John Murray (1841-1914) was born in Canada of Scottish parents and renowned as an oceanographer and marine biologist, sometimes referred to as ‘the father of modern oceanography’, a term he also coined. He is also credited with being the first to recognise the existence of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and of marine or oceanic trenches.
In 1933 it was reported(a) that an expedition named after Murray had discovered ‘traces’ of Lemuria in the Indian Ocean. However, this was the Lemuria hypothesised by Sclater rather than the total fantasy promoted by Blavatsky.
The Mascarene Islands are a group of volcanic islands in the Indian Ocean that includes Mauritius, Réunion, and Rodrigues. The archipelago is at the southern end of the submerged Mascarene Sea Plateau, which has now been claimed as the location of Plato’s sunken continent of Atlantis.
This contention has been made on a website(a), entitled Atlantic Consequence: The Final Solution. In a three-part document, the anonymous author offers a spirited defence of this novel claim.
The author begins with the statement that “There is only one scientifically certified sunken continent in the World” namely the Mascarene Sea Plateau and therefore that is where Atlantis! This, of course, ignores the fact that Plato never referred to Atlantis as a continent and that many areas of the world, such as Sundaland, Doggerland and the Celtic Shelf, contain vast areas of submerged continental landmasses.
(a) See Archive 2624
Lemuria was a name invented in 1864 by the English zoologist Philip Lutley Sclater (1829-1913) to describe a hypothetical landmass in the Indian Ocean that was used to explain the isolation of lemurs on Madagascar while related fossils were spread across Africa and South-East Asia. The name has also been credited to the English geologist, William Thomas Blanford (1832-1905). It is further claimed that Ernst Heinrich Haeckel (1834-1919), the German professor of zoology and ardent supporter of Darwin, had made a similar suggestion regarding a sunken continent before Sclater without attributing a particular name to it.
Sir John Murray (1841-1914), a renowned British oceanographer, claimed(d) to have identified traces of this lost continent in the Indian Ocean.
Mu on the other hand is the name given to a fictional continent that was supposed to have existed in the Mid-to-Southern Pacific Ocean and was given popular recognition by the writings of James Churchward who promoted it as the Atlantis of the Pacific. However, many writers continue to use the two words interchangeably. Frank Joseph links the destruction of ‘Lemuria’ with the Plagues of Egypt.
>Paul Heinrich described the reincarnation of Lemuria in the following terms –
“Lemuria was reincarnated as a lost continent by Madame Blavatsky, the greatest of the modern occultists. Madame Blavatsky incorporated this concept of Lemuria, in a confused form, together with Atlantis and a bizarre mixture of scientific, occult, and Hindu religious material, including the Rig-Veda in her book, The Secret Doctrine. In this book, Lemuria became a lost continent, although still in the Indian Ocean, populated by ape-like hermaphroditic egg-laying creatures. Later writers of the occult, lost-continent tales, e.g. Annie Besant, and W. Scott-Elliot added their own detail and embellishment to the story of Lemuria, including dinosaurs and 12 to 15-foot bronze humanoids. The final event in the reincarnation of Lemuria occurred when writers of occult books moved the location of Lemuria from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean (de Camp 1954). Since then, mystics and psychics have written innumerable books about Lemuria and either tuned into the spiritual essence and vibrations or channelled for the spirits of long-departed Lemurians who never existed to begin with.” (a)(f).<
It is disturbing that presumably intelligent people such as Egerton Sykes could have dared to describe the inhabitants of a non-existent country in the following terms – “The Lemurians were short, squat, with square faces and large ears, relatively ugly to Western eyes”(e).
“Several Atlantologists have claimed that Lemuria was none other than the lost island of Atlantis, and although their theory has generally been considered to be fanciful, it may well be based on true facts. The word Lemuria is a bastardization of the Arab word ‘al amur’ which means ‘the West’, or ‘the western land’, and one may surmise that this was the name given by medieval Arab scholars to the ‘western land’ mentioned in the surviving Egyptian archives in Alexandria, which was stated to have disappeared under the sea. When Arabia lost its cultural predominance at the end of the Middle Ages, ‘al Amur’ became distorted into ‘Lemur’, and later into ‘Lemuria’, but the land this inaccurate name designated was in all probability the same as that described by the Egyptian priest of Sais to Solon, the ‘western land’ of Atlantis.”
