Sandra Fernandez is a Spanish researcher who has opted for Almería in southeast Spain as the location of Atlantis. She identifies the plain south of the Sierra de Alhamilla as the plain referred to by Plato. Her website has a number of blogs devoted to Atlantis(a). Unfortunately, the site is in Spanish and I find that Google translator does not give a clear translation. Fernandez sees the Los Millares culture centred north west of Almería as preceding the Atlanteans.
I note that at the eastern end of the Gulf of Almería there is Cabo de Gata, while inland to the west of the plain lies Gádor, both of which might be variations of Gades!
Bulgaria has not been totally excluded from the search for Atlantis. In 2012 it was announced that the oldest European town had been discovered in Bulgaria(a), near the town of Provadia and dated to about 4500 BC. Recently there were metal beads discovered in Bulgaria tentatively dated to 6000 BC. Along with recent discoveries of hoards of Thracian gold it is obvious that Bulgaria was no backwater, although identifying it with Atlantis is not a runner.*[Nevertheless, some have attempted(e) to link Atlantis with the ancient region of Thrace, which today would occupy a section of Bulgaria along with parts of Greece and Turkey.]*
In the mid-20th century the noted Bulgarian astronomer Nikola Bonev placed Atlantis in the Atlantic. However, the flooding of the Black Sea as revealed by Ryan & Pitman triggered the imagination of a number of people. The Schoppe father and son team who favour a Black Sea location for Atlantis have broken with the generally held view that Gadeiros, the twin brother of Atlas, gave his name to the city of Gades, now Cadiz in southwest Spain and proposed the more radical view that he gave his name to the Getae who occupied parts of today’s Bulgaria and Romania(b).
In 2012, Hristo Smolenov went further and suggested a closer connection between Bulgaria and Atlantis on his website(c), a video(c) and a book, Zagora – Varna: The Hidden Superculture.
Gadeiros was the twin brother of Atlas snd was known in Greek as Eumelos. It is generally accepted that he gave his name to the city of Gades, now Cadiz in southwest Spain. A more radical view is expressed by C. & S. Schoppe, who think that he gave his name to the Getae who occupied parts of today’s Bulgaria and Romania(a).
Some have sought to identify Gadeiros with Jacob’s son, Gad.
Emilie Rose Macaulay (1881-1958) was a renowned English novelist, biographer and travel writer. She studied history at Oxford. Towards the end of her life she wrote Fabled Shore in which she recounted her journey through post Civil War Spain. When she arrived at Cadiz she wrote of Tartessos being destroyed by the Carthaginians around 500 BC in order to remove the principal rival to their own city in the region, Gades. She speaks of the ghost of Tartessos stalking the land while the spectre of Atlantis haunts the waters of the Gulf of Cadiz (formerly the Gulf of Tartessus).
Agadir is a city in the South-West of Morocco. It is situated at the Atlantic end of the Sous-Massa-Draa valley which was considered by Michael Hübner to have been the location of Atlantis(a) . The name was identified by him as a variation of Gades, a region of Atlantis, ruled by Gadeiros, the twin brother of Atlas. Keep in mind that Agadir was about 3,300 km away from Athens*and 3,700 kn from the Nile Delta.*Not what you might call ‘easy striking distances’.
Tartessos or Tartessus is generally accepted to have existed along the valley of the Guadalquivir River where the rich deposits of copper and silver led to the development of a powerful native civilisation, which traded with the Phoenicians, who had colonies along the south coast of Spain(k).
It is assumed by most commentators that Tartessos was identical with the wealthy city of Tarshish that is mentioned in the Bible. There have been persistent attempts over the past century to link Tartessos with Atlantis. The last king of Tartessia, in what is now Southern Spain, is noted by Herodotus to have been Arganthonios, who is claimed to have ruled from 630 BC until 550 BC. Similarly, Ephorus a 4th century BC historian describes Tartessos as ‘a very prosperous market.’ However, if these dates are only approximately true, then Atlantis cannot be identified with Tartessos as they nearly coincide with the lifetime of Solon, who received the story of Atlantis as being very ancient.
