An A-Z Guide To The Search For Plato's Atlantis

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Joining The Dots


Joining The Dots

I have now published my new book, Joining The Dots, which offers a fresh look at the Atlantis mystery. I have addressed the critical questions of when, where and who, using Plato's own words, tempered with some critical thinking and a modicum of common sense.


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Minoan Crete

Linear B (m)

Linear B is the name given to the script used in Mycenaean Greece from 1450 BC until around 1200 BC. It was deciphered in 1952 by the British architect, Michael Ventris, who found it to be based on archaic Greek. What is not generally known is that in America at the same time, classicist Alice Kober was engaged in a parallel quest but unfortunately died of cancer in 1950, before she could complete her work(b).

Edo Nyland in his Linguistic Archaeology controversially claimed that the same texts translated by Ventris using archaic Greek could also be translated using Basque! Examples are given on the University of California, Riverside website(c).

The script is similar to Linear A(a) used in Minoan Crete, which has still to be decoded. Writing disappeared from Greece in the 12th cent. BC and did not reappear until the 9th cent. BC, when an alphabetic script came into use. Those three centuries are known as the ‘Dark Ages’ of Greek history. Plato explained the lack of writing as a consequence of a catastrophic flood which left just a few illiterate ‘mountaineers’ as survivors, who orally transmitted  their history until literacy returned.

The scale of Greek catastrophes during this period is indicated by the work of V.R.Desborough[908][909] who  gathered comparative data on the number of population centres on the Peloponnese in the 12th and 13th centuries that shows an average drop of 80%. Spanuth lists those figures in Atlantis of the North[015.161].

Plato is often denounced by Atlantic sceptics as just a philosopher and therefore unreliable as an historian. However, in Critias he outlines quite accurately a number of features of ancient Greece that were only verified in recent times, such as the layout and earthquake damage to the Acropolis as well as the ‘Dark Ages’ mentioned above.*[This like saying that an historian cannot have valid philosophical views or a philosopher should not discuss historical matters.]*

It has been suggested that the Atlantis story was brought to Egypt written in the Minoan scripts. Both employed numerals where the symbol for ‘hundred’ was very similar to that for ‘thousand’, leading to later transcription errors that eventually gave us Plato’s apparently exaggerated numbers! Both James Mavor and Rodney Castleden have advocated this explanation.

(a) http://jarnaes.wordpress.com/1-minoan-crete-linear-a/

(b) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-22782620

(c) http://www.faculty.ucr.edu/~legneref/bronze/linerb.htm

Knossos (m)

Knossos was one of a number of cities found on Crete that were not fortified,  leading to the suggestion that their construction was carried out during a period of peace.  This is in sharp contrast with the defensive design of the Atlantean capital and the warlike attitude of the latter-day Atlanteans as reported by Plato. This single fact somewhat undermines the identification of Minoan Crete with Atlantis.

2016 brought reports(a)(b) that Knossos was three times the size previously thought by archaeologists and had thrived into the Iron Age.

knossos_plan

Floor plan of the Palace of Knossos

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*[ (a) http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/ancient-city-was-three-times-bigger-archaeologists-suspected-180957759/?no-ist

(b) http://www.tornosnews.gr/en/greek-news/21698-minoan-civilization-capital-knossos-to-reveal-more-treasures.html]*

Checklists

Checklists have been published by a number of authors that compare the features of Plato’s Atlantis with that of their preferred location and that of other writers. While such lists can appear impressive they suffer from a number of defects. First the lists are drawn up arbitrarily(a) and frequently omit headings that may not suit the theory of its compiler, but might support a competing view. Secondly, another excuse for not including particular items is often done on the grounds that they were just modifications by Plato. Finally, since Plato’s text contains various ambiguities and contradictions, some list headings are capable of more than one interpretation, for example, the location of the Pillars of Heracles or the date of Atlantis’ destruction.

Finally, if the Atlantis narrative is accepted as a mixture of detail from more than one source, possibly separated by thousands of years, it is meaningless to include everything in a single list. An example of this might be where the clues to the location of the Atlantean capital might be based on a very ancient source but the description of its architecture may have been inspired by structures from a different location, possibly from Plato’s own experience. In such a case the two will never be discovered together.

In the case of Indonesia, Dos Santos drew up a 32-point checklist(b), which has now been adopted and expanded to 60 points(e) by Dhani Irwanto, who published Atlantis: The lost city is in Java Sea[1093] in 2015.

The Atlantis Conference of 2005 concluded with the drafting of a list of 24 criteria(f),  which must be met to qualify as Plato’s lost city. Jim Allen initially expanded this list to 34 points(a) and in December 2010 added a further 16 , bringing his new total up to 50 criteria(d), chosen with an obvious bias towards his own Bolivian theory.

The 2005 conference also led to the drafting of the Atlantis Research Charter, which although not a checklist in the sense that I have used it, does provide a rational set of guidelines for researchers to follow,  firmly rejecting pseudoscience, dogmatism and abuse for political or religious ends.

Olof Rudbeck who proposed his native Sweden as the home of Atlantis included in his Atlantica, 102 ‘proofs’ in support of his theory.

The most recent (2016) checklist from Philip Runggaldier, not unexpectedly, points to his chosen location of the Celtic Shelf rather than Minoan Crete as the location of Atlantis. Not, in my mind, a fair comparison.

*My book, Joining the Dots, as far as I’m aware, raises for the first time in any detail, the obvious prerequisites for a successful invasion. Obviously Invaders require a powerful army, military intelligence (spies) and the ability to keep supply lines as short as possible. The latter demands that military expansionism is directed at neighbouring territories, a fact confirmed by the manner in which all ancient empires developed. However, when it comes to checklists the need for proximity is conveniently ignored as can be seen by its absence from the lists compiled by advocates of some of the more extreme Atlantis locations, such as, Antarctica, America or Indonesia. At least some Plato’s Atlantis identifiers can be linked with most proposed locations, but if they are not within ‘striking distance’ of ancient Athens, they cannot be Atlantis.*

(a) Bolivia – http://www.atlantisbolivia.org/atlantistheories.htm

(b) Indonesia – http://www.atlan.org/articles/checklist/ 

(d) http://www.atlantisbolivia.org/beyond24points.htm

(e) https://atlantisjavasea.com/2015/08/22/evidence-in-hypothesized-location/

(f) http://grahamhancock.com/phorum/read.php?1,249446,249654

Brandenstein, Wilhelm (L)

brandenstein001Wilhelm Brandenstein (1898-1967), was a Viennese classical scholar, who wrote a detailed commentary[196] on Plato’s Atlantis said, “The theory that Plato simply invented the Egyptian derivation, while at the same time showing an extensive knowledge of sources, and constantly reaffirming that it was all pure truth, cannot be sustained”

He considered the Atlantis story to have been inspired by Minoan Crete although Spanuth claims that Brandenstein wrote to him with the conclusion that the story told to Solon related to the invasion of the Sea Peoples.

In 2013 Thorwald C. Franke published an English translation(a) of his 2006 paper on Brandenstein’s contribution to atlantology. It is interesting, but not altogether convincing, to read that

“Brandenstein believes that Solon errorneously linked two separate accounts to one: From Egypt he had knowledge on the Sea Peoples wars, from Athens he had traditions on the confrontation of Crete and Athens, as they are indeed documented in known myths. With this Brandenstein believed that only a part of the Atlantis tradition came from Egypt.”

    While Franke’s paper is very welcome, it is to be hoped that a translation of Brandenstein’s entire book will be on offer at some point.

(a) http://www.atlantis-scout.de/atlantis_brandenstein_engl.htm