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, while Peter Dubovsky, in his Hezekiah and the Assyrian Spies, focuses on espionage described in 2 Kgs 18-19. 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intelligence in ancient times had its value limited by the “slowness of communications, which meant that it was often out of date before any response could be brought to bear.”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.
Maurice-Erwin Guignard (1920-2001) was a French amateur linguist, who claimed, in a 1962 privately published booklet, to have deciphered the Etruscan language. Zhirov notes[0458.84] that Guignard thought that the Etruscans may have come from Atlantis, based on his interpretation of an Etruscan text.
Frederick Dodson is the author of Atlantis and the Garden of Eden and has published a number of
He has devoted much space in his book and his website to the mystery of very large megaliths, such as at Baalbek and the unfinished obelisk at Aswan(d).
What I read seemed fairly standard fare, but then he advanced into ‘ancient astronaut’ territory, at which point I parted company with him.
Dodson is also promoted as a ‘reality creation’ coach(b). Hmm.
(a) http://www.ancient-atlantis.com/ (offline October 2017)
(c) http://www.ancient-atlantis.com/anomalous-ancient-maps/ (offline Nov. 2016)
(d) http://www.ancient-atlantis.com/largest-mysterious-ancient-megaliths/ (offline 2016)
Mario Tozzi (1959-) is a well respected Italian geologist and environmentalist. He has written on various scientific matters and has been a consultant on a number of television programmes. He has also had an asteroid, 11328 mariotozzi, named in his honour.
Tozzi has given his support to Sergio Frau’s theory which locates Atlantis in Sardinia. A number of video clips(a) on the Internet will be of interest to Italian speakers as will Tozzi’s blog on the Italian National Geographic website(b). He has also suggested that if Sardinia was Atlantis, then the Etruscans may have been Sardinians(c).
Tyrrhenia was the Greek name for that part of modern Italy formerly occupied by the Etruscans, who were known as Tusci by the Romans, from which we get its current name, Tuscany. Plato twice described (Tim.25B & Crit.114C) Tyrrhenia together with Libya providing the northern and southern boundaries of the sphere of influence of the oAtlanteans. Anton Mifsud points out that the present Maltese Islands, were considerably more extensive in prehistoric times and being situated between these two locations adding considerable credence to his claim that the Maltese Islands are probably the remnants of Atlantis. Some ancient maps mark the sea to the west of the Strait of Messina between Sicily and Italy as the ‘Atlantic Ocean’. Furthermore, this strait has also had the title of ‘the Pillars of Heracles’.
One dissenting voice is that of R. McQuillen who is convinced(a) that the Platonic tale refers to another Tyrrhenia, in Turkey, while Taylor Hansen considered the Tyrrhenians to have moved east where they were known as Phoenicians[0572.34]. However, there are persistent claims that the Tyrrhenians did originate in Anatolia with Troy, Lemnos and Lydia being frequently mentioned. There are also counterclaims based on the conflicting account by classical authors(a). The matter remains unresolved.
The Tyrrhenians were also known to the Greeks as Tyrsenians and some have identified them with the Teresh, one of the Sea Peoples(c).
Leo Frobenius (1873-1938), was a German ethnologist and a leading authority on prehistoric art. He travelled extensively in West Africa and published many books on the cultures of the region. He placed Atlantis in the Yoruba region of Nigeria. Frobenius believed that the Etruscans had an Atlantean culture and were responsible for the establishment of Benin around 1300 BC and that it was a city in this region that had been described by Plato.
He reported on his discoveries to the German Kaiser, who showed great interest in his work.
Five expeditions gave him enough information to publish a twelve-volume work entitled Atlantis. During his work there Frobenius wrote to friends complaining that local English officials had confiscated many of his finds(c).
In 1910 he published, in German, Atop the Rubble of Classical Atlantis that filled three large volumes. Much of his work is currently being translated into English and French.
Another site(a) reviewing Frobenius’ work also claims that he linked the ancient Yoruba kingdom with that of the Etruscans and suggests a common Atlantean ancestry. The same site backs a central Atlantic location for Atlantis, citing as ‘evidence’ the 18th century Bauche map(b).
*[In 1913 an English translation of a report of his 1910-12 expedition was published.]*
Chariots numbering ten thousand are mentioned as an important part of Atlantis’ armed forces. However, it is generally accepted that chariots first appeared in Mesopotamia around 3000 BC and became fairly commonplace by the middle of the second millennium BC. There is no evidence of any of the major Late Bronze Age nations having any more than a few hundred chariots. It would also appear that these chariots were normally reserved for nobles, wearing full bronze armour. War chariots were only effective over open and relatively flat ground.
