A fabulously rich and powerful island kingdom in the Atlantic Ocean sunk to the bottom of the sea after having been set on fire with “Thonapa’s celestial flame” for the idolatry of its sinful inhabitants. The resemblance of this Inca account to Plato’s story of Atlantis could not be more clear.
In the Zoroastrian religion, the man who was told of a coming world-flood by the god of light. Thus “enlightened” with Ahura Mazda’s instructions, Yima went up into the mountains of Persia, where he sought refuge at the Var. Into this huge “enclosure” he sheltered his family and “all classes of living things.” As the Earth and most of humanity were inundated, the cave protected Yima and his charges.
The eminent Atlantologist Edgerton Sykes observed, “The disaster legend is of interest, as it shows that the cave motif is not confined to the Americas alone.” Indeed, some Guanche versions of the Great Flood have the native Canary Islanders seeking refuge in large caves.
After the deluge, Yima released the Karshipta, a bird which no longer exists, with instructions to bring news of his whereabouts to others who happened to survive. Ahura Mazda reappeared and asked him to become a religious reformer. Yima refused, but promised to pass down the story of the Great Flood to “the right man.” That happened to be Zarathustra, the founder of Zoroastrianism.
The Genesis account of the Flood was obviously indebted to the Persian story of Yima.
In Norse myth, a cosmic colossus whose violent death at the hands of Odin, the Sky-Father, unleashed a universal deluge, in which perished a race of giants, save Bergelmir and his wife, who escaped in a ship. A variant of the story describes other giants sailing safely away in the Naglfar, an enormous vessel captained by Hrim.
Ymir is possibly related to the Sanskrit Yama, an Indian god of the Underworld and creator of all things. In any case, Ymir’s sudden death and subsequent flood caused by violence descending from the sky refers to the celestial origins of the Atlantean catastrophe, as similarly described in numerous folk traditions around the world.
“Land of the Apples of Eternal Life”—Atlantis in Welsh folk tradition. (See Avalon, Ynys Vitrius, Ys)
“Land of Glass or Crystal”—the British version of Atlantis. (See Avalon, Tuoai Stone, Ynys Avallach, Ys)
Yokut Creation Myth
The southern California Yokut tribe recounts that mankind was born on an island in the middle of a primeval sea. Here, Eagle and Coyote fashioned the first men and women. The Yokut myth is one of many in the circum-Pacific region suggesting human origins in Lemuria.
A small island among the Ryukyus, the southernmost territories of Japan. In 1985, off Isseki Point, or “Monument Point,” scuba divers discovered an apparently man-made stone structure not unlike the ruins of prehistoric citadels found on Okinawa. The ruin, with a base 100 feet beneath the surface, may have been built during an early phase of Japan’s Jomon culture, circa 10,000 B.C., when the site was last above the surface of the ocean. Because evidence of seismic activity in the area is insufficient, sea-level rise occasioned by the close of the last Ice Age appears to be the only credible geologic mechanism for its inundation.
Yonaguni’s terraced feature, approximately 750 feet long and 75 feet high, appears to have been terra-formed from the native rock into a ceremonial center, judging from somewhat similar but much smaller Jomon building style elements on the Japanese mainland, most notably at Masada-no Iwafune, Cape Ashizuri, and Mount Nabeyama in Gifu Prefecture. The Yonaguni structure is not alone, but part of a chain of known underwater ruins stretching for hundreds of miles on the seafloor in an arc from off nearby Taiwan to Okinawa. Doubtless, more are yet to be found. Some investigators conclude this collection of sunken monuments is nothing less than the lost kingdom of Mu.
Part of the underwater monument near Yonaguni.
Also known as Ker-is, the story of Ys is a pre-Celtic myth with a Christian gloss through which Celtic details appear, famous throughout Brittany, and even the subject of an evocative tone-poem for piano, Le Cathedrale Egoulte (“The Engulfed Cathedral”), by Claude Debussy, which was later scored for full orchestra by Leopold Stokowski. Eduard Lalo actually turned the legend into a grand opera, La Roi dYs—”The King of Ys.”
Ys was an island kingdom in the North Atlantic ruled by Gradlon Meur; Meur is Celtic for “great.” His capital was an ingenious arrangement of interconnected canals constructed around an immense “basin.” In other words, similar if not identical to the alternating rings of concentric land and water Plato described as the city-plan of Atlantis. A central palace was resplendent with marble floors, cedar roofs, and gold-sheeted walls, again recalling Plato’s opulent sunken city. Suspended by a chain around Gradlon Meur’s neck was a silver key the monarch alone possessed to open and close the great basin’s sluice gates, thereby accommodating the rhythm of the tides.
One night, however, his sinful daughter, Dahut, stole the key from her father while he slept, and tried to open the sea-doors for one of her numerous lovers. The legend describes her as having “made a crown of her vices and taken for her pages the seven deadly sins.” Unskilled in their operation, Dahut inadvertently sprang open the city’s whole canal system, thereby unleashing a huge inundation. Awakened by an admonishing vision of Saint Gwennole, King Gradlon swung on his horse, and galloped down one of the interconnecting causeways, the swiftly rising torrent close behind. He alone escaped, for Ys with all its inhabitants, including Dahut, disappeared beneath the ocean.
His horse swam to coastal France, where Gradlon Meur finally arrived at Quimper. A very old statue of him once stood there, between two towers belonging to the cathedral. But in 1793, the monument’s head was violently removed as part of the anti-aristocracy hysteria then sweeping France. A new head was affixed 66 years later, or the original restored. Like the Greek flood hero Deucalion, Gradlon introduced wine to Europe. During the Middle Ages, the story of Gradlon was reenacted every Saint Cecilia’s Day, when a chorus sang of lost Ys. While engaged in their musical narrative, an actor would climb up on his statue to offer the antediluvian king a golden cup of wine. This done, he wiped the statue’s mustache with a napkin, drank the wine himself, then tossed the empty cup into the crowd. Whoever caught it before it could strike the ground and returned it to the acting company received a prize of 200 Crowns.
Dahut still does mischief, but as a mermaid who tempts unwary fishermen, dragging them into the waters covering the city she also drowned. The Ys myth describes her as “the white daughter of the sea,” recalling the first lady of Atlantis in Plato’s account, Leukippe—the “White Mare,” for foaming waves. The Breton legend’s pre-Christian origins appear in a Welch version of Ys, whose king was remembered as Gwyddno.
As the renowned mythologist Lewis Spence concluded, “If the legend of Ys is not a variant of that of Atlantis, I am greatly mistaken” (226).
Remembered by the Australian Aborigines as a colossal serpent in the sky. It deluged the whole Earth with a flood that drowned large tracks of land. Afterward, Yurlunggur signaled an end to the catastrophe by twisting himself into a rainbow— the same imagery found in the Hebrew Genesis and among the South American Incas.