Late Bronze Age Collapse of civilisations in the Eastern Mediterranean in the second half of the 2nd millennium BC has been variously attributed to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and severe climate change. It is extremely unlikely that all these occurred around the same time through coincidence. Unfortunately, it is not clear to what extent these events were interrelated. As I see it, political upheavals do not lead to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or drought and so can be safely viewed as an effect rather than a cause. Similarly, climate change is just as unlikely to have caused eruptions or seismic activity and so can also be classified as an effect. Consequently, we are left with earthquakes and volcanoes as the prime suspects for the catastrophic turmoil that took place in the Middle East between the 15th and 12th centuries BC. Nevertheless, August 2013 saw further evidence published which blamed climate change for demise of civilisations in the region.
Robert Drews dismisses any suggestion that Greece suffered a critical drought around 1200 BC, citing the absence of any supporting reference by Homer or Hesiod as evidence. He proposes that “the transition from chariot to infantry warfare as the primary cause of the Great Kingdoms’ downfall.”
This extended period of chaos began around 1450 BC when the eruptions on Thera took place. These caused the well-documented devastation in the region including the ending of the Minoan civilisation and probably the Exodus of the Bible and the Plagues of Egypt as well. According to the Parian Marble, the Flood of Deucalion probably took place around the same time.
Professor Stavros Papamarinopoulos has written of the ‘seismic storm’ that beset the Eastern Mediterranean between 1225 and 1175 BC(a). Similar ideas have been expressed by Amos Nur & Eric H.Cline(b)(c). The invasion of the Sea Peoples recorded by the Egyptians, and parts of Plato’s Atlantis story all appear to have taken place around this period. Plato refers to a spring on the Athenian acropolis (Crit.112d) that was destroyed during an earthquake. Rainer Kühne notes that this spring only existed for about 25 years but was rediscovered by the Swedish archaeologist, Oscar Broneer, who excavated there from 1959 to 1967. The destruction of the spring and barracks, by an earthquake, was confirmed as having occurring at the end of the 12th century BC.
(this is a shorter version of (c) below)
Oscar Theodore Broneer (1894-1992) was born in Sweden but moved to the United States in 1913. Plato described both the Acropolis of Athens as well as Atlantis at the time of their war. He noted that a spring on the Acropolis had been destroyed by an earthquake at that time. Then in 1939, Broneer rediscovered the spring together with evidence that it had been destroyed around 1200 BC, giving us a possible anchor for dating the Atlantis conflict. Broneer’s papers are archived at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.
Linear B is the name given to the script used in Mycenaean Greece from 1450 BC until around 1200 BC. It was deciphered in 1952 by the British architect, Michael Ventris, who found it to be based on archaic Greek. What is not generally known is that in America at the same time, classicist Alice Kober was engaged in a parallel quest but unfortunately died of cancer in 1950, before she could complete her work(b).
Edo Nyland in his Linguistic Archaeology controversially claimed that the same texts translated by Ventris using archaic Greek could also be translated using Basque! Examples are given on the University of California, Riverside website(c).
The script is similar to Linear A(a) used in Minoan Crete, which has still to be decoded. Writing disappeared from Greece in the 12th cent. BC and did not reappear until the 9th cent. BC, when an alphabetic script came into use. Those three centuries are known as the ‘Dark Ages’ of Greek history. Plato explained the lack of writing as a consequence of a catastrophic flood which left just a few illiterate ‘mountaineers’ as survivors, who orally transmitted their history until literacy returned.
The scale of Greek catastrophes during this period is indicated by the work of V.R.Desborough who gathered comparative data on the number of population centres on the Peloponnese in the 12th and 13th centuries that shows an average drop of 80%. Spanuth lists those figures in Atlantis of the North[015.161].
Plato is often denounced by Atlantic sceptics as just a philosopher and therefore unreliable as an historian. However, in Critias he outlines quite accurately a number of features of ancient Greece that were only verified in recent times, such as the layout and earthquake damage to the Acropolis as well as the ‘Dark Ages’ mentioned above.*[This like saying that an historian cannot have valid philosophical views or a philosopher should not discuss historical matters.]*
It has been suggested that the Atlantis story was brought to Egypt written in the Minoan scripts. Both employed numerals where the symbol for ‘hundred’ was very similar to that for ‘thousand’, leading to later transcription errors that eventually gave us Plato’s apparently exaggerated numbers! Both James Mavor and Rodney Castleden have advocated this explanation.