Even more bizarre was a report in the 30th October 1955 edition of the San Francisco Examiner, which linked the American ‘Bigfoot’ or Sasquatch with a sunken Lemuria, suggesting that he was a highly developed survivor of that lost continent!
On a more serious note, February 2013 saw a report(b) of the discovery of an ancient continent in the Indian Ocean. At first sight fans of the Mu/Lemuria concept must have been quite excited until it was realised that this sunken landmass was dated as being many hundreds of millions of years old.
In a September 2014 interview(c) Graham Hancock echoed my views regarding Lemuria and Mu when he responded to a question on the subject with, “Well, let’s get Lemuria out of the way first. Lemuria is actually a 19th-century idea and there is no ancient text that refers to Lemuria. Lemuria is about the fact that fossils of a species of animal, the lemur, are found on both sides of the Indian Ocean. The suggestion was that there must have been some joining continent at one point between Madagascar and India. At any rate, I repeat, and this is my point – there’s no ancient testimony for the existence of a place called “Lemuria”. The ancient testimony from Mu is also extremely dubious since it rests on a 19th-century mistranslation of a Mayan text popularized by Augustus Le Plongeon and then subsequently elaborated by James Churchward in the 1920s and 1930s. But never mind the names, the fact is that we do have genuinely ancient traditions of lost civilisations and lost lands all around the world. That’s why I find Lemuria and Mu a bit of a distraction because Mu rests on a mistranslation of an ancient text and Lemuria is entirely a 19th-century idea.
(e) Atlantis, Vol.16. No.2, April 1963
Jacques Hébert is the author of Atlantide: La Solution Oubliee concerning Atlantis. As a former Parisian police chief, he claims to have applied his skills in that field to solving the mystery of Plato’s island. He critically re-examines the original text and offers an interpretation that he believes provides a more rational and harmonious reading of the narrative. His conclusion is that Atlantis lay in the Indian Ocean and that its culture was derived from the Indus valley. He specifically identifies the Yemeni island of Socotra as part of the Atlantean civilisation
Hébert identifies Bab el Mandeb as Plato’s Pillars of Heracles, by assuming that Solon mistook the description of that strait, given to him by the priests of Sais, with the Strait of Gibraltar, which has similar features. The earthquake that destroyed Atlantis is attributed by him to a close encounter with an extraterrestrial body.
A 2004 interview with Hébert can be read online(a).
>(a) http://www.vox-populi.net/spip.php?article21 (French)<
The Erythraean Sea as referred to by Herodotus (Histories Bk I.202) derives its name from the Greek for ‘red’. To the ancient Greeks ‘Erythraean’ was a term used to refer to the Red Sea as well as the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean. There is an ancient Persian tradition(a) that the Phoenicians migrated from the shores of the Erythraean Sea. This view is echoed at the very beginning (I.1) of The Histories of Herodotus.
Even more ‘exotic’ is the claim by W.C. Beaumont (see map) that the English Channel was in fact the Erythraean or Red Sea, along with the relocation of many other places mentioned in Exodus to sites in Britain.
It is claimed by some writers that Erythraean is an alternative name for the ‘Sea of Atlantis’. R. Cedric Leonard offers the following translation “but the Caspian Sea is by itself, not connected to the other sea. For the sea navigated by the Greeks, also that outside the Pillars called the Atlantis Sea and the Erythraean, are one and the same”. Both Leonard and Anton Mifsud claim that this passage demonstrates that Herodotus identified the Erythraean with the Atlantis Sea. However, a careful reading of the context clearly shows that what Herodotus was describing was the extent to which the world’s oceans were connected, even though the Caspian was landlocked. Africa had already been circumnavigated eastward from Egypt on the instruction of Pharaoh Necho II around 600 BC demonstrating the connection between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. Furthermore, the mention of ‘the sea navigated by the Greeks’ is probably a reference to the eastern Mediterranean, placing the Pillars of Heracles in the vicinity of Malta. This would identify the western Mediterranean and/or Tyrrhenian Sea as the ‘Sea of Atlantis’ complementing Plato’s description of Atlantis extending as far as Tyrrhenia and Libya. It is worth noting that Giorgio Grongnet de Vasse envisaged the Island of Atlantis occupying the Gulf of Syrtis off the coast of Libya and designated the sea to the west of Malta as ‘Mare Atlantico Antico’ or the ancient Atlantic Sea.
