Robert Stieglitz is Professor Emeritus of Ancient Mediterranean Civilisations at Rutgers University. He is a specialist in ancient seafaring. He contends that the Sea Peoples included the Philistines(a).
He appeared on the BBC documentary, Helike – The Real Atlantis and while he is obviously an Atlantis sceptic, when pressed he responded that since “Helike was the only city to disappear without a trace in one night, so if there’s a grain of truth at all to the story of Atlantis it’s the disappearance of Helike which inspired in Plato to write the myth of Atlantis.”(b) He subsequently developed this idea into a lecture(c).
Iain Stewart (1964- ) is a Scottish geologist and former child actor. Stewart lectured on geology at the University of Plymouth and now is a senior lecturer in Geography and Earth Sciences at Brunel University. In 2007 a newly identified species of ant, Cerapachys iainstewarti, was named after him, when it was discovered during the filming of a TV programme presented by him.
However, he gave up his acting career to study geology and geography and eventually received a PhD. No doubt assisted by his acting experience Dr Stewart has gone on to present a number of science programmes on television. The first of which was Helike: The Real Atlantis (2002), in which he proposed that the submergence of Helike was the inspiration for elements of Plato’s Atlantis story(a).
In 2014, he updated the article providing interesting information regarding the effects of earthquakes in Greek history, concluding with a reiteration of his support for Helike as an important influence on the development of Plato’s story of Atlantis. He returned to the subject again in June 2015(b).
Stewart was a member of the steering committee of the 2008 Atlantis Conference held in Athens.
(b) See: Archive 2571
Joel Levy is a freelance writer and researcher who lives in London. He has recently published an overview of the suggested locations for Atlantis. Although he does not deal with the subject in great detail, his book is a useful primer for anyone coming to the subject for the first time.
A year earlier he published Lost Histories which is a review of many of the world’s historical mysteries. He devotes the longest entry to the Atlantis story, but although he is rather sceptical regarding the amount of underlying truth in Plato’s narrative, he does suggest that the submergence of Helike in 373 BC may have been the inspiration behind it. However, as that inundation occurred around two centuries after Solon, this idea is hard to accept without labelling Plato a complete liar.
Frank Joseph (1944- ) or more correctly Francis Joseph Collin, was born in Chicago. His father was Max Simon Cohen, who is said to have spent time in Dachau concentration camp. Incredibly, in the late seventies Frank Joseph was leader of the American Nazi Party.In 1981 Joseph was arrested and convicted of molesting young boys. He was released after serving three of a seven year sentence (a)(b).
Since his release, he has established himself as an author, writing a number of books on Atlantis and Diffusionism[102–108] . He has emphasised at length the enormous quantities of copper mined in ancient times in North America that he maintains were brought to Europe to feed the demand there for bronze making. He maintains that this is clear evidence of trading contacts between the Old and New Worlds in prehistoric times. Among his more unusual claims are that Noah was an Atlantean and that the Trojan War just part of the conflict with the Sea Peoples.
One of Joseph’s early books, Edgar Cayce’s Atlantis and Lemuria, was heavily criticised in some quarters(e) including an accusation of including in the book a ‘heavily retouched’ photo of the underwater Yonaguni site.
In Joseph’s The Destruction of Atlantis he dates that event to 1198 BC(o) quoting such sources as the Ipuwer Papyrus and temple inscriptions at Medinet Habu.
He then claims that eight years later the Atlanteans re-emerged as the Meshwesh, one of the Sea Peoples, attacked Egypt and were defeated by Ramses III . The authoritative D’Amato & Salimbeti have identified the Meshwesh as possibly being a tribe related to the Libyans [1152.8].
The author concurs with others that the catastrophe was triggered by an impact from a comet/asteroid in the region of the Mid Atlantic Ridge. Joseph supports an Atlantis located in the Atlantic of which the Canary Islands and Azores(g) among its remnants. He draws attention to the fact that The Laws by Plato also refers to the ‘Great Deluge’. In the same book Joseph returns to his hobbyhorse of the huge amounts of copper mined in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula in prehistoric times. He is convinced that Atlanteans carried out this massive extraction and transported it to the east to feed the emerging Bronze Age. This book is useful for someone coming to the subject for the first time but it contains little that new and is really just a reworking of existing material.
