Civilisation Collapse has occurred many times over past millennia in all parts of the world. Joseph A. Tainter defines collapse as “a rapid shift to a lower level of complexity(a) .” Societal disintegration immediately brings to mind the Maya, the Indus Valley and in what are relatively more modern times, the Western Roman Empire.
The causes are usually a combination of factors, such as, climate change, warfare, disease or excessive expansionism. Global catastrophes such as encounters with comets or asteroids are rare, while more local events such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or tsunamis can also be thrown into the mix. These have all been encountered from time to time, but have rarely been blamed for the collapse of a society; recovery from such limited regional events is usually possible.
The Mediterranean has seen its share of all these catastrophic events. A major tsunami on Sardinia, volcanic eruptions in Italy, earthquakes in North Africa and the Eastern Mediterannean. Close encounters with extraterrestrial bodies have also been proposed in that region.
Perhaps the best documented civilisation collapse is that which occurred around 1200 BC and affected many societies, particularly in the Middle East(b) . Israel Finkelstein, a leading Israeli archaeologist, has attributed this event to climate change and is of the view that this disruption was global in extent.
Inevitably, Atlantis has been cited as an example of civilisation collapse, particularly supporters of the Minoan Hypothesis, who link the 2nd millennium BC eruptions of Thera with the demise of the Minoans on Crete. Also popular is the idea that Atlantis had been a large island in the Atlantic Ocean destroyed by a cometary impact or the rising sea levels as the glaciers melted at the end of the last Ice Age.
A variety of other theories have associated Atlantis with the collapse of a civilisation. For example, Frank Joseph claims that 40,000 years ago “sudden sea-level rises triggers migration from Mu around. The Pacific motherlanders settle on a large, fertile island about 380 kilometers due west from the Straits of Gibraltar. There, the newcomers merge with the native Cro-Magnon inhabitants, resulting in a new, hybrid culture – Atlantis.”
Minas Tsikritsis, a native of Crete, is a Professor of Computer Science and noted Researcher of Aegean Scripts. Included in his work is his claim to have deciphered Linear A and the Phaistos Disk, one side of which appears to be a form of sea shanty. Gavin Menzies quotes[780.319] Tsikritsis’ belief that the Minoans had mathematical knowledge equal, if not superior, to that of the Babylonians and Egyptians.
*However, this claim has been seriously challenged by a recent study of a 3,700-year-old Babylonian tablet known as Plimpton 322. The tablet was discovered around a century ago in what is now southern Iraq. Australian scientists from the University of New South Wales, Sydney have now demonstrated that the tablet is the world’s oldest and most accurate trigonometric table, predating the Greek astronomer Hipparchus by over a millennium(b). These claims have generated some considerable debate (c)*
Additionally, based on an analysis of Plutarch’s “On the Apparent Face in the Orb of the Moon,” Tsikritsis believes that the Greeks had contact with North America, at least as far back as 86 AD!(a)
National Geographic or Nat Geo are registered trademarks of the National Geographic Society and are now, sadly, part of the Murdoch communications empire. Its magazine and TV channel enjoy global recognition. Undoubtedly, NG has enhanced our view of the world around us. One piece of NG trivia is that the word ‘tsunami’ first appeared in an English language publication in the September 1896 edition of National Geographic Magazine.
Generally, NG has avoided controversy, but not always(a) , so it will be interesting to see how its new chief James Murdoch, a climate change denier(b), will deal with the NG views on the subject up ’til now(c) . However, for me, it was something of a surprise when NG tackled the subject of Atlantis.
In 2004 NG News published a short article(d) highlighting the theories of Ulf Erlingsson and Rainer Kühne, who, respectively, were advocates for Ireland and Spain as Atlantis locations. Also in 2004, Zeilitsky and Weinzweig claimed to have found submerged man-made structures near Cuba and subsequently sought US government funding for further research there. It has been suggested that NG objected and further exploration did not take place! In 2006 NG gave the Atlantis in America theory of Zapp & Erikson an airing(e).
