The legend of Atlantis has been around for over twenty-four hundred years and people still talk and write about it, including me. There are countless books, both fiction and non-fiction not to mention the documentaries. People are fascinated by the enigma of Atlantis, the achievements of the people and the “utopian” imagery it produced. There are a number of well-known people who wrote about Atlantis and were quite influential in garnering support for their theories. I will be focussing on a few of the more notable individuals whose works created wide-world interest and had an effect on powerful leaders.
The first person I must introduce is Ignatius Donnelly author of Atlantis: The Antediluvian World published in 1882. Donnelly was a US congressman who believed Plato’s account of Atlantis and attempted to explain how all ancient civilisations were descended from the lost continent. He tried to prove how similar the civilisations were from the building of temples to the use of pictograms. He even postulated how man moved from the roaming nomad and barbarism to living in a civilised state.
Today it makes for fiction reading but when it was first published it was the biggest selling book. People were enthralled by what he wrote and the idea of how civilisation stemmed from one source. Of course we know that is not the case but in the 19th century it was revolutionary thinking. Perhaps Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection was one they weren’t ready to accept. He did write a sequel in 1883, Ragnarok: The Age of Fire and Gravel, discussing the destruction of Atlantis.
Donnelly’s books had such impact that the British Prime Minister William Gladstone wanted to fund an expedition to search for the lost continent. However he was unable to convince his cabinet. A German edition of Atlantis was published and propagated a theory of Atlantean cosmology. Hans Horbiger so taken by the Atlantean cosmology he went on to develop a theory of cosmic cycles. This was taken on by Hitler and Heinrich Himmler who took it a step further by establishing the concept of a “German Master Race” and linked it to Atlanteans.
The next individual was not an author but a psychic. Edgar Cayce was nicknamed the “sleeping prophet” as he answered people’s questions while in a trance. It was during one of his lectures where he gave readings and addressed past lives Cayce asserted the existence of Atlantis. He described the continent of Atlantis which had advanced technology and where “refugees” migrated to ancient Egypt and parts of pre-Columbia America. He explained the political system and how the people of Atlantis were reincarnated and now living in the modern world. In any case, Cayce went on to establish a holistic medical and research centre. His organisation also funds research to investigate probable locations of Atlantis as well as esoteric happenings.
Helena Blavatsky, a Russian philosopher and occultist, was one of the founders of the Theosophical Society. She defined theosophy as “a fragment of the ancient, once universal, wisdom teaching.” In essence, all religions have a basis from which they evolved from. She was the first to write about Atlantis, Isis Unveiled in 1877. In it she gave details as to where it was, history of the inhabitants, the destruction and how some of the land is still visible today. She had some rather interesting theories such as the Atlanteans being natural mediums, the survivors of Atlantis founded Egypt and built the pyramids and the earth was inhabited by another intelligent species. She died in London at the age of 60 after being declared a fraud in an expose.
There are a lot of parallels between all three hypotheses and each believed all civilisations was stemmed from Atlantean refugees. I have added a list of sources for you to browse.
Thank you for tuning in and reading.
As always, your comments are valued and welcomed.
Historical fiction fantasist Luciana Cavallaro, a secondary teacher, meanders from contemporary life to delve into the realms of mythology. Subscribe to her FREE short story.
Atlantis and Lemuria Blavatsky Theosophy Group UK, The Teachings of H.P. Blavatsky & The Masters
Cayce and Atlantis. Was this Atlantis?
Who Was Edgar Cayce?: Twentieth Century Psychic and Medical Clairvoyant Edgar Cayce’s A.R.E. Association for Research and Enlightenment