We should also keep in mind that the invention of the wheel itself is currently dated to not much earlier than 3500 BC(c) indicating that Plato’s reference to Atlantean chariots is anachronistic if we accept his apparent claim that the war with Atlantis took place around 9600 BC.
With regard to the Atlantis story, we must comment that 10,000 chariots controlled by one army, would only be required if a battleground had large tracts of flat land and if the enemy also possessed a similar force of chariots. Since no such enemy had been identified, we are forced to consider the clear possibility that the chariot numbers, as with so many other of the figures in Plato’s story, are suspect.
The greatest chariot battle took place in what is now Syria at the Battle of Kadesh in 1275 BC, between the Egyptians and the Hittites. The total number of chariots involved was between 5,000 and 6,000. In other words a literal acceptance of what Plato wrote suggests that the Atlanteans had twice the number of chariots as that of the opponents at Kadesh combined. On top of that, those that accept the Atlantis story literally try to tell us that the Atlanteans had 10,000 chariots, eight thousand years earlier than Kadesh, millenia before chariots were invented!*As an aside, I should mention that the Battle of Kadesh was not the great victory by Ramses II that is often claimed(f).*
The date given by Plato for the destruction of Atlantis is 9600 BC. This would make the existence of chariots at that time, not to mention in such numbers, a complete anachronism. It is not likely that Atlantis to have waged war with 10,000 chariots at that time without their enemies having developing a comparable fighting accessory. As already stated the Atlanteans would not have needed chariots in such numbers unless their opponents also had chariots and that the battlefield was suitable for such a conflict. Plato’s date would appear to be out by about 8000 years. Since chariots were only introduced into Britain in the 5th century BC, in other words after Solon. This would seem to rule out Britain as the home or even a colony of the original empire of Atlantis. Similarly, with no evidence of chariots in the ancient Americas or the Caribbean, it would not be unreasonable to rule them out as the Atlantis of Plato. If the reference to chariots is to be taken as a real attribute of the Atlantean military machine, we are forced to look, in very general terms, to the Mediterranean region, both inside and outside the Strait of Gibraltar as far as the Black Sea and Egypt.
I must also add that from a functional point of view the most efficient chariots required spoked wheels and that the oldest examples of which have been dated no earlier than 2000 BC(a). This alone is a reason to question Plato’s Atlantis date.
Arthur Cottrell, in his Chariot, discusses how the chariot lost its dominance in battle but developed as a form of entertainment with the introduction of chariot racing and were frequently used in funerary rituals of a number of cultures. Chariot racing as a spectator sport in Rome dates back to around the 6th century BC. It was also quite popular among the Etruscans and the Lucanians of Sicily in the 5th century BC. It was recently revealed that Roman racing chariots had an additional iron tyre fitted to the right wheel greatly enhancing the charioteer’s chance of winning(e).
The close of the Bronze Age saw an end to the supremacy of the war chariot with the introduction of new weaponry and military tactics. Robert Drews is Professor of Classics and History at Vanderbilt University has claimed in his book, The End of the Bronze Age,that these changes were responsible for the collapse of so many eastern Mediterranean cities around 1200 BC. A review(b) of Drews’ book should also be read.
In conclusion, Plato’s reference to 10,000 chariots being employed in 9600 BC is either a colourful embellishment or a mangled account of the military power of an unnamed Bronze Age society. If the former, supporters of this early date for Atlantis must explain the total lack of archaeological evidence of chariots as early as 9600 BC as well as its comtinued absence during the succeeding six or seven thousand years. Plato’s numbers are clearly flawed and are a matter that I hope to deal with more comprehensively in the near future.
The Azores (Açores) is a group of Portuguese islands in the Atlantic, situated 740 miles from the mainland. The first recorded instance of their discovery is in 1427 by the Portuguese, although there is some evidence to suggest a much earlier date. In 2012, the president of the Portuguese Association of Archeological Research (APIA), Nuno Ribeiro, revealed(c) that rock art had been found on the island of Terceira, supporting his belief that human occupation of the Azores predates the arrival of the Portuguese by many thousands of years. A further article(a) in October 2016 expanded on this matter. Ribeiro’s research was trotted out in a more recent documentary from Amazon Prime with the tabloid title of New Atlantis Documentary – Proof that Left Historians Speechless(u), which explores the claim that the Azores are the mountain tops of sunken Atlantis!
However, the Portuguese authorities set up a commission to look into Ribeiro’s contentions and concluded(q) that any perceived remnants of an ancient civilization were either natural rock formations or structures of more modern origin. Nevertheless, as the Epoch Times reports(r) that “Antonieta Costa, a post-doctoral student at the University of Porto in Portugal, remained unconvinced and continued research into the hypothesis that the Azores were inhabited in antiquity and even in prehistory.”
