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.”
P.P. Flambas is the author of Plato’s Caribbean Atlantis. The self-explanatory title makes Dr. Flambas’ objective clear. The book was published in Australia and is a hefty 932 pages and is also available as a Kindle ebook. The book is so enormous that a full critique would require another book.
In my opinion, the book has many flaws and is just a case of quantity masquerading as quality. One of my first gripes is that the author places Atlantis in the 10th millennium BC, a period during which there is NO archaeological evidence for any structured societies in either Egypt or Athens.
Even more ridiculous is his suggestion that the Atlantean Empire was centred in the Caribbean and included what are now the U.S. states around the Gulf of Mexico, all of MesoAmerica and all the countries along the northern coast of South America. Then realising that Plato had also described Atlantean territory that included parts of Europe and North Africa, Flanbas added them as well for good measure. Flambas accepts that the Atlantean territory included parts of Europe and North Africa but that, apparently unknown to Plato, the capital of this empire was in the Caribbean! I don’t find that credible, but readers will have to decide for themselves.
Eleven millennia later Europe could not keep control of its American colonies even with improved navigation, vessels and weaponry, so how did his Caribbean Atlantis manage the control its European territory?
Furthermore, Flambas is incorrect in saying that Plato noted that part of Atlantean territory extended as far as the Tyrrhenian Sea, in fact, he said that they controlled as far as Tyrrhenia (Timaeus 25b & Critias 114c), in other words they held part of southern Italy. Even without that, if parts of the Western Mediterranean had been occupied by Atlanteans from the Caribbean, it is hard to believe that some knowledge of the existence of the Americas was not well known throughout the whole Mediterranean region, sailors not being known as the most tight-lipped people. But Flambas claims that this knowledge was not available to Europeans until Columbus, eleven thousands years.
Flambas has a large section on empires and their development through the occupation of contiguous territory, which I fully agree with, yet he proposes that these ancient Atlanteans preferred to expand across the wild Atlantic to colonise the Mediterranean rather than the easier option of pushing either north into North America or south into the equally valuable South America with shorter supply lines. Expansion across the Atlantic makes no sense.
On a more positive note, as a layman, I think that Dr. Flambas has done creditable original work with his “Hydraulic Hypothesis” which relates to a modification of our view of Plate Tectonics. The extensive geological research carried out by him is admirable, but for me, his attempt to link it with Plato’s story of Atlantis is just a speculation too far.
Finally, his book is well illustrated, but to produce a volume of this size without an index is unforgivable. I was also disappointed to find that much of Flambas’ Chronology of Atlantis Theories was copied from this site, including errors, without any attribution!
Bob Idjennaden is a Belgian author now living in Ireland, working in the field of business organisation. His private interests include the study of North African prehistory and history. This has led to the writing of a series of short books, sometimes with co-authors, which deal with specific aspects of North African history and culture.
*[An article on the tribes of the Roman province of Africa Proconsularis, centred around modern Tunisia should be read(b) in conjunction with Idjennaden’s work.]*
I am not aware of Idjennaden touching on the subject of Atlantis, in spite of the fact that Plato clearly states that the Atlanteans controlled Libya as far as Egypt. Nevertheless, many of the books deal with specific matters related to different Atlantis theories, such as the Sea Peoples , the Canary Islands and Berbers.
Bernard Marque was a French historian who located Atlantis in North Africa in his 1933, 22-page booklet, La descendance des Ancêtres Paléolithiques de la Corrèze: L’Atlantide.
North Africa has received considerable attention as a possible location for Atlantis since the beginning of the 19th century. Gattefosse and Butavand are names associated with early 20th century North African theorists. They, along with Borchardt, Herrmann and others have proposed locations as far west as Lixus on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, on through Tunisia and Libya and even as far east as the Nile delta.
One of the earliest writers was Ali Bey El Abbassi who discussed Atlantis and an ancient inland sea in the Sahara. The concept of such an inland sea, usually linked with Lake Tritonis, has persisted with the Chotts of Tunisia and Algeria as prime suspects. There is acceptance that a seismic/tectonic convulsion in the vicinity of the Gulf of Gabés cut off this inland sea from the Mediterranean. Diodorus Siculus records this event in his third book dating it to around 1250 BC. If such an event did not occur, how do we explain the salt laden chotts? However, proving a connection with Atlantis is another matter.
Whether this particular geological upheaval was related to the episode that destroyed parts of ancient Malta is questionable as the Maltese event was one of massive subsidence.
It should be kept in mind that Plato described the southern part of the Atlantean confederation as occupying North Africa as far eastward as Egypt (Tim.25b & Crit.114c). This of course conflicts with the idea of the Atlanteans invading from beyond ‘Pillars of Heracles’ situated at Gibraltar since they apparently already controlled at least part of the Western Mediterranean as far as Italy and Egypt.
*One of the principal arguments against Atlantis being located in North Africa is that Plato clearly referred to Atlantis as an island. However, as Papamarinopoulos has pointed out that regarding the Greek word for island, ‘nesos’ “a literary differentiation between ‘island’ and ‘peninsula’ did not exist in alphabetic Greek before Herodotus’ in the 5th century BC. Similarly, there was not any distinction between a coast and an island in Egyptian writing systems, up to the 5th century BC.” In conversation with Mark Adams[1070.198] Papamarinopoulos explains that in the sixth century BC, when Solon lived, nesos had five geographic meanings. “One, an island as we know it. Two, a promontory. Three, a peninsula. Four, a coast. Five, a land within a continent, surrounded by lakes, rivers or springs.”
Personally, from the context, I am quite happy to accept that the principal city of the Atlantean alliance existed on an island as we understand the word. This was probably north of Tunisia, where a number of possible candidates exist. However, it may be unwise to rule out a North African city just yet!
