Francisco Cervantes de Salazar (1514-1575) was a Spanish academic who travelled to Mexico around 1550 where he was twice elected rector of the newly established University of Mexico. In his Crónica de la Nueva España, he was a firm supporter of the idea of interpreting Plato’s 9,000 ‘years’ as lunar cycles, echoing the early statement of Eudoxus of Cnidos. His Crónica was not published until 1914.
Seasons are sub-divisions of the year usually based on changes in ecology, weather or hours of daylight. The number of seasons varies between two (Polar) and six (India). My native Ireland has been described by cynics as now having only three seasons, as recent weather changes seem to have removed summer from our calendar.
The Egyptian year is divided into three seasons as they also did in the Indus civilisation. In an effort to make Plato’s 9,000 years more credible, commentators as early Giovanni Carli in the 18th century and Rafinesque in the 19th have suggested that Plato’s years were in fact ‘seasons’. The idea has gained further traction in more recent years with support from Axel Hausmann and Radek Brychta and most recently Rosario Vieni. Both Hausmann and Vieni presented papers to the 2005 Atlantis Conference, where Hausmann proposed that the ‘years’ be treated as seasons and so concluded that the demise of Atlantis took place in 3522 BC[629.359]. However, at the same conference Vieni presented his paper entitled “11,500 years ago…..” [629.337], obviously at that stage accepting Plato’s 9,000 years at face value. Three years later, he presented a paper to the 2008 Atlantis Conference which he entitled “About 5600 years ago….” [750.347], in which he had changed his understanding of Plato’s ‘years’ to be now seasons. While his intellectual honesty is to be applauded, I must point out that because a person changes their opinion, there is no guarantee that their second choice is any more correct than the first.
I am not convinced by the ‘seasons’ explanation, as it just seems to be a rather feeble attempt to explain away Plato’s 9,000 being a reference to solar years. Supporters of this ‘seasons’ explanation appear to be forced to look for an alternative to a literal 9,000 years as that figure conflicts dramatically with the Bronze Age setting of the Atlantis narrative and runs counter to the archaeological evidence for dating the foundation of both Athens and the Egyptian civilisation.
The more popular alternative suggestion of treating the ‘years’ as lunar cycles makes much more sense, as it brings the Atlantis story into the end of the Greek Bronze Age. It also matches the time of the destruction of the spring on the Acropolis (Crit.112d) and conforms to details on the Parian Marble. But perhaps most important of all is that the use of lunar cycles by the Egyptian priesthood for calculating time was noted by Eudoxus of Cnidos (410-355 BC) and also by Plutarch, Manetho, Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus.
James I. Nienhuis is a scientist and a committed young-earth creationist having written two books on the subject. He has also been involved in the production of a DVD, Atlantis: Secret Star Mappers of a Lost World (b).
As he has chosen to work within the intellectual straitjacket of young-earth dogma, Nienhuis is forced to dispute the 9,000 years of Plato for the age of Atlantis before Solon, suggesting that it is more likely that the number refers to lunar cycles rather than years and bravely contends that the last Ice Age only finished around 1500 BC, a date he ascribes to the demise of Atlantis.>However, he hedges his bets by suggesting that if the 9,000 does not refer to lunar cycles, it was probably a mistranslation of the word for 100!<
His views on the location are best expressed in his own words –
The island city of Atlantis (Atlas), also known as the city of Poseidon (Sidon), is now submerged offshore southern Spain, probably at a site 30 miles south of Cadiz, and the mountains to the north, the source of the minerals riches of Atlantis, then the Sierra Morena mountains, the plain to the south including what’s submerged offshore the dimensions of the Atlantean plain described by Plato, fits perfectly.
Nienhuis maintains a website(a) with many articles and blogs, supporting his ancient history theories as well as political rants with a clear bias towards the U.S. Republican Party (sometimes known as the political wing of the American Christian Taliban).
[i] Atlantis: Secret Star Mappers of a Lost World
Alberto Arecchi, born in 1947, is an architect and professor of Design and history of the Art, in Pavia in Italy, where he lives. He is president of the Cultural Association Liutprand. He has spent fifteen years in Africa working on international development projects. He is the author of many books relating to European History.
Arecchi has also written about Atlantis in Atlantide, Un mondo scomparso, in which he builds on investigations originally begun in the 1920’s by F. Butavand and Jean Gattefosse. Arecchi’s book contains a number of radical ideas:
(i) it supports the theory of an extensive Sicilian land bridge between Europe with Africa,
(ii) it locates Atlantis off the coast of modern Tunisia and
(iii) it posits the existence of a large inland sea, the original Atlantic ‘Sea’, in part of what is now the northern Sahara, where the chotts of Algeria and Tunisia now are.
He claims that all this ended around 1225 BC when seismic activity in the region caused the land bridge to disappear and the dam that contained the inland sea to rupture and Atlantis to vanish. His date is based on the interpretation of Plato’s 9,000 ‘years’ as 9,000 lunar cycles. Arecchi further claims that the Gibraltar Dam was breached around 2500 BC. He also envisages the Maltese Islands connected to both Sicily and Tunisia prior to this breach.
An outline of his understanding of the Atlantis story, in Italian and English, can be found on the Internet(e) in a 2004 paper entitled Empire of Atlantis: From the Mediterranean to the New World, in which he reviews the evidence for early Mediterranean influences in the Americas and particularly the work of the controversial Barry Fell,*who identified North African scripts on markers at a number of locations in North Amrica. Arecchi sees this as support for his Atlantis location off the coast of today’s Tunisia and that there was trans-Atlantic Atlantean influence!
