Emmet John Sweeney is a Scottish historian, who graduated from the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. He has followed the lead of Immanuel Velikovsky and produced a number of books arguing for a radical revision of the generally accepted chronologies of the early civilisations of the Eastern Mediterranean.
He controversially claims that “all the civilisations on both sides of the Atlantic arose more or less simultaneously, sometime between 1100 and 1200 BC” [700.202]. He further claims that Atlantis was destroyed around 800 BC! This date is significant as it coincides with an event that led to devastation in Southern Germany and the Alps involving huge inundations and tilting of lake shorelines which could only be brought about by a very powerful seismic upheaval(b).
He has also tackled the Arthurian legend, regarding which he considers Stonehenge to have been Arthur’s ‘round table’. The blurb for his 2001 book Arthur and Stonehenge goes further stating that “As for Arthur himself, he was the primitive bear-god “Artos”, the Celtic version of Hercules. Originally portrayed with a bear-skin over his head and shoulders and carrying a great oaken club, he became the prototype of the Greek Hercules when Hellenic traders, braving the wild waters of the Atlantic in search of tin, heard his story from the Britons.”
Sweeney has now ventured beyond his comfort zone and devoted his talents to the Atlantis question. He argues for the existence of a large island in the Atlantic, whose remnants today are Azores. He sees this island as a stepping-stone to the Americas, that is necessary to explain the evidence of transatlantic contacts in the very distant past. He also takes the opportunity to highlight weaknesses in radiocarbon dating (p218).
The Washington Times, which is owned by the ‘Moonies’, gave his book a favourable review(a)! The reviewer, Martin Sieff, a native of Belfast and Velikovskian catastrophist, is accused by Jason Colavito of using his critique to promote Sweeney more as a catastrophist rather than as an atlantologist and does so without revealing Sieff’s own catastrophist
A more critical review of his work can also be found elsewhere on the Internet(c).
(b) H. Gams and R. Nordhagen, Mitteil. der Geograph. Ges. in Munchen, XVI, H. 2 (1923), pp. 13-348. R. Sernander, ‘Klimaverschlechterung, Postglaciale’ in Reallexikon der Vorgeschichte, VII (1926); O. Paret, Das Neue Bild der Vorgeschuchte (1948), p.44.
Location Theories regarding Atlantis have identified sites all over the globe as can be seen below. In very general terms the 15th century saw three developments that were to lead to a renewed interest in Atlantis – the discovery of America, the first translation of the complete works of Plato by Ficino and the invention of the printing press. These saw a number of commentators offering their views on the location of Atlantis during the 16th century of which the majority favoured the Americas. Gradually the Americas gave way to an Atlantic location reaching a peak with the publication of Ignatius Donnelly’s famous work. Both the Americas and the Atlantic still have their proponents, although today reasoning rather than speculation is more evident.
Around 1900 Sir Arthur Evans was beginning to uncover the remains of the Minoan civilisation on Crete. Subsequently, in the same manner that the discovery of America led to the identification of the New World with Atlantis, when Evans revealed the glory of the civilisation that had existed on Crete, the early part of the 20th century saw the formulation of the Minoan Hypothesis, which linked Crete with Atlantis. This concept got a dramatic boost with the discovery of the 2nd millennium BC eruption of Thera and the possibility that it inspired aspects of Plato’s Atlantis narrative. This idea is still the most popular after nearly a century of both study and speculation.
Atlantis theories have proliferated but in general are more carefully and scientifically argued today. However, the work and reputation of serious atlantologists is frequently undermined by the ravings of occultists and mystics and their channelled gibberish. It should be obvious that if there was any communication with another plane of existence that by now we would have been told the location of Atlantis, but none has been forthcoming.
Non-specific clues to the location of Atlantis are the fact that most major cities are sited at the mouths of rivers and as the 2010 BBC documentary series How the Earth Made Us demonstrated, so many ancient civilisations developed close to tectonic fault lines because of the range of mineral wealth frequently found adjacent to them. However, fault lines are prone to earthquakes, a feature compatible with Plato’s description of Atlantis’ demise. In addition, the late Ulf Richter reasoned that the plain described by Plato was in fact a river delta. So it is probable that the capital of Atlantis was built on a river delta near a tectonic fault line.
A chronological list of theories and their authors is available here. I recently (2014) counted that a full 40% of those listedsupported an Atlantic location. However, as I demonstrate elsewhere ((5105)) the Atlantic ‘Sea’ referred to by Plato (Timaeus 24e, 25a & Critias 109a, 114a) could not have been the Atlantic Ocean that we know today.
While it may appear that recent years have seen a considerable increase in the number of people publicly expressing their views regarding the location of Atlantis, we must allow for two developments; the expansion of self-publishing and the use of the Internet. Unfortunately, this has led to a greater proliferation of nonsensical ideas about Atlantis alongside the more thoughtful and valuable contributions to the subject.
Gonzalo Fernández Oviedo y Valdéz (1478-1557) was a Spanish historian and in 1519 the author of what was probably the first literary work produced in the New World, Libro del muy esforzado e invencible caballero Don Claribalte.
On his return to Spain, Oviedo wrote an important history of the Spanish Indies, La historia general y natural de las Indias, which included what is believed to be the first illustration of a pineapple. Most of his work was not published until the mid-19th century. (volume one available online(a))
Sprague de Camp, without citation, listed Oviedo as having located Atlantis in what is modern Iraq and that the survivors of its destruction escaped to the Americas. Thorwald C. Franke has drawn attention to the absence of any such reference in ‘La Historia’.
*In his Historia, Oviedo identified the Antilles as the legendary Hesperides.*