*Troy is believed to have been founded by Ilus, son of Troas, giving it the names of both Troy and Ilios (Ilium) with some slight variants.*The city is generally accepted by modern scholarship to have been situated at Hissarlik in what is now northwest Turkey.
Confusion over the site being Troy can be traced back to the 1st century AD geographer Strabo, who claimed that Ilion and Troy were two different cities! In the 18th century many scholars consider the village of Pinarbasi, 10 km south of Hissarlik, as a more likely location for Troy. The Hisarlik “theory had first been put forward in 1821 by Charles Maclaren, a Scottish newspaper publisher and amateur geologist. Maclaren identified Hisarlik as the Homeric Troy without having visited the region. His theory was based to an extent on observations by the Cambridge professor of mineralogy Edward Daniel Clarke and his assistant John Martin Cripps. In 1801, those gentlemen were the first to have linked the archaeological site at Hisarl?k with historic Troy.”(m)
The earliest excavations at Hissarlik began in 1856 by a British naval officer, John Burton. His work was continued in 1863 until 1865 by an amateur researcher, Frank Calvert. It was Calvert who directed Schliemann to Hissarlik and the rest is history(j).
However, some high profile authorities such as Sir Moses Finley (1912-1986) have denounced the whole idea of a Trojan War as a fiction in his book, The World of Odysseus. In 1909, Albert Gruhn argued against Hissarlik as Troy’s location(i).
The Swedish scholar, Martin P. Nilsson (1874-1967) who argued for a Scandinavian origin for the Mycenaeans, also considered the identification of Hissarlik with Homer’s Troy as unproven.
Troy as Atlantis is not a commonly held idea, although Strabo, suggested such a link. So it was quite understandable that when Swiss geo-archaeologist, Eberhard Zangger, expressed this view it caused quite a stir. In essence, Zangger proposed(g) that Plato’s story of Atlantis was a retelling of the Trojan War.
For me the Trojan Atlantis theory makes little sense as Troy was to the north east of Athens and Plato clearly states that the Atlantean invasion came from the west. In fact what Plato said was that the invasion came from the Atlantic Sea (pelagos). Although there is some disagreement about the location of this Atlantic Sea, all candidates proposed so far are west of both Athens and Egypt.(Tim.24e & Crit. 114c)
Troy would have been well known to Plato, so why did he not simply name them? Furthermore, Plato tells us that the Atlanteans had control of the Mediterranean as far as Libya and Tyrrhenia, which is not a claim that can be made for the Trojans. What about the elephants, the two crops a year or in this scenario, where were the Pillars of Heracles?
A very unusual theory explaining the fall of Troy as a consequence of a plasma discharge is offered by Peter Mungo Jupp on The Thunderbolts Project website(d) together with a video(e).
Zangger proceeded to re-interpret Plato’s text to accommodate a location in North-West Turkey. He contends that the original Atlantis story contains many words that have been critically mistranslated. The Bronze Age Atlantis of Plato matches the Bronze Age Troy. He points out that Plato’s reference to Atlantis as an island is misleading, since at that time in Egypt where the story originated, they frequently referred to any foreign land as an island. He also compares the position of the bull in the culture of Ancient Anatolia with that of Plato’s Atlantis. He also identifies the plain mentioned in the Atlantis narrative, which is more distant from the sea now, due to silting. Zangger considers these Atlantean/Trojans to have been one of the Sea Peoples who he believes were the Greek speaking city-states of the Aegean.
Rather strangely, Zangger admits (p.220) that “Troy does not match the description of Atlantis in terms of date, location, size and island character…..”, so the reader can be forgiven for wondering why he wrote his book in the first place. Elsewhere(f), another interesting comment from Zangger was that “One thing is clear, however: the site of Hisarlik has more similarities with Atlantis than with Troy.”
An American researcher, J. D. Brady, in a somewhat complicated theory places Atlantis in the Bay of Troy.
To confuse matters further Prof. Arysio Nunes dos Santos, a leading proponent of Atlantis in the South China Sea, places Troy in that same region of Asia(b).
Furthermore, the late Philip Coppens reviewed(h) the question marks that still hang over our traditional view of Troy.
Felice Vinci has placed Troy in the Baltic and his views have been endorsed by the American researcher Stuart L. Harris in a number of articles on the excellent Migration and Diffusion website(c). Harris specifically identifies Finland as the location of Troy, which he claims fell in 1283 BC although he subsequently revised this to 1190 BC, which is more in line with conventional thinking. The dating of the Trojan War has spawned its own collection of controversies.
However, the idea of a northern source for Homeric material is not new. In 1918, an English translation of a paper by Carus Sterne (Dr. Ernst Ludwig Krause)(1839-1903) was published with the title of The Northern Origin of the Story of Troy.(n)
*Most recently (May, 2019) historian Bernard Jones(q) has joined the ranks of those advocating a Northern European location for Troy in his book, The Discovery of Troy and Its Lost History . He has also written an article supporting his ideas in the Ancient Origins website(o). For some balance, I suggest that you also read Jason Colavito’s comments(p).*
Steven Sora in an article(k) in Atlantis Rising Magazine suggested a site near Lisbon called ‘Troia’ as just possibly the original Troy, as part of his theory that Homer’s epics were based on events that took place in the Atlantic. Two years later, in the same publication, Sora investigates the claim of an Italian Odyssey(l).