It is thought that the Phoenicians and Etruscans competed for control of the Azores in later years. In 2011 APIA archaeologists reported that they had discovered on Terceira island, a significant number of fourth century BC Carthaginian temples. They believe the temples were dedicated to the ancient Phoenician/Carthaginian goddess Tanit(c). The Jesuit Athanasius Kircher in 1665, in his book Mundus Subterraneus, was first to propose that these islands were the mountain peaks of sunken Atlantis. This view was adopted by Ignatius Donnelly and developed by successive writers and still supported by many today. The latest recruit is Carl Martin, who is current working on a book locating Atlantis in the Azores and destroyed around 9620 BC. The late Christian O’Brien was a long-time proponent of the Atlantis in Azores theory. A bathymetric study of the area suggested to O’Brien that the archipelago had been a mid-Atlantic island 480 x 720 km before the end of the last Ice Age. Apart from the inundation caused by the melting of the glaciers he found evidence that seismic activity caused the southern part of this island to sink to a greater degree than the north. O’Brien pointed out that six areas of hot spring fields (associated with volcanic disturbances) are known in the mid-Atlantic ridge area, and four of them lie in the Kane-Atlantis area close to the Azores. In 1982 Peter Warlow suggestedthat a sea level drop of 200 metres would have created an island as large as England and Wales with the present islands of the Azores as its mountains. However, Rodney Castleden contradicts that idea[225.187] saying that if the sea level was lowered by 200m “the Azores would remain separate islands.” Bathymetric mapsof the archipelago, above and on the Internet(g), verify Castleden’s contention. This together with an 1982 paper from P.J.C. Ryall et.al, which demonstrates more clearly that the Azores are just the summits of volcanic seamounts that rise from an underwater plateau that is 1000 metres below sea level. Professor Ryall and his associates were dealing objectively with the geology of the area and were not promoting any view regarding Atlantis. The geological evidence supporting an Azorean Atlantis is therefore very weak, verging on the non-existent.
Andrew Collins, the leading proponent of a Cuban Atlantis, has written a short review of the Azorean Hypothesis(h).
Frank Joseph has offered his views on Atlantis in the Azores in a YouTube video(l).
Nikolai Zhirov recounts in his book[458.363] how Réne Malaise wrote to him regarding a Danish engineer named Frandsen who identified a plateau, 2/3rds the size of Finland, south of the Azores, whose summits were 4,000-5,000m metres higher than it. Adding canals gave Frandsen a configuration that closely matched Plato’s description of Atlantis. Zhirov also noted[p403] that in 1957 a journal entitled Atlantida was published in the Azores.
In 1976, Jürgen Spanuth pointed out[015.249] that the Azores are not the mountain peaks of a sunken continent but instead are volcanic rock created through eruption. He quotes similar sentiments expressed by Hans Pettersson. A 2003 paper(b) by four French scientists demonstrated that the Azores had been greatly enlarged during the last Ice Age. However, showing that the Azores were more extensive is not disputed, but it in no way demonstrates that it was the location of Atlantis. In fact Plato’s description of the magnificent mountains to the north and the mud shoals that were still a hazard in Plato’s day do not match the Azores. The geologist, Darby South, strongly denied that the Azores could have been the location of Atlantis according to a couple of articles posted on the internet some years ago(a). However, natives of the archipelago are quite happy to assert a link with Atlantis, as travel writer David Yeadon found on a visit there(d). Nevertheless, advocates of Atlantis in the Azores must accept that there is very little evidence of human occupation in prehistoric times, apart from the rock art mentioned above. When the Portuguese arrived on the island in the 15thcentury they were found to be uninhabited and without any evidence of an earlier civilisation there. Initially, the only hint of earlier visitors was some 3rd century BC coins from Carthage discovered on the island of Corvo. However, in recent years Bronze Age rock art(f) and what is described as a Carthaginian temple(e) have both been discovered on the island of Terceira.
Otto Muck among others, was certain that the enlarged Azores had deflected the Gulf Stream during the Ice Age, contributing to the extent of the western European glaciation. However, a 2016 report(m) from Center for Arctic Gas Hydrate, Climate and Environment (CAGE) offered evidence that the Gulf Stream was not interrupted during the last Ice Age, which would seem to undermine one of Muck’s principal claims.
