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.
Eugene Bodichon (1810-1885) was a French physician and anthropologist who wrote in his 1847 book Études sur l’Algérie that “the Atlanteans among the ancients, passed for the favourite children of Neptune, they made known the worship of this god to other nations.” This has been interpreted by commentators, such as Robert Stacy-Judd[607.63], as a suggestion that the Atlanteans were the first known navigators.
Ignatius Donnelly quotes Dr. Bodichon as identifying the Atlanteans as the inhabitants of the ‘Barbary States’ or the Berber Coast of North Africa and that in turn the Berbers were related to the Bretons of ancient Armorica, who should also be considered Atlantean.
Lyonesse is a mythical land between Cornwall and the Scilly Isles that reputedly sank into the sea. Ancient maps indicate that most of the Scillies were united in Roman times(a) noted by Peter Stanier in his book about the region. Legend has it that it contained 140 temples. Mordred is said to have fought his final battle with King Arthur at Lyonesse. This ancient tale has been regularly linked with the destruction of Atlantis.
There is a parallel Breton legend of Kêr-Is (Ker-Ys in French).
A group of rocks called the “Seven Sisters” lies six miles (10 km) off Land’s End, the southernmost tip of Britain. According to legend, these rocks mark the site of a kingdom that once linked Britain to France. The site description fits in with the Cornish myth of the kingdom of Lyonesse – also known as the City of Lions. In the 5th century A.D., Lyonesse was inundated and disappeared beneath the sea. The legend has it that there was only one survivor. Since then, local fishers have caught pieces of buildings and other remains in their nets. They claim that these come from Lyonesse.
Henry Beckles Willson in a 1902 booklet claimed that land now lost, once extended from Land’s End to the Scilly Isles. Contrast that with a speculative map in Lucile Taylor Hansen’s book The Ancient Atlantic, which shows Lyonesse as a large landmass west of the Scillies. She also informed us that the island of Tresco, which today is roughly 2 miles long and a mile across at its widest, had a circumference of ten miles in 1538.
A team of Russian scientists were hoping to answer the two and a half thousand-year-old mystery regarding Plato’s Atlantis, with an investigation of the underwater ‘Celtic Shelf’ beyond the Scilly Isles. Viatcheslav Koudriavtsev, of the Moscow Institute of Meta-history, has used a re-interpretation of the classical Greek texts to locate the possible position of the fabled ancient lands. It is claimed that in the 1990s the British authorities were set to issue a six-week licence for the exploration of Little Sole Bank, a conical submerged hill lying only 50m below the surface approximately 100 miles south-west of the mainland, but apparently, due to a lack of funding, nothing has been heard of the project since.
In 2012 the ‘micronation’ self-styled as the Principality of Lyonesse declared its ‘independence’(b)(c).
Also see: Micropatrology
Stephen Oppenheimer (1947- ) qualified in Medicine from Oxford University in 1971. He moved to the orient where he specialised in tropical paediatrics. He was Professor of Paediatrics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong from 1990 to 1994. Much of his research focused on malaria and the unique genetic mutations that protect against it. Since these mutations act as markers Oppenheimer found that they held strong evidence for the migrations caused by the extensive flooding following the last Ice Age. This led him to investigate the cultural origins of the peoples of South East Asia.
Oppenheimer wrote a book, which identified the South China Sea as the original location of the Garden of Eden. Although he makes little reference to Atlantis, the book is of great interest to those that favour an oriental rather than a western location as the inspiration for Plato’s legendary land.
R. Cedric Leonard has drawn attention to an article by Oppenheimer in a 2006 edition of Prospect magazine(d) with a follow up contribution in the June 2007 edition(e). In them, he proposes that the early immigrants into the British Isles were more likely to have been Basques rather than Celts. Leonard speculates(f) that the Bretons (Britons) were Basques, who in turn were Atlantean refugees!
A critical review of Oppenheimer’s volume by Koenraad Elst(c), the Belgian orientalist, as well as the more recent supportive views of Dale Drinnon can be found on the Internet(a).
Oppenheimer has also written a further book that looks at the origins of modern mankind in Africa and its spread throughout the rest of the world.
In February 2012 it was reported(b) that the president of Indonesia was encouraging a search for an ancient civilisation in Indonesian waters. This apparently followed meetings with local researchers and Stephen Oppenheimer. President Yudhoyono has also given his support to the extensive research being carried out at Gunung Padang(g).
Oppenheimer in conjunction with the Bradshaw Foundation(h) has produced a valuable interactive genetic map showing how the world was peopled(i).
In 2014, Oppenheimer endorsed(j) the conclusions of Stanford and Bradley who propose that the Clovis people were related to the Solutrean people of western Europe who had crossed the Atlantic during the last Ice Age.
See also Sundaland.
(a) See Archive 3581
(b) See Archive 2976