Rens Van Der Sluijs
Myths along with legends and nursery thymes are part of a culture’s folklore. The word is given a primary meaning in dictionaries of “a traditional story of unknown authorship, serving usually to explain some phenomenon of nature, the origin of man, or the customs, religious rites etc. of a people. Mythological ‘gods’ were frequently personifications of those natural phenomena. A secondary meaning is ‘fictitious story’ which is the usual dismissive and derogatory application of the term to the Atlantis story. Time and time again, various ‘myths’ across a wide range of cultures have been shown to have a factual basis. These myths were generated to explain something that is important but incomprehensible. Sometimes myths are imported from other cultures and languages, leading to possible distortion of the original tale.
J. V. Luce, the Irish classics scholar, has highlighted[0120.14] how various Greek myths and legends have been proven to contain historical elements and that Plato’s Atlantis story should be studied with this in mind.
Alexander Braghine quotes the French historian, Gustave Glotz (1862-1935), who wrote in his History of Greece, that “it is a well-known fact that legend comes before history, but an attentive and rigorous analysis of any myth gives us the opportunity to detect historical data even in a myth. The comparative method is very useful in these cases.”
Luce has also pointed out that Plato also uses ‘logos’ or truth rather than ‘muthos’ or legend when referring to the Atlantis story.
Euhemerus (circa 300 BC) was one of the first to propose that the ‘gods’ of Greek myth were in fact ancient heroes that were, by convention, posthumously ‘deified’ by their bardic biographers.
It is perfectly reasonable to assume that the older a myth is the less specific detail it may retain regarding any underlying truth. I would suggest that Plato’s story has at least two elements; (i) an ancient and powerful civilisation was destroyed through inundation hundreds if not thousands of years earlier and (ii) the detailed description of an expansionist Bronze Age alliance that was also destroyed. The first, because of its antiquity, is of necessity vague; the second is incredibly detailed in the manner of an eyewitness account.
The ancient Greeks were apparently not conscious of the last Ice Age and the consequent effects of the melting of the retreating glaciers. Today we are aware of these events and find it interesting that Plato’s description of the flooding of Atlantis and its date appears compatible with real prehistoric facts, although the melting of the glaciers was a relatively slow process and is highly unlikely to have submerged Atlantis in ‘a day and a night’. The second element in Plato’s story is too detailed to be considered as fact but could be accepted as a reasonable embellishment by Plato who in order to emphasise the might of the earlier civilisation, ascribed to it all the trappings of contemporary imperial nations such as the Persians.
Before writing was developed our ancestors artfully used the rhyme and rhythm (meter) of poetry as a vehicle to ensure the faithful conveyance of their legends and traditions over countless generations. However, the details are often misunderstood or corrupted when such traditions are translated into different languages and the aide memoire value of the original poetry is lost. Even when writing was available but known only to an elite few, the value of verse as a transmission vehicle continued for thousands of years.
The value of traditional stories was highlighted by a recent paper presented at a conference in Japan which resulted from a study of Aboriginal stories from around the Australian coast(d). The details in those stories, relating to the rising sea levels at the end of the last Ice Age, coincide with remarkable accuracy to what has already been demonstrated scientifically. The conclusion is that these oral traditions can reliably span at least ten millennia and raise questions regarding the value traditional tales in other parts of the globe.
The Internet provides useful access to various mythological resources. One of those is Mythopedia(a) which has a valuable collection of articles and images dealing with mythologies and religions and the possible influence of ancient celestial sights on some aspects of them.
A paper(b) available on the internet by R. Cedric Leonard discusses with his usual thoroughness, various traditions and mythologies that may have contained details of the Atlantis story before Plato wrote his Timaeus and Critias dialogues.
In 2009, a paper(e) on the reliability of orally transmitted myths by Rens Van der Sluijs was published on the thunderbolts website. The same is said of the accuracy of nursery rhymes and other folk tales(f) some of which were of a more secular and sometimes subversive nature(g).
A groundbreaking overview of mythology is on offer from E. J. Michael Witzel (1943- ) who has traced the origins of many our myths to origins in Africa 100.000 years ago with the understandable revisions and accretions as humans spread throughout our planet, producing both new and local variations of the same themes. His influence today is seen by some, but not all, as comparable to that of James Frazer (1854-1941) and Eliade Mircea (1907-1986).
Ice Ages have been a fact of life on Earth for aeons, according to conventional ice age theory. There is now evidence that during the very early existence of our planet, the entire Earth was completely glaciated, possibly twice!(w)
However, the exact cause of the onset of an ice age is still a matter of active debate. Ralph Ellis has now proposed a new theory based on a cyclical alteration of polar albedo by atmospheric dust(n).
Over the last three million years, a period referred to by geologists as the Pleistocene Epoch, at least thirty Ice Ages have been ‘identified’. The exact extent of the polar ice caps during the last Ice Age is the subject of some debate with new evidence from northern Sweden and Norway, suggesting a less extensive cap than previously believed. Various theories have been proposed to explain the onset and the ending of these Ice Ages ranging from changes in the earth’s orbit(g) around the sun to the effects of the Earth’s passage through the spiral arms of the Milky Way.
