Manolis Koutlis is a computer engineer and the author of In the Shadow: The Greek Colonies of North America and the Atlantic 1500 BC -1500 AD, in which he seeks to demonstrate that the Greeks had settlements in North America. Using the classical texts of Plutarch, Homer, Hesiod, Plato as well as the traditions of the Native Americans of the North East, he offers evidence to support his thesis.
The idea of ancient Greeks in Canada has been around for some time with Henriette Mertz in the 1960’s suggesting that Odysseus’ wanderings took place in the Atlantic and that he was the first European to visit America.
Koutlis has concluded that Ogygia was located on St. Paul Island in the Cabot Strait and goes further, locating Atlantis in the Gulf of St. Lawrence northeast of the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island, not far from Quebec’s Magdalen Islands.
The first 37 pages can be read online(a) .
Odysseus and Herakles are two of the best known heroes in Greek mythology, both of whom had one important common experience, they each had to endure a series of twelve tests. However, although different versions of the narratives are to be found with understandable variations in the detail, the two stories remain substantially the same.
The two tales have been generally interpreted geographically although a minority view is that an astronomical/astrological interpretation was intended as the use of twelve events in both accounts would seem to point to a connection with the zodiac!
Alice A. Bailey is probably the best known regarding Hercules in her book The Labours of Hercules, while Kenneth & Florence Wood have also proposed Homer’s work as a repository of astronomical data. Bailey’s work is available as a pdf file(d).
In geographical terms, Herakles and Odysseus share something rather intriguing. Nearly all of the ‘labours’ of Herakles (Peisander c 640 BC) and all of the ‘trials’ of Odysseus (Homer c.850 BC) are generally accepted to have taken place in the eastern Mediterranean. However, in both accounts, there is a suggestion that they experienced at least one of their adventures in the extreme western Mediterranean, at what many consider to be the (only) location of the Pillars of Heracles as defined by Eratosthenes centuries later (c.200 BC). Significantly, nothing happens over the 1100 mile (1750 km) journey on the way there and nothing occurs on the way back!
I think it odd that both share this same single, apparently anomalous location. I suggest that we should consider the possibility that the accounts of Heracles and Odysseus are possibly distorted versions of each other and that, in the later accounts of their exploits, the use of the extreme western location for the trial/labour is possibly only manifestations of a blind acceptance of the geographical claims of Eratosthenes or a biased view that this was always the case. A credible geographical revision of the location of those inconsistent activities by Odysseus and Heracles to somewhere other than the Gibraltar region would add weight to those, such as myself, that consider a Central Mediterranean location for the ‘Pillars’ more likely.
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. In 2009, he published, Homers Reise: Auf den Spuren des Odysseus, a German language book that expands on the subject, concluding that all the wandering of Odysseus took place in the central and eastern Mediterranean. In a fascinating paper(a) he reviews many of these theories and offering his own ideas on the subject along with his own proposed maps, which exclude the western Mediterranean entirely.*Wolfgang Geisthövel adopted Wolf’s conclusions in Homer’s Mediterranean .*
With regard to Hercules the anomalous nature of the ‘traditional’ location of Erytheia for his 10th ‘labour’ is evident on a map(b), while the 11th could be anywhere in North Africa.
Further study of the two narratives might offer further strong evidence for a central Mediterranean location for the ‘Pillars’ around the time of Solon! For example, “map mistress” places Erytheia in the vicinity of Sicily(c), while my personal choice would be the Egadi Islands further to the north, Egadi being a cognate of Gades, frequently linked with Erytheia.
The Trojan War, at first sight, may appear to have little to do with the story of Atlantis except that some recent commentators have endeavoured to claim that the war with Atlantis was just a retelling of the Trojan War. The leading proponent of the idea is Eberhard Zangger in his 1992 book The Flood from Heaven and later in a paper(l) published in Oxford Journal of Archaeology. He also argues that survivors of the War became the Sea Peoples, while Frank Joseph contends that conflict between the Egyptians and the Sea Peoples was part of the Trojan War[108.11]. Steven Sora asserts that the Atlantean war recorded by Plato is a distortion of the Trojan War and he contentiously claims that Troy was located on the Iberian Peninsula rather than the more generally accepted Hissarlik in Turkey. Others have located the War in the North Sea or the Baltic. Of these, Iman Wilkens is arguably the best known advocate of an English location for Troy since 1990. In 2018, Gerard Janssen has added further support for Wilkens theory(k).
However. controversy has surrounded various aspects of the War since earliest times. Strabo(a) tells us that Aristotle dismissed the matter of the Achaean wall as an invention, a matter that is treated at length by Classics Professor Timothy W. Boyd(b). In fact the entire account has been the subject of continual criticism. A more nuanced approach to the reality or otherwise of the ‘War’ is offered by Petros Koutoupis(j).
