The Destruction of Atlantis [B] (L)
The Destruction of Atlantis [B]  (Multi-media Publishing, New York, 1971) is also the title of a reissue of Ignatius Donnelly’s Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel with an introduction by Paul Allen.
Donnelly, Ignatius Loyola
Ignatius Loyola Donnelly (1831-1901), was an Irish-American born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1852. He moved to Minnesota in 1857, where he was elected Lieutenant-Governor when it became a state in 1859, at the age of twenty-eight and was re-elected in 1861. He served as a Congressman from 1863 until 1869 and was a state senator from 1874 to 1878. The People’s Party, of which he was a founder, nominated him for Vice-President of the United States. He was a political liberal, being in favour of women’s suffrage and against slavery.
Donnelly was also a journalist and the author of several books. In 1882 he published his most famous work on the subject of Atlantis, which is still in print today, although many of the more recent editions have been heavily edited to exclude some of Donnelly’s more outlandish ideas. Bill Lauritzen has remarked that Donnelly’s legal background led him to limit his case for the existence of Atlantis to a discussion of the ‘pros’ while ignoring the cons’.
Donnelly sent a copy of Atlantis to the British Prime Minister, William Gladstone, who was also a classical scholar. The text of the short accompanying note was published in Sykes’ Atlantis magazine(i), but little of the ensuing correspondence between them apart from the text of a second letter from Donnelly(j).
The public reaction to Donnelly’s book was reflected in the New Orleans ‘Mardi Gras’ of 1883 having had an Atlantis theme.
Jason Colavito has drawn attention to the fact that among others, Donnelly was influenced by the earlier work of G.S.Faber(f).
Donnelly concluded that Atlantis was real and located in the Atlantic. He suggested “the gods and goddesses of the ancient Greeks, the Phoenicians, the Hindus, and the Scandinavians were simply the kings, queens, and heroes of Atlantis; and the acts attributed to them in mythology are a confused recollection of real historical events.” Similar ideas have been developed by the late Joseph Robert Jochmans.
Nevertheless, Donnelly endeavoured to match Plato’s Atlantis with his chosen Atlantic location for the lost civilisation, which can be fairly compared with the equally comprehensive but also flawed effort two centuries earlier by Olof Rudbeck endeavouring to identify Sweden as Atlantis.
Donnelly’s book contains a list of thirteen theses (See: Atlantis: The Antediluvian World), which he then proceeds to ‘prove’, drawing on Plato’s text and the scientific knowledge of this period, not to mention a generous helping of pure conjecture. J.V. Luce remarked that “Donnelly bemuses his readers into a mood of infinite credulity” [0120.29].
In 2017, Stephen P.Kershaw includes a brief critique of Donnelly’s work in A Brief History of Atlantis and concludes that Donnelly is unquestionably the most influential writer on Atlantis since Plato. I would argue that even though his ideas are more bizarre than Donnelly’s, Edgar Cayce is probably more quoted today than Donnelly. This is just a reflection of the number of gullible people that are out there. Donnelly’s influence has been greatly diminished over the decades as many of his theses have been undermined by later researchers. Cayce’s influence will only diminish if critical thinking becomes more widespread. In the meanwhile, there are a few highly qualified dedicated Atlantis investigators who are slowly closing in on a solution.
Many have followed his thinking since then and in 1886, Donnelly published a sequel, Ragnarok to his work on Atlantis that dealt with the idea of a cometary impact with the earth. In fact, in 1883 twelve years after the Great Chicago Fire, Donnelly proposed(g) that Mrs. O’Leary’s cow was not responsible for the conflagration but instead was the result of the impact of a meteor fragment, with Comet Biela as the prime suspect. A key to this explanation may be the recorded fact that at the same time that the fire started in Chicago, huge fires erupted across the lower peninsula of Michigan and in several other places in the Midwest. The O’Leary house was reportedly left standing! That debate continues.
Although he was not the first to make such a suggestion, he was responsible for introducing Velikovskian style Catastrophism to a popular readership over half a century before Velikovsky.
