An A-Z Guide To The Search For Plato's Atlantis

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    Joining The Dots

    I have now published my new book, Joining The Dots, which offers a fresh look at the Atlantis mystery. I have addressed the critical questions of when, where and who, using Plato’s own words, tempered with some critical thinking and a modicum of common sense.Read More »
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Wm. Scott-Elliot

Alphabet of Atlantis, The

The Alphabet of Atlantis according to Ignatius Donnelly was the inspiration for the Phoenician alphabet. In fact, one of the objectives of Donnelly’s 1882 book was to prove “that the Phœnician alphabet, parent of all the European alphabets, was derived from an Atlantis alphabet, which was also conveyed from Atlantis to the Mayas of Central America.” (Pt.III chap.7)

>Orly Goldwasser is an Israeli professor of Egyptology, who controversially claims that the alphabet was invented around 1840 BCE by illiterate Canaanite mining experts working in the Sinai site of Serabit el-Khadem.” She expands on this in Appendix B of Pharaoh in Canaan: The Untold Story [1790], which is available online(f).<

R. Cedric Leonard has explored this possibility in a series of articles(a) and concluded that the hypothesis has merit. However, the Phoenician ‘alphabet’ lacked vowel signs and so should perhaps be called a betadelt? It took the Greeks to introduce vowel symbols and give us a writing method superior to that of the Phoenicians and which, by extension, if we accept the views of Donnelly and Leonard, is more flexible than the Atlantean system. The earliest Indian symbol has been dated to the 9th century AD in Gwalior, however, the mathematician, Amir Aczel has now traced an earlier zero from the 7th century AD in Cambodia(c). Suggestions of even earlier dates are strongly disputed(e).

The imaginative William Scott-Elliot had a slightly different view which he expressed as follows; “It is probable that the earliest form of alphabet was hieroglyphic, “the writing of the Gods,” as the Egyptians called it, and that it developed later in Atlantis into the phonetic. It would be natural to assume that the Egyptians were an early colony from Atlantis (as they actually were) and that they carried away with them the primitive type of writing which has thus left its traces on both hemispheres, while the Phoenicians, who were a sea-going people, obtained and assimilated the later form of alphabet during their trading voyages with the people of the west.”(b)

Others have suggested that Ogham was a writing system that could be traced back to Atlantis, but, understandably,  without offering any supporting evidence, the entire subject is fertile ground for speculation. There are around 400 examples of Ogham writing worldwide of which 360 are in Ireland(d)!

Anthony Woods in his highly speculative Atlantis Ireland [1775] claims that Ogham is the world’s oldest alphabet. It was certainly one of the most inefficient, only suitable for short inscriptions. Woods offers the Shigar Idol found over 5,000 km away in Russia as evidence. This artefact, which is thought to be 11,500 years old, has ogham-like marks on it. If Woods is right, we are expected to believe that Ogham lasted for 10,000 years without badly needed improvement, until it emerged in Ireland around 500 AD. This is speculation gone mad.

The Disney film, Atlantis:The Lost Empire, included a language and script created by Marc Okrand who also invented ‘Klingon’ for the Star Trek TV shows and films. Some New Age writers, who are even less convincing than Disney, have also tried to connect the Runic script of Northern Europe with Atlantis.

Lucile Taylor Hansen devotes chapter 59 of The Ancient Atlantic[572] to a general review of similarities between aspects of the ‘alphabets’ of the Maya, Phoenicians and Greeks among others.

(a) https://web.archive.org/web/20170113151415/https://www.atlantisquest.com/alphabet.html

(b) https://www.sacred-texts.com/atl/soa/soa04.htm

(c) https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/origin-number-zero-180953392/

(d) https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/preserving-irelands-ancient-mysterious-treebased-alphabet

(e) https://www.archaeology.org/news/6054-171027-bakhshali-manuscript-zero

>(f) https://www.academia.edu/38014205/Goldwasser_O_2016_The_Birth_of_the_Alphabet_from_Egyptian_Hieroglyphs_in_the_Sinai_Desert_in_Daphna_Ben_Tor_ed_Pharaoh_in_Canaan_the_untold_story_Exhibition_catalogue_Jerusalem_Israel_Museum<