The Phoenicians or Canaanites are linguistically regarded as Semitic people, who among their many achievements are credited with giving us our alphabet (without vowels). Both Strabo and Herodotus claim that they originally came from Bahrain(p), but this origin is denied by the phoenicia.org website(q). The correctness of these two ancient writers has been heavily criticised(r).
>Nevertheless, Dhani Irwanto in a 2019 article(ab) on his website insists that the Phoenicians originated somewhere in the Indian Ocean. Irwanto suggests “that perhaps the most significant contribution of the Phoenicians was an alphabetic writing system that became the root of the Western alphabets.” However, Irwanto has gone further and proposed that the Phoenicians also influenced the development of at least three of the scripts of South Sumatera in Indonesia!<
A recent essay explicitly claims that there never any such entity as ‘Phoenicia’! It also charts the manner in which ‘Phoenicians’ have been arbitrarily claimed as ancestors by distant nations, having been “enlisted in support of the nationalist histories of Lebanon, Britain and Ireland, and in some cases seriously distorted by them. Despite claims by various partisans of Lebanese, British and Irish nationalism to enlist the Phoenicians as their ancient progenitor, the Phoenicians never existed as a self-conscious community, let alone a nascent nation.” (y)
The Phoenicians flourished during the 1st and 2nd millennia BC. The late Joseph Robert Jochmans has suggested(c) that similarities between Phoenician names and those of the sons of Poseidon are more than coincidental. The descendants of the Phoenicians are still to be found in great numbers in modern Lebanon as well as elements of the Phoenician language. Contrary to popular belief the Maltese language is more related to Phoenician than Arabic(g). Similarly, in a mountainous and isolated northeast corner of Asia Minor, its people still speak Greek in a dialect known as Romeyka(l). Dr Ioanna Sitaridou of Queen’s College, Cambridge explains that ‘Although Romeyka can hardly be described as anything but a Modern Greek dialect, it preserves an impressive number of grammatical traits that add an Ancient Greek flavor to the dialect’s structure – traits that have been completely lost from other Modern Greek varieties.’
A more radical view of the Phoenicians has been expressed by Professor Josephine Quinn(o) who declared “the Phoenicians never existed as a self-conscious community, let alone a nascent nation.” In a lengthy article, she suggests that “‘‘Phoenician’ was just a generic label invented by ancient Greek authors for the Levantine sailors they encountered in their own maritime explorations. Although some of these Greek writers entertain a mild stereotype of these Phoenicians as rather cunning or tricksy, they never use the term as a description of a distinct ethnocultural community.”
The Phoenicians have been frequently identified as the Atlanteans of Plato’s narrative. Peter Dawkins’ Zoence Academy website has the following logic stretching gem – “Atlas also is known by other names, such as Enoch or The Phoenix, (hence Atlantis is Phoenicia, the land of the Phoenix)(v).
Keith Hunt noted on his website that “Prof. George Rawlinson (1812-1902), in his “Story of Phoenicia,” tells us that Phoenicia derived its name from the forests of date or Phoenix palms which grew there in great luxuriance. So far so good; but whence did the Phoenix palm derive its name? Horapollo says: “A palm branch was the symbol of the Phoenix.” Yes, but what or who was the Phoenix? Sanchomathon, the Phoenician writer, states that “Phoenix was the first Phoenician.” Phoenix, then, was a man. Now, the word Phoenix is the Greek form of the Egyptian term “Pa-Hanok,” the house of Enoch. In Hebrew Enoch also is Hanok. Thus the mystery of that ancient race is solved: they were the sons and descendants of Enoch and of Noah and his three sons, who after the Flood started their westward march. Their descendants have kept it up since, settled, first north of the Persian Gulf in the bushlands of Mesopotamia, where they found a dusky race in occupation of the land, the ancient Sumerians, and from thence towards the Mediterranean.” (w)
James Nienhuis has recently identified Canaanites as Atlanteans(m)! The supporters of a Bronze Age date for the invasion of the Atlanteans see in the Phoenicians the powerful far-flung maritime civilisation described by Plato. However, this identification is in conflict with Plato’s statement that Atlantis or its influence extended as far as Tyrrhenia and Libya, whereas the Phoenicians had their original base further east in the region of modern Lebanon and Israel. It also runs counter to Plato’s clear account of the Atlanteans attacking from their bases in the Central Mediterranean (Tim.25b & Crit.114c).
