Jean Silvain Bailly
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.<
Thule is the name given in ancient Greek and Roman literature for the most northerly part of the world. Around 300 BC the Greek navigator Pytheas claimed to have visited Thule, six days travel beyond Northern Britain. This may have been Iceland and in support of this idea, a paper was submitted to the 2008 Atlantis Conference in Athens by two Italian researchers, G. Giancarlo and M. Stucchi. In Germanic and Scandinavian traditions the name is applied to a long lost continent in the North Atlantic. Another candidate is the Estonian island of Saaremaa, which is also home to the (700 BC (d) or 2000 BC(b)) Kaali meteor crater field.
Felice Vinci is a co-author (with Syusy Blady & Karl Kello) of Il meteorite iperboreo . in which the Kaali meteor is discussed along with its possible association with the ancient story of Phaeton.
The archaeologist, Rhys Carpenter, in a study of Pytheas‘ travels in the North Sea, concluded that the Shetland Islands should be identified as Thule shown on Ptolemy’s map just north of the Orkneys, He argues that “it is an unchallengeable inference that Ptolemy’s data for the location of Thule must go back to Pytheas since no one else in late antiquity ever claimed to have visited that remote region.” [221.183]
Just over a century ago, an extreme nationalistic German secret society called Germanenorden was founded and after a few years, a schism in its ranks led to the Munich branch adopting the cover name of Thule-Gesellschaft. Some of its members sought to link Thule with Atlantis and the Aryans with the Atlanteans using some of the ideas of Helena Blavatsky and Jean-Silvain Bailly(a).
>Marin, Minella & Schievenin in The Three Ages of Atlantis [972.375] propose that the island of Thule described by Pytheas was the legendary Hi-Brasil, which in turn they claim was part of the Porcupine Bank that they describe as ‘recently submerged’.<
Karl Harrer, a member of the Thule Society along with the far-right politician Anton Drexler were founders of the German Workers Party (DAP) in 1919, two years later it changed its name to Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei, better known as the Nazi Party. The Thule Society faded with the establishment of the DAP, although there was a failed attempt to revive it in 1933.
A 2014 paper(e) by Cameron McPhail addressed the problem of Thule’s location. He “offers a new approach, using information supplied in the fragments of Eratosthenes’ Geography, supports assertions that Pytheas exited the Mediterranean sailing via the Strait of Gibraltar, and that Thule, the most distant locale reached, should be identified with Norway.” and concluded that “The problems of Pytheas’ route of travel cannot all be solved. The two discussed here, on account of the scant primary source information, will remain open to interpretation.“
Claims that most leading Nazis had been members of the Thule Society seem to be a gross exaggeration, having only had Rudolf Hess a member for a brief period.
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 Arctic Region offers evidence of human activity as long as 45,000 years ago, 10,000 years earlier than previously thought, according to a report(f) in 2016.
Of interest to us is that Spitzbergen was proposed as the location of Atlantis by the French astronomer Jean Silvain Bailly in the 18th century. In 1885, Dr. W. F. Warren,a former president of Boston University published a bookthat proposed that the cradle of the human race was situated at the North Pole and had been inundated at the time of the Deluge. Warren’s book can now be accessed online(d), while a brief, but caustic, review of his theory was undertaken by Jason Colavito a few years ago(i).
Bal Gangadar Tilak, an Indian independence campaigner, was so impressed by Warren’s ideas that in his book, Arctic Home in the Vedas , he chose to locate the lost Paradise of Airyana Vaejo in the Arctic(e). The British philosopher, J.G. Bennett was sympathetic to Tilak’s ideas and proposed their further investigation, while being more dismissive of Warren’s reasoning(j).
Modern Russian nationalism seems to have adopted some of the dafter notions of Nazi Germany including the idea of an Aryan master race, from which they claim to be descended, that was formerly located in the Arctic. It was revealed in 2016 that a former Nazi base had been discovered in the Arctic, which had been used to search for ancient artefacts(g).
Such ideas are expounded by the new darling of Russian neo-fascism, Alexander Dugin, who likes to blend nationalism with mysticism. It is rather worrying that some elements of this nationalism have also adopted anti-semitism as part of their rhetoric(b).
More recently Professor Sergey Teleguin has again drawn attention to Tilak’s work in an article that identifies elements in the Mayan Popul Vuh, which suggest that its origins were in the far north, in Ultima Thule. He concludes with the thought that perhaps the Indo-European and Mayan ancestors came from the true North Pole! Teleguin has outlined his ideas further in an article for (Nov/Dec 2013) Issue 102 of Atlantis Rising magazine.
