Army of Atlantis (t)
The Army of Atlantis, according to the details given by Plato portrays a force comparable with any of the major empires of the Mediterranean or Middle East.
Even today the U.S. army only numbers around 1.5 million active soldiers. Atlantis had 800,000 foot soldiers, 200,000 horses, 10,000 chariots, and 1,200 ships. Most writers seem to have glossed over the enormous size of the Atlantean war machine although a few such as Wolter Smit have commented on it(a).
There is no need to maintain an army of that size unless there are potential enemies of similar strength. Who were these enemies? If the 9600 BC date is accepted, the size of this Atlantean army seems quite excessive. A fascinating military website(b)should have its first three chapters studied closely. Among many other matters it describes how in 2300 BC, Sargon of Akkad was hard put to maintain an army of 5,400 men. The same site relates how a thousand years later the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II had a mainly conscript army of 100,000 soldiers to maintain his entire empire, although another source(c) puts the figure as low as 20,000. Towards the end of the Roman Empire an army of 350,000 men controlled its vast territories.
The Battle of Karkar (Qarqar) in 853 BC was fought between the Assyrian army of Shalmaneser III against an alliance of eleven kings led by the king of Damascus. It is claimed to have had the greatest number of combatants up to that date. The Assyrians claimed to have had 100,000 troops, but this is disputed by some scholars(d).
The military numbers presented by Plato do appear inflated to the same extent as his dimensions of the Atlantean capital city as well as the date of the war with Atlantis. Either the entire story is an invention or Plato felt obliged to embellish an account of a real prehistoric military power with his own numbers in order to emphasise their might. Alternatively, we must consider the real possibility that all of Plato’s large numbers are suspect and should be revised downward by a common factor, probably ten!