The Atlantis Encyclopaedia
The Atlantis Encyclopaedia by Frank Joseph was published just as the first draft of this volume was completed. When I learned of Joseph’s book I immediately had a copy mailed from the U.S. To be candid I found his volume falling far short of what I would have expected from a person who claims to have spent a quarter of a century studying the subject.
The book has a gushing foreword by Brad Steiger who begins with a recollection of having stood at the tomb of Viracocha in Machu Picchu while Joseph’s own entry in his encyclopaedia tells us that Viracocha eventually left Peru sailing westward to Lemuria. So who is buried in Machu Picchu? Whereas Steiger suggests that Viracocha came from Atlantis, Joseph has him sailing to Lemuria, which he claims was destroyed before Atlantis ever existed. This conflict on the very first page could easily lead a reader to suspect the credibility of one or both of them. As I read on I had my suspicions confirmed as I found two more of Joseph’s entries relating to Ireland that were, for me, particularly annoying. The first was his entry for ‘crannóg’ where he attempts to link it with a sunken city. Crannógs are small artificial islands built in lakes for defensive purposes. The word is derived from the Irish word crann that means a tree, while óg means young or small. There are many such crannógs to be found among the numerous lakes of County Leitrim where I live. My second gripe is the entry ‘Tir-nan-Og’, which should in fact be ‘Tir na nÓg’ which means Land of Youth, implying land of perpetual youth. There is no connection with Og or Ogygia. I respectfully suggest that Frank Joseph and anyone else should tread very warily when trying to link similar sounding words from different languages. For example there is an Irish place name Oghill that Joseph might be also tempted to see it as the hill of Og, where in reality the ‘og’ in this context is a corruption of an old Irish word ‘eóchill’ that means yew-wood, so that Oghill was named after a hill covered with yew trees. Many of today’s place names here in Ireland are a combination of Irish and English words, a consequence of 900 years of English colonisation.
This book is more an encyclopaedia of Frank Joseph’s concept of Atlantis rather than Plato’s. An encyclopaedia is supposed to deal comprehensively with a subject whereas Joseph’s book ignores, or, all too briefly, alludes to various important theories and writers. There is no mention of the work of modern European investigators such as Spedicato, Frau, Bergman, Mifsud, Ellul, the Schoppes, Zamarro, Richter, and Diaz-Montexano who have all made valuable contributions to the solution of the Atlantis mystery. Important English language writers including Dunbavin, Castleden, Settegast and the Flem-Aths have also been ignored, while Andrew Collins gets just four lines. There are no entries for Antarctica, Malta, Crete, Bolivia, The Black Sea, Tunisia, Gibraltar or Troy.
In the Atao entry Joseph refers to the Linear A as a language rather than an undeciphered script. He then speculates that Atao “may be the Minoan version of the Greek Atlas!
Overall this book attempts to link too many places and people with Atlantis where the basis for such connections are at best tenuous and at worst highly suspect. It is an ideal read for those that wish to overdose on speculation.
The full text of The Atlantis Encyclopedia is now available on the Internet(a).