Edward Forbes was one of the first, in 1846 , to hypothesise the existence of a continent in the Atlantic linking Ireland, the Azores and the Iberian Peninsula, which was popularly called ‘Atlantis’. Charles Darwin described his idea as ‘speculative’.
This would appear to conflict with Marco Ciardi, who claimed that Darwin had accepted the existence of Atlantis, I presume later, but did so “under the influence of, among others, the botanist J. D. Hooker” and “reverted to the hypothesis of a lost continent to which the Atlantic islands testified since they constituted the tips of its highest mountains.” This information was cited by Pierre Vidal-Naquet in The Atlantis Story [580.xxii].
Ignatius Donnelly sent a copy of his Atlantis to Darwin, but received a less than enthusiastic response(b).
Marco Ciardi is an Associate Professor of the History of Science at the Department of Philosophy, University of Bologna. In 2002 he published ATLANTIDE: Una controversia scientifica da Colombo a Darwin. (ATLANTIS: A scientific controversy from Colombus to Darwin). As the title implies, the author reviews the various Atlantis ideas from the time of Colombus until the 19th century. His book received the endorsement of Pierre Vidal-Naquet.
In 2011 he published Le metamorfosi di Atlantide. Storie scientifiche e immaginarie da Platone a Walt Disney. (The metamorphosis of Atlantis. scientific and fictional stories from Plato to Walt Disney).
Pierre Vidal-Naquet (1930-2006) was a noted French historian, political activist and was also a fervent sceptic regarding the reality of Atlantis. He has frequently written and lectured on the subject with particular reference to the nationalistic zeal that seemed to underlie the theories of so many writers. His recent book  presents the radical view that Plato’s Atlantis was actually based on ancient Athens. This work was originally published in French but is now available in an English translation, The Atlantis Story .
>Thorwald C. Franke has drawn attention to a recent (Oct. 2022) BBC interview with Classics Professor Edith Hall, whose sceptical view of the Atlantis story appears to be strongly influenced by the arguments of Vidal-Naquet. Franke has written a critique of the interview in his Newsletter No. 201(a).<
According to Life magazine of Sept. 8, 1952(g), after twenty years of research, he organised a dive around Heligoland and found extensive underwater structures. These explorations led to his book Das Entraselte Atlantis  being published in 1953. It was later translated into English and published as Atlantis of the North  and is now available to read on the internet(a).
Spanuth’s basic thesis was that following a major catastrophe in the North Sea around 1250 BC, the Mediterranean experienced an invasion of Scandinavians, whom he referred to as the ‘North Sea Peoples’. Part of the physical evidence he produced was the horn-helmeted Sea Peoples depicted at Medinet Habu. Since we are all used to seeing Vikings depicted with horned helmets, many are surprised to find that it is a late 19th-century invention(e)(f).
Spanuth’s theory implies that such helmets had been a standard army issue in the region for over a millennium. In fact, the Vikings used rather plain helmets which they did not manufacture themselves but traded for them from other Germanic peoples in mainland Europe(d). On the other hand, one of the Sea Peoples, the Shardana, generally believed to have come from Sardinia, did use horned-helmets. However, there are aspects of this claim that are the subject of continuing debate, but the suggestion of a North Sea connection has weakened considerably.
Spanuth considered Basileia, the royal island of Atlantis, to have been located near Heligoland. He produced a mass of evidence to support his views but found his book under severe attack by many academics, which, in general, had the support of the public. After being publicly labelled, among other things, a liar, Spanuth was forced to challenge his detractors in the courts. After some six years, he was vindicated when ten professors withdrew their plea, admitting that their arguments against the pastor were untenable. Felix R. Paturi has more information[1339.215] on this disgraceful episode, as well as a note of scientists who supported Spanuth.
A study of Spanuth’s references would suggest that he had access to the prehistoric research archives of the Ahnenerbe and has successfully collated and analysed a lot of this extensive material in his books. Vidal-Naquet bluntly labels him a Nazi[580.124], although his publisher, Wolfram Zeller, denied it. It may be relevant to mention that in the 1930s, Heinrich Pudor an avowed German anti-Semite also proposed Helgoland as Atlantis, but I have been unable to find any reference to Pudor by Spanuth!
