*Troy is believed to have been founded by Ilus, son of Troas, giving it the names of both Troy and Ilios (Ilium) with some slight variants.*The city is generally accepted by modern scholarship to have been situated at Hissarlik in what is now northwest Turkey.
Confusion over the site being Troy can be traced back to the 1st century AD geographer Strabo, who claimed that Ilion and Troy were two different cities! In the 18th century many scholars consider the village of Pinarbasi, 10 km south of Hissarlik, as a more likely location for Troy. The Hisarlik “theory had first been put forward in 1821 by Charles Maclaren, a Scottish newspaper publisher and amateur geologist. Maclaren identified Hisarlik as the Homeric Troy without having visited the region. His theory was based to an extent on observations by the Cambridge professor of mineralogy Edward Daniel Clarke and his assistant John Martin Cripps. In 1801, those gentlemen were the first to have linked the archaeological site at Hisarl?k with historic Troy.”(m)
The earliest excavations at Hissarlik began in 1856 by a British naval officer, John Burton. His work was continued in 1863 until 1865 by an amateur researcher, Frank Calvert. It was Calvert who directed Schliemann to Hissarlik and the rest is history(j).
However, some high profile authorities such as Sir Moses Finley (1912-1986) have denounced the whole idea of a Trojan War as a fiction in his book, The World of Odysseus. In 1909, Albert Gruhn argued against Hissarlik as Troy’s location(i).
The Swedish scholar, Martin P. Nilsson (1874-1967) who argued for a Scandinavian origin for the Mycenaeans, also considered the identification of Hissarlik with Homer’s Troy as unproven.
Troy as Atlantis is not a commonly held idea, although Strabo, suggested such a link. So it was quite understandable that when Swiss geo-archaeologist, Eberhard Zangger, expressed this view it caused quite a stir. In essence, Zangger proposed(g) that Plato’s story of Atlantis was a retelling of the Trojan War.
For me the Trojan Atlantis theory makes little sense as Troy was to the north east of Athens and Plato clearly states that the Atlantean invasion came from the west. In fact what Plato said was that the invasion came from the Atlantic Sea (pelagos). Although there is some disagreement about the location of this Atlantic Sea, all candidates proposed so far are west of both Athens and Egypt.(Tim.24e & Crit. 114c)
Troy would have been well known to Plato, so why did he not simply name them? Furthermore, Plato tells us that the Atlanteans had control of the Mediterranean as far as Libya and Tyrrhenia, which is not a claim that can be made for the Trojans. What about the elephants, the two crops a year or in this scenario, where were the Pillars of Heracles?
A very unusual theory explaining the fall of Troy as a consequence of a plasma discharge is offered by Peter Mungo Jupp on The Thunderbolts Project website(d) together with a video(e).
Zangger proceeded to re-interpret Plato’s text to accommodate a location in North-West Turkey. He contends that the original Atlantis story contains many words that have been critically mistranslated. The Bronze Age Atlantis of Plato matches the Bronze Age Troy. He points out that Plato’s reference to Atlantis as an island is misleading, since at that time in Egypt where the story originated, they frequently referred to any foreign land as an island. He also compares the position of the bull in the culture of Ancient Anatolia with that of Plato’s Atlantis. He also identifies the plain mentioned in the Atlantis narrative, which is more distant from the sea now, due to silting. Zangger considers these Atlantean/Trojans to have been one of the Sea Peoples who he believes were the Greek speaking city-states of the Aegean.
Rather strangely, Zangger admits (p.220) that “Troy does not match the description of Atlantis in terms of date, location, size and island character…..”, so the reader can be forgiven for wondering why he wrote his book in the first place. Elsewhere(f), another interesting comment from Zangger was that “One thing is clear, however: the site of Hisarlik has more similarities with Atlantis than with Troy.”
An American researcher, J. D. Brady, in a somewhat complicated theory places Atlantis in the Bay of Troy.
To confuse matters further Prof. Arysio Nunes dos Santos, a leading proponent of Atlantis in the South China Sea, places Troy in that same region of Asia(b).
Furthermore, the late Philip Coppens reviewed(h) the question marks that still hang over our traditional view of Troy.
Felice Vinci has placed Troy in the Baltic and his views have been endorsed by the American researcher Stuart L. Harris in a number of articles on the excellent Migration and Diffusion website(c). Harris specifically identifies Finland as the location of Troy, which he claims fell in 1283 BC although he subsequently revised this to 1190 BC, which is more in line with conventional thinking. The dating of the Trojan War has spawned its own collection of controversies.
However, the idea of a northern source for Homeric material is not new. In 1918, an English translation of a paper by Carus Sterne (Dr. Ernst Ludwig Krause)(1839-1903) was published with the title of The Northern Origin of the Story of Troy.(n)
*Most recently (May, 2019) historian Bernard Jones(q) has joined the ranks of those advocating a Northern European location for Troy in his book, The Discovery of Troy and Its Lost History . He has also written an article supporting his ideas in the Ancient Origins website(o). For some balance, I suggest that you also read Jason Colavito’s comments(p).*
Steven Sora in an article(k) in Atlantis Rising Magazine suggested a site near Lisbon called ‘Troia’ as just possibly the original Troy, as part of his theory that Homer’s epics were based on events that took place in the Atlantic. Two years later, in the same publication, Sora investigates the claim of an Italian Odyssey(l).
Roberto Salinas Price (1938-2012) was a Mexican Homeric scholar who caused quite a stir in 1985 in Yugoslavia, as it was then, when he claimed that the village of Gabela 15 miles from the Adriatic’s Dalmatian coast in what is now Bosnia Herezgovina, was the ‘real’ location of Troy in his Homeric Whispers.
