Matthew P. Courville is the Canadian author of Ancient Navigators  with the bold subtitle of Phoenician Colony of Atlantis. The author is not the first to associate the Phoenicians with Atlantis, but he is certainly the first to offer a reasoned argument rather than speculation to justify the suggestion. That is not to say that Courville has completely avoided conjecture.
He suggests that the ‘opposite continent’ referred to by Plato was Africa. Many have proposed America, while I offered Europe, specifically Southern Italy. One important point with which I agree with Courville on, is that the apparent date of 9600 BC offered by Plato for the time of the Atlantean War is blatantly wrong.
However, we disagree on a number of other issues. Courville arbitrarily decided that the unit of linear measure, the Greek stade, employed by Plato, should have been the ‘plethrum’, but offers little to support this contention. Also unexplained is when Plato does use the plethron are we also to assume that he meant something else? In Critias 116a & 118c the stade and the plethrum appear together but in contexts where, taken at face value, both appear to offer exaggerated dimensions!
I found Courville’s reinterpretation of Athanasius Kircher’s map of Atlantis particularly annoying. Kircher clearly marked Atlantis as situated in the Atlantic Ocean, with Spain and Africa on one side and America on the other. If, as proposed by Courville, Atlantis is Africa, how could it be between itself and America as shown on Kircher’s map? However, my view is that Atlantis was situated in the Mediterranean, where the only two locations unambiguously named as Atlantean were located, namely Southern Italy and North Africa along with some of the numerous Central Mediterranean islands.
I could continue on a nitpicking expedition, but it would seem pointless if we cannot agree on the basic question of the location of Atlantis. His idea that the Atlanteans were Phoenician must compete with the theories that they were connected with the Sea Peoples or the Hyksos, both of whom were active in the second millennium BC.
The author has obviously put a lot of work into this book, so it is a pity that we have a 400-page work without an index.
Carl Feagans is an American archaeologist and a dedicated sceptic who has occasionally featured in these pages. His most recent offering is a critique of Marco Vigato‘s Empires of Atlantis , which ended his harsh assessment with “Vigato began his book with a conclusion. He tried to support that conclusion with pseudoscientific and fictional accounts he apparently gathered for 15 years.”(a)
>He has also offered a lengthy attack on Michael Jaye‘s Global Flood theory.(b)<
G. C. Aethelman is an historian from Cantabria in Spain. Since 2012 he has published the magazine Atlántida, which focuses on the Bronze Age. In 2017, he bravely entered the battlefield of atlantology with his book Atlántida: el reino del olvido (Atlantis: The Kingdom of Oblivion) . He places the Atlantean capital in the marshes at the mouth of the Guadalquivir River in Southwest Andalusia.
Greek Colonisation is something of misnomer on two counts. First of all is the fact that there was no unified Greek state until the time of Alexander the Great. Instead the territory was fragmented into a number of competing city- states (poleis) that formed shifting alliances to meet the exigencies of the day.
Secondly, the term ‘colonisation’ did not mean the same then as it does today. Individual city states had their own expansion ambitions, which were generally concerned with trade rather than territory. It seems that most of the colonies began as trading posts, known as emporia(a), some developing into towns, others grew into urban centres and even established colonies of their own.
In the first millennium BC, some of the Greek city-states gradually expanded their influence(c) eastward into Asia Minor and the Black Sea and westward along the northern coast of the Mediterranean, eventually founding Massalia (modern Marseilles), which established emporia in eastern Spain.
>Some writers, such as Henriette Mertz, have proposed that the ancient Greeks travelled as far as America and that Homer’s story of Odysseus was a retelling of such a voyage. More recently, Minas Tsikritsis has claimed that the Greeks had contact with North America, at least as far back as 86 AD!(d) Some time later he expanded on the idea in a paper published on the Researchgate website(e). Manolis Koutlis went further in his book, In the Shadow: The Greek Colonies of North America and the Atlantic 1500 BC -1500 AD .
