Sergey Teleguin is a Russian professor of Philology and a leading advocate of the idea that the city of Tripura (Triple City) in Vedic tradition was the original inspiration behind Plato’s city of Atlantis. In support of his contention he has outlined a number of parallels between Plato’s account and the sacred texts of India, the Puranas and Mahabharata, in an extensive English excerpt(a) from his 2005 Russian book, Anatomy of a Myth.
A further claim by Teleguin is that the Popol Vuh, the sacred book of the Maya gives clears evidence that they came from the far north – Ultima Thule. He goes further and attributes a North Pole origin to both the Maya and the Indo-Europeans(b).
He has recently outlined his ideas further in an article for (Nov/Dec 2013) Issue 102 of Atlantis Rising magazine.
He recently reiterated, in an email, his view that Plato’s Atlantis story should only be accepted literally or not at all. It is difficult to accept that an academic could write such nonsense. He cannot be unaware that Plato’s narrative is composed of mythology, history and within the bounds of literary licence, some embellishment of his own. Otherwise, according to Teleguin, we are expected to believe that Clieto actually gave birth to five sets of male twins, that Athens fought a war before it existed and that Poseidon and Atlas were real people! The same absence of critical thinking allows people to believe that the world was created in seven days.
Homer (c. 8th cent. BC) is generally accepted as the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, regarded as the two greatest epic poems of ancient Greece. A recent study of the Greek used by Homer has enabled scientists from the University of Reading to confirm that the language used is compatible with that used in the 8th century BC, in fact dating it to around 762 BC(i).
It should also be noted that over 130 quotations from the Illiad and Odyssey have been identified in Plato’s writings(s). George Edwin Howes (1865-1942), an American classicist, produced a dissertation on Homeric quotations in Plato and Aristotle.
Almost nothing is known of his life. He has been variously described as mad, blind and even mythical. Andrew Dalby, the English linguist, has gone so far as to claim that the author of the two famed epics was in fact a woman! While in 1897 Samuel Butler, the novelist, was even more specific when he proposed that Homer was a Sicilian woman(j).
For centuries it was assumed that the content of these Homeric poems was the product of his imagination, just as the historical reality of Homer himself has been questioned. In 1795, F.A. Wolf, a German academic declared that ‘Homer’ was in fact a collective name applied to various poets whose works were finally combined into their present form in the 6th century BC. Wolf’s ideas sparked furious argument among Greek scholars that still resonates today. Now (2015), historian, Adam Nicholson has claimed that the author ‘Homer’ should not be thought of as a person but instead as a ‘culture’(o).
The identification of the site at Hissarlik in modern Turkey as Troy by Heinrich Schliemann led to a complete re-appraisal of Homer’s work and, of course, further controversy. Homer’s Iliad is the story of the Trojan War and it has been suggested that in fact he had compressed three or more Trojan wars into one narrative. What is not generally known is that there are also ancient non-Homeric accounts of the Trojan War(q).
Kenneth Wood and his wife Florence have built on the research of his mother-in-law, the late Edna Leigh, and produced, Homer’s Secret Iliad, a book that attempts to prove that the Iliad was written as an aide memoire for a wide range of astronomical data.
Allied to, but not directly comparable with, is the astronomical information identified in the Bible by the likes of E. W. Maunder (1851-1928).
Guy Gervis has adopted some of their work and specifies a date of around 2300 BC for the events described in the Iliad and Odyssey, based on an analysis of this astronomical data(n). Harald A.T. Reiche held similar views which followed some of the ideas expressed in Hamlet’s Mill by Santillana & Dechend who were colleagues of Reiche at M.I.T. They also claimed that “myths were vehicles for memorising and transmitting certain kinds of astronomical and cosmological information.”
Much has been written about the historicity of Homer’s epic accounts, including a good overview on Wikipedia(ab). Many have concluded that Homer did use real events, even if they were frequently dressed in mythological clothing compatible with the literary conventions of his day. I consider Plato to have treated the story of Atlantis in a similar manner.
A recent study of solar eclipses recorded in Odyssey using data from NASA has apparently confirmed that Odysseus returned to Ithaca on 25th of October 1207 BC(r).
