Patrick Neison Lynch (1817-1882) was the Irish-born third Catholic bishop of Charleston, South Carolina. In a lecture(a) in 1867, Lynch declared “I shall take it as an established fact that America was peopled by the sons of Japheth.” whom he named more specifically as the Phoenicians. Lynch also identified America as Plato’s Atlantis.
Invasion today, as in the past, is usually the consequence of a shortage of resources (food, metals, oil, water), climate change (affecting food supply), overpopulation (also affecting food supply) or political upheaval. Although I do not speak as a military strategist, it would seem obvious that if, for any of these reasons, a state is forced into an expansionism, it will first look at their nearest neighbours and assess the chances of military success. It is obvious that before the introduction of airborne attacks, propinquity in the form of contiguous territory or short sea journeys have always been critical for a successful invasion(a) and the continued control of occupied territories. This is borne out by the simple historical fact that all the earliest empires, which were located in what we now call the Middle East, expanded through the invasion of its neighbours.
*Many people think that military intelligence gathering is a relatively modern development. However, ancient documents, including the Bible, have accounts of spying thousands of years ago. Mary Rose Sheldon has produced an invaluable sourcebook on the subject, as well a volume on Spies in the Bible. It is reasonable therefore to assume that Atlantis also exercised due diligence and endeavoured to assess their opponents strengths and weaknesses before invading.
Boris Rankov has noted(b) in The Encyclopedia of Ancient History that military intelligence in ancient times had its value limited by the “slowness of communications, which meant that it was often out of date before any response could be brought to bear.” This, of course, ties in with the then established practice of invading those within your immediate proximity; supply lines are shorter and information more up-to-date. In turn, it implies that Atlantis was within relatively easy striking distance of Athens!*
Even in modern times the same constraints determined the actions of invaders. Hitler could not have invaded Russia without first controlling Poland and Romania. Even expansionist Japan, although an island nation, expanded into Korea and Manchuria (China) and following the attack on Pearl Harbour spread even further within the same region.
The ancient land-based empires were dependent on military might, whereas others, such as the Phoenicians, expanded their influence through trade, supported by extensive merchant fleets. However, over time, Phoenician or more correctly Carthaginian rivalry with Rome led to disastrous wars.
One of the primary military concerns today, as in ancient times, will be to ensure that its men are fed and watered and consequently there will be a need to keep its supply lines as short as possible.
The nearest possible belligerent to the west of Athens was across the Adriatic in Italy. I argue elsewhere that according to Plato, southern Italy constituted part of the Atlantean domain (see Etruscans). I suggest that the Atlantean invasion of Greece was probably launched from there. The motivation is unclear, but we can speculate that success in Greece would have been followed by the control of the entire Aegean, including Crete, offering a huge expansion in trade.
The alternative is that the nearest part of Atlantis was elsewhere, necessitating the bypassing of other territories on the way and stretching supply and communication lines more than desirable. Italy looks the best bet, with forces added from the Atlantean HQ in Sicily or Sardinia, possibly travelling through the Strait of Messina, sometimes identified as the location of the Pillars of Heracles.
In the south, the Atlantean forces in North Africa (Ancient Libya), if not augmenting the attack on Greece, were probably planning their invasion of Egypt (Timaeus 25b & Critias 114c). Success there would have been followed by a two-pronged attack by both northern and southern Atlantean forces on the eastern Mediterranean coast, later known as the Levant, giving them total control of the eastern Mediterranean Basin.
Invasion requirements are the strongest argument against any of the fanciful Atlantis theories that place Plato’s Atlantis in Antarctica, the Andes, or North America. It is ludicrous to claim that any invasion force came across the Atlantic to attack Greeks and Egyptians. That there were remarkable early cultures in both North and South America is absolutely undeniable, however, it is foolishness to claim that they had any connection with Plato’s story.
Christian C. Karam is a Brazilian archaeology student who has written a paper with the controversial, if not provocative, title of Phoenicians in Brazil(a). In it he proposes that an encounter with an extraterrestrial body caused a global catastrophe, which caused a large part of the Andes to be uplifted, the Sahara to be dried out and Atlantis in the Atlantic to be submerged. He dates this event to around 9500 BC and believes that the Atlantean survivors fled to Africa.
Perhaps the first to suggest that the Phoenicians visited Brazil was Georgius Hornius in the 17th century. The matter was dealt with in greater detail(d) by the Austrian professor of history, Ludwig Schwennhagen, who flourished at the beginning of the 20th century. A Hungarian website(c) offers more on the development of this claim.