>In 1906, the American explorer, Robert Peary, made a failed attempt to be the first to reach the North Pole. On his return, he claimed that he had seen a previously unknown, massive landmass complete with soaring mountains and deep valleys, which he called Crocker Land after one of his sponsors. His story received a mixed reception, but another well-known explorer, Donald Baxter MacMillan, took Peary’s account at face value and organised an expedition to find Crocker Land, that set out in July 1913. Where Peary’s attempt was a failure, MacMillan’s was a disaster that ended in murder. Needless to say, Crocker Land was not found, as it does not exist in the Arctic any more than Atlantis does. The story is a fascinating read(k).<
(b) Archive 2415)
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.
>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.
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)
Halley’s Comet is named after Edmond Halley (1656-1742) who correctly predicted its periodicity and that it would return after his death in 1759. In 1694 Halley proposed(f) that Noah’s Flood had be caused by a cometary impact, a suggestion for which he was censured by the Royal Society. However, he was rather off the mark when he was the first to propose a ‘hollow Earth’ in 1692(c).
Although the comet’s average orbital period is 76 years, it has been as high as 79.3 years. The nucleus of Halley’s Comet is approximately 5x5x10 miles but has a very low density. The earliest observation of the comet was noted in 240 BC by the Chinese, although there is now a suggestion of 466 BC being the earliest reference in ancient Greek records(e). It has also been famously recorded on the Bayeux Tapestry, mentioned in the Talmud and frequently associated with the Star of Bethlehem(h).
A more recent suggestion has been that a fragment of HC hit the Earth in 536 AD lowering temperatures globally causing drought, famine and disease(g).
Polish Professor Kamienski considered the biblical mention of ‘an angel with a sword’ (1Chron 21.16) to be a reference to Halley’s appearance around 1010 BC. However, Kamienski dated another close encounter with Halley’s Comet, which led to the destruction of Atlantis, to circa 9550 BC. In a similar fashion the historian Donald V. Etz in 1986(b) argued that Isaiah 14.12-15 was possibly inspired by the appearance of the same comet.
In 1956, Kamienski then entered the contentious matter of the date of the Trojan War, which he proposed had ended circa 1165 BC and suggested that it may have coincided with the appearance of Halley’s Comet!(o)
Halley’s Comet, in fact, comets generally, were considered to be harbingers of doom, as their appearance seemed to eerily coincide with various disasters, both natural and military.
In 1456, Pope Calixtus III excommunicated the comet as an agent of Satan. This appears to have been theologically unsound as the comet was never a member of the Church in the first place. Amazingly, comets have continued to reappear, obviously concurrent with a least one of the daily earthbound calamities that is our lot.
The French astronomer Nicolas Camille Flammarion predicted that the appearance of Halley’s Comet in 1910 would fill the earth’s atmosphere with toxic gas and kill all life on earth! Obviously nothing catastrophic happened then nor on its next visit in 1986.
Another suggested date for Halley’s Comet leading to the demise of Atlantis is 1628 BC put forward by David Wiseman, a Bible teacher(d).
Jean Silvain Baillywas the first to compute the orbit of the comet and coincidentally also wrote on the subject of Atlantis at the end of the 18th century.
Col. Braghine theorised that Atlantis was destroyed as a result of a close encounter of the Earth with Halley’s Comet and similarly the Polish Professor Kamienski suggested that a large chunk of Halley’s Comet fell into the Gulf of Mexico in 9542 BC . Kamienski has also written very technical paper(a) on the 2320 BC appearance of the comet. The American astronomer Jack Hills, an asteroid specialist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory holds similar views to Kamienski.
Halley’s Comet has also been blamed for the disappearance of the Pannonian Lake, another proposed Atlantis location.
Jürgen Spanuth thought that Phaëton was a fragment of Halley’s Comet. Two other followers of Spanuth, Günter Bischoff and Walter Stender have written extensive papers, in German, on a meteorite impact with Northern Europe around 1220 BC, which they also identified as Phaëton(j)(n) . The same interpretation has been applied specifically to Lake Chiemgau in S.E. Bavaria and is expanded on in papers by Barbara Rappenglück among many others(k)(l)(m).
In a 2018 paper(i), Charles A Rogers associates Phaëton with Halley’s Comet, dating the close encounter to 1404 BC. He goes further, linking the ‘pillar of light’ in Exodus with both Halley’s Comet and the eruption of Thera. He then proceeds to connect this event(s) with the destruction of Atlantis on the Gulf of Gabes at the mouth of the River Triton!
Clube & Napier in The Cosmic Winter suggested that the Biblical Exodus story contains the earliest reference to Halley’s Comet. The controversial Jeffrey Goodman also links a number of Biblical events with cometary encounters in The Comets of God .
For trivia lovers, I note that both the birth (1835) and death (1910) of the writer Mark Twain coincided with appearances of Halley’s Comet!
(d) See Archive 3339
(o) Atlantis, Volume 10 No. 3, March 1957