An A-Z Guide To The Search For Plato's Atlantis

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Joining The Dots


Joining The Dots

I have now published my new book, Joining The Dots, which offers a fresh look at the Atlantis mystery. I have addressed the critical questions of when, where and who, using Plato's own words, tempered with some critical thinking and a modicum of common sense.


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Hyde Clarke

Mijatovich, Chedomille

Chedomille Mijatovich (1842-1932) was a Serbian politician, economist and historian. He was one of the first in modern times to suggest that the Sargasso Sea may have been the maritime hazard described by Plato as a ‘shoal of mud’, which resulted from the submergence of Atlantis. This idea was conveyed to and recorded by Hyde Clarke(a).

(a) http://www.forgottenbooks.org/readbook/Transactions_of_the_Royal_Historical_Society_v3_1000379094#21 (p.14)

Elephants

Elephants are specifically mentioned by Plato as being indigenous to Atlantis. This must have significance for anyone trying to arrive at a credible location for Atlantis. For example, supporters of the Theran Atlantis School cannot show where such large animals could have lived on the small volcanic island. There are no physical remains, no frescos and no historical references. Rodney Castleden who supports the Minoan Hypothesis admits that “no raw elephant ivory has been found (on Thera) and very little in the way of worked ivory”[225.70]. He later speaks of the importation of ivory into Crete[p.172] having bravely denounced Plato’s description (Critias 115a) of herds of elephants on Atlantis as “false”[p.136].

Similarly, Spanuth’s Heligoland location would have been climatically unsuited to elephants. Spanuth himself admits that the elephant reference “is hard to explain“. Nevertheless, Felice Vinci who champions a Northern European origin for Greek mythology is of the opinion that Plato’s elephant reference may be a lingering memory of the woolly mammoths that inhabited Arctic regions as recently as 1700 BC. In the late 17th century Olof Rudbeck, recognising the problem that Plato’s reference to elephants presented for his Swedish Atlantis, argued that Plato had been speaking figuratively when describing the large voracious animals and had in fact been referring to wolves, the Swedish word for wolf being ‘ulf’, which sounds like the beginning of ‘elephant’!!

Elephants in Western Europe were undoubtedly represented by mammoths, remains of which have been recovered from the North Sea – Doggerland and dated to around 40,000 years ago. Coincidentally, a tool made of mammoth bone, used for making rope, has also been dated to 40,000 years ago(i)(n). This discovery (s) by Nicholas Conard from the University of Tubingen was made shortly before Ashley Cowie published his interesting book[1454] on the history of rope-making. Further information on string, ropes and knots was published in March 2017(o).

Allied to the demise of the Siberian mammoths is the often repeated fib that when the remains were first discovered, their flesh was still fresh enough to eat, has recently been debunked by Jason Colavito(j). He has also unearthed the truth behind that other canard relating to a Siberian mammoth, namely that fresh buttercups were found in its mouth(j). He has now(q) traced back the earliest reference to the frozen mammoths to George Cuvier in 1822 [1586.11].

Eckart Kahlhofer, in a forthcoming book[715] advocates a North-West European location for Atlantis, suggests that where Plato referred to elephants he really meant deer! Kahlhofer offers, as a simple explanation for this seemingly daft contention, the fact that the Greek for elephant, elephas, is very similar to the Greek elaphos which means deer. A simple transcription error by a scribe could have caused the mix-up. The elk was the largest species of deer to be found in the northern hemisphere and are still to be found in Scandinavia. The Great Irish Deer which died out around 5500 BC had an antler span of 11ft and a maximum height of 10ft. 

Gene Matlock in an attempt to bolster his Mexican location for Atlantis has suggested that Plato’s elephants were in fact the long-snouted tapirs of Meso-America!(c), an idea ‘borrowed’ from Hyde Clarke 

While the elephant issue should not be dealt with in isolation it does serve to illustrate the difficulties involved in analysing Plato’s text. Consider the possibility that the early date of 9600 BC for Atlantis is accepted, then the islands that are too small today to accommodate elephants may have been considerably larger and sometimes connected to each other or a mainland during the Ice Age, when sea levels were lower, and consequently capable of supporting pachyderms. In this regard, Sundaland would have been a most suitable candidate. Not only would to-day’s South China Sea’s archipelagos been a single landmass, but there would have been access to the area from the Asian mainland, home today to large numbers of elephants.

