When Rupert Murdoch bought National Geographic, there was deep concern among lovers of science that the Fox News magnate would send the magazine and its affiliated cable channel into the gutter. Murdoch’s son James, who now National Geographic and its TV channel through his management of 21st Century Fox, had his flunkies go on a media blitz promising that under his leadership, NatGeo properties would emphasize high-quality science with the production values of HBO. James Murdoch claimed that the new National Geographic Channel would be a high-end destination for wealthy viewers looking for real science. “It’s better shows, it’s bigger talent,” National Geographic Channel CEO Courteney Monroe told Business Insider.
So naturally the new and improved NatGeo hired Holy Bloodline conspiracy theorist Simcha Jacobovici for a splashy new documentary about finding the “real” Atlantis. In Sardinia.
According to The Star, the documentary is a sequel to the terrible 2011 Finding Atlantis documentary that aired on NatGeo. That film, which I reviewed at the time, claimed that Atlantis was located in Spain, earning the ire of Spanish archaeologists, who felt that their legitimate work on Bronze Age Spain had been hijacked by a religious crank who dropped in, spouted nonsense about Atlantis being the source of King Solomon’s wealth, and claimed credit for their work.
According to the Sierra Vista Herald, Jacobvici is working with Titanic director James Cameron to hunt Atlantis off the coast of Sardinia, and the resulting film will air in December.
“Finding the historical and archeological truth behind the Atlantis myth has always been a fascination of mine,” Cameron said in a press release. “Our exploration team will investigate several new theories about where the real Atlantis was, who these mysterious people were and what disaster wiped them from the Earth over three millennia ago.”
Note the telling choice of language: Atlantis, to Cameron’s mind is real—but is a Bronze Age civilization that ended in the Bronze Age collapse around 1200 BCE. Before they even started, Cameron and Jacobvici have already abandoned a literal reading of Plato, who placed Atlantis’ destruction around 9600 BCE. That’s not a great start.
Regular readers will remember that Sardinia is the birthplace of Italian journalist Sergio Frau, who has pushed the claim that the island was the real Atlantis for the past two decades. Additionally, last year, a large rock assumed to be an ancient megalith was photographed underwater off Sicily, prompting speculation that Atlantis was located in the general vicinity of the western Mediterranean.
Atlantipedia reports that Frau was not approached to participate in the documentary despite being the only Sardinia-as-Atlantis theorist to have presented his research to the United Nations.
According to the Herald, Jacobovici brought Robert Ishoy, a former Army intelligence specialist, who makes many of the same claims as Frau, specifically that Plato’s Pillars of Heracles were the Straits of Messina and not Gibraltar, and that Sardinia matches Plato’s description of Atlantis in every detail except those that are inconvenient.
“It really comes down to just Plato,” Ishoy said. “Plato was the only true historic work that we have that talks about Atlantis. Everything else after that is speculation. So you really only have Plato.” Except, of course, when you offer special pleading to dump the parts you don’t like. In Ishoy’s case, he doesn’t like Plato’s timeline and therefore chops 8,400 years off of it to better fit Atlantis into the Bronze Age narrative he wants to tell. One might also note that there are not elephants on Sardinia, as Plato said of Atlantis, at least none that were alive after the Ice Age. Ishoy, though, counts the Ice Age dwarf elephants as part of Sardinia’s fauna, despite placing Atlantis 30,000 years after they were all dead!
Ishoy further identified Plato’s copper-like metal orichalcum with obsidian, which is neither the same color nor a metal, because both were mined and both were valuable.
Ishoy proposed his Atlantis theory as a college student in the 1980s as part of a paper he wrote for his bachelor’s degree. He posted that paper to the internet in 2001. Apparently posting a poorly researched college term paper online is all one needs to do to become a cable TV expert nowadays.
To build off the publicity of the new documentary, two months ago Ishoy launched a company, the Society for Historical Exploration, which had been in development for several years and which is actively soliciting donations to fund research into history. His team includes a real anthropologist, historian, and archaeologist. His company has attracted about $1,800 in donations as of this writing.
