Jean Sylvain Bailly
Voltaire (1694-1778) was the nom de plume of François-Marie Arouet, who was a prominent French philosopher and a prolific writer on a wide range of subjects with an estimated output of more than 2,000 books and pamphlets and 20,000 letters.
However, it appears that Voltaire was somewhat sceptical about the existence of Atlantis remarking in Essai sur le moeurs that “ if it were true that such a part of the world ever existed. Most likely it was none other than the island of Madeira.”
Anyone researching Atlantis might be advised to remember Voltaire’s aphorism which states that while “doubt is not a pleasant mental state, certainty is an absurd one.”
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, which has been linked by a number of writers with the Atlanteans. Even more exotic is the claim on one loony website that the Hyperboreans were an ancient extraterrestrial race! (j)
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 no 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 him 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 to 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 were 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.
Cosmas Indicopleustes was a 6th-century AD theologian and geographer from Alexandria who became a monk in later life. He wrote of Atlantis as a large island in the western ocean punished by god with submergence. He also added a twist to the tale by recording a tradition that Noah had resided in Atlantis. Cosmas was probably the first writer to use Plato’s tale as evidence for the veracity of the Bible. He contended that Atlantis was the Garden of Eden and that Plato’s 10 kings of Atlantis were the 10 generations between Adam and Noah!
His only extant book, Christian Topography, is a bizarre work that includes support for a Flat (Square) Earth. A translation by J. W. McCrindle was published by the Hakluyt Society in 1897(b).
>It seems to me that Cosmas has added little to the Atlantis story except for further confusion. However, Thorwald C. Franke has published an essay on the relevance of Cosmas Indicopleustes to Atlantis studies(c).<
One commentator described his work as a ‘monument of unconscious humour.’