The German Wikipedia claims that Spanuth was a member of the NSDAP (Nazi Party) from 1933 until 1945. Similar claims that he had been in the SS have also been refuted(c). In 2002, Frank Doenenburg, on his website(b)discussed Spanuth’s politics at length. In my view, all these matters, however unsavoury, risk distracting us today from discussing dispassionately the merits or otherwise of Spanuth’s Atlantis theories.
Spanuth’s second book had a much better reception. His final offering was Die Atlanter(1976), which was also published in English, however, this is just a revised and expanded version of his 1965 book.
>Atlantisforschung has highlighted Spanuth’s opposition to the Minoan Hypothesis in a discussion paper on its website. I have published here a translation of a short excerpt from Die Atlanter that shows his disdain for the idea of an Aegean Atlantis.
“Neither Thera nor Crete lay in the ‘Atlantic Sea’, but in the Aegean Sea, which is expressly mentioned in Crit. 111a and contrasted with the Atlantic Sea. Neither of the islands lay at the mouth of great rivers, nor did they “sink into the sea and disappear from sight.” ( Tim. 25d) The Aegean Sea never became “impassable and unsearchable because of the very shallow mud”. Neither Solon nor Plato could have said of the Aegean Sea that it was ‘still impassable and unsearchable’
or that ‘even today … an impenetrable and muddy shoal’ ‘blocks the way to the opposite sea’ ( Crit. 108e). Both had often sailed the Aegean Sea, and their contemporaries would have laughed at them for telling such follies.”(h)<
Spanuth has still a lot of supporters and is constantly referred to, particularly by German investigators such as Arn Strohmeyer and Gerhard Herm. Felice Vinci, who strongly favours a Northern European origin for Homer’s epic tales, also places Atlantis in a northern context. The Danish writer, Kirsten Bang, published a short book  in which she also placed Atlantis in the Wadden Sea where Helgoland is located. She also supports a date of 1300 BC for its destruction.
Another recent supporter of Spanuth’s Atlantis theory is Holger Kalweit who has written a trilogy, the first of which is Irrstern über Atlantis . This initial volume is concerned with the destruction of Atlantis by a comet (Phaeton) in 1222 BC, leaving Helgoland as a remnant. Refugees fled south to the Eastern Mediterranean leaving their cultural imprint on the region. Unfortunately. this huge 700-page book is to be followed by two more in which the author moves on to expand on the subject of ‘lizard people’, which for me has him as a fully paid-up member of the lunatic fringe.
(b) https://www.fdoernenburg.de/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=1213 (page closed, July 2017)
Albert Herrmann (1886-1945) was Professor of Geography at Berlin University. He was very interested in oriental geography and is perhaps best known for his 1935, Historical and Commercial Atlas of China, which was widely used
His other passion was Atlantis, so between 1927 and 1931 he declared support for Borchardt’s northwest Africa location theory in a number of publications. In 1938 he used is influence to mount a large exhibition in Berlin about Atlantis(a).
He agreed that a large dried-up saltwater lake in Tunisia called Shott el Djerid was originally Lake Tritonis and was known during Solon’s time as the ‘Atlantic Sea’ and further claimed that it had been the location of Atlantis; a theory supported by a number of investigators. In more recent times, Charles A. Rogers is one such advocate of this identification(b).
Herrmann suggested that it was the result of an upheaval of the land, which extended a land barrier between the Shott and the sea. He locates the Pillars of Heracles where this barrier was created. Anton Mifsud has pointed out that the 1st century BC writer Apollonius Rhodius located the Strait of Heracles in ancient Syrtis Minor, now the Gulf of Gabés, apparently supporting Herrmann’s contention. At one point, Herrmann cited as Atlantis, the village of Rhelissa, near the mouth of the old River Tritonis, which flowed into the Gulf of Gabes.
Herrmann disagreed with Plato’s 9,000 years and proposed that he had instead been referring to the 13th or 14th century BC.
