rocky islet north of the Greek island of Antikythera, as the location of the Pillars of Herakles.
The Pillars are assumed by some to refer to the Rock of Gibraltar in Europe and to Mt. Acha or Jebel Musain, which are near Ceuta in Morocco. Others prefer to accept them as a physical pair of pillars set up outside a temple.
The idea that geographical terms can radically change their location over time is illustrated by the name (H)esperia, which means ‘evening land’ or as we might say ‘land of the setting sun’, was originally used by Greeks to indicate Italy and later employed by Roman writers as a designation for Spain. It could be argued that the Greek use of this appellation could be an indication that when introduced they were not too sure what lay beyond Italy.
Herodotus (Hist. Bk II.44) refers to Heracles as a god of the Egyptians ‘from time immemorial’. He also visited a temple of Heracles in Tyre with two pillars, one of gold and the other emerald. According to the priests there it had stood for two thousand three hundred years or from approximately 2700 BC.
Heracles is clearly the Greek counterpart of the Phoenician god Melqart, who was the principal god of the Phoenician city of Tyre. Melqart was brought to the most successful Tyrian colony, Carthage and subsequently further west, where at least three temples dedicated to Melqart have been identified in ancient Spain, Gades, Ebusus, and Carthago Nova. Across the Strait in Morocco, the ancient Phoenician city of Lixus also has a temple to Melqart.
Gades (Cadiz) was originally named Gadir (walled city). It has been generally accepted that it was founded around 1100 BC, although hard evidence does not prove a date earlier than the 9th century BC. It is today regarded as the most ancient functioning city in Western Europe.
Pairs of free standing columns were apparently important in Phoenician temples and are also to be found in Egyptian temples as well as being part of Solomon’s temple (built by Phoenician craftsmen). Consequently the pillars of Melqart temple in Gades are considered by some to be the origin of the reference to the Pillars of Melqart and later of Heracles (by the Greeks) and Hercules (by the Romans) as applied to the Strait of Gibraltar.
Spanuth dismisses those who have identified the red and white cliffs of Heligoland as the Pillars of Heracles, decrying the idea as a fallacy. He explains that “Natural rock formations were not what was originally meant by the Pillars of Heracles. Those at the Straits of Gibraltar were not, as one so often reads, the rocks to the north and south of the Straits, but two man-made pillars which stood before the temple of Heracles at Gades (present-day Cádiz) about 100 km north of the Straits.”
The Pillars of Heracles usually play a critical part in the construction of any theory relating to the location of Atlantis. Even the authors of theories that have placed Plato’s island civilisation in such diverse locations as Antarctica, the North Sea or the South China Sea, have felt obliged to include an explanation for the ’Pillars’ within the framework of their particular hypothesis.
There is one location clue in Plato’s text (Tim.24e) that is often overlooked, namely, that the island of Atlantis was situated close to the Pillars of Heracles. Although it can be argued that Plato’s island was immediately before or after the Pillars, the text clearly implies proximity. This was pointed out by W.K.C. Guthrie in volume 5 of A History of Greek Philosophy [946.245] and independently endorsed by Joseph Warren Wells in The Book on Atlantis.
A number of alternative locations have been identified as being referred to in ancient times as the Pillars of Heracles. Robert Schoch writes “This distinctive name, taken from the most powerful hero of Greek mythology, was given to a number of ancient sites known in modern times by quite different appellations”. The Greeks, however, used the name Pillars of Heracles to mark other sites besides Gibraltar, some outside the Mediterranean – namely, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic and the Strait of Kerch dividing the Black Sea from the Sea of Azov – and even more inside – specifically, the Strait of Bonafaccio between Corsica and Sardinia, the Strait of Messina between mainland Italy and Sicily, the Greek Peleponnese, the mountainous coast of Tunisia, and the Nile Delta.
Arguably the most unusual suggestion this year has come fro Marco Goti in his book, The Island of Plato in which he identified the ‘Pillars’ in the Atlantic, being the basalt columns of the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland in the west and their counterpart in Scotland’s Isle of Staffa in the east! However, this idea is not original, having been first mooted nearly seventy years ago by W.C. Beaumont(n).
Perhaps the first ‘modern’ writer to propose the eastern Mediterranean as the location for the ‘Pillars’ was Russian, Avraam Norov. He considered them to have been shrines drawing on both Greek and Arabic sources for his ideas.
