Rainer W. Kühne
Scheria is the name of a Phaeacian island mentioned by Homer in his Odyssey and identified by some, including Ignatius Donnelly, as Atlantis. Scheria has been noted as only second to Atlantis for the array locations ascribed to it. For example, Heinrich Schliemann, as well as many ancient and modern commentators, considered Scheria to have been Corfu. Others, such as Felice Vinci suggest Norway, while Iman Wilkens offers the Canaries.
>A recent paper by Gerard Janssen, of Leiden University, also places Scheria in the Canaries, specifically on Lanzarote(f). This one of an extensive series of papers by Janssen, which links Homer’s geography with locations in the Atlantic(g). An introductory paper(h) might be the best place to start.<
Armin Wolf (1935- ), the German historian, suggests(b) Calabria in Southern Italy was Scheria and even more controversially that the Phaeacians were in fact Phoenicians!
Wolf also claims[669.326] that although the country of the Phaeacians is in some translations called an island, the original Greek text never calls it ‘island’ just Scheria, which, Wolf informs us, etymologically means ‘continent’ – perfectly fitting Calabria. Even today, when people from Sicily go to Calabria they say they are going to the ‘continente’. Wolf puts Scheria in the vicinity of Catanzaro, the capital of Calabria. It has been suggested to me in private correspondence(d) that the etymology of Catanzaro is strongly indicative of a Phoenician influence! Catanzaro is also known as ‘the city of the two seas’, having the Tyrrhenian Sea to the west and the Ionian Sea to the east. It is Wolf’s contention that it was across this isthmus that Odysseus travelled[p.327].
A further mystery is that, according to Dr. Ernst Assmann quoted by Edwin Bjorkman, “both the vessel of Odysseus, as pictured in Greek art, and the term applied to it, are of Phoenician origin.”
Daniel Fleck(a) lists ten similarities between Scheria and Atlantis. Jürgen Spanuth quoted and added to an even more extensive list of comparisons between the two compiled by R. Hennig. Rainer W. Kühne has also written a paper(c) on the similarities.Walter Leaf perceived a connection between the two and wrote accordingly. Edwin Björkman went further and wrote a book that linked Tartessos, Scheria and Atlantis. More recently, Roger Coghill stressed the similarity of Homer’s Scheria to Plato’s Atlantis in The Message of Atlantis . Ernle Bradford notes that the name Scheria itself is thought by some to be derived from the Phoenician word ‘schera’, which means marketplace, which is not incompatible with Plato’s description of Atlantis as a hive of commercial activity [1011.204] .
Michael MacRae in his Sun Boat: The Odyssey Deciphered also thinks that Scheria could be identified with Atlantis and as such was probably situated at the western end of the Gulf of Cadiz near Portugal’s Cape Vincent. A number of 20th century researchers such as Sykes and Mertz have places the travels of Odysseus in the Atlantic. More recently, Gerard Janssen has followed this school of thought and as part of his theories identifies Scheria as the island of Lanzarote in the Canaries (e).
However, Ernle Bradford, who retraced the voyage of Odysseus, voiced his view that Corfu was the land of the Phaeacians and noted that “the voice of antiquity is almost as unanimous about Scheria being Corfu as it is about the Messina Strait being the home of Scylla and Charybdis.”
(a) See: Archive 2087
(d) Private correspondence Jan. 2016
Georgeos Diaz–Montexano (1966- ) is the nom de plume of Cuban born Jorge Diaz Sanchez. He has been exploring off the coast of southern Spain and Gibraltar for evidence of Atlantis. He is the founder of the Civilisations Origins Scientific Society and is a leading advocate for the Afro-Iberian location theory. He contends that Atlantis was only partially submerged and that parts of it, which remained above water, are now to be found in south west Spain and northern Morocco.
Jacques Collina-Girard who, the following year also opted for the Strait of Gibraltar and more specifically Spartel Island mirrored Montexano’s theory on the location of Atlantis, first expressed publicly in April 2000. Intense rivalry exists between the two men as is evident from the content of Diaz-Montexano’s websites.
More recently Diaz-Montexano has also accused Dr. Rainer W. Kühne of plagiarism(a) and for good measure threw in a few unkind words about Robert Sarmast and his identification of Cyprus as the location of Atlantis. His online debates in various forums with other writers have been frequently marred by acrimony.
Diaz-Montexano has studied the earliest versions of the Atlantis story and published a considerable amount of controversial material on the Internet relating to the accuracy of the Platonic texts that we use today. Unfortunately, the English version of this work has been poorly translated from the Spanish leaving a monolingual such as myself unable to clearly understand what has been written. One of the most interesting comments(b) from Diaz-Montexano relate to his study of a 16th century translation of Critias that in his view indicate that 9,000 was NOT the number of years recorded by Solon. His firm conclusion is that Atlantis was destroyed between 1500BC and 1300BC.