Scholars have generally supported the idea that Homer’s works have a Mediterranean backdrop with regular attempts to reconcile his geography with modern locations, such as the claim in 2005 by Robert Brittlestone, a British investigator to have located the site of Ithaca, the homeland of Odysseus, on the Greek island of Cephalonia. This popular idea should be put alongside the views of Zlatko Mandzuka who maintains that all the locations mentioned in the Odyssey can be identified in the Adriatic.
Nevertheless, there has been a growing body of opinion that insists that this Mediterranean identification is impossible. A range of alternative regions has been proposed(f) as the setting for the epics, which extend from Portugal as far northward as the Baltic.
In his Odyssey (VII: 80), Homer wrote about the island of Scheria in the western sea. His description of the island has been compared with Plato’s description of Atlantis and has led to the theory that they refer to the same place. There is little doubt that both the detailed geography and climatic descriptions given by Homer cannot be easily reconciled with that of the Mediterranean. Consequently, the Odyssey has had many interpretations, ranging from Tim Severin’s conclusion that it refers entirely to the Eastern Mediterranean to Iman Wilkens’ book, Where Troy Once Stood, that has the voyage include the west coast of Africa, then across to the West Indies and following the Gulf Stream returns to Troy which he locates in Britain. Location is not a problem exclusive to the writings of Plato. Wilkins views are a reflection of similar ideas expressed by Théophile Cailleux in the 19th century. Gilbert Pillot has also argued for voyages of Ulysses having taken him into the North Atlantic. In 1973, Ernst Gideon (? – 1975) wrote in a similar vein in Homerus Zanger der Kelten, reprinted later as Troje Lag in Engelan.
An interesting overview of the various attempts to transfer the Odyssey from the Mediterranean to Northern Europe is available(w). Damien Mackey has also endorsed the idea of a Northern European backdrop to Homer’s Odyssey(aa).
Another researcher who places all of Odysseus’ travels in the eastern Atlantic is Gerard. W.J. Janssen of Leiden University on the academia.edu website(v).
E.J. de Meester also argued(ac) for the British Isles as the location of many of Homer’s references. It struck me as quite remarkable that the level of debate regarding the date, source and geographical details of Homer’s works is rather similar to the controversy surrounding Plato’s Atlantis in Timaeus and Critias. The late Edo Nyland was another researcher who had also opted for a Scottish backdrop to the Odyssey and had recently published his views.
Felice Vinci also supports a Northern European background to the Iliad and Odyssey. However, in Vinci’s case, Scandinavia, and in particular the Baltic Sea, is identified as the location for the adventures in Homer’s classic. An English language synopsis of his book is available on the Internet. The persuasiveness of Vinci’s argument has recently renewed interest in the idea of a Baltic Atlantis. The assumption being that if Troy could be located in the Baltic, so might Atlantis. Vinci’s views are comparable with those of J. Rendel Harris expressed in a lecture delivered in 1924(p) in which he claims that “we are entitled to take Homer and his Odysseus out of the Mediterranean or the Black Sea, and to allow them excursions into Northern latitudes.”
However, a scathing review of Vinci’s book can be found on the Internet(d) and in issue 216 (2006) of Fortean Times written by Marinus Anthony van der Sluijs.
Further support for a Northern European Troy has come from the historian Edward Furlong, a former naval navigation officer, who has advocated for over twenty years that the journey of Odysseus went as far north as Norway. His particular views are outlined on the Internet(c) .
Other writers, such as the late Henrietta Mertz [0396/7], , have suggested that Homer’s epic refers to a trip to North America. Professor Enrico Mattievich Kucich of Lima University is also certain that the ancient Greeks discovered America America. However revolutionary this idea may seem it shows how this particular subject is growing and would probably justify a reference book of its own.
The idea of an Atlantic backdrop to the Homeric epics will not go away. The Dutch researcher, N.R. De Graaf, continues to write extensively on his Homeros Explorations website(x) regarding many of the specifics in Homer’s accounts.
In 1973, James Bailey proposed in his well-received The God-Kings and the Titans that the Odysseus recorded a trans-Atlantic trip. Evidence exists for large-scale mining in the Americas as early of the 5th millennium BC. Bailey maintained that the Europeans imported enormous quantities of copper and tin from Central and South America to feed the demands of the Old World Bronze Age, an idea that was later heavily promoted by Frank Joseph and in great, if overly speculative, detail by Reinoud de Jong(y).
