Gulf of St. Lawrence
Manolis Koutlis is a computer engineer and the author of In the Shadow: The Greek Colonies of North America and the Atlantic 1500 BC -1500 AD, in which he seeks to demonstrate that the Greeks had settlements in North America. Using the classical texts of Plutarch, Homer, Hesiod and Plato as well as the traditions of the Native Americans of the North East, he offers evidence to support his thesis.
The idea of ancient Greeks in Canada has been around for some time with Henriette Mertz in the 1960’s suggesting that Odysseus’ wanderings took place in the Atlantic and that he was the first European to visit America.
Koutlis has concluded that Ogygia was located on St. Paul Island in the Cabot Strait and goes further, locating Atlantis in the Gulf of St. Lawrence northeast of the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island, not far from Quebec’s Magdalen Islands.
A few years earlier, Emilio Spedicato, also proposed that the region around the Mouth of the St. Lawrence River, in Canada, had been visited by ancient Greeks. His comments were addressed to the 2005 Atlantis Conference [629.411]. He did not, however, suggest a Canadian location for Atlantis as he had already claimed Hispaniola as its home.
The first 37 pages of his book can be read online(a) .
>Also See: Minas Tsikritsis, Lucio Russo<
Canada was first suggested to have had an ancient connection with the Mediterranean in a lecture(f) to the Albany Institute of Boston in 1893 by Verplanck Colvin (1847-1920), an American lawyer and topographical engineer. He based this idea primarily on his interpretation of Plutarch‘s On the Apparent Face in the Moon’s Face and specifically named the St. Lawrence River as the site of an ancient Greek colony.
Until relatively recently Canada has had little attention from Atlantis seekers. The nearest to such a claim came in 2002, when New Zealander, Ian A. Fox, published his theory that Atlantis had been situated between Greenland and Canada’s Baffin Island.
A few years later, the earliest specific suggestion of a Canadian connection with Atlantis, that I am aware of, came from Samuel Poe in a truly dreadful book, in which he claimed the east coast of Canada and the United States had been Atlantean.
Then, Brian Johnston, a retailer of precious stones, created a website(a) advocating Ontario as the location of Plato’s Atlantis. He offers a stone circle and what may be other megalithic standing stones along with many photos of the same as evidence. This is all held together by a large helping of speculation. Finally, after describing in some detail a site in Ontario’s Northumberland County, he concludes that the location “might not be Atlantis!”
Nevertheless, the idea that the ancient Greeks had an awareness of America has persisted, with some claiming that they had colonies in Canada. Among these are Lucio Russo, Ioannis Liritzis(b) and Minas Tsikritsis(d). Now Manolis Koutlis has gone one further and claims that not only were there Greek colonies in Canada but that Atlantis had been situated in the Gulf of St. Lawrence(c). This raises the question of why or how Atlanteans or Greek colonists in Canada would launch an attack on Athens thousands of miles away. In my opinion, neither identification is credible.
At the 2005 Atlantis Conference, Emilio Spedicato also subscribed to the idea of early Greeks in Canada, specifically in the St. Lawrence Region [629.411]. However, he does not refer to Atlantis in this context as he has already nominated Hispaniola as Plato’s lost island.
All these advocates of an ancient Greek presence in Canada are greatly reliant on their interpretations of the writings of Plutarch(g), a matter that has been dealt with by Jason Colavito(e).
>Long after any ancient Greeks came to North America, hard evidence of Pre-Columbian visitors from Europe was confirmed with the discovery in 1978 of an 11th-century Norse settlement at L’anse aux Meadows in Canada. In 2022, the discovery in Newfoundland of a gold Henry VI quarter noble, minted in London between 1422 and 1427 generated some excitement. Unfortunately, coins can remain in circulation for many years, so, without knowing when the coin was lost in Canada, it cannot be claimed with any great certainty that it was misplaced before or after Columbus reached the Americas(h).<
Also See: Henriette Mertz
(a) See: https://web.archive.org/web/20180319084638/https://atlantisincanada.com/
(f) Atlantis,Vol.23, No.3,May/June, 1970
(h) Medieval Coin in Canada Challenges Story of North American Discovery | Ancient Origins (ancient-origins.net) *
Ogygia is the home of Calypso, referred to by Homer in Book V of his Odyssey. It is accepted by some as an island in the Mediterranean that was destroyed by an earthquake before the Bronze Age. The Greek writers Euhemerus in the 4th century BC and Callimachus who flourished in the 3rd century BC, identified the Maltese archipelago as Ogygia. Others have more specifically named the Maltese island of Gozo as Ogygia. Anton Mifsud has pointed out that Herodotus, Hesiod and Diodorus Siculus have all identified the Maltese Islands with Ogygia.
John Vella has added his support to the idea of a Maltese Ogygia in a paper published in the Athens Journal of History (Vol.3 Issue 1) in which he noted that “The conclusions that have emerged from this study are that Homer’s Ogygia is not an imaginary but a reference to and a record of ancient Gozo-Malta.”
Adding to the confusion, Aeschylus, the tragedian (523-456 BC) calls the Nile, Ogygian, and Eustathius, a Byzantine grammarian (1115-1195), claimed that Ogygia was the earliest name for Egypt(j).
Isaac Newton wrote a number of important works including The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended , in which he discussed a range of mythological links to Atlantis, including a possible connection with Homer’s Ogygia. There is now evidence that he concurred(c) with the idea of a Maltese Ogygia in The Original of Monarchies(d).
Strabo referred to “Eleusis and Athens on the Triton River [in Boiotia]. These cities, it is said, were founded by Kekrops (Cecrops), when he ruled over Boiotia (Boeotia), then called Ogygia, but were later wiped out by inundations.”(i) However, Strabo also declared that Ogygia was to be found in the ‘World Ocean’ or Atlantic (j). To say the least, these two conflicting statements require explanation.