His next offering was promoted as an encyclopaedia of Atlantis related references, yet it omits any mention of many of the leading theories and their promoters, which is not what you would expect from a serious work on the subject. He followed this with Survivors of Atlantis, a sequel to The Destruction of Atlantis, which focuses on four global catastrophes linked to the cyclical return of a comet, which led to the destruction of Atlantis and the subsequent dispersal of its survivors and their influence on the cultures of their adopted homelands. As usual he returns to the mystery of the Michigan copper mines, but covers a wide range of global prehistory speculating on possible links with Atlantis. Unlike its prequel, ‘Survivors’ does not include an index.
For a number of years, Joseph was editor-in-chief of Ancient American magazine(c), owned by Wayne May, a Mormon, whose church has a vested interest in demonstrating the existence of early, advanced pre-Columbian peoples in America. A one-hour lecture given by Joseph in 1997 is available on YouTube(h), in which he outlines a number of very early pre-Columbian contacts between West Africa, particularly Mali and the Americas that led to the giant stone heads being carved by the Olmecs.
In 2008 Joseph published Unearthing Ancient America in which he revisits the pre-Columbian remains of North America. As usual he denounces orthodox archaeologists as a means to bolster his own extreme ideas. For example “Louisiana’s Poverty Point, the ‘oldest city in North America’, is a dead-ringer for Plato’s description of Atlantis…[108.178]”
With his book The Opening of the Ark of the Covenant Joseph moved into slightly different territory, linking the Ark with Atlantis and the Templars. Joseph co-authored this book with Laura Beaudoin who claims to be a descendant of the founder of the Knights Templar in Jerusalem.
Not one to miss an opportunity, the prolific Mr. Joseph then jumped on the 2012 bandwagon with the publication of Atlantis and 2012. As the world did not end, Joseph revised this book and republished it as Atlantis and the Coming Ice Age in 2015. An excerpt is available online(i).
April 2012 saw Joseph editor of Lost Worlds of Ancient America which is an anthology of articles describing various pre-Columbian visitors from both east and west. It also includes a suggestion that the Bahamas had the landmass to match Plato’s description of Atlantis. Jason Colavito, a well known sceptic, has written an extensive and highly critical review(f) of this collection of articles culled from the Ancient American magazine. While the book has little to do with Atlantis, Colavito’s comments cast doubts on Joseph’s credibility as well as that of the other contributors.
Before Atlantis was published by Joseph in 2013, in it he focuses on the ‘aquatic ape theory’(k) and the existence of ‘pre-human cultures’ going back 20 million years. Atlantis plays a minor part in this offering and it is probable that it is only in the title to assist sales! In May 2017, we have a report(l) of pre-human remains dated to 7.2 million years ago being discovered in the Balkans. How Joseph can apply the term ‘culture’ to such primitive creatures is hard to understand.
Joseph then followed ‘Lost Worlds’ with Lost Colonies of Ancient America in 2014, receiving rave reviews on Amazon, while Bradley T. Lepper(j) cites Larry Zimmermann(n), an archaeologist from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, who offered a different view in the July/Oct 2015 edition of American Antiquity.
In 2014, Joseph republished Atlantis and Other Lost Worlds as a paperback and a Kindle book. which is just a recycling of some of his earlier material and adds nothing of value. His reliance on speculation rather than evidence has not diminished. While his conjecture is bad enough, his misquoting of Plato is unforgivable. One example is his claim that Atlantis had 14,400 naval personnel, for 1,200 ships, which would mean that each ship had only a crew of just 12! The only ships mentioned by Plato were triremes, which had a crew of 200(m). What Plato actually said (Critias 119a-b) was that in time of war each of the managers of the 60,000 allotments on the plain of Atlantis, had to supply four men for naval duty, which amounts to a total of 240,000 and matches the number of men required for 1200 triremes. This is just one of a number of similar errors in that passage. However, the same book also sets a record for the number of mistakes that Joseph managed to squeeze into a single sentence. At this point, I decided to look back at all my references to Joseph’s work and was shocked to find that he has been consistently guilty of at least sloppy research, if not dishonesty, and for me, must therefore be considered unreliable.
I was recently perusing the Kindle version of Atlantis and Other Lost Worlds and discovered a number of obvious inaccuracies. For example, Joseph refers to a G.R.Corli as a French astronomer, whereas in fact his name was Carli and he was born in Capodistria, formerly Italian, but now part of Slovenia (loc.2511). Joseph claims that Carli believed that a fragment of a comet had hit the Earth, when, in fact, he had only postulated that a close encounter with a comet had occurred.