Diaz-Montexano has also unearthed a number of ancient Spanish works including a Chronicle of Zaragoza that he maintains includes a number of obvious references to a Spanish connection with Atlantis(c) . Unfortunately, once again, the quality of his English makes any clear reading very difficult. The only ‘Chronicle of Zaragoza’ that I could locate was a two-page document covering the period 450–568 AD that is totally unrelated to the Atlantis question. Nevertheless, it does appear that he has discovered information that may have an important bearing on the resolution of the Atlantis mystery.
Without wishing to detract from any work that Diaz-Montexano has done, it may be no harm to point out that while he has been free with his accusations of plagiarism, he himself has been accused of fraudulently misleading the public regarding his academic qualifications(d).
In August 2012 he published the first volume of a large six-volume work, ATLANTIS <> TARTESSOS. AEGYPTIUS CODEX. Epítome de la Atlántida Histórico-Científica, devoted to arguing the case for a Iberian Atlantis. Unfortunately, this huge undertaking is only available, at least initially, in Castilian Spanish. This promises to be an important addition to Atlantean literature and Diaz-Montexano is to be congratulated for his efforts.
The first volume begins with a critical overview of recent Atlantis theories such as those of Robert Sarmast (Cyprus) and Ulf Erlingsson (Ireland) and then proceeds to analyse the texts of ancient writers wherever they refer directly or indirectly to Atlantis. He cites the original Greek texts together with a modern (Spanish) translation. This first volume is also available as an inexpensive (€1.95) Kindle ebook. July 2015 saw the publication of another Kindle book by Diaz-Montexano entitled ATLÁNTIDA Historia y Ciencia (Atlantis: History and Science) together with a synopsis online(e).
Late in 2016 will see the broadcasting of a new documentary by National Geographic concerning Atlantis in the Mediterranean. Diaz-Montexano has already been interviewed in connection with this production as has Robert Ishoy. The exact focus of the show, if there is one, is still unclear, but the involvement of James Cameron and Simcha Jacobovici as co-producers has widely publicised.
In conjunction with the filming of the new NG documentary, Diaz-Montexano has decided to publish, in English, the details of his Atlantis studies over the past decades. Available is the introduction and outline of the new book(f), NG National Geographic and the scientific search for Atlantis published in January 2017, in both English and Spanish, to coincide with the airing of the documentary at the end of that month.
*(e) See: Archive 2579 (English & Spanish)
Dr. Spyridon Marinatos (1901-1974) was born in Lixouri, Cephalonia, Greece. In the early 1930’s he was engaged in excavations on Crete but was soon to turn his attention northward to Santorini. He was an early supporter of a connection between Thera and Plato’s Atlantis story. In 1939 Marinatos first published his views regarding the connection between Thera’s eruption and the destruction of Minoan civilisation in the journal, Antiquity. However, the editors forbade Marinatos to make any reference to Atlantis. This is very different to the attitude of the same publication recently, when it permitted a speculative article by Dr Rainer W. Kuhne that proposed a site in Andalusia as the site of Atlantis based on satellite photos of the lower Guadalquivir River. Perhaps it should be noted here that Dr. Kuhne has pointed out that Marinatos, like himself, identified the Atlanteans with the Sea Peoples.
Marinatos was fascinated by Thera since the early 1930’s but was unable to take up continuous excavation until 1967. This continued until his death in 1974, following a fall on the site. Charles Pellegrino has written a fascinating book about Thera and Marinatos’ work there. Work at the site continued under the direction of Dr. Christos Doumas a confirmed Atlantis sceptic.
In 2003, Mario la Ferla published L’uomo di Atlantide in which he investigated the ‘suspicious’ death of Marinatos and its aftermath. In this book, Atlantis takes a back seat to terrorists, the Greek colonels and Nazis(a).
Werner Wickboldt (1943- ) is a teacher and amateur archaeologist, living in Braunschweig, Germany. On January 8, 2003, he gave a lecture on the results of his examination of satellite photos of a region south of Seville, in Parque National Coto de Doñana, he had detected structures that very closely resemble those, which Plato has described on Atlantis. These structures include a rectangle of size 180 x 90 metres (Temple of Poseidon?) and a square of 180 x 180 meters (Temple of Poseidon and Kleito?). Concentric circles, whose sizes are very close to Plato’s description, surround these two rectangular structures. The largest of these has a radius of 2.5 km. Among the suggested explanations for the structures are; a Roman ‘Castro’, a Viking fort or even a dam for salt production, which is an activity still carried today in the locality.
In his lecture, Wickboldt went further and claimed that the Atlanteans should be identified as the Sea Peoples.
Wickboldt’s discovery inspired Rainer Kühne to develop his theory on Atlantis, which was published in Antiquity. Wickboldt and Kühne hold differing views on various aspects of the Atlantis, which were aired in the comments section of an online forum in 2011(b).
Some debate has developed regarding the actual state of this area in Phoenician times.