More recently another Adriatic location theory has come from the Croatian historian, Vedran Sinožic in hisbook Naša Troja (Our Troy). “After many years of research and exhaustive work on collecting all available information and knowledge, Sinožic provides numerous arguments that prove that the legendary Homer Troy is not located in Hisarlik in Turkey, but is located in the Republic of Croatia – today’s town of Motovun in Istria.” Sinožic who has been developing his theory over the past 30 years has also identified a connection between his Troy and the Celtic world.
Like most high-profile ancient sites, Troy has developed its own mystique, inviting the more imaginative among us to speculate on its associations, including a possible link with Atlantis. Recently, a British genealogist, Anthony Adolph, has proposed that the ancestry of the British can be traced back to Troy in his book Brutus of Troy.
(k) Atlantis Rising Magazine #64 July/Aug 2007 See: Archive 3275
(l) Atlantis Rising Magazine #74 March/April 2009 See: Archive 3276
(n) The Open Court magazine. Vol.XXXII (No.8) August 1918. No. 747 See: https://archive.org/stream/opencourt_aug1918caru/opencourt_aug1918caru_djvu.txt
The Persian Wars are believed by some to have been the inspiration for the story of the Atlantean invasion described by Plato. Giuseppe Bartoli was apparently the first, in 1780, to make such a claim. Not too long afterwards Pierre-André Latreille supported the same idea.
This idea fails on two principal grounds, date and geography. Since the Persian War took place around 500-449 BC, this would make it subsequent to Solon’s visit to Egypt (570-526 BC) and Persia was east of Athens and Egypt, while the Atlanteans came from the west (Tim.25b & Crit.114c)! In fact, what Plato said was that the invasion came from the Atlantic Sea (pelagos). Although there is some disagreement about the location of this Atlantic Sea, all candidates proposed so far are west of both Athens and Egypt.
Since the Persian War took place over half a century after Solon’s death, in some ways, the suggestion that the Persian conflict inspired Plato’s Atlantis story, implies that Plato lied about Solon as the conduit for the account, which is completely at variance with the acceptance of Plato as a man of unquestioned integrity.
Apart from this date discrepancy, Jürgen Spanuth lists other divergences of the Persian Invasion theory from Plato’s text. Spanuth, together with many other authors, favours the Sea Peoples or as he puts it ‘the North Sea Peoples’, being the Atlanteans of Plato’s tale.
However, Pierre Vidal-Naquet, a prominent Atlantis sceptic, is adamant that the Persian Wars, with some modifications, parallel the Athenian war with Atlantis. William Babcock expressed a similar opinion in the early years of the 20th century. Acceptance of this view would rule Solon out as Plato’s source and undermine the credibility of the whole narrative.
Keep in mind that you can also find parallels between many of the European wars of the last few hundred years.
*In the mid-20th century, W. A. Heidel, an Atlantis sceptic, claimed(a) that an expeditionary naval force was sent by Darius in 515 BC under Scylax of Caryanda to explore the Indus River, which eventually encountered waters too shallow for his ships, was the inspiration behind Plato’s tale of unnavigable seas!*
He further claimed that Plato’s battle between Atlantis and Athens is a distortion of a war of invasion between the Persians and the Indians.
In late 2008 a new theory about Atlantis, was launched(a) by August Hunt that purports to link Atlantis with the Persian Empire with either Persepolis or Susa as the Atlantean capital described by Plato. He also offers the curious explanation for Plato’s 9,000 years for the age of Atlantis as being in reality a reference to the number of Athenians present at the Battle of Marathon! His short book is entitled Atalante and the Persian Empire
Jim Allen in a discussion of a number of ancient Persian cities, notes that some are circular and often had concentric walls, suggesting that they may have been the inspiration for Plato’s description of Atlantis’ capital city!
If the Persians were in fact the Atlanteans of Plato’s story, it seems rather odd that their invasion fleet, as recorded by Herodotus (Bk.7.89), included 200 Egyptian ships, while at the same time that Athens and Egypt were supposedly allies in opposition to Atlantis!
Ocean and Sea are words employed by classical writers in a manner different to our present usage. Originally the Greek word Oceanos referred to the ‘Great River’ that was assumed to flow around the then known world. Stecchini wrote that “the existence of a river Oceanus as an extension of the Nile along the Equator was considered a serious reality in Greek times” (e)
Anton Mifsud has pointed out that Homer used the word ocean for the sea and in fact used the same word for the Tyrrhenian ‘Sea’ (a). Both Seneca and Cicero referred to the Mediterranean Sea as the Atlantic Ocean(b)(c). Diodorus Siculus notes further that the word for ocean has even been applied to the Nile(d). Herodotus noted that Homer also called the Nile ‘Okeanòs’(f), as it was generally believed that it began and ended in an ocean (quoted by J.H. Agnew)[1232.123].
Georgeos Diaz-Montexano made a similar point when he commented that the classical writers had three words for bodies of salt water; pontos (small), pelagos (medium) and okeanos (large). Plato always referred to Atlantis being in a pelagos.
We can conclude therefore that since Plato never used the term ‘ocean’ in connection with Atlantis there is no proof that he was referring to our present-day Atlantic, while in all likelihood he was indicating the western basin of the Mediterranean or the reported large inland sea where the chotts of Tunisia and Algeria are all that remain of it today.
(a) Odysseus x. 508,
(b) Quaestiones Naturales,
(c) Somnium Scipioni
(d) Biblioteca Storica i.