G. Galanopoulos and E. Bacon suggest that the Pillars of Heracles were possibly associated with Melos, one of the Cyclades or Cape Maléa, the eastern promontory of the Gulf of Laconia. Both James Mavor and Rodney Castleden defend this view, which continues to have some support(p).?
Tacitus, the renowned Latin historian, in chapter 34 of Germania, clearly states that it was believed that the Pillars of Hercules were located near the Rhine in the territory of the Frisians.
Olof Rudbeck opted for a location further east in the Baltic at the Øresund strait between Sweden and Denmark.
Strabo, the Greek historian and geographer, records that Alexander the Great built an altar and ‘Pillars of Heracles’ at the eastern limit of his Empire. Pliny the Elder noted that in Sogdiana in modern Uzbekistan there was reputed to be an altar and ‘Pillars of Heracles’. Aristotle in de Mundo describes the north coast of Europe on the edge of a vast sea, beyond the Celts and the Scythians up to Sinus Gallicus and the Pillars of Heracles!
Ulrich Hofmann combines the Periplus of Pseudo-Scylax with the writings of Herodotus to build a credible argument for placing Atlantis in North Africa in Lake Tritonis, now occupied by the Chotts of modern Algeria and Tunisia. Consequently, Hoffmann places the Pillars at the Gulf of Gabés, which would put Malta to the east of them. He also argues that the Pillars were part of Atlantis rather than separate from it.
George Sarantitis presented a paper to the 2008 Atlantis Conference in which he also argued that the Pillars had been situated in the Gulf of Gabes[750.403]. He cites Strabo among others to highlight the multiplicity of locations that have been attributed to Pillars in ancient times.
Scylax of Caryanda describes(a) in his Periplus, a guide to the Mediterranean, the Maltese Islands as lying to the east of the Pillars of Heracles. The opinions of Hofmann and Sarantitis would certainly support this view.
Anton Mifsud argues that had the Pillars been located at Gibraltar the islands to the east would have been the Balearics. Mifsud also points out that the 1st century BC writer, Apollonius Rhodius, located the Strait of Heracles in ancient Syrtis Minor, now the Gulf of Gabés. Delisle de Sales placed the ‘Pillars’ not too far away at the Gulf of Tunis, the gateway to Carthage. Mifsud has now revised his opinion and in a December 2017 illustrated article(o) has identified the Maltese promontory of Ras ir-Raheb near Rabat, with its two enormous limestone columns as the Pillars of Herakles. This headland had originally been topped by a Temple of Herakles, confirmed by archaeologist, Professor Nicholas Vella.
Sergio Frau, in his recent book, published in Italy, insists that the Pillars were in fact located in the Strait of Sicily. He sees this location as according with the writings of Homer and Hesiod. He discusses in detail the reference by Herodotus to an island to the west of the Pillars, suggesting that the world ‘ocean’ had a different meaning than today and pointing out that elsewhere Herodotus refers to Sardinia as the largest island in the world. Following this lead Frau concluded that Atlantis was in fact located in Sardinia. Frau commented that Eratosthenes, circa 200 BC, was the first geographer to place the Pillars of Heracles at Gibraltar. He also quotes the earlier geographer Dicaearchus whose comments appear to also support a location near Malta. Antonio Usai , in his critique of Frau’s book has opted for the Pillars having been between the coast of Tunisia and the islands of Kerkennah.
It should be noted that many of the other known ‘Pillars of Heracles’ existed in the Eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea. This is possibly because until the middle of the 1st millennium BC the Greeks were, generally speaking, restricted to this region. It would appear that for the ancient Greeks, the Pillars of Heracles marked straits or promontories at the limits of their known world. These boundaries were extended further and further as their maritime capabilities improved. In the Late Bronze Age the Bosporus in the east and probably the Strait of Sicily in the west confined the Greeks. It was only shortly before Solon’s trip to Egypt that the Greek colony of Massilia (modern Marseilles) was founded and so, at last, the western limit of the Mediterranean was brought within the reach of Greek ships. Obviously as their range extended so too did the location of new Pillars and possibly led to the decline in the usage of the title at former boundaries, leaving us today with only the Strait of Gibraltar to carry the name.
