Iceland has occasionally entered the Atlantis debates. Jean Silvain Bailly and more recently Gilbert Pillot have identified Iceland with Ogygia. Some have linked the island with Thule or Hyperborea, while others see it as a remnant of a transatlantic landbridge. Harry Dale Huffman has similar ideas but believes that the landbridge also held Atlantis.
A recent commentator, Johan Nygren, also consider Iceland to have been home to Atlantis(a) (b) , but, confusingly later decided that South America was Atlantis(c) .
>Another recent advocate for an Icelandic location is June Austin in a lengthy blog, which wanders all over the place, including the claim that a disproportionately large number of Icelandic people have psychic abilities(d). Sadly, she offers nothing but speculation to support her theory.<
Pytheas was a 3rd century BC navigator from the Greek colony of Massalia (Marseilles) and is best known for his voyage in the north Atlantic, possibly around 240 BC. His trip took in the British Isles and as he ventured further north and claimed to have reached Thule. An assertion that has generated volumes of debate regarding Thule’s location. Pytheas described Thule as lying six day’s sail to the north of Britain. Iceland, Norway and the Faroes along with the Scottish Shetland and Orkney Islands have all been proposed as Thule.
Rhys Carpenter devoted an interesting chapter of his Beyond the Pillars of Hercules in which he suggested that Pytheas’ voyage was undertaken with commercial objectives in mind, but on that level it was unsuccessful. However, as a voyage of discovery, it was an unparalleled achievement earning for Pytheas Carpenter’s accolade of ”antiquity’s Greatest Explorer”.
Carpenter favours the idea that the term, ‘Pillars of Hercules’, when applied to the Strait of Gibraltar was used with the sense of boundary markers, indicating ”the limits of the Inner Sea that, for the Greeks, was the navigable world.”[p156]
Marco Goti is the Italian author of The Island of Plato in which he attempts to demonstrate that Atlantis was situated in Greenland. I say attempts, because in my opinion he fails dismally. He starts by locating the Pillars of Heracles in the Atlantic, with one side being the basaltic columns at the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland and their counterparts across the sea in Scotland’s Isle of Staffa.*This idea was touted by W. C. Beaumont over sixty years earlier(a).*
Goti then moves on to Iceland, which he identifies as Thule and spends too much time describing a variety of unpronounceable locations there. He eventually heads for Greenland, which he contends must be Atlantis as it is greater than Libya and Asia combined, ignoring that Plato was referring to might rather than size. Goti posits the huge plain apparently described by Plato to have been situated in the centre of Greenland, ignoring the fact that ice cores dated to over 100,000 years have been identified there, and apart from which the huge island is not submerged.
Goti decries other promoters of Atlantis theories for ignoring details in Plato’s account that don’t fit their particular ideas and then he moves Athens to Sweden, has Atlantis above water for hundreds of thousands of years, no elephants, no two annual crops and does not explain how Greenland Atlanteans controlled southern Italy as far as Tyrrhenia, all of which demands a thumbs down from me.
Frisland is the name given to one of the legendary islands of the North Atlantic, ‘located’ just south of Iceland. The story goes that it was discovered around 1380 by the Venetian, Nicolo Zeno (1326-1402) and that a record of his adventures there, together with a now famous map (see below), were published in 1558 by a descendant. A decade later the celebrated Flemish cartographer, Geradus Mercator (1512-1594), published a comparable map, which also showed Frisland at much the same location and with a similar outline. Cornelius Wytfliet produced a map of the North Atlantic in 1597 depicting Frisland at the same location(c). It did not take long for doubts to be expressed about both the map and its accompanying narrative. Donald S. Johnson in his excellent Phantom Islands of the Atlantic concluded that Frisland was probably a case of ‘mistaken identity’, incorporating “the geography of the Faroe Islands and the contour of Iceland.”
A January 2018 National Geographic article(e) also discusses the story of non-existent islands, including Frisland, which are the subject of a new book, The Un-Discovered Islands, by Malachy Tallack.
