Of all the locations that have been suggested for the legendary Atlantis, the strangest is, to my way of thinking, France. Moreover, what’s particularly interesting is that whether or not the fellow we’re going to talk about is correct in his claim of finally locating Atlantis, it is pretty clear that he’s found something that nobody has seen before. And that’s not half bad.
This material is mainly taken from Phil Coppen’s book, The Lost Civilization Enigma.
This is a story about the life work of Belgian historian Marcel Mestdagh. Most of Mestdagh’s work relevant to Atlantis was done in the 1970s and 1980s. Professor Mestdagh died in 1990. The good news is that he was able to publish his work just before he died. The bad news, at least for some of us, was that it was only published in his native language. To my knowledge it has not yet been translated into English. If anyone reading this knows how to get hold of a translation, please write to me either in this site’s BLOG, or directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks. Now back to our story.
The Vikings Cometh
The Vikings set sail in the eighth century and continued their conquering ways until the end of the eleventh century. Among the many places they conquered were the British Isles and France. It is not really known what caused the Vikings to invade so many European countries. One proposal is that they were looking for Walhalla, which was, according to their legends, their homeland. They believed it to be an island where their Gods lived alongside Man. Walhalla, the Vikings thought, was place where the Gods granted the island’s human inhabitants the gift of immortality. This place sounds a lot like the Cedar Forest, and the Viking’s journey a lot like that of Gilgamesh. But I digress.
While in England the Vikings formed a grand army and conquered all major cities and towns. When this was done they moved on to France. This is where Mestdagh comes in. It seems that as he plotted out the Viking’s movements through England, a pattern emerged. It was such a distinct pattern that our intrepid historian came to believe that something was guiding their movements, that is, they were following some kind of a map or a plan. After years of research, Mestdagh believed he found the answer: the Vikings were following an ancient road network that fanned out from Nottingham.
Yet while this explained the Vikings movements in England, it didn’t explain why, after they conquered Nottingham, they crossed the channel and continued their conquests throughout France. Mestdagh said that at this point he began to believe whatever they were searching for (Walhalla or whatever), they hadn’t found it in Nottingham and so pressed on.
On to France
Apparently the Vikings found a similarly ancient set of roads in France, all fanning out from the French city of Sens. But when the Vikings got to Sens, things went very differently from what occurred in all the previous cities that had been blessed by a visit from the horned men from the North. The city wasn’t sacked. After a “peaceful” six-month siege during which no one was injured or killed—a veritable love fest compared to the Viking’s treatment of all other cities—the Vikings moved in and found a way to respectfully live with the native inhabitants. Why was this? What was so special about Sens?
Mestbagh noted that Sens was the former stronghold of the Senomes (“The Elders”), an ancient Celtic tribe. He wondered if this Sens place was somehow sacred to the Vikings or perhaps they even believed that Sens was their mythical Walhalla. Interestingly, for reasons we will soon see, Mestdagh noted that the Sens region, despite being hundreds of miles from the sea, is known as the Ile-de-France (“the Island of France”).
The system of roads fanning out from Sens is apparently still visible in many places. At first Mestdagh believed that they had been built by the Romans since Julius Caesar had chosen Sens, or “Agedincum” as the Romans called it, to be the town where Caesar stationed his armies to keep control of the region. But it soon became clear to Mestdagh that the roads were much older—perhaps thousands of years older—since many of them contained in their design megalithic standing stones.
In and around Sens there are an immense number of standing stones. It is well known that the Celts, and the Druids in particular, used megalithic sites (such as Stonehenge) for elaborate ceremonies. Our friend Julius Caesar didn’t think much of this when he encountered the Druids. In fact, he harbored such animosity, or fear, that when he conquered Gaul he specifically targeted and hunted down the Druids, ensuring that nothing of their ancient knowledge survived.
This extermination of ancient knowledge appears to be a reoccurring theme throughout Man’s history. If I’m not mistaken we have seen it played out in China, Egypt, South and Central America, and in Europe. Variations on this theme are taking place in Africa today. There are probably many more examples, but these are all instances I’ve read about and thus know actually happened. What they have in common is a new “leader” or conquering peoples exterminate the knowledge held by the indigenous people. Often the knowledge is ancient wisdom built up over millennia. From my worm’s eye view of history, it seems these acts are done out of some combination of jealousy, egotism and fear. Again, back to our story.
Coppens notes that the Vikings had no such extermination of their ancient knowledge. Throughout Scandinavian countries, things were relatively peaceful from megalithic times up through the times of the Vikings. So whatever knowledge and wisdom they had built up over the years, they brought with them on their travels. Mestdagh knew this and suspected that they were drawing on this knowledge when they chose to conduct their travels by following the ancient roads through France. Unfortunately what the Vikings knew has been lost to us via the short-sighted actions of the Romans and then representatives of Christianity. Consequently, Mestdagh had to try to re-create their knowledge to understand why Sens was so special. He spent the last 20 years of his life doing so.
Story to be continued soon.
 Phillip Coppens, The Lost Civilization Enigma, The Career Press, 2013.