Oliver D. Smith*[studied Classics at Roehampton University and is currently studying archaeology at the Oxford Learning College.]*In May 2013, he published his BA dissertation, entitled Atlantis as Sesklo, as an ebook. Smith is currently revising his hypothesis and has also developed his own website. (This is now offline)
Smith devoted the initial part of his paper to a review of the interpretation of the Atlantis story by euhemerists since the time of Plato. Having briefly, and I might say dismissively, dealt with some modern theories, and then began to unveil a new hypothesis. Firstly, he proceeded to ignore archaeological opinion and support the early date for the existence of Atlantis. He also argued that Atlantis was destroyed by the flood that occurred during the reign of the Pelasgian king Ogyges.
Smith daringly suggested that the inspiration for the Atlantean capital was Sesklo, an ancient site situated north of Athens near modern Volos.
Although Smith has obviously researched his subject, I cannot agree with his conclusion, which I consider somewhat speculative. Apart from taking issue with the early date for Atlantis, Plato described the Atlantean attack coming from the west not the north. Furthermore, Sesklo is certainly not submerged and the site is too small to match Plato’s description of the city.
He also contended that the claim by Plato that Atlantis was ‘greater than Libya and Asia combined’ was in fact a reference to the extreme age of Atlantis!(c)
On March 14th 2014, Smith announced(b) that “I have now closed my blog, and removed my research to work on a new project which will take many years (I will be working on a proper book covering the literary genre and origin of Atlantis). Personally I think the Atlantis community has too many location hypotheses and not enough material put out exploring Plato’s dialogues etc and Atlantis in general in detail.”
*[Nevertheless, Smith did return to the Atlantis question in May 2016 and declared his belief that Plato’s account was a complete fiction!(d) Readers may be interested in reading other blogs by Smith as they touch on other matters that relate to Atlantis studies such as the Pillars of Heracles and the etymology of ‘Atlantis’.]*
*[(c) The Size of Atlantis: A New Interpretation
Heracles (Herakles) was a Greek mythical hero(c), later known to the Romans as Hercules.He is one of a number of mythical heroes who were reportedly abandoned as babies(f). He has also been identified with biblical Samson(a), the Phoenician Melqart and the Mesopotamian Gilgamesh(b). Dos Santos has decided that Hercules was originally the Hindu hero Vishnu[320.129], quoting Megasthenes (350-290 BC), the Greek geographer, in support of his contention. Others have referred to Megasthenes identifying Hercules with Krishna(e)(g).
He is usually portrayed as brandishing a club and wearing a lion’s head as a helmet, probably because he, like Samson, reputedly unarmed, overcame lions and since lions were not part of the fauna of ancient Greece it reasonable to assume that at least this part of the tale had an Asian or African origin, but the similarities don’t end there(a).
Euhemerists has suggested that he was a real historical figure, possibly a former king of Argos.
A more controversial suggestion has been made by Emmet J. Sweeney, in his 2001 book, Arthur and Stonehenge, in which the blurb for the book claims that “Arthur himself, he was the primitive bear-god “Artos”, the Celtic version of Hercules. Originally portrayed with a bear-skin over his head and shoulders and carrying a great oaken club, he became the prototype of the Greek Hercules when Hellenic traders, braving the wild waters of the Atlantic in search of tin, heard his story from the Britons.” However, Sweeney also identifies Moses “as an alter ego of Hercules.” in his Atlantis: The Evidence of Science[700.198].
There appears to have been a cult of Heracles that may have extended as far as Britain, where the Cerne Abbas chalk figure is sometimes claimed to represent him(d).
The term ‘Pillars of Heracles’ was used by the ancient Greeks to define the outer reaches of their limited seagoing range. This changed over time as their nautical capabilities improved. Some of the earlier ‘Pillars’ were located at the entrance to the Black Sea and the Strait of Sicily and the Strait of Messina. Later the term was applied exclusively to the Strait of Gibraltar.
(a) http://www.aeonjournal.com/articles/samson/samson.html (offline Jan. 2018) See Archive 3444