An A-Z Guide To The Search For Plato's Atlantis

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  • NEWS DECEMBER 2022

    NEWS DECEMBER 2022

    Atlantipedia will be wound down in 2023. After nearly twenty years compiling Atlantipedia on my own, and as I am now approaching my 80th birthday, I have decided to cut back on the time I dedicate to developing this website. An orderly conclusion rather than an enforced one is always preferable before the Grim Reaper […]Read More »
  • Joining The Dots

    Joining The Dots

    I have now published my new book, Joining The Dots, which offers a fresh look at the Atlantis mystery. I have addressed the critical questions of when, where and who, using Plato’s own words, tempered with some critical thinking and a modicum of common sense.Read More »
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Doug Fisher

Kircher, Fr. Athanasius

athanasius-kircherFr. Athanasius Kircher (1602-1680) was a German Jesuit scholar and a professor of ethics and mathematics at the University of Würzburg. In his day he was considered one of the greatest authorities in Europe on Chinese and Egyptian cultures, archaeology, ancient languages and astronomy. However, he was not without his detractors, one of whom was Decartes who robustly attacked Kircher’s scientific abilities. Kircher’s writings filled 44 folio volumes.

Kircher claimed to have deciphered the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, but this was later shown to be unfounded and drew highly critical comment such as that of the Egyptologist Sir E. A. Wallis Budge who wrote in 1910: Many writers pretended to have found the key to the hieroglyphics, and many more professed, with a shameless impudence which is hard to understand in these days, to translate the contents of the texts into a modern tongue. Foremost among such pretenders must be mentioned Athanasius Kircher, who, in the 17th century, declared that he had found the key to the hieroglyphic inscriptions; the translations which he prints in his Oedipus Aegyptiacus are utter nonsense, but as they were put forth in a learned tongue many people at the time believed they were correct. A more recent critique is available online(b).

When it is realised that more than a century was to pass after Kircher’s death before the Rosetta Stone was discovered and the work of Champollion finally gave us a reliable decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphics, it is quite reasonable to treat Kircher’s translation as purely speculative. His efforts in this regard were recently described as ‘illusory’.

In recent times Kircher has regained widespread fame because of the map, published in his Mundus Subterraneus [1203],  which among a range of subjects(c), outlines Atlantis (Insula Atlantis) between Africa and America. This Latin text can now be read or downloaded online(a). A 1678 edition of the book held in the Fagel Collection in Trinity College, Dublin has been described as one of the most beautiful books in the collection(h).

In Mundus Subterraneus Kircher was the first to propose that the Canaries and the Azores were the mountain peaks of sunken Atlantis. His famous map has the north shown at the bottom with Africa and Spain on the left and America on the right. There is no particular significance in this fact as the convention of having North at the top of maps is a relatively recent and generally attributed to the controversial 8th-century Irish cleric, Virgil of Salzburg, who was eventually appointed bishop of that city and later canonised as St. Virgilius. A Latin label on the map reads: “site of Atlantis, now beneath the sea, according to the beliefs of the Egyptians and the description of Plato. A chart based on beliefs and descriptions clearly shows that his offering is speculative and not a real map, although some claim that it is an ‘authentic’ depiction of Atlantis, such as can be seen on an hour-long YouTube video from a 1997 conference(g).

It is claimed that it was Kircher’s map that prompted Rand and Rose Flem-Ath to begin their extensive investigation of ancient maps, which led to the publication of When the Sky Fell, outlining their evidence for Atlantis being located in Antarctica.

Recently, Doug Fisher has drawn attention to the similarities between a 1592 map of South America by Abraham Ortelius and Kircher’s Atlantis map when inverted(e).>Frank Jacobs has highlighted the same comparison but also notes how the map might be seen as an image of Greenland(i).<Some further background information on Kircher’s map is to be found online(f).

