Peter Marshall (1946- ) is a British philosopher, historian and full-time writer. Included in his output is Europe’s Lost Civilisation , which offers us his interesting overview of the megalithic remains of Europe based on personal his personal observation during a voyage from Scotland to Malta.
Marshall, in reviewing Anton Mifsud’s theory of a Maltese Atlantis, dismisses the idea on the grounds that it seriously conflicts with Plato’s date of around 9,600 BC as the date for the demise of Atlantis. He shares with many others a reluctance to challenge Plato’s date in spite of the fact that it conflicts with commonsense and archaeology in so far as Atlantis could not have attacked either Athens or Egypt, as in the tenth millennium BC Athens did not even exist and there is no evidence of any structured society in Egypt. Combined with which is another fact, namely, that all of Plato’s large numbers seem to be exaggerations.
Regarding Atlantis Marshall has decided to ‘sit on the fence’ noting that “Yet while the myth of Atlantis has not been proved, neither has it been disproved, and it must remain a mystery waiting to be solved”
The Bee and its place in many cultures from prehistoric times is outlined in three lengthy articles(a)(b)(c) by Andrew Gough. Much of what he has written is news to me as I’m sure it will be to most readers here.
Its medicinal and nutritional qualities have been identified in ancient societies as far apart as early Aboriginal Australia and Sumeria. The bee also featured “as the symbol of the constellation presently occupied by Libra” in the zodiac of the Dogon of Mali. Gough deals extensively with the place of the bee in ancient Egypt where the bee ideogram represents honey, and “Intriguingly, Northern Egypt – the land stretching form the Delta to Memphis was known as “Ta-Bitty”, or “the land of the bee”. Similarly in the bible, the Lord promises to bring the Israelites out of Egypt and into a land flowing with milk and honey.”
Gough, who had earlier been attracted to the Minoan Hypothesis, noted that the Minoans of Crete also, like the Egyptians, also venerated the bee and added that “Although speculative, the notion of Atlantis as a centre of bull and Bee worship is alluring, and based on the evidence, not entirely unfounded.”(a) Throughout his three articles, Gough touches briefly on the subject of Atlantis including the books of Jürgen Spanuth and his North Sea Atlantis. In the same way, I should point out that in the case of another Atlantis candidate, Malta, its name is generally thought to be derived from the Greek word for honey meli and was later known to the Romans as Melita, the Latin equivalent. Malta was renowned in ancient times for the quality of its honey, which may explain why the light-fingered, 1st century BC Roman governor, Verres, stole 400 amphorae of it (about 2800 gallons) over a three-year period.
All three of Gough’s papers are highly informative and worthy of a read.
The Central Mediterranean is a very geologically unstable region containing as it does all of Europe’s land-based active volcanoes(a), regular seismic(b) activity with the attendant risk of tsunamis. It is now estimated that a devastating tsunami will hit the Mediterranean every 100 years(c). While the Aegean region experiences the greatest number of earthquakes, the Central Mediterranean, particularly around Sicily is also prone to regular tremors.
The idea that Atlantis was situated in this region is advocated by a number of researchers, including Alberto Arecchi, Férréol Butavand, Anton Mifsud, Axel Hausmann, as well as this compiler. Plato unambiguously referred to only two places as Atlantean territory (Crit.114c & Tim 25b) North Africa and Southern Italy as far as Tyrrhenia (Tuscany) plus a number of unspecified islands.
The area between Southern Italy and Tunisia has had a great number of sites proposed for the Pillars of Herakles, while possible locations for Gades are on offer with a number places still known today by cognates of that name.
Plato clearly includes continental territory as part of the Atlantean domain as well as a number of important islands. Within a relatively small geographical area, you have two continents, Africa and Europe represented by Tunisia and Italy respectively, as well as the islands of Sicily, Sardinia, Corsica and Malta together with a number of smaller archipelagos, matching Plato’s description exactly. The later Carthaginian Empire also occupied much of the same territory apart from eastern Sicily and southern Italy which by then was controlled by the Greeks and known as Magna Graecia.
For me, the clincher is that within that region we have the only place in the entire Mediterranean to have been home to elephants up to Roman times – Northwest Africa.
*(b) The Europeam Mediterranean Seismic Centre – EMSC, records all activity in the region.*
(c) https://www.tsunami-alarm-system.com/en/content/vorkommen-mittelmeer (German & English)
The Daily Express is a well-known British tabloid newspaper. Together with its sister publications, The Sunday Express and its online Express.co.uk, it has recently set a new record for the number of ‘might be Atlantis’ articles published, all with the byline of Callum Hoare. During the first three weeks of 2019, he has managed to produce four stories suggesting four different locations for Atlantis – Doggerland(a), Malta(b), Azores(c) and the Bahamas(d). But I did not have to wait long for the next regurgitation from Hoare, with another piece mined from a recent Amazon Prime documentary, where the Atlantis in the Canaries theory is reviewed (21.1.19)(e). I note that Hoare was also the author of similar BS Atlantis stories for another alleged UK newspaper, The Daily Star. The quality of research continues to be abysmal, citations are often years old, facts are mangled and quite misleading. Definitely ‘Fake News’.
