William Henry Babcock
William Henry Babcock (1849-1922) was born in St. Louis, Missouri and studied law, after which he took up newspaper work. He later moved to Washington, D.C. where he practiced law.
Babcock was also a novelist and poet as well as the author of a number of works on the Atlantic and pre-Columbian links between northern Europe and North America. His book on the legendary islands of the Atlantic is of interest. He refers to Atlantis, but expresses the opinion that Plato’s story is a romantic combination of ancient legend together with an account of the defeat of the Persian army by the Athenians. In May 1917 issue of The Geographical Review, Babcock wrote an article entitled ‘Atlantis and Antillia’ commenting on the views of Pierre Termier.
Referring to the sinking of Atlantis, Babcock wrote: “Moreover, the sudden submergence of so vast a region as the imagined Atlantis would be an event without parallel in human annals, besides being pretty certain to leave marks on the rest of the world which would be recognised even now.” He also remarks that regarding Plato’s story: “certainly no one will go the length of accepting it as wholly true as it stands.” Babcock’s views were quite understandable in view of Plato’s incredible dimensions for the island of Atlantis, namely 3,000 x 2,000 stades for the plain alone apart with its surrounding mountains.
Antilia (Antillia), according to Aristotle, was the name by which a large island in the Atlantic was known to the Carthaginians. It may be worth noting that in Portuguese the word, ante-ihla, can be translated as ‘before’ or ‘in front of the island’. Aristotle, who had been one of Plato’s students, was the first to criticize his story of Atlantis. However it was Aristotle who wrote of a huge island in the Atlantic Ocean known by the Phoenicians as “Antilia” and so he appears to have unwittingly ended up supporting Plato‘s story.
Antilia is also the name of a landmass shown on medieval charts, varying in size and location between the Azores/Canaries and the Caribbean. In 1474 Paulo Toscanelli (1397-1482) produced a chart(a) showing the island of Antilia in the mid-Atlantic due west of the Canaries. The same map also includes the mythical St. Brendan’s Isle as a larger landmass further south. Battista Boccario shows Antilia on a 1435 map as did Zuane Pizzigani a decade earlier. After the discovery of the West Indies it assumed its present plural form of ‘Antilles’ to describe the large archipelago there.
Martin Behaim (1436-1507) a German geographer constructed the earliest globe that we still have today in 1492. On it he depicts ‘Insula Antilia Septa Citida’ [The Island of Antilia of the Seven Cities] with an associated comment that relates how in 734 AD after the Moorish invasion of Spain the archbishop of Porto with six other bishops occupied this island. The legend of the Seven Cities was widely recorded, but its exact location is shown on old, and often not totally reliable, charts, as ranging from the Azores to the West Indies.
William H. Babcock writing in the 1920’s firmly opted for Cuba as Antilia, but was rather sceptical about the existence of Atlantis. On the other hand a more recent writer, Andrew Collins, is convinced that Cuba had been home to Atlantis.
Lewis Spence, writing in the 1920’s suggested that Antilia was a land bridge between Atlantis and the Americas. He proposed that refugees fleeing from a sinking Atlantis used this land bridge from the centre of the Atlantic and headed for what is today the Yucatan peninsula.
‘Antilia’ is also the name given to what is reputed to be the world’s first billion dollar residence. It is located in Mumbai and is the home of the Indian billionaire Mr Mukesh Ambani.
August Hunt is an American freelance writer with a range of fictional and historical works to his name. His interests range across Arthurian literature, Celtic religion, mythology and folklore.
In 2008 he published a new Atlantis theory on the Internet in which he linked the Persian Empire with Atlantis, with either Persepolis or Susa as the capital city of the Atlanteans.*In 2010, he published The Real Moses and his God and added A New Theory on Atlantis as a thirty-page appendix to it. The first is now available online(c), while his Atlantis theory has been published separately as a Kindle book.*
Hunt argues that the 9,000 years since the Atlantean-Athenian War must be wrong since Athens did not exist until around 3000 BC. He then points out that the only conflict in which the Athenians defeated a large invading force was against the Persians at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC. He strangely refers to the Atlantis story as a prophesy even though it was recorded by Plato over a century after the Battle of Marathon!
His most bizarre suggestion is that the 9,000 years quoted by Plato actually refers to the number of Athenians at the Battle of Marathon.
I was surprised to read(p138) that Hunt found “it odd that no one has thought to associate this geographical entity (Persia) with the Atlantis described by Plato”, since he was not the first to suggest a connection between the Persia-Athenian War and the war with Atlantis. Pierre-André Latreille (1762-1833) the French entomologist did so in 1819 when he concluded that Plato’s tale was a distorted version of the war with Persia. William Henry Babcock (1849-1922) also suggested that Plato’s Atlantis story incorporated details of the defeat of the Persians.*Benjamin Jowett, held a related opinion. In 1953, the German classicist, Hans Diller, expressed the view that Plato’s Atlantis account was a fictional parallel with the Greco-Persian wars.*In 2007 the prominent sceptic, Pierre Vidal-Naquet, also saw parallels with the Persian war in Plato’s narrative.
*The Persian Wars took place between 500 and 449 BC, while Solon lived circa 630-560 BC, so it would not have been possible for Solon to refer to those conflicts in the Atlantis story that he brought from Egypt. We are therefore forced to conclude that Jowett and others were probably accusing Plato of lying about the provenance of the story, if not the actual contents of the narrative!*
Jim Allen who advocates a Bolivian Atlantis has also written an extensive article(b) linking the Persian military details with the forces of Atlantis.
In view of all this it is hard to accept Hunt’s claim that he is the author of a new Atlantis theory.
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.