Mario la Ferla is the author of L’uomo di Atlantide in which he investigates the ‘suspicious’ death and its aftermath of Spryidon Marinatos on Santorini(a). He has also written a sympathetic paper on Zangger’s theory that identifies Atlantis as Troy(b). I was disappointed that Ferla appeared to accept the claims of Paul Schliemann as factual rather than the crude hoax that they were.?
(a) http://www.mondogreco.net/libri/laferla_atlantide.htm (Italian)
(b) http://www.lostinn.com/lworld/troiaatl.htm (Italian)
Critical Thinking is the only way forward in the pursuit of truth whether it is in respect of Atlantology or any other area of interest. It’s an unfortunate aspect of our nature that we humans seem to believe all too quickly what we want to believe rather than what can be demonstrated. This is particularly true in the case of religious faith as well as ‘fringe’ beliefs such as astrology, tarot cards or channelling. It also applies to more secular matters like politics or even controversial subjects including the existence and/or nature of Atlantis.
Atlantis has spawned a virtually endless collection of outlandish theories, each of which has its believers. Plato’s island has been variously claimed to have been founded by aliens, located at both poles, had flying machines, electricity and monorail transport and this is just a few of the more entertaining claims.
The application of critical thinking(a)(b) to any of the above suggestions would expose them for the falsehoods they are. However, keep in mind what Lenin said – “A lie told often enough becomes truth.” An example of this is the repetition to this day, a century later, of the fraudulent Atlantis claims of Paul Schliemann, long after they were exposed as untrue(c). As recently as 2017 Schliemann’s lies were still being quoted as facts(e)(f).
Also consider, a 2016 large-scale study(d) which concluded that “The results don’t prove that relatively poor analytical thinking skills cause people to become believers in psychic phenomena, but they are certainly consistent with the idea that a lack of these skills may leave people more prone to developing such beliefs.”
William(Will) James Durant (1885-1981) was a renowned American philosopher and historian. In 1968 Will and his wife Ariel won the Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction. He is probably best known for his eleven volume work The Story of Civilisation published over a forty-year period, which is now available as a series of pdf files(b). There is also a website devoted to his work(a).
In the first volume of The Story of Civilisation Durant claimed that Heinrich Schliemann “believed that Atlantis had served as a mediating link between the cultures of Europe and Yucatan, and that Egyptian civilization had been brought from Atlantis.” However, I would suggest that this statement be treated with caution as it may have stemmed from the Paul Schliemann hoax perpetrated just a few decades earlier
Chronos in Greek mythology is considered the personification of time, giving us words today such as chronology, chronometer, and chronicle. Chronos is not to be confused with the Titan, Kronos, father of Zeus. Paul Schliemann in his fraudulent Atlantis story erroneously refers to King Kronos of Atlantis, a canard frequently repeated by later writers. Charles Berlitz relates[0743.115 how Chronos was considered by some legends to be the last king of Atlantis.
Paul Schliemann was the self-declared grandson of Heinrich Schliemann the discoverer of Troy. He was at the centre of an early Atlantis hoax in 1912 when he declared in a New York newspaper article that he had inherited, from his grandfather, artefacts made in Atlantis. He claimed to have ancient documents describing the destruction of Mu and insisted that the Azores were a remnant of Atlantis. Neither the artefacts nor Paul Schliemann ever materialised, in fact, an investigation revealed that Heinrich did not have a grandson named Paul.
Additionally, he claimed to have arrived at the solution of the Atlantis mystery after studying the Mayan Troano Codex in the British Museum. Unfortunately, the Troano Codex was housed in a museum in Madrid where it still resides. A further mistake by Paul was to claim that his grandfather referred to the Lion Gate at Mycenae on Crete, when in fact it was situated on mainland Greece. These errors were compounded by his reference to Atlantean coins which is completely anachronistic as coinage only came into use in Lydia around the time of Solon.
Heinrich Schliemann’s collaborator, William Dörpfeld, testified that although Schliemann had occasionally referred to Atlantis, he was unaware that he had made any serious study of the subject or had written anything about it.
Furthermore, Heinrich actively sought publicity and it would have been completely out of character for him not to have claimed the glory for himself of having discovered Atlantis.
In spite of all of this, the story was widely quoted and is still accepted as reliable by some writers. The full story is now available on the Internet(a).
I recently discovered an article(b) in The Mail of Adelaide in South Australia of February 28th 1925, which in turn was quoting an unnamed San Francisco source, purporting to be based on an interview with Paul Schliemann, ‘son’ of the late Heinrich promoting a forthcoming book on his search for Atlantis. Clearly this was an attempt to extend the 1912 hoax, but apparently was not spotted by The Mail, considering the amount of space that they allocated to the article as well as the accompanying images.
Also see: Chevalier Pino
Heinrich Schliemann (1822-1890) and Sir Arthur Evans famed as the discoverers of Troy and Knossos respectively are sometimes claimed to have believed in the existence of Atlantis. John Michell quotes [0704.200] the following from Schliemann; “I have come to the conclusion that Atlantis was not only a great territory between America and the west coast of Africa, but the cradle of all our civilisation as well.” This extract is from a letter that was allegedly given to his grandson, Paul Schliemann. However, the letter in question was just part of a larger hoax perpetrated in 1912.
Although Schliemann is credited with the discovery of Troy at Hissarlik in Turkey, he was not the first to suggest the site, in fact nearly a century earlier, ironically, in the year that Schliemann was born, Charles Maclaren (1782-1866), a Scot, also claimed that Hissarlik was the location of Troy in a work entitled, A Dissertation on the Topography of the Plain of Troy. Others have cast doubt on the specific site identified by Schliemann. The principal objection was that the city he had located was too small to match the historical descriptions of Troy. The same might be said of many of the sites proposed as Plato’s Atlantis.
