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

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Herrmann, Albert (t)

Albert Herrmann (1886-1945) was Professor of Geography at Berlin University. He was very interested in oriental geography and is perhaps best known for his 1935, Historical and commercial Atlas of China, which was widely used

His other passion was Atlantis, so that between 1927 and 1931 he declared support for Borchardt’s Atlantis theory in a number of publications. In 1938 he used is influence to mount a large exhibition in Berlin about Atlantis(a).

He agreed that a large dried up saltwater lake in Tunisia called Shott el Djerid was originally Lake Tritonis and known during Solon’s time as the Atlantic Sea and further claimed that it had been the location of Atlantis; a theory supported by of a number of investigators. Herrmann suggested that it was the result of an upheaval of the land, which extended a land barrier between the Shott and the sea. He locates the Pillars of Heracles where this barrier was created. Anton Mifsud has pointed out that the 1st century BC writer Apollonius Rhodius located the Strait of Heracles in ancient Syrtis Minor, now the Gulf of Gabés, apparently supporting Herrmann’s contention. At one point, Herrmann cited as Atlantis, the village of Rhelissa, near the mouth of the old River Tritonis, which flowed into the Gulf of Gabes.

Herrmann disagreed with Plato’s 9,000 years and proposed that he had instead been referring to the 13th or 14th century BC.

Finally, Herrmann, in an effort to match this location with the Platonic narrative, felt obliged to reduce its dimensions by a factor of thirty. He claimed that the priest or interpreter at Sais had erred in the conversion of the Egyptian ‘schoinos’ into Greek stadia. The schoinos was adopted by the Greeks, where it must be noted that it well as the Geek stadion had variable regional values; the number of schoeni per stadion varied between 30 and 120.

In a later book[386], Herrmann shifted his view from his original stance suggesting that Tunisia had been just a colony under the influence of a culture originating in Friesland, later to become famous as the source of the Oera Linda Book. It is not impossible that the introduction of a Northern European slant to his theories were the consequence of political pressure in Germany at the time, typified by Borchardt being imprisoned because of his Jewish background. Vidal-Naquet describes Herrmann as ‘an avowed Nazi’ [580.121] so pressure may not have been necessary.

(a) offline October ’14