*Even Nikolai Zhirov, a proponent of an Atlantic Atlantis, accepted that they were other locations considered to have been designated Pillars of Herakles, both within and beyond Gibraltar, as shown on a map of half a century ago in his well-regarded book.[458.86]*
Nevertheless, Thorwald C. Franke maintains that the westward shift of the ‘Pillars’ to Gibraltar occurred hundreds of years before Solon. He expanded on this at the 2008 Atlantis Conference and in his 2006 book on Herodotus.
Even Arthur C. Clarke suggested that there was evidence that the early Greeks did not originally refer to the Strait of Gibraltar as the Pillars of Heracles. Clarke did not cite his sources, but expressed a personal preference for the Strait of Messina.
Fundamentalist Atlantology, as proclaimed by the ‘prophet’ Donnelly in the 19th century, will accept no explanation other than that Plato was referring to ‘Pillars’ near Gibraltar. Certainly, it is perfectly clear that Plato MAY have been referring to the Strait of Gibraltar, but it is also clear that this was not the only location with that designation in ancient times. Consequently, if any of the alternatives mentioned above enable the construction of a new credible Atlantis location hypothesis, then it deserves careful rational consideration.
In 1913, Nicolae Densusianu proposed a location for the Pillars on the Danube, in ancient Dacia, modern Romania. Ranko Jakovljevic has recently expressed the view that the nearby Iron Gates section of the Danube in Serbia was the location of Atlantis. A paper presented to the 2008 Atlantis Conference by Ticleanu, Constantin & Nicolescu[750.375] has the ‘Pillars’ at the Iron Gates but place Atlantis a little further west on what is now the Pannonian Plain.
The late Arysio dos Santos claims claimed that “there was only one real pair of pillars: the ones that flank Sunda Strait in Indonesia”, in keeping with his Indonesian location for Atlantis. However, he does list (p.130) nine sites designated by ancient authorities as having been locations of ‘Pillars’, reinforcing the idea that the term was not exclusively applied to just one site.
Even more exotic locations such as Chott-el-Djerid in Tunisia, Bab-el-Mandeb(b) at the mouth of the Red Sea, the Strait of Hormuz(i) at the entrance to the Persian Gulf and even the Palk Strait between Sri Lanka and India have all been suggested at some stage as the ‘Pillars’.
George H. Cooper offered an even more outrageous solution when he wrote that Stonehenge in England were the original Pillars of Heracles. In 2018, David L. Hildebrandt published Atlantis – The Awakening , in which he has endeavoured to do just that with a mass of material that he claims supports the idea of Atlantis in Britain and Stonehenge as the remnants of the Temple of Poseidon. He suggests that the the five trilithons represent the five sets of male twins, an idea voiced by Jürgen Spanuth and more recently by Dieter Braasch.
Sometimes, in ancient Greek literature, this phrase refers to the strait between Sicily and the southern tip of Italy (a place which the Greeks did know well, having established colonies in Sicily and southern Italy). An indication of the level of confusion that existed in early geography and cartography is the fact that some ancient maps & texts mark the Mediterranean region west of the Strait of Sicily as “the Atlantic Ocean” and even state that Tyrrhenia is in the ‘Atlantic’!
Finally, my own conclusion regarding the location of the ‘Pillars’ referred to by Plato/Solon, is that a careful reading of Plato’s text shows clearly that they were located in the Central or Western Mediterranean. I base this view on (i) Critias 108 which states that the Atlantean war was between those that lived outside the Pillars of Heracles and those that lived within them and (ii) Critias 114 which declares that Atlantis held sway over the Western Mediterranean as far as Tyrrhenia in the north and up to the borders of Egypt in the south. Consequently, we can assume that west of Tyrrhenia and of Egypt were beyond the Pillars of Heracles. Depending on the exact location of the ancient borders of Tyrrhenia and Egypt, the Pillars could have been situated between Malta and Crete. This interpretation opens up the possibility of Malta, Sicily or Sardinia as prime candidates for the location of Atlantis,*my preference being at the Strait of Messina between Sicily and mainland Italy.*
Plato’s comments make little sense, if he was describing an attack by people outside the Pillars located at Gibraltar on those inside the Pillars, since at least half of the coastal territory, in both Europe and Africa, east of Gibraltar was already conquered. However, if the Pillars were located somewhere much further east, his comments make greater sense.