*Schliemann also discovered many hundreds of swastikas throughout the Hissarlik site and is credited with bringing that symbol back to Germany where it was later hijacked by the Nazis and came to represent evil oppression.(a)
Kronos (Cronos) was one of the Titans of Greek mythology and usually associated with agriculture and frequently portrayed holding a sickle. He was the father of Poseidon who received Atlantis as his realm.
Cronos is not to be confused with Chronos the Greek personification of time, remembered today in our language through words such as chronology and chronometer.
Diodorus Siculus (Bk.III 61.3) describes Cronos as lord of Sicily, Libya and Italy. This reminds me of Plato’s Atlantis that controlled the Mediterranean as far as Tyrrhennia and Libya as far as Egypt “as well as islands” (Timaeus 25b)!*It should be noted that outside of the Aegean, the greatest number of island in the Mediterranean is to be found in the Central region.*
When Paul Schliemann launched his Atlantis hoax in 1912, he included a reference to Cronos as ‘king of the Atlanteans’!
George Isaac Bryant was the English author of Lost Atlantis, which only existed in manuscript form and was rescued from his bombed home in 1941. Although his views did not fully coincide with the opinions of Egerton Sykes, the latter assembled the notes and published them in his Atlantis journal some years later. Bryant covers a lot of familiar ground and adds little to advance the identification of Atlantis. He engages in a lot of speculation and displays a level of gullibility, quoting the likes of Paul Schliemann as an ‘authority’. He concludes that the Atlantean Empire stretched from the Azores and the Canaries in the Atlantic to Portugal/Spain and southward into North Africa.
Bryant also offered a location for the territory ruled by each of the five sets of twins, which Sykes included in his 1950 edition of Ignatius Donnelly’s book[1167.17]. Sykes’ edition can be read online(a).
Hoaxes associated with Atlantis are of various types; the most common sort are those perpetrated by writers who write volumes of balderdash about information they claim to have received through psychic channels. The simple fact that so many of these authors contradict each other demonstrates the fictional nature of their offerings. To be extremely kind, I might accept that some of these people are simply self-deluded but to be brutally honest, I believe that the majority of them are simply churning out their rubbish, in collusion with equally opportunistic publishers, in order to separate gullible readers from their cash.
The father of such drivel has to be Edgar Cayce, although I am inclined to think that he personally was in some way one of the self-deluded and did not have any financial motivation. However, it was pure greed or should it be impure greed that ‘inspired’ the vast majority of writers who followed Cayce, building on his foundation of spurious information.
Other types of hoaxers must include Madame Blavatsky, the godmother of occultic garbage, who was declared a fraud in 1884 by the London Society for Psychical Research. Her first book, Isis Unveiled, published in 1877 devotes just one page out of two volumes to Atlantis. Her second book The Secret Doctrine (1888) expands greatly on her ‘knowledge’ of Atlantis. It is worth pointing out that these extended ‘revelations’ were produced only a few years after the success of Ignatius Donnelly’s groundbreaking book in 1882.
A more harmless story, frequently touted in books on Atlantis, is that of the S.S. Jesmond that was reported to have discovered an uncharted island in the Atlantic on which they found artefacts including a sarcophagus complete with occupant. The ‘discovery’ was published in a New Orleans newspaper after the ship arrived there on April 1st, 1882, the same year that Donnelly’s book was published. The newspaper retracted the story later.
Another frequently quoted claim is the alleged discovery of an underwater pyramid by the late Dr. Ray Brown, which does not stand up to the most cursory examination.
In 1970 a book entitled Mu Revealed purported to have evidence which supported Churchward’s claims, but was subsequently revealed as a hoax perpetrated by one Raymond Buckland, writing under the pen-name of Tony Earll, an anagram of ‘not really’.
Blatant commercial frauds have also been perpetrated invoking Atlantis as the ultimate source. One such instance is the sale of replicas of the so-called ‘Atlantis Ring’, an object that is decorated with special geometric symbols and is claimed to emit electromagnetic waves that protect the wearer, give increased psychic abilities, healing powers and bring the owner good luck. It is claimed that the original was found in 1860 in the Valley of the Kings by “well-known French Egyptologist” Marquis d’Agrain who claimed that it came from Atlantis. He is supposed to have bequeathed the ring to another “famous Egyptologist” Arnold de Belizal. An Internet search reveals little about either person apart from this alleged connection with the Atlantis Ring. Two more articles about it are available online(d)(e), unfortunately they include a lot of psychic twaddle. One supplier charges $350 for replica rings(a).
There are so many other Atlantis related claims which stretch credibility beyond breaking point that a book devoted to that subject alone is warranted.
In fact, some years ago the Atlantis Online website had a forum devoted to the subject of Atlantis hoaxes(c). But Atlantis was not the only classical subject that has a hoax associated with it. In 1924, Di Martino, editor of Mouseion, an Italian classics journal, claimed to have discovered all the lost books of Livy(b).
Jason Colavito has written an interesting article(f) on hoaxes, which were more prevalent before WWII.
However, before anyone cries ‘hoax’ or ‘fake’, they should remember the case of the Parian Marble (Parian Chronicle), which was found in two sections on the Greek island of Paros in the 17th century. In 1788, Joseph Robertson (1726-1802) declared the Chronicle to be a ‘modern’ fake in a lengthy dissertation, a claim disproved by the discovery of the final third piece, over a century later.