Finally, Herrmann, in an effort to match this location with the Platonic narrative, felt obliged to reduce its dimensions by a factor of thirty. He claimed that the priest or interpreter at Sais had erred in the conversion of the Egyptian ‘schoinos’ into Greek stadia. The schoinos was adopted by the Greeks, where it must be noted that it, as well as the Geek stadion, had variable regional values; the number of schoeni per stadion varied between 30 and 120.
In a later book, Herrmann shifted his view from his original stance suggesting that Tunisia had been just a colony under the influence of a culture originating in Friesland, later to become famous as the source of the Oera Linda Book (c). It is not impossible that the introduction of a Northern European slant to his theories was the consequence of political pressure in Germany at the time, typified by Borchardt being imprisoned because of his Jewish background. Vidal-Naquet describes Herrmann as ‘an avowed Nazi’ [580.121] so pressure may not have been necessary. (a) >His revised conclusions appear to mirror the views of fellow nazi Hermann Wirth.<
Jean De Serres (1539-1598) was a French historian, who was also known as Serranus. He was a Protestant pastor of Nismes, but his learning has been described as “very inaccurate”. He produced a Latin translation of Plato’s Dialogues in the style of Ficino.
>There is some dispute regarding whether Serranus had specified a location for Atlantis that he favoured. Thorwald C. Franke has suggested that Pierre Vidal-Naquet had erroneously implied that Serranus had opted for America or the Holy Land as Atlantis. Nevertheless, what Franke makes much clearer is that Serranus was in no doubt about the reality of Atlantis when he wrote;
“So the narration of this entire dialogue is completely historical … … … not as a mythical commentary, but as a bare and simple historiography … … … Plato rightly denies that it is a myth , and on the other hand confirms that it is true logos …” (a)<
August Hunt is an American freelance writer with a range of fictional and historical works to his name. His interests range across Arthurian literature, Celtic religion, mythology and folklore.
In 2008 he published a new Atlantis theory on the Internet in which he linked the Persian Empire with Atlantis, with either Persepolis or Susa as the capital city of the Atlanteans. In 2010, he published The Real Moses and his God and added A New Theory on Atlantis as a thirty-page appendix to it. The first is now available online(c), while his Atlantis theory has been published separately as a Kindle book.
Hunt argues that the 9,000 years since the Atlantean-Athenian War must be wrong since Athens did not exist until around 3000 BC. He then points out that the only conflict in which the Athenians defeated a large invading force was against the Persians at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC. He strangely refers to the Atlantis story as a prophesy even though it was recorded by Plato over a century after the Battle of Marathon!
His most bizarre suggestion is that the 9,000 years quoted by Plato actually refers to the number of Athenians at the Battle of Marathon.
I was surprised to read[p138] that Hunt found “it odd that no one has thought to associate this geographical entity (Persia) with the Atlantis described by Plato”, since he was not the first to suggest a connection between the Persia-Athenian War and the war with Atlantis. Pierre-André Latreille (1762-1833) the French entomologist did so in 1819 when he concluded that Plato’s tale was a distorted version of the war with Persia. William Henry Babcock (1849-1922) also suggested that Plato’s Atlantis story incorporated details of the defeat of the Persians. Benjamin Jowett, held a related opinion. In 1953, the German classicist, Hans Diller, expressed the view that Plato’s Atlantis account was a fictional parallel with the Greco-Persian wars. In 2007 the prominent sceptic, Pierre Vidal-Naquet, also saw parallels with the Persian war in Plato’s narrative.
The Persian Wars took place between 500 and 449 BC, while Solon lived circa 630-560 BC, so it would not have been possible for Solon to refer to those conflicts in the Atlantis story that he brought from Egypt. We are therefore forced to conclude that Jowett and others were probably accusing Plato of lying about the provenance of the story, if not the actual contents of the narrative!
Jim Allen who advocates a Bolivian Atlantis has also written an extensive article(b) linking the Persian military details with the forces of Atlantis.
In view of all this it is hard to accept Hunt’s claim that he is the author of a new Atlantis theory.