>Kircher’s Atlantis map is widely used, particularly by supporters of an Atlantic Atlantis. Less known is his 1665 world map recently published on the atlan.org. website(j).<

athanasius_kircher map

In 2004 a book[425] with the enticing title of Athanasius Kircher: The Last Man Who Knew Everything was published. It was edited by Paula Findlen and includes essays by leading historians of our day.

(a) https://archive.org/details/mundussubterrane02kirc

(b) https://publicdomainreview.org/2013/05/16/athanasius-kircher-and-the-hieroglyphic-sphinx/

(c) https://publicdomainreview.org/2012/11/01/athanasius-underground/

(e) https://atlantismaps.com/chapter_7.html (Link broken Nov. 2018) New replacement site is now being developed – https://www.copheetheory.com/

(f) https://www.vox.com/2015/4/30/8516829/imaginary-island-atlantis-map-kircher

(g) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZcuJKilUdw

(h) https://www.tcd.ie/library/fagel/gems-of-the-fagel-collection-athanasius-kirchers-mundus-subterraneus-1678/#more-1347 

(i) Could South America be Atlantis? – Big Think *

(j) The World Map of Athanasius Kircher 1665. – Atlan.org *

Fisher, Doug

mesopotamia argentinaDoug Fisher is the author of a long-awaited book with the intended title of The Atlantis Maps: The Rise of Atlantis and the Fall of a Paradigm in which he identifies Atlantis as North and South America with the Plain described by Plato being the region of Mesopotamia, in northeast ArgentinaThe book was eventually published in 2018 as Maps, Myths and Paradigms [1924] with details of its contents listed on his website.(c) Four chapters had been available online(a) together with a few additional articles.

Fisher has published an illustrated paper on Graham Hancock’s website with the self-explanatory title of The Walls of Atlantis(b). His suggestion of a huge outer wall encircling the city of Atlantis has been disputed by Jim Allen, provoking further comments(c) from Fisher.

He has also criticised the methodology, which Allen used to place Atlantis on the Altiplano(d), while I question the credibility of both their theories.

When Fisher’s book was finished and due for publication with its new title, he closed his old website and prepared a new site(e) to coincide with the publication of the book.

Fisher has published two other papers(f) on Hancock’s website relating to the maps of Johannes Schöner and Oronteus Finaeus.>In October 2022 he published another paper on the same site challenging the currently accepted theory of plate tectonics highlighting weaknesses in the concept and proposing a fresh look at the expanding earth hypothesis.<

 

(a) See: Archive 2865  (no images)

(b) https://grahamhancock.com/fisherd3/

(c) http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread646457/pg2 (halfway down the page)

(d) http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread821281/pg1

(e) http://www.copheetheory.com/

(f) https://grahamhancock.com/author/doug-fisher/ 

(g) Maps, Myths & Paradigms – Graham Hancock Official Website *

Finaeus, Oronteus

Oronteus Finaeus (1494-1555) was a celebrated cartographer who produced a map in 1531 which is claimed by some that, like the Piri Reis Oronteus FinaeusMap, it depicts the coast of an ice-free Antarctica. Charles Hapgood rediscovered it in 1959(a) in the Library of Congress. This idea is then used to support the concept of the existence of a very early civilisation that was capable of sophisticated map-making. It is then just a short step to name this civilisation ‘Atlantis’. Some, such as the Flem-Aths went further and actually nominated Antarctica as the home of Atlantis.

Robert Argod has used the Oronteus Finaeus Map to support his contention that the Polynesians had originated in Antarctica.

>Christine Pellech has an article published on the Atlantisforschung website taken from her 2013 book Die Entdeckung von Amerika [1188]  (The Discovery of America), in which she reviews the range of medieval maps displaying geographical details ‘unknown’ until centuries later!(e) Her reference to the Mark McMenamin coins can be ignored as they have since been shown to be forgeries (See: Sardinia).<

However, a contrary view has been expressed by Paul Heinrich who commenting on Graham Hancock’s assertion that the map shows an ice-free Antarctica, points out that in the case of West Antarctica, the underlying bedrock is, in the main, hundreds of feet below sea level and would not show on a real map of the region(c).

