Smith, Oliver D.
Oliver D. Smith studied Classics at Roehampton University and is currently studying archaeology at the Oxford Learning College. In May 2013, he published his BA dissertation, entitled Atlantis as Sesklo, as an ebook(i).
Smith devoted the initial part of his paper to a review of the interpretation of the Atlantis story by euhemerists since the time of Plato. Having briefly, and I might say dismissively, dealt with some modern theories, and then began to unveil a new hypothesis. Firstly, he proceeded to ignore archaeological opinion and support the early date for the existence of Atlantis. He also argued that Atlantis was destroyed by the flood that occurred during the reign of the Pelasgian king Ogyges.
Smith daringly suggested that the inspiration for the Atlantean capital was Sesklo, an ancient site situated north of Athens near modern Volos.
Although Smith has obviously researched his subject, I cannot agree with his conclusion, which I consider somewhat speculative. Apart from taking issue with the early date for Atlantis, Plato described the Atlantean attack as coming from the west, not the north. Furthermore, Sesklo is certainly not submerged and the site is too small to match Plato’s description of the city.
He also contended that the claim by Plato that Atlantis was ‘greater than Libya and Asia combined’ was in fact a reference to the extreme age of Atlantis!(c)
On March 14th, 2014, Smith announced(b) that “I have now closed my blog, and removed my research to work on a new project which will take many years (I will be working on a proper book covering the literary genre and origin of Atlantis). Personally, I think the Atlantis community has too many location hypotheses and not enough material put out exploring Plato’s dialogues, etc, and Atlantis in general in detail.” He expanded on this in a later article.(f)
Nevertheless, Smith did return to the Atlantis question in May 2016 and declared his belief that Plato’s account was complete fiction!(d) Readers may be interested in reading other blogs by Smith as they touch on other matters that relate to Atlantis studies such as the Pillars of Heracles(j) and the etymology of ‘Atlantis’.>Smith identifies four locations in southern Iberia that have been designated as locations of the ‘Pillars’. He names them as Mastia, Mainake, Strait of Gibraltar, and Cádiz.<
In 2020 he published a paper attacking the Minoan Hypothesis and continuing his assault on what he claims is Plato’s fictional account of Atlantis.(g)
Perhaps more relevant to an assessment of Smith’s reliability is a review of his, meandering, tortured intellectual journey to date(e).
In January 2022, Smith, who is unhappy with Hisarlik as the location of Troy and dissatisfied with alternatives proposed by others has now proposed a Bronze Age site, Yenibademli Höyük, on the Aegean island of Imbros(h). His paper was published in the Athens Journal of History (AJH).
(b) https://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=261674&st=630#entry5107278 (page 26)
(c) The Size of Atlantis: A New Interpretation (link broken)
(d) Archive 3062 | (atlantipedia.ie)
(e) Oliver D. Smith – Encyclopedia Dramatica (archive.org) (link broken) See: Archive 3195 *
(g) (6) (PDF) Atlantis and the Minoans | Oliver D Smith – Academia.edu
Heracles (Herakles) was a Greek mythical hero(c), later known to the Romans as Hercules. He is one of several mythical heroes who were reportedly abandoned as babies(f).
There is also a claim that the Greek Herakles had a much earlier namesake the patron of Tyre and known as Melqart, which translates as ‘king of the city’. “Melqart was considered by the Phoenicians to represent the monarchy, perhaps the king even represented the god, or vice-versa, so that the two became one and the same. The ruler was known by the similar term mlk-qrt, and the Hebrew prophet Ezekiel criticises the kings of Tyre for considering themselves god on earth”(i).
He has also been identified with the biblical Samson(a) and the Mesopotamian Gilgamesh(b). Dhani Irwanto who claims that Atlantis was situated in Indonesia has tried to link Herakles with the Javanese mythical figure of Kala [1093.118]. However, Dos Santos who also advocated an Atlantis location in the same region decided that Hercules was originally the Hindu hero Vishnu [320.129], quoting Megasthenes (350-290 BC), the Greek geographer, in support of his contention. Others have referred to Megasthenes as identifying Hercules with Krishna(e)(g). The list of associations seems to go on and on, including the Scandanavian Hoder, Akkadian Nergal, Roman Mars and Ireland’s Cú Chulainn(h).
The penitential twelve labours of Hercules have long been associated with the zodiac(j), which is reminiscent of the warriors in the Iliad who have also been associated with the zodiac!(k) Alice A. Bailey was probably the best-known exponent of this back in the 1980s, in The Labours of Hercules .
He is usually portrayed as brandishing a club and wearing a lion’s head as a helmet, probably because he, like Samson, reputedly unarmed, overcame lions and since lions were not part of the fauna of ancient Greece it is reasonable to assume that at least this part of the tale had an Asian or African origin, but the similarities don’t end there(a).
Euhemerists have suggested that he was a real historical figure, possibly a former king of Argos.
A more controversial suggestion has been made by Emmet J. Sweeney, in his 2001 book, Arthur and Stonehenge, in which the blurb for the book claims that “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.” However, Sweeney also identifies Moses “as an alter ego of Hercules.” in his Atlantis: The Evidence of Science[700.198].
There appears to have been a cult of Heracles that may have extended as far as Britain, where the Cerne Abbas chalk figure is sometimes claimed to represent him(d).
The term ‘Pillars of Heracles’ was used by the ancient Greeks to define the outer reaches of their limited seagoing range. This changed over time as their nautical capabilities improved. Some of the earlier ‘Pillars’ were located at the entrance to the Black Sea and the Strait of Sicily and the Strait of Messina. Later the term was applied exclusively to the Strait of Gibraltar.
(a) Archive 3444
(g) Shri Krishna and Hercules – indian and greek mythology – Indian mythology (archive.org)
(j) The Twelve Labours of Hercules (Herakles) (archive.org) *
(k) Greco-Roman Paganism, Astrology, Magic, & “Mythology” — The Zodiac Signs as Warriors from “The… (tumblr.com)*