Oliver D. Smith*[studied Classics at Roehampton University and is currently studying archaeology at the Oxford Learning College.]*In May 2013, he published his BA dissertation, entitled Atlantis as Sesklo, as an ebook. Smith is currently revising his hypothesis and has also developed his own website. (This is now offline)
Smith devoted the initial part of his paper to a review of the interpretation of the Atlantis story by euhemerists since the time of Plato. Having briefly, and I might say dismissively, dealt with some modern theories, and then began to unveil a new hypothesis. Firstly, he proceeded to ignore archaeological opinion and support the early date for the existence of Atlantis. He also argued that Atlantis was destroyed by the flood that occurred during the reign of the Pelasgian king Ogyges.
Smith daringly suggested that the inspiration for the Atlantean capital was Sesklo, an ancient site situated north of Athens near modern Volos.
Although Smith has obviously researched his subject, I cannot agree with his conclusion, which I consider somewhat speculative. Apart from taking issue with the early date for Atlantis, Plato described the Atlantean attack coming from the west not the north. Furthermore, Sesklo is certainly not submerged and the site is too small to match Plato’s description of the city.
He also contended that the claim by Plato that Atlantis was ‘greater than Libya and Asia combined’ was in fact a reference to the extreme age of Atlantis!(c)
On March 14th 2014, Smith announced(b) that “I have now closed my blog, and removed my research to work on a new project which will take many years (I will be working on a proper book covering the literary genre and origin of Atlantis). Personally I think the Atlantis community has too many location hypotheses and not enough material put out exploring Plato’s dialogues etc and Atlantis in general in detail.”
*[Nevertheless, Smith did return to the Atlantis question in May 2016 and declared his belief that Plato’s account was a complete fiction!(d) Readers may be interested in reading other blogs by Smith as they touch on other matters that relate to Atlantis studies such as the Pillars of Heracles and the etymology of ‘Atlantis’.]*
*[(c) The Size of Atlantis: A New Interpretation
Floods on a catastrophic scale have been recorded in the mythologies and histories of all ancient civilisations. There are various possible causes for such devastating floods. Undoubtedly, many of these legends originated with the raising of sea levels that followed the de-glaciation at the end of the last Ice Age.
Other floods may have been caused by tsunamis resulting from underwater earthquakes or storegga. Quite recently it was discovered(a) that around 6000 BC a calamitous tsunami was generated in the Mediterranean when Mt. Etna in Sicily sent approximately 6 cubic miles of rock and rubble crashing into the sea. One could be forgiven for speculating that this event may have triggered the flooding of the Black Sea, which is dated to this same period.
Since writing, as we know it, did not develop until long after de-glaciation, it is virtually impossible to precisely identify the date, location or extent of any of the early myths relating to these possible de-glaciation inundations.
Flood Myths are found throughout the world and for centuries were seen as confirmation of the reality and universality of the Biblical Flood of Noah. However, when it was discovered that the Earth had endured a series of Ice Ages and that following each of these, the melting ice caps led to worldwide inundations with a consequent immortalisation of these events through locally developed myths, it led to speculation that Noah’s Flood may have been just a regional but nonetheless a catastrophic event. It is also probable that separate regional inundations would have occurred as deglaciation continued at the end of the last ice age, so when recounted through mythology many centuries later they may appear to refer to a single global event. It is also probable that separate regional inundations would have occurred as deglaciation continued at the end of the last ice age, so when recounted through mythology many centuries later they may appear to refer to a single global event.
Nevertheless, megafloods are not necessarily only caused by tsunamis and melting glaciers. “A 43-day storm that began in December 1861 put central and southern California underwater for up to six months” a catastrophic event that is now generally forgotten. An extensive 2013 article(f) in Scientific American has full details.
China has its own ‘Great Flood’ tradition, which in the August 2016 edition of Science journal had its reality given strong support in a paper(e) by a mainly Chinese team of researchers. They date the event to 1920 BC.
Recent years have seen the above-mentioned flooding of the Black Sea or even more controversially, the flooding of the Mediterranean basins, following the breaching of a suggested landbridge at Gibraltar, proposed as possible sources of the story of Noah in the Bible. These inundations are dated at around 5600 BC and their memory should have survived in the traditions and mythologies of the region. In addition to that, the Persian Gulf is also accepted by many to have been dry during the last Ice Age but also began to flood around 5000 BC. In Northern Europe, the Baltic Sea and the Celtic Shelf both suffered post-glacial inundations, while around the same time in the South China Sea the enormous Sunda Shelf suffered extensive flooding.
Plato’s Atlantis story contains a curious reference in Timaeus (23a-c) to a series of floods having apparently occurred in the Eastern Mediterranean. If based on historical fact, on its own, the Biblical Flood or the breach of a land bridge cannot explain this succession of inundations, but suggests that there could be a much more complex story, still to be revealed, that was spread over millennia.
Anastasios Stamou presented a paper[0750.183]to the 2008 Atlantis Conference in which he reviewed the evidence relating to three floods that befell ancient Greece and alluded to by Plato. Drawing on ancient Greek texts including the Parian Marble, he places these events in chronological order beginning with the flood of Ogyges, then Deucalion’s and finally that of Dardanos.
