Phyllis Young Forsyth
Sicily was first inhabited by modern humans during the last Ice Age(h) when lower sea levels exposed a land bridge between it and what is now mainland Italy.
Plato was quite familiar with Sicily having paid a number of visits there(i) and on one occasion was sold as a slave having offended King Dionysius with his criticism of tyrannical rulers. Many think that his time in the capital, Syracuse, inspired elements of his description of the capital of Atlantis!
The island was probably first suggested as having a link with Atlantis by Mário Saa in a 1936 book in which he has Atlantis stretching from and including Sicily and the Maltese archipelago all the way to Tunisia. It was then more than four decades before Phyllis Young Forsyth wrote her book, Atlantis: The Making of Myth , in which she expressed her belief that Plato wrote the Atlantis story as an anti-war allegory partly based on his own experiences with the king of Syracuse.
More recently a number of other writers have also put Sicily forward as a location for Atlantis. In the main, it has been European investigators who have advocated such a Sicilian connection and some have gone further and proposed a land bridge with Tunisia within the memory of man.
Dr. Peter Jakubowski also offers(a) Sicily and the Malta Plateau as the location of Atlantis. He proposes a cosmic impact in the Atlantic which closed the Strait of Gibraltar around 4800 BC. When the dam eventually broke, the Mediterranean to the west of Sicily began to fill. This was then followed by the breaching of the land bridge between Sicily and Africa and finally the dam in the Bosporus broke, flooding what was a much smaller Black Sea than we have today. Jakubowski’s site is apparently a reworking of Axel Hausmann’s book.*A few years ago he revamped his website, but removed all the Atlantis material.*
Patrick Archer has also adopted the concept of a Sicilian land bridge and promotes the idea that the breaching of it and its consequences were the inspiration for the biblical Deluge(e).
Zhirov noted that “the Mediterranean is fairly shallow between Sicily and Tunisia. There are vast sandbanks and shoals. It may be considered as beyond all doubt that this region subsided recently and that there was a broad isthmus between Sicily and Tunisia.”
Alberto Arecchi(b) has added his voice in support of this Sicilian land bridge linking Italy with Africa and places Atlantis off the coast of modern Tunisia.
Further support has come from Thomas J. Krupa in his 2014 book, in which proposes that the land bridge was composed of limestone which over time had been partially dissolved by rainwater and was under stress from the rising sea levels on its western side. He considers the land bridge the most likely location for Atlantis, which was destroyed when the isthmus was sundered by an earthquake.
Thorwald C. Franke has a well-balanced website(c), in German and English, supporting the idea of a Bronze Age Sicilian Atlantis. For topographical reasons he places the city on the Plains of Catania on the east coast of the island. He sees that the importance of Atlantis within his hypothesis “is the transfer of culture from the eastern to the Western Mediterranean, e.g. there can be found parallels between the culture of the Etruscans, whose role in bringing eastern culture to the west is widely acknowledged.”
Sicily is also home to a number of step pyramids similar to the Canarian examples(d). Antoine Gigal, the French explorer and writer, offers on her website(f) an extensively illustrated article about 23 previously unrecorded Sicilian pyramids as well as seven pyramids on Mauritius(g).
*A 2020 article on the Ancient Origins website by Daniela Giordano reviews the subject of Italian pyramids and more particularly the Sicilian pyramids and their possible connection with the Shekelesh one of the Sea Peoples, an idea also advocated by Nancy K. Sanders, the British archaeologist. The article goes on to suggest some linkage with the more than controversial Bosnian pyramids, which I find overly speculative(k).*
Quite recently a bronze object with a 13th century BC Sicilian connection was found off the coast of Devon in the UK, suggesting ancient trade between the Central Mediterranean and Britain(j).
(d) See: Archive 2006
Also See: Pantelleria
Henri Lhote (1903-1991) was a French explorer and ethnologist who is best known for his study of the remarkable cave paintings in the Sahara at Tassili-n’Ajjer. Lhote built on the discoveries of a French Lieutenant Brenans, who began exploring the region in the 1930’s.
