By R. Cedric Leonard

Egyptian Vignettes of the story of Atlantis



Scattered though they may be, an interesting picture emerges from the numerous references to Thoth in the earliest writings of the ancient Egyptians--and that picture fits the theory of an Atlantean origin for this intriguing character. Although late writings depict him as a god, the earliest texts depict him as a king (The Palermo Stone versus The Coffin Texts; Faulkner, 1974).

Thoth was born in a distant country to the west which was across a body of water. Its main city was by the sea (Plato's metropolis). The land possessed volcanos and the city had a low mountain or large hill in the center. This land is sometimes referred to as an Island of Fire. (Book of the Dead, Hymn of Rameses IV and Pyramid Texts) Thoth is known as "Lord of the horizon"; and like Poseidon, the earthshaker, Thoth is sometimes called "cleaver of the earth" (Papyrus of Ani, Chapter LXI).

In Chapter LXXXV of the Book of the Dead (Papyrus of Nu), Thoth rules the "Western Domain," and by the end of the New Kingdom he is called "Lord of the West" (Seth, 1912). He is said to be the inventor of writing, astronomy, mathematics and civilization in general (Budge, 1960). Thoth is often called the Scribe (Pyramid Texts; Book of the Dead, et al.); his Egyptian name, Tehuti, means "the measurer" (Budge, 1960).

A catastrophe occurred which darkened the sun and disturbed the gods, but Thoth led them across the sea to an eastern country [Egypt]. Thoth is depicted as the "controller of the Flood," (Leyden Papyrus) and the Theban Recension includes the Island of Fire in the Flood story. (Papyrus of Ani, Chap. CLXXV) Thus it appears that Thoth was once the ruler of an Island Kingdom in the West before the Egyptian priests turned him into a god. The question therefore is: Was the Egyptian Tehuti-Thoth originally a migrant from Atlantis, and did he once rule as a king there?


Nu, the Egyptian god of the Primeval Sea, is represented on the marble sarcophagus of Seti I as being up to his waist in water with arms upraised to carry the Solar Boat across the Sky. The boat, with its ten royal occupants, is being carried above the flood waters engulfing their mountainous island home in the West. According to Budge (1960), Nu had been ordered to bring about this very flood by Atum in order to purify the world. Does this primeval flood scene depict the final migration from the Lands of the West to Egypt because of the sudden loss of Atlantis?

Nu carrying the Solar Boat

In the vignette (right) Nu's name is immediately above his head (Osiris appears at the very top). Hieroglyphs identify two of the figures on the left as Tehuti (Thoth) and Seb (Kronos). The legend below the boat reads: "Come forth from the waters and bear up this god." The text just above the boat reads: "The god rests in the Ant Boat with the gods who are with him." (Budge, 1960)

The figure of a man bent around backwards in a circle is identified as Osiris, enclosing the underworld--Tuat, which is said to be perpetually shrouded in darkness and terror. Yet it originally contained the more pleasant Sekhet Hetepet ("Field of Offerings") or Elysian Fields, and Sekhet Aaru ("Field of Reeds"), and the even more delightful Amentet, which I believe to be the Egyptian "Atlantis". Judging from the long explanation by Budge (pp. 130-161), Tuat was thought of as the "Other World," i.e., the world of the dead. Sekhets were the special paradises reserved for those whom the gods favored.

The Turin Papyrus also includes a vignette depicting a long boat with ten gods aboard. In this case, the hawk of Horus is in front, followed by the other nine deities--Shu, Tefnut, Keb, Nut, Osiris, Isis, Thoth, Horus and Hathor--and directly behind (following them?) is a huge flaming "sun-disk"--another tradition lists Atum, Shu, Tefnut, Geb, Nut, Osiris, Isis, Set, and Nephthys. Thoth was regarded as Egypt's founder.

Supporting this migration tradition, Diodorus of Sicily writes: "The Egyptians were strangers, who, in remote times, settled on the banks of the Nile, bringing with them the civilization of their mother country [Atlantis?], the art of writing, and a polished language. They had come from the direction of the setting sun [the far West] and were the most ancient of men." (Library of History)

Another even more ancient historian wrote: "Moreover, Cronos visiting the different regions of the habitable world, gave to his daughter Athena the kingdom of Attica . . . visiting the country of the south [he] gave all Egypt to the god Taautus (Thoth), that it might be his kingdom ." (The Generations, Sanchuniathon, 1193 B.C.) In case there is any doubt that Taautus and Thoth are the same, the following passage should clear up the uncertainty?

