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

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Joining The Dots

I have now published my new book, Joining The Dots, which offers a fresh look at the Atlantis mystery. I have addressed the critical questions of when, where and who, using Plato's own words, tempered with some critical thinking and a modicum of common sense.


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Achaeans

Trojan War

The Trojan War, at first sight, may appear to have little to do with the story of Atlantis except that some recent commentators have endeavoured to claim that the war with Atlantis was just a retelling of the Trojan War. The leading proponent of the idea is Eberhard Zangger in his 1992 book The Flood from Heaven[483] and later in a paper(l) published in Oxford Journal of Archaeology. He also argues that survivors of the War became the Sea Peoples, while Frank Joseph contends that conflict between the Egyptians and the Sea Peoples was part of the Trojan War[108.11]. Steven Sora asserts that the Atlantean war recorded by Plato is a distortion of the Trojan War and he contentiously claims that Troy was located on the Iberian Peninsula rather than the more generally accepted Hissarlik in Turkey. Others have located the War in the North Sea or the Baltic. Of these, Iman Wilkens is arguably the best known advocate of an English location for Troy since 1990. In 2018, Gerard Janssen has added further support for Wilkens theory(k).

However. controversy has surrounded various aspects of the War since earliest times. Strabo(a) tells us that Aristotle dismissed the matter of the Achaean wall as an invention, a matter that is treated at length by Classics Professor Timothy W. Boyd(b). In fact the entire account has been the subject of continual criticism. A more nuanced approach to the reality or otherwise of the ‘War’ is offered by Petros Koutoupis(j).

The reality of the Trojan War as related by Homer has been debated for well over a century. There is a view that much of what he wrote was fictional, but that the ancient Greeks accepted this, but at the same time they possessed an historical account of the war that varied considerably from Homer’s account(f). 

Over 130 quotations from the Illiad and Odyssey have been identified in Plato’s writings, suggesting the possibility of him having adopted some of Homer’s nautical data, which may account for Plato’s Atlantean fleet having 1200 ships which might have been a rounding up of Homer’s 1186 ships in the Achaean fleet!

Like so many other early historical events, the Trojan War has also generated its fair share of nutty ideas, such as Hans-Peny Hirmenech’s wild suggestion that the rows of standing stones at Carnac marked the tombs of Atlantean soldiers who fought in the Trojan War! Arthur Louis Joquel II, proposed that the War was fought between two groups of refugees from the Gobi desert, while Jacques de Mahieu maintained that refugees from Troy fled to America after the War where they are now identified as the Olmecs! In November 2017, an Italian naval archaeologist, Francesco Tiboni, claimed(h). that the Trojan Horse was in fact a ship. This is blamed on the mistranslation of one word in Homer.

Various attempts have been made to determine the exact date of the ten-year War, using astronomical dating relating to eclipses noted by Homer. In the 1920’s, astronomers Carl Schoch and Paul Neugebauer put the sack of Troy at close to 1190 BC.*According to Eratosthenes the conflict lasted from 1193 to 1184 BC(m).*

In 2008, Constantino Baikouzis and Marcelo O. Magnasco proposed 1178 BC as the date of the eclipse that coincided with the return Odysseus, ten years after the War(a). Stuart L. Harris published a paper on the Migration & Diffusion website in 2017(g), in which he endorsed the 1190 BC date for the end of the Trojan War.

A new dating of the end of the Trojan War has been presented by Stavros Papamarinopoulos et al. in a paper(c) now available on the Academia.edu website. Working with astronomical data relating to eclipses in the 2nd millennium BC, they have calculated the ending of the War to have taken place in 1218 BC and Odysseus’ return as 1207 BC.

What is noteworthy is that virtually all the recent studies of the eclipse data are in agreement that the Trojan War ended near the end of the 13th century BC, which in turn can be linked to archaeological evidence at the Hissarlik site. Perhaps even more important is the 1218 BC date for the Trojan War recorded on the Parian Marble, reinforcing the Papamarinoupolos date.

Eric Cline has suggested that an earlier date is a possibility, as “scholars are now agreed that even within Homer’s Iliad there are accounts of warriors and events from centuries predating the traditional setting of the Trojan War in 1250 BC” [1005.40].

However, even more radical redating has been strongly advocated by a number of commentators(d)(e) and not without good reason.

