Ancient Chronology is a subject fraught with difficulties(a) as well as the focus of intense academic debate, particularly over the past half century.
*Archbishop Ussher (1581-1656) calculated the date of creation to have been October 23rd 4004 BC(d). Incredible as it may seem, even today (2019), there are still people prepared to give further consideration to his ideas (c).*
Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) became the first ‘modern’ revisionist of accepted ancient chronology. His work was heavily criticised and little serious advances were made until the development of Egyptology following Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt at the end of the 18th century.
Difficulties with details of Egyptian dating slowly accumulated, particularly when endeavouring to align it with Greek, Minoan and other eastern chronologies. The scholarly debates became very public in the middle of the 20th century with the eventual publication of Ages in Chaos by Immanuel Velikovsky and the attempts made to suppress it altogether. The refining of Velikovsky’s theories followed, with important contributions by S. Talbott, Edward Schorr and John Bimson. The Society for Interdisciplinary Studies (SIS)(b) was founded in 1975 and produces regular publications. This was followed a few years later by important books by David Rohl and Peter James‘, Centuries of Darkness. James also wrote The Sunken Kingdom in which he places Atlantis in Turkey.
One of the most controversial aspects of Plato’s Atlantis story is the old Egyptian priest’s claim that Atlantis was destroyed 9,000 years before Solon’s visit. He also related that Athens, who fought the Atlanteans, was established one thousand years before the Egyptian state or as is more likely, before the foundation of the city of Sais. Apart from anachronisms in Plato’s narrative the archaeological evidence completely contradicts the dates seemingly offered by the priests of Sais. It is interesting that most of the chronology revisionist debate centres on the second millennium BC which is arguably the most rational timeframe for the destruction of Atlantis based on the Bronze Age references in Timaeus and Critias, provided they are not just anachronistic embellishments.
Isaac Newton (1643-1727) was an astronomer, mathematician, philosopher and theologian (he is generally considered to have been an Arian Christian, opposing the doctrine of the Trinity). He also proposed that Armageddon will come in 2060(c), which is something of a relief for me as I would have to be celebrating my one hundred and seventeenth birthday that year. However, another claim(e) is that he favoured September 23rd 2015 for the ‘Second Coming’ of Christ. Oops!
He wrote a number of important works including The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended, which was published in 1728. In it he discussed a range of mythological links to Atlantis, including a possible connection with Homer’s Ogygia. Newton’s interest in the subject was such that he ordered a copy of Olof Rudbeck’s multi-volume Atlantica.
*A paper on the exaggerated antiquity presented by ancient writers was published some years ago by the Society for Interdisciplinary Studies (SIS). In it Newton’s revisionism is extensively discussed(h).*
Wikipedia refers to Newton’s belief in Atlantis as follows: Found within “The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms”, are several passages that directly mention the mythical land of Atlantis. The first such passage is part of his Short Chronical which indicates his belief that Homer’s Ulysses left the island of Ogygia in 896 BC. In Greek Mythology, Ogygia was home to Calypso, the daughter of Atlas (after whom Atlantis was named). Some scholars have suggested that Ogygia and Atlantis are locationally connected, or possibly the same island. From his writings it appears Newton may have shared this belief. Newton also lists Cadis or Cales as possible candidates for Ogygia, though he does not cite his reasons for believing so. Within the same material Newton mentions that according to ancient sources, Atlantis had been as big as all Europe, Africa and Asia, but was sunk into the Sea.
Newton may have been the first in his Principia Mathematica of 1687 to suggest the idea of polar wandering. He was also arguably the first to develop calculus as well as producing a ground-breaking work on optics, however, he also had his failures, such as spending twenty fruitless years experimenting with alchemy(d). Although Newton and Gottfried Leibnitz are generally credited with discovering ‘infinite series’, one of the basic components of calculus, it has now been shown that they were predated by Indian mathematicians in Kerala around 1350.
According to his biographer, Col. R. de Villamil, Newton lived in an ‘atmosphere of crimson’ having furniture and furnishings adorned with his favourite colour.
A copy of which was sold at Christie’s in December 2016 for a record $3.7 million.
(a) http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/15784 (full text)
(b) http://www.atlantisbolivia.org/isaacnewtonatlantis.htm (excerpt)
Ogygia is the home of Calypso, referred to by Homer in Book V of his Odyssey. It is accepted by some as an island in the Mediterranean that was destroyed by an earthquake before the Bronze Age. The Greek writers Euhemerus in the 4th century BC and Callimachus who flourished in the 3rd century BC, identified the Maltese archipelago as Ogygia. Others have more specifically named the Maltese island of Gozo as Ogygia. Anton Mifsud has pointed out that Herodotus, Hesiod and Diodorus Siculus have all identified the Maltese Islands with Ogygia.
