An A-Z Guide To The Search For Plato's Atlantis
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Gades

Gades is the Roman name of what is generally accepted as having been located at or near modern Cadiz in southern Spain. In his Critias Plato relates that the twin brother of Atlas, the first ruler of Atlantis, was named Gadeiros although known in Greek as Eumelos. It is assumed that Gadeiros had his realm in the vicinity of Cadiz and had his capital named, Gadeira, after him.

However it has been pointed out that the Phoenicians who, before the time of Plato, possessed a port city in southwest Spain named Gadir meaning ‘enclosure’ or ‘fortress’ and was, over time, corrupted to Cadiz.

Until recently it was generally accepted, based on classical writers including the historian Livy, that the Phoenicians founded Gades around 1100 BC. Writers today such as Mark Woolmer have pointed out [1053.46] that the archaeological evidence suggests a more recent date, perhaps the middle of the 8th century BC.

However, a number of locations with similar sounding names are to be found in the Western Mediterranean region, weakening the certainty normally associated with the more generally accepted identification of Gadeirus’ city with South-West Spain.

Another solution has recently been proposed by Michael Hübner, in which he offers the Souss-Massa plain of Southern Morocco as the location of Atlantis. On the Atlantic coast of the plain is the large town of Agadir, whose name is also probably derived from the word ‘gadir’ which means fort or enclosure in the local Tamazight language. It can also mean ‘sheep fold’, which may tie in with Plato’s use of ‘Eumelos’ as the Greek translation of Gadeiros means ‘rich in sheep’.

Alternative suggestions have been proposed, including one by Andis Kaulins(a), who is inclined to identify the Sicilian island of Egadi, which is opposite Tunis. Should this Egadi be the original Gades it would make sense of two of the suggested alternatives for the location of the Pillars of Heracles, either the Strait of Messina or the Strait of Sicily, where there is a Gadir on the island of Pantelleria(b). It would mean that Egadi would have been outside the Pillars of Heracles from either an Athenian or Egyptian perspective. Albert Nikas has pointed out the existence of a place in Malta called Il Ghadira, which has the largest sandy beach on the island!

A number of investigators have also identified Gades with Tartessos, presumed to be the Tarshish of the Bible.

More recently Jonathan Northcote has suggested that Gadeira may have been Ireland.

(a) http://www.lexiline.com/lexiline/lexi60.htm

(b) http://www.pantellerialink.com/dammusigadir/