Another argument put forward that appears to exclude at least part of North Africa is that Plato, according to many translations, he refers to Atlantis as ‘greater’ than ‘Libya’ and ‘Asia‘ combined, using the Greek word, ‘meizon‘, which had a primary meaning of ‘more powerful’ not greater in size. Atlantis could not have been situated in either Libya or Asia because ‘a part cannot be greater than the whole’. However, if Plato was referring to military might rather than geographical extent, as seems quite likely, North Africa may indeed have been part of the Atlantean alliance, particularly as Plato describes the control of Atlantis in the Mediterranean as far Tyrrhenia and Egypt.*
Evelino Leonardi (1871-1939) was a Roman doctor and amateur archaeologist who was convinced that Atlantis had been located in Italy with their cyclopean remnants visible on Monte Circeo on the west coast of Italy, south of Rome.
He published his ideas in 1937, among which he claimed that Lake Tritonis had been situated in Italy adjacent to the Tyrrhenian Sea and that the mythical Tirrenide was also situated there. . To say the least this was an innovative idea, as it was generally accepted that Lake Tritonis had been located in North Africa. Leonardi also contended that the survivors of the demise of Atlantis migrated to Egypt.
However, in recent years interest in Leonardi’s work has been revived. The late Gianluigi Proia has written a number of articles on the circei.it website in support of Leonardi’s theories. One of the most comprehensive of these(a), although published in Italian, translates adequately with Google.
See Also: Ponza
Count Byron Khun de Prorok (1896-1954) has been variously described an American with a Polish title or as a Pole married to an American. He was originally a conventional archaeologist having worked on the site of Carthage. He then developed into an adventurous explorer in the early 1920’s and 1930’s whose escapades would have been worthy of Indiana Jones.
Perhaps his most famous achievement was the discovery of the tomb of the legendary Berber queen, Tin Hinan. However, this claim did not stand up to closer scrutiny as James Bramwell revealed in his Lost Atlantis[195.115].
Khun de Prorock became convinced that Atlantis had a North African origin, specifically on the Hoggar Plateau(c).
He was author of a number of books recounting his experiences, including Digging for Lost African Gods, now available online(a).
His ‘discoveries’ were not given any serious consideration by orthodox archaeologists. He died unexpectedly in the mid-1950’s according to a report in the November/December 1958 edition of Sykes’ Atlantis journal.
The Wikipedia account of deProrok’s life is also worth a read(b).
Cro–Magnon Man, who emerged around 37,000 years ago, is often described as having a dome-shaped cranium and broad forehead and a brain capacity of 1,600 cc, which is greater than modern man. His skull has thick eyebrow projections and a bony protrusion at the back that is characteristic of both Neanderthal man and Homo erectus. Blavatsky(c), Sepehr(d) along with a number of investigators(e) have suggested that they may have been the original Atlanteans. They have pointed to the physical traits listed above together with blood grouping and linguistic similarities to be found in the same regions of Western Europe and North Africa.
Robert John Langdon also claims that “Cro-Magnon/Atlanteans colonised America” based on a study of blood group distribution(b).
Physical anthropology has identified the modern remnants of Cro-Magnon Man in the Berbers and Tuaregs of North Africa, the Basques of Northern Spain together with small population pockets in the Dordogne Valley and Brittany in France. The highest incidence of Rhesus-negative blood in the world is to be found among the Basques. Similar high levels of Rhesus-negative blood are to be found among the inhabitants of the Canaries and the Atlas Mountains of Morocco; areas where Cro-Magnons lived. This fact is seen as evidence for claiming that the Basques are directly descended from Cro-Magnon Man.
On the basis of skull shape, William Howells and Bertil Lundman have supported this view. The regions that were home to Cro-Magnon Man, in Upper Paleolithic times, were comparable with those occupied by their latter-day successors such as the now extinct Guanches of the Canaries and the Basques.
R. Cedric Leonard is probably the best known modern proponent of the Atlantean Cro-Magnon idea(f), refers to the work of Oliviera Martins, who in the 1930’s, pointed out that many of the Cro-Magnon people have given themselves distinguishing names with the suffix ’tani’ from the Mauritani of North Africa to the Bretani of Brittany and Britain. Leonard also insists that an analysis of the languages of these groups of people points to a relationship with each other, while being quite different to the other languages of Europe or the Near East. He thinks that it is quite possible that these ancient languages date back to the cultures of the Ice Age. Leonard also refers to what he calls “an anomalous Cro-Magnon/Atlantis outpost” in northern Palestine(a).
This combination of date, geographical spread, language and physical similarities offers a reasonable basis for postulating the idea of a coherent civilisation along the European and North African Atlantic seaboards and in the Atlantic itself, at the end of the last Ice Age that could be accommodated by one interpretation of Plato’s Atlantis. Lewis Spence was a supporter of this possibility.
George Isaac Bryant was the English author of Lost Atlantis, which only existed in manuscript form and was rescued from his bombed home in 1941. Although his views did not fully coincide with the opinions of Egerton Sykes, the latter assembled the notes and published them in his Atlantis journal some years later. Bryant covers a lot of familiar ground and adds little to advance the identification of Atlantis. He engages in a lot of speculation and displays a level of gullibility, quoting the likes of Paul Schliemann as an ‘authority’. He concludes that the Atlantean Empire stretched from the Azores and the Canaries in the Atlantic to Portugal/Spain and southward into North Africa.
Bryant also offered a location for the territory ruled by each of the five sets of twins, which Sykes included in his 1950 edition of Ignatius Donnelly’s book[1167.17]. Sykes’ edition can be read online(a).