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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Katherine Folliot

Lemuria

Lemuria was a name invented in 1864 by the English zoologist Philip Lutley Sclater (1829-1913) to describe a hypothetical landmass in the Indian Ocean that was used to explain the isolation of lemurs on Madagascar while related fossils were spread across Africa and South-East Asia.The name has also been credited to the English geologist, William Thomas Blanford (1832-1905).  It is further claimed that Ernst Heinrich Haeckel (1834-1919), the German professor of zoology and ardent supporter of Darwin, had made a similar suggestion regarding a sunken continent before Sclater without attributing a particular name to it.

Sir John Murray (1841-1914), a renowned British oceanographer, claimed(d) to have identified traces of this lost continent in the Indian Ocean.

Mu on the other hand is the name given to a fictional continent that was supposed to have existed in the Mid-to-Southern Pacific Ocean and given popular recognition by the writings of James Churchward who promoted it as the Atlantis of the Pacific. However, many writers continue to use the two words interchangeably. Frank Joseph links the destruction of ‘Lemuria’ with the Plagues of Egypt[106][107].

Madame Blavatsky claimed Lemuria as a pre-Atlantis source of Ancient Wisdom. She ‘revealed’ that the Lemurians had four armed egg-laying hermaphrodites with a third eye. Unfortunately, Blavatsky’s esoteric bosh is still touted widely today in books and the Internet(a).

Lemuria_4_600_393

Katherine Folliot in her Atlantis Revisited[054] has an interesting passage on Lemuria which I shall quote in full;

“Several Atlantologists have claimed that Lemuria was none other than the lost island of Atlantis, and although their theory has generally considered to be fanciful, it may well be based on true facts. The word Lemuria is a bastardization of the Arab word ‘al amur’ which means ‘the West’, or ‘the western land’, and one may surmise that this was the name given by medieval Arab scholars to the ‘western land’ mentioned in the surviving Egyptian archives in Alexandria, which was stated to have disappeared under the sea. When Arabia lost its cultural predominance at the end of the Middle Ages, ‘al Amur’ became distorted into ‘Lemur’, and later into ‘Lemuria’, but the land this inaccurate name designated was in all probability the same as that described by the Egyptian priest of Sais to Solon, the ‘western land’ of Atlantis.”

Even more bizarre was a report in the 30th October 1955 edition of the San Francisco Examiner, which linked the American ‘Bigfoot’ or Sasquatch with a sunken Lemuria, suggesting that he was a highly developed survivor of that lost continent!

On a more serious note February 2013 saw the report(b) of the discovery of an ancient continent in the Indian Ocean. At first sight fans of the Mu/Lemuria concept must have been quite excited until it was realised that this sunken landmass was dated as being many hundreds of millions of years old.

In a September 2014 interview(c) Graham Hancock echoed my views regarding Lemuria and Mu when he responded to a question on the subject with, “Well, let’s get Lemuria out of the way first. Lemuria is actually a 19th century idea and there is no ancient text that refers to Lemuria. Lemuria is about the fact that fossils of a species of animal, the lemur, are found on both sides of the Indian Ocean. The suggestion was that there must have been some joining continent at one point between Madagascar and India. At any rate, I repeat, and this is my point –  there’s no ancient testimony for the existence of a place called “Lemuria”. The ancient testimony from Mu is also extremely dubious, since it rests on a 19th century mistranslation of a Mayan text popularized by Augustus Le Plongeon and then subsequently elaborated by James Churchward in the 1920’s and 1930’s. But never mind the names, the fact is that we do have genuinely ancient traditions of lost civilisations and lost lands all around the world. That’s why I find Lemuria and Mu a bit of a distraction, because Mu rests on a mistranslation of an ancient text and Lemuria is entirely a 19th century idea.