Unfortunately, this outpouring of nonsense continued on in 2020. June 30th saw the ‘Express’ publish another article(f) by Hoare with an “Atlantis Located” headline. This gem begins by repeating the view of ‘expert’ Matthew Sibson, who advocates Rockall as the site of Atlantis and then switches to the opinions of Christos Djonis who claims the Aegean Sea as the home of Atlantis. According to Hoare, in this instance, Djonis refers to the research of Mark McMenamin of around 25 years ago who noticed on some Carthaginian gold staters of the fourth century BC that they had tiny engravings that he subjectively interpreted as rough maps showing both Asia and America and centred on Sardinia(g). This, according to Djonis, indicates the possibility that the Greeks may have had knowledge of America!
Djonis and Hoare were obviously unaware that in 2000, McMenamin was obliged to confirm that the coins in question were fakes(k) as revealed in his book, Phoenicians, Fakes and Barry Fell .
Furthermore, Djonis is contradicted by the clear statement of Herodotus that the Greeks only knew three continents, Europe, Asia and Libya (Africa)(h). Finally, if Djonis thinks that Atlantis was located in the Aegean what has America got to do with his theory?
July 2020 saw Hoare pollute the Express with another ‘Atlantis Found’ piece, this time locating it off the coast of Cornwall(j). This story is a quarter of a century old and a few years ago its credibility and even the existence of the institution to which its original author, Viatcheslav Koudriavtsev, was supposed to belong to, was brought into question(i).
(h) Herodotus, Histories 4.42.
Alexander Knörr is the author of Hagar Qim  in which he discusses the cart-ruts of Malta, concluding that they must be at least 9,000 years old. But he goes further, declaring that the famous temples of Malta are more than 12,000 years old! Inevitably, he tackles Atlantis, attributing its demise to the breaching a dam at Gibraltar leaving Atlantis at the bottom of the Mediterranean.
Luciana Cavallaro is an Australian secondary school teacher of Italian descent with a fascination for ancient history and mythology. In 2015, she published two papers(a)(b) on her website in which she explored the current Atlantis theories. At the end of part one, she wrote that “I do think Santorini is the site of Atlantis” but then goes on to suggest that Malta or Cadiz are also possibilities.
Part two begins with a new conclusion, namely that the Atlantic was the home of Plato’s lost island! She wanders about some more before finishing inconclusively. For me the only redeeming detail was her reference to the fact that Plato located Atlantis in a ‘sea’ rather than an ‘ocean’, a point that is often overlooked.
National Geographic or Nat Geo are registered trademarks of the National Geographic Society and are now, sadly, part of the Murdoch communications empire. Its magazine and TV channel enjoy global recognition. Undoubtedly, NG has enhanced our view of the world around us. One piece of NG trivia is that the word ‘tsunami’ first appeared in an English language publication in the September 1896 edition of National Geographic Magazine.
Generally, NG has avoided controversy, but not always(a) , so it will be interesting to see how its new chief James Murdoch, a climate change denier(b), will deal with the NG views on the subject up ’til now(c) . However, for me, it was something of a surprise when NG tackled the subject of Atlantis.
In 2004 NG News published a short article(d) highlighting the theories of Ulf Erlingsson and Rainer Kühne, who, respectively, were advocates for Ireland and Spain as Atlantis locations. Also in 2004, Zeilitsky and Weinzweig claimed to have found submerged man-made structures near Cuba and subsequently sought US government funding for further research there. It has been suggested that NG objected and further exploration did not take place! In 2006 NG gave the Atlantis in America theory of Zapp & Erikson an airing(e).
However, in 2012, Andrew Collins offered a different account of the Zelitsky funding difficulties(m).
In a short 2011 article(l)., NG trotted out the now generally abandoned idea that Atlantis had been a continent. The idea was obviously later dumped by NG as well, when James Cameron et al. went looking for Atlantis in Malta, Sardinia and Santorini in 2016.
December 2012 saw NG publish an article on Doggerland, without any reference to the suggestion that there might be an Atlantis connection. NG has also voiced the scepticism of well-known commentators, such as Robert Ballard and Charles E. Orser jnr(f).