Dr. Rainer Walter Kühne was born in Braunschweig, Germany in 1970 and has a PhD in Physics (Dortmund 2001). He has proposed a modification of Quantum Electrodynamics (QED), which predicts a second kind of photon (’magnetic photon’) and a second kind of light (’magnetic photon rays’). He has also offered evidence for the existence of a rotating universe. He lectured in the Institute of Physics at Dortmund University.
Kühne had studied Plato’s Atlantis story and concluded that many of its elements are fictional although based on three historical but unconnected sources. For example, on the basis of Plato’s description of the Acropolis at the time of the ‘Atlantean’ war that it can be dated to around 1200 BC, not 9600 BC. He linked the Atlantean war with the invasion of the ‘Sea Peoples’ recorded by the Egyptians and locates Atlantis in Andalusia in Southern Spain and places its capital in the valley of the Guadalquivir, south of Seville. Satellite photos of this same area have recently revealed rectangular structures surrounded by parts of concentric circles with dimensions similar to Plato’s description of Atlantis. Werner Wickboldt, a teacher, who lives in Braunschweig (Kühne’s birthplace) announced the discovery of these features on January 8th 2003. These structures include a rectangle of size 180 meters x 90 meters (Temple of Poseidon?) and a square of length 180 meters (Temple of Poseidon and Cleito?). Concentric circles surround these two rectangular structures, so that the site closely resembles Plato’s description of the Atlantean capital. However, the dimensions of this location are approximately 20% larger than Plato’s figures, so Kühne has suggested that the unit of measurement used by Plato, the stade, may have been greater than usually accepted.
It was a surprise to many when, in their June 2004 edition, the highly respected journal Antiquity published details of this discovery and Kühne’s interpretation(a).
An outline of Kühne’s theories, in English, is also available on the Internet(c).
(a) http://antiquity.ac.uk/ProjGall/kuhne/ (if offline, see Archive 2081)
The Parthenon atop the Acropolis of Athens is one of the best-known monuments in the world. In its glory days it must have been even more impressive as it now known that the edifice was painted in ‘dazzling’ colours(e) .
It has been long claimed that the Parthenon incorporated the Golden Ratio (1:1.618) in its design(b). This is now strongly refuted by Keith Devlin, a professor of mathematics at Stanford University(c) and Samuel Arbesman a senior scholar at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation(d).
It claimed by David Pinnegar(a) to have been constructed to commemorate the victory of the Athenians over the Atlanteans. He further contends that the frieze that adorned the Parthenon hold a representation of the debate to which Plato referred at the end of the Critias text. If this interpretation is true, is it not likely that Plato or any other classical writer would have referred to it? The frieze also appears to depict the Athenian war with the Amazons.
A full scale copy of the Parthenon was constructed in 1897 in Nashville, Tennessee to celebrate the state’s centennial. Inside is the tallest (over 41ft) indoor sculpture in the western world, depicting a stunning gold covered image of Athena.
Panathenaea was an important annual festival of Pallas Athene that according to tradition dated from the time of the legendary king Theseus. From 566 BC Pisistratus, the Athenian aristocrat, arranged that every fourth year, when the festival would be known as the Greater Panathenaea, music and poetry competitions were included, together with games and the festival was extended by three or four days.
During annual Lesser Panathenaea there was a solemn procession to the Acropolis in thanksgiving to Athene for having saved the city, giving it victory over the ‘nation of Poseidon’. Ammianus Marcellinus recounts how the peplum, a richly embroidered robe of Minerva (the Roman equivalent of Athena) was carried in this procession, on which could be seen a representation of the war between the Athenians and the Atlantides. That this was a clear reference to the defeat of the Atlanteans is supported by Humboldt, Böckh, Donnelly[1179.91], Baldwin[0653.396] and Joseph.