Some of these depicted masked humanoid figures leading Lhote to suggest that they were evidence of prehistoric extraterrestrial visitors. One of these was dubbed the ‘Great Martian God’ and a decade later exploited by Erich von Däniken in the promotion of his ‘ancient astronauts’ ideas.
Jürgen Spanuth notes[017.22] that in 1950, Lhote organised an expedition to Tanzerouft in the Sahara with the hope of finding Atlantis although there was no subsequent claim by Lhote of any such discovery. However, Phyllis Young Forsyth quoted Lhote as giving a somewhat contradictory view when he wrote in The Search for the Tassili Frescoes “The fact is that there is no possibility whatsoever of the Sahara having been the site of Plato’s mysterious island.”[442.184] Zhirov, noted[0458.18] that Lhote expressed the view that “it must be admitted that there is much in Plato’s idea that is positive.”
Lhote also contributed an article to the Reader’s Digest’s, The World’s Last Mysteries, regarding the ‘green’ Sahara that existed prior to 2500 BC.
A recent blog(a) by Dale Drinnon expands on some of the numerous examples of Saharan rock art that we know of and their possible connection with Dynastic Egypt. Philip Coppens has also written an article(d) in which he speculates on the possibility that Tassili n’Ajjer may offer the origins of ancient Egypt’s culture. The Bradshaw Foundation has an extensive archive(b) of African rock art as well as a section on rock art along the Nile(c). >Similarly, Jose Manuel Delgado’s website also offers an overview of the rock art of the region and its creators, before they spread to the Nile Valley(e).<
(a) http://frontiers-of-anthropology.blogspot.ie/2011/08/possible-prehistoric-prototype-of.html (Link broken August 2018)
Carlos F. Barceló has written a number of books on mythology. Inevitably he tackled Plato’s story in a work simply entitled Atlantis . He confidently places Atlantis in the centre of the Atlantic Ocean.
The book purports to provide a general overview of the subject. However, it is a poorly written offering that contains a number of errors, which might be the translator’s fault. For example Phyllis Young Forsyth was given a quick sex change and became Philip and then we have, a fictional character in Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth, transformed into a real person who believed that Iceland was the last remaining vestige of Atlantis.
Amasis II, was the Greek name of Ahmose who reigned from 570-526 BC. Amasis is given by Plato as the name of the Egyptian pharaoh at the time of Solon’s visit to Sais. However, Phyllis Young Forsyth[266.38] protests that Plato did not claim that Amasis was on the throne at time of Solon’s visit, but merely identified Sais as the home of Amasis. The English translations of Tim.21e by Bury, Jowett and Lee are compatible with this, as is the German translation of Plato’s text by Franz Susemihl(a). John Michael Greer, among others, supports this view.
Firm historical information for this period is often scanty and sometimes contradictory. However, it is thought that Solon left Athens for a number of years and some of that period may have overlapped with part of Amasis’ reign. Herodotus is our principal source of information regarding Amasis and he clearly mentions (Bk.1.30) that Solon was at the court of Amasis. Zhirov quotes the views of V.S. Struve, who believed that Herodotus’ 3rd century BC dates were out by 25 years.
Ivan Linforth strongly disputes[041.300] the idea of Solon meeting Amasis as “chronologically quite improbable”. He claims that Solon (c.630-560 BC) had returned to Athens before the reign of Amasis. John Michael Greer[0345.15], not very convincingly, attempts to counter this idea with the suggestion that at the time of Solon’s visit, Amasis had not yet ascended the throne.
The Identity of the Atlanteans has produced a range of speculative suggestions nearly as extensive as that of the proposed locations for Plato’s lost island. However, it is highly probable that we already know who the Atlanteans were, but under a different name.
The list below includes some of the more popular suggestions and as such is not necessarily exhaustive. While researchers have proposed particular locations for Atlantis, not all have identified an archaeologically identified culture to go with their chosen location. The problem being that most of the places suggested have endured successive invasions over the millennia by different peoples.
It would seem therefore that the most fruitful approach to solving the problem of identifying the Atlanteans would be to first focus on trying to determine the date of the demise of Atlantis. This should reduce the number of possible candidates, making it easier to identify the Atlanteans.