(a) http://www.lemuria.net/

(b) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-21551149

(c) http://galacticconnection.com/graham-hancock-ancient-aliens-atlantis-ayahuasca/

(d) http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/71147253?searchTerm=Plato Atlantis&searchLimits=sortby=dateDesc

Aristotle

Aristotle (c.384-322 BC) was born at Stagira, a Grecian colony in Macedonia and died in Chalcis. He became Plato’s pupil at the age of seventeen and developed to become one of the trinity of the greatest Greek philosophers, along with Socrates and Plato. In turn, Aristotle was the tutor of Alexander the Great. However, Aristotle was something of a ‘know-all’, had his own blind spots. Katherine Folliot mentioned that Aristotle ‘held all non-Greeks in utter contempt’ clouding his judgement regarding any story originating in Egypt. John Michael Greeraristotle[335.16] points out that Aristotle consistently disagreed with his teacher, Plato. Aristotle’s geographical knowledge is highly suspect, claiming as he did that both the Danube and the Guadalquivir rose in the Pyrenees. However, it was Aristotle, revered by the Church, who maintained that the universe was earth-centred, a view that led to the persecution of Galileo and the burning of Giordano Bruno for their ‘heretical’ cosmological views.

According to Diogenes Laertius, Aristotle disagreed with his teacher on philosophical matters while Plato was still alive, causing Plato to remark, “Aristotle has kicked me, as foals do their mothers when they are born.” While there is evidence that Aristotle never lost his high personal regard for Plato, the fact remains, that in his later writings he never mentions Plato except to refute his doctrines, maintaining that the Platonic method is fatal to science.

Thorwald C. Franke refers specifically to Aristotle’s silence on the subject of Atlantis in his Aristotle and Atlantis[0706.30] in the following manner, “After all, if Aristotle were against the existence of Atlantis, one might have expected him to document his disagreement with Plato in some way and dispute the matter at hand. (Ingemar) Düring[1421] expresses what every person familiar with ancient literature knows well: ‘in accordance with the prevailing practice of that time, one mentioned the author of an opinion only if one did not agree … when it came to prevailing views with which he agreed, he [Aristotle] never mentioned the author.’

   Thus the original argument is turned on its head: Aristotle’s very silence meant – if anything – more that he was for the existence of Atlantis than against it.”

My interest in Aristotle stems from the fact that he is constantly presented as the only classical writer to argue with the existence of Atlantis. A typical example are the comments of David Hatcher Childress who describes[620 .141]Aristotle as sceptical on many matters and that as well as doubting the reality of Atlantis he also appears to have questioned the veracity of Homer’s Trojan War when Strabo quotes Aristotle as saying that the Greek wall of Troy may never have been built but “invented and then demolished by the poet” (Geography XIII.i.36:).

However, Thorwald C. Franke‘s book, now published in English, persuasively  disputes this commonly held view that Aristotle did not accept the existence of Atlantis. He points out that the alleged critical comment did not come directly from the writings of Aristotle but from a quotation attributed to Aristotle by Strabo (Geog. II 102). Franke has traced the use of this text as a dismissal of the existence of Atlantis by Aristotle back to 1816, when the French astronomer and mathematician Jean Baptiste Joseph Delambre (1749-1822) misinterpreted the commentary on Strabo’s Geographica by Isaac Casaubon in 1587.

Franke has recently augmented his book with a YouTube video, in English(d) and German(e).

Franke points out that a study of more than twenty passages from Aristotle’s writings relating to Atlantis reveals that he was inclined to accept the Atlantis story as true since he accepted many of its details without expressing any doubt about the core of  it.

*Jean Baptiste d’Anville (1697-1782) was a highly regarded geographer and cartographer, and also an Atlantis sceptic. However, as Franke has pointed d’Anville accepted that Aristotle believed in the existence of Atlantis[880.83].*

In May 2016, there was held at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, in ancient Stagira and in ancient Mieza, an international conference ‘Aristotle 2400 Years’ at which it was claimed(a) that Aristotle’s long lost tomb had been discovered at Stagira, his birthplace. Understandably, this generated an immediate critical response(b).

Aristotle like others of his era are still highly regarded as philosophers, but unfortunately it took over a millennium before Ibn al-Haytham developed the concept of experimental data and reproducibility of its results. On the other hand, Aristotle, is not an ideal mentor regarding many subjects outside philosophy.

He was happy to justify slavery, as was Athenian society in general.

Aristotle was also a biologist whose work amazed Darwin when William Ogle sent him a copy of The Parts of Animals[1317] which he had translated. Now in The Lagoon[1318],  a modern biologist, Armand Marie Leroi, reveals more of Aristotle’s wide-ranging scientific investigations and his conclusions, not all of which were correct(c) .