Strangely enough even the Andes, considered by some as the home of Atlantis, reveal the fact that during the last Ice Age a species of elephant called Cuvieronius lived there but became extinct around 8000 BC. These animals are to be found carved on the great Gateway of the Sun in Tiahuanaco suggesting that they were common in the region. Supporters of an Atlantis link with Tiahuanaco have highlighted this fact.

James Bailey who supports[149][150] the idea of Atlantis in America believes that Plato’s mention of elephants could be a reference to the American mammoth, generally believed to have died out circa 10,000 BC, although Victor von Hagen, the American explorer, contentiously maintained that they survived as late 2000 BC. A similar idea was presented to the 2005 Atlantis Conference by American researcher, Monique Petersen.

The Schoppes, in support of their theory of Atlantis in the Black Sea region, contend(l) that Indian elephants existed there until 800 BC and support this with a reference to the Egyptian pharaoh Thutmosis III who killed 120 elephants ‘there’ around 1200 BC, which is a strange claim as Thutmosis did not venture beyond Syria and he died circa 1426 BC!

Elephas Antiquus (Palaeoloxodon), is a dwarf species whose remains have been found throughout the islands of the Mediterranean from Sardinia to Cyprus. All those found were dated 200,000 BC or earlier! In sharp contrast, Simon Davis, in an article in New Scientist (3 Jan.1985), dated Mediterranean dwarf elephants to as recent as 6000 BC(p). A number of writers, such as Roger Coghill, have tried to use the pygmy elephant as an explanation for Plato’s text (Crit. 114e & 115a) where we find that he describes the elephants as being ‘of its nature the largest and most voracious’. This is not a description of pygmy elephants.

However, Ghar Hasan or Hasan’s Cave in southeast Malta has paleolithic cave paintings that depict elephants, indicating more recent contact with the animals. Whether these represented full-sized or the pygmy variety is unclear. A small booklet[214] by Dr. Anton Mifsud and Dr. Charles Savona-Ventura describes this cave system.

In Dossier Malta – Neanderthal [1587] Mifsud has drawn attention to another cavern, not far away, formerly known as Ghar Dulam, now Ghar Dalam, where thousands of dwarf elephant bones were discovered. Dulam means ‘small elephant’ in Arabic. This is one of the mainstays of his ‘Atlantis in Malta’ theory. Whether these diminutive creatures justify Plato’s description that they were the “largest and most voracious” of animals (Crit.115a) is clearly debatable. For me this is not a description of pygmy elephants and so in all probability is an indication of a North African location or, as some claim, an Asian one!

The Atlanteans had control in Europe as far as Tyrrhenia and Egypt, which would have included what is now modern Tunisia, the home of the last recorded wild elephants in that region!

Readers should be aware that there is general acceptance that the North African Elephant inhabited the Atlas Mountains until they became extinct in Roman times(e)(h). In fact the New Scientist magazine of 7th February 1985(d) outlined the evidence that Tunisia had native elephants until at least the end of the Roman Empire.

In Elephant Destiny[1301] Martin Meredith records that one of the earliest references to the African elephant came from Hanno, the 5th century BC Carthaginian explorer, who related how he came across marshes at the foot of the Atlas Mountains, which “were haunted by elephants and multitudes of other grazing beasts.” Meredith also mentions that stables for as many as 300 elephants were to be found within the city of Carthage itself.

Nevertheless,  the species of elephant used by Hannibal has been a source of debate for years(f). The Numidians of North Africa (202 BC–46 BC) also used local elephants in warfare(g). It would seem to me that the North African Elephant, rather than the Asian or African species, would have been more suited to the trek across the Alps. Needless to say, the Atlas Mountains were part of the Atlantean sphere of control (Timaeus 25a-b) and so may be the reason that Plato mentioned them.*It is also reported that during the reign of the Ptolemies in Egypt (323 BC-30 BC), they imported war elephants from Eritrea in East Africa(r)*

The latter half of 2010 saw a new piece of nonsense hit the blogosophere when a claim that the Atlanteans had flying machines made of elephant skins suddenly appeared and before you could say “cut and paste” it was ‘adopted’ by a variety of websites(a)(b). So Dumbo was not the first flying elephant! In fact this daft idea was just a recycling of one of Edgar Cayce’s ‘revelations’ (Reading 364-6)(m).