*In 2011 a short article(l)., NG trotted out the now generally abandoned idea that Atlantis had been a continent. The idea was obviously later dumped by NG as well, when James Cameron et al went looking for Atlantis in Malta, Sardinia and Santorini in 2016.*
December 2012 saw NG publish an article on Doggerland, without any reference to the suggestion that there might be an Atlantis connection. NG has also voiced the scepticism of well-known commentators, such as Robert Ballard and Charles E. Orser jnr(f).
*However, I find that the NG treatment of Atlantis inconsistent. In October 2011 an anonymous article(k) on one of their sites, entitled The Truth Behind Atlantis: Facts, declared that Atlantis was continental in size (and so must have been located in an Ocean?) This is based on a misinterpretation of the Greek word meison. Nevertheless last year NG had Simcha Jacobovici, remotely guided by James Cameron, scouring the Mediterranean, from Spain to Sardinia, Malta, and Crete for evidence of Atlantis. This attention-seeking exercise found nothing a few stone anchors that proved nothing and inflicted on viewers an overdose of speculation!*
NatGeo TV aired a documentary(g) in 2015 relating to earlier excavations in the Doñana Marshes of Southern Spain by a Spanish team and partly hijacked by Richard Freund. A new NG documentary, hyped with the involvement of James Cameron and Simcha Jacobovici, was filmed in 2016, and later broadcast at the end of January 2017. Initially, it was thought by Robert Ishoy to be in support of his Atlantis location of Sardinia, but at the same time Diaz-Montexano was convinced that his Afro-Iberian theory was to be the focus of the film. To coincide with the airing of the new documentary D-M has published a new book, NG National Geographic and the scientific search for Atlantis with both English and Spanish editions.
Jason Colavito was promised a screener but had the offer subsequently withdrawn. One wonders why?
Once again NG promotes the region of the Doñana Marshes as a possible location for Atlantis(i), based on rather flimsy evidence, such as six ancient anchors found just outside the Strait of Gibraltar. They estimate the age of the anchors at 3,000-4,000 years old but. unfortunately, they are not marked ‘made in Atlantis’. Rabbi Richard Freund, never afraid to blow his own shofar, makes another NG appearance. Jacobovici throws in the extraordinary claim that the Jewish menorah represents the concentric circles of the Atlantis capital cut in half, a daft idea, already suggested by Prof. Yahya Ababni(k).
What I cannot understand is why this documentary spends time dismissing Santorini and Malta as possible locations for Plato’s Atlantis and at the same time ignoring the only unambiguous geographical clue that he left us, namely that the Atlantis alliance occupied part of North Africa and in Europe as far as Tyrrhenia (Tuscany) and presumably some of the islands between the two.
Overall, I think the NG documentaries have done little to advance the search for Atlantis as they seem to be driven by TV ratings ahead of truth. Perhaps, more revealing is that Cameron is not fully convinced by the speculative conclusions of this documentary.
Jason Colavito, an arch-sceptic regarding Atlantis has now published a lengthy scathing review(j) of NG’s Atlantis Rising, which is well worth a read. While I do not agree with Colavito’s dismissal of the existence of Atlantis, I do endorse the litany of shortcomings he identified in this documentary.
In the early 1920’s he visited Crete, following which, he was happy to express the view that it had been the location of Plato’s Atlantis(a).
He was a prolific writer with many of his books available online(b).
Jean-Louis Bernard (1918-1998) was a French novelist with a passion for the esoteric and ancient history. He is the author of L’Atlantide des géants in which he touches on the Guanches of the Canaries, Bimini, Crete and Mexico.
Earlier he had authored a science fiction dictionary, Les archives de l’insolite, in which, before Richard Firestone, he commented on a catastrophic period in the earth’s prehistory around 10,000 BC and was quoted by Michel-Alain Combes(a).