A more recent website(b), although not endorsing an Antarctic Atlantis, discusses some of these old maps in very great detail and on Graham Hancock’s website. The site is based on a number of chapters from a work-in-progress, The Atlantis Maps: The Rise of Atlantis and the Fall of a Paradigm by Doug Fisher. He identifies the Plain of Mesopotamia in Northern Argentina as the location of Atlantis.

(a) https://archive.aramcoworld.com/issue/198001/piri.reis.and.the.hapgood.hypotheses.htm

(b) https://web.archive.org/web/20180831132132/https://www.atlantismaps.com/  ^30.10.2020  “This URL has been excluded from the Wayback Machine.”

(c) https://atlantipedia.ie/samples/archive-3967/

(d) https://grahamhancock.com/author/doug-fisher/

(e) Knowledge of America, the Arctic, Antarctica and Australia on old maps – Atlantisforschung.de (atlantisforschung-de.translate.goog) *

Argentina

mesopotamia argentinaArgentina is one of the latest locations to be proposed for Atlantis. Doug Fisher has a work-in-progress entitled The Atlantis Maps: The Rise of Atlantis and the Fall of a Paradigm. On his website(a) Fisher offers four chapters from his forthcoming book. The first three chapters on offer discuss in great detail the 16th century maps that are claimed to show an ice-free Antarctica. In the final chapter he argues that Plato’s text could only have been referring to the Americas as the location of Atlantis. He goes further and specifies the Plain of Mesopotamia in northern Argentina as the plain described by Plato with a landform in the Paraná Delta conforming to the dimensions he gave for the circular city of Atlantis.

Completely unrelated to Atlantis but perhaps even more intriguing is a circular feature in the el-ojoParaná Delta know as ‘El Ojo’ (The Eye) which has only recently been discovered. It is a perfectly circular ‘lake’ 120 metres across with a floating ‘island’ in it which is also perfectly circular. There is an English language video(b) clip outlining the extent of the mystery and the plans to mount a multidisciplinary expedition to study it further.

>(a) See: https://web.archive.org/web/20180831132132/https://www.atlantismaps.com/    ^30.10.2020  This URL has been excluded from the Wayback Machine.”<

(b) https://translate.google.co.uk/translate?hl=en&sl=es&u=https://actualidad.rt.com/actualidad/217692-ojo-isla-mover-argentina&prev=search

Plain of Atlantis

The Plain of Atlantis is one of the principal features recorded by Plato in great detail. He describes it being “3000 stades in length and at its midpoint 2000 stades in breath from the coast” (Critias 118a, trans. Lee). The shape of the plain is frequently given as ‘rectangular’ or ‘oblong’ and contained an efficient irrigation system that was fed by mountain streams. The fertility of the plain gave the inhabitants two crops annually.

The dimensions given by Plato would translate into 370 x 555 km (230 x 345 miles). However, the late Ulf Richter has recently proposed(a) that the dimensions originally given to Solon by the priests of Sais used the Egyptian khet(52.4 meters) as the unit of measurement. Possibly Solon recorded the figures without mentioning the units employed. In Ireland, we changed over to the metric system some years ago, but builders still speak and write of using ‘2×4’ lengths of timber without specifying that they are referring to inches. Such unqualified notations made at present could be interpreted in the future as 2×4 centimetres. This illustrates how reasonable Richter’s suggestion is. The acceptance of it would give us a more credible 105 x 157 km (65 x 97 miles) as the dimensions of this plain. Richter also maintains that the plain was in fact a river delta, which explains the remarkable fertility of the land.

Jim Allen, who supports an Andean location for Atlantis, offers a strong argument against other principal Atlantis candidates by critically examining the plains included in alternative location theories(c). However, it must be pointed out that Allen had to divide Plato’s dimensions for the plain by two in order to shoehorn it into his chosen location.