(a) http://www.articledashboard.com/Article/Speaking-of-Atlantis/1872335  (Offline October 2017)

(b) http://www.saching.com/Articles/Historical-Proof-of-Atlantis-2888.html

(c) http://viewzone.com/atlantis22.html

(d) https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=yoa0FqP-rWUC&pg=PA39&lpg=PA39&dq=elephants+in+Tunisia&source=bl&ots=t-VBIs13N4&sig=4WMoiqmnEfbmL4eZlvTbK9NWrRQ&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ZWzqVL3aNeLY7AbtuYHQAQ&ved=0CCAQ6AEwADgK#v=onepage&q=elephants%20in%20Tunisia&f=false

(e) http://interesting-africa-facts.com/Africa-Landforms/Atlas-Mountains-Facts.html

(f) http://www.nytimes.com/1984/09/18/science/the-mystery-of-hannibal-s-elephants.html

(g) http://nabataea.net/elephants.html

(h) http://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2014/08/137456/5-animals-that-once-roamed-morocco-but-no-longer-exist/

(i) http://www.seeker.com/how-rope-was-made-40000-years-ago-1943454415.html

(j) http://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/dining-on-frozen-mammoth-steaks-the-evolution-of-a-strange-rumor

(k) http://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/flash-frozen-mammoths-and-their-buttercups-yet-another-case-of-repetition-and-recycling-of-bad-data

(l) http://www.black-sea-atlantis.com/black-sea-atlantis/

(m) http://phantho.de/files/html/reading__364-6.htm

(n) http://www.q-mag.org/40000-years-of-rope-making.html

(o) https://www.hakaimagazine.com/features/the-long-knotty-world-spanning-story-of-string/

(p) https://books.google.ie/books?id=Bjd6S9fEDE4C&pg=PA25&lpg=PA25&dq=%22simon+davis%22+pygmy+elephants&source=bl&ots=BReKfMY2gS&sig=AWTfZYjRx55PVqzUIRLk-hrzmPo&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi-96Oak-naAhWRON8KHYTKCEgQ6AEITzAL#v=onepage&q=%22simon%20davis%22%20pygmy%20elephants&f=false

(q) http://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/the-claim-of-flash-frozen-mammoths-is-older-than-i-thought

(r) https://www.livescience.com/64407-ancient-egypt-fortress-war-elephants.html

*(s) https://www.seeker.com/how-rope-was-made-40000-years-ago-1943454415.html*

Sargasso Sea

The Sargasso Sea is a region of the North Atlantic surrounded by ocean currents. Its limits are roughly 70-40° W and 25-35° N. It has a number of remarkable features, (i) it is very salty, (ii) it contains masses of seaweed of the genus ‘Sargassum’, giving the region Sargassoits name, and (iii) it is place where the European eel migrates to, in order lay their eggs. The spawning habits of the European eel are indeed a mystery!

Chedomille Mijatovich, the Serbian politician was probably one of the first to associate the Sargasso Sea with Plato’s ‘shoal of mud’ in a letter to Hyde Clarke.

In 1925, Dr. A. Selwyn Brown wrote an article in the New York Herald, which was relayed around the world(a) in which he supported the Sargasso Atlantis theory. Around the same period the American naturalist, William Beebe, following an intensive study of the Sargasso was also reported(b) to have subscribed to the idea of the Sargasso as the location of Atlantis.

It is obvious that the Sargasso Sea is centred to the west of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and not over it as implied by some writers, particularly those who want to link it with an Atlantis situated on the MAR. Clearly, Plato’s account of the aftermath of the sinking of Atlantis describes impassable waters due to mud not seaweed. Contrary to popular belief the Sargasso Sea is not a hindrance to navigation.