Karam names the Phoenicians as thalassocratic successors to the Atlanteans. The main portion of his paper concerns the possibility or as he sees it, the probability, of Phoenician visits to and even colonisation of Brazil.
Ross T. Christensen (1918–1990) an American archaeologist supported the idea of Phoenicians in America. However, in my view, his early work as a Mormon missionary must bring into question his objectivity. Further evidence in support of Phoenicians in Brazil is presented elsewhere(b).
(d) http://www.academia.edu/7848641/Fen%C3%ADcios_no_Brasil_parte_1_Ludwig_Schwennhagen (Portuguese) (offline Feb. 2016)
Lucio Russo (1944- ) is an Italian mathematician, physcist and science historian. In his 2013 offering L’ America dimenticata (The Forgotten America) he bravely suggests that America was discovered by the Phoenicians or the Carthaginians. He also claims that the longitude of the Lesser Antillies (known as the Isles of the Blest) was known precisely to Hipparchus (190-120BC), but that Ptolemy (90-168AD) later identified the Isles of the Blest with the Canaries and made a catastrophic error when he reduced the circumference of the Earth to 180,000 stadia from the nearly exact figure of 252,000 stadia calculated by Eratosthenes centuries earlier.
George Firman published a 1978 speculative map of Atlantis, on which he located it in the Atlantic. Firman’s ‘portolan’ is allegedly based on “ancient charts drawn during the Ice Age circa 15,100 BP.”) He included Mediterranean details based on Angelino Dulcert’s 14th century charts.
In 1985 Firman published Atlantis, A Definitive Study, a 125-page offering with 45 maps, photos and diagrams. The author touches on Phoenicians, dolphins(!), Edgar Cayce and of course ancient maps.
Enrique Onffroy de Thoron was a French aristocrat whose family fled their homeland following the French Revolution(a). He was not Brazilian as claimed by Alexander Braghine. He travelled the world eventually settling in South America where he studied the language of the indigenous people of Peru. He later returned to France where he published the results of his research.
He believed that Atlantis was Phoenician and situated in America. According to Braghine, Onffroy de Thoron claimed that the Atlanteans along with the Andean Quichua tribe invaded Europe! Among his other strange conclusions was that the Carians of western Anatolia (Turkey) had populated the south-western shores of South America and that a Carian dynasty had once ruled in Quito (Ecuador)!
Marion McMurrough Mulhall (? -1922) was the wife of a famous Irish statistician, Michael George Mulhall (1838-1900) (his Dictionary of Statistics(b) was last published in 1970). She has written a number books, particularly about South America, but in 1911 she published Beginnings or Glimpses of Vanished Civilizations. In this interesting, if rather dated work of 136 pages, the author suggests that “The gods and goddesses of the ancient Greeks, the Phoenicians, the Hindoos, and the Scandinavians were simply the kings, queens, and heroes of Atlantis, and the acts attributed to them in mythology are a confused recollection of real historical events. The mythology of Egypt and Peru represented the original religion of Atlantis, which was sun worship. The oldest colonies from Atlantis were probably the Akkadians and Sumerians, who are thought as yet, according to Messrs.King and Halpto have been the original founders of the Babylonian and Egyptian civilization. The implements of the ” Bronze Age ” of Europe were derived from Atlantis. The Atlantians were also the first manufacturers of iron, and we know that Parthelon, when he visited Ireland, came in iron vessels of occidental blackness.”
The author discusses a number of aspects of ancient history including Atlantic landbridges. She argues that Ireland was Plutarch’s Ogygia and also comments on Lemuria and Easter Island. The full text can be read online(a).
The Alphabet of Atlantis according to Ignatius Donnelly was the inspiration for the Phoenician alphabet. In fact, one of the objectives of Donnelly’s 1882 book was to prove “that the Phœnician alphabet, parent of all the European alphabets, was derived from an Atlantis alphabet, which was also conveyed from Atlantis to the Mayas of Central America.” (Pt.III chap.7)
R. Cedric Leonard has explored this possibility in a series of articles(a) and concluded that the hypothesis has merit. However, the Phoenician ‘alphabet’ lacked vowel signs and so should perhaps be called a betadelt? It took the Greeks to introduce vowel symbols and give us a writing method superior to that of the Phoenicians and which, by extension, if we accept the views of Donnelly and Leonard, is more flexible than the Atlantean system. The earliest Indian symbol has been dated to the 9th century AD in Gwalior, however, the mathematician, Amir Aczel has now traced an earlier zero from the 7th century AD in Cambodia(c).