A final point to consider, is that the historical Atlanteans were a military alliance, and as such may have included more than one or none of those listed here. The mythological Atlanteans, who included the five sets of male twins and their successors would be expected to share a common culture, wheras military coalitions are frequently more disparate.
Basques: William Lewy d’Abartiague, Edward Taylor Fletcher
Maltese: Anton Mifsud, Francis Xavier Aloisio, Kevin Falzon, Bibischok, Joseph Bosco, David Calvert-Orange, Giorgio Grongnet de Vasse, Albert Nikas, Joseph S. Ellul, Francis Galea, Tammam Kisrawi, Charles Savona-Ventura, Hubert Zeitlmair.
Maya: Robert B. Stacy-Judd, Charles Gates Dawes, Colin Wilson, Adrian Gilbert, L. M. Hosea, Augustus le Plongeon, Teobert Maler, Joachim Rittstieg, Lewis Spence, Edward Herbert Thompson, Jean-Frédérick de Waldeck,
Minoans: K.T. Frost, James Baikie, Walter Leaf, Edwin Balch, Donald A. Mackenzie, Ralph Magoffin, Spyridon Marinatos, Georges Poisson, Wilhelm Brandenstein, A. Galanopoulos, J. G. Bennett, Rhys Carpenter, P.B.S. Andrews, Edward Bacon, Willy Ley, J.V. Luce, James W. Mavor, Henry M. Eichner, Prince Michael of Greece, Nicholas Platon, N.W. Tschoegl, Richard Mooney, Rupert Furneaux, Martin Ebon, Francis Hitching, Charles Pellegrino, Rodney Castleden, Graham Phillips, Jacques Lebeau, Luana Monte, Fredrik Bruins, Gavin Menzies, Lee R. Kerr, Daniel P. Buckley.
Helike (pronounced he-LEEK-ee) was an ancient Greek city in Achaea, which was submerged by an earthquake and accompanying tidal wave in the winter of 373 BC. The same event also destroyed the city of Boura located southeast of Helike.
In 1988 the Greek archaeologist Dr. Dora Katsonopoulou and Dr. Steven Soter established the Helike Project(a) with the aim of locating the lost city. Katsonopoulou grew up just a few miles from the Helike site and would have been fully aware of any local stories regarding its destruction. It took until 2001 before their excavations were successful. Fortunately a BBC Horizon team was on hand to record the event and have made a transcript of the transmission available on the Internet(b) . The work has continued every year since then. It is worth noting that during the excavation of the town an even earlier Bronze Age settlement was unearthed nearby that may have greater significance than Helike itself.
The Helike/Boura disaster took place just a few years before Plato wrote his Timaeus and Critias dialogues, which are believed to be among his last compositions, dated 355-347 BC(c). Frank Joseph erroneously claims that Plato could not have been influenced by the Helike disaster, because according to Joseph the Atlantis dialogues were written 25 years before the obliteration of Helike[1074.14]. Coincidentally, there was another Greek inundation following an earthquake during Plato’s lifetime at a place with the evocative name of Atalanta!
One suggestion is that Plato had been aware of Solon’s story for some time but with the dramatic destruction of Helike he found that the story of the destruction of Atlantis would be more credible if given a similar demise.
Katsonopoulou contends that this disaster was the inspiration for Plato’s story of the destruction of Atlantis and presented a paper to the 2005 Atlantis Conference [629.327], outlining her views. Although she is seen as the champion of the Helike-Atlantis theory she was not the first to suggest a possible connection.
The British philosopher A.E. Taylor (1869-1945) was probably the first, in 1928, to consider the destruction Helike as a template for the demise of Plato’s Atlantis. This idea was endorsed(f) a couple of years later by the French writer Perceval Frutiger and in the 1980’s, Professor Adalberto Giovannini(d), a Swiss historian as well as Phyllis Young Forsyth both viewed the Helike event as having had some influence on Plato’s narrative of the Atlantis story.
(c) http://www.iep.utm.edu/plato/ Select ‘Plato’ under ‘P’
*(e) http://milos.conferences.gr/index.php?id=2851 (abstract only)