Atlantis the Antediluvian World Paperback – 19 Jun 2014
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About the Author
About the Author:
"Ignatius Loyola Donnelly (November 3, 1831 – January 1, 1901) was a U.S. Congressman, populist, and writer, known primarily today for his theories on the history of Atlantis and Shakespearean authorship." (Quote from wikipedia.org) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Leaving aside Donnelly's enormous contribution of collating catastrophe legends from many lands and cultures, Atlantis, the Antediluvian World also provided an exhaustive overview of cultural parallels between the Old World and the New. These, Donnelly demonstrated, go well beyond the usual and clichéd examples of pyramid-building and mummification, and extend to incredible details of life and custom on both sides of the Atlantic.
Donnelly's big mistake was his uncritical acceptance of the date provided by Plato for Atlantis' destruction (about 9500 BC) and his equally uncritical acceptance of the academic establishment's dates for the Pleistocene extinctions and the rise of the first civilizations. The critics were quick to point out, of course, that in the epoch mentioned by Plato (9500 BC) no civilization of any kind existed, far less the opulent Bronze Age culture described in the Timaeus and Critias. If such a civilization existed, they said, where are its remains? Donnelly argued that the culture of Atlantis must have been the prototype of all subsequent civilizations, and held that it was emigrants from the lost island who established the great cultures of the Old World and the New. This, he insisted, explained the striking parallels observed between the civilizations of the Old World and the New. Here again, however, chronology got in the way. According to conventional historians, the civilizations of the New World, with their pyramids, human sacrifice, and dragon-worship, were much younger than the ancient civilizations of the Old World, which also had pyramids, human sacrifice and dragon-worship. By the time the peoples of the Americas had begun to build pyramids, practice mummification, etc, the peoples of the Middle East had long abandoned these things. This was an objection Donnelly could not answer; and it is an objection that has remained unanswered to this day. It is an objection that cannot in fact be answered unless the chronology is challenged. But who would dare do that?
Well, Immanuel Velikovsky challenged the chronology very effectively in the 1950s, and the assault he launched on ancient dates and dating-systems was never effectively refuted by the academic establishment. If the Old World civilizations are not as old as is commonly believed, and if they are in fact the same age as the civilizations of the New World, then the parallels observed by Donnelly become very pertinent indeed. If, furthermore, the Atlantis civilization was not a prehistoric culture of the tenth millennium BC, but a culture of the Early Bronze Age, as the description of Plato implies, then we might be justified in accepting the whole story as having a factual basis.
We know that during the Neolithic and Early Bronze Ages the entire earth was afflicted by a series of powerful seismic disturbances, involving cataclysmic earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. This "vast eruptive age" as Percy Fawcett called it, left its mark throughout the Mediterranean and western Europe. Sunken Neolithic villages and forests are still regularly located around the coasts of the British Isles and Denmark, as well as much further afield. In volcanically active regions, such as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, the disturbances must have been incomparably more severe; and this has been confirmed by the discovery of sunken beaches and shorelines (often hundreds of metres down) off the coasts of the Azores.
The evidence, as I have shown in various places, suggests that Atlantis was an Early Bronze Age culture centred on a main island in the Azores (about the size of Ireland) and an archipelago of smaller islands straddling the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. These acted as stepping stones between the Old World and the New; and it was by means of these that the tobacco and cocaine, found in many Egyptian mummies, reached the Old World. Near the end of the Early Bronze Age, during the last of the great cosmic disturbances, the mid-Atlantic islands were sunk and the transatlantic connection severed. Yet the peoples on either side of the ocean remembered the lost islands and retained traditions and customs so strikingly similar that they could not have developed in such a way coincidentally.
During the course of several chapters he is discussing: Plato's story (was the story itself, and the catastrophe described there actually possible), comparing flora and fauna of the New and Old World (fascinating chapter there), biblical Deluge/Flood and Genesis (including the Deluge legends of other nations: Chaldean, Iranian, Greek, Scandinavian and even Aztecs or Zapotecs), comparing religious beliefs of different cultures, various legends and similarities between them (India, Germany, Norway, Ireland, and Central America), Maya and Hebrew alphabets (also similarities with old Greek and Phoenician), colonies of Atlantis, and many others (there is truly a lot of interesting reading material in that book).
Some of the theories that he is trying to prove include (in his own words):
-That the mythology of Egypt and Peru represented the original religion of Atlantis
-That the oldest colony formed by the Atlanteans was probably in Egypt, whose civilization was a reproduction of that of the Atlantic island.
-That the implements of the "Bronze Age" of Europe were derived from Atlantis. The Atlanteans were also the first manufacturers of iron.
-That the Phoenician alphabet, parent of all the European alphabets, was derived from au Atlantis alphabet
In most cases you can feel that this is the "old" text (especially when he is referencing 'Scientific American" from July 28th, 1877 or "Popular Science Review" from July 1878) but at the same time the author's reasoning is very precise and straight to the point (without wasting any unnecessary worlds) - such as example below, where he is talking about the Plato's story of Atlantis:
"There are in Plato's narrative no marvels; no myths; no tales of gods, gorgons, hobgoblins, or giants. It is a plain and reasonable history of a people who built temples, ships, and canals; who lived by agriculture and commerce: who in pursuit of trade, reached out to all the countries around them."
In the course of the whole book he is also asking a lot of curious and peculiar questions such as two examples below (there are actually a lot of them, and obviously not every one of them could have been answered by "orthodox science" at that time):
"Why is it that the origin of wheat, barley, oats, maize, and rye - he essential plants of civilization - is totally lost in the mists of a vast antiquity? We have in the Greek mythology legends of the introduction of most of these by Atlantean kings or gods into Europe; but no European nation claims to have discovered or developed them, and it has been impossible to trace them to their wild originals"
"Why is it that we find in Ptolemy's "Geography of Asia Minor," in a list of cities in Armenia Major in A.D. 140, the names of five cities which have their counterparts in the names of localities in Central America (Chol = Chol'ul, Colua = Colua'can, Zuivana = Zuivan, Cholima = Colima, Zalissa = Zalisco)?"
One of the other points that he discussing is that, there exist a lot of similarities (that are not fully explained) between different cultures across the globe:
"If we find on both sides of the Atlantic precisely the same arts, sciences, religious beliefs, habits, customs, and traditions, it is absurd to say that the peoples of the two continents arrived separately, by precisely the same steps, at precisely the same ends:
-Sculpture - The Atlanteans possessed this art; so did the American and Mediterranean nations.
-Engraving - Plato tells us that the Atlanteans engraved upon pillars. The American nations also had this art in common with Egypt, Phoenicia, and Assyria.
-Painting - this art was known on both sides of the Atlantic. The paintings upon the walls of some of the temples of Central America reveal a state of the art as high as that of Egypt"
However in this particular case, I find his reasoning a bit weak in few places - mostly because lot of different cultures can develop sculpture, engraving and painting methods similar to each other. The style of paintings or sculptures could obviously be different but the method used to achieve the final outcome could be quite similar (and it doesn't necessarily mean that they actually share a common source). I'm not saying he is wrong in all points (because he is not), but I wish he could go to much more details in some of them as those explanations are simply too narrow (or maybe it suppose to be like this - uncomplicated - so it would be easier for the reader to follow his reasoning).
You don't have to agree with everything that he is writing (and you have to remember that the book was written a long time ago), but it is a fascinating reading material for somebody interested in the story of Atlantis (with various theories related to that) - and how it was viewed in the 1880s. In fact, you could actually say that this book was written way ahead of its time as some of those theories (and questions) are perfectly valid even today. So from that point of view, I would say this is a strong 4 stars book.
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