The imaginative William Scott-Elliot had a slightly different view which he expressed as follows; “It is probable that the earliest form of alphabet was hieroglyphic, “the writing of the Gods,” as the Egyptians called it, and that it developed later in Atlantis into the phonetic. It would be natural to assume that the Egyptians were an early colony from Atlantis (as they actually were) and that they carried away with them the primitive type of writing which has thus left its traces on both hemispheres, while the Phoenicians, who were a sea-going people, obtained and assimilated the later form of alphabet during their trading voyages with the people of the west.”(b)
Others have suggested that Ogham was a writing system that could be traced back to Atlantis, but, understandably, without offering any supporting evidence, the entire subject is fertile ground for speculation.*[There are around 400 examples of Ogham writing worldwide of which 360 are in Ireland(d)!]*
The Disney film, Atlantis:The Lost Empire, included a language and script created by Marc Okrand who also invented ‘Klingon’ for the Star Trek TV shows and films. Some New Age writers, who are even less convincing than Disney, have also tried to connect the Runic script of Northern Europe with Atlantis.
Linear A (1800-1450 BC) is the designation given to one of two scripts used by the Minoans. Although Linear B, which has been deciphered, is similar to Linear A, there have been many failed attempts to decipher it, variously linking it to the Greek, Etruscan, Tyrhennian, Anatolian or Persian(d) languages.
However, there is some evidence that a writing system was in use in Greece as far back as the sixth millennium BC and was not adopted from the Phoenicians(h).
Patrick Archer moved further east for a solution, claiming that Linear A is possibly related to Chinese pictographs! One of the more exotic solutions was offered by the American, Stuart Harris, who identified the language as being related to Finnish(a)(f)(g). Harris also quotes the controversial Oera Linda Book as evidence that the Cretans spoke Finnish (e). He follows Felice Vinci in identifying the Baltic as the source of much of Greek culture including Homer’s epics(b), in which connection they both locate Troy in Finland.
So far, no single translation theory has gained general acceptance.
Nevertheless, I have always been surprised that the British who managed to unravel the workings of the German Enigma Machine during World War II have failed to decipher Linear A!
Dr. Richard Freund is the latest academic to enter the Atlantis debate. Freund is a rabbi and the director of the Greenberg Centre for Judaic Studies at the University of Hartford. He is the author of Digging Through the Bible in which he recounts his experiences excavating in the Middle East.
Freund ‘led’ (see below) an expedition of Spanish, American and Canadian scientists in 2009 and 2010 to investigate satellite the images of the Doñana Marshes, showing circular and rectangular features, discovered by Werner Wickboldt in 2003. National Geographic have included the findings of the expedition in a 2011 documentary entitled Finding Atlantis(a).
Another documentary, along with a transcript, which also ‘stars’ Freund, entitled “Atlantis – The Lost City” is available(e). *[Freund has also inveigled his way in to the 2017 National Geographic documentary, Atlantis Rising.]*
Freund believes that these structures discovered at Doñana are related to Atlantis/Tarshish. Freund has pointed out that the large amounts of methane emanating from the site suggests that only a tsunami could have suddenly trapped the large quantities of organic matter required to generate that quantity of methane!
However, a more sober view is presented by by Juan Villarias-Robles a Spanish anthropologist working with the Spanish team investigating the Doñana site. He recounts(b) how Professor Freund spent less than a week on the site and was not the leader of the Hinojos Project. With regard to the features identified by Wickboldt, Villarias-Robles explains that so far anything found has been smaller than anticipated or dated to the Muslim period. He declares that no remains of Tartessos or Atlantis have been found. Equally moderate are the comments of archaeologist Philip Reeder from the University of South Florida, who is also unconvinced that Atlantis has been found(c).
Furthermore, the respected Greek historian Ephorus described Tartessos in his day (4th century BC) as still being a rich source of tin, copper and gold(d). Since he wrote this long after Solon’s visit to Egypt, and even longer since the sinking of Atlantis, it would appear to rule out identifying Atlantis with Tartessos.
Freund also believes that the Phoenicians were descendants of the Atlanteans. No doubt these contentious claims will be explored in greater detail in his book Digging Through History: From Atlantis to the Holocaust.