William Beebe (1877-1962) was an American naturalist, who carried out an extensive study of the Sargasso Sea in the 1920’s. It was reported(a) that he had located Atlantis there, but I’m fairly certain that this was just journalistic exaggeration.
Chedomille Mijatovich (1842-1932) was a Serbian politician, economist and historian. He was one of the first in modern times to suggest that the Sargasso Sea may have been the maritime hazard described by Plato as a ‘shoal of mud’, which resulted from the submergence of Atlantis. This idea was conveyed to and recorded by Hyde Clarke(a).
Honorius Augustodunensis (fl.1107-1140) was a popular German theologian and a prolific writer. The Catholic Encyclopaedia quotes the view that Honorius was one of the most mysterious personages in all the medieval period. In what is arguably his best known work, Imago Mundi(c), he expressed the view that Atlantis had been an island in the Atlantic (35. Sardinia). He wrote that that the ‘curdled sea’, assumed by Andrew Collins to be a reference to the Sargasso Sea[0072.91], “adjoins the Hesperides and covers the site of lost Atlantis, which lay west from Gibraltar.”
His Imago Mundi contained a world map, which has become known as The Sawley Map(b).
The Sargasso Sea is a region of the North Atlantic surrounded by ocean currents. Its limits are roughly 70-40° W and 25-35° N. It has a number of remarkable features, (i) it is very salty, (ii) it contains masses of seaweed of the genus ‘Sargassum’, giving the region its name, and (iii) it is place where the European eel migrates to, in order lay their eggs. The spawning habits of the European eel are indeed a mystery!
In 1925, Dr. A. Selwyn Brown wrote an article in the New York Herald, which was relayed around the world(a) in which he supported the Sargasso Atlantis theory. Around the same period the American naturalist, William Beebe, following an intensive study of the Sargasso was also reported(b) to have subscribed to the idea of the Sargasso as the location of Atlantis.
It is obvious that the Sargasso Sea is centred to the west of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and not over it as implied by some writers, particularly those who want to link it with an Atlantis situated on the MAR. Clearly, Plato’s account of the aftermath of the sinking of Atlantis describes impassable waters due to mud not seaweed. Contrary to popular belief the Sargasso Sea is not a hindrance to navigation.
Cerne was an island mentioned in the Pseudo-Scylax as being twelve days sail from the Pillars of Heracles. It adds that parts beyond the isle of Cerne are no longer navigable because of shoals, mud and seaweed. Although some have seen this as a reference to the Sargasso Sea, mud and shoals are not characteristics of the Sargasso, which is a mile or more deep.
Diodorus Siculus (iii.54) wrote of the Amazons fighting the Atlantoi in the city of Cerne. Some commentators have identified Cerne with the islands of Kerkenna off the east coast of Tunisia, where on the other hand Egerton Sykes linked the Cerne referred to in Pseudo-Scylax with Lixus on the Atlantic coast of Morocco.
Frank Joseph erroneously claims[108.117] that the only known ‘Cerne’ was Cerne Abbas in England, the site of the famous naked giant carved into the chalk. There is certainly no suggestion of any Amazon invasion there and the physique of the giant was certainly never matched by even the most butch Amazons. Not for the first time, Joseph is blatantly wrong. As in the case of so many other places mentioned in connection with Atlantis story there were a number of ancient towns named Cerne. The most famous such reference is in the record of Hanno’s voyage(b), generally accepted to be along the Atlantic coast of Morocco, where south of Lixus, he settled and named an island Cerne(a).
The Eel Enigma was first noted by the Danish biologist Johannes Schmidt (1877-1933) at the beginning of the 20th century. The American eel spawns in the western part of the Sargasso Sea and their European relatives in the eastern sector. When the larvae hatch, the Europeans eels are carried on the Gulf Stream towards Europe; a trip that takes about three years. The survivors of this long journey split up when they reach the shores of Europe. The males remain at sea and the females swim up the rivers and remain there for two years. They then rejoin the males and return together to the Sargasso where they mate, after a short journey of only one hundred and forty days.
A number of investigators, such as Otto Muck, have cited this mystery of nature as the result of the eels ’remembering’ a former landmass in the middle of the Atlantic. These writers have equated this landmass with Atlantis. However, a landmass is not what the eels require but the protective cover provided by the seaweed of the Sargasso while mating. I find it hard to accept this eel theory, although many find it credible. Perhaps millions of years ago before the tectonic plates had separated the European and American continents as far as they are today, the eels had originally only a short distance to travel. Over the ages the journey became longer until it is now close to the physical limitations of the creatures.
A similar observation was made by Henry Eichner who pointed out the existence of shellfish in the Sargasso who are normally found in shallow waters along shorelines. Eichner suggested that this adaptation by the shellfish may be evidence for the existence of an earlier shoreline now lost through inundation!
Equally intriguing but unconnected to any Atlantis claim is the migratory path of monarch butterflies(a).