The existence of a ‘Tartessian’ empire is receiving gradual acceptance. Strabo writes of their system of canals running from the Guadalquivir River and a culture that had written records dating back 6,000 years. Their alphabet was slightly different to the ‘Iberian’. The Carthaginians were said to have been captured Tartessos after the reign of Arganthonios and after that, contact with Tartessos seems to have ended abruptly!
The exact location of this city is not known apart from being near the mouth of the Guadalquivir River in Andalusia. The Guadalquivir was known as Baetis by the Romans and Tartessos to the Greeks. The present day Gulf of Cadiz was known as Tartessius Sinus (Gulf of Tartessus) in Roman times. Cadiz is accepted to be a corruption of Gades that in turn is believed to have been named to after Gaderius. This idea was proposed as early as 1634 by Rodrigo Caro, the Spanish historian and poet, in his Antigüedades y principado de la Ilustrísima ciudad de Sevilla, now available as a free ebook(i).
In 1849, the German researcher Gustav Moritz Redslob (1804-1882) carried out a study of everything available relating to Tartessos and concluded that the lost city had been the town of Tortosa on the River Ebro situated near Tarragona in Catalonia. The idea received little support.
The German archaeologist Adolf Schulten spent many years searching unsuccessfully for Tartessos, in the region of the Guadalquivir. He believed that Tartessos had been the centre of an ancient culture that was Atlantis or at least one of its colonies. Schulten also noted that Tartessos disappeared from historical records around 500 BC, which is after Solon’s visit to Egypt and so could not have been Atlantis.
Otto Jessen also believed that there had been a connection between Atlantis and Tartessos. Jean Gattefosse was convinced that the Pillars of Heracles were at Tartessos, which he identifies as modern Seville. However, Mrs E. M. Whishaw, who studied in the area for 25 years at the beginning of the 20th century, believed that Tartessos was just a colony of Atlantis. The discovery of a ‘sun temple’ 8 meters under the streets of Seville led Mrs Whishaw to surmise that Tartessos may be buried under that city. Edwin Björkman wrote a short book,The Search for Atlantis in which he identified Atlantis with Tartessos and also Homer’s Scheria.
More recently Karl Jürgen Hepke has written at length, on his website(a), about Tartessos. Dr. Rainer W. Kühne, following the work of another German, Werner Wickboldt, had an article published in Antiquity that highlighted satellite images of the Guadalquivir valley that he has identified as a possible location for Atlantis. Kühne published an article(b) outlining his reasons for identifying Tartessos as the model for Plato’s Atlantis.
Although there is a general consensus that Tartessos was located in Iberia, there are a number of refinements of the idea. One of these is the opinion of Peter Daughtrey, expressed in his book, Atlantis and the Silver City in which he proposes that Tartessos was a state which extended from Gibraltar around the coast to include what is today Cadiz and on into Portugal’s Algarve having Silves as its ancient capital.
It was reported(c) in January 2010 that researchers were investigating the site in the Doñana National Park, at the mouth of the Guadalquivir, identified by Dr. Kühne as Atlantis. In 2011, Professor Richard Freund of the University of Hartford garnered a lot of publicity when he visited the site and expressed the view that it was the location of Tartessos which he equates with Atlantis.
A minority view is that Tarshish is related to Tarxien (Tarshin) in Malta, which, however, is located some miles inland with no connection to the sea. Another unusual theory is offered by Luana Monte, who has opted for Thera as Tartessos. She bases this view on a rather convoluted etymology(e) which morphed its original name of Therasia into Therasios, which in semitic languages having no vowels would read as ‘t.r.s.s’ and can be equated with Tarshish in the Bible, which in turn is generally accepted to refer to Tartessos. Giorgio Valdés favours a Sardinian location for Tartessos(f). Andis Kaulins has claimed that further south, in the same region, Carthage was possibly built on the remains of Tartessos, near the Pillars of Heracles(j).
A more radical idea was put forward in 2012 by the Spanish researcher, José Angel Hernández, who proposed(g)(h) that the Tarshish of the Bible was to be found on the coast al region of the Indus Valley, but that Tartessos was a colony of the Indus city of Lhotal and had been situated on both sides of the Strait of Gibraltar!