Nevertheless, it is still far from clear what caused the ending of the last Ice Age. A number of writers including Muck speculated that an asteroidal impact in the Atlantic was responsible. When the Azores were discovered in the 15th century they were uninhabited and without any evidence of an earlier civilisation. It can be reasonably argued that since the Azores today are just the mountain peaks of a larger mainly submerged island, any remains would be more likely to be found on the plains and estuaries that are now under water. One undeveloped theory is that the name ‘Azores’ might be linked to the ninth king of Atlantis, Azaes, listed by Plato. This idea is supported by the linguist Dr. Vamos-Toth Bator. However, a Portuguese correspondent has pointed out that the Azores is named after a goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) commonly found on the islands and portrayed on the regional flag. The renowned writer, Dennis Wheatley, used the possibility of Atlantis being located in the Azores as a backdrop to his 1936 thriller, They Found Atlantis.
In August 2013 Portuguese American Journal reported that the many pyramidal structures on Pico are clear evidence of extensive human activity in the archipelago long before the arrival of the Portuguese(o). A YouTube video(p) offers some interesting views of the pyramids.
The following month the same journal announced the discovery of a pyramidal structure 60 metres high at a depth of 40 metres off the coast of the Azorean island of Terceira(i). Shortly afterwards the Portuguese Navy denied the existence of any such structure(j). Not exactly a surprise! Nevertheless, an Italian website has attempted to breathe new life into the story by linking this underwater pyramid report with pyramidal structures found on the island of Pico(k).
The Wikiversity website has an extensive article(s) on the location of Atlantis, which is focused on the Azores and the bathymetric evidence for that archipelago having being a large single landmass at the end of the last Ice Age, when sea levels were much lower. However, it is based on the literal acceptance of Plato’s 9,000 years before Solon for the date of the Atlantean War.
April 2018, saw British tabloid interest in Atlantis revived with further speculation on the Azores as the location of Plato’s submerged island(t). However, the details of the claim were rejected by Dr. Richard Waller a lecturer at Keele University. Not content with recycling the old Azores theory, The Star also throws in the even more nonsensical idea of an Antarctican Atlantis.
(q) https://www.scribd.com/document/327357287/Relatorio-Comissao (Portuguese)
*(s) https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Atlantis/Location_Hypotheses%23HISTORY_FROM_PLATO.27S_DIALOGUE_.22CRITIAS.22_that_fixes_the_time_of_Atlantis.27_demise (link broken April 2019) See: https://web.archive.org/web/20190331143515/https://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Atlantis/Location_Hypotheses/*
Ulf Richter (1935-2006) was a German researcher who was a regular contributor to the Atlantis Rising forums and presented a paper(a) to the 2005 Atlantis conference on Melos. Richter offered us a number of very interesting and cogently argued points in his essay. He discusses the topographical details provided by Plato and concludes that the capital city of Atlantis was constructed on a river delta(b). He contended that the ‘circular’ canals were possibly an adaptation of existing natural features and provides good reasons to believe that the dimensions noted by Plato are incorrect as a consequence of confusion between the Greek stade and the Egyptian ‘khet’.
Richter offered some thoughtful comments regarding his interpretation of Plato’s reference to 9,000 years, subsequently quoted on an online forum(d). [see Archive 2846]
Sadly, Ulf died of cancer in April 2006.
Lydia was a small but powerful kingdom in what is now in the west of modern Turkey. It flourished in the 6th and 7th centuries BC. The inhabitants were famous as merchants and credited with having invented gold and silver coinage and the concept of permanent retail shops.
It must be pointed out that apart from his famous visit to Egypt, Solon travelled extensively throughout the eastern Mediterranean including Lydia where he encountered Croesus the fabulously wealthy monarch. It is possible that during these trips further information regarding the history of the region was gathered and included in his notes that were to pass down through Plato’s family. It must be mentioned that Peter James has placed Atlantis in the region of Lydia near ancient Smyrna now the modern port of Izmir.
Herodotus claimed that the Etruscans migrated from Lydia to Tyrrhenia, a claim that is supported by recent studies of DNA carried out at Pavia University in Italy. Dr. Barry Fell, the renowned expert in ancient scripts, translated Etruscan inscriptions using the language of the ancient Hittites who ruled Anatolia, including Lydia, in the 2nd millennium BC.
*Angelo Paratico recently proposed a connection between the Lydian capital Sardis and Sardinia in a lecture delivered in Hong Kong in 2004(a) . This idea was put forward earlier by archaeologist David Rohl  . Wikipedia includes the following information “According to Timaeus, one of Plato’s dialogues, Sardinia and its people as well, the “Sardonioi” or “Sardianoi”, might have been named after “Sardò”, a legendary woman from Sardis, capital of the ancient Kingdom of Lydia in Anatolia.”(b)