*Justin Winsor relates the same story with some minor changes “In the Scholia to Plato’s Republic it is said that at the great Panathenaea there was carried in procession a peplum ornamented with representations of the contest between the giants and the gods, while on the peplum carried in the little Panathenaea could be seen the war of the Athenians against the Atlantides. Even Humboldt accepted this as an independent testimony in favor of the antiquity of the story ; but Martin has shown that, apart from the total inconsistency of the report with the expressions of Plato, who places the narration of this forgotten deed of his countrymen at the celebration of the festival of the little Panathenaea, the scholiast has only is read Proclus, who states that the peplum depicted the repulse of the barbarians, i.e. Persians, by the Greeks.” [1673.1.42]
The Persian interpretation is a minority view, which is greatly weakened by the fact that this ceremony was performed at least 138 years before Plato was even born would appear to demonstrate that he could not have invented the existence of Atlantis and in fact the celebratory procession was inaugurated long before the Persian Wars began. Apart from that, the ancient Greeks arrogantly referred to all non-Greeks as ‘barbarians’ and could, in this instance, be applied more aptly to the Atlanteans rather than the Persians.*
The Parian Marble allows us to calculate the date of the first Panathenaea occurring in 1506/5 BC. If ‘the nation of Poseidon’ is not a reference to Atlantis, what does it refer to? One suggestion, perhaps more contentious, is that it is an illusion to the Sea Peoples.
The contest between Athena and Poseidon on the West pediment of the Acropolis is related to the later conflict between Erechtheus, an early king of Athens, and the Eleusinians under the leadership of Eumolpos. Keep in mind that Poseidon is the father of Eumolpos, dated by some to reigning around 1400 BC.
New research by Professor Efrosyni Boutsikas of the University of Kent has shown(a) that the start of the annual festival was signalled by the appearance of the Draco constellation over the Erechtheion on the Acropolis of Athens.
An earthquake, not a volcanic eruption resulted in the inundation of Atlantis according to Plato’s account. Although, for those who believe that the destruction of ancient Santorini was the inspiration behind Plato’s Atlantis story, it is not difficult to imagine an earthquake accompanying an eruption such as that which occurred on Thera in the 2nd millennium BC, particularly in an area that had been prone to frequent earthquakes over thousands of years.
Stavros Papamarinopoulos at the 2005 Atlantis Conference highlighted(h) the part played by earthquakes in the description of the ancient Athenian Acropolis in the Atlantis narrative, which he saw a part of a 50-year ‘seismic storm’ which ravaged the Eastern Mediterranean around the 12th century BC [629.499].*Later, in 365 AD, a massive earthquake near Crete, killed thousands, caused damage in Alexandria and submerged the Roman city of Neapolis on the east coast of Tunisia, which has only recently been rediscovered(j). On Crete, some land was uplifted by as much as 30 feet.*
However, earthquakes in the region have continued ever since. Dr. Iain Stewart recounts how an earthquake in Greece in the 5th century BC led to the death of 20,000 Spartans(i).
Earthquakes were once thought to be a form of divine retribution, so when an earthquake in 1570, causing death, damage and the alteration of the River Po’s course, ‘infallible’ Pope Pius V declared it to be the consequence of god’s wrath against the Jews!(b)
A PhD Dissertation by Jamie Rae Bluestone investigates early understanding of earthquakes, which inevitably touches on the Atlantis story(a).
A recent paper by Marc-Andre Gutscher discussed the Cadiz subduction zone, which appears to be ‘locked’ and consequently liable to generate very strong earthquakes over long return periods. Gutscher offered evidence of deposits dated to 12000 BC which ‘may correspond to the destructive earthquake and tsunami described by Plato’. However, he recognised that Plato describes a Bronze Age society, while Spartel Island in the Strait of Gibraltar would only have been inhabited by ‘simple fishermen’ unlikely to have merited a mention in the records of the Egyptian priests.
In the Mediterranean the Aegean and Turkey are the most seismically active, followed by Italy (including Sicily)(f) and North Africa from Morocco to Tunisia. There is a European Earthquake Catalogue that graphically illustrates earthquake activity over the past 1,000 years(e). Italy is also home to most of the active volcanoes in the Med.