However, I find that the NG treatment of Atlantis inconsistent. In October 2011 an anonymous article(k) on one of their sites, entitled The Truth Behind Atlantis: Facts, declared that Atlantis was continental in size (and so must have been located in an Ocean?) This is based on a misinterpretation of the Greek word meison. Nevertheless last year NG had Simcha Jacobovici, remotely guided by James Cameron, scouring the Mediterranean, from Spain to Sardinia, Malta, and Crete for evidence of Atlantis. This attention-seeking exercise found nothing a few stone anchors that proved nothing and inflicted on viewers an overdose of speculation!
NatGeo TV aired a documentary(g) in 2015 relating to earlier excavations in the Doñana Marshes of Southern Spain by a Spanish team and partly hijacked by Richard Freund. A new NG documentary, hyped with the involvement of James Cameron and Simcha Jacobovici, was filmed in 2016, and later broadcast at the end of January 2017. Initially, it was thought by Robert Ishoy to be in support of his Atlantis location of Sardinia, but at the same time Diaz-Montexano was convinced that his Afro-Iberian theory was to be the focus of the film. To coincide with the airing of the new documentary D-M has published a new book, NG National Geographic and the scientific search for Atlantis with both English and Spanish editions.
Jason Colavito was promised a screener but had the offer subsequently withdrawn. One wonders why?
Once again NG promotes the region of the Doñana Marshes as a possible location for Atlantis(i), based on rather flimsy evidence, such as six ancient anchors found just outside the Strait of Gibraltar. They estimate the age of the anchors at 3,000-4,000 years old but. unfortunately, they are not marked ‘made in Atlantis’. Rabbi Richard Freund, never afraid to blow his own shofar, makes another NG appearance. Jacobovici throws in the extraordinary claim that the Jewish menorah represents the concentric circles of the Atlantean capital cut in half, a daft idea, previously suggested by Prof. Yahya Ababni(k).
What I cannot understand is why this documentary spends time dismissing Santorini and Malta as possible locations for Plato’s Atlantis and at the same time ignoring the only unambiguous geographical clue that he left us, namely that the Atlantis alliance occupied part of North Africa and in Europe as far as Tyrrhenia (Tuscany) and presumably some of the islands between the two.
Overall, I think the NG documentaries have done little to advance the search for Atlantis as they seem to be driven by TV ratings ahead of truth. Perhaps, more revealing is that Cameron is not fully convinced by the speculative conclusions of this documentary.
Jason Colavito, an arch-sceptic regarding Atlantis has now published a lengthy scathing review(j) of NG’s Atlantis Rising, which is well worth a read. While I do not agree with Colavito’s dismissal of the existence of Atlantis, I do endorse the litany of shortcomings he identified in this documentary.
(d) See: Archive 3582
James Cameron the renowned director of Titanic has now worked as executive producer on a documentary about Atlantis for National Geographic(a). Simcha Jacobovici, who previously teamed with Cameron on the 2006 TV movie The Exodus Decoded also joined the production team.
This was NG’s second film on the subject and it was hoped, better than the first. Although Spain and Santorini featured in the two-hour show, the focus seemed has moved from Spain to the Central Mediterranean, where filming is taking place on Malta, Sardinia and Sicily.>In my view, this region contained most, if not all, of the Atlantean territory, from southern Italy to northwest Africa along with a number of the islands. This accords completely with Plato’s description (Tim.25 a-b & Crit.114c).<
Cameron and Jacobovici joined forces again as co-producers for this new NG documentary, which was expected by Robert Ishoy to explore his belief that Atlantis was situated on Sardinia(b). I think it reasonable to question why NG did not approach Sergio Frau who has done more than Ishoy in terms of publicising the possible relevance of Sardinia to the Atlantis mystery. It has now emerged that Georgeos Diaz-Montexano has also been interviewed, which suggests that Sardinia may not be the sole focus of the documentary as Ishoy was apparently led to believe.
This new NG offering aired early in 2017. However, in subsequent interviews Cameron expressed continuing scepticism(c), which begs the question; if Cameron was not fully convinced by the documentary, why should the viewers be?
Readers might find Jason Colavito’s critique of the NG documentary enlightening(d).
(b) See: https://web.archive.org/web/20190331144818/https://www.myheraldreview.com/free_access/national-geographic-calls-on-sierra-vista-researcher-about-atlantis/article_c3685cf8-7229-11e6-9512-b390b32f6ba7.html
Italy seems to have an uncertain etymology; Thucydides claims that Italos, the Sicilian king gave his name to Italy, while more recently Emilio Spedicato(h) considers that ”the best derivation we believe to be the one proposed by the Italian nuclear engineer Felice Vinci (1998), in his monograph claiming a Baltic setting for the Homeric epic: he derives Italia from the rare Greek word aithalia, meaning the smoking one.” This is thought to be a reference to Italy’s many volcanoes.