Following the remarkable reception that his books received, Donnelly was elected to membership of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. However, it did not take long before critics emerged. One was John Francis Arundell also known as Lord Arundell of Wardour (1831-1906) who published his criticism in book form in 1885 in which he claimed that Plato’s Atlantis story was based on the account that we have relating to the Voyage of Hanno. It can be read or downloaded online(c).
Donnelly also wrote a 1,000-page work that attempted to prove that Shakespeare had not written all that he has been credited with. Seemingly a man with time on his hands, he also published some works of fiction under the name of Edmund Boisgilbert MD.
Thirty years ago Marjorie Braymer wrote of Donnelly’s work in the following manner[198.65], “Modern editions of Atlantis: The Antediluvian World are streamlined and heavily revised; whole sections have been scissored out and dropped. The reason is clear: Donnelly offered many theories as known and established facts that science did not support even then and wholly discredits today.” Egerton Sykes edited one of those revisions in the 1970s.
Some consider aspects of Donnelly’s ideas to be somewhat racist! However, his influence is still pervasive, exemplified by the fact that the first translation of his Atlantis in Sinhala, the principal language of Sri Lanka, was only published in 2014(d).
Donnelly also questioned the authorship of the works attributed to William Shakespeare in The Great Cryptogram. The Shakespeare debate has raged for two centuries and now the editors of The New Oxford Shakespeare are convinced, based computer analysis, that Christopher Marlowe was a co-author of several plays credited, until now, solely to Shakespeare(h). Coincidentally, another Atlantologist Comyns Beaumont held similar views, which he published nearly half a century later in The Private Life of the Virgin Queen, considered to be the least controversial of his literary output!
At the end of the 19th century, a Mrs Donnelly, a fortune-teller from San Francisco, adopted the professional name of ‘Madame Atlantis’!
There is a wealth of Internet material relating to Donnelly e.g. (a)(b).
Donnelly’s Atlantis is now also available as a free audio book(e).
(a) http://www.geometry.net/detail/book_author/donnelly_ignatius.html *
(i) Atlantis, Vol.25, No.1, Jan-Feb 1972.
(j) Atlantis, Vol.25, No.3, May-June 1972
Atlantis: The Antediluvian World
Atlantis: The Antediluvian World  by Ignatius Donnelly was first published by Harper & Bros. of New York in 1882 and is still in print today and continues to fire the imagination of many. Although it contains many assumptions, assertions and errors, it was a daring venture for its time, pulling together data from many disciplines to produce a coherent argument in favour of the reality of Atlantis.
Donnelly offers his readers the following thirteen propositions at the beginning of his tome giving the flavour of its contents:
(1) That there once existed in the Atlantic Ocean, opposite the mouth of the Mediterranean Sea, a large island, which was the remnant of an Atlantic continent, and known to the ancient world as Atlantis.
(2) That the description given by Plato is not, as has been long supposed, fable, but veritable history.
(3) That Atlantis was the region where man first rose from a state of barbarism to civilisation.
(4) That it became, in the course of ages, a populous and mighty nation, from whose overflowings the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi River, the Amazon, the Pacific coast of South America, the Mediterranean, the west coast of Europe and Africa, the Baltic, the Black Sea and the Caspian were populated by civilised nations.
(5) That it was the true Antediluvian world; the Garden of Eden; the Garden of Hesperides – where the Atlantides lived on the River Ocean in the West; the Elysian Fields situated by Homer to the west of the Earth; the Gardens of Alcinous – grandson of Poseidon and son of Nausithous, king of the Phaeacians of the island of Scheria; the Mesomphalous – or Navel of the Earth, a name given to the Temple at Delphi, which was situated in the crater of an extinct volcano; the Mount Olympus – of the Greeks; the Asgard – of the Eddas; the focus of the traditions of the ancient nations; representing a universal memory of a great land, where early mankind dwelt for ages in peace and happiness.
(6) That the gods and goddesses of the ancient Greeks, the Phoenicians, the Hindus, and the Scandinavians were simply the kings, queens, and heroes of Atlantis; and the acts attributed to them in mythology, a confused recollection of real historical events.