“A series of catastrophes which took place around the year 9,000 or
10,000 before our era,which affected the whole planet,and about which
Tradition and modern science are in agreement. Let’s list these
cataclysms: in Europe, the end of the last ice age, maybe as a
consequence of the shifting of the pole towards its present position in the
North; in compensation, a drying up of the Sahara was started or
accelerated; probable end of the archipelago of Atlantis; in East Africa,
a sudden sur-elevation of mounds,and disappearance of an interior sea
(at the sources of the Nile) and of an archipelago (Pount) in the Indian
Ocean; possible sur-elevation of the Andes,with disappearance of
archipelagos in the Pacific Ocean (and isolation of the famous Easter
Invasion today, as in the past, is usually the consequence of a shortage of resources (food, metals, oil, water), climate change (affecting food supply), overpopulation (also affecting food supply) or political upheaval. Although I do not speak as a military strategist, it would seem obvious that if, for any of these reasons, a state is forced into an expansionism, it will first look at their nearest neighbours and assess the chances of military success. It is obvious that before the introduction of airborne attacks, propinquity in the form of contiguous territory or short sea journeys have always been critical for a successful invasion(a) and the continued control of occupied territories. This is borne out by the simple historical fact that all the earliest empires, which were located in what we now call the Middle East, expanded through the invasion of its neighbours.
*However, over-expansion can be costly and potentially dangerous. With particular reference to the fall of the Roman Empire, Rachel Nuwer noted in a recent BBC article(c) that. “By the end of the 100 BC the Romans had spread across the Mediterranean, to the places most easily accessed by sea. They should have stopped there, but things were going well and they felt empowered to expand to new frontiers by land. While transportation by sea was economical, however, transportation across land was slow and expensive. All the while, they were overextending themselves and running up costs.”*
Many people think that military intelligence gathering is a relatively modern development. However, ancient documents, including the Bible, have accounts of spying thousands of years ago. Mary Rose Sheldon has produced an invaluable sourcebook on the subject, as well a volume on Spies in the Bible. It is reasonable therefore to assume that Atlantis also exercised due diligence and endeavoured to assess their opponents strengths and weaknesses before invading.
Boris Rankov has noted(b) in The Encyclopedia of Ancient History that military intelligence in ancient times had its value limited by the “slowness of communications, which meant that it was often out of date before any response could be brought to bear.” This, of course, ties in with the then established practice of invading those within your immediate proximity; supply lines are shorter and information more up-to-date. In turn, it implies that Atlantis was within relatively easy striking distance of Athens!
Even in modern times the same constraints determined the actions of invaders. Hitler could not have invaded Russia without first controlling Poland and Romania. Even expansionist Japan, although an island nation, expanded into Korea and Manchuria (China) and following the attack on Pearl Harbour spread even further within the same region.
The ancient land-based empires were dependent on military might, whereas others, such as the Phoenicians, expanded their influence through trade, supported by extensive merchant fleets. However, over time, Phoenician or more correctly Carthaginian rivalry with Rome led to disastrous wars.
One of the primary military concerns today, as in ancient times, will be to ensure that its men are fed and watered and consequently there will be a need to keep its supply lines as short as possible.
The nearest possible belligerent to the west of Athens was across the Adriatic in Italy. I argue elsewhere that according to Plato, southern Italy constituted part of the Atlantean domain (see Etruscans). I suggest that the Atlantean invasion of Greece was probably launched from there. The motivation is unclear, but we can speculate that success in Greece would have been followed by the control of the entire Aegean, including Crete, offering a huge expansion in trade.
The alternative is that the nearest part of Atlantis was elsewhere, necessitating the bypassing of other territories on the way and stretching supply and communication lines more than desirable. Italy looks the best bet, with forces added from the Atlantean HQ in Sicily or Sardinia, possibly travelling through the Strait of Messina, sometimes identified as the location of the Pillars of Heracles.
In the south, the Atlantean forces in North Africa (Ancient Libya), if not augmenting the attack on Greece, were probably planning their invasion of Egypt (Timaeus 25b & Critias 114c). Success there would have been followed by a two-pronged attack by both northern and southern Atlantean forces on the eastern Mediterranean coast, later known as the Levant, giving them total control of the eastern Mediterranean Basin.
Invasion requirements are the strongest argument against any of the fanciful Atlantis theories that place Plato’s Atlantis in Antarctica, the Andes, or North America. It is ludicrous to claim that any invasion force came across the Atlantic to attack Greeks and Egyptians. That there were remarkable early cultures in both North and South America is absolutely undeniable, however, it is foolishness to claim that they had any connection with Plato’s story.