Over recent decades we have been consistently told that global warming is underway with a constant threat of rising sea levels. Consequently, it was no surprise when, in April 2018, The Guardian had a headline declaring that Glacier loss is accelerating because of global warming(r). However, an equally up-to-date website(s) claims that most of the worlds glaciers are actually growing and makes the comparable assertion that sea levels have stopped rising(t). Over a decade ago the well-known botanist David Bellamy made similar claims, that were refuted in a revealing article by George Monbiot, also in The Guardian(u).
Emilio Spedicato has proposed(a) that glaciations are started by asteroidal or cometary impacts on land and terminated by impacts with an ocean. The late Sir Fred Hoyle and his equally radical colleague Chandra Wickramasinghe concurred with this view. They believe that an impact of sufficient size would have vaporised and ejected billions of gallons of water into the upper atmosphere creating an immediate ‘greenhouse effect’ that then led to the melting of the glaciers.
The last Ice Age reached what is known as the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) around 25,000 -15,000 BP, according to Ray & Adams(q). LGM describes the time when the glaciers reached their maximum extension.
Remarkably, the very existence of an Ice Age was only first conceived just over 150 years ago when Louis Agassiz first published his theory. It took another century before it was fully realised that some of the consequences of the melting of the glaciers at the end of each Ice Age, would have been the flooding of continental shelves and the breaching of low-lying land bridges.
An example of such events would have been the submergence of the majority of the Celtic Shelf separating Britain and Ireland from mainland Europe. In the South China Sea large chunks of what is known as Sundaland were also flooded. At the eastern end of the Mediterranean the Bosporus was breached flooding the Black Sea and more controversially some claim that there had been a breach of a landbridge at the Strait of Gibraltar.
Prompted by the fact that the date given by Solon/Plato for the destruction, 9600 BC coincides with the retreating of the last Ice Age, all the above submergences and breaches have been included in the Atlantis debate.
New studies have shown interesting confirmation of the ‘Out of Africa’ theory, which had recently come under attack. The effects of the last Ice Age on the population of Europe were apparently quite dramatic(l). In 2013, journalist, Paul Salopek set out on a 21,000 mile walking journey from East Africa, across Asia and down the west coast of the Americas in an attempt to emulate mankind’s long odyssey as he populated the planet(v).
The most recent genetic studies suggest that “a vast inland oasis in present-day northern Botswana was once home to the founder population of all modern humans.” (x)
A first-rate work by Steven Mithen on the aftermath of the last Ice Age was recently published.
Fundamentalist Christians who believe in a literal seven days of creation have great difficulty with modern Ice Age theory(b) and some propose that an ice age occurred after the biblical Deluge(f) . Furthermore, it would be dishonest if I did not record that there have been more credible attempts to totally debunk(e) ‘conventional’ Ice Age Theory. The late Peter K. Bros (1939-2007) expressed such views in J. Douglas Kenyon’s Forbidden History[802.44]. Furthermore, Allan & Delair offer similar views in Chapter 12 of Part One of their acclaimed book Cataclysm as does Richard E.Mooney[0842.87].
The Thunderbolts website has a forum(h) dealing with whether Ice Ages occurred at all! Those interested in this particular controversy will find some worthwhile comments there. The same site has linked to an article that offers further challenges to conventional Ice Age and global warming theories. This report(j) concerns the discovery of the remains of a 4,000-year-old forest in the Alps at the edge of a retreating glacier, which added further evidence that warmer climates than at present were experienced since the last Ice Age. A regular Thunderbolts contributor, Rens Van Der Sluijs, also deals with global warming during the last Ice Age as revealed through mythology(k). However, Thunderbolts ‘Electric Universe’ concept has also received some highly critical reviews(m).
An interesting side issue is the work of Genevieve von Petzinger(y) who has collated recurring geometric symbols found in the Ice Age caves and rock carvings, not only across Europe, but in Asia and less frequently in Africa and the Americas.
The University of Sheffield have now produced a set of maps showing the shrinkage of the last glacial ice sheet that covered most of the British Isles at the end of the last Ice Age(d). That particular ice sheet contained enough water to raise the world’s oceans by 2.5 metres when melted. Further maps have been published on Don Hitchcock’s website(i).
The retreating ice sheets also produced drumlins, with as many as 20,000 to be found in Ireland, with many of these and other Ice Age creations featuring in the placenames of my country(p).
For some fundamentalist Christians the (only) Ice Age lasted from around 2500 BC until 1500 BC(o).
(m) See: Archive 922
Immanuel Velikovsky (1895-1979) 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 a number of 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.
Some have seen the influence of Ignatius Donnelly’s Ragnarok, written seventy years earlier, in Velikovsky’s cosmic collision theories. In fact a number of 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.
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 continue 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 fails to support Velikovsky(s).<
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 setting 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.
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, which can be read online(h).
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.
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 a number of free papers and books, including some Velivovskian material, available online(p).