Finally, the Atlantis connection with this entry is that if, as now appears to be at least a possibility, Homer’s Odyssey was about a journey to the North Sea then the possibility of a North Sea setting for the Atlantis story is somewhat reinforced.
A recent book by Steven Sora has developed the Atlantic notion further with the suggestion that not only was Troy located outside the Strait of Gibraltar but that both Homer’s Trojan war and Plato’s Atlantean war are two versions of the same war with the understandable distortions and embellishments that can occur with a narrative, probably involving some degree of oral transmission and then written down hundreds of years after the events concerned.
Ukraine is soon to be added to the growing list of alternative locations for the setting of Homer’s epics with the publication of Homer, The Immanent Biography, a book by A.I. Zolotukhin(g). He claims that Homer was born in Alibant (Mykolayiv, Ukraine) on September 14, 657 BC(t). He follows the views of Karl Ernst von Baer (1792-1876) who believed that most of Odysseus’s travels took place in the Black Sea rather than the Mediterranean. Additionally, he locates Atlantis in the western Crimean area of Evpatoria(l). His 60-page book is available on his website(m).
An interesting paper(e) by the German historian, Armin Wolf, relates how his research over 40 years unearthed 80 theories on the geography of the Odyssey, of which around 30 were accompanied by maps. One of the earliest maps of the travels of Odysseus was produced by Abraham Ortelius in 1597(u) , in which the adventures of Odysseus all take place within the Central and Eastern Mediterranean, arguably reflecting the maritime limits of Greek experience at the time of Homer or his sources! Another website(z) by Jonathan S. Burgess, Professor of Classics at the University of Toronto offers further information on this, including some informative bibliographical material.
In 2009, Wolf published, Homers Reise: Auf den Spuren des Odysseus a German language book that expands on the subject, also locating all the travels of Odysseus within Central and Eastern Mediterranean.
Wolf’s ideas were enthusiastically adopted by Wolfgang Geisthövel in his Homer’s Mediterranean, who also concurs with the opinion of J.V. Luce , who proposed that Homer was “describing fictional events against authentic backgrounds.” This would be comparable to a James Bond movie, which has an invented storyline set in actual exotic locations around the world.
Perhaps the most radical suggestion has come from the Italian writer, Michele Manher, who has proposed(h) that Homer’s Iliad originated in India where elements of it can be identified in the Mahabharata!
In August 2015, a fifteen hour reading of the Iliad was performed in London.
(k) https://web.archive.org/web/20180320072706/http://www.nwepexplore.com (see ‘n’)
The Mahabharata and The Puranas are two of the ancient epics of Hinduism that refer to events dated between 1500 and 1000 BC and probably developed into their present form between 400 BC and 200 AD. They make mention of Attala, the white island, a continent located in the western ocean. This vague similarity with the name of Atlantis may be purely coincidental, but it is regularly produced as ‘evidence’ of pre-Platonic reference to Plato’s flooded island.
A brief, but highly speculative attempt to link Atlantis with Mahabharata is offered by Santosh Kumar(c).
A quite radical suggestion has come from the Italian writer, Michele Manher, who has proposed(a) that Homer’s Iliad originated in India where elements of it can be identified in the Mahabharata!
The website(b) supporting the ‘Atlantis in Indonesia’ theory of Arysio dos Santos has an extensive article with the self explanatory title of The Hindu Origin of the Myth of Atlantis.
India, which at first sight might appear an improbable candidate, has not escaped the attention of Atlantis seekers. For the sake of simplicity I use the term ‘India’ as employed before independence so as to include Pakistan, in order to accommodate most of the Indus Valley area of influence, which straddled both those modern states. Awareness of the region was boosted by the investigations of Graham Hancock and recorded in his book Underworld, which prompted a flurry of speculation(a)(c). More recently a wall was discovered just 3 metres below the surface of the sea off the coast of Konkan on the west coast of India. The structure stretches over many kilometres (possibly as much as 25 km) and has been dated to 8000 BC(j).
Further interest was generated by suggestions that the Indus Valley civilisation could also have had an Atlantis connection.
In Search of the Cradle of Civilization: New Light on Ancient India is a ground-breaking book wherein its three authors, Feuerstein, Kak & Frawley, argue that there was no “Aryan invasion” and that India, not Sumer, was the cradle of civilized humanity.