(a) http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/185182972?searchTerm=Atlantis discovered&searchLimits=sortby=dateAsc

(b) http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/118446581?searchTerm=Atlantis discovered&searchLimits=sortby=dateAsc

 

Clarke, Hyde (m)

 

Hyde Clarke (1815-1895) was English philologist, engineer and historian who Hyde Clarkesuggested[242] in 1885, that “the head seat of the great king (of Atlantis) was possibly in the Caribbean Sea; it may be in St. Domingo (Hispaniola)”. His book can be read online(a).

Clarke also held the view that ‘Atlantis’ was the name of the king rather than the kingdom.

Another of his odd suggestions was that the elephants of Atlantis were in fact tapirs!

*[He further claimed that Australia had been known in remote antiquity(d).]*

Jason Colavito reviewed Clarke’s Atlantis ideas in a June 2014 blog(b), the following day, Colavito’s article was republished under the name of author Gabriel Cohen!(c)

(a) http://www.archive.org/stream/examinationlege00clargoog#page/n6/mode/1up

(b)  http://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/hyde-clarkes-unusual-opinions-about-atlantis

(c) http://www.ufosightings.co.za/hyde-clarkes-unusual-opinions-about-atlantis/ offline September 2015.

*[(d) http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/63616237?searchTerm=Plato Atlantis&searchLimits=sortby=dateAsc]*

 

Brasseur de Bourbourg, Charles Etienne

Charles Etienne Brasseur de Bourbourg (1814-1874) was born in brasseur de bourbourg_jpgBourbourg, near Dunkirk, France. He entered the priesthood and in 1845 he left for Canada and was for a short time professor of ecclesiastical history at Quebec. He worked as a missionary in Mexico and Central America where he developed an intense interest in the native South Americans and their origins. In 1859 be published a history of the Aztecs.

Hubert H. Bancroft (1832-1918), the American historian, noted[1319.125-132] that initially Brasseur was highly sceptical of the reality of Atlantis, but as his studies deepened he became an enthusiastic believer.

Brasseur de Bourbourg’s ability to track down rare manuscripts was legendary. He studied the thoroughly flawed interpretation of Mayan hieroglyphics by Bishop Diego de Landa, produced in the 16th century. He concluded that the Maya were originally from Atlantis, based on Plato’s description of Atlantean culture. This view was expressed in his 1868 book, Quatre Lettres sur le Méxique[1450].

In an 1866 offering[1506],  he recorded his study of the Mayan monuments, particularly Palenque. The illustrations for this book were executed by Jean-Frédérick de Waldeck.

Brasseur also translated local languages into Roman script and perhaps his most important contribution was a French translation of the Popul Vuh, sacred book of the Quiché branch of the Maya, which was published in 1861. An English translation is now available on the Internet(a).

*Nigel Davies has revealed[1635] that Brasseur, as well as Lord Kingsborough (1795-1829), concluded that the native Americans were in fact the Ten Lost Tribes of Israel. This idea had been suggested by centuries earlier by Diego de Landa (1524- 1579), the Franciscan bishop of Yucatán.*

Iin the mid-19th century, Brasseur proposed that Atlantis had existed on a large landmass in the Atlantic of which Hispaniola is a remnant. He believed that this vast peninsula extended to the vicinity of the Canaries. This idea was based on his own, largely incorrect, interpretation of Mayan glyphs. The American Hyde Clarke and the Guatemalan doctor Paul Felix Cabrera shared similar location theories.

Jason Colavito has pointed out that Brasseur was probably the first to suggest the possibility that some form of Pole Shift led to the destruction of Atlantis(b). This idea was published in 1873 and is available in an English translation by Colavito(c).

After what he thought was reference to a flooded land called Mu, one of his last conclusions was that Mu and Atlantis were the same and that Mu was the correct name for the flooded land. This fantasy led Augustus le Plongeon to revise this theory, suggesting that refugees from both Mu and Atlantis were the founders of the Mayan civilisation.
 
(a) http://www.meta-religion.com/World_Religions/Ancient_religions/Central_america/popol_vuh.htm

(b) http://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/greek-sculptors-in-ancient-china-plus-a-very-early-claim-for-a-pole-shift-destroying-atlantis

(c) http://www.jasoncolavito.com/historical-chronology-of-the-mexicans.html

Ashe, Geoffrey

Geoffrey Ashe (1923- ) is a recognised authority on the Arthurian Legend and has written extensively on the subject. He is the author or co-author of a number of books, including The Quest for Arthur’s Britain, Camelot and the Vision of Albion, The Discovery of King Arthur, and Mythology of the British Isles. He was co-founder and secretary of the Camelot Research Committee that Geoffrey Asheexcavated Cadbury Castle in Somerset.  He was Associate Editor of The Arthurian Encyclopaedia and The New Arthurian Encyclopaedia; collaborated with Norris Lacy on The Arthurian Handbook, and has held visiting professorships at several American universities.