Even more extreme is the odd claim by Lonko Kilapan that ancient Greeks colonists settled in Chile and whose descendants are known now as Mapuche and earlier as Araucans or Araucanians(f) . Michael Issigonis has championed the idea of early Greeks in South America and elsewhere on the Academia.edu website(g)(h).<
The Phoenicians had their own city-states such a Tyre, Sidon and Byblos. They established ‘colonies along north Africa, and Spain. They competed with the Greeks, particularly in the central Mediterranean, where at one point they shared Sicily. Settlers from Tyre founded Carthage, which in turn became more powerful than and independent of its parent city and became more belligerent, eventually engaging in a series of wars with Rome, which it lost.
There is much more relevant information to be found on the excellent Ancient History Encyclopedia website(b) .
National Geographic or Nat Geo are the 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.
In May 1922 NG published its first picture of Stonehenge, now a century later it returned to this remarkable monument for its cover story in its August 2022 edition. It highlights how the use of new technologies has greatly enhanced our knowledge of the site and the people who built it. Jim Leary, a lecturer in field archaeology at the University of York admits that “a lot of the things we were taught as undergraduates in the 1990s we know now simply aren’t true.” This beautifully illustrated article is a useful update on developments at this huge UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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 is 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 but 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. 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 the Italian peninsula 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 the truth. Perhaps, more revealing is that Cameron is not fully convinced by the speculative conclusions of his own 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.
For me, NG’s credibility as a TV documentary maker has diminished in recent years. Just one reason is the “2010 National Geographic Channel programme, 2012: The Final Prophecy, enthused about an illustration in the Mayan document known as the Dresden Codex (because of where it is now kept), which was claimed to show evidence of a catastrophic flood bringing the world to an end in 2012. This illustration included a representation of a dragon-like figure in the sky spewing water from its mouth onto the Earth beneath, which has been taken by some, although by no means all, experts in Mesoamerican mythology to indicate the onset of a terminal world-flood. However, no date was given, so the link with 2012 is entirely spurious (Handwerk, 2009; Hoopes, 2011).”(n)
(d) See: Archive 3582
(n) Doomsday Cults and Recent Quantavolutions, by Trevor Palmer (q-mag.org) (about 2/3rds down page)
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
Pabhat Rainjan Sarkar (1921-1990) was an Indian philosopher and spiritual leader with followers in over 130 countries. I am reliably informed that he expressed a number of beliefs regarding Atlantis, the core of which was that it was a huge continent that existed in the Atlantic. He also believed that Atlantis joined Africa and Iberia with a landbridge at Gibraltar. The destruction of Atlantis by an extensive earthquake separated Europe from Africa and also led to the creation of the Sahara.
In the book, Travels with the Mystic Master(a) by Dada Dharmavedananda, Sarkar is quoted as saying that ” The old Atlantis is now underwater except for parts of Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Iceland.”[1209.208]
Stuart Webb is the author of a number of books(a) on paranormal subjects including a short 80-page volume entitled Atlantis and Other Lost Worlds. This is a lightweight review of Atlantis theories; Spain, Canaries, Santorini etc.
Jean-Pierre Pätznick is a French Egyptologist who is due to address a conference in May 2015 with the theme of L’Atlantide et l’Égypte (Atlantis and Egypt). His own paper is entitled Atlantis and the Land of the Pharaohs: Egyptian origin of the myth?
I’m given to understand that Pätznick was influenced by the theories of the late Michael Hübner.
In August 2020, Thorwald C. Franke drew attention to a recent article by Päznick in the French Egyptological magazine Pharon>(No 41)(b).<Franke has written a review of the article (in English)(a) , expressing overall disapointment with its content. Päznick now appears to favour Spain and/or Morocco as the location of Atlantis?
(b) (99+) (PDF) Atlantis: ‘Lost in Translations’ – In Search of the Egyptian Version | Jean-Pierre PÄTZNICK – Academia.edu (French with English translation available) *
Charles Frédéric Martins (1806-1889) was a French botanist and geologist who was so intrigued by the similarity of geology as well as plant species on the Azores, Spain and Ireland that he suggested in his 1866 book, Du Spitzberg Au Sahara, that these were physically linked in the distant past and that they may have been part of Atlantis(a).
>Martins also said, in the Revue des Deux Mondes for March 1, 1867, “Now, hydrography, geology, and botany agree in teaching us that the Azores, the Canaries, and Madeira are the remains of a great continent which formerly united Europe to North America.”<
(a) https://translate.google.com.mt/translate?hl=en&sl=fr&u=https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k253383&prev=search (link broken) *