He said, moreover, that he believes that the Bronze Age civilization of Sardinia was the equal of ancient Egypt, even though the Nuragic ruins that remain are not on the same scale as the pyramids and temples of Egypt.
“In my opinion, this civilization rivals ancient Egypt. That’s how massive it was,” Ishoy told the Herald. “And yet there’s almost nothing known about them on this island of Sardinia. And I believe it ties into Atlantis, because this is the civilization that I associate with Plato’s description.”
Ishoy now calls himself “the person who discovered Atlantis” despite having done no such thing.
9/17/2016 10:14:45 am
Real science can be entertaining (quantum entanglement for example) but there are pop cultural things like Atlantis that audiences are interested. Nothing wrong with having an episode once in a while tackling these things as long as they do it as factually as possible and not take things out of context to whet appetites for more speculative crap. Watched NASA unexplained files last night and a few times they took former astronauts Alfred Worden and Alan Bean out of context to make things sound more mysterious. They even confused the lower and upper stages of the LM saying the fuel in the decent stage was needed for the ascent stage to make Armstongs landing with a minute or more of fuel left sound even more scarier and not logical. Now about HBO production values, mostly good but they do have a thing about very graphical sex in their miniseries. Brings in the young men I'm sure but it's not really needed say in Game of thrones.
9/17/2016 12:10:00 pm
9/17/2016 12:17:05 pm
James Cameron doesn't do what James Cameron does for James Cameron. James Cameron does what James Cameron does because James Cameron is James Cameron!
9/17/2016 12:28:46 pm
>>>actively soliciting donations to fund research<<<
Well, dismissing the literal reading of Plato is absolutely legitimate if you put forward reasons for this. Atlantis skeptics who insist on a literal reading ridicule themselves since dealing with ancient texts usually requires historical criticism, resulting in a non-literal reading.
9/17/2016 01:40:32 pm
>>dismissing the literal reading of Plato is absolutely legitimate if you put forward reasons for this<<
9/17/2016 03:54:51 pm
Simcha Jacobovici should be invited to a Skeptics Congress.
9/17/2016 04:02:41 pm
I therefore look forward to reading your forthcoming book "Atlantis before Plato".
9/18/2016 05:25:51 pm
" There are no literary "signs" showing that the story is ment ironically or otherwise not true."
9/17/2016 09:31:24 pm
Hello Mr. Franke. I wondered if you are the historian for the new Society for Historical Exploration?
9/18/2016 03:35:27 pm
9/18/2016 10:56:57 am
T Franke, the reason your comparison between Herodotus and Plato is meaningless, is because there's plenty of other evidence for the existence of Egypt. It still being there, for one.
Dear Mark, the comparison to Herodotus does not prove the existence of Atlantis, but it is *not* meaningless ....... because it disproves the wrong idea that you only have to consider the 9000 years and you are done with Plato's Atlantis.
9/18/2016 05:45:46 pm
Oh, yes, because no historical character ever had words put into their mouth by a playwright far removed. Lend me your ears! Et tu, brute? There was never a playwright making the majority of his reputation off using historical figures as fictional characters!
Day Late and Dollar Short
9/19/2016 05:42:16 pm
The burden of proof lies on you, the person making the claim Atlantis is real, when objectively, there is no evidence for Atlantis the way Plato describes it.
@Day Late and Dollar Short:
9/21/2016 02:32:27 pm
If you read Timaeus-Critias carefully the Egyptian priests tell Solon the Atlantis story from their memory and don't consult their written record. Plato briefly mentions documents, but neither Solon or the priests directly read from them. The priests say they will later show Solon their documents, but of course they could have lied. Nowhere does Plato say Solon saw these documents.
