R. Cedric Leonard
Ancient Astronauts and their technology is often promoted as the inspiration behind aspects of many ancient religions such as the vimanas of the Hindus, the flying chariots of Ezekiel as well as the gods of Mesopotamia. The most widely known proponents of these ideas are Erich von Däniken and the late Zecharia Sitchin.
However, before von Däniken, Harold T. Wilkins was already suggesting prehistoric extraterrestrial visitors in the 1950’s. He also wrote a couple of books about Atlantis. R. Cedric Leonard is another Atlantis researcher who has written about Atlantis and ancient technology(aliens). The most recent attempt to link Atlantis with ancient astronauts is Kevin Falzon, who closely follows Sitchin while locating Atlantis in his native Malta. Richard Mooney speculated on a connection between Atlantis and ancient aliens four decades ago.
Nevertheless, the idea of visitors from other worlds is often traced back to the 18th century and the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg (1688-1772)(e), who not only argued that extraterrestrial beings had visited our planet, but that he had actually met them! Greg Little has also recently(g) credited Swedenborg as the originator of the alien visitors idea, but Jason Colavito has rubbished Little’s article(f) and traced the concept of extraterrestrial encounters back to Lucian (125-180 AD) together with a few others before Swedenborg. Colavito and Little are not ‘best friends’, so I can only conclude that Colavito simply wished to undermine Little’s credibility as a researcher.
Jason Colavito has also drawn attention(a) to an exhibition to be held in Beijing in July 2012, which purports to offer evidence of these ancient visitors, and has published(b) the official U.S. Government view on ancient astronauts. He also offers an overview of alien theories and scathingly criticises their proponents(c).
Colavito has also an interesting blog for 29/08/14 which quotes from a 1977 magazine that has an article suggesting that Jesus was an American astronaut who came back from the future, no doubt inspired by Planet of the Apes!(d)
Perhaps even more disconcerting is the results of a survey(h) carried out by Chapman University that show 20% of Americans believing in ancient astronauts!
Also See: Extraterrestrials
*(e) http://www.swedenborgproject.org/2007/09/08/the-life-on-other-planets-question/ (link broken Oct. 2018) See: Archive 2262*
The Bretons are a cultural grouping located in Brittany in northwest France, where the most outstanding megalithic monuments of Europe are situated. Today, the Bretons consider themselves a separate Celtic people, with a strong nationalist movement(c).
*It was in 1839 that the Rev. Algernon Herbert (1792-1855), Dean of Merton College, Oxford, was the first to use the term ‘megalithic’ in a paper describing the monuments of England and Brittany.*
Since the middle of the 19th century a number of commentators right up to the present have labelled the Bretons as Atlantean. These include R. Cedric Leonard(a), who In support of this idea cites both Stephen Oppenheimer and Herodotus, although he does so some reservations. Hank Harrison wrote Finding Atlantis in which, he supported the idea of a megalithic Atlantis with its centre of power probably located in the Morbihan area of Brittany.
In the 19th century, Ignatius Donnelly quoted Eugene Bodichon as expressing a similar view[021.389]. Bodichon’s opinion is simply based on the temperament and physical similarities between the Bretons and the Berbers of North Africa. Similarly, Gerry Forster refers to Bodichon’s opinion in his The Lost Continent Rediscovered(b). I do not think that the case is proven, even if the legendary kingdom of Ys, reputedly off the Brittany coast, is brought into the debate.
Tripura is the name of a triple city in Hindu mythology that was famed for its architecture and rich adornments. Its inhabitants are reputed to have become greedy over time and were destroyed by Shiva (Mahabharata, Bk7, Drona Parva, Sec.XI). The story is almost the same as that of Atlantis and its demise. Since 1997 until his death in 2005 the late Arysio Nunes dos Santos has championed the idea that Plato’s Atlantis narrative regarding a submerged civilisation had been borrowed from the east. He also linked Atlantis with Tripura(a).
2005 not only saw the death of dos Santos shortly after the publication of his theory in book form, while in Moscow, Sergey Teleguin had his book, Anatomy of a Myth, published in Russian, in which he also identified Tripura with Atlantis. An English translation of part of his book has now been provided by Teleguin(c).
R. Cedric Leonard has also linked Atlantis with Tripura, the capital of the island of Atala(b). However, Leonard has chosen the Azores as the most likely location for Atlantis and dos Santos opted for Sundaland, a large landmass, now partly submerged encompassing, among others, Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia!
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). Suggestions of even earlier dates are strongly disputed(e).
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.
ROIPA is an acronym for the original Russian title of the Russian Society for the Study of Problems of Atlantis which is the leading association in the Russian Federation for the study of Atlantology.
It was formally established in 2003 although it has its roots in the early 1990’s. Since then it has organised three congresses of Atlantologists, published papers and books including its recent Cronos almanac. There is also an ongoing programme of lectures. [See: Archive 3920]
Alexander Voronin was the president of ROIPA and I had the pleasure of meeting him in Malta in 2011. Sadly, Alexander died November 6th 2012.
