Paul Dunbavin (1954- ) is a data and business analyst. “His interest for over 35 years has been cross-disciplinary research into prehistory, which he has occasionally published in his books and various articles and papers.”
He is the author of controversial but clearly well researched books relating to the ancient history of Britain. In one of these he identified the Picts of Scotland as being originally from the Baltic. In another he investigated the possible origins of Plato’s story of Atlantis. Using mythological, geological and archaeological sources he concluded that an asteroid or comet collided with the Earth around 3100 BC resulting in the tilting of the Earth’s axis. Dunbavin argued that this impact caused dramatic climate and sea-level changes that led to the submergence of a Neolithic civilisation on a low-lying plain off the coast of Wales. He believed that this destruction was the inspiration for the Atlantis legend. David Furlong claimed to have independently arrived at the same conclusion.
In 2005 Dunbavin published another volume on ancient catastrophes and their possible connection with cometary impacts or near collisions.
I note with interest that Dunbavin has another book, Towers of Atlantis, completed and should be available in April 2019. There is more information about this and his other books on his website(a) , which also includes links to other related sites(b) .
Once again, Dunbavin has returned to the subject of the British Isles during the Neolithic period and their possible association with Plato’s story of Atlantis. He draws on the ancient Egyptian concept of a paradisaical afterlife comparable with the Greek ‘Elysian Fields’, both believed to be located in the far west. These notions are seen by Dunbavin to have possible parallels in Plato’s description of the Plain of Atlantis.
The author highlights the value of mythology, which he employs in conjunction with classical writers such as Herodotus, Diodorus Siculus as well as others to lead us to his considered belief that the Irish Sea prior to its eventual inundation after the last Ice Age had been home to the Plain of Atlantis, stretching from the island of Anglesea to the Isle of Man. This book should be read in conjunction with his previous offering, Atlantis of the West. Rather than wild speculation, Dunbavin has again offered evidence, although subjectively interpreted, that offers a coherent hypothesis.
A Bull Cult is noted by Plato as one of the characteristics of the culture of Atlantis. Unfortunately it does little to identify the location of Atlantis since the bull featured prominently in the culture of so many ancient peoples and continues today, principally in the bullfights of Spain, Portugal, and Mexico.
In northern Italy there was a Gaulish tribe called the Taurini during the first and second centuries BC. The bull was also a symbol of the southern Italic tribes, in an area which Plato informs us was occupied by Atlanteans(e).
Mithraism, which originated in Iranian mythology and developed rapidly in Italy in the first century AD, included in its beliefs, the killing of a bull by the deity Mithras(g).
Writing in Egerton Sykes’ Atlantis in 1955 (Vol.8 No.3), Vera Howe outlined the extent of the bull cults which ranged from Assyria, across the Mediterranean and up to the British Isles. In the February 1963 (Vol.16 No.1) edition of the samejournal, it is recounted that Ireland had bull feasts and bull-fighting in ancient times.*There is also evidence of a bull cult among the Picts of Scotland(h).* Let us not forget that the Israelites began to worship a golden bull-calf when they thought that they had been abandoned by Moses(b).
It is generally accepted that the bull was also associated with lunar religions(a) as the horns resembled the crescent Moon. Even today the crecent is one of the principal icons of the Islamic faith.
At the 2005 Atlantis Conference, Professor Stavros Papamarinopoulos delivered a paper outlining the Bronze Age bull rituals in Egypt and the Aegean and their parallels in Iberia. In the Temple of Seti at Abydos there is a well-known wall carving depicting Seti I and his son Ramses II roping a bull and further along the wall sacrificing it.
Robert Ishoy had pointed out bull carvings in Sardinia. The Minoan bull jumpers on Crete are widely known. The Egyptians had a cult of Apis the Bull, a fact mentioned by R. McQuillen in support of his Egyptian Atlantis theory. When the Israelites rebelled they worshipped a golden calf or more correctly a young bull (Exodus 32). Exodus 29.36 also instructs the priests that “Each day you shall offer a bull as a sin offering for atonement,“
Carvings of bulls’ heads decorated the home of ancient Anatolia in modern Turkey. There are bull carvings to be seen at Tarxien in Malta and not far away in Northern Tunisia ancient carvings of bulls are also to be found(c). The ancient Celts also included bulls in their ceremonies. The Assyrians had a bull-god as their guardian. The oldest church in Toulouse is dedicated to St. Taur, a possible reference to an earlier bull cult. Further afield, in India, there is a bull taming sport, jallikattu, which is practiced annually in the villages of the southern state of Tamil Nadu and recently the subject of a failed attempt to ban it(f).
Dhani Irwanto, who claims a Sundaland location for Atlantis has proposed that Plato’s mention of bulls was the result a distorted account of the original Atlantis narrative brought by refugees from Indonesia and was a reference to the local water buffalo!
Peter James in a short appendix to his book, The Sunken Kingdom supports a Lydian origin for the Atlantis tale argued that Plato’s text makes no reference to the bull-leaping game depicted in Minoan art. However, quoted the studies of the British anthropologist Jane Harrison(1850-1928) who discovered that a coin from Troy’s Roman period depicted a bull being sacrificed in exactly the same manner as Plato’s description, namely, suspended from a pillar. The Roman bull sacrifice ritual was known as ‘taurobolium’.
James also provides other instances of possible Atlantean style bull worship in the same region which also contains his proposed location for Atlantis, ancient Sipylus.
In conclusion therefore, it must be obvious from the above that Plato’s reference to bull rituals is no definitive guide to finding an exclusive location and so probably has limited value in any quest for Atlantis.
*(a) http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/moon.htm (link broken Dec. 2018)
(c) http://encyclopedieberbere.revues.org/1697 (French)
(e) Timaeus 25b & Critias 114c