Richard Hennig opted for Madeira following the opinion of von Humboldt. Spanuth argued strongly against either Madeira or the Canaries[0017.149] and gave his support to the Azores as the most likely location of Calypso’s Island.. Not unexpectedly the Azores, in the mid-Atlantic, have also been nominated as Ogygia by other 20th century researchers such as Sykes(e) and Mertz. In a 2019 paper(f), Gerard Janssen also placed Ogygia in the Azores, specifically naming the island of Saõ Miguel, which both Iman Wilkens [610.239] and Spanuth [015.226] also claimed. Spanuth added that until the 18th-century Saõ Miguel was known as umbilicus maris, which is equivalent to the Greek term, omphalos thallasses, used by Homer to describe Ogygia in chapter eight of the Odyssey!
Homer in his Odyssey identifies Ogygia as the home of Calypso. The Roman poet Catullus writing in the 1st century BC linked Ogygia with Calypso in Malta(g). However, Gozo’s claim is challenged by those supporting Gavdos in Crete(k). This opinion has been expounded more fully by Katerina Kopaka in a paper published in the journal Cretica Chronica(l), where her starting point is the claim that Gavdos had been previously known as Gozo! Another Greek claimant is Lipsi(o) in the Dodecanese. We must also add Mljet in Croatia to the list of contenders claiming(p) to have been the home of Calypso. Mljet is also competing with Malta as the place where St. Paul was shipwrecked!
>Further south is the beautiful Greek island of Othoni near Corfu where local tradition claims an association with Calypso. An article on the Greek Reporter website(r) suggests that “Evidence confirming this legend appears in the writings of Homer, who described a strong scent of cypress on Ogygia. Many cypress trees are grown on Othonoi.
Shortly after departing the island on a raft, Odysseus is shipwrecked on Scheria, which we know of today as Corfu. This implies that the two islands Homer described were relatively close. Likewise, the islands of Othonoi and Corfu are separated by a relatively short distance. Due to this mythological connection, during the 16th century, many naval maps described Othonoi as ‘Calypso island.‘”<
Mifsud quotes another Roman of the same period, Albius Tibullus, who also identified Atlantis with Calypso. Other Maltese writers have seen all this as strong evidence for the existence of Atlantis in their region. Delisle de Sales considered Ogygia to be between Italy and Carthage, but opted for Sardinia as the remains of Calypso’s island.
Other researchers such as Geoffrey Ashe and Andrew Collins have opted for the Caribbean as the home of Ogygia. Another site supports Mesoamerica as the location of Ogygia, which the author believes can be equated with Atlantis(h). An even more extreme suggestion by Ed Ziomek places Ogygia in the Pacific(b)!
In the Calabria region of southern Italy lies Capo Collone (Cape of Columns). 18th century maps(m) show two or more islands off the cape with one named Ogygia offering echoes of Homer’s tale. Respected atlases as late as 1860 continued to show a non-existent island there. It seems that these were added originally by Ortelius, inspired by Pseudo-Skylax and Pliny(n) . Additionally, there is a temple to Hera Lacinia at Capo Colonne, which is reputed to have been founded by Hercules!
By way of complete contrast, both Felice Vinci and John Esse Larsen have proposed that the Faeroe Islands included Ogygia. In the same region, Iceland was nominated by Gilbert Pillot as the location of Ogygia and Calypso’s home. Ilias D. Mariolakos, a Greek professor of Geology also makes a strong case(a) for identifying Iceland with Ogygia based primarily on the writings of Plutarch. He also supports the idea of Minoans in North America.
A more recent suggestion has come from Manolis Koutlis , who, after a forensic examination of various versions of Plutarch’s work, in both Latin and Greek, also placed Ogygia in North America, specifically on what is now the tiny island of St. Paul at the entrance to the Gulf of St. Lawrence in Canada, a gulf that has also been proposed as the location of Atlantis.
Jean-Silvain Bailly also used the writings of Plutarch to sustain his theory of Ogygia, which he equated with Atlantis having an Arctic location[0926.2.299], specifically identifying Iceland as Ogygia/Atlantis with the islands of Greenland, Nova Zembla and Spitzbergen (Svalbard) as the three islands equally distant from it and each other.
The novelist Samuel Butler (1835-1902) identified Pantelleria as Calypso’s Island, but the idea received little support(q).
However, Ireland has been linked with Ogygia by mainly Irish writers. In the 17th century historian, Roderick O’Flaherty(1629-1718), wrote a history of Ireland entitled Ogygia, while in the 19th century, Margaret Anne Cusack (1832-1899) also wrote a history in which she claimed a more explicit connection. This was followed in 1911 by a book by Marion McMurrough Mulhall in which she also quotes Plutarch to support the linking of Ireland and Ogygia. More recently, in The Origin of Culture Thomas Dietrich promotes the same view, but offers little hard evidence to support it.
>In 2023, an article on the Greek Reporter website renewed speculation regarding the possible identification of Ireland with Ogygia(s).<
This matter would appear to be far from a resolution.
(c) See: Archive 3439
(e) ‘Where Calypso may have Lived’ (Atlantis, 5, 1953, pp 136-137)
(f)https://www.academia.edu/38535990/AT LANTIC_OGUGIA_AND_KALUPSO (Eng)
(g) Lib. iv, Eleg. 1
(i) Strabo, Geography 9. 2. 18
(n) See: Note 5 in Armin Wolf’s Wayback Machine (archive.org)
(r) https://greekreporter.com/2022/10/17/othonoi-island-westernmost-point-greece/ *
(s) https://greekreporter.com/2023/01/21/odysseus-travel-ireland/ *