9/21/2016 05:38:17 pm
There's a forthcoming journal anthology special on Atlantis. I have an article in it on the oral tradition. It should be out within the next month. http://shimajournal.org/index.php
9/22/2016 06:42:54 pm
Solon's written notes/manuscripts are briefly mentioned in Critias 113a-b. Nowhere does it say they contained the Atlantis story (this is your misreading), but names (of people) translated from Egyptian into Greek: "do not be astonished if you hear names that sound like Greek names". All Plato says is Critias studied these names when he was a boy; the notes did not contain the tradition of Atlantis.
9/24/2016 06:14:53 pm
I refuted what you posted. For someone who dedicates so much time to Atlantis it would help if you actually read Timaeus-Critias. It doesn't appear you've ever read the dialogue, at least not properly.
9/17/2016 04:01:37 pm
Everything the Murdochs touch turns into shit (albeit - really flashy shit).
9/17/2016 04:03:11 pm
I almost forgot - really flashy - and profitable.
9/17/2016 04:05:41 pm
9/17/2016 07:32:26 pm
Wait,,, isn't Atlantis under the ocean ?,,and Sardinia named after a fish ? Whoa, how has no one made this connection before ?
9/17/2016 07:43:42 pm
So, National Geographic is making its own Pirate Treasure of the Knights Templar. They certainly assembled an appropriate cast of "experts", didn't they?
9/17/2016 07:57:40 pm
Rave reviews from UNESCO expected ?
9/17/2016 08:09:33 pm
Actually, that's hard to say. It depends on if they find anything of historical value off the coast, and if Sardinia would be more interested in protecting what's found because of its value or promoting it for nationalistic reasons.
9/17/2016 10:21:29 pm
You had me at "worn stones."
9/19/2016 12:16:40 am
Let us hope these "worn stones" contain no holes. :>)
9/19/2016 04:59:57 am
I'll take ruins over runes any day.
10/1/2016 07:30:08 pm
Jason, thank you for keeping me informed!
10/9/2016 08:27:11 am
It appears that the upcoming documentary will also also bring up to date the latest research about the area immediately outside the Gibraltar straits. In particular the work of Gorgios Diaz Montexano and the ancient Egyptian maps he claims to have discovered showing their sunken land of the dead. I think he is correct in that this area of south west Spain was part of where Plato was describing, but only the eastern extremity. In Critics Plato specifically implies that. In my book, Atlantis and the silver city, I lay out evidence that Plato was referring to the whole of the Iberian peninsula s south west coast including Portugal' s Algarve region, north Morocco and a large part of what is now seabed between the two. Ironically the Egyptian maps match this description including a large inlet on the southern coast which I claimed had led to the ancient ringed capital, remnants of which still exist.
10/9/2016 12:34:12 pm
Unfortunately I spent money on 'Atlantis and the silver city'. The opening chapter contains many errors about Solon and the classical literature about Atlantis. I stopped reading after that point.
12/22/2016 10:53:18 am
Exactly! G.D.Montexano has no idea what he is talking about. The known world for the Mediterranean people, up to the time of Solon, was up to sicily, maybe including Sardinia. The underworld started at the pillars of Hercules (tuniz-Sicily straits). It was a dangerous sea the tyrrenian sea. They had a vogue knowledge about Spain. To say that Atlantis was in Spain is the same as saying that the cradle of all civilizations started in Iberia, when we know that it started around Mediterranean sea. Without including alborean sea. Anyway, the second expedition/documentary took place and they found nothing. How do I know? It would have been all over the news.
1/20/2017 11:03:25 pm
With all my regards... In order to be able to affirm that it is all " a major mistake": my analyzes and interpretations on ancient Egyptian maps, and those made in Carthage (but of Egyptian tradition), which together total almost two hundred (published most of my books), the first Must be made, according to the true rigor of the historical-scientific method, is to know in detail my investigations, and for that it is necessary to read my publications. That is the minimum that must be done.
9/3/2017 12:07:51 pm
So george, where's the City? You said there's going to be a submerged island in front of Gibraltar. you're wrong, admit it.
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