He added a ‘d’ to Edgerton Sykes name (loc. 2543, 3573) and removed the ‘e’ from that of Arthur C. Clarke (loc.2783).
His section on the Atlantean Army and population(loc.312) is full of numerical errors. He has the whole population of Atlantis at over one million, whereas Plato tells us that on their own, the Atlantean armed forces totalled around a million, including 480,000 foot soldiers, 120,000 horsemen, 160,000 manning the 10,000 heavy chariots and 60,000 light chariots, and 240,000 sailors. From this, Otto Muck extrapolated a total population of between 20 and 40 millions for Atlantis. Joseph proposes that the 1,200 Atlantean ships were serviced and manned by 14,400 men (just twelve each). However, the triremes referred to by Plato, each required a crew of 140 rowers!
Joseph ends the book with a Bibliography, but heads it Biography!
This book was clearly not proof-read and its research slipshod. Unfortunately, this does not appear to have been an isolated example. I therefore decided to review all Atlantipedia entries that referred to Frank Joseph.
Amber is not exclusive to the Baltic and can be found in the Americas, Lebanon, Siberia, Australia and Japan. A highly prized blue amber is to be found in the Dominican Republic. Frank Joseph in an effort to support his speculations regarding mythical Electra claims[0636.109] that the Atlantic islands of the Azores, Madeira and the Canaries are one of the two major sources of amber. This is blatantly untrue, as revealed in a comprehensive website(a) by Susie Ward Aber, a mineralogist at Emporia State University, Kansas. Amber sources worldwide are listed, but nothing in the Atlantic. Mr. Joseph has, once again, some explaining to do.
However, there is also another trend becoming more obvious, which is that there are an increasing number of instances, particularly on the internet, of the Ark of the Covenant being linked to Atlantis. There is, of course, no evidence ever offered to support such speculation. One of the most recent of these is Opening the Ark of the Covenant, co-authored by the inventive Frank Joseph, where he traces the Ark back to Atlantis. There are probably few people that don’t accept that the Ark had been a real artefact, while many doubt the reality of Atlantis. It is possible that by linking the two, the authors hope to achieve credibility transference from one to the other!
In his Atlantis Encyclopedia, Frank Joseph has suggested[104.33] that Atalya or Atalia was, through time, transformed into Italy, adding that Atalia means ‘Land of Atlas’. This entry has been copied on a number of websites. However, the etymology of ‘Italy’ is not clear, but the most common proposal is that “Latin Italia may derive from Oscan víteliú, meaning “[land] of young cattle” (from Latin vitulus “calf”, Umbrian vitlu), via Greek transmission (evidenced in the loss of initial digamma). The bull was a symbol of the southern Italic tribes”. In passing I should mention that Plato tells us that the Atlanteans who controlled southern Italy as far as Tyrrhenia also had a bull cult.
The following excerpt from a paper entitled Atlantis and the Great Pyramid from the July/August 2006 edition of Atlantis Rising magazine. “They (the Egyptians) somehow foresaw some inevitable celestial catastrophe with a potential for extraordinary destructiveness. As the object’s orbit began to noticeably decay, ground-observers concluded that an impact with our planet was unavoidable, and began to prepare for the event by constructing a device that would bolster earth’s ionosphere, thereby deflecting the course of the falling object. The pyramid builders erected their geo-transducer because they understood that the earth was periodically endangered by recurring cycles of celestial bombardments. The Great Pyramid was built to guard against future collisions from outer space.”
The Balearic Islands of the Western Mediterranean were not occupied until around 2200 BC. Although the two larger islands of Majorca and Minorca have many megalithic monuments, principally taulas and talayots, they have not, so far, been part of any Atlantis location theory. The only mention that I can find is the unsubstantiated claim by Frank Joseph[0104.66] that the early settlers were invaders from Atlantis.
Frank Joseph erroneously claims[0108.117] that the only known ‘Cerne’ was Cerne Abbas in England, the site of the famous naked giant carved into the chalk. There is certainly no suggestion of any Amazon invasion there and the physique of the giant was certainly never matched by even the most butch Amazon. There is also the island of Cerne of the west coast of Africa and mentioned in the voyage of Hanno. Furthermore, Cerne is mentioned by Diodorus Siculus (iii.54) and considered by some to be the Tunisian island of Kerkennah. Clearly, there was more than one Cerne known in our ancient past and so, not for the first time, Joseph is blatantly wrong.