While I accept that there is evidence that there was flooding on the Altiplano, it took place some thousands of years before the Bronze Age Atlantis described by Plato and certainly long before he wrote “this is why the sea in that area is to this day impassible to navigation, which is hindered by mud just below the surface, the remains of the sunken island.” (Timaeus 25d – Desmond Lee) This is not a description that can be applied to anywhere on the Altiplano during the 1st millennium BC. Apart from that, Plato’s account clearly states that Atlantis was submerged and was still so in his own day, making Allen’s critique somewhat redundant.

An interesting suggestion, although badly flawed, was made by Jean Deruelle who proposed ‘Doggerland‘ in the North Sea as the location of Atlantis, adding an interesting twist to Plato’s description of the Plain. Deruelle, an engineer and a geologist by profession, offers a hypothesis that is rational, highly precise, and based on his areas of expertise. No other hypothesis than Deruelle’s tackles so credibly the most outlandish elements in Plato’s description of Atlantis: the description of a vast plain, surrounded by a man-made ditch, 180 meters broad and thirty meters deep, large enough to circulate supertankers: it was not a ditch, but a dyke, build over centuries to protect a large part of Doggerland against the slowly rising waters of the North Sea.”(d)

Diaz-Montexano maintains that Plato never said that the plain was shaped like a rectangle.

The Mediterranean, between Sicily and North Africa, has been offered by a number of commentators, such as Alberto Arecchi and Alex Hausmann, as the location of the Plain of Atlantis. There is evidence of large areas of land having been submerged within the region between Malta and the Pelagie Islands. I include here a passing reference from Ernle Bradford who sailed the region which may be of interest to supporters of a Central Mediterranean Atlantis. When discussing the Egadi Islands off the west coast of Sicily he describes Levanzo, the smallest of the group as being “once joined to Sicily, and the island was surrounded by a large fertile plain. Levanzo, in fact, was joined to more than Sicily. Between this western corner of the Sicilian coast and the Cape Bon peninsula in Tunisia there once lay rich and fertile valleys-perhaps, who knows, long lost Atlantis?” [1011.57]

The number of different locations that have been proposed for the plain is obviously a reflection of the number of sites suggested for the city of Atlantis. I list the most popular below with the added comment that, at best, only one can be correct while all may be wrong.

Plain of Atlantis

Cuba (Norman Frey)

Mauritania (David Edward) *

Mesara Plain on Crete (Braymer)

Central Plain of Ireland (Erlingsson)

Sea of Azov (Flying Eagle & Whispering Wind)

Altiplano of Bolivia (Jim Allen)

Andalusian Plain (Diaz-Montexano)

North Sea (Doggerland) (Jean Deruelle)

Plain of Catania, Sicily

Plain of Campidano, Sardinia (Giuseppe Mura) *

Souss-Massa Plain, Morocco (Michael Hübner) (Mario Vivarez) *

Greenland (Mario Dantas)

Beni, Bolivia (David Antelo)

Mesopotamia in Argentina (Doug Fisher)

Black Sea (Werner E. Friedrich) (George K. Weller) *

Plain of Troy (J.D.Brady)

South of England (E.J. deMeester)

Carthage (Pallatino & Corbato)

Celtic Shelf (Dan Crisp)

Western Plain, Cuba (Andrew Collins)

Portugal (Peter Daughtrey)

Wales (Paul Dunbavin)

Florida (Dennis Brooks)

Atlantic Floor (Michael Jaye)

Baffin Bay, Greenland (Ian Fox)

Between Sicily and Malta (Axel Hausmann)

Pannonian Plain, Hungary+(Ticleanu, Constantin & Nicolescu)

Guadalete River Plain (Karl Jürgen Hepke)

South China Sea Indonesia (Dhani Irwanto) (Bill Lauritzen) *

Saudi Arabia (Stan Deyo)

Venezuelan Basin (Caribbean) Brad Yoon (P.P. Flambas)  

Yucatan Peninsula (Mark Carlotto)(b)

 

(a) https://web.archive.org/web/20160326200714/https://www.atlantis-schoppe.de/richter.pdf