(7) That the mythologies of Egypt and Peru represented the original religion of Atlantis, which was sun-worship.
(8) That the oldest colony founded by the Atlanteans was probably in Egypt, whose civilisation was a reproduction of that of the Atlantic island.
(9) That the implements of the ‘Bronze Age’ of Europe were derived from Atlantis. The Atlanteans were also the first manufacturers of iron.
(10) That the Phoenician alphabet, parent of all European alphabets, was derived from an Atlantis alphabet, which was also conveyed from Atlantis to the Maya of Central America.
(11) That Atlantis was the original seat of the Aryan or Indo-European family of nations, as well as of Semitic peoples, and possibly also of Turanian races (of central Asia).
(12) That Atlantis perished in a terrible convulsion of nature, in which the whole island was submerged by the ocean, with nearly all of its inhabitants.
(13) That a few persons escaped in ships and on rafts, and carried to the nations east and west tidings of the appalling catastrophe, which has survived to our own time in Flood and Deluge legends in the different nations of the Old and New Worlds.
Although some of these propositions now appear rather dated and are in some instances factually incorrect, we must keep in mind that they were written over a century ago. It is quite possible that without the impetus created by Donnelly’s book, Atlantis would have remained a relatively obscure subject.
The original text of Atlantis and that of Donnelly’s sequel, Ragnarok, are now available on a number of sites on the Internet(a).
In my view, although I say it with hindsight, all of Donnelly’s propositions are flawed and unsupported by any realistic interpretation of what Plato wrote. If speculation was a taxable commodity in 1882, Donnelly would have been bankrupted.
2014 saw the first translation of Donnelly’s Atlantis into Sinhalese by the Sri Lankan translator G.R.A. Perera(b).
(a) Atlantis, the Antediluvian World Index (archive.org) *
(b) See: https://web.archive.org/web/20140315072609/https://www.sundayobserver.lk/2014/03/09/mon11.asp
Revelation, The Book of
The Book of Revelation is invoked[102.121-125] by Frank Joseph, in attempts to link descriptions in it to the destruction of Atlantis. The proposed connection is rather tenuous and seems to be an attempt to expand on an idea of John Michell, who sees parallels between the destruction of Babylon and that of Atlantis.
Allan & Delair, in their book on prehistoric catastrophes have suggested that the Book of Revelation is not wholly prophetic but in fact, contains references to the effect of a near miss by a large extraterrestrial body.
>In 1935, Kurt Bilau published Die Offenbarungen des Johannis – Ein Mondniederbruch vor 11 400 Jahren” entnommen (The Revelations of St. John – A Moon Collapse 11,400 years Ago p. 57-61). In it, Bilau endeavoured to support Hörbiger’s theories with his interpretation of biblical texts specifically from the Revelations of St John and the Book of Daniel(b)(c).<
H.S. Bellamy‘s book, The Book of Revelation is History  was published during WWII in which he linked this piece of apocalyptic literature with the ‘moon capture theory’ of Hanns Hörbiger.
Others see this final book of the Bible as foreshadowing the end of the world, comparable with the Ragnarok of Norse mythology(a).
(b) The moon capture report according to Daniel and Johannes – Atlantisforschung.de (atlantisforschung-de.translate.goog) *
(c) The Revelations of John – Atlantisforschung.de (atlantisforschung-de.translate.goog) *
Immanuel Velikovsky (1895-1979) was born in what is now Belarus. He was by profession a doctor of medicine, specialising in psychiatry. However, his fame is based on being arguably the most controversial catastrophist of the 20th century. He daringly proposed that the Earth had several close encounters with other planetary bodies that resulted in catastrophic consequences, including interference with the rotation of our planet. He speculated that Atlantis was probably destroyed during one of these cataclysmic events.
John Kettler is an American writer on alternative science and was a frequent contributor to Atlantis Rising magazine. In issue #30(z) of that publication, he reviewed the disgusting manner in which members of the scientific community endeavoured to prevent the publication of Velikovsky’s books. In order to give you the full flavour of the nastiness of their methods, I add three paragraphs here.