The reality of the Trojan War as related by Homer has been debated for well over a century. There is a view that much of what he wrote was fictional, but that the ancient Greeks accepted this, but at the same time they possessed an historical account of the war that varied considerably from Homer’s account(f).
Over 130 quotations from the Illiad and Odyssey have been identified in Plato’s writings, suggesting the possibility of him having adopted some of Homer’s nautical data, which may account for Plato’s Atlantean fleet having 1200 ships which might have been a rounding up of Homer’s 1186 ships in the Achaean fleet!
Like so many other early historical events, the Trojan War has also generated its fair share of nutty ideas, such as Hans-Peny Hirmenech’s wild suggestion that the rows of standing stones at Carnac marked the tombs of Atlantean soldiers who fought in the Trojan War! Arthur Louis Joquel II, proposed that the War was fought between two groups of refugees from the Gobi desert, while Jacques de Mahieu maintained that refugees from Troy fled to America after the War where they are now identified as the Olmecs! In November 2017, an Italian naval archaeologist, Francesco Tiboni, claimed(h). that the Trojan Horse was in fact a ship. This is blamed on the mistranslation of one word in Homer.
Various attempts have been made to determine the exact date of the War, with astronomical dating relating to eclipses noted by Homer. In the 1920’s astronomers Carl Schoch and Paul Neugebauer put the sack of Troy at close to 1190 BC. In 2008, Constantino Baikouzis and Marcelo O. Magnasco proposed 1178 BC as the date of the eclipse that coincided with the return Odysseus, ten years after the War(a). Stuart L. Harris published a paper on the Migration & Diffusion website in 2017(g), in which he endorsed the 1190 BC date for the end of the Trojan War.
A new dating of the end of the Trojan War has been presented by Stavros Papamarinopoulos et al. in a paper(c) now available on the Academia.edu website. Working with astronomical data relating to eclipses in the 2nd millennium BC, they have calculated the ending of the War to have taken place in 1218 BC and Odysseus’ return as 1207 BC.
What is noteworthy is that virtually all the recent studies of the eclipse data are in agreement that the Trojan War ended near the end of the 13th century BC, which in turn can be linked to archaeological evidence at the Hissarlik site. Perhaps even more important is the 1218 BC date for the Trojan War recorded on the Parian Marble, reinforcing the Papamarinoupolos date.
*Eric Cline has suggested that an earlier date is a possibility, as “scholars are now agreed that even within Homer’s Iliad there are accounts of warriors and events from centuries predating the traditional setting of the Trojan War in 1250 BC” [1005.40].*
However, even more radical redating has been strongly advocated by a number of commentators(d)(e) and not without good reason.
(d) http://www.mikamar.biz/rainbow11/mikamar/articles/troy.htm (offline) see Archive 2401
Michael MacRae (1949- ) is an Australian artist, writer and documentary maker who specialises in comparative mythology. His 2014 book, Sun Boat:The Odyssey Decipheredoffers the theory that Homer’s epic poem is an account of Odysseus’ circumnavigation of the world circa 1160-1130 BC.
In June 2015 he was ‘the author of the month’ on Graham Hancock’s website(a) with an article promoting his book. However, Jason Colavito has responded to that with a dismissive critique of MacRae’s idea(b).
This tussle has continued back and forth on Hancock’s website(c).
MacRae notes the suggestion that Homer’s Scheria can be identified with Atlantis and as such was probably situated off the western end of the Bay of Cadiz, Portugal’s Cape Vincent.
Hans Steuerwald is another unconventional German writer who favours the idea of the capital of Atlantis being located on the Celtic Shelf near Penzance in Cornwall. This he expressed in his 1983 book, Der Untergang von Atlantis (The Fall of Atlantis), in which he also dated its demise to 1240 BC.
E.J. de Meester is a Dutch researcher who is best known for his support for the controversial theory that Homer’s Odysseus travelled to Ireland and Britain. However, he goes further and argues that Atlantis was located in England, situated just south of Stonehenge on a plain between Salisbury and Chichester. His website, which was well worth a visit, now appears discontinued.
He suggested that Homer’s Laestrygonians had been residents in Sardinia.
The Phoenicians or Canaanites are linguistically regarded as a Semitic people, who among their many achievements are credited with giving us our alphabet (without vowels).*Both Strabo and Herodotus claim that they originally came from Bahrain(p), but this origin is denied by the phoenicia.org website(q). The correctness of these two writers has been heavily criticised(r).*
The Phoenicians flourished during the 1st and 2nd millennia BC. The late Joseph Robert Jochmans has suggested(c) that similarities between Phoenician names and those of the sons of Poseidon are more than coincidental. The descendants of the Phoenicians are still to be found in great numbers in modern Lebanon as well as elements of the Phoenician language. Contrary to popular belief the Maltese language is more related to Phoenician than Arabic(g). Similarly, in a mountainous and isolated north-east corner of Asia Minor its people still speak Greek in a dialect known as Romeyka(l). Dr Ioanna Sitaridou of Queen’s College, Cambridge explains that ‘Although Romeyka can hardly be described as anything but a Modern Greek dialect, it preserves an impressive number of grammatical traits that add an Ancient Greek flavor to the dialect’s structure – traits that have been completely lost from other Modern Greek varieties.’