The Schoppes, in support of their Black Sea location for Atlantis, maintain that the Pillars were situated at the Bosporus and not Gibraltar. They contend “the maintained misinterpretation results from the fact that Herakles went to Iberia. At late Hellenistic and at Roman times Iberia was Spain. However, this leads to inconsistencies: After putting up the Pillars (supposed to be Gibraltar) Herakles put together a fleet to go to Iberia, he was still there!” The Schoppes point out that in the distant past ‘Iberia related to the land of an ethnic group to the east of the Black Sea.
Luana Monte, a supporter of the Minoan Hypothesis has also proposed a location at the mouth of the Nile Delta where the recently rediscovered sunken city of Herakleoin was situated. This identification appears to have been made in order to keep the Minoan Empire west of the ‘Pillars’.
Even more bizarre is the suggestion(c) that the ‘Pillars’ were in fact two bright stars in the western sky at the end of the last Age of Libra around 12,500 BC.
What is clear from all of the above is that the term Pillars of Heracles was, without doubt, applied to a variety of locations but Plato’s reference MIGHT relate to Gibraltar although equally strong if not stronger cases can be made for other sites at earlier dates. It is also plausible that at some point it also became a metaphor for any geographical limit.
Neville Chipulina, a Gibraltarian, has an interesting article(m) on the ‘history’ of the Pillars of Hercules and its association with Gibraltar.
Apart from any connection with Atlantis, it has been suggested that the vertical lines in the US dollar $ign represent the Pillars of Heracles!(l)
*(d) http://www.gunnzone.org/constructs/endsjo.htm (Link broken 2019)*
Cyprus has now been shown to have had an agricultural settlement as early as 9000 BC(c). In 2005, it was claimed that flints found on Cyprus and dated to a possible 10,000 BC, offered evidence of the earliest long-distance sea travel in contrast to earlier shore-hugging(g). I would question this, since twelve thousand years ago sea levels were much lower and landmasses in the eastern Mediterranean were more extensive removing the need for lengthy sea travel. Cyprus would have been much more easily accessible and what is now the Aegean consisted of more land than water.
Cyprus was also added to the list of possible Atlantis sites with the publication of Discovery of Atlantis in 2003, which offered a radical new theory by Robert Sarmast. This theory is based principally on 3-D images of a section of the present seafloor near Cyprus. Sarmast has compiled an impressive list of similarities between Plato’s description of Atlantis and the underwater topography. He also claims to have identified a wall 3km long wall that intersects with another. A YouTube clip centred on Sarmast’s 2004 expedition is available online(i).
The late Philip Coppens wrote a short article(h) on Sarmast’s theory, without arriving at any firm conclusions.
Although it is true to say that this is a radical theory, it is not a completely new idea as the Urantia Book(a) had already suggested an Atlantis/ Eden off the coast of Cyprus. The Urantia Book specifically claims that this Eden was a long narrow peninsula almost an island projecting westward from the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea (Paper 73). This detail coincides remarkably with Sarmast’s claim.
I must point out, that in order to uncover this putative site, the sea level would have to be dropped 5,250 feet. Now, the only explanation for this would be the existence of at least one archaeoastronomer in the Mediterranean, probably at Gibraltar within the memory of man, a suggestion advocated by Sarmast but without any supporting evidence. This is quite feasible, as it has been shown that the Mediterranean has dried out on a number of occasions in the past. Current orthodoxy places the last inundation of the Mediterranean by the Atlantic around five million years ago. However, Paulino Zamarro, among others, has postulated the existence of the Gibraltar Dam within human prehistory, which, if true, would add to the credibility of Sarmast’s theory. However, if the Mediterranean had dried out the result would have left Sarmast’s location with a thick salty deposit, a far cry from the fertile land described by Plato.
Supporters of Sarmast’s theory have drawn attention to the annual Festival of the Flood, an event unique to Cyprus, when people in coastal towns sprinkle each other with water to commemorate the salvation of Noah.
Nevertheless Sarmast’s mile deep location contradicts Plato’s description of the sunken capital of Atlantis that even in Solon’s or Plato’s time was described as existing in unnavigable shallows.