Stuart L. Harris has identified Frisland as the Hyperborea of Greek mythology and Atland in the controversial Oera Linda Book (i)>and in a second paper(j), he describes its demise on October 24th, 2194 BC and the catastrophic consequences”when it partially slid down the Judd Anticline toward the Icelandic Basin, 2 km deep. A remnant remained, the Faroe Plateau, topped by the Faroe Islands. The resulting tsunami, about 185m high, terminated other groups of islands, plus the Bell Beaker people in Britain and Ireland, plus most farmers in Denmark, Sweden, Holland, Germany, Poland, Finland and Estonia.”<
Riaan Booysen who controversially locates Atlantis on a large landmass of which Australia is a ‘remnant’(a) has also written about Frisland(b). He concluded that Frisland along with many other ‘mythical’ North Atlantic can be matched with present-day underwater features in ‘relatively’ shallow waters suggesting that they were dry land during the last Ice Age when sea levels were considerably lower. He believes that their inclusion on extant maps is the result of copying much earlier charts that recorded those exposed landmasses.
D.S. Allan & J.B. Delair in their acclaimed book Cataclysm discuss the Zeno map at some length and concluded that its depiction of Greenland is based on earlier maps, “which apparently antedate Greenland’s present glacial regime” and “there are, apparently no genuine arguments for regarding the Zeno map – curious though it may seem to modern eyes – as portraying anything but that which actually once existed on Greenland in the not so very remote past.” (p.249)
Jason Colavito has highlighted the controversy surrounding the Zeno Map (see below)(d).
At the end of September 2018, the UK’s Daily Star, a well-known comic for adults, tried to revive the idea of Atlantis in Frisland(f). They based their brief article on the speculations of Matt Sibson, presented as an ‘expert’, who admits that “there are still some questions that need clearing up.” I would like to know why Frislanders in the middle of the last Ice Age would want to attack a non-existent Athens 4,000 km away? If Sibson is considered to be an expert historian, my cat is a brain surgeon. Colavito had a few words to add regarding Sibson’s pathetic claims(g).
Incredibly, a week later the same ‘newspaper’ cited Sibson again, this time claiming that Rockall was the remains of Atlantis(h), an equally silly idea that is not new.
Ilias D. Mariolakos is professor emeritus of Geology and Palaeontology at Athens University. In 2010 he presented a paper(a) to the 12th International Congress of the Geological Society of Greece, in which he concluded that the prehistoric Greeks were quite familiar with the Atlantic and its Gulf Stream. He also identifies Iceland as Ogygia, based on his interpretation of the writings of Plutarch.
Mariolakos further maintains that the ancient Greeks exploited the Michigan copper mines to supply the needs of their bronze industry. Their expertise was accumulated between the beginning or end of the 3rd millennium BC until shortly after the conclusion of the Trojan War towards the close of the Mycenaean period at the end of the 1st millennium BC. The onset of the ‘Dark Ages’ saw this maritime knowledge ‘forgotten’ until the ensuing Archaic Period when Greek civilisation revived.
Mariolakos bases his conclusions on the works of Homer, Hesiod, Orphic poetry and Plutarch as well as the 20th-century writer Henriette Mertz.
Jean Silvain Bailly (1736-1793) was born in Paris and became a renowned astronomer, in which capacity he computed an orbit for Halley’s Comet and studied the four satellites of Jupiter that were then known to science.
He was a friend of the famous mathematician Laplace and also of Voltaire to whom he wrote his Letters on Atlantis published in 1778. In 2011, the British Library published a facsimile copy of the two volumes of the ‘Letters’ of the 1801 English translation by James Jacque of which letter #23 relates to Atlantis. A modern English translation of letter #23 by Pierre Beaudry is available online(b).
In it, Bailly proposed that the region around Spitzbergen in the Arctic Sea was the location of Atlantis; an idea allegedly supported by Voltaire. Bailly also identified Iceland as Ogygia! Bailly’s view was based on a study of Nordic and Middle Eastern mythologies and his conclusions were similar to the theory of his contemporary Buffon who had suggested that the Earth had originally an interior fire that gradually cooled. While this fire burned the northern latitudes were much warmer providing an ideal environment in which Atlantis could flourish. When the fire cooled the Atlanteans moved south. Bailly suggested that this migration brought them to Mongolia*and from there to the Caucasus and finally to Phoenicia.*
Jean Baptiste Delambre was subsequently to attack the pseudo-scientific theories of Bailly, but while doing so, inadvertently misinterpreted some of Isaac Causabon’s commentary on Strabo, inferring that Aristotle rejected the existence of Plato’s Atlantis. This error was adopted by later writers and gained such widespread uncritical acceptance that this view of Aristotle became ‘received wisdom’. Thorwald C. Franke has now endeavoured to redress that situation with his 2012 book Aristotle and Atlantis.