(a)Geographica XIII.1.36

(b) https://www.google.co.uk/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GZEV_enIE442IE442&q=achaean+wall+aristotle

(c) http://www.academia.edu/7806255/A_NEW_ASTRONOMICAL_DATING_OF_THE_TROJAN_WARS_END

(d) http://www.mikamar.biz/rainbow11/mikamar/articles/troy.htm (offline) see Archive 2401

(e) http://www.varchive.org/schorr/troy.htm

(f) https://gatesofnineveh.wordpress.com/2011/09/06/the-trojan-war-in-greek-historical-sources/

(g) http://www.migration-diffusion.info/article.php?year=2017&id=509

(h) http://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/italian-archaeologist-claims-that-the-trojan-horse-was-really-the-trojan-boat

(i) https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/3345362/Scientists-calculate-the-exact-date-of-the-Trojan-horse-using-eclipse-in-Homer.html

(j) https://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends/was-there-ever-trojan-war-001737

(k) http://www.homerusodyssee.nl/id12.htm

(l) https://www.academia.edu/25590584/Plato_s_Atlantis_Account_A_Distorted_Recollection_of_the_Trojan_War

*(m) http://www.sis-group.org.uk/news/eratosthenes-and-trojan-war.htm*

Wilkens, Iman Jacob

Iman Jacob Wilkens (1936- ) was born in the Netherlands but worked in France as an economist until retiring in 1996. In 1990 he threw a cat among the pigeons when he published Where Troy Once Stood[610] which located iman-jacob-wilkensTroy near Cambridge in England and identified Homer’s Trojan War as an extensive conflict in north-west Europe. He follows the work of Belgian lawyer, Théophile Cailleux[393], who presented similar ideas at the end of the 19th century just before Schliemann located his Troy in western Turkey, pushing Cailleux’s theories into obscurity until Wilken’s book a century later.

Felice Vinci also gave Homer’s epic a northern European backdrop locating the action in the Baltic[019]. Like Wilkens he makes a credible case and explains that an invasion of the Eastern Mediterranean by northern Europeans also brought with them their histories as well as place names that were adapted by local writers, such as Homer

Wilkens claims that the invaders can be identified as the Sea Peoples and were also known as Achaeans and Pelasgians who settled the Aegean and mainland Greece. This matches Spanuth’s identification of the Sea Peoples recorded by the Egyptians as originating in the North Sea. Spanuth went further and claimed that those North Sea Peoples were in fact the Atlanteans.

Wilkens original book had a supporting website(a), while the 2005 edition is also supported by a website(b) as well as a companion DVD. A lecture entitled The Trojan Kings of England is also available online(c).

*(a)  http://www.where-troy-once-stood.co.uk/  (offline March 2018)*

(b) http://www.troy-in-england.co.uk/

(c)  http://phdamste.tripod.com/trojan.html

 

Mycenaean

Mycenaean is the name given to the culture of ancient Greece (excluding Crete) during the Late Bronze Age (1500–1100 BC). They were also called Achaeans. The controversial writer Felice Vinci maintains that a Northern European tribe was referred to as Achaeans by Homer and that they migrated south and founded the Mycenaean civilisation. However, it was Martin Persson Nilsson (1874-1967), a Swedish historian, who was an earlier proponent of a Nordic origin for the Mycenaeans.

*However, recent genetic studies suggest that the mainland Mycenaeans and the Cretan Minoans share a common ancestry with Neolithic populations of what are today Turkey and Greece(c).

Papamarinopoulos claims[750.73] that the Athens described by Plato in the Critias is an accurate description of Mycenaean Athens.

Austen Atkinson in his Impact Earth[109] suggested the possibility that the unexplained ending of the Mycenaean civilisation could be explained as a consequence of Earth’s encounter with Phaëton referred to by Plato (Tim.22c-d).

However, there are current studies(a) being made into the possibility that earthquakes were responsible for the demise of the Mycenaeans and the start of the Greek ‘Dark Ages’.

*However, the earthquake theory is also under attack(b), with the proposal that either an uprising or invasion was responsible for the demise of the Mycenaean Greece.*

A recent outline[226] of the Mycenaean culture has been produced by Rodney Castleden, who has also written about Atlantis.

