Flood of Deucalion
Jonathan Black is the pen-name of British author, Mark Booth. He has studied Philosophy and Theology at Oriel College, Oxford. His best known book is The Secret History of the World, which is a trip through secret societies and esoteric beliefs.
In a section on Plato’s island he notes that “a little research shows that classical literature is packed with references to Atlantis.” [p.121] He identifies the Flood of Deucalion with the biblical Deluge. He also touches on the story of the dubious Scott Stones, claimed by Aaron du Val to be Atlantean and 12,000 years old. After his 15 minutes of fame, du Val, faded from view for the past twenty years.
I can say with some certainty that Black’s research into Atlantis is flawed. His treatment of other subjects in his large volume, I shall leave to others to assess.
Late Bronze Age Collapse of civilisations in the Eastern Mediterranean in the second half of the 2nd millennium BC has been variously attributed to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and severe climate change. It is extremely unlikely that all these occurred around the same time through coincidence. Unfortunately, it is not clear to what extent these events were interrelated. As I see it, political upheavals do not lead to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or drought and so can be safely viewed as an effect rather than a cause. Similarly, climate change is just as unlikely to have caused eruptions or seismic activity and so can also be classified as an effect. Consequently, we are left with earthquakes and volcanoes as the prime suspects for the catastrophic turmoil that took place in the Middle East between the 15th and 12th centuries BC. Nevertheless, August 2013 saw further evidence published which blamed climate change for demise of civilisations in the region.
Robert Drews dismisses any suggestion that Greece suffered a critical drought around 1200 BC, citing the absence of any supporting reference by Homer or Hesiod as evidence. He proposes that “the transition from chariot to infantry warfare as the primary cause of the Great Kingdoms’ downfall.”
This extended period of chaos began around 1450 BC when the eruptions on Thera took place. These caused the well-documented devastation in the region including the ending of the Minoan civilisation and probably the Exodus of the Bible and the Plagues of Egypt as well. According to the Parian Marble, the Flood of Deucalion probably took place around the same time.
Professor Stavros Papamarinopoulos has written of the ‘seismic storm’ that beset the Eastern Mediterranean between 1225 and 1175 BC(a). Similar ideas have been expressed by Amos Nur & Eric H.Cline(b)(c). The invasion of the Sea Peoples recorded by the Egyptians, and parts of Plato’s Atlantis story all appear to have taken place around this period. Plato refers to a spring on the Athenian acropolis (Crit.112d) that was destroyed during an earthquake. Rainer Kühne notes that this spring only existed for about 25 years but was rediscovered by the Swedish archaeologist, Oscar Broneer, who excavated there from 1959 to 1967. The destruction of the spring and barracks, by an earthquake, was confirmed as having occurring at the end of the 12th century BC.
(this is a shorter version of (c) below)
Claude Frédérick-Armand Schaeffer (1898-1982) was a French archaeologist who is probably best known for his work at the Ras Shamra site in Syria which he identified as the ancient port city of Ugarit. He worked on and wrote about the site from 1929 until his death.
Schaeffer enter the arena of catastrophism in 1948 when he declared that during the Bronze Age on at least five occasions widespread catastrophic destructions has taken place throughout the Middle East. He attributed these events to seismic activity,which was perhaps related to the ‘seismic storm’ referred to by Stavros Papamarinopoulos in his paper, Plato and the seismic catastrophe in the 12th century BC Athens(b).
Plato recorded how the priests of Sais told Solon of a succession of catastrophes that befell the region, including earthquakes, inundations such as the Flood of Deucalion and the fall of Phaeton adding historical support for the theories of Schaeffer, Velikovsky and Gallant inter alia.
*Schaeffer and Velikovsky exchanged correspondence(a).
(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)
Flood of Deucalion is recorded in Greek mythology in terms that are reminiscent of the biblical Deluge. Prometheus the brother of Atlas the Titan, warned his own son Deucalion to build an ark and fill it with all he needed. Rain fell ceaselessly, flooding valleys, submerging cities, destroying all people and leaving just some mountain peaks to be seen above the sea. After nine days the rain stopped and Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha emerged and produced the ancestors of the Greeks.
Ogyges was the founder and king of Thebes whose reign was ended by a flood that covered the whole world and so devastated Thebes that it remained without a king until the reign of Cecrops. It is an open question whether the Flood of Deucalion and the Flood of Ogyges are identical or not.
J. G. Bennett has pointed out(a) that a fractured marble pillar, discovered on the Greek island of Paros and known as the Parian Marble, records important events in early Greek history including lists of the early kings, including Deucalion who is noted to have reigned at the same time as the Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose III (1504-1450 BC). It records his reign as having been 700 years before the first Olympiad, which itself is dated to 778 BC, thus giving a date for the flood named after him to around 1478 BC, This period coincides with the biblical Exodus and the eruption of Santorini. Orosius, a 5thcentury AD writer, placed the Flood of Deucalion 810 years before the foundation of Rome giving it a date broadly around 1500 BC. This is suspiciously close to the date accepted by most archaeologists for the great eruption of Thera. James Mavor supported a date between 1529 and 1382 BC.