The Phoenicians were never unilaterally at war with Greece and/or Egypt, but their successors, the Carthaginians, whose main military campaigns were directed against the Roman Empire, did clash with the Greeks in Sicily.
It is accepted that the Phoenician commercial empire began with the three cities of Tyre, Sidon and Byblos. They expanded with the establishment of trading settlements along the Mediterranean coast of North Africa usually separated by a day’s rowing – somewhere between 30 to 60 miles.
It is claimed that the Phoenicians together with the Egyptians had an influence on the development of the Minoan culture(e).
Jonas Bergman recently presented a paper to the 2005 Melos Atlantis Conference on the subject of a Phoenician association with the Atlantis story. He outlined how Plato’s description of Atlantis was similar to the western colonies of the Phoenicians.
“Roderic O’Flaherty (Ruaidrhí Ó Flaithbheartaigh) was the first Irish scholar to suggest in his influential work Ogygia (1685) that the Phoenicians formed part of Irish ancestry. In the 18th century, O’Flaherty’s theory of the Phoenicians as progenitors of the Irish became very popular among the Protestant Ascendancy as well as Gaelic intellectuals.”(y)
Joaquín Lorenz Villanueva (1757-1837) was a Spanish historian, who moved to Dublin in later life, where he wrote Ibernia Phœnicea  , which was an attempt to prove that Ireland had been colonised by the Phoenicians. This was translated into English and published by Henry O’Brien in 1833 as Phoenician Ireland  .
Phoenicians in America
Some German writers in the 19th century such as Robert Prutz and later Jakob Kruger have advocated the idea that Phoenicians had discovered America, where he also placed Atlantis. However, in spite of the fact that there is widespread support for this concept and the even more extreme claim of Phoenicians in Australia, a Lebanese website (now offline), in the original home of Phoenicia, discounted all such claims for lack of evidence. Nevertheless, attention-seeking Rex Gilroy persists in promoting the idea of Phoenicians in Australia(h).
A paper by Christian C. Karam, who believes that Atlantis had been located in the Atlantic has expanded on the idea of a Phoenician presence in Brazil three thousand years ago(n).
In 1886, the American novelist Ann Eliza Smith (1819-1905) published a fantasy novel(j), Atla, that tells the tale of the discovery of the Atlantis civilization by the Phoenicians.
In 1889, Enrique Onffroy de Thoron proposed that Atlantis had been Phoenician and situated in America. Indeed, claims still persist that the Phoenicians did reach South America(f). However, Onffroy was not the first to suggest this, as he was preceded by Robertus Comtaeus Nortmannus as early as 1644 and Georg Horn in 1652 . Arguably, the best-known exponent of the ‘Phoenicians in America’ school of thought was Bernardo Silva Ramos(i).
Nevertheless, John Denison Baldwin, writing in the late 19th century, was highly critical of the Phoenicians being early colonisers in America and after reviewing the arguments in favour of the idea, he concluded that “if it were true that the civilization found in Mexico and Central America came from people of the Phoenician race, it would be true also that they built in America as they never built anywhere else, that they established a language here radically unlike their own, and that they used a style of writing totally different from that which they carried into every other region occupied by their colonies. All the forms of alphabetical writing used at present in Europe and Southwestern Asia came directly or indirectly from that anciently invented by the race to which the Phoenicians belonged, and they have traces of a common relationship which can easily be detected. Now the writing of the inscriptions at Palenque, Copan, and elsewhere in the ruins has no more relatedness to the Phoenician than to the Chinese writing. It has not a single characteristic that can be called Phoenician any more than the language of the inscriptions or the style of architecture with which it is associated; therefore we can not reasonably suppose this American civilization was originated by people of the Phoenician race, whatever may be thought relative to the supposed ancient communication between the two continents and its probable influence on civilized communities already existing here.”(x)
Jason Colavito has published articles written by Thomas Crawford Johnston in 1892(z). that he later developed into his 1913 book Did the Phoenicians Discover America [1902+] which is available online(aa).