In his History of Phoenicia, he also writes: "The Egyptians descended from Misor, who descended from Taautus, who invented the writing of the first letters: him the Egyptians call Thoth, and the Greeks Hermes." (Cory, 1832) All ancient sources seem to agree with the Egyptian writings on this point.


It also caught my notice that Manetho affirms that the ancient god-kings at the beginning of his king-list (which I believe to be the ten kings who ruled Atlantis) reigned not in Egypt itself, but in a foreign land. The Egyptian hieroglyph set which is commonly translated "foreign land" is extremely interesting in this regard.

The "Seven Islands" of Amentet

Now the "Land of the West" would be a natural Egyptian name for Atlantis. Ancient Egyptian records sometimes refer to the Atlantic as the "Western Ocean". Did Manetho translate "foreign land" from set, or even more probably from Amentet? In either case, we probably have ourselves a reference to Atlantis in the writings of Manetho. Both glyphs are often translated by Egyptologists as "underworld" (Budge, 1966), which may be misleading.

The Zodiac in the temple of Hathor at Denderah
begins with the constellation Leo (red arrow)
indicating a "mean date" of 9825 B.C. Could
this signify a new cycle beginning immediately
after a tremendous world-wide geological cataclysm?

That the glyph set also represented the "underworld," does fit, after a fashion, since this is the land where the sun shines after it has set (no pun intended) on the land of Egypt. It was believed in popular Egyptian mythology that the sun passed through the underworld on its way back to rise once more in the east. Prof. Arysio dos Santos of S„o Paulo believes that Amentet is the Egyptian counterpart of the Isles of the Blest of Hesiod.

The Egyptians often appear to distinguish between Amentet (the opposite side of the world where the sun makes its return to the east) and Tuat (the realm of the dead, that of departed spirits), yet Egyptologists sometimes translate either glyph as "underworld". Amentet combines the glyph for "foreign land" (using set as a determinative for "land" or "place") alongside other glyphs meaning "west", meaning "Land of the West". The "land" (set) determinative is entirely missing in Tuat, which I consider of more than minor significance.

We therefore have a glyph representing a western, mountainous land, a land where the sun went after it had set on Egypt, and whose earliest rulers were probably called "Auliteans" or "Aleteans". To top it off the reign of these god-kings ended circa. 9850 B.C., very near the date of the alleged disappearance of Atlantis.

After several years of studying the various ways that Amentet is used in the writings of the Egyptians (incorporating the glyph set as a determinative), and the various ways it is usually translated, I have come to the opinion that Amentet ("Land of the West") was the early Egyptian name for Atlantis; but with time and the fading of the memory of Atlantis, it became merely a term for the realm of departed spirits. The same happened in the case of Atala, the Western Island of the ancient Hindus.


The god-kings (Auliteans) in Egyptian Hieroglyphics

Left is a list of the Egyptian kings who ruled during the so-called "reign of the gods". The Turin Papyrus, the most complete list (which does include Thoth), is written in hieratic, so I had to look up the hieroglyphic forms in Budge's works on Egyptian Grammar.

There are numerous ways to present a given name in hieroglyphics, so I have occasionally given more than one (separated by commas). For certain names a determinative alone is given, as was commonly done among the Egyptians, while at other times the names are spelled out phonetically.

I did not enclose names in the customary royal cartouche, since cartouches were not used until the end of the Third Dynasty. The 5th Dynasty Palermo Stone (circa. 2565-2420 B.C.), is inscribed on both sides with a list of kings from Pre-dynastic times down to the middle of the Fifth Dynasty: each name is enclosed in a sort of "box" formed by horizontal and vertical lines, rather than the later cartridge-shaped enclosure. This famous king-list "covers the period of the Old Kingdom back thousands of years into the predynastic period" (Winston, 1999-2003).

The Turin Papyrus lists every Egyptian king, including the gods, demigods, and all human Egyptian kings down to the time it was composed. It also includes a "reign of spirits," and two "mythical" groups of kings, before listing the "historical" ones (Gardiner, 1959). Whether "mythical" means non-existent or semi-historical is a matter of some debate among scholars. It is one of only three Egyptian documents which includes the "reign of the gods": The Palermo Stone, the Turin Papyrus and Manetho's Egyptian Chronicles.

Just as there were numerous Rameses in Egyptian history, there is more than one Horus in this list of early god-kings. And just like the several Rameses, these were separate rulers. (Later copyist may have made a scribal error, jumping inadvertently from the first Horus to the next--a common scribal error--since some of our copies of Manetho leave the last three kings off the list.)