The Persian Wars are believed by some to have been the inspiration for the story of the Atlantean invasion described by Plato. Giuseppe Bartoli was apparently the first, in 1780, to make such a claim. Not too long afterwards Pierre-André Latreille supported the same idea.
This idea fails on two principal grounds, date and geography. Since the Persian War took place around 500-449 BC, this would make it subsequent to Solon’s visit to Egypt (570-526 BC) and Persia was east of Athens and Egypt, while the Atlanteans came from the west (Tim.25b & Crit.114c)! In fact, what Plato said was that the invasion came from the Atlantic Sea (pelagos). Although there is some disagreement about the location of this Atlantic Sea, all candidates proposed so far are west of both Athens and Egypt.
Since the Persian War took place over half a century after Solon’s death, in some ways, the suggestion that the Persian conflict inspired Plato’s Atlantis story, implies that Plato lied about Solon as the conduit for the account, which is completely at variance with the acceptance of Plato as a man of unquestioned integrity.
>Nevertheless, a number of other commentators such as W. H. Babcock, Hans Diller, and Paul Jordan have perceived elements of the Persian Wars in the Atlantis story. Even the arch-sceptic Benjamin Jowett sought to associate the story of Atlantis with the Persian Wars.<
Apart from this date discrepancy, Jürgen Spanuth lists other divergences of the Persian Invasion theory from Plato’s text. Spanuth, together with many other authors, favours the Sea Peoples or as he puts it ‘the North Sea Peoples’, being the Atlanteans of Plato’s tale.
However, Pierre Vidal-Naquet, a prominent Atlantis sceptic, is adamant that the Persian Wars, with some modifications, parallel the Athenian war with Atlantis. William Babcock expressed a similar opinion in the early years of the 20th century. Acceptance of this view would rule Solon out as Plato’s source and undermine the credibility of the whole narrative.
Keep in mind that you can also find parallels between many of the European wars of the last few hundred years.
In the mid-20th century, W. A. Heidel, an Atlantis sceptic, claimed(a) that an expeditionary naval force was sent by Darius in 515 BC under Scylax of Caryanda to explore the Indus River, which eventually encountered waters too shallow for his ships, was the inspiration behind Plato’s tale of unnavigable seas!
He further claimed that Plato’s battle between Atlantis and Athens is a distortion of a war of invasion between the Persians and the Indians.
In late 2008 a new theory about Atlantis, was launched(a) by August Hunt that purports to link Atlantis with the Persian Empire with either Persepolis or Susa as the Atlantean capital described by Plato. He also offers the curious explanation for Plato’s 9,000 years for the age of Atlantis as being in reality a reference to the number of Athenians present at the Battle of Marathon! His short book is entitled Atalante and the Persian Empire
Jim Allen in a discussion of a number of ancient Persian cities, notes that some are circular and often had concentric walls, suggesting that they may have been the inspiration for Plato’s description of Atlantis’ capital city!
If the Persians were in fact the Atlanteans of Plato’s story, it seems rather odd that their invasion fleet, as recorded by Herodotus (Bk.7.89), included 200 Egyptian ships, while at the same time that Athens and Egypt were supposedly allies in opposition to Atlantis!
Thorwald C. Franke was born in 1971 in Konstanz in southwest Germany. He studied computer science at the University of Karlsruhe and now works as a software developer. Since 1999 he has been promoting the idea of Atlantis having been located in Sicily. He has written a paper, which makes the case for identifying Atlas with king Italos of the Sicels, who was one of the first tribes to inhabit Sicily and gave their name to the island.
In October 2010, Franke announced that a part of his theory has some elements in it that require further research(f).
He believes that the war with the Atlanteans was recorded by the Egyptians as the conflict with the Sea Peoples of whom the Sicilians are generally accepted to have been part.
Franke has a well-presented website(a), in English and German, where he cogently outlines his views. He has also written a lengthy, 23-page paper on the need for a classification of Atlantis theories. Even though this item is in German, English readers may find it quite interesting using their browser’s translator. Franke has also compiled an extensive list of Atlantis-related websites(d) that he expanded further in a new format in October 2011.