In fairness, the contentious opinions of Fell deserve a look, so a vindication of his epigraphic work(h) should also be read, as well as further corroboration by more recent DNA studies(i).*
The suggested Sicilian land bridge was more than a possibility if the Gibraltar Dam was a fact. By cutting off the waters of the Atlantic, desiccation in the Mediterranean would have brought the level of its water below that of the Atlantic, creating at least two very large inland lakes and exposing the Sicilian land bridge. Diaz-Montexano supports the idea of this isthmus or land bridge, an idea reinforced by the comments of both Strato and Seneca.
However, in November 2011, I came across an Italian website(b) that included two articles by Arecchi which offer maps of two different locations for Atlantis. Nave di Atlantide? includes the North African site mentioned above. La Vera Atlantide incorrectly attributes Atlantis as a unified and much enlarged Balearic archipelago to Arecchi. I contacted Professor Arecchi who confirmed that he is only advocating a site 100 miles SE of Malta (see map above). The reference to Mallorca in the other article he attributes to a “free-interpretation” of his only thesis.
Arecchi’s book, referred to above, is now available as a free pdf file(c), unfortunately it is in Italian and pdf files are sometimes difficult to translate. I believe this book to be an important contribution to the Atlantis debate so if I can find an efficient means of translating it, I will post it here. In the meanwhile an abstract of his book, in English, is available online(d).
As a supporter of the idea of Atlantis in the Central Mediterranean, I find Arecchi’s concepts quite credible, although I would like to know more about the scientific evidence underlying them. An English translation of his book would help.
(c) http://www.liutprand.it/Atlantis.pdf (Italian)
Olof (Olaus) Rudbeck, (1630-1702), was a 17th century nationalistic writer from Uppsala, Sweden (a very powerful nation at that time). He was a professor of botany and anatomy, and was one of two discoverers of the lymphatic vessels. He also had an interest in astronomy, taught mining and fortification theory and was Sweden’s first field archaeologist.
Olaf published, Atlantica between 1679 and 1702, in Latin and Swedish , , which placed Atlantis, not altogether surprisingly, in Sweden. This was a massive 2500 page work(b), published with the financial help of the Swedish King Carl XI, in which he offered 102 ‘proofs’ to support his thesis. Atlantica included a map showing Uppsala as Atlantis(a). He also contended that Swedish was the root tongue of all languages!
Rudbeck built his Atlantis theory on a number of details, including references to the Icelandic Eddas.
- He assumed that the mythical Swedish king Atle was the original Atlas,
- He linked the Swedish Atlefjell (Atle’s Mountain) with the Atlas Mountains and an old name for Sweden was Atland, which crops up in the Oera Linda Book,
- He cited Sweden’s large copper deposits as one of his proofs of his country’s identity with Plato’s Atlantis.
It is also of interest that Rudbeck was an early proponent of the idea that the ‘years’ referred to by Plato were in fact originally Egyptian ‘lunar cycles’ and concluded that Atlantis was destroyed circa 1500 BC.
Rudbeck also noted that the Greek word ‘nesos’ could mean ‘island’ OR ‘peninsula’, the latter being applicable to Sweden. He argued that the ‘Pillars of Heracles’ was a designation formerly used to refer to a number of locations. Rudbeck claimed that the Øresund strait between Sweden and Denmark was the site of the Atlantis ‘Pillars’.
It should be noted that Rudbeck’s theory was a development of the earlier ideas of another Swede, Johannes Bureus (1568-1652), a runic scholar, also born near Uppsala.
Half a century after Rudbeck’s death, a fellow Swede, Johannes Jacobi Eurenius, wrote Atlantica Orientalis, published in 1751, in which he placed Atlantis in the Holy Land and argued forcefully against Rudbeck’s Swedish location.
*However, another two centuries were ro pass before a comparably comprehensive study of the Atlantis question was undertaken by Ignatius Donnelly. The passage of time has demonstrated both to be heavily flawed.*
In recent years, Gunnar Eriksson, professor emeritus of the History of Science and Ideas at Uppsala University, published the first Swedish biography of Rudbeck. He also compiled a shorter version, in English, that looked at Rudbeck’s 17th century ‘proofs’ that Sweden was Plato’s Atlantis. David King of the University of Kentucky has published a further look at this remarkable, if eccentric, individual.
Stephen P. Kershaw has commented[1410.193] that Rudbeck’s Atlantica ”was written while Lutheran Sweden was still coming to terms with the abdication in July 1654 of ‘Queen of the Swedes, Goths and Vandals’, and her conversion to Roman Catholicism. For the Protestant Rudbeck, the Atlantis project was part of an attempt to champion Swedish nationalism, both politically and religiously; annexing Atlantis, which the Catholic/Mediterranean world had so often used to assert its own supremacy, and moving it to Protestant Sweden was an ingenious move.”
>A modern review(c) of Rudbeck’s work by Magnus Alkarp, another Swede, has offered a more generous assessment of his methods, finishing with the following comment – “But leaving aside these dreams of Atlantis, we can simply state that Rudbeck’s hypotheses were rarely aimless fragmentary ideas, thrown out at random. On the contrary, when he combines antiquarian observations with topography, local folklore and written sources Rudbeck becomes a figure of genius – even when he is completely wrong.”<
Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite and after whom the annual Nobel Prizes are named, was a direct descendant of Rudbeck.