Herodotus (450 B.C.) says that Osiris reigned 15,000 years before Amasis (500 B.C.), and that Horus was his son. "In these matters they say they cannot be mistaken, as they have always kept count of the years, and noted them in their registers." (History, Book II) The priests also told him that no god has been on earth since the end of the "reign of the gods". (Ibid.)

The Turin Papyrus (in the register listing the Reign of the Gods) the final two lines of the column sums up: "Venerables Shemsu-Hor, 13,420 years; Reigns before the Shemsu-Hor, 23,200 years; Total 36,620 years." (de Lubicz, 1988) Manetho's overall figure is 36,525 years. (Cory, 1832)

Egyptologist Prof. Walter B. Emery (1961) identified the Predynastic kings with the Shemsu-Hor, the companions, or followers of the hawk-headed god Horus. Emery further seemed to imply that the most distant ancestors of the Egyptians had been tall in stature with large craniums (Cro-Magnons?).


One of the kings appearing in so many ancient traditions in connection with Atlanteans (Sanchuniathon, Herodotus, Diodorus, etc.) is Cronos. He was often called the King and the bringer of civilization who ruled over a large "Saturnian continent" in the Cronian Sea (the Atlantic), during the Golden Age. Such traditions refer to an ancient time when a Golden Race of men were governed by Cronos, who in wisdom promoted peace and created a Golden Age for all mankind.

His father Ouranos is reputed to have had a large number of offspring from various wives, but only those who were born from Ouranos and Titaea were called Titans--there were twenty-two such offspring (Diodorus, Lib. Hist, III). The offspring of Cronos and his wife Rhea were known as Titans also. Of these two generations of Titans, no one knows how many were male and how many were female. (Those who claim there were only twelve Titans simply haven't done their homework.)

Cronos and the Titans eventually engaged the Olymbian gods (lead by Zeus, a Titan himself) in a ten year-long battle. Plato described the Atlanteans as also becoming warlike, advancing through western Europe, approaching the Grecian border and across North Africa to the border of Egypt, before being stopped by the ancient Athenians. The defeat of the Atlanteans and the sinking of their homeland Atlantis happened in quick succession.

Upon losing the war, Cronos and the Titans were imprisoned beneath the Ocean in the far west. (For more info on these traditions, go to the Mythology page.) To find him listed in Manetho's king-list as one of the "Auritian" god-kings who ruled in the "foreign land" before Egyptian history began was truly intriguing. I wanted to find out how the Egyptians wrote his name.

Since the Egyptians have many ways to write a name (or any given word), there are several ways that the name Seb (Cronos) appears. Just as a picture of the ibis could be enough to represent Thoth in a text, likewise Seb could be represented by a goose, as on the Palermo Stone King-list. Below are two hieroglyphs, one representing King Seb, the other using Seb to represent the stars.

The equation of the Egyptian Seb (Keb) with the Greek Cronos is not an arbitrary association. Expert Egyptologists and Assyriologists have known for over a hundred years that Seb (Egyptian), Repa (Coptic), Kaiwan (Akkadian), Chiun (Hebrew), Cronos (Greek), and Saturn (Latin) are all names of the same deity. (Budge, 1960; Tyndale, 1962, et al.) Sometimes Seb (Cronos) was associated with a particularly bright "star" in the heavens--known to us as the planet Saturn.

Just a simple goose or a single star could be used to represent Seb (Cronos). In this respect, it is interesting that the Bible only mentions this Seb-Cronos (Chiun-Rephan) in two places: Amos 5:26 and Acts 7:43. In both the figure of a star plays a prominent part (i.e., the "star of your god"). It is gratifying to see this "star" in the Egyptian glyphs as well. Concerning the reference to the star-god Rephan in the Bible, scholars believe it to be "a deliberate substitution of Repa, a name of Seb, the Egyptian god of the planet Saturn." (Tyndale, 1962)


On much shakier ground is a claim by Dr. Paul Schliemann, grandson of the famous Heinrich Schliemann, that among other relics relating to Atlantis he discovered an Egyptian papyrus in the Hermitage at Leningrad which said: "Pharoah Sent sent out an expedition to the west in search of Atlantis from whence 3350 years before the Egyptians arrived carrying with themselves all the wisdom of their native land. The expedition returned after five years with the report that they had found neither people nor objects which could give them a clue to the vanished land." (Schliemann, 1912)

This papyrus has never been seen by anyone else, so it remains in limbo. Had Schliemann used the term "Land of the West" instead of "Atlantis" it would be a little more believable. However, I did find that there actually was a pharoah with the unlikely name Sent. Pharoah Sent, or Senta, was the fifth king of the 2nd Dynasty who ruled approximately 4000 B.C. (Budge, 1960)