Professor Arysio dos Santos who wrote Atlantis: The Lost Continent Finally Found in which he proclaimed his idea that Atlantis was located on the huge swathes of territory around Indonesia that were inundated at the end of the last Ice Age, has also written(b) a paper denouncing the claims of Robert Sarmast as “an obvious hoax and a possible scam”[0320.189]
However, Colin Wilson, who previously supported the idea of Atlantis in Antarctica switched his support to the Cyprus location, which led to him writing the foreword to the 2006 expanded edition of Sarmast’s book. In 2009, Robert L. Gielow, a fundamentalist creationist, also added his endorsement to Sarmast’s theory in another book.
A further claim placing Atlantis south of Cyprus on a scarab shaped underwater feature (33°N-33°E), has been made by blogger Nicolas Fenning. He has also suggested that Freemasonry, Macedonia and the Pharos Lighthouse, all have links with Atlantis. He also maintains that clues to its location were contained in DaVinci’s Last Supper(d)!
*Although little has been heard from Sarmast in recent years, the idea of Atlantis near Cyprus was apparently given a boost in early 2018 when it was reported that Atlantis had been discovered off Paphos. However, any euphoria was quickly dissipated when the last lines of the report(j) were reached. “*This news article was compiled from a press release issued by the CTO on April 1, which celebrates April Fool’s Day – a day where practical jokes and hoaxes are spread.”*
(h) http://www.philipcoppens.com/atlantis.html (offline March 2018) See: Archive 2934)
The Garden of Eden, like Atlantis, has excited the imagination of many over the centuries. Its location has been the subject of what was sometimes wild speculation that offered a range of locations comparable with the variety of sites proposed for Atlantis.
The traditional belief was that the ‘Garden’ had been situated in Mesopotamia between the Euphrates and Tigris as noted in the Bible. Athanasius Kircher, who is better known to many for his speculative map of Atlantis located in the Atlantic Ocean also produced a plan of the Garden of Eden in what is now southern Iraq. David J. Gibson (1904-1966) arrived at a similar conclusion placing ‘Eden’ just south of Baghdad in his book, The Land of Eden Located, now available online(t).
More recently, Robert McRoberts in an article about the rivers of Eden included map by Arianna Ravenswood, who placed Eden northwest of Babylon in what is now the Iraqi Province of Diyala(u).
Within the same region is a submerged location at the head of the Persian Gulf promoted by Juris Zarins (1945- )(w) . In his theory, the Bible’s Gihon River would correspond with the Karun River in Iran, and the Pishon River would match the Wadi Batin river system that once drained the now dry, but once quite fertile central part of the Arabian Peninsula. His suggestion about the Pishon River is supported by James A. Sauer (1945–1999) formerly of the American Center of Oriental Research although strongly criticized by the archaeological community(x) .
The conventional idea has been enhanced in the opinion of some by the discoveries of the German archaeologist, Klaus Schmidt, who believed that his excavations at Göbekli Tepe in Turkey have unearthed artefacts dating to 8000 BC, when the people there changed from hunting and gathering to agriculture. This region also contains Ur and Harran, mentioned in the Old Testament and as Göblekli Tepe is located between the Tigris and Euphrates and is within view of the Taurus Mountains, it conforms remarkably to the topographical description of Eden in the Bible.
Christopher Columbus believed that the source of the Orinoco River, in what is now known as Venezuela had been the location of Eden. Antonio de León Pinelo (1590-1660) was a Spanish chronicler who spent some years in South America and was also convinced that the Garden of Eden had been situated between the great rivers of South America(k)!
The imaginative Augustus Le Plongeon claimed the Yucatan as the location of the ‘Garden’(s).
General Gordon of Khartoum fame was so impressed by the island of Preslin in the Seychelles that he declared it to be the Garden of Eden and its famed Coco de Mer and breadfruit plants to be the Tree of Life and the Tree of Good and Evil. Science writer, Karl Shuker, has written an extensive article, Forbidden Fruit, for the January 2016 edition of Fortean Times, in which he gives the background to Gordon’s obsession and his inabilty to garner any serious support for it.
At the beginning of the 20th century it was reported(r) that G. F. Becker (1847-1919) a geologist with the USGS nominated Luzon in the Philippines as the site of the biblical ‘Garden’, while Sven Hedin (1865-1952) a much decorated Swedish geographer chose Janaidar a mythical city in Central Asia.