A more radical view of the Phoenicians has been expressed by Professor Josephine Quinn(o) who declared “the Phoenicians never existed as a self-conscious community, let alone a nascent nation.” In a lengthy article she suggests that “‘‘Phoenician’ was just a generic label invented by ancient Greek authors for the Levantine sailors they encountered in their own maritime explorations. Although some of these Greek writers entertain a mild stereotype of these Phoenicians as rather cunning or tricksy, they never use the term as a description of a distinct ethnocultural community.”
The Phoenicians have been frequently identified as the Atlanteans of Plato’s narrative. James Nienhuis has recently identified Canaanites as Atlanteans(m)! The supporters of a Bronze Age date for the invasion of the Atlanteans see in the Phoenicians the powerful far flung maritime civilisation described by Plato. However, this identification is in conflict with Plato’s statement that Atlantis or its influence extended as far as Tyrrhenia and Libya, whereas the Phoenicians had their original base further east in the region of modern Lebanon and Israel. It also runs counter to Plato’s clear account of the Atlanteans attacking from their bases in the Central Mediterranean (Tim.25b & Crit.114c).
The Phoenicians were never unilaterally at war with Greece and/or Egypt, but their successors, the Carthaginians, whose main military campaigns were directed against the Roman Empire, did clash with the Greeks in Sicily.
It is accepted that the Phoenician commercial empire began with the three cities of Tyre, Sidon and Byblos. They expanded with the establishment of trading settlements along the Mediterranean coast of North Africa usually separated by a day’s rowing – somewhere between 30 to 60 miles.
It is claimed that the Phoenicians together with the Egyptians had an influence on the development of the Minoan culture(e).
Jonas Bergman recently presented a paper to the 2005 Melos Atlantis Conference on the subject of a Phoenician association with the Atlantis story. He outlined how Plato’s description of Atlantis was similar to the western colonies of the Phoenicians.
Some German writers in the 19th century such as Robert Prutz and later Jakob Kruger have advocated the idea that Phoenicians had discovered America, where he also placed Atlantis. However, in spite of the fact that there is widespread support for this concept and the even more extreme claim of Phoenicians in Australia, a Lebanese website (now offline), in the original home of Phoenicia, discounted all such claims for lack of evidence. Nevertheless, attention-seeking Rex Gilroy persists in promoting the idea of Phoenicians in Australia(h).
A paper by Christian C. Karam, who believes that Atlantis had been located in the Atlantic has expanded on the idea of a Phoenician presence in Brazil three thousands years ago(n).
In 1886, the American novelist Ann Eliza Smith (1819-1905) published a fantasy novel(j), Atla, that tells the tale of the discovery of the Atlantis civilization by the Phoenicians.
In 1889, Enrique Onffroy de Thoron proposed that Atlantis had been Phoenician and situated in America. Indeed, claims still persist that the Phoenicians did reach South America(f). However, Onffroy was not the first to suggest this, as he was preceded by Robertus Comtaeus Nortmannus as early as 1644 and Georg Horn in 1652 . Arguably, the best known exponent of the ‘Phoenicians in America’ school of thought was Bernardo Silva Ramos(i).
*In his 2009 book, Uncovering Archaeology, Dennis Cassinelli outlines in some detail his Atlantis theory, which he locates in Central America(s). He suggests that Phoenicians landed in Central America and on seeing the Mayan cities concluded that they had landed in Atlantis. Not unexpectedly, Jason Colavito had a few words to say about this idea(t).*
Hugh Fox (1932-2011) wrote of the early peoples of the Americas in his well-received Gods of the Cataclysm. The ‘cataclysm’ referred to is the biblical Deluge, in respect of which he follows the ideas of Velikovsky and the christian catastrophist Donald W. Patten (1929-2014), who attributed Noah’s Flood to a close encounter with a massive extraterrestrial body around 2800 BC. Fox explicitly claims that before the Flood, transoceanic travel was commonplace, with the Chinese in America, Indian theology in the Mediterranean and that after the Flood we had the Phoenicians and Odysseus in America.
The late Sabatino Moscati, a renowned linguist and archaeologist, wrote a highly regarded work on the subject of the Phoenicians. Additionally, there is an invaluable website(a) on offer from Salim George Khalaf, a modern Phoenician from Lebanon. This huge site with its 2,000 pages that covers all aspects of Phoenician culture. This same site(b), drawing on the work of Ignatius Donnelly, identifies the kings of Atlantis with the Phoenician pantheon and claims that the gods of the Greeks were also the deified Atlantean kings.
