Carl Festin (1957- ) is a Swedish researcher who was prompted by questions from his children to investigate the history of civilisation. His studies led him to conclude that the hundreds of worldwide flood myths involved a catastrophe that involved the biblical story of Noah and Plato’s tale of Atlantis.
In a PowerPoint presentation provocatively entitled Noah, Refugee from Atlantis Festin outlines a new Atlantis theory. He first suggests that a ridge of sediment built up in the vicinity of Gibraltar gradually cutting off the Mediterranean from the Atlantic when sea levels were much lower during the last Ice Age.*This similar in some ways with the theory of Paulino Zamarro.*
Festin posits an island in the Eastern Mediterranean, south of Crete, called Basileia, which dominated land around what we now call the Ionian Sea. This nation was known as Atlantis.
He identifies the mountains of what is now Crete and Al Jabal Al Akhdar (Green Mountain) in Libya as the Pillars of Heracles. These are shown on a new map(b). Other maps(c) show his proposed Atlantean capital, Poseidopolis and are sometimes oriented east-west.
Around 3,500 BC the Gibraltar ridge broke due to the pressure of the rising ocean levels following the melting of the ice. The influx of cold water into the Western Mediterranean Basin created extensive anti-cyclonic rainfall over Basileia (40 days and nights!). The Western and Eastern Mediterranean Basins were separated by a landbridge at the Strait of Sicily which now broke, inundating the eastern basin. Festin claims that the millions of tons of additional water created earthquakes in seismically fragile central Mediterranean, destroying Basileia. Survivors included Noah who headed eastward. Others reached both North and South America.
Festin is now organising a five day cruise in the Mediterranean, which will include a dive in a small submersible to the Atlantean capital Poseidopolis on the submerged island of Basileia lying between Crete and Cyrenaica in Libya. The adventure can be watched on board the ship on large screens, while for the really enthusiastic, there are 8/10 spaces available in the submarine. He currently estimates the basic cost to be €2,000 and €100,000 for each of the 8/10 submariners(d). I think comment is unnecessary!
His theories are published in Swedish as Flykting från Atlantis (Refugees from Atlantis)(a).
Lake Tritonis is frequently referred to by the classical writers.* Ian Wilson refers to Scylax of Caryanda as having “specifically described Lake Tritonis extending in his time over an area of 2,300 km2.” He also cites Herodotus as confirming it as still partly extant in his time, a century later, describing it as a ‘great lagoon’, with a ‘large river’ (the Triton) flowing into it.[185.185]*
Lake Tritonis was considered the birthplace of Athene, the Greek Goddess of Wisdom, after whom Athens is named. The exact location of the lake is disputed but there is some consensus that the salty marshes or chotts of central Tunisia and North-East Algeria are the most likely candidates. It appears that these marshes were originally formed a large inland sea connected to the Mediterranean but due to seismic activity in the area were cut off from the sea. Diodorus Siculus records this event in his third book.
*I should also mention that Lake Tritonis along with the Greek island of Lemnos and the river Thermodon in northern Turkey, now known as Terme Çay, have all been associated with the Amazons(d).*
Edward Herbert Bunbury, a former British MP, included a chapter(a) on Lake Tritonis in his 1879 book on the history of ancient geography[1531.v1.316].
In 1883, Edward Dumergue, published a brief study of the Tunisian chotts, which he concluded were the remnants of an ancient inland sea that had been connected to the Mediterranean Sea at the Gulf of Gabes.
Lucile Taylor Hansen in The Ancient Atlantic, has included a speculative map taken from the Reader’s Digest showing Lake Tritonis, around 11.000 BC, as a megalake covering much of today’s Sahara, with the Ahaggar Mountains turned into an island. Atlantis is shown to the west in the Atlantic.
In modern times, Alberto Arecchi has taken the idea further and suggested that the inland sea, where the chotts are now, was the original ‘Atlantic Sea’ and that the city of Atlantis was situated on an extended landmass to the east of Tunisia and connected to Sicily due to a lower sea level. Arecchi’s identification of the chotts with Lake Tritonis has now been adopted by Lu Paradise in a May 2015 blog(c). The Qattara Depression of Northern Egypt also contains a series of salt lakes and marshes and is believed by others to have been Lake Tritonis.