(b) A Commentary on Plato’s “Myth” of Atlantis – Before Atlantis 

(c) https://web.archive.org/web/20200707234820/http://www.atlantisbolivia.org/plaincomparison.htm

(d) https://www.q-mag.org/the-great-plain-of-atlantis-was-it-in-doggerland.html

(e) Comparison of Plato’s Critias with George K. Weller’s concept of ancient Atlantis and its actual location. – The Weller Farm (archive.org) *

Ortelius, Abraham

orteliusAbraham Ortelius (1527-1598) was a Flemish cartographer who produced the first modern atlas, Theatrum Orbis Terrarum[1226], which at the time was reputed to have been the most expensive book ever printed.

It is interesting that he included the mythical island of Hi-Brasil (Brasil) off the coast of Ireland as well as the equally mysterious Frisland (Frieslant). Both can be clearly seen on his map using the link below(a).

In 1596 Ortelius was struck by the possibility that America, Europe and Africa had at one time been joined together but had over time become separated, an idea expressed in his Thesaurus Geographicus[1225]. Ortelius also included a speculative southern landmass, Terra Australis, which he designated as a “land of parrots”.

In 1597, Ortelius was the first to map(d) the travels of Homer’s Odysseus, notably locating all his adventures in the Central and Eastern Mediterranean, which was probably just a reflection of the limits of Greek maritime knowledge at the time that the narrative originated!

 

 

Ortelius suggested that Atlantis had been located in North America but that they had separated in the very distant past! Before modern theories of Continental Drift and its successor, Plate Tectonics, the idea of landbridges between continents was popular as an explanation for the spread of animals and people around the world. Some suggested as an alternative, the existence of lost continents such as Atlantis in the Atlantic, which acted as a stepping-stone between the continents(c).

Four hundred years later Alfred Wegener incorporated some of Ortelius’ ideas into his theory of Continental Drift, which later led to the current theory of Plate Tectonics.

A purpose-built polar exploration ship, m.v. Ortelius, was named after the geographer.

Recently, Doug Fisher has drawn attention to the similarities between a 1592 map of South America by Ortelius and the well-known Kircher map of Atlantis(b).

(a) https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e2/OrteliusWorldMap1570.jpg

(b) https://atlantismaps.com/chapter_7.html (link broken Oct. 2018) New website in development. (https://www.copheetheory.com/)

(c) Wayback Machine (archive.org) *

(d) https://www.laphamsquarterly.org/roundtable/geography-odyssey

 

Island, Peninsula or Continent?

Island, Peninsula or ContinentAdvocates of a continental rather than island identification for Atlantis have to contend with the fact that Plato never referred to Atlantis as a continent instead he used the Greek words for ‘island’, namely ‘nesos’ and ‘neson’. Their line of argument is that these words in addition to ‘island’ or ‘islands’ can also mean “islands of an archipelago” or “peninsula”. Furthermore, it is claimed that the ancient Greeks had no precise word for ‘peninsula’.

Gilles le Noan[912], quoted by Papamarinopoulos[629.558], has offered evidence that there was no differentiation in Greek between ‘island’ and ‘peninsula’ until the time of Herodotus in the 5th century BC. In conversation with Mark Adams[1070.198] he explains that in the sixth century BC, when Solon lived, nesos had five geographic meanings. “One, an island as we know it. Two, a promontory. Three, a peninsula. Four, a coast. Five, a land within a continent, surrounded by lakes, rivers or springs.”

>Elena P. Mitropetrou a Greek archaeologist at the University of Patras, delivered two papers to the 2008 Atlantis Conference in Athens [750]. She also pointed out that in the 6th century BC, the Greek word nesos was employed to describe an island, but also, a peninsula or a promontory. Mitropetrou herself considers the Iberian peninsula to be the ‘island of Atlantis.’<

Robert Bittlestone, in his Odysseus Unbound [1402.143] also notes that “nesos usually means an island whereas cheronesos means a peninsula, but Homer could not have used cheronesos when referring to the peninsula of Argostoli for two very good reasons. First, it cannot be fitted into the metre of the epic verse and second, the word hadn’t yet been invented: it doesn’t occur in Greek literature until the 5th century BC.”