In the fifth century, the neo-Platonist Proclus, quoting a first-century BC geographer named Marcellus, spoke of three islands of ‘immense extent’ located in the Atlantic Ocean. The inhabitants of the central of these islands was said to have preserved the memory of a former landmass, identified by Proclus with Atlantis, which had existed thereabouts. In 1962, historian Ashe identified Marcellus’ three great islands with the Greater Antilles of the Caribbean. Moreover, he pointed out that the indigenous peoples of the region preserved the memory of a cataclysm, which had split up a former landmass leaving behind the islands that make the archipelagos, we see today. All but a few human beings were drowned in this all-encompassing event.

Could this have been a memory of the destruction of Atlantis preserved in the Caribbean and brought across the Atlantic by ancient mariners such as the Phoenicians and Carthaginians? However, as Andrew Collins noted[072.109] Ashe was not the first to make this connection. In 1885, the American historian Hyde Clarke, in a paper delivered to the Royal Historical Society used the same indigenous legends to identify Hispaniola as the location of Atlantis.

In the late 1950’s it was reported in Sykes’s Atlantis journal that Ashe was planning to emulate St. Brendan’s voyage across the Atlantic in a currach, a feat later achieved by Tim Severin. However, Ashe never made the trip but settled for writing a book on the subject, Land to the West[740].

Two books with an Atlantis theme have been published by Ashe, Atlantis: Lost Lands, Ancient Wisdom[082] & Atlantis: The Legend of  Lost City[083] .

Hispaniola

Hispaniola is the second largest island in the West Indies, containing Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Before Columbus, Hispaniola was known by the locals as Quisqueya – Mother of the Lands.

hispaniola

In 1794 a Guatemalan doctor and scholar, Paul Felix Cabrera, proposed that Hispaniola was Atlantis as well as a mysterious Atlantic island called Septimania. However, his theories, although revolutionary, were flawed by political bias against neighbouring Cuba.  In the mid-19th century Charles Etienne Brasseur de Bourbourg was another who proposed that Hispaniola was in fact a remnant of Plato’s Atlantis. In 1885 the American historian, Hyde Clarke, also suggested Hispaniola as a possible location.

The most recent advocate is Prof. Emilio Spedicato who proposes(a) the island as the home of Atlantis and contends that a consideration of the topography of Hispaniola suggests that the ruins of the capital city, if not completely destroyed by the catastrophic event (most probably a huge tsunami due to either an oceanic impact of a comet or an Apollo object, or to the tidal effects of a planet passing close to the Earth) lie under thick sediments in the bottom of Lake Henriquillo, close to the southern coast of Santo Domingo, near the border with Haiti.

In January 2010 an archaeologist, Fianchy Torres, claimed(b) that a site in Manzanillo Bay in the north-west of the Dominican Republic, near the Haitian border, was the location of Plato’s Atlantis(c). He based his contention on anomalies he found on Google Earth images and sea level changes. Similar underwater anomalies have been identified in Peru, near Puerto Rico as well as the Canaries, which appear to be the result of data processing errors.

The idea of Atlantis in Hispaniola, inspired by the work of Spedicato, is now supported by the Kiskeya-Atl Research Center(d), which has announced that it will host a three-day conference in November 2018, with an invited panel of “renowned scholars and researchers on the topic.”

(a) http://www.academia.edu/10973532/ATLANTIS_IN_HISPANIOLA_

*(b) http://www.dominicancentral.com/newsarticle/the_lost_city_of_atlantis_near_dominican_coast/ (offline March 2015) See: https://web.archive.org/web/20110321094118/http://www.dominicancentral.com/newsarticle/the_lost_city_of_atlantis_near_dominican_coast/*

(d) https://www.kiskeyaatlresearchcenter.org/index.html