>John Vella has added his support to the idea of a Maltese Ogygia in a paper published in the Athens Journal of History (Vol.3 Issue 1) in which he noted that “The conclusions that have emerged from this study are that Homer’s Ogygia is not an imaginary but a reference to and a record of ancient Gozo-Malta.”<
Adding to the confusion, Aeschylus, the tragedian (523-456 BC) calls the Nile, Ogygian, and Eustathius, a Byzantine grammarian (1115-1195), claimed that Ogygia was the earliest name for Egypt(j).
Isaac Newton wrote a number of important works including The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended , in which he discussed a range of mythological links to Atlantis, including a possible connection with Homer’s Ogygia. There is now evidence that he concurred(c) with the idea of a Maltese Ogygia in The Original of Monarchies(d).
Strabo referred to “Eleusis and Athens on the Triton River [in Boiotia]. These cities, it is said, were founded by Kekrops (Cecrops), when he ruled over Boiotia (Boeotia), then called Ogygia, but were later wiped out by inundations.”(i) However, Strabo also declared that Ogygia was to be found in the ‘World Ocean’ or Atlantic (j). To say the least, these two conflicting statements require explanation.
Richard Hennig opted for Madeira following the opinion of von Humboldt. Spanuth argued strongly against either Madeira or the Canaries[0017.149] and gave his support to the Azores as the most likely location of Calypso’s Island.. Not unexpectedly the Azores, in the mid-Atlantic, have also been nominated as Ogygia by other 20th century researchers such as Sykes(e) and Mertz. In a 2019 paper(f), Gerard Janssen also placed Ogygia in the Azores, specifically naming the island of Saõ Miguel, which Spanuth also did.
Homer in his Odyssey identifies Ogygia as the home of Calypso. The Roman poet Catullus writing in the 1st century BC linked Ogygia with Calypso in Malta(g).>However, Gozo’s claim is challenged by those supporting Gavdos in Crete(k). This opinion has been expounded more fully by Katerina Kopaka in a paper published in the journal Cretica Chronica(l), where her starting point is the claim that Gavdos had been previously known as Gozo!<
Mifsud quotes another Roman of the same period, Albius Tibullus, who also identified Atlantis with Calypso. Other Maltese writers have seen all this as strong evidence for the existence of Atlantis in their region. Delisle de Sales considered Ogygia to be between Italy and Carthage, but opted for Sardinia as the remains of Calypso’s island.
Other researchers such as Geoffrey Ashe and Andrew Collins have opted for the Caribbean as the home of Ogygia. Another site supports Mesoamerica as the location of Ogygia, which the author believes can be equated with Atlantis(h). An even more extreme suggestion by Ed Ziomek places Ogygia in the Pacific(b)!
In the Calabria region of southern Italy lies Capo Collone (Cape of Columns). 18th century maps show two islands off the cape named Ogygia and Calypsus offering echoes of Homer’s tale. Additionally, there is a temple to Hera Lacinia at Capo Collone
By way of complete contrast both Felice Vinci and John Esse Larsen have proposed that the Faeroe Islands included Ogygia. In the same region, Iceland was nominated by Gilbert Pillot as the location of Ogygia and Calypso’s home. Ilias D. Mariolakos, a Greek professor of Geology also makes a strong case(a) for identifying Iceland with Ogygia based primarily on the writings of Plutarch. He also supports the idea of Minoans in North America.
The most recent suggestion has come from Manolis Koutlis , who, after a forensic examination of various versions of Plutarch’s work, in both Latin and Greek, also placed Ogygia in North America, specifically on what is now the tiny island of St. Paul at the entrance to the Gulf of St. Lawrence in Canada, a gulf that was also held the location of Atlantis.
Jean-Silvain Bailly also used the writings of Plutarch to sustain his theory of Ogygia, which he equated with Atlantis having an Arctic location[0926.2.299], specifically identifying Iceland as Ogygia/Atlantis with the islands of Greenland, Nova Zembla and Spitzbergen as the three islands equally distant from it and each other.
However, Ireland has been linked with Ogygia by mainly Irish writers. In the 17th century historian, Roderick O’Flaherty(1629-1718), wrote a history of Ireland entitled Ogygia, while in the 19th century, Margaret Anne Cusack (1832-1899) also wrote a history in which she claimed a more explicit connection. This was followed in 1911 by a book by Marion McMurrough Mulhall in which she also quotes Plutarch to support the linking of Ireland and Ogygia. More recently, in The Origin of Culture Thomas Dietrich promotes the same view, but offers little hard evidence to support it.
This matter would appear to be far from a resolution.
Other suggested locations are:
Lipsi (Greece) http://www.wiw.gr/english/lipsi_niriedes/
Mljet (Croatia) http://www.adriagate.com/en/croatia/national_parks.aspx?ID=4
Gavdos (Greece) http://gavdosgreece.page.tl/
(c) See: Archive 3439
(e) ‘Where Calypso may have Lived’ (Atlantis, 5, 1953, pp 136-137)
(g) Lib. iv, Eleg. 1
(i) Strabo, Geography 9. 2. 18