P. N. Oak (1917-2007) the Indian history-revisionist has gone as far as to claim that the British Isles had once been ruled by India(l)!
An Indian researcher, P. Karthigayan, had prepared a paper for the 2005 Atlantis Conference on Melos entitled ‘The Origin of the Atlantis Civilisation through Tamil literary evidences’, however circumstances prevented his attendance. Another Indian, anthropologist, Amlan Roychowdhury, an anthropologist, also proposes(b) that the Vedic culture of India is a remnant of Atlantean civilisation. March 17th 2013 saw an article(i) published in the Sunday Observer of Sri Lanka by Neil Kiriella, in which he proposed that Plato’s Atlantis story was a reworking of the destruction of Lankapura as recorded in the Ramayana.
In an October 2015 article by blogger Abo Rashad, he outlined in some detail similarities between Vedic civilisation and that of ancient Egypt. He concluded with the following comment, “ There are evidences galore that Vedic civilization was the precursor of all major civilization in the world. Similarities between the Egyptian civilization and the Vedic civilization and the evidence of the later being the progenitor of the earlier is but one example. There are plenty of similarities between Vedic and Celtic civilization, between Vedic and Anatolian civilization, between Vedic and Mayan civilization etc. The question is the similarities between one and many.”
Sergey Teleguin is a Russian professor of Philology and a leading advocate of the idea that the city of Tripura (Triple City) in Vedic tradition was the original inspiration behind Plato’s city of Atlantis. In support of his contention he has outlined a number of parallels between Plato’s account and the sacred texts of India, the Puranas and Mahabharata in an extensive English excerpt(n) from his 2005 Russian book, Anatomy of a Myth.
The Malagabay website published a lengthy article(l) in July 2016, offering evidence along with some conjecture, supporting the radical idea that the Sea Peoples had originated in India and having migrated westward, some of them reached the Aegean and became known as Dorians! The author of the article appears to have followed the ideas of Edward Pococke published in his India in Greece.
Martin Freksa has a totally different view of where India fits into the Atlantis saga by maintaining that Atlantis, while pursuing world domination, was destroyed by atomic weapons aboard missiles launched by India around 3000 BC.
David Hatcher Childress has written Vimana Aircraft of Ancient India and Atlantis in which he discusses the vimanas, the ancient Indian flying machines and for good measure includes the vailxi aircraft of the Atlanteans, the latter being first mentioned in 1894 by the author of A Dweller on Two Planets.
James Hartman, quoting from the Agastya Samhita offers(m) intriguing evidence that the ancient Indians had the ability to make batteries, the design of which is rather reminiscent of the Baghdad Battery!
Cedric R. Leonard in an article on pre-Platonic references to Atlantis(e) identifies what he believes are relevant in the ancient writings of India.
Qusai Ayman Naser writing in 2013 from Syria also suggested India as holding the location of Atlantis, specifically in the Bay of Bengal(h).
The French historian Philippe Potel-Belner also identifies Bab-el-Mandeb as the location of the Pillars of Heracles(g) beyond which lay Atlantis on a long plain on the west coast of India(f). He has recently drawn attention to the Farasan Islands, near Bab-el-Mandeb, where a Latin inscription could be interpreted as supporting the locality as the site of the ‘Pillars’ (n).
In March 2019, Eugenio B. Ralbadisole offered the highly speculative theory that Atlantis had been situated in India, in an article(o) on the Ancient Origins website. He specifies its location as the Girinagar Mountains of the Junagadh District of Gujarat in western India as its location.
(a) See: Archive 2051
(e) See: Archive 2055
(f) See: Archive 2056
(g) See: Archive 2057
(h) See: Archive 5135
(i) See: Archive 2058
(j) See: Archive 2059
(k) See: Archive 2723.
Herodotus (c.484 – c.420 BC) was born in Halicarnassus, today known as Bodrum, a popular tourist resort in Turkey. He wrote the first comprehensive history of the ancient world. His work has been lauded and denounced in equal measure, earning the twin appellations of ‘Father of History’ and ‘Father of Lies’. The latter is the consequence of some of his accounts appearing incredible at first reading, but a little
investigation and lateral thinking can reveal underlying truth of his statements as demonstrated by Reginald Fessenden among others. Herodotus also described an unusual Egyptian barge, known as a ‘baris’, which was not confirmed until the 21st century(e).