Joseph also proposed that copper was the foundation for the wealth of Atlantis. He is convinced that there is evidence of enormous copper mining activities in the Michigan’s Upper Peninsula around 1000 BC. He refers to these miners as Atlanteans and maintains that the extracted copper was brought to the Mediterranean, as he claims that there is no trace of it in North America. Joseph offers no real evidence.
Frank Joseph incorrectly claimed in the July/August 2011 issue of Atlantis Rising magazine that DeCamp “formerly a staunch disbeliever in Atlantis, was later convinced it did indeed exist in south-coastal Iberia.” No evidence offered for this wild claim.
Frank Joseph echoed others with the idea that “the Etruscans were themselves nothing more than the late Atlanteans who colonised western Italy, so their surviving material culture offers us a glimpse of Atlantis at is cultural height.”[0636.21] This is an odd claim as Plato twice, unambiguously, placed Tuscany (Tyrhennia) beyond Atlantean control (Tim.25b & Crit.114c).
Evaemon (Euaemon) is the name of one of the fourth pair (with Ampheres) of twins who became the first kings of Atlantis. Frank Joseph identifies Euaemon with the ‘pre-Celtic’ king of Ireland, Eremon! This is somewhat incorrect as the Milesians are generally accepted as having been Celtic, with Eremon being one of eight Milesian brothers who invaded Ireland from Spain and defeated the Tuatha dé Danaan.
I found more of Joseph’s entries relating to Ireland that were, for me, particularly annoying. The first was his entry in his Encyclopedia for ‘crannóg’ where he attempts to link it with a sunken city. Crannógs are small artificial islands built in lakes for defensive purposes. When abandoned they usually became covered in small trees. The word is derived from the Irish word crann that means a tree, while óg means young or small. There are many such crannógs to be found among the numerous lakes of County Leitrim where I live. My second gripe is the entry ‘Tir-nan-Og’, which should in fact be ‘Tir na nÓg’ which means Land of Youth, implying land of perpetual youth. There is no connection with Og or Ogygia. I respectfully suggest that Frank Joseph and anyone else should tread more warily when trying to link similar sounding words from different languages.
Frank Joseph has related speculative ideas claiming that “the early date for New Grange, its circular construction, sophisticated solar orientation and mythic tradition all point to Atlantean origins.” [0636.70] A nonsensical conclusion based on nothing but his fertile imagination
Frank Joseph erroneously claims that Plato could not have been influenced by the Helike disaster, because according to Joseph the Atlantis dialogues were written 25 years before the obliteration of Helike[1074.14], when in fact Plato wrote his last dialogues about 25 years after the demise of Helike.
Lemmings are small rodents that primarily live in northern regions. Early zoologists and the more gullible readers assumed that the creatures have been seen committing mass suicide in an attempt to find their ancient homeland, Atlantis. Unfortunately, Frank Joseph[0102.51], among others, has chosen to perpetuate this canard. It should be obvious that if Atlantis had been destroyed 12,000 years ago, as Joseph claims, the lemmings should have all died out millennia ago due to their alleged destructive homing instinct.
Frank Joseph contends[0636.42] that the Phaistos Disk was ‘a sophisticated astrological chart’ and ‘is an example of Atlantean Bronze Age technology’.
Christopher Volpe records that in 1906, Alexander Strath-Gordon founded the Atlantean Research Society, in East Orange, New Jersey. This date conflicts with the foundation date of 1928 proposed by Frank Joseph. A book published by Strath-Gordon in 1934 confirms the 1906 date on its cover and records him as the founder and life president of the Atlantean Research Society.
In view of the above, it quite reasonable to classify Frank Joseph as unreliable.
(i) See: Archive 2627
Atalanta was a relatively insignificant island that according to Thucydides (II, 32) was “lying off the coast of Opuntian Locris”. The Athenians built a fort there in 431 BC and following an earthquake it suffered an inundation that caused serious loss of life and destruction of property (III, ChapXI par.89). The island is known today as Talandonisi. In this same area, North West of Athens, we have still the town of Atalanti and the Bay of Atalanti.
This report of the flooding of Atalanta is sometimes taken out of context by some supporters of Plato’s Atlantis and presented as a clear reference to it. This superficial interpretation does not stand up to scrutiny in terms of date, location, size, nor importance.
Others, such as Sprague de Camp, maintain that Plato’s Atlantis is pure fiction inspired by the destruction of Atalanta ‘in a single day’ by a flood following an earthquake. However, it would appear foolish to concoct a story such as that of Atlantis and base it on an inconsequential island, located only 50 miles from Athens, with a similar name, destroyed a few years previously and still expect it to be believed as true.