Telchines is the name given to a group of legendary people associated with both Rhodes and Crete. However, the German writer, Specht Heidrich, maintains that the early Greeks believed the Telchines to have been a real people. In a 2004 book he describes them as an evil seafaring people who attacked the Greeks and were later destroyed by a flood. Heidrich placed Atlantis on Crete and then identified the Telchines as Atlanteans. Emmet Sweeney thought[700.193] that if Heidrich is correct his Telchine attack may be reflected in the story of Eumolpus, who attacked Athens during the reign of Erechtheus.
Javier Recuenco Andrés (1973- ) is an IT engineer from Cadiz in Spain. He has a passion for chess, history and mythology. His interest in the latter has led to his publication of a heavily illustrated The Historical Reality of Atlantis in Spanish and English (Kindle only).
He begins with an in-depth examination of a ‘Tartessian’ gold disk that led on to an etymological investigation of the ‘K-N’ inscription on it, which he believes referred to the Conii people who settled in what is now southern Portugal. He speculates that the design of the disk reflects the layout of the acropolis of Atlantis! He has suggested that this acropolis was probably located in the vicinity of the Canary Islands.
In 2013, Recuenco Andrés and Diaz-Montexano jointly published a paper(a) on the academia.edu website offering comparable interpretations of the disk with the same conclusion that it was connected with Atlantis.
Javier dates the foundation of Atlantis during a period between 21,000 and 12,000 BC. Andrés has a hyperdiffusionist view of Atlantis showing rock carvings in North Africa, America, Australia, China and of course his native Iberia as evidence for their global influence. The fall of the Atlantean ‘Empire’ he dates between 12,000 and 9,000BC as the last Ice Age ended.
He subscribes to the idea that there was a Gibraltar landbridge, which was breached around 5,500 BC that eventually led to the linking of the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, an event originally revealed by Ryan & Pitman.
Javier also believes that Egypt was occupied by Atlanteans from 7000–5500 BC, but that their influence led to the building of the pyramids! In fact, he attributes the pyramids of China and America to Atlantean influence. He identifies Knossos in Crete as an Atlantean colony in the eastern Mediterranean.
In my opinion, Javier has produced an original work, unlike the regurgitated offerings of so many others. Nevertheless, I think his work has too many assumptions based on excusable subjectivity.
(a) http://www.academia.edu/4431966/El_Disco_de_Bensafrim_S%C3%ADmbolo_de_la_capital_de_Atlantis_Un_ensayo_de_Atlantolog%C3%ADa_Hist%C3%B3rico-Cient%C3%ADfica_Javier_Recuenco_Andr%C3%A9s_and_Georgeos_D%C3%ADaz-Montexano_1_9_2013_Scientific_Atlantology_International_Society_SAIS_ (Spanish)
(offline June 2015)
Pierre Honoré was the author of In Quest of the White God, which explored the legends which persisted among the natives of Central and South America of white pre-Colombian visitors, revered as gods, that had come from the east. Individual ‘gods’ were remembered as Kukulcan by the Maya and Quetzalcoatl by the Toltecs and Aztecs. Honoré proposed that these ‘deities’ had come from Crete and brought their script with and since the use of Linear A & B ceased around 1400 BC the transatlantic visits must have taken place before that date.
Honoré’s book was later republished as In Search of Quetzalcoatl, which can be read online(a). Unfortunately, Honoré’s work has been seen as racist and is often used now by white extremists.
Jason Colavito has delivered a characteristically harsh review of the ‘White Gods’ school of thought.(b)
Quetzalcoatl is a Mesoamerican deity, whose name in the local Nahuatl language means ‘feathered serpent’. To the Aztecs he was a creator god and also had a parallel in Mayan culture to whom he was known as Kukulcan or Gucumatz. It is a commonly held belief among Mormons that Quetzalcoatl was Jesus Christ!
*[Pierre Honoré claimed that these white gods had come from the region of Crete and had brought with them their script. As Linear A & B had ceased being used by 1400 BC, Honoré surmised that visits of these deities had taken place before that date.]*
Lewis Spence also claimed an Atlantis connection for Quetzalcoatl.
These ideas are just pure conjecture but are relatively tame compared with the wilder speculations of writers such as Peter Kolosimo, who “claimed that the legends actually describe a race of white men who were born in spaceships and migrated to Atlantis; then, after Atlantis was destroyed, they moved to the Americas to be treated as “white gods” by the “primitive earth-dwellers.”(a)