There is an extensive website(d) dealing with all aspects of Tartessos, including the full text of Schulten’s book on the city. Although this site is in Spanish, it is worthwhile using your Google translator to read an English version.
The Strait of Gibraltar according to Greek mythology was created by Herakles. Neville Chipulina explains that “it seems that the person responsible for the myths about Hercules was Peisander of Rhodes, a 7th century BC Greek epic poet who apparently got the story from an unknown Pisinus of Lindus who almost certainly plagiarised it from somebody else. In other words it’s a pretty old story.”(c)
The Strait is very much a part of many current Atlantis theories. Primarily, it is contended that the region itself held the location of Atlantis. This is based on Plato’s statement that Eumelos, also known as Gadeirus, the twin brother of Atlas the first king of Atlantis gave his name to Gades, known today as Cadiz. Andalusia in Southern Spain has been the focus of attention for over a hundred years. In recent years Georgeos Diaz-Montexano and his rival Jacques Colina- Girard have been investigating the waters of the Strait itself while south of the Strait Jonas Bergman has advanced his theory that Atlantis was located just across the Strait in Morocco.
Although there is general acceptance that the Pillars of Heracles had their final resting place in the vicinity of the Strait of Gibraltar, it must be noted that there have been others candidates at different times with equally valid claims. The location of the ‘Pillars’ referred to by Plato at the time of Atlantis is the subject of continuing debate.
Strato, the philosopher, quoted by Strabo, spoke of a dam separating the Atlantic and the Mediterranean being breached by a cataclysm. This idea was reinforced by comment of Seneca. Furthermore, a number of Arabic writers, including Al-Mas’udi, Al-Biruni and Al-Idrisi, have all concurred with this idea of a Gibraltar land bridge in late prehistory.
A more radical theory is that of Paulino Zamarro who contends that the Strait was in fact closed by a landbridge during the last Ice Age because of the lower sea levels together with silting. When the waters rose and breached the landbridge, he believes that, the flood submerged Atlantis, which he situates in the Aegean. Others support Zamarro’s idea of a Gibraltar Dam amongst whom are Constantin Benetatos and Joseph S. Ellul.
*Terry Westerman on his heavily illustrated website surveys impact craters globally. He suggests that “The Strait of Gibraltar was formed by two meteor impacts. The first blasted the round area in the western Mediterranean Sea to form a land bridge between Spain and Morocco.” He maintains that a second impact broke the landbridge around 5.33 million years ago, creating what is called the Zanclean Flood which refilled the then desiccated Mediterranean(d).*
A German website(a) presented some of the following data+, apparently recording the dramatic widening of the Strait of Gibraltar between 400 BC and 400 AD. The same list was included in the ‘Strait of Gibraltar’ entry of the German Wikipedia(b) until a few years ago. It has since been dropped.
*Braghine start of 5th century BC – 0.8 km
*Euton 400 BC? – 6.4 km
+Damastes of Sigeum, circa 400 BC. – about 1.3 km
+Pseudo-Skylax, probably fourth Century BC – about 1.3 km
*Turiano Greslio? 300BC – 8.0 km
*+Titus Livius (Livy) 59 BC- 17 AD – 10.5 km
+Strabo 63 BC- 24 AD – from 9.5 to 13.0 km
+Pomponius Mela, 50 AD – about the 15.0 km
+Pliny the Elder, 50 AD – about 15.0 km
+Victor Vicensa (*Vitensa?), 400 AD – about 18 km
I have been unable to verify the earliest dates provided by Braghine and furthermore the German links have removed the relevant data, so I must advise that what is listed above be treated as suspect.
The location of the Pillars of Heracles, mentioned by Plato, is assumed by many to have always been situated near the Strait of Gibraltar. Other researchers have claimed that this was not the only location and have referred to various classical writers to support this contention, one of whom was Strabo, who records (ii) the variety of opinions regarding the location of the Pillars of Heracles among classical writers, adding that Alexander the Great on reaching the easternmost point in his military campaign erected an altar with ‘Pillars of Heracles’, giving further support to the view that the ‘Pillars’ were not a singular landmark but a feature that was to be found at different locations at different points in history.*Strabo produced a map of Europe on which he located the ‘Pillars’ at Gibraltar of his day (1st century AD).*Strabo also noted that, in the distant past 300 cities lined the coasts on either side of the Pillars.