Italy today is comprised of territory south of the Alps on mainland Europe including a very large boot-shaped peninsula, plus Sicily, Sardinia and some smaller island groups, which along with the French island of Corsica virtually enclose the Tyrrhenian Sea.
The earliest proposal that Italy could be linked with Atlantis came from Angelo Mazzoldi in 1840 when he claimed that before Etruria, Italy had been home to Atlantis and dated its demise to 1986 BC. Mazzoldi expressed a form of hyperdiffusion that had his Italian Atlantis as the mother-culture which seeded the great civilisations of the eastern Mediterranean region(b).
Some of Mazzoldi’s views regarding ancient Italy were expanded on by later scholars such Camillo Ravioli, Ciro Nispi-Landi, Evelino Leonardi, Costantine Cattoi, Guido DiNardo and Giuseppe Brex. Ravioli sought to associate the Maltese island of Gozo with his proposed Atlantis in Italy.
The Italian region of Lazio, which includes Rome, has had a number of very ancient structures proposed as Atlantean; Monte Circeo (Leonardi), Arpino(a) (Cassaro). Another aspect of Italian prehistory is the story of Tirrenide, which was described as a westward extension of the Italian landmass into the Tyrhennian Sea during the last Ice Age, with a land bridge to a conjoined Sardinia and Corsica.. At the same time there were land links to Sicily and Malta, which were all destroyed as deglaciation took place and sea levels rose.
It is surprising that so few researchers have commented on Italy’s part in Plato’s Atlantis narrative considering that he twice, without any ambiguity, informs us that the Atlantean domain extended as far as Tyrrhenia (modern Tuscany).
Crit.114c. So all these, themselves and their descendants, dwelt for many generations bearing rule over many other islands throughout the sea, and holding sway besides, as was previously stated, over the Mediterranean peoples as far as Egypt and Tuscany. Tim.25a/b. Now in this island of Atlantis there existed a confederation of kings, of great and marvellous power, which held sway over all the island, and over many other islands also and parts of the continent; and, moreover, of the lands here within the Straits they ruled over Libya as far as Egypt, and over Europe as far as Tuscany. (Bury)
The quotation from Timaeus is most interesting because of its reference to a ‘continent’. Some have understandably but incorrectly claimed that this is a reference to America or Antarctica, when quite clearly it refers to southern Italy as part of the continent of Europe. Moreover, Herodotus is quite clear (4.42) that the ancient Greeks knew of only three continents, Europe, Asia and Libya.
Philo of Alexandria (20 BC-50 AD) in his On the Eternity of the World(g) wrote “Are you ignorant of the celebrated account which is given of that most sacred Sicilian strait, which in old times joined Sicily to the continent of Italy?” (v.139). The name ‘Italy’ was normally used in ancient times to describe the southern part of the peninsula(e). Some commentators think that Philo was quoting Theophrastus, Aristotle’s successor. This would push the custom of referring to Italy as a ‘continent’ back near to the time of Plato. More recently, Armin Wolf, the German historian, when writing about Scheria relates(f) that “Even today, when people from Sicily go to Calabria (southern Italy) they say they are going to the ‘continente’.” This continuing usage is further confirmed by a current travel site(d) and by author, Robert Fox[1168.141]. I suggest that Plato used the term in a similar fashion and can be seen as offering the most rational explanation for the use of the word ‘continent’ in Timaeus 25a.
When you consider that close to Italy are located the large islands of Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica, as well as smaller archipelagos such as the Egadi, Lipari and Maltese groups, the idea of Atlantis in the Central Mediterranean can be seen as highly compatible with Plato’s description.
If we accept that Plato stated unambiguously that the domain of Atlantis included at least part of southern Italy and also declared that Atlantis attacked from beyond the Pillars of Heracles, then this appellation could not be applied at that time to any location in the vicinity of the Strait of Gibraltar, but must have been further east, probably not too far from Atlantean Italy. This matches earlier alternative locations recorded by classical writers who placed the ‘Pillars’ at the straits of Messina or Sicily. I personally favour Messina, unless there is stronger evidence that some of the islands in or near the Strait of Sicily such as the Maltese or Pelagian Islands or Pantelleria were home to the ‘Pillars’.
*(c) See: Archive 2946 Italian/English*
John Borg (1873-1945) was a renowned Maltese botanist, who expressed the view, in 1910, that “the tradition of the submerged Atlantis to which many ancient writers refer, and which when deprived of its legendary character will be found to apply to the submerged land between Malta and Africa. This submersion must have happened in the quaternary period, and at an epoch when the land was already inhabited by a civilized prehistoric people of which the Kabyli and Berbers of North Africa are possibly the survivors.”