“The scientific and academic reaction to the book (Worlds in Collision) was generally presaged by the extortion practised prior to and after publication against the Macmillan Company. As the book began to garner public and in some circles even scientific interest and acclaim, all pretence of genteel discussion went by the boards. Out came the mailed fists, the naked threats and oceans of mud and offal. The attacks targeted three main groups: the public, the scientific and academic community, and Immanuel Velikovsky himself. Nor were such niceties as actually reading the book before denouncing it and its author employed.
Even before the Macmillan Company published the book, renowned astronomer Harlow Shapley arranged multiple intellectual well poisonings by an astronomer, a geologist, and an archaeologist, not one of whom had read the book, in a learned journal. This was a pattern used over and over again.
Shapley and his minions also engineered the sacking of the veteran senior editor (25 years at the Macmillan Company) who accepted Worlds in Collision for publication and got the director of the famous Hayden Planetarium fired for the high crime of proposing to mount a display there, on Velikovsky’s unique cosmological theory. Meanwhile, Velikovsky was systematically attacked in the scientific journals, via distortion, lies, misrepresentation, incompetence and ad hominem attacks, while there never seemed to be space in which he could reply, in order to defend himself.” J. Douglas Kenyon included Kettler’s revealing essay in Forbidden History [802.53].
Some have seen the influence of Ignatius Donnelly’s Ragnarok, written seventy years earlier, in Velikovsky’s cosmic collision theories. Some commentators have noted how Velikovsky seemed reluctant to credit earlier writers, such as W. C. Beaumont and Johann Radlof (1775-1846)(b), with their contributions to the development of the theory of planetary catastrophism. Rens Van Der Sluijs has written an interesting two-part paper(d)(e) listing the catastrophists who preceded Velikovsky demonstrating a certain lack of originality on his part! Others take a more critical view of his ideas(g). In 1950, he responded to this criticism with a defensive piece(n), but I consider it inadequate as he continued to ignore the work of Radlof and Beaumont. Some years ago Ev Cochrane and Phil ‘Pib’ Burns also discussed Velikovsky’s reluctance to credit earlier writers for ideas used by him, compared with the recognition given by Clube & Napier to the work of Velikovsky(x).
Van Der Sluijs has written a two-part(k)(l) article on Velikovsky’s radical views regarding Venus as a comet-like body and how Aztec sources support some of his contentions.
Carl Sagan (1934-1996), was a well-known American astronomer, author and lecturer. He is considered a leading debunker of Velikovsky’s theories. He devoted much of his Broca’s Brain  to this end. Charles Ginenthal (1934-2017) produced an extensive rebuttal of Sagan’s criticisms in Carl Sagan & Immanuel Velikovsky . However, criticism of Velikovsky continues with varying degrees of ferocity, such as that of Leroy Ellenberger, a former supporter of Velikovsky, who contends that the data from the Greenland ice cores fail to support Velikovsky(s).
Velikovsky and Einstein were acquaintances and as Nathaniel Lloyd wrote in his three-part blog on chronological revisionism(y) that when Velikovsky “asked Einstein to read his work and give an opinion. Einstein suggested that Velikovsky might have a hard time finding a publisher, specifically because “every sensible physicist” would realize that the catastrophes Velikovsky described would have completely destroyed the Earth’s crust. Nevertheless, Einstein was kind about his criticism, and Velikovsky was undeterred. But years later, in Einstein’s very last interview, his opinion was less delicate: ‘It really isn’t a bad book,’ he said, laughing. ‘The only trouble with it is, it is crazy’.”
More recently, Paul Dunbavin, author of Towers of Atlantis , has published a paper(r), entitled Catastrophism without Velikovsky, which is highly critical of Velikovsky’s work.