Giovanni Rinaldo Carli quotes from Clement of Alexandria (150-215 AD) who notes that Stenelas (Sthenelus), father of Cydas (Cycnus) the king of the Ligurians, lived at the same time as the fire of Phaëton and the Flood of Deucalion. This is probably one of the earliest references suggesting a linkage between these two catastrophic 2nd millennium BC events.
Emilio Spedicato has also linked the Flood of Deucalion with the Exodus and dates them to 1447 BC. However, he believes that these events followed the explosion of a comet or asteroid over southern Denmark. He presented three papers to the 2005 Atlantis Conference on the subject of Deucalion’s Flood and Phaeton[629.115].
The work of Finkelstein and Silberman has recently cast doubts over the historical reality of the Exodus, but of course this does not affect the reality of the Flood of Deucalion.*[It is odd that with such a sceptical view of Bible history that it was announced in February 2017(b) that Finkelstein is to start a search for the Ark of the Covenant.]*
David Rohl, a leading advocate for a drastic revision downwards of the dates of many events in ancient Egyptian history by at least three hundred years, has concluded that Deucalion’s Flood occurred during the reign of Thutmose III and most controversially that it was concurrent with the eruption of Thera and its consequent tsunami. According to Rohl’s ‘New Chronology’, this would give the Flood a date of around 1100 BC rather than the conventionally accepted date of around 1450 BC.
Over the last couple of millennia there has been a general consensus that the Flood of Deucalion occurred in the middle of the second millennium BC. This leaves supporters of an early date for Atlantis obliged to produce evidence of a comparable catastrophe around 9600 BC, a task compounded by the probable erosion of any such evidence during the passage of such a considerable time span. We can expect this particular debate to run for some time yet.
The Burckle Abyssal Impact Crater is named after Dr. Lloyd Burckle of Columbia University in the United States. It is a 30km wide underwater crater around 1500km south-east of Madagascar, considered by some to have been the result of a cometary impact less than 6,000 years ago. Wikipedia describes it as a hypothetical underwater feature(a) founded on a study of chevron dune The chevron-tsunami linkage is disputed by University of Washington geologist and tsunami expert Jody Bourgeois(e), among others.
A paper presented to the 2005 Atlantis Conference explored the possibility that this impact resulted in one of the inundations referred to by Plato that preceded the flood of Deucalion. Acceptance of this view would add weight to the claim that Plato’s Atlantis story contains matters that are historically factual. However, if Plato’s floods were localised in the Mediterranean, it is difficult to understand how an impact in the middle of the Indian Ocean could have caused them.
In 2010 a South African writer, Alewyn J. Raubenheimer, published Survivors of the Great Tsunami, in which he linked the Burckle Impact with the inundation described in the widely discredited Oera Linda Book. He placed his megatsunami in 2193 BC, borrowing the date from the Oera Linda Book. Raubenheimer’s defence of the OLB has generated widespread support(c)(d).
Raubenheimer’s dating of the megatsunami is rather different to that of Kevin Curran in his Fall of a Thousand Suns, in which he offers more compelling evidence for a date of 3067 BC. Readers may find it useful to read Curran’s book along with the work of Dallas Abbott who has dated the Burckle Event to 2870 BC and sees the impact as just one of a number from of a fragmented comet(f).
A recent paper by Bibhu Dev Misra on Graham Hancock’s website has proposed that the comet or cometary fragment that created the Burckle Crater generated a megatsunami that submerged the legendary city of Dwarka. Drawing on the Mahabharata, archaeology and geology, the author has deduced that the impact event took place around 3700 BC.(g) However, I have some difficulty with this as tsunami floodwaters eventually return to the sea!
Ogyges was the founder and king of Thebes in Greece. During his reign a devastating flood ruined the country to such an extent that it remained without kings until the reign of Cecrops.*In a 2002 article(b) in the Times of Malta, Anton Mifsud informed us that “the classical historian Eumalos of Cyrene wrote that the King of Atlantis at the time of the cataclysm was Ogyge whose nephew King Ninus of Babylon lived in the late third millennium BC.”*
Some writers have identified the Flood of Ogyges with the Flood of Deucalion. It is more likely that they were separate events and were part of the series of floods noted by Plato [Tim.22 & Crit.111-112].
Frank Joseph in Survivors of Atlantis points out that Plato in his Laws dated the Ogygean flood to less than two thousand years before his time, a figure compatible with the date of 2136 BC given by Varro the Roman writer.
Oliver D.Smith maintained that it was the flood of Ogyges that destroyed Atlantis and argued that this event occurred long before the Flood of Deucalion(a).
(a) http://www.academia.edu/3507001/Atlantis_as_Sesklo (now offline)