(a) http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-history-archaeology/breaking-news-archaeologists-claim-have-found-long-lost-tomb-aristotle-020849?nopaging=1

(b) http://www.livescience.com/54923-archaeologists-doubt-aristotle-tomb-discovery.html

(c) https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/origins-science

(d) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inWb6IVNWFQ (English)

(e) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDG7a09xkZE (German)

Andalusia

Andalusia is the second largest of the seventeen autonomous communities of Spain. It is situated in the south of the country with Seville as its capital, which was earlier known as Spal when occupied by the Phoenicians.

Andalusia probably takes its name from the Arabic al-andalus – the land of the Andalusia mapVandals. Joaquin Vallvé Bermejo (1929-2011) was a Spanish historian and Arabist, who wrote; “Arabic texts offering the first mentions of the island of Al-Andalus and the sea of al-Andalus become extraordinarily clear if we substitute these expressions with ‘Atlantis’ or ‘Atlantic’.”[1341]

Andalusia has been identified by a number of investigators as the home of Atlantis. It appears that the earliest proponents of this idea were José Pellicer de Ossau Salas y Tovar and Johannes van Gorp in the 17th century. This view was echoed in the 19th century by the historian Francisco Fernández y Gonzáles and subsequently by his son Juan Fernandez Amador de los Riosin 1919. A decade later Mrs E. M. Whishaw published[053] the results of her extensive investigations in the region, particularly in and around Seville. In 1984, Katherine Folliot endorsed this Andalusian location for Atlantis in her book, Atlantis Revisited[054].

Stavros Papamarinopoulos has added his authoritative voice to the claim for an Andalusian Atlantis in a 2010 paper(a) delivered to the 12th International Congress of the Geological Society of Greece. He argues that the Andalusian Plain matches the Plain of Atlantis but Plato clearly describes a plain that was 3,000 stadia long and 2,000 stadia wide and even if the unit of measurement was different, the ratio of length to breadth does not match the Andalusian Plain. Furthermore, Plato describes the mountains to the north of the Plain of Atlantis as being “more numerous, higher and more beautiful” than all others. The Sierra Morena to the north of Andalusia does not fit this description. The Sierra Nevada to the south is rather more impressive, but in that region the most magnificent are the Atlas Mountains of North Africa. As well as that Plato clearly states (Critias 118b) that the Plain of Atlantis faced south while the Andalusian Plain faces west!

During the same period, the German, Adolf Schulten who also spent many years excavating in the area, was also convinced that evidence for Atlantis was to be found in Andalusia. He identified Atlantis with the legendary Tartessos[055].  

Dr. Rainer W. Kuhne supports the idea that the invasion of the ‘Sea Peoples’ was linked to the war with Atlantis, recorded by the Egyptians and he locates Atlantis in Andalusiain southern Spain, placing its capital in the valley of the Guadalquivir, south of Seville. In 2003, Werner Wickboldt, a German teacher, declared that he had examined satellite photos of this region and detected structures that very closely resemble those described by Plato in Atlantis. In June 2004, AntiquityVol. 78 No. 300 published an article(b) by Dr. Kuhne highlighting Wickboldt’s interpretation of the satellite photos of the area. This article was widely quoted throughout the world’s press. Their chosen site, the Doñana Marshes were linked with Atlantis over 400 years ago by José Pellicer. Kühne also offers additional information on the background to the excavation(e).

However, excavations on the ground revealed that the features identified by Wickboldt’s were smaller than anticipated and were from the Muslim Period. Local archaeologists have been working on the site for years until renowned self-publicist Richard Freund arrived on the scene, and spent less than a week there, but subsequently ‘allowed’ the media to describe him as leading the excavations.

Although most attention has been focussed on western end of the region, a 2015 theory(d) from Sandra Fernandez places Atlantis in the eastern province of Almeria.

Georgeos Diaz-Montexano has pointed out that Arab commentators referred to Andalus (Andalusia) north of Morocco being home to a city covered with golden brass.

Karl Jürgen Hepke has an interesting website(c) where he voices his support for the idea of two Atlantises (see Lewis Spence) one in the Atlantic and the other in Andalusia.

(b) http://antiquity.ac.uk/ProjGall/kuhne/ (offline July 2016) See Archive 3135

(c) http://www.tolos.de

(d) https://atlantesdehoy.wordpress.com/2015/08/06/hola-mundo/

(e) https://mysteria3000.de/magazin/the-archaeological-search-for-tartessos-tarshish-atlantis/