Velikovsky was initially inclined to link the disappearance of Atlantis with the eruption of Thera but later came to support a location between the Azores and the Mid-Atlantic Ridge(i). He was an early questioner of Plato’s figure of 9,000 years for the age of Atlantis, suggesting that it was exaggerated by a factor of ten[0037.152]. ”Whatever the source of the error, the most probable date of the sinking of Atlantis would be in the middle of the second millennium, 900 years before Solon when the earth twice suffered great catastrophes as a result of ‘the shifting of the heavenly bodies.’ These words of Plato received the least attention, though they deserved the greatest.”
Velikovsky offered intriguing evidence that on at least one occasion the early Egyptians experienced the sun rising in the west and set in the east(q)!
His other major contribution was in his questioning of the accepted Bronze Age chronologies of the eastern Mediterranean. Later writers, such as David Rohl and Peter James have built on his chronology work, while Gary Gilligan has added support for Velikovsky’s planetary theories as well. Others have accused Velikovsky of being over-dependent on his belief in the inerrancy of biblical chronology.
>In a recent (2023) paper(ac). on the Academia.edu website Donald Keith Mills was highly critical of Velikovsky’s research on the Hyksos and Amalakites in Ages in Chaos. Mills had earlier written critically of Velikovsky’s Worlds in Collision(ab).
“In Ages in Chaos, Velikovsky made numerous detailed claims which he supported by footnote references to his sources. Those sources were of two kinds: those that would be easily available to most of his readers, such as the Bible and the works of Josephus; and those that would be difficult or impossible for most readers to access, including technical journals and the works of mediaeval Arabian, Persian, and Egyptian writers.
“Access to such materials began to change in the late 20th Century, and I have been able to download almost all of Velikovsky’s “Arabic” sources from the Internet Archive Digital Library (https://archive.org/ ), together with some he didn’t explicitly use. Those original sources, in the same editions as he cited, revealed that his uses of allusions, references, and quotations often failed to agree with what the sources actually said.”
“Repeatedly, when faced with conflicting accounts of pre-Islamic (and essentially prehistoric) events, Velikovsky selected only those that met his purposes. The damaging aspect of this criticism is the fact that, almost without exception, he did so without discussing the alternatives, without providing reasons for rejecting them, and without even acknowledging their existence.“<
One website(a)provides us with a considerable amount of Velikovsky’s unpublished work, while another offers an encyclopedia of his work(c). A more general German site(f), in English, is also worth a visit.
The three of Velikovsky’s most popular books as well as some of his lesser-known papers are available as pdf files(j)(m).
Jan Sammer was an assistant to Velikovsky (1976-1978) and an archivist and editor for the Velikovsky Estate (1980-1983). He advises us that he was involved in the completion of Velikovsky’s unpublished book, In the Beginning(h), which was eventually published in 2020 <. The book’s contents were originally intended to be part of Worlds in Collision. In it, you will find more details of Velikovsky’s claim that within the memory of man, there was a time when we had no Moon, which he claimed was subsequently ‘captured’ by the Earth.>He wrote a short paper in 1973 entitled Earth without a Moon and published by the editors of Pensée in Velikovsky Reconsidered [1877.86], but without any reference to Hanns Hörbiger.
According to Velikovsky, Venus was a relatively recent newcomer to our Solar System and the orbit of Mars had been disturbed, which would suggest that before the arrival of Venus, Bode’s Law would have been invalidated! C.J. Ransom tackled this head-on in The Age of Velikovsky [1880.90]. However, his defence of Bode and Velikovsky was rejected by Dr M. M. Nieto(t).
In 2012, Laird Scranton, published The Velikovsky Heresies, in which he reviews Velikovsky’s controversial theories in the light of scientific discoveries since his death. Not unexpectedly, Scranton does find evidence that supports some of Velikovsky’s contentions.
Ralph E. Juergens, an American engineer, supported Velikovsky with the idea that electromagnetic and electrostatic forces and not conventional celestial mechanics alone were responsible for the cosmic encounters witnessed and recorded by our ancestors(u).