Membership of ROIPA is normally confined to Russian citizens, so I was greatly flattered when I was given honorary membership of the organisation in 2011.
In March 2014, I was contacted by the new president of ROIPA, George Nefediev, who informed me that the work of the society was back on track and has already held a conference in December, 2013. They are currently developing a new website(a).
Later in 2014, ROIPA published the second edition of their Cronos ‘almanac’. It has a number of contributions by researchers frequently encountered in the pages of Atlantipedia, such as Emilio Spedicato and R. Cedric Leonard. Although it will be published in Russian, you can view the contents in English here. As you will see the subjects are wide-ranging and it is regrettable that the volume will not be available in English.
ROIPA is organising its fourth Congress on the 13-14 April 2015. All are welcome and contributions invited
(a) The theme of the Congress is Atlantology in the XXI century – Development Prospects and is seeking to have Atlantology recognised as a legitimate scientific discipline.
See: Russian Atlantology
The Fauna of Atlantis as described by Plato has done little to pinpoint its location and is clearly a subject for further investigation. However, pinpointing is the wrong word since Atlantis stretched from North Africa as far north as central Italy, so there is probably a wide geographical spread to the fauna noted by Plato.
In Critias he refers to ‘flocks’ (111c) implying sheep and/or goats; bees (111c), elephants (114e); horses (117b); bulls (119d). He also mentions sable clothing (120b) but these were possibly imported.
The most problematic of these is the reference to elephants, a term that could be loosely applied to a number of related species including mastodons, mammoths, the Indian, the African and dwarf elephants. The habitat of the latter diminutive creatures stretched from Siberia as far south as the equator. The remains of dwarf elephants have been found on the islands of the Mediterranean from Sardinia to Cyprus.
Pygmy elephant is the term applied to some species found today in parts of Asia and Africa. However ‘pygmy’ or ‘dwarf’ elephants could hardly be described as “largest and most voracious” of animals (Critias 115a).
However, there is general acceptance that the North African Elephant inhabited the Atlas Mountains until they became extinct in Roman times(b)(e). Atlantis sceptic, Ronald H. Fritze, an Atlantis sceptic, acknowledges[709.25] the existence of elephants in North Africa until the Romans.
The species of elephant used by Hannibal has been a source of debate for years(c). The Numidians of North Africa (202 BC–46 BC) also used local elephants in warfare (d). It would seem to me that the North African Elephant, rather than the Asian or African species, would have been more suited to the trek across the Alps. Needless to say the Atlas Mountains were part of the Atlantean sphere of influence (Timaeus 25a-b).
Eckart Kahlhofer believes that the elephants referred to by Plato were in fact deer, claiming that a scribal error resulted in the Greek word elaphos (deer) being transcribed as elephas (elephant).
R. Cedric Leonard has written an interesting paper(a) on the early domestication of animals and its possible connection with Atlantis.
The Etymology of Atlantis is frequently given in many modern books and websites(b)(c) to means ”daughter of Atlas” while some writers have opted for ”island of Atlas”. Thorwald C. Franke has pointed out that the more correct meaning is “of Atlas” or just “Atlas’ …….” with the context determining the precise interpretation.
J. Warren Wells[783.13] has pointed out that the word Atlantis was used by Hesiod in line 938 of his Theogony, centuries before both Plato and Solon, while Hellanicus of Lesbos certainly used the term before Plato.
A collection of pre-Platonic references to Atlantis which do not directly use its name has been compiled by R.Cedric Leonard(a).
*(a) See: Archive 2055
Bruce Charles Heezen (1924-1977) was an American oceanographer and geologist who led the Columbia University team that mapped the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in the 1940’s and ‘50’s. They also discovered and named some seamounts and confirmed that there was evidence that at least the summits had been above water and existed as islands sometime during the past 12,000 years. Presumably, this was the result of the lower ocean levels during the last Ice Age.
Supporters of the theory of Atlantis being located in the Atlantic believe that the discoveries of Heezen, Maurice Ewing and others support their contention. R. Cedric Leonard(a) and Carl Martin(b) are enthusiastic members of this school of thought.
It was Heezen, along with his colleague, Dragoslav Ninkovich, who provided the first firm evidence that the Late Bronze Age eruption of Thera, directly affected the eastern part of Crete through ash fall-out in a 1965 paper.
Armorica was the Latin name given by the Romans to what we know today as the Brittany peninsula. The region contains some of the most remarkable monuments created by the megalith builders, such as those found at Carnac and Morbihan,
Plato described the influence of Atlantis reaching as far as Italy and Libya (Tim. 25b). In Europe megalithic structures have been found extending all along the Atlantic seaboard and into the Mediterranean as far east as Italy(a) and all across North Africa including modern Libya and Egypt, it was understandable when some commentators concluded that these megalithic monuments were a cultural expression of the Atlanteans. The evidence available indicates that the spread of megalithic building was effected by a maritime based society. How much of this spread was brought about through military or trade expansion or just migration is not known.
