Marilyn Luongo is a South African entrepreneur involved in social projects there(b). Her website has an unexpected section dealing with the history of the Middle East(a) of which the second half involves a review of Plato’s Atlantis account. She attempts to link Mesopotamia with Atlantis, beginning with locating the ‘Pillars of Heracles’ at the Strait of Hormuz and then using the highly controversial interpretation of ‘meizon‘ meaning ‘between’ rather than ‘greater’ she proceeds to argue that Mesopotamia is ‘between’ Asia and Libya and therefore is the home of Atlantis!
The Persian Gulf is just one of a variety of areas identified as having been mainly exposed land prior to the melting of the glaciers at the end of the last Ice Age(a). Archaeologist Dr. Jeffery Rose(b) recounts how this land which contained a large oasis used by humans from at least 74,000 years ago was finally inundated by the Indian Ocean around 6000 BC(c) Rose believes that “there is compelling evidence to suggest that both the Flood and Eden myths may be rooted in these events around the Gulf basin.” His views are more fully outlined in the December 2010 issue of the distinguished journal Current Anthropology(d). This idea has been well received by some of his peers.
It has also been speculated that the Gulf may have been home to Plato’s Atlantis(e). This theory would place the Pillars of Heracles at the Strait of Hormuz.
A recent article(f) by Marilyn Luongo placing Atlantis in Mesopotamia, also identifies Hormuz as the location of the ‘Pillars’.
However, the Gulf is just one of a number of sites such as Doggerland in the North Sea and Sundaland in the South China Sea that have been proposed as the location of submerged Atlantis. At this point we are only dealing with speculation as no coherent argument has been adduced to identify any of those locations with the possible exception of Sundaland, where at least a credible case has been put forward by researchers such as dos Santos and Lauritzen, but not without weaknesses in their contention.
Meizon is given the sole meaning of ‘greater’ in the respected Greek Lexicon of Liddell & Scott . Furthermore, in Bury’s translation of sections 20e -26a of Timaeus there are eleven instances of Plato using megas (great) meizon (greater) or megistos (greatest). In all cases great or greatest is employed except just one, 24e, which uses the comparative meizon, which Bury translated as ‘larger’! J.Warren Wells concluded that Bury’s translation in this single instance is inconsistent with his other treatments of the word and it does not fit comfortably with the context[787.85].
This inconsistency is difficult to accept, so although meizon can have a secondary meaning of ‘larger’ it is quite reasonable to assume that the primary meaning of ‘greater’ was intended. I note that the 1856 German translation of the well regarded Hieronymus Müller clearly accepted ‘meizon’ to refer to power rather than size.
It is also worth considering that Alexander the Great, (Aléxandros ho Mégas) was so called, not because of his physical size, apparently he was short of stature, but because he was a powerful leader.
The word has entered Atlantis debates in relation to its use in Timaeus 24e ’, where Plato describes Atlantis as ‘greater’ than Libya and Asia together and until recently has been most frequently interpreted to mean greater ‘in size’, an idea that I previously endorsed. However, some researchers have suggested that he intended to mean greater ‘in power’.
Other commentators do not seem to be fully aware that ‘Libya’ and ‘Asia’ had completely different meanings at the time of Plato. ‘Libya’ referred to part or all of North Africa, west of Egypt, while ‘Asia’ was sometimes applied to Lydia, a small kingdom in what is today Turkey. Incidentally, Plato’s statement also demonstrates that Atlantis could not have existed in either of these territories as ‘a part cannot be greater than the whole.’
A more radical, but less credible, interpretation of Plato’s use of ‘meizon’ came from the historian P.B.S. Andrews, who suggested that the quotation has been the result of a misreading of Solon’s notes. He maintained that the text should be read as ’midway between Libya and Asia’ since in the original Greek there is only a difference on one letter between the words for midway (meson) and larger than (meizon). This suggestion was supported by the classical scholar J.V. Luce and more recently on Marilyn Luongo’s website(a). This interpretation is quite interesting, particularly if the Lydian explanation of ‘Asia’ mentioned above is correct. Viewed from either Athens or Egypt we find that Crete is located ‘midway’ between Lydia and Libya.
In relation to all this , Felice Vinci has explained that ancient mariners measured territory by the length of its coastal perimeter, a method that was in use up to the time of Columbus. This would imply that the island of Atlantis was relatively modest in extent – I would speculate somewhere between the size of Cyprus and Sardinia. An area of such an extent has never been known to have been destroyed by an earthquake.
Until the 21st century, it was thought by many that meizon must have referred to the physical size of Atlantis rather than its military power. However, having read a paper[750.173] delivered by Thorwald C. Franke to the 2008 Atlantis Conference, I was persuaded otherwise. His explanation is that “for Egyptians the world of their ‘traditional’ enemies was divided in two: To the west there were the Libyans, to the east there were the Asians. If an Egyptian scribe wanted to say, that an enemy was more dangerous than the ‘usual’ enemies, which was the case with the Sea Peoples’ invasion, then he would have most probably said, that this enemy was “more powerful than Libya and Asia put together”.
This is a far more elegant and credible explanation than any reference to physical size, which forced researchers to seek lost continental sized land masses and apparently justified the negativity of sceptics. Furthermore, it reinforces the Egyptian origin of the Atlantis story, demolishing any claim that Plato concocted the whole tale. If it had been invented by Plato he would probably have compared Atlantis to enemy territories nearer to home, such as the Persians.
*(b) http://lost-origins.com/atlantis-no-lost-continent/ (offline Jan. 2018)*
Mesopotamia occupied part of modern Iraq. It was first (1535) suggested by G.F. Oviedo y Valdes as the location of Atlantis. After its inundation, he claims that the survivors fled to the Americas.
A recent article(c) by Marilyn Luongo also attempts to link Mesopotamia with Atlantis, beginning with locating the ‘Pillars of Heracles’ at the Strait of Hormuz and then using the highly controversial interpretation of ‘meizon’ to mean ‘between’ rather than ‘greater’ proceeds to argue that Mesopotamia is ‘between’ Asia and Libya.
Mesopotamia has recently been entered into the ‘Atlantis Stakes’ by Andreea Haktanir. Her website(a) has an extensive article that takes 14 chapters to conclude that Atlantis was Mesopotamia. Although I found her theory interesting, I was not convinced.
There is a website showing a huge number of maps relating to the various civilisations who existed in Mesopotamia over the millennia(b).
In July 2016 the most accurate timeline for the region was published following intensive research led by Cornell University archaeologist Sturt Manning(d). The data is now accurate back to the early second millennium BC and where estimates differed by up to 200 years, this has now been reduced to just 8 years.
Coincidentally, there is a region of Argentina called Mesopotamia that has also been identified as the original home of Atlantis.
(a) http://atlantis.haktanir.org/ch14.html (offline Jan 2016) see: Archive 2562)