Civilisation Collapse has occurred many times over past millennia in all parts of the world. Joseph A. Tainter defines collapse as “a rapid shift to a lower level of complexity(a) .” Societal disintegration immediately brings to mind the Maya, the Indus Valley and in what are relatively more modern times, the Western Roman Empire.
The causes are usually a combination of factors, such as, climate change, warfare, disease or excessive expansionism. Global catastrophes such as encounters with comets or asteroids are rare, while more local events such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or tsunamis can also be thrown into the mix. These have all been encountered from time to time, but have rarely been blamed for the collapse of a society; recovery from such limited regional events is usually possible.
The Mediterranean has seen its share of all these catastrophic events. A major tsunami on Sardinia, volcanic eruptions in Italy, earthquakes in North Africa and the Eastern Mediterannean. Close encounters with extraterrestrial bodies have also been proposed in that region.
Perhaps the best documented civilisation collapse is that which occurred around 1200 BC and affected many societies, particularly in the Middle East(b) . Israel Finkelstein, a leading Israeli archaeologist, has attributed this event to climate change and is of the view that this disruption was global in extent.
Inevitably, Atlantis has been cited as an example of civilisation collapse, particularly supporters of the Minoan Hypothesis, who link the 2nd millennium BC eruptions of Thera with the demise of the Minoans on Crete. Also popular is the idea that Atlantis had been a large island in the Atlantic Ocean destroyed by a cometary impact or the rising sea levels as the glaciers melted at the end of the last Ice Age.
A variety of other theories have associated Atlantis with the collapse of a civilisation. For example, Frank Joseph claims that 40,000 years ago “sudden sea-level rises triggers migration from Mu around. The Pacific motherlanders settle on a large, fertile island about 380 kilometers due west from the Straits of Gibraltar. There, the newcomers merge with the native Cro-Magnon inhabitants, resulting in a new, hybrid culture – Atlantis.”
Alex Pellejero is a Spanish commentator on ancient mysteries, so it is no surprise that he offered his views on Atlantis. Nearly three years ago, he published a spirited defence of the Minoan Hypothesis, although admitting that not every detail of Plato’s account can be explained by the hypothesis.(a)
Bernhard Mackowiak*(1951- ) is a German journalist, specialising in scientific subjects, particularly astronomy. He is also the author of a number of books, among which is* Atlantis: Nachrichten aus versunkenen Welten (Atlantis: News from a sunken world) in which he reviews the most popular theories but in the end opts for the Minoan Hypothesis.
Tom Pfeiffer is a German volcanologist and the author of a number of volcano related websites, volcanophotography.com(b), volcanodiscovery.com(c) and the ‘decadevolcano.net’ website in which he has written qualified support for the Minoan Hypothesis(a).
Fabio Truppi (1974- ) is the Italian author of Atlantide tra mito e archeologia (Atlantis: Between Myth and Archaeology) in which he reviews a few of the principal theories with particular attention to the Minoan Hypothesis. However, in conclusion he contends, perhaps wisely, that the solution to the mystery remains open(a).
(a) http://www.antikitera.net/articoli.asp?ID=57 (Italian)
Richard E. Mooney was one of a number of authors who followed in the footsteps of Erich von Däniken with a couple ‘ancient astronaut’ books. His first, Colony: Earth, has a chapter devoted to Atlantis in which he gives qualified support to the Minoan Hypothesis.
In his sequel, Gods of Air and Darkness, he again touches on the subject of Atlantis, although in a slightly more muted fashion. Nevertheless, he refers to the Greek legends of Atlantis and Hyperborea as being “both obviously based on fact.” (p.183)
Krystek is not convinced by Donnelly’s Atlantic location and seems to think that the Minoan Hypothesis is the best theory current available, noting that “Not everyone accepts the Minoan Crete theory of the story of Atlantis, but until a convincing case can be made for some other place, it, perhaps, remains science’s best guess.”
Don Nardo (1947- ) is an American writer and musician(a). He has produced nearly four hundred books aimed principally at younger people. His 2003 book, Atlantis , also intended for young adults gives an overview of current theories, although he has devoted two of the book’s six chapters to aspects of the Minoan Hypothesis.
Alan Butler is British and an engineer by profession and for the past thirty years has been a full-time researcher and writer with a number of successful books to his credit(a). His area of interest is principally ancient civilisations which led to the publication of Civilization One and Before the Pyramids co-authored with Christopher Knight. The sequel to Civilization One was Who Built the Moon in which Butler and Knight offer evidence that our Moon is artificial!
Even more extreme is his claim in Intervention that at critical junctures in man’s history, humans from the future have returned to intervene!.
Butler also wrote a book on the Phaistos Disc – The Bronze Age Disc. He has only touched briefly on the subject of Atlantis in a number of his books, but this appears to be about to change with a forthcoming offering due in 2014 entitled The Dawn of Genius which promises to deal more fully with Plato’s island. In chapter nine he expresses the view that Plato’s Atlantis story is probably a conflation of a number of historical tales of which the Minoan Hypothesis provides some of the threads. He rejects an Atlantic location as contrary to geology and Plato’s nine thousands years to be archaeologically unsound.
In 1999, Butler published City of the Goddess, which deals with Washington, DC’s direct connection with Freemasonry and its veneration of the Great Goddess! Then in 2015 America: Nation of the Goddess will be published. It has been co-authored by Butler and Janet Wolter, wife of TV presenter Scott F. Wolter. We are already informed that among the gems contained in it, is the revelation that “every baseball diamond is actually a temple to the Goddess.” I’m not making this up. Jason Colavito was equally surprised(c).
Bettany Hughes (1968- ) is a well-known historian with a high media profile. She has presented one major TV documentary on the subject of Atlantis, specifically supporting aspects of the Minoan Hypothesis. This was Atlantis: The Evidence (Timewatch BBC TWO, 2010)(a) and more recently she has been trotted out to promote a new drama series Atlantis (BBC 2013).
She wrote a preview of this BBC series, for The Telegraph(b), which together with her earlier documentary still raises questions for me about her competence to deal with this subject at all. In her article she refers to the Atlantis story as a moral fable, ignoring the fact that not only were the ‘wicked’ Atlanteans destroyed, but so also were the ‘good’ Athenians.
She then alludes to Plato’s mention of the use of red, black and white stone in Atlantis. It is well known that this combination is common in volcanic regions and has been noted at a number of proposed Atlantis sites; The Canaries, Bolivia, Morocco, Azores, Sardinia and southern Spain.
Next, Hughes tries to explain away the navigation hazard described by Plato, identifying it as pumice. Plato clearly describes mud shoals as the barrier. This would be fine, except that Plato also tells us that the hazard still existed in his day, a thousand years after the eruption. It is improbable, to say the least that pumice would have lingered for a millennium!
These miserable attempts to link Thera and Atlantis are bad enough, Hughes does not explain how Plato repeatedly refers to the Atlantean invasion coming from their base in the the west (Tim.25b & Crit 114c), while Thera/Crete is north of Egypt and south of Athens. Where were the Pillars of Heracles and where were the Minoan elephants?
I would expect a professional like Hughes to offer a more comprehensive review of ALL the information provided by Plato and not dismiss whatever conflicts with her opinion as “sheer fantasy”. This picking and choosing from Plato’s text is not good enough without any justification for her selectivity.