His paper for the 2nd Atlantis Conference in Athens in 2008 is available on the Internet(c) in which he expanded on his Sicilian location for Atlantis.
Franke has also published a book, in German that focussed on Herodotus’ contribution to the Atlantis question(p). In the same paper, he dealt with the true meaning of the word ‘meizon‘ in Timaeus 24e which tells us that Atlantis was ‘greater’ than Asia and Libya combined, which he clarified as actually referring to their combined power rather than size. However, Franke proposed that the Egyptian word ‘wr’, whose primary meaning is ‘big’ and is sometimes used in a metaphorical sense, may have influenced the wording of the Greek text
Then in a more recent (2010) book regarding Aristotle and Atlantis, he disputes the generally perceived view that Aristotle did not accept the existence of Atlantis. He builds his case on an 1816 misinterpretation by a French mathematician, Jean Baptiste Joseph Delambre, of a 1587 commentary on Strabo’s Geographica by Isaac Casaubon. Combined with other evidence he has presented a case that removes the only prominent classical writer alleged to have dismissed the existence of Atlantis. In late 2012 Franke published an English translation with the title of Aristotle and Atlantis. Franke’s views regarding Aristotle have been well received and his book is frequently cited, most recently by Dhani Irwanto in his Atlantis: The Lost City is in the Java Sea[1093.110].
Franke has now augmented his book on Aristotle with a YouTube video in English(l) and German(m). This important book can now be read on the Researchgate website.(ae)
2012 also saw the publication, by Franke, of the first English translation of Gunnar Rudberg’s 1917 monograph Atlantis och Syrakusai, now Atlantis and Syracuse. This is a welcome addition to Atlantis literature in English. Students of the Atlantis mystery owe a debt of gratitude to Herr Franke.
In 2006, Franke published a paper outlining Wilhelm Brandenstein’s contribution to Atlantology which in 2013 he published in English(g). This was followed by a translation(h) of his overview of the work of Massimo Pallattino, who had adopted some of Brandenstein’s approaches to the Atlantis question.
On the 30th of May 2013, Franke announced(i) that his Atlantis Newsletter, which until now was only available in German, in future will also be published in English. Today he discusses the antics of extremist Atlantis sceptics and the abuse of Wikipedia. I encourage everyone to register and congratulate Thorwald on this development.
There is also a video clip available of Franke showing his library of Atlantis-related books(e). 2017 has seen Franke produce a number of 30-minute videos, which readers will find informative. They are available in both German and English, (Just Google Plato’s Atlantis – Thorwald C. Franke – YouTube).
Franke has now (July 2013) revamped his website (https://www.atlantis-scout.de/)
More recently, July 2016 saw the publication, in German, of Kritische Geschichte der Meinungen und Hypothesen zu Platons Atlantis (Critical history of the hypotheses on Plato’s Atlantis). This tome of nearly 600 pages will undoubtedly be a valuable addition to any serious researcher’s library. There is a promotional video, in German, to go with it(j). Hopefully, an English translation of the book will follow. However, Franke does provide an English summary of the book(af). In June 2021, Franke announced the publication of the second edition of this remarkable book, but again, in German only. It is now in two volumes, totalling over 800 pages, which include hundreds of new references(y). Two publications in one week is a record to be proud of.
In June 2018, Franke published a YouTube video in English(r) and German(s) highlighting how Plato’s 9,000 years have been alternatively accepted and then rejected many times over since the time of Plato. Franke proposes that the 9,000 years recorded by Plato were comparable with the accepted age of Egypt in his day, at 11,00 years. However, archaeology has demonstrated that Egypt was only 3,000 years old or less when Plato was alive, suggesting that the 9,000 should be reduced by a comparable amount to arrive at the real-time of Atlantis.
In his Newsletter No.90, Franke has highlighted that a small German right-wing group, ‘Pro Deutschland’, has cited on their website the ‘superior civilisation’ of Atlantis in support of their extremist views.