A measure of support for Dr. Schliemann's "discovery" comes in the form of a hieroglyphic text inscribed on the Great Ebony Label found in 1901 by Sir Flinders Petrie in the "tomb" (actually a cenotaph) of King Aha Menes at Abydos (Petrie, 1902). Upon translation it told how this great king and admiral, in his old age, had embarked on a voyage of exploration with his fleet "to the Sunset Land in the Western Ocean":

"King Menes, the Ruler of Mizraim [Egypt], the Land of the Two Crowns, the perished dead one in the West of the Horus race . . . The Commander-in-Chief of Ships made the complete course to the end of the Sunset Land. Sailing in ships, he completed the inspection of the Western Land. He built there a holding in Urani Land. At the Lake of the Peak, fate pierced him by a Hornet (Kheb, or Wasp) . . . This drilled tablet set up of hanging wood is dedicated to his memory." --Translated by R. Cedric Leonard. (Compare with Petrie, 1923)

Notice that one of the names given in the inscription for the Western Land is Urani, which some authorities associate with Erin, the old name for Ireland. But it also calls to mind Uranos, the father of King Cronos (Kheb, one of the names for King Cronos is also there), illustrating a possible connection between Ireland and the once great empire of Atlantis. Since the "tomb" at Abydos is empty, we must assume that Aha Menes, "the perished dead one in the West," was buried in Urani Land.

* * * FINAL THOUGHTS * * *

Andros island ruin

There is a certain degree of similarity between the Egyptian glyph for "temple" and an actual stone-walled building among the underwater ruins in the Bahamas. Near Andros island (on a shallow underwater shelf) is a rectangular ruin made of stone. Its walls are approximately three feet thick. (photo left.) Compare the patterns below: one from Egypt, and the other from the Bahama Islands.

Finally, various researchers, including myself, have also noticed that the Bahama Island "temple" floorplan is basically identical to that of the Mayan "Temple of the Turtles" in Uxmal, Yucatan. So now we have Egypt, the Bahamas, and Mesoamerica. Interesting . . . . .


  • Bible, King James translation (1611), and Revised Standard Version (1952).
  • Budge, E. A. Wallis, (translator) "The Book of the Dead," University Books, New York, 1960.
  • Budge, E. A. Wallis, "Egyptian Language," Routledge & Kagan Paul Ltd., London, 1966.
  • Champollion, Francois (translator), Turin Papyrus, 1300 B.C.
  • Cory, Isaac P., "Ancient Fragments", Reeves & Turner, London, 1832.
  • de Lubicz, Schwaller, R. A., "Sacred Science: the King of Pharaonic Theocracy," Inner Traditions International, Rochester, Vermont, 1988.
  • Diodorus Siculus, "Library of History" (C. H. Oldfather's translation), 8 B.C.
  • Emery, Walter. B., "Archaic Egypt: Culture and Civilization in Egypt Five Thousand Years Ago," Edinburgh, 1961.
  • Faulkner, Raymond O., (translator) "Ancient Egyptian Coffin Texts," Oxford, 1974.
  • Gardiner, Alan H., "Royal Canon of Turin," Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1959.
  • Herodotus, "History": Eurterpe' (Rawlinson's translation), 450 B.C.
  • Hesiod, "Works and Days," 750 B.C. (Also Rzach's translation.), Teubner, Leipzig, 1913.
  • Manetho, "The Old Egyptian Chronicle," 250 B.C. (from the text of Dindorf: compared with Eusebius)
  • Petrie, Sir William Matthew Flinders, "Royal Tombs I and II," London, 1901.
  • Petrie, Sir William Matthew Flinders, "History of Egypt," Methuen, London, 1923.
  • Sanchuniathon, "History of the Phoenicians," 1193 B.C. (from Eusebius' Praep. Evang. 1. c. 10.)
  • Schliemann, Paul, "How I Discovered Atlantis, the Source of All Civilization," The New York American (weekly), New York, 1912.
  • Sethe, K., Zur altagyptischen Sage vom Sonnenauge, das in der Fremde war, Untersuchungen zur Geschichte und Altertumskunde Aegyptens, 1912.
  • Tyndale House Publ., The Bible Dictionary, "Rephan" article, Inter-Varsity Press, Leicester, England, 1962.
  • Winston, Alan, "The Palermo Stone," ONLINE, InterCity Oz, Inc., 1999-2003.

R. Cedric Leonard