Cindy Clendenon is the author of a book on hydromythology in which she concludes that “the now-extinct Lake Tritonis once was a Cyrenaican lagoon-sabkha complex near today’s Sabkha Ghuzayyil and Marsa Brega, Libya.”(b).
Libya, referred to as Ta Tenehu, is first mentioned in Egyptian texts around 1200 BC, when the name was applied to a relatively small district in the western Nile delta. Unfortunately the Libya referred to by Plato and other early writers is not geographically delineated with any degree of clarity. This is just another example of the unintentional ambiguity that is common in the writings of the classical authors. Sometimes Libya appears to refer to all of Africa while at other times it is just the name for the land immediatelyto the west of Egypt. Robert Temple[736.414] quotes Percy Newberry, who referred to the variety of meanings applied to the term Libya by different ancient commentators. Temple also offers evidence that North Africa was a fertile region as late as 2500 BC.
Herodotus stated that there are three continents, Europe, Asia and Libya and that the latter was surrounded by sea except where it joins Asia (Bk IV.42). He also mentions that the names of all the Greek gods came from Egypt except Poseidon who came from Libya where he had always been worshipped (Bk II.50). This is interesting since Plato pronounced Poseidon the founder of Atlantis.
Ancient Libya had a megalithic culture, the remnants of which can be seen in the likes of the Terrgurt valley where “there had been originally no less than eighteen or twenty megalithic trilithons, in a line, each with its massive altar placed before it” according to H. S. Cowper a 19th century explorer.
In the context of the Atlantis story Plato declares that Atlantis was ‘greater’ than Libya and Asia together. On the face of it this might appear to be a geographical comparison, but it has been argued that the Greek word ‘meizon’ which was used means ‘greater’ or ‘more powerful’ rather than larger.
An English Professor of History, P.B.S. Andrews, has suggested that Plato may have misread Solon’s notes and used the word for ‘larger than’ instead of ‘midway between’ where there is a difference of only one letter.
Irrespective of the exact meaning of ‘meizon’ in this text, it is quite clear from it that the ancient Libya known to Plato was a separate entity to Atlantis. Not withstanding this, the Cyrenaica region of modern Libya has now been identified as the home of Atlantis itself(a) by an anonymous German researcher who planned to lead an expedition to their proposed site in late 2006. Based on a study of satellite images he is convinced that a 590×320 km plateau to the east of Benghazi (ancient Berenice) is the location of Plato’s Atlantis. This mysterious researcher, using the pseudonym ‘a. petit’, claims that this area had been a large island in ancient times. The results of that 2006 expedition are now available, in German, in book form, entitled Expedition nach Atlantis.
In an address[0750.419] to the 2008 Atlantis Conference, George Sarantitis quotes a number of ancient authors who describe journies in and around Libya that have led him to conclude that the flooded chotts of Tunisia and Algeria had been linked to a much enlarged Lake Chad(b) further south creating a large Libyan peninsula. This situation, he believes, pertained until the 3rd century BC when the waters dried up and eventually led to the topography we have today.
Satellite Imagery has recently been introduced into the Atlantis search with a variety of location claims based on features visible from space. These assertions include Albania (2007), Andalusia, Spain (2003), Cyrenaica, Libya (2005) and Sherbro Island, Sierra Leone (2007). All such claims must, of necessity, be treated with extreme caution unless substantiated by archaeology on the ground. At best, only one of the sites listed here can be correct and probably all are not, since Atlantis is supposed to have been submerged and so not yet readily visible to the scrutiny of our current aerial mapping technology.
The most recent claim (2010) to have located Atlantis with satellite imagery places it between Bermuda and the Bahamas.
One of the most extreme claims based on images has come from Joseph P.Skipper who has identified some sea floor markings as an ancient script, apparently ignoring the fact that the lines of the writing would probably have to be a mile in width!