In his 2009 book, Uncovering Archaeology, Dennis Cassinelli outlines in some detail his Atlantis theory, which he locates in Central America(s). He suggests that Phoenicians landed in Central America and on seeing the Mayan cities concluded that they had landed in Atlantis. Not unexpectedly, Jason Colavito had a few words to say about this idea(t).
Hugh Fox (1932-2011) wrote of the early peoples of the Americas in his well-received Gods of the Cataclysm. The ‘cataclysm’ referred to is the biblical Deluge, in respect of which he follows the ideas of Velikovsky and the Christian catastrophist Donald W. Patten (1929-2014), who attributed Noah’s Flood to a close encounter with a massive extraterrestrial body around 2800 BC. Fox explicitly claims that before the Flood, transoceanic travel was commonplace, with the Chinese in America, Indian theology in the Mediterranean and that after the Flood we had the Phoenicians and Odysseus in America.
More recently, Andrew Collins has drawn attention to the extraction of purple dye from shellfish in a number of Central and South American countries [072.357], commenting that “quite clearly, the presence of purple dye processes in Costa Rica, Mexico and Ecuador, as well as in Peru, could well constitute positive proof of transoceanic contact with ancient seafarers from the eastern Mediterranean.” Collins also quotes from Thomas Crawford Johnston’s Did the Phoenicians Discover America [1902+] – “There is probably no stronger evidence of the presence of the Phoenician in the New World than can be drawn from the use of dyes.” Collins also notes that similar sentiments were expressed by Wolfgang Born in a 1937 paper.
Collins has also noted [p361] how cotton was widely produced in the Americas before the Spanish conquest and that genetic studies have shown “that the variety of cotton cultivated in the New World from very earliest times is a hybrid form derived from an Old World species crossed with species native only to the American continent. Crawford Johnston also claimed that the compass had been invented by the Phoenicians!
Peter de Roo, writing in 1900 [890.1.195] stated “that the Phoenicians at some time landed on American soil could not well be denied in the presence of ancient reports; but as Gravier justly observes. if any vague account of their discoveries was kept, it reached us disfigured by Hellenic fanciful imagination.”
The late Sabatino Moscati, a renowned linguist and archaeologist, wrote a highly regarded work on the subject of the Phoenicians. Additionally, there is an invaluable website(a) on offer from Salim George Khalaf, a modern Phoenician from Lebanon. This huge site with its 2,000 pages covers all aspects of Phoenician culture. This same site(b), drawing on the work of Ignatius Donnelly, identifies the kings of Atlantis with the Phoenician pantheon and claims that the gods of the Greeks were also the deified Atlantean kings.
Jacques Hébert, who places Atlantis in the Indian Ocean on the island of Socotra, suggests that the Atlanteans had a colony in the Eastern Mediterranean whose inhabitants developed into the Phoenicians!
(g) See: Archive 2852
(i) https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernardo_de_Azevedo_da_Silva_Ramos (Portuguese)
Louis Jacolliot (1837-1890) was a French barrister, a colonial judge (in southern India and Tahiti) and a writer. He was devoutly anticlerical and saw Christianity as a poor imitation of the more ancient oriental religions. He was the author of The Bible in India in which he traced the Hindu origins of Hebrew and Christian revelation.
He was obsessed with Indian occultism and collected Sanskrit myths and interpreted some of them as telling of a sunken continent, Rutas, in the Indian Ocean. However, he decided to move this lost land to the Pacific and as a consequence, Jacolliot was quoted as an ‘authority’ by Blavatsky when she sought support for her own invention – Lemuria. Later this was embellished even further by William Scott Elliott. Jacolliot presented his sunken land as an echo of Plato’s Atlantis.
At least two of Jacolliot’s books, Occult Science in India(a) and The Bible in India(b), are now available online(a) in English.