In the late 1990s Sean Mewhinney (1944-2016), a Canadian researcher published a series of papers(w) that was highly critical of Velikovsky’s theories. Much of his criticism was focused on ice-core data. Once again, Charles Ginenthal took up the challenge, responding with an extensive paper entitled Minds in Denial, later the title of an ebook  that include the original paper. Ginenthal also published a book on the Electro-Gravitic Theory of Celestial Motion and Cosmology and its possible application to Velikovsky’s theories(v).
In 2021, Bob Forrest(aa), a British retired mathematics teacher had re-published a book of over 700 pages entitled Velikovsky’s Sources, which deals with Worlds in Collision. It had been originally issued as a series of seven booklets between 1981 and 1985. These have now been combined in one volume and edited by Donald Keith Mills and available on the Academia.edu website(ab). The content is a critique of Velikovsky’s work and now forty years later Forrest still believes “that Velikovsky was spectacularly wrong.”
Some readers may wish to see a video by Wallace Thornhill, of Electric Universe fame, in which he discusses Velikovsky’s Astrophysics(o). There are several related papers and books, including some Velikovskian material, freely available online(p).
(e) https://www.thunderbolts.info/wp/2013/01/23/on-the-shoulders-of-suppressed-giants-part-two-2/ (f) http://www.velikovsky.de/en/velikovsky.html
(g) See: https://web.archive.org/web/20180305142157/https://abob.libs.uga.edu/bobk/velidelu.html
(p) Free Electric Universe theory ebooks and related research papers (archive.org)
(q) The Sun rose in the west? Egyptian evidence? (archive.org)
(t) The Titius-Bode Law (archive.org)
(v) TheElectroGraviticTheoryofCelestialMotionandCosmology.pdf (rogerswebsite.com)
(x) How much do Clube and Napier owe Velikovsky? (pibburns.com)
(y) The Chronological Revision Chronicles, Part One: The Fomenko Timeline — Historical Blindness (Part 2)
(z) Atlantis Rising magazine #30 http://pdfarchive.info/index.php?pages/At
(aa) Home Page (bobforrestweb.co.uk)
(ab) (82) [Forrest 2021] Velikovsky’s Sources: Worlds in Collision | Donald Keith Mills – Academia.edu
(ac) (99+) VELIKOVSKY AND THE AMALEKITES | Donald Keith Mills – Academia.edu *
Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel
Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel  by Ignatius Donnelly, who took the title of his book from the word ‘Ragnarök’, which in Scandinavian mythology describes the destruction of the world of men and gods. He claims to have written this 450-page book in seven weeks in 1882. Some later editions have misleadingly added The Destruction of Atlantis to the original title, as Atlantis is only peripheral to the subject in a book title will always help to inflate sales.
>A number of contemporary press reviews of Ragnarok when it was originally published have been made available on the Atlantisforschung website(e).<
Coincidentally, just two centuries earlier Edmund Halley had also speculated that a cometary encounter with the Earth had led to the biblical Deluge(d). William Whiston offered a related theory.
Donnelly seems to have anticipated the work of Immanuel Velikovsky when he wrote of a close encounter or actual impact with the Earth by a comet. He presents an array of geological evidence to support this contention. In addition, he proposes that this celestial clash is also a displacement of the poles. Again this is an idea that was taken up by a number of writers in the succeeding century and is still strongly supported today. Like Velikovsky, Donnelly postulated that the resulting catastrophes were recorded in mythology and biblical texts. One of the specific consequences of this encounter was the destruction of Atlantis, which he expanded on in his previous book, Atlantis, concerning Plato’s sunken civilisation. Both of Donnelly’s books are available on the Internet(a).
The catastrophism of Donnelly’s Ragnarok can be seen as anticipating aspects of the more recent theories of Richard Firestone and his colleagues that have come to be known as the Younger Dryas Impact Hypothesis (YDIH).
In 2013 experts in Norse mythology announced that a Viking apocalyptic ‘Ragnarok’ was due on February 22nd 2014! (b) The claim, which I suspect was a publicity stunt, was downplayed on February 23.
(a) Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel Index (archive.org)
(e) Contemporary press reviews of Ignatius Donnelly’s ‘Ragnarok’ – Atlantisforschung.de (atlantisforschung-de.translate.goog)