Jacques Hébert, who places Atlantis in the Indian Ocean on the island of Socotra, suggests that the Atlanteans had a colony in the Eastern Mediterranean whose inhabitants developed into the Phoenicians!
(c) http://www.forgottenagesresearch.com/vanished-civilizations-series/The-Atlantis-Genesis-ConnectionParallel-Memories-o.htm (offline July 2015) See: https://web.archive.org/web/20101112211128/http://www.forgottenagesresearch.com/vanished-civilizations-series/The-Atlantis-Genesis-ConnectionParallel-Memories-o.htm
(g) http://malta.lebaneseclub.org/ (offline Jan. 2016) see Archive 2852
(h) http://www.mysteriousaustralia.com/pyramid-sequel/chapter16.html (reinstated)
(i) http://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernardo_de_Azevedo_da_Silva_Ramos (Portuguese)
Stavros Papamarinopoulos is Professor of Applied Geophysics at the University of Patras in Greece. In 2003 he led a team from his university in an attempt to locate the tomb of Alexander the Great in the cemetery quarter of Alexandria.
Papamarinopoulos was one of the organisers of the Atlantis Conferences of 2005, 2008 and 2011. He was also the editor of the published proceedings of those conference. Furthermore, he delivered a number of papers to all three conferences.
In his paper A Bronze Age Catastrophe in the Atlantic Ocean?, he points out some of the pitfalls associated with the interpretation of prehistoric events when using the language of 4th century B.C. “For instance, a literary differentiation between ‘island’ and ‘peninsula’ did not exist in alphabetic Greek before Herodotus’ in the 5th century B.C. Similarly, there was not any distinction between a coast and an island in Egyptian writing systems, up to the 5th century B.C.” Papamarinopoulos maintains that a lack of knowledge of such linguistic shortcomings has been used unwittingly by many who deny the existence of Atlantis.
Papamarinopoulos personally supports the idea of an Iberian Atlantis(f)(g). He presented this view in a series of six papers(b)presented to a 2010 International Geological Congress in Patras, Greece. Papamarinpoulos has written a number of other papers including one which discusses Phaeton as a comet and its possible coincidence with the Trojan War(a).
Papamarinopoulos is also co-author with John S. Kopper of a paper(c) which concluded that there is “a strong correlation between times of abrupt physical and cultural changes in man and reversals of the earth’s magnetic field.”
In 2012 Papamarinopoulos et. al published a paper(d)(e) that carefully analyses astronomical data enabling them to conclude that a solar eclipse of 30th October 1207 BC occurred just five days after Homer’s Odysseus returned to Ithaca.
Henriette Mertz (1898-1985) During World War II she worked as a code-breaker in the U.S. government’s cryptography department, while later she became an American patent lawyer in Chicago. Her interest in archaeology led her to be the first to propose that Odysseus, after wandering about the Atlantic, was the earliest European to set foot in America: an idea now taken up by others including Enrico Mattievich.
Mertz recognised that ancient America was host to guests if not residents from both east and west and has written in Pale Ink on the evidence for the existence of persistent pre-Columbian Chinese contacts.*This book was later re-published as a paperback and retitled as Gods from the Far East.*
Her book The Mystic Symbol argues that some early Christians fled to America to escape persecution in the Roman Empire. Wayne N. May, the Mormon publisher of Ancient American, has also published a paper on the Mystic Symbol(b).
*Mertz also wrote an article for Ancient American about the controversial Newberry Tablet(c).*
Her reputation as a serial heretic also forced her to privately publish a volume on Atlantis following rejection by twenty publishers. She gave a lecture on her views in London in 1964 and enjoyed extensive coverage in the Greek press including the serialisation of her book.
Her contention is that Atlantis was located in the southeast of the United States. She begins with the legend of the Seven Cities of Antillia and its depiction on the 1436 map of Andrea Bianco. A comparison of this map with a modern map of Florida convinced her that they referred to the same region. She discusses many aspects of Plato’s story and their compatibility with the archaeology, geography and legends of her chosen location. She also offers a map of Atlantis that encompasses the land bound by the Mississippi, Ohio and Potomac rivers as well as the Atlantic giving us the ‘island’ of Atlantis. To support this possibility she ingeniously suggests that Plato used the word ‘sea’ in the sense of being navigable and so was also applicable to rivers.
Mertz’s book, Wine Dark Sea, which claims that Homer’s Odyssey describes a very ancient trip to America, inspired the Austrian ethnologist, Christine Pellech, to expand on her work with a number of books on diffusionism together with a website on the subject. Unfortunately, Pellech’s books are only available in German but she has also established an English language magazine and website(a).