Strabo also wrote (iii) of Hera’s Island as being one of two islands located near the Pillars of Heracles,*beyond which was Gades in Spain. The two islands have not been identified. He was writing some centuries after Erathostenes had been the first to place the ‘Pillars’ at the western end of the Mediterranean.
James Bramwell has cast some doubt on the reliability of ancient geographers in general and Strabo in particular, whom he claims[195.129] oriented the Pyrenees as running north-south rather than their actual east-west.*
I should mention that, coincidentally, a temple of Hera was discovered near Marsaxlokk on Malta, the larger of the two principal Maltese islands.
(i) Geographia (2.3.6/7)
(ii) Geographia (3.5.5)
(iii) Geographia (3.5.3)
Spain has been a favoured as a probable location of Atlantis by a sizeable number of investigators, principally Spanish and other Europeans. For about a century attention has been focussed on the region of Andalusia although one writer, Jorge María Ribero-Meneses, has opted for Cantabria in Northern Spain. The most vocal proponent today of a Spanish Atlantis is arguably Georgeos Diaz-Montexano who has just begun the publication of a series of books on the subject.
Richard Freund is a latecomer to the question of Atlantis and recently foisted himself on the excavators in the Doñana Marshes, announcing that the site was related to Atlantis/Tarshish and garnering widespread publicity ahead of the publication of his own book on Atlantis!
One commentator has suggested that the origin of the name of Spain itself was derived from the Semitic language of the Phoenicians who arrived in Spain around 1500 BC. Apparently they referred to the region as ‘span’ or ‘spania’ which means hidden! Cadiz, equated with Plato’s Gades, is frequently cited as the oldest colony of the Phoenicians. The date appears to be based on tradition rather than hard evidence. Archaeology puts the date closer to 800 BC.
The oldest Phoenician remains, found in the vicinity of Malaga, were discovered during the recent building of a second runway. Occupation of the site is dated at around 700-600 BC.
In September 2012 a report(a) revealed that at the La Bastida site in Murcia, Spain, fortifications dated to 2,200 BC had been discovered and heralded as “Continental Europe’s First Bronze Age City” and “is comparable only to the Minoan civilisation of Crete”.
Melqart was the son of El the supreme deity of the Phoenicians. He was the principal god of the city of Tyre and was sometimes known as Baal. As Tyre gained supremacy throughout the Phoenician world, Melqart also gained prominence. Melqart is the only Phoenician god mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. The Temple of Melqart in Tyre was similar to that built for Solomon in Jerusalem. This is understandable as craftsmen from Tyre built the temple in Jerusalem and there would have had a natural exchange of religious ideas, as they were neighbours. Herodotus describes the main entrance to the sanctuary as being flanked by two columns or pillars known as ‘betyls’, one made of gold and the other of ‘smaragdus’— often translated as ‘emerald.’
The cult of Melqart was brought to Carthage, the most successful Tyrian colony, and temples dedicated to Melqart are found in at least three sites in Spain; Gades (modern Cadiz), Ebusus, and Carthago Nova. Near to Gades, at the Strait of Gibraltar, the mountains on either side were first known as the Pillars of Melqart, and then later changed to the Pillars of Heracles. Across the Strait of Gibraltar, at the Atlantic coast of Morocco was the Phoenician colony of Lixus, where there was another temple of Melqart.
In classical literature Melqart and Heracles have been referred to interchangeably, by many historians such as Josephus Flavius.
It is thought that the city of Cadiz was originally founded as Gadir (walled city) by the Phoenicians around 1100 BC, although hard evidence does not prove a date earlier than the 9th century BC. In his 2011 book, Ancient Phoenicia, Mark Woolmer has claimed [1053.46] that the archaeological evidence indicates a date around the middle of the 8th century BC.
It is regarded as the most ancient functioning city in Western Europe. Gadir had a temple that was dedicated to the Phoenician god Melqart. Some consider that the columns of this temple were the origin of the reference of the Columns of Heracles. Commentators on Plato’s Atlantis story have linked Cadiz (formerly Gades) with the second son of Poseidon, Gadirus.