Roberto Salinas Price (1938-2012) was a Mexican Homeric scholar who caused quite a stir in 1985 in Yugoslavia, as it was then, when he claimed that the village of Gabela 15 miles from the Adriatic’s Dalmatian coast in what is now Bosnia Herezgovina, was the ‘real’ location of Troy in his Homeric Whispers.
More recently another Adriatic location theory has come from the Croatian historian, Vedran Sinožic in hisbook Naša Troja (Our Troy). “After many years of research and exhaustive work on collecting all available information and knowledge, Sinožic provides numerous arguments that prove that the legendary Homer Troy is not located in Hisarlik in Turkey, but is located in the Republic of Croatia – today’s town of Motovun in Istria.” Sinožic who has been developing his theory over the past 30 years has also identified a connection between his Troy and the Celtic world.
Like most high-profile ancient sites, Troy has developed its own mystique, inviting the more imaginative among us to speculate on its associations, including a possible link with Atlantis. Recently, a British genealogist, Anthony Adolph, has proposed that the ancestry of the British can be traced back to Troy in his book Brutus of Troy.
(k) Atlantis Rising Magazine #64 July/Aug 2007 See: Archive 3275
(l) Atlantis Rising Magazine #74 March/April 2009 See: Archive 3276
(n) The Open Court magazine. Vol.XXXII (No.8) August 1918. No. 747 See: https://archive.org/stream/opencourt_aug1918caru/opencourt_aug1918caru_djvu.txt
Arn Strohmeyer (1942- ) was born in Berlin and now lives in Bremen. He is a journalist and author of a number of books, of which three, in German, relate to Atlantis. All three include views on the background to the place that Atlantis had in the thinking of the Nazis. His first book looked at the theories of Jürgen Spanuth and his last offering disputes the conclusions of Eberhard Zangger who identifies Atlantis with Troy. He also offers a German language website(a).
Strohmeyer has recently been accused of anti-semitism(b) to which he responded that “I have never questioned Israel’s right to exist and never will.” adding that “the allegation of anti-Semitism from certain Jewish circles serves as an instrument to silence critics of Israel’s policies.”
Dr Jürgen Spanuth (1907-1998) was born in Austria and studied theology and archaeology at university. He became pastor of Bordelum in Northern Germany. His first book Das Entraselte Atlantis was published in 1953, following excavations near Heligoland. It was later published in English and is now available on the Internet(a). His basic thesis was that following a major catastrophe in the North Sea around 1250 BC, the Mediterranean experienced an invasion of Scandinavians, whom he referred to as the ‘North Sea Peoples’. Part of the physical evidence he produced was the horn-helmeted Sea Peoples depicted at Medinet Habu. Since we are all used to seeing Vikings depicted with horned helmets, many are surprised to find that it is a late 19th century invention(e)(f).
Spanuth’s theory implies that such helmets had been standard army issue in the region for over a millennium. In fact the Vikings used rather plain helmets which they did not manufacture themselves but traded for them from other Germanic peoples on mainland Europe(d). On the other hand, one of the Sea Peoples, the Shardana, generally believed to have come from Sardinia, did use horn-helmets. However, there are aspects of this claim that are the subject of continuing debate, but the suggestion of a North Sea connection has weakened considerably.
Spanuth considered Basileia, the royal island of Atlantis, to have been located near Heligoland. He produced a mass of evidence to support his views but found his book under severe attack by many academics, which, in general, had the support of the public. After being publicly labelled, among other things, a liar, Spanuth was forced to challenge his detractors in the courts. After some six years he was vindicated when ten professors withdrew their plea, admitting that their arguments against the pastor were untenable.Felix R. Paturi has more information[1339.215] on this disgraceful episode, as well as a note of scientists who supported Spanuth.
A study of Spanuth’s references would suggest that he had access to the prehistoric research archives of the Ahnenerbe and has successfully collated and analysed a lot of this extensive material in his books. Vidal-Naquet bluntly labels him a Nazi[580.124], although his publisher, Wolfram Zeller, denied it. The German Wikipedia claims that he was a member of the NSDAP (Nazi Party) from 1933 until 1945. Similar claims that he had been in the SS have also been refuted(c). In 2002, Frank Doenenburg, on his website language(b)discussed Spanuth’s politics at length. In my view, all these matters risk distracting us today from discussing dispassionately the merits or otherwise of Spanuth’s Atlantis theories.
Spanuth’s second book had a much better reception. His final offering was Die Atlanter(1976), which was also published in English, however this is really just a revised and expanded version of his 1965 book.
Spanuth has still a lot of supporters and is constantly referred to, particularly by German investigators such as Arn Strohmeyer and Gerhard Herm. Felice Vinci, who strongly favours a Northern European origin for Homer’s epic tales, also places Atlantis in a northern context. The Danish writer, Kirsten Bang, published a short book in which she also placed Atlantis in the Wadden Sea where Helgoland is located. She also supports a date of 1300 BC for its destruction.
Another recent supporter of Spanuth’s Atlantis theory is Holger Kalweit who has written a trilogy, the first of which is Irrstern über Atlantis. This initial volume is concerned with the destruction of Atlantis by a comet (Phaeton) in 1222 BC, leaving Helgoland as a remnant. Refugees fled south to the Eastern Mediterranean leaving their cultural imprint on the region. Unfortunately. this huge 700-page book is to be followed by two more in which the author moves on to expand on the subject of ‘lizard people’, which for me has him as a fully paid-up member of the lunatic fringe.
(b) http://www.fdoernenburg.de/Forum/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=1213 (page closed, July 2017)