It would appear that, during the Roman period, sedimentation brought the mouth of the Guadalquivir about 40 km further south to a position near modern Lebrija. However, in the age of the Tartessians, it was only 13 km south of Seville. If correct this would imply that Wickboldt’s structures were under water at the time of Plato’s Atlantis. The only way to resolve this issue would be to excavate on the site, but unfortunately, the location is in a national park and at that time any digging was forbidden. Nevertheless, non-intrusive investigative methods were employed to produce additional evidence that might justify a formal archaeological dig. 2010 saw this work begin at the site, with preliminary results indicating that the area was probably hit by a tsunami or a storm flood in the 3rd millennium BC.
The sedimentation argument is not clear-cut, so that over a period of millennia, when other factors such as seismic activity are brought into the picture, different scenarios are possible. Even if it is not Atlantis or one of its colonies, it would still appear to be a very interesting site, with a story to tell.
Acropolis is the name given to the central highest position in ancient Greek cities, occupied by the principal religious and civic buildings. The Athenian acropolis was crowned by the magnificent Parthenon, constructed between 447-432 BC. An interesting claim is that the Parthenon was once ‘a riot of colour’(d). Another remarkable feature of the building is that its breadth has been carefully measured at 101.34 feet, which is exactly a second of latitude at the equator(b). The acropolis of Athens is the best known and often erroneously referred to as ‘The’ Acropolis. It is worth noting that the general description of an acropolis is mirrored in Plato’s description of the central buildings of Atlantis that were also located on elevated ground. Writers such as Jürgen Spanuth, Rainer W. Kühne(a) as well as Papamarinopoulos(c) have concluded that the acropolis of Athens provides convincing evidence that the war between Atlantis and Athens took place around 1200 BC. Papamarinopoulos comments further that the “Athens of Critias, is proved a reality of the 12th century B.C., described only by Plato and not by historians, such as Herodotus, Thucydides and others. Analysts of the past have mixed Plato’s fabricated Athens presented in his dialogue Republic with the non-fabricated Athens of his dialogue Critias. This serious error has deflected researchers from their target to interpret Plato’s text efficiently.” (e)
Plato referred to dwellings for warriors (Crit. 112b) situated to the north of the Acropolis that were built in the 15th century BC and were not located again until the earlier part of our 20th century. He also refers to a spring (Critias 112d) that was destroyed during an earthquake. Kühne notes that this spring only existed for about 25 years but was found by the Swedish archaeologist, Oscar Broneer (1894-1992), who excavated there from 1959 to 1967. The destruction of the spring and barracks, by an earthquake, was confirmed as having occurring at the end of the 12th century BC. Plato describes how these catastrophes, of inundation and earthquake, that caused the destruction on the Acropolis, were only survived by those living inland, who were uneducated illiterate people, resulting in the knowledge of writing being lost.
J. Chadwick & Michael Ventris have shown that Linear B was written in an early Greek language and that in Greece it remained in use until around 1200 BC. Subsequently, the Greeks were without a script until the 8th century BC. This date of 1200 BC would appear to match the end of the war between Athens and Atlantis except for Plato’s reference to the earthquake being accompanied by a flood that was the third before the flood of Deucalion, usually dated to at least some centuries before 1200 BC, which implies an earlier date for the Atlantean war.
Collina-Girard in common with many others seems convinced that Atlantis was destroyed around 9500 BC but that Plato’s description of Atlantis is fictional. Collina-Girard’s theory of an Atlantis in the Gibraltar Strait inundated at the end of the Ice Age many thousands of years before the Acropolis existed, forced him to denounce Plato’s Bronze Age descriptions as fiction otherwise he could not justify the exploration of Spartel Island.
Jacques Collina–Girard (1949- ), from the University of the Mediterranean in Aix-en-Provence, is seeking evidence of Atlantis in the Strait of Gibraltar. A study of bathymetric charts of the western strait, led to the identification of an underwater feature, known as Spartel Island, as a potential candidate for the location of Atlantis. Spartel is one island in an archipelago that would have been exposed during the last Ice Age. Critics of his theory have pointed out that the small size of Spartel is in sharp contrast with the description given by Plato. Collina-Girard admits to this weakness in his theory and offers some possible explanations(a). Nevertheless, in the same 2002 paper, he fails to address the discrepancy between 9000 BC date for Spartel and the Bronze Age society described by Plato. He stated to the 2005 Atlantis Conference on Melos that prehistoric oral traditions could have been transmitted over thousands of years until recorded in writing during the 4th millennium BC by Egyptian scribes [629.439].
Collina-Girard has proposed the location of Atlantis in approximately the same area as that suggested by Georgeos Diaz-Montexano. Intense rivalry exists between the two men with Diaz-Montexano claiming to have publicly identified the probable site of Plato’s Atlantis a year earlier than Collina-Girard. In 2009 Collina-Girard had his ideas published in book form. This has now been critically reviewed by Heinz-Guenther Nesselrath(c).
Marc-André Gutcher a geophysicist at the University of Western Brittany had initially supported Collina-Girard’s theory but later retracted(d) havingconcluded that Spartel Island when above sea level during the last Ice Age was probably only inhabited by a few fishermen and that it was not home to the Bronze Age society described by Plato.
Rainer W. Kühne, who favours a location on mainland Spain, has also argued against the idea of Spartel Island as Atlantis(b).