A similar Mycenaean city with a sunken harbour, tentatively named Korphos-Kalamianos on the Saronic Gulf, 60 miles south-west of Athens, has recently been excavated.
In 2014, work began on the exploration of another sunken Bronze Age coastal village at Kilada Bay, also in the Argolic Gulf. The team of Swiss and Greek archaeologists returned to the site in 2015, revealing their discoveries in August of that year(a).
*Acording to Apollodorus and John Lemprière, Atalanta was the name of the only female Argonaut!(b)*
Achaean is a term that has been applied in a variety a ways over the past 4,000 years to identify different groups and geographical areas. Originally it described the first of the Greek-speaking peoples who arrived on mainland Greece around 2000 BC. Homer also referred to them as Achaioi as well as Argives and Danai (Strabo 8.6.5). Achaioi was probably the Anatolian name for them. Argives refers to the inhabitants of Argos and the Danai were the descendants of the Egyptian Danus who moved to Argos. Homer used Danai as a general term applied to all Greeks. Similarly, it quite possible that Atlantis and the individual members of their alliance had each been known by a number of different names.
The Achaeans were the founders of the city of Mycenae, in the North-Eastern Peloponnese, which gave its name to the Mycenaean civilisation of Late Bronze Age Greece (1700-1200 BC). There is no consensus regarding their origin. There is some agreement that the Hittites knew them as Ahhiyawa. Rodney Castleden expands on this idea in his Mycenaeans. Helike, one of their cities, was destroyed in 373 BC, by inundation following an earthquake in a similar manner to the destruction of Atlantis as described by Plato.Iain Stewart also supports Helike, the former capital of the Achaean League, as the most likely inspiration for Plato’s Atlantis story(b).
Today Achaea is the name of an administrative area of Greece.
Some writers such as Jürgen Spanuth and more recently Felice Vinci have argued strongly in favour of the controversial theory that the Achaeans were a Baltic tribe that migrated south. Iman Wilkens maintains that ‘Achaean’ means ‘watermen’ or ‘Sea People’(a), which has other obvious implications.
Helike (pronounced he-LEEK-ee) was an ancient Greek city in Achaea, which was submerged by an earthquake and accompanying tidal wave in the winter of 373 BC. The same event also destroyed the city of Boura located southeast of Helike.
In 1988 the Greek archaeologist Dr. Dora Katsonopoulou and Dr. Steven Soter established the Helike Project(a) with the aim of locating the lost city. Katsonopoulou grew up just a few miles from the Helike site and would have been fully aware of any local stories regarding its destruction. It took until 2001 before their excavations were successful. Fortunately a BBC Horizon team was on hand to record the event and have made a transcript of the transmission available on the Internet(b) . The work has continued every year since then. It is worth noting that during the excavation of the town an even earlier Bronze Age settlement was unearthed nearby that may have greater significance than Helike itself.
The Helike/Boura disaster took place just a few years before Plato wrote his Timaeus and Critias dialogues, which are believed to be among his last compositions, dated 355-347 BC(c). Frank Joseph erroneously claims that Plato could not have been influenced by the Helike disaster, because according to Joseph the Atlantis dialogues were written 25 years before the obliteration of Helike[1074.14]. Coincidentally, there was another Greek inundation following an earthquake during Plato’s lifetime at a place with the evocative name of Atalanta!
One suggestion is that Plato had been aware of Solon’s story for some time but with the dramatic destruction of Helike he found that the story of the destruction of Atlantis would be more credible if given a similar demise.
Katsonopoulou contends that this disaster was the inspiration for Plato’s story of the destruction of Atlantis and presented a paper to the 2005 Atlantis Conference [629.327], outlining her views. Although she is seen as the champion of the Helike-Atlantis theory she was not the first to suggest a possible connection.
The British philosopher A.E. Taylor (1869-1945) was probably the first, in 1928, to consider the destruction Helike as a template for the demise of Plato’s Atlantis. This idea was endorsed(f) a couple of years later by the French writer Perceval Frutiger and in the 1980’s, Professor Adalberto Giovannini(d), a Swiss historian as well as Phyllis Young Forsyth both viewed the Helike event as having had some influence on Plato’s narrative of the Atlantis story.
(c) http://www.iep.utm.edu/plato/ Select ‘Plato’ under ‘P’
*(e) http://milos.conferences.gr/index.php?id=2851 (abstract only)