Stamou accepts that convention wisdom has it that these flood events occurred in the 2nd millennium BC and based his paper on that assumption. However he expressed serious doubts about this dating suggesting a much earlier date for some inundations and promising a future paper dealing with this revision.
*In an August 2017 paper, on the Migration & Diffusion website(g), Stuart L. Harris has put forward his reasons for dating the Flood of Noah to 3161 BC and the Exodus Flood to 1445 BC.*
An extensive and more general collection of Flood myths can be found on the internet(b). A USGS list of the world’s greatest floods, ancient and recent, is available as a pdf file(c). Similarly, a website by Mark Isaak offers an extensive overview of flood myths around the world, although the site does not appear to have been updated for some years(d).
Flood of Deucalion is recorded in Greek mythology in terms that are reminiscent of the biblical Deluge. Prometheus the brother of Atlas the Titan, warned his own son Deucalion to build an ark and fill it with all he needed. Rain fell ceaselessly, flooding valleys, submerging cities, destroying all people and leaving just some mountain peaks to be seen above the sea. After nine days the rain stopped and Deucalion and his wife Pyrrha emerged and produced the ancestors of the Greeks.
Ogyges was the founder and king of Thebes whose reign was ended by a flood that covered the whole world and so devastated Thebes that it remained without a king until the reign of Cecrops. It is an open question whether the Flood of Deucalion and the Flood of Ogyges are identical or not.
J. G. Bennett has pointed out(a) that a fractured marble pillar, discovered on the Greek island of Paros and known as the Parian Marble, records important events in early Greek history including lists of the early kings, including Deucalion who is noted to have reigned at the same time as the Egyptian Pharaoh Thutmose III (1504-1450 BC). It records his reign as having been 700 years before the first Olympiad, which itself is dated to 778 BC, thus giving a date for the flood named after him to around 1478 BC, This period coincides with the biblical Exodus and the eruption of Santorini. Orosius, a 5thcentury AD writer, placed the Flood of Deucalion 810 years before the foundation of Rome giving it a date broadly around 1500 BC. This is suspiciously close to the date accepted by most archaeologists for the great eruption of Thera. James Mavor supported a date between 1529 and 1382 BC.
Giovanni Rinaldo Carli quotes from Clement of Alexandria (150-215 AD) who notes that Stenelas (Sthenelus), father of Cydas (Cycnus) the king of the Ligurians, lived at the same time as the fire of Phaëton and the Flood of Deucalion. This is probably one of the earliest references suggesting a linkage between these two catastrophic 2nd millennium BC events.
Emilio Spedicato has also linked the Flood of Deucalion with the Exodus and dates them to 1447 BC. However, he believes that these events followed the explosion of a comet or asteroid over southern Denmark. He presented three papers to the 2005 Atlantis Conference on the subject of Deucalion’s Flood and Phaeton[629.115].
The work of Finkelstein and Silberman has recently cast doubts over the historical reality of the Exodus, but of course this does not affect the reality of the Flood of Deucalion.*[It is odd that with such a sceptical view of Bible history that it was announced in February 2017(b) that Finkelstein is to start a search for the Ark of the Covenant.]*
David Rohl, a leading advocate for a drastic revision downwards of the dates of many events in ancient Egyptian history by at least three hundred years, has concluded that Deucalion’s Flood occurred during the reign of Thutmose III and most controversially that it was concurrent with the eruption of Thera and its consequent tsunami. According to Rohl’s ‘New Chronology’, this would give the Flood a date of around 1100 BC rather than the conventionally accepted date of around 1450 BC.
Over the last couple of millennia there has been a general consensus that the Flood of Deucalion occurred in the middle of the second millennium BC. This leaves supporters of an early date for Atlantis obliged to produce evidence of a comparable catastrophe around 9600 BC, a task compounded by the probable erosion of any such evidence during the passage of such a considerable time span. We can expect this particular debate to run for some time yet.
Ogyges was the founder and king of Thebes in Greece. During his reign a devastating flood ruined the country to such an extent that it remained without kings until the reign of Cecrops.*In a 2002 article(b) in the Times of Malta, Anton Mifsud informed us that “the classical historian Eumalos of Cyrene wrote that the King of Atlantis at the time of the cataclysm was Ogyge whose nephew King Ninus of Babylon lived in the late third millennium BC.”*
Some writers have identified the Flood of Ogyges with the Flood of Deucalion. It is more likely that they were separate events and were part of the series of floods noted by Plato [Tim.22 & Crit.111-112].
Frank Joseph in Survivors of Atlantis points out that Plato in his Laws dated the Ogygean flood to less than two thousand years before his time, a figure compatible with the date of 2136 BC given by Varro the Roman writer.
Oliver D.Smith maintained that it was the flood of Ogyges that destroyed Atlantis and argued that this event occurred long before the Flood of Deucalion(a).
(a) http://www.academia.edu/3507001/Atlantis_as_Sesklo (now offline)