Another researcher, Roger Coghill, echoed the views of many when he wrote on an old webpage that “To the Greeks peninsulae were the same as islands, so the Peloponnesian peninsula was “the island of Pelops” and the Chersonnese was to them “the island of Cherson”. Similarly in describing a place found after escaping the Pillars of Hercules, Plato quite normally describes the Lusitanian coast (modern Portugal) as an “island”, reached, he clearly says, after passing Cadiz”.

Johann Saltzman claimed that ‘nesos’ did not mean ‘island’ or ‘peninsula’ but ‘land close to water’. However, I would be happier sticking to the respected Liddell & Scott’s interpretation of island or peninsula. If Saltzman is correct, what word did the Greeks use for island?

The Modern Greek word for peninsula is ‘chersonesos’ which is derived from ‘khersos’ (dry) and ‘nesos’ (island) and can be seen as a reasonable description of a peninsula. It is worth noting that the etymology of the English word ‘peninsula’ is from the Latin ’paene’ (almost) and ’insula’ (an island).

Jonas Bergman maintains that the Greek concept of ‘island’ is one of detachment or isolation. He also points out that the original Egyptian word for ‘island’ can also mean lowland or coastland because the Egyptians had a different conception of ’island’ to either the ancient Greeks or us. Some commentators have claimed that the Egyptians of Solon’s time described any foreign land as an island.

Eberhard Zangger offers another correction of the Atlantis mystery: If one compares the land-sea distribution in Egypt and in the Aegean Sea, it becomes obvious why the Egyptians used at that time the expression “from the islands”. While today the word “island” has a clear meaning, this was not the case in the late Bronze Age. For the Egyptians more or less all strangers came from the islands. As there had been practically no islands in Egypt, the ancient Egyptian language did not have any special character for it. The hieroglyphic used for “island” was also meaning “sandy beach” or “coast” and was generally used for “foreign countries” or “regions on the other side of the Nile”.

A contributor to the Skeptic’s Dictionary(b) has added “I remind you that the Greek definition of “island” paralleled that of “continent.” To the Greeks, Europe was a continent. West Africa was an island, especially since it was cut off from the rest of what we now call “Africa” by a river that ran south from the Atlas mountains and then west to what is now the western Sahara. This now dry river was explored by Byron Khun de Prorok in the 1920s.”

Reginald Fessenden wrote: “One Greek term must be mentioned because it has given rise to much confusion. The word ‘Nesos’ is still translated as meaning ‘island’ but it does not mean this at all, except perhaps in late Greek. The Peloponnesus is a peninsula. Arabia was called a “nesos” and so was Mesopotamia”. This ambiguity in the written Greek and Egyptian of that period was highlighted at the 2005 Atlantis Conference by Stavros Papamarinopoulos.

Werner Wickboldt pointed out at the same conference that Adolph Schulten in the 1920’s referred to a number of classical writers who used the term ‘nesos’ in connection with the Nile, Tiber, Indus and Tartessos, all of which possessed deltas with extensive networks of islands.

To confuse matters even further, there have been a number of theories based on the idea that the ‘island’ of Atlantis was in fact land surrounded by rivers rather than the sea. These include Mesopotamia in Argentina proposed by Doug Fisher, the Island of Meroë in Sudan suggested by Thérêse Ghembaza and a large piece of land bound by the Mississippi, Ohio, and Potomac rivers offered by Henriette Mertz. However, none of these locations matches Plato’s description of Atlantis as a maritime trading nation with a naval fleet of 1200 ships, nor do any of them explain how they controlled the Mediterranean as far as Egypt and Tyrrhenia.

The waters around Plato’s island are indeed muddy!

(b) https://skepdic.com/comments/atlantcom.html