Ben Davidson, promotes the idea that earthquakes are caused by solar activity (c) and offers what he considers compelling evidence on a YouTube clip(d).
Up-to-date earthquake information is available on the Geofon website(g).
[The words ‘seismology’ and ‘epicentre’ were coined in 1858 by an Irishman, Robert Mallet (1810-1881)]
Acropolis is the name given to the central highest position in ancient Greek cities, occupied by the principal religious and civic buildings. The Athenian acropolis was crowned by the magnificent Parthenon, constructed between 447-432 BC. An interesting claim is that the Parthenon was once ‘a riot of colour’(d). Another remarkable feature of the building is that its breadth has been carefully measured at 101.34 feet, which is exactly a second of latitude at the equator(b). The acropolis of Athens is the best known and often erroneously referred to as ‘The’ Acropolis. It is worth noting that the general description of an acropolis is mirrored in Plato’s description of the central buildings of Atlantis that were also located on elevated ground. Writers such as Jürgen Spanuth, Rainer W. Kühne(a) as well as Papamarinopoulos(c) have concluded that the acropolis of Athens provides convincing evidence that the war between Atlantis and Athens took place around 1200 BC. *Papamarinopoulos comments further that “Athens of Critias, is proved a reality of the 12th century B.C., described only by Plato and not by historians, such as Herodotus, Thucydides and others. Analysts of the past have mixed Plato’s fabricated Athens presented in his dialogue Republic with the non-fabricated Athens of his dialogue Critias. This serious error has deflected researchers from their target to interpret Plato’s text efficiently.” (e)*
Plato referred to dwellings for warriors (Crit. 112b) situated to the north of the Acropolis that were built in the 15th century BC and were not located again until the earlier part of our 20th century. He also refers to a spring (Critias 112d) that was destroyed during an earthquake. Kühne notes that this spring only existed for about 25 years but was found by the Swedish archaeologist, Oscar Broneer (1894-1992),who excavated there from 1959 to 1967. The destruction of the spring and barracks, by an earthquake, was confirmed as having occurring at the end of the 12th century BC. Plato describes how these catastrophes, of inundation and earthquake, that caused the destruction on the Acropolis, were only survived by those living inland. They were uneducated people who could not write and so the knowledge of writing became lost. J. Chadwick & Michael Ventris have shown that Linear B was written in an early Greek language and that in Greece it remained in use until around 1200 BC. Subsequently, the Greeks were without a script until the 8th century BC. This date of 1200 BC would appear to match the end of the war between Athens and Atlantis except for Plato’s reference to the earthquake being accompanied by a flood that was the third before the flood of Deucalion. This flood of Deucalion is usually dated to at least some centuries before 1200 BC. Collina-Girard in common with many others seems convinced that Atlantis was destroyed around 9500 BC but that Plato’s description of Atlantis is fictional. Collina-Girard’s theory of an Atlantis in the Gibraltar Strait inundated at the end of the Ice Age many thousands of years before the Acropolis existed, forced him to denounce Plato’s Bronze Age descriptions as fiction otherwise he could not justify the exploration of Spartel Island.
David Antelo Justiano (1971- ) is a Bolivian engineer who has identified a plain in the Beni region of Bolivia, north-east of La Paz, as that referred to by Plato as being adjacent to Atlantis. Antelo has posted a video on YouTube(a), which offers a comparison of the topography of the region with Plato’s description of Atlantis. It includes a network of pre-Columbian waterways and a circular feature, which might have been the city. Antelo gives the following co-ordinates for the acropolis as 13° 09′ 35.6” S and 65º 33′ 36 .5” W.
Allan & Delair note that the Beni Basin is also home to features comparable with the Carolina Bays of North America[014.287]. In August 2013 the discovery was announced(d) of middens in the Beni region that were dated to 8000 BC.
Jim Allen, is the leading advocate of Atlantis in the Andes, specifically on the Altiplano to the west of Lake Poopo. Allen refutes Antelo’s claim at the end of a website(b) dealing with Plato’s Atlantis Plain.
Antelo published his thesis in 2008 in a book entitled La Conspiración Atlante (The Atlantis Conspiracy).
(c) http://noatlantida.galeon.com/Index.htm (Spanish) (offline October ’14)