A recent article(d) on the Ancient Origins website defends Herodotus’ reputation.
Another example is to be found in Book IV of The Histories where he mentions the Atlantes as being vegetarians and never dreaming (v.184). This apparently strange comment may be explained by the fact that vegetarians are frequently short of vitamin B6, which is recognised today as leading to the suppression of dreams. This is reminiscent of a reference in the Mahabharata to Atala, sometimes proposed as a reference to Atlantis, where it notes that it is inhabited by “white men who never have to sleep or eat” (Santi Parva, Section CCCXXXVII).
Writing nearly a century before Plato, Herodotus refers to Atlantes as a people occupying the interior of what was then known as Libya (Hist.4.184.1) and since the Atlanteans controlled the Mediterranean as far as Egypt (Timaeus 25b) Herodotus may have been alluding to them. In Book I, 202, Herodotus refers to the sea beyond the Pillars of Heracles as the ‘Sea of Atlantis’. The pre-platonic date of these comments dispels the notion that Atlantis was an invention of Plato’s. This same text refers to the fact that all the known seas are connected; (i) ‘the sea known to the Greeks’, namely the Aegean or eastern Mediterranean, (ii) ‘the sea beyond the Pillars of Heracles’ in the western Mediterranean and (iii) the ‘Erythraean’ or Red Sea. This interpretation of the text implies that Pillars of Heracles were located somewhere in the region of Malta, a view supported by some recent writers such as Anton Mifsud.
Herodotus, who flourished after Solon and before Plato, was quite clear that there were only three continents known to the Greeks, Europe, Asia and Libya [4.42]. This provides a powerful argument against the claim that America was known to the Greeks or that Plato’s ‘opposite continent’ could have been a reference to America.*Furthermore, Anaximander drew a ‘map’ of the known world in the 6th century BC showing three continents without any suggestion of territory beyond them.*
In spite of the above references that are apparently supportive of the existence of Atlantis, it has been reasonably argued, by Alan Alford, that they are counterbalanced by the fact that Herodotus considered the wars between the Persians and the Greeks as the greatest of all time, that he considered Sardinia the largest in the world and that the Minoans had developed the first sea empire in the Mediterranean, all attributes of Plato’s Atlantis. In response, I must argue that the war with Atlantis could have been the greatest up to that point in time but subsequently eclipsed by the scale of the war with the Persians. Similarly, the First World War was the most extensive until World War II. With regard to the Minoans, it must be pointed out that the Phoenicians had a more extensive trading empire encompassing both the eastern and western Mediterranean, whereas the Minoans were mainly active in the eastern basin.
Finally, Herodotus was wrong regarding Sardinia, as Sicily is in fact the largest island in the Mediterranean in terms of area (25,708 km2 vs. 24,090 km2). However, the coastal length of Sardinia is much greater than Sicily’s (1843 vs 1115 km). Interestingly, Felice Vinci recently wrote that ancient seafarers measured territory by its coastal perimeter rather than by its area, as we do today. In fact he relates how this method was in use up to the time of Columbus. So in the end Herodotus was quite correct according to the criteria of his age. Once again we see the dangers inherent in trying to understanding writings from another age and culture.
This method of measuring territory by the length of its coastal boundaries must be taken into account when considering Plato’s description of Atlantis being greater than Asia and Libya together.
Pierre Vidal-Naquet has pointed out[580.23] how Jean-François Pradeau after studying the language of Critias demonstrated that ‘this dialogue employs certain terms that do not appear elsewhere in Plato’s works, terms that are borrowed from Herodotus’.
*A modern review of Herodotus’ Histories was written by Daniel Mendelsohn in The New Yorker in April 2008(f).*
Thorwald C.Franke delivered a paper to the 2008 Atlantis Conference with the self-explanatory title of The Importance of Herodotus’ Histories for the Atlantis Problem. This interesting document is now available online(c). Franke believes that Herodotus has more to offer Atlantology than is generally thought. He mentions the work of J.V.Luce having made a positive use of Herodotus’ Histories as a contribution to the Atlantis debates.
The full text of Herodotus’ writings is available online(b).