The River Danube is the second longest river in Europe, which was known to the ancient Greeks as ‘Istros’. It rises in Germany’s Black Forest and after passing through many countries, including four capital cities, it eventually empties into the Black Sea.
A number of researchers have associated the river with Plato’s Atlantis. One of the earliest was Nicolae Densusianu who proposed that Atlantis had been situated in ancient Dacia, his native Romania. Over a century later some of his ideas have been revived by other Romanian commentators such as Adrian Bucurescu and Alexandra Furdui. Densusian’s nationalism is now frowned upon and there is an understandable suspicion that his modern Romanian supporters may have similar underlying motivations.
There is a gorge on the Danube known as the Iron Gates which provides part of the boundary between Serbia and Romania. Densusianu located the Pillars of Heracles at the Iron Gates, an idea supported by Ticleanu, Constantin & Nicolescu who place Atlantis further west on the Pannonian Plain. However, Ranko Jakovlievic expressed the view that the Iron Gates section of the Danube was the location of Atlantis!
Christian and Siegfried Schoppe locate Atlantis east of the Danube Delta on Snake Island in the Black Sea an idea now adopted by George K. Weller (a).
Adrian Bucurescu is a Romanian ethnographer and a prolific article writer and also the author of Dacia Secreta and Dacia Magica. He identifies the Black Sea and what is now mainland Romania as the home of Atlantis. He locates the Pillars of Hercules at the Danube gorge at the mouth of S-W Romanian river Cerna (also known as Acheron, Charon, Geryon) and that the capital of Atlantis was the city of Tulcea (Tul=atlas+Cea=land) at the Danube Delta.
Furthermore, Bucurescu claims that Plato originally said 5,000 not 9,000 years had elapsed between the Atlantean war and Solon’s visit to Egypt. He bases this idea on his claim that the works of the Greek philosophers were preserved in Arabic translations after the fall of Constantinople and that their numbers ‘5’ and ‘9’ were sufficiently similar to have led to a transcription error!(b)
However, a further contribution on Graham Hancock’s website has him listing the ten kingdoms (of Atlantis) extending over a much larger region, including Poland, Egypt and Sumeria(a)!
Romania does not automatically leap to mind as a possible location for Atlantis, nevertheless, in 1913 a massive book by Nicolae Densusianu was published in which such a claim was made. The suggestion was made en passant in this large work, which is mainly concerned with the prehistoric evolution of civilisation in the Dacia region of Romania. The 1000-page+ book in English is available in its entirety on the Internet.
The Pannonian Plain, now part of Hungary was formerly part of ancient Dacia. A paper was submitted to the 2008 Atlantis Conference in Athens by three Romanian researchers, M. Ticleanu, P. Constanin and R. Nicolescu proposing that this region had been the original location of Atlantis. This paper, together with a large number of maps, is now available on the internet(a).
The location of the Pillars of Heracles is also discussed in depth and the author not unexpectedly also locates them along the Danube (Pt3 – Ch.XVI). It is noteworthy that in ancient times the Danube was called Okeanos Potamos.
To what extent nationalistic motives were the moving force behind this noteworthy tome is difficult to ascertain, but the possibility should be borne in mind. However, his excessive nationalism, was popular during the communist regime, but is now deemed unacceptable and his work discredited.
In the meantime, neighbouring Bulgaria had seen the unearthing of remarkable artefacts, including gold jewellery, dating to 3000 BC and is now claiming the discovery of rock temples in the Rhodope Mountains that are a thousand years older than the Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilisations. Watch this space.
Nicolae Densusianu (1846-1911) was a Romanian ethnologist and folklorist, although he was born in Transylvania, at the time part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He claimed that ancient Dacia had been the centre of a widespread Pelasgian Empire. His major work, published posthumously, Prehistoric Dacia, includes the suggestion that Atlantis had been located in Dacia, now Romania. The text of this extensive book, in English, is available in its entirety on the Internet.
His excessive nationalism, popular during the communist regime, is now deemed unacceptable and his work discredited.
Densusianu’s work has also been recently echoed in two books by the Serbian historian, Ranko Jakovljevic, although he moves the focus further west from Romania to his own native Serbia.