A number of French and German researchers have identified Brittany as the power centre of the Atlantean ‘confederation’, while the American writer Hank Harrison is working on a book in which he will nominate Morbihan as a possible capital of Atlantis. R. Cedric Leonard has also written an interesting article(b) on the megalithic monuments of Brittany.
While megaliths are also found in the Middle East and across Asia as far as Japan, their greatest concentration is in Western Europe with a suggested focal point in Armorica. The legendary sunken city of Ys, often associated with Atlantis, is reputedly located off the coast of Armorica.
Myths along with legends and nursery thymes are part of a culture’s folklore. The word is given a primary meaning in dictionaries of “a traditional story of unknown authorship, serving usually to explain some phenomenon of nature, the origin of man, or the customs, religious rites etc. of a people. Mythological ‘gods’ were frequently personifications of those natural phenomena. A secondary meaning is ‘fictitious story’ which is the usual dismissive and derogatory application of the term to the Atlantis story. Time and time again, various ‘myths’ across a wide range of cultures have been shown to have a factual basis. These myths were generated to explain something that is important but incomprehensible. Sometimes myths are imported from other cultures and languages, leading to possible distortion of the original tale.
J. V. Luce, the Irish classics scholar, has highlighted[0120.14] how various Greek myths and legends have been proven to contain historical elements and that Plato’s Atlantis story should be studied with this in mind.
Alexander Braghine quotes the French historian, Gustave Glotz (1862-1935), who wrote in his History of Greece, that “it is a well-known fact that legend comes before history, but an attentive and rigorous analysis of any myth gives us the opportunity to detect historical data even in a myth. The comparative method is very useful in these cases.”
Luce has also pointed out that Plato also uses ‘logos’ or truth rather than ‘muthos’ or legend when referring to the Atlantis story.
Euhemerus (circa 300 BC) was one of the first to propose that the ‘gods’ of Greek myth were in fact ancient heroes that were, by convention, posthumously ‘deified’ by their bardic biographers.
It is perfectly reasonable to assume that the older a myth is the less specific detail it may retain regarding any underlying truth. I would suggest that Plato’s story has at least two elements; (i) an ancient and powerful civilisation was destroyed through inundation hundreds if not thousands of years earlier and (ii) the detailed description of an expansionist Bronze Age alliance that was also destroyed. The first, because of its antiquity, is of necessity vague; the second is incredibly detailed in the manner of an eyewitness account.
The ancient Greeks were apparently not conscious of the last Ice Age and the consequent effects of the melting of the retreating glaciers. Today we are aware of these events and find it interesting that Plato’s description of the flooding of Atlantis and its date appears compatible with real prehistoric facts, although the melting of the glaciers was a relatively slow process and is highly unlikely to have submerged Atlantis in ‘a day and a night’. The second element in Plato’s story is too detailed to be considered as fact but could be accepted as a reasonable embellishment by Plato who in order to emphasise the might of the earlier civilisation, ascribed to it all the trappings of contemporary imperial nations such as the Persians.
Before writing was developed our ancestors artfully used the rhyme and rhythm (meter) of poetry as a vehicle to ensure the faithful conveyance of their legends and traditions over countless generations. However, the details are often misunderstood or corrupted when such traditions are translated into different languages and the aide memoire value of the original poetry is lost. Even when writing was available but known only to an elite few, the value of verse as a transmission vehicle continued for thousands of years.
The value of traditional stories was highlighted by a recent paper presented at a conference in Japan which resulted from a study of Aboriginal stories from around the Australian coast(d). The details in those stories, relating to the rising sea levels at the end of the last Ice Age, coincide with remarkable accuracy to what has already been demonstrated scientifically. The conclusion is that these oral traditions can reliably span at least ten millennia and raise questions regarding the value traditional tales in other parts of the globe.
The Internet provides useful access to various mythological resources. One of those is Mythopedia(a) which has a valuable collection of articles and images dealing with mythologies and religions and the possible influence of ancient celestial sights on some aspects of them.
A paper(b) available on the internet by R. Cedric Leonard discusses with his usual thoroughness, various traditions and mythologies that may have contained details of the Atlantis story before Plato wrote his Timaeus and Critias dialogues.
In 2009, a paper(e) on the reliability of orally transmitted myths by Rens Van der Sluijs was published on the thunderbolts website. The same is said of the accuracy of nursery rhymes and other folk tales(f) some of which were of a more secular and sometimes subversive nature(g).
A groundbreaking overview of mythology is on offer from E. J. Michael Witzel (1943- ) who has traced the origins of many our myths to origins in Africa 100.000 years ago with the understandable revisions and accretions as humans spread throughout our planet, producing both new and local variations of the same themes. His influence today is seen by some, but not all, as comparable to that of James Frazer (1854-1941) and Eliade Mircea (1907-1986).