(a) http://news.discovery.com/history/archaeology/did-earthquake-destroy-ancient-greece-130426.htm

*(b) http://www.tornosnews.gr/en/greek-news/culture/30911-new-study-mycenaean-civilization-might-have-collapsed-due-to-uprising-or-invasion.html

(c) https://www.haaretz.com/archaeology/MAGAZINE-mystery-of-where-the-minoans-came-from-solved-1.5439462*

Atlantean Navy

The Atlantean Navy consisted of 1,200 ships, according to Plato. Such a fleet would be totally unnecessary unless your potential enemies had a similar force. It is worth noting that that over 130 quotations from the Illiad and Odyssey have been identified in Plato’s writings, suggesting the possibility of him having adopted some of Homer’s nautical data. Homer records that the Achaean fleet consisted of  1,186 ships, a number that could be naturally rounded up to 1,200 – a coincidence?

Similarly, Herodotus records that the Persians had a fleet of 1,207 triremes at the Battle of Salamis (480 BC). It is a further remarkable coincidence that of all the military statistics recorded by Plato, the only number that is not an exact thousand, relates to the size of the Atlantean fleet. A number that is the rounded value of the Achaean fleet in the Trojan War and the Persian fleet which attacked Athens just 50 years before Plato was born. It is not improbable that 1,200 was used in this isolated instance as a  representation of the ultimate in naval power at that time! A website that reviews the classical sources relating to the Persian fleet in greater detail is available(c).

Since conventional archaeology identifies the Bronze Age Greeks and the Phoenicians in the Eastern Mediterranean as possessors of the earliest navies, the possibility of a naval force of such a great size 9600 BC is considered improbable if not completely impossible. Recent discoveries on Cyprus have provided evidence of primative seafaring in the region as early as 12,000 years ago. However, it appears that occasional travellers from Turkey and Syria who utilised crude stone tools arrived there in rather small boats. We are therefore forced to conclude that Plato’s reference to a powerful navy supporting an extensive merchant fleet is either a heavy embellishment of a real story regarding a prehistoric civilisation or an allusion to an actual Bronze Age thalassocracy.

An interesting series of illustrated articles(a) on ancient ships offers a useful background for the study of the Atlantean Navy.

Plato describes the Atlanteans as using triremes which is quite improbable as they were probably not developed until around the 7th century BC(b). It is more likely that Plato used the term trireme to make his narrative more relevant to his Greek audience.

(a)  http://www.artsales.com/Ancient%20Ships/aTableofContents.htm

(b) http://darkside.hubpages.com/hub/trireme

*[(c) http://www.metrum.org/perwars/perfleet.htm]*

Achaeans

Achaean is a term that has been applied in a variety a ways over the past 4,000 years to identify different groups and geographical areas. Originally it described the first of the Greek-speaking peoples who arrived on mainland Greece around 2000 BC. Homer also referred to them as Achaioi as well as Argives and Danai (Strabo 8.6.5). Achaioi was probably the Anatolian name for them. Argives refers to the inhabitants of Argos and the Danai were the descendants of the Egyptian Danus who moved to Argos. Homer used Danai as a general term applied to all Greeks. Similarly, it quite possible that Atlantis and the individual members of their alliance had each been known by a number of different names.  

The Achaeans were the founders of the city of Mycenae, in the North-Eastern Peloponnese, which gave its name to the Mycenaean civilisation of Late Bronze Age Greece (1700-1200 BC). There is no consensus regarding their origin. There is some agreement that the Hittites knew them as Ahhiyawa. Rodney Castleden expands on this idea in his Mycenaeans[226]. Helike, one of their cities, was destroyed in 373 BC, by inundation following an earthquake in a similar manner to the destruction of Atlantis as described by Plato.*Iain Stewart also supports Helike, the former capital of the Achaean League, as the most likely inspiration for Plato’s Atlantis story(b).*

Today Achaea is the name of an administrative area of Greece.

Some writers such as Jürgen Spanuth[015] and more recently Felice Vinci[019] have argued strongly in favour of the controversial theory that the Achaeans were a Baltic tribe that migrated south. Iman Wilkens maintains that ‘Achaean’ means ‘watermen’ or ‘Sea People’(a), which has other obvious implications.

(a) http://www.troy-in-england.co.uk/

*(b) http://history-of-macedonia.com/2011/03/08/echoes-of-platos-atlantis/*