Bailly got caught up in the turmoil of the French Revolution and eventual died after a kiss on the neck from Madame Guillotine. His ideas regarding Atlantis were ignored until Helena Blavatsky integrated some of his concepts into her theosophical musings. This amalgam of Bailly’s and Blavatsky’s beliefs were incorporated into the thinking of the German Thule Society who supported Adolf Hitler(a).
Around Blavatsky’s time in 1885 Dr W. F. Warren published a book, Paradise Found that also proposed that the beginnings of the human race started at the North Pole and had been inundated at the time of the Deluge.
The Hyperboreans in Greek mythology lived to the far north of Greece in a land called Hyperborea, which means beyond the North Wind or Boreas, who have been linked by a number of writers with the Atlanteans.
Researchers have variously identified this land of Hyperborea with Iceland, the British Isles and the North Sea. Like many classical references and later commentators there is no clear consensus on a precise location. Hecataeus of Abdera, a 4th century BC Greek historian, noted that the Hyperboreans were located “in the lands of the Celts, in the ocean, (where) there is an island not smaller than Sicily.”
Diodorus Siculus described Hyperborea as a northern island with a temple to which the god returns every nineteen years. This was initially thought by many to be a reference to England’s Stonehenge, but the renowned Aubrey Burl considered Stonehenge to be 500 miles too far south and instead proposed the Hebridean island of Lewis home to the famous Callanish megalithic site, which includes the ability to record the return of the stars to the same position every nineteen years(c).
Olof Rudbeck‘s over-enthusiastic nationalism not only brought him to associate Atlantis with Sweden, but also linked the writings of Homer and other classical writers with the prehistory of his homeland. This inevitably led hime to declare ancient Sweden as Hyperborea. David King outlines how Rudbeck came to this conclusion [530.71].
However, Homer reportedly(h) placed Boreas in Thrace, and therefore Hyperborea, according to him, would be located north of Thrace, in Dacia, modern Romania!
Jürgen Spanuth based his Atlantis theory on an unambiguous identification of the Atlanteans with the Hyperboreans of the Baltic region, specifically nominating Jutland, part of today’s Denmark, as the land of the Hyperboreans [p.88].
The renowned Flemish cartographer, Gerardus Mercator (1512-1594), showed a large archipelago near the North Pole on one of his charts. This inclusion by him and other cartographers of the period stemmed from a now lost book by an English Franciscan friar entitled Inventio Fortunatae (The Discovery of the Fortunate Isle).
Based on ancient maps and the work of other researchers such as Emilio Spedicato, Stuart L. Harris has proposed(e) that Hyperborea was also known as Atland to the Frisians. He further suggests that this land disappeared in 2194 BC as noted in the controversial Oera Linda Book, and that today’s Faroe Plateau topped by the Faroe Islands are its remnants.
It also appears that in the 18th century the Russian Empress Catherine II organised an expedition in an attempt to find Hyperborea in the vicinity of the North Pole, in a pathetic attempt to discover ‘the elixir of eternal youth” allegedly invented by the Hyperboreans. She was apparently captivated by the descriptions of the classical writers who related that the Hyperboreans lived in total happiness for a thousand years.
It was reported in 2006(a) that a Russian scientist, Valery Dyemin, inspired by the work of Jean-Sylvain Bailly and William Fairfield Warren was attempting to prove the reality of Hyperborea in the Arctic region. Another Russian, Sergey Teleguin has also attributed a North Pole origin for both the Maya and the Indo-Europeans(b).
>J.G. Bennett, a British philosopher, has opted for a Hyperborean origin for the Indo-European culture, a claim that has resonances with the Nazi claim that Hyperborea has been the ancestral home of the ‘master race’. He also supported the idea of an Arctic Hyperborea(i), inspired by the ideas of Bal Gangadar Tilak, although at the same time he was critical of Warren’s reasoning.<
Luciano Chiereghin, who promotes the idea of Atlantis being situated in Italy’s Po Valley, also claims that the same river valley and its plain was also previously known as Hyperborea! The authors of The Three Ages of Atlantis, Marin, Minella and Schievenin, also refer to “the Hyperboreans of the Po Valley” [972.181].