In the middle of the last century, a Baptist preacher, Elvy E. Callaway, announced that the Garden had been located in the vicinity of Bristol, Florida(j).
David Rohl has studied the matter in great detail and located the ‘Garden’ in northern Iranian province of East Azerbaijan near the city of Tabriz. Rohl’s reasoning is worthy of study and perhaps comparison with the views of Emilio Spedicato who offers his theories in a paper on the Internet(b). Rohl was partly inspired by the work of Reginald A. Walker[1388/9]
Andrew Collins claims that the original Mesopotamian name for Eden was Kharsag, a view echoed by the late Christian O’Brien(q). O’Brien’s nephew, Edmund Marriage, identifies the Bekka Valley in Lebanon as the location of Eden of Genesis. A new Lebanese location site is the subject of a website and forum(h)(i). An excerpt from O’Brien’s book, relating to Eden, can be read online(v).
The Sabbah brothers, Roger and Messod, controversially place Eden in Egypt and offer a range of evidence to support this contention. Ralph Ellis has also opted for Egypt in his book, Eden in Egypt and claims that Adam and Eve were in reality Akhenaton and Nefertiti! Ellis also supports his theory with two online papers providing excerpts from his books(o)(p).
Further to the west is the Tunisian town of Oudna, which has been nominated as Eden by one Patrick Archer on his somewhat spartan website(d).
What may appear just as implausible to many is the claim by Felice Vinci, that the Eden story was imported from northern Europe, specifically from Finnish Lappland. Even more incredible is the assertion by the likes of William C. Chappell that the Garden of Eden was in fact situated in the United States. His Mormon inspired views are available as a free eBook(c) on the Internet.
A more ‘commercial’ suggestion has been that Tarpon Springs, Florida, was originally the location of the Garden of Eden and furthermore that Tampa Bay contained the port of Atlantis.
The Urantia Book promotes the idea of two Edens, one near Cyprus and a second further east! In 2003, Robert Sarmast compiled a list of similarities between Plato’s account of Atlantis and the description of the Garden of Eden in the Urantia Book(l).
Stephen Oppenheimer has pointed out that Genesis 2:8 reads that “the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden”. He argues (p.409) that this supports the idea of a ‘paradise’ in the Sundaland region. However, Oppenheimer does not equate Eden with Atlantis.
According to his well illustrated website(f) Paulo Riven has located the Garden of Eden just north of the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania.
The Garden of Eden has been suggested by some as another name for Atlantis representing as it does a mythical time of peace and abundance. However, Eden is never spoken of in the terms of military might and commercial success attributed to Atlantis. One of the better known proponents of this idea of an Atlantean Eden was the late Professor Arysio dos Santos(a) who was convinced that it was located in the South China Sea before the ending of the last Ice Age submerged large areas of Sundaland. Shortly before his death in 2005 he published his theories, expanding on material that he had made available on the Internet for some years. Frank Joseph also claims that the Garden of Eden was located on the lost island of ‘Lemuria’ located in the Pacific.
Bill Hanson, who has authored a number of books on ancient ‘mysteries’, has recently written a work that links the Garden of Eden with Atlantis. He identifies five similarities between the two accounts:
- Both prehistoric locations are regarded as ‘lost paradises’
- The four rivers of Eden are reflected in the four waterways of Poseidon the island capital of Atlantis.
- Atlantis started with ten kings and the Bible speaks of ten patriarchs.
- Zeus destroyed Atlantis because mortals and gods mated, whereas the Bible records the mating of the ‘sons of God’ and human females.
- Atlantis was flooded just as the Age of the Patriarchs ended with the flood of Noah.
The late Joseph Robert Jochmans also identified(g) Atlantis with Eden in a comprehensive article on his website. John Nichols wrote a long article(e) identifying Atlantis with the Garden of Eden and placing it on the Celtic Shelf about a hundred miles off the coast of France due west of Brest. Frederick Dodson also claims an Atlantis-Garden of Eden connection(n).*In 2018, the Catalan researcher, José Luis Espejo also equated Atlantis with the Garden of Eden.*
Currently. the sadly benighted Iraq is trying to lure tourists to holidays in ‘the Garden of Eden’(m)!
(g) See: Archive 3602
(k) See: Archive 2999
(l) See: Archive 3603