Franke’s Newsletter No. 103 has now provided us with five parallel versions of the Atlantis texts(n), Two English; Jowett & Bury and Two German; Susemihl & Müller as well as a Greek text from the Scottish classicist John Burnet (1863 – 1928).
Franke’s Newsletter No.104 offers an overview of the difficulties involved in accepting Plato’s writings too literally(o). He gives particular attention to the 9,000 years claimed to have elapsed between the Atlantean War and Solon’s visit to Egypt.
Franke has now published two new videos(t), in both German and English, in which he reviews a number of Atlantis-related books, both supportive and sceptical. He does so in his usual balanced manner and also exhorts students of Atlantology to learn German to have access to important works only available in that language.
The difficulty of independent researchers getting their work published in academic journals was highlighted by Franke some time ago(a). However, he has had some academic recognition(a) and has modified his view on the function of the academic press vis-á-vis independent writers(a).
In June 2021, Franke announced the publication of his latest book(x). Platonische Mythen (Platonic Myths), currently in German only. In May 2022 a favourable review, also in German, of Franke’s book was published on the atlantisforschung.de website(ag). I have archived an English translation in atlantipedia.ie(ah).
The following month, Franke published Newsletter No.175 in which he accuses the Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR) of scientific bias and inconsistency(z). The full Newsletter should be read but in particular his conclusions below.
“Let us sum up what we have: BMCR claims to accept no self-published books, but it did review such a book [mine-AO’C]. BMCR claims that it accepts only peer-reviewed books, but besides the question, of what this exactly means, they do indeed review books which were not peer-reviewed. BMCR claims to accept translations but did not accept the translation of Gunnar Rudberg [Franke’s]. BMCR claims to review bad Atlantis books of a certain intelligence in order to debunk them, but at the same time, they avoided a review of a bad book by an Atlantis sceptical Oxford scholar. They claim to treat every author with respect, but failed to do so in my case, and not only once. And the same scholar who admits that his scientific view was impacted (!) by one of my books writes BMCR reviews about other Atlantis books, but my books are not reviewed. Long story short: BMCR acts in an arbitrary way and damages its credibility. They screwed up everything that can be screwed up. And it was not me who lead them up the garden path. They did that all by themselves.”
In Franke’s Newsletter No.158 published in early 2021, he reviewed a lecture, previously unknown to him, given by Heinz-Günther Nesselrath, in Bologna, a few years ago(aa) during which he apparently misrepresented Franke’s Atlantis theories. Shortly afterwards Nesselrath issued a rather intemperate reply to Franke’s criticisms.(ab) A further document(ac) from Franke detailed his continuing annoyance with what he perceives as ‘a breach of trust’ on the part of Nesselrath. Now in August 2021, Nesselrath has reignited matters again with a further assault on Franke’s views(ad), many of which I share. In a further postscript dated 20.08.21(ab) Franke fired off a few more salvos. I think it’s time for an armistice?
>Franke’s Newsletter #193 reviews an interview with sceptic Flint Dibble(ai). He followed that in July 2022 (#194) with a critique of an article ‘Not Exactly Atlantis’ by Professor Carolina López-Ruiz that Franke identifies as over-dependent on the arguments of promoters of the ‘invention hypothesis’ particularly those of Pierre Vidal-Naquet and Diskin Clay. Franke then proceeded to offer a list of her many errors(aj).<
(l) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inWb6IVNWFQ (English)
(m) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDG7a09xkZE (German)
(aa) Review of: Heinz-Günther Nesselrath, News from Atlantis? 2017. (atlantis-scout.de) (See first half)
(ab) Review of: Heinz-Günther Nesselrath, News from Atlantis? 2017. (atlantis-scout.de) (See last half)
Fernand Robert (1908-1992) was a French Hellenist, a professor at the Sorbonne in Paris and a former member of the l’École française d’Athènes (The French School of Athens). In the 1950’s he gave a lecture in which he suggested that the Atlantis story was probably inspired by Minoan Crete. Attending that lecture was Pierre Vidal-Naquet who found that Robert’s talk spurred on his nascent Atlantis scepticism, which fully manifested itself fifty years later with the publication of the original French edition of The Atlantis Story.