An extensive internet article outlines the mythology associated with Hyperborea and recent efforts to determine its location(d). The Theoi.com website(g) offers a list of all classical references to Hyperborea.
(f) History, 3a.264. F.7.5.
Harry Dale Huffman is an independent American researcher with an interest in ancient mysteries. He has written a book, The End of the Mystery, in which he offers his views on a wide range of subjects including the Holy Grail, the Sphinx and Atlantis. He controversially claims that Atlantis was located on a landmass that included parts of Greenland, Iceland and the British Isles, before being moved by some form of tectonic movement, that brought it from the Indian Ocean to its present position over a vast time span(a)(b). He tenaciously clings to the idea that the speculative map of Atlantis, published by Athanasius Kircher is a true representation of the outline of Plato’s island.>He also explains that although Greenland does not match the shape of Kircher’s island, it is because part of it broke off and became Iceland.<I cannot see how Huffman’s claims can stand up to even the most cursory investigation.
Huffman’s radical thinking also extends to the ‘hot’ subject of global warming, regarding which, he disputes the extent of the effect that CO2 has on the global climate(c).
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!<
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 as the three islands equally distant from it and each other.
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.
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)
(g) Lib. iv, Eleg. 1
(i) Strabo, Geography 9. 2. 18
(n) See: Note 5 in Armin Wolf’s Wayback Machine (archive.org)
Rockall is an uninhabited islet in the North Atlantic, north west of Donegal in Ireland. It appears to have been first marked on a map in 1640(c). This ostensibly insignificant piece of stone is around 80ft by 100ft at the base and approximately
70ft in height. Nevertheless, its ownership is disputed by Ireland, Iceland, the Faroe Islands and the United Kingdom.
Rocabarraidh which was a mythic island referred to in the folklore of the Lordship of the Isles, a Scottish title, is generally accepted to be an early allusion to Rockall. The Atlantic rock is considered as part of the Hebridean parish of South Harris.
In June 1997, Greenpeace declared Rockall to be the independent state of Waveland(f).
Recently, a new claim has been made in connection with Rockall, namely, that it is a remnant of the Atlantis highlands, with the plain so vividly described by Plato, now situated under the sea to the south west of the rock. Two extensively illustrated French websites(a)(b) expound this theory. Which, however, are somewhat less than convincing. However, a 1938 newspaper report(d) suggests that a proposed linkage with Atlantis goes back much further!
In December 2016, Jonathan Northcote published 16.484ºW 58.521ºN, Atlantis, Found?, in which he offers spirited support for this location using a mass of geological data and underwater topography. He also suggests that Gades may have been Ireland. In January 2019, Northcote revised his book with additional material and published this second edition with the title of Atlantis, Found? An investigation into ancient accounts, bathymetry and climatology .
Stuart L. Harris, the prolific American researcher, has, in recent private correspondence with me, supported the vicinity of Rockall as the location of Atlantis, dating its demise to around 9577 BC. He later expanded on this in a highly speculative paper published on the Academia.edu website.
At the end of September 2018, the UK’s Daily Star, a well-known comic for adults, tried to revive the idea of Atlantis in Frisland(g) . They based their brief article on the speculations of Matt Sibson, presented as an ‘expert’, who admits that “there are still some questions that need clearing up.” I would like to know why Frislanders in the middle of the last Ice Age would want to attack a non-existent Athens 4,000 km away? If Sibson is considered to be an expert historian, my cat is a brain surgeon. Jason Colavito had a few words to add regarding Sibson’s pathetic claims(h).
Incredibly, a week later the same ‘newspaper’ cited Sibson again, this time claiming that Rockall was the remains of Atlantis(i), an equally silly idea that is not new. The UK’s online Express recycled this nonsense in January 2020(k).
Kevin A. & Patrick J. Casey have published a series of papers on the Academia.edu website outlining a globally catastrophic event that occurred thirteen thousand years ago, which they refer to as the ’13K Event’, but is more popularly known as the onset of the Younger Dryas period. In February 2019, they published Atlantis Revisited (j), in which they claim that Rockall was the location of Atlantis.