Divine Retribution is the explanation offered by Plato (Crit. 121c) for the destruction of Atlantis in a manner which for us is reminiscent of the biblical tale of Noah and many other flood stories. Some modern writers such as Maxine Asher have promoted this concept of godly reprisal. However, there is one important element missing from Plato’s narrative, namely, the salvation of a chosen few. The idea that the entire story of Atlantis was concocted by Plato as some form of parable is incompatible with the elimination of both (bad) Atlanteans AND (good) Athenians (Tim.25d). Consequently, if Plato was not relating some form of invented morality tale, we are entitled to recondider the probability that he was transmitting a story with a core of historical truth.
The earthquake and tsunami of 1755 that destroyed Lisbon and which killed up to 100,000 people is just another example of how divine retribution has been invoked as the cause of catastrophe. For those that accepted this explanation, all it did was consolidate the power of the church and its clergy. For me, the event was just an example of twisted divine humour, when people were killed in churches and synagogues while the red-light district was left virtually intact(f).
The idea of a god on a punishment spree arose more recently when both Christian(e) and Muslim(d) survivors attributed the tsunami disaster in the Indian Ocean on December 2004 to divine retribution for the wickedness of man. Similar comments were expressed following the 2015 earthquake in Nepal(g). This modern knee-jerk reaction may explain the inclusion of similar sentiments in so many ancient flood stories.
William Lauritzen is a leading advocate of Atlantis having been situatedon the Sunda Shelf where Indonesia is located today. He provides a more rational explanation for the tsunami tragedy in a new eBook(a) where he explains that the unstable geology of the area which caused the recent tragedy also destroyed Atlantis.
The following year the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina in new Orleans was once again credited to the whims of a bad-tempered divinity.
The 2010 earthquake in Haiti produced a further stream of ‘divine retribution’ claims, among which were those from American evangelist Pat Robertson, who attributed the cause to the ‘satanic’ voodoo beliefs of many Haitians and somewhat surprisingly from the well-known movie actor Danny Glover who claimed that the earthquake was god’s response to the failure of the 2009 climate change conference in Copenhagen!!!
Charles Pellegrino expressed it well, when he wrote in Return to Sodom and Gomorrah[821.120], “when an explanation is sought for evil events in a presumably just universe, history brands the people villains because they became victims, victims because they became villains.”
All these nonsensical claims demonstrate that god has either an appalling sense of justice, executing good and bad with equal vigour or, as is my personal belief, that he/she/it does not exist at all. Tectonic fault lines and their attendant hazards exist irrespective of the moral behaviour of people living in their vicinity. Similarly, hurricanes sweep into the Caribbean and the southern United States every year bringing death and destruction, not because the people in the area are inherently evil, but because particular meteorological conditions exist in the region that cyclically generate hurricanes.
It is fairly clear then that a fault line existed in the vicinity of Atlantis, a fact which should help to identify or at least eliminate some suggested locations. Coincidentally, a BBC documentary How the Earth Made Us, aired today, highlighted the fact that many of the most important ancient cities were sited near fault lines in order to exploit the mineral resources that are frequently to be found associated with them.
Another ‘prophecy of doom’, from the late V.M.Rabolú (1926-2000), is that a planet five or six times the size of Jupiter, is approaching earth to destroy it, because of mankind’s wickedness. Rabolú claims to have travelled in his Astral Body to Venus and Mars and witnessed the inhabitants of those planets. He also points to the destruction of Atlantis being the result of the greed of its inhabitants. All this and more drivel is available in a free booklet, written by Rabolú, from the Alcione Association(b).
The concept of divine retribution was given a further twist in January 2014 when a British politician and member of UKIP, David Silvester, claimed(c) that the recent severe flooding in his country was a consequence of the same-sex marriage policy of the British government. Rain in Ireland seems a little heavier lately, following the referendum vote here in favour same-sex marriage!
My final comment is a reflection on the fact that many western legal systems incorporate the concept of divine intervention with the use of the term ‘Act of God’ to describe catastrophic natural events leading to loss of life or property. Is it not time that such happenings be more accurately redefined as ‘natural but unanticipated’.
In February 2016 a paper was published(h) in Nature magazine with the interesting title of “ Moralistic gods, supernatural punishment and the expansion of human sociality”.