Ancient Chronology is a subject fraught with difficulties(a) as well as the focus of intense academic debate, particularly over the past half century.
*Archbishop Ussher (1581-1656) calculated the date of creation to have been October 23rd 4004 BC(d). Incredible as it may seem, even today (2019), there are still people prepared to give further consideration to his ideas (c).*
Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) became the first ‘modern’ revisionist of accepted ancient chronology. His work was heavily criticised and little serious advances were made until the development of Egyptology following Napoleon’s invasion of Egypt at the end of the 18th century.
Difficulties with details of Egyptian dating slowly accumulated, particularly when endeavouring to align it with Greek, Minoan and other eastern chronologies. The scholarly debates became very public in the middle of the 20th century with the eventual publication of Ages in Chaos by Immanuel Velikovsky and the attempts made to suppress it altogether. The refining of Velikovsky’s theories followed, with important contributions by S. Talbott, Edward Schorr and John Bimson. The Society for Interdisciplinary Studies (SIS)(b) was founded in 1975 and produces regular publications. This was followed a few years later by important books by David Rohl and Peter James‘, Centuries of Darkness. James also wrote The Sunken Kingdom in which he places Atlantis in Turkey.
One of the most controversial aspects of Plato’s Atlantis story is the old Egyptian priest’s claim that Atlantis was destroyed 9,000 years before Solon’s visit. He also related that Athens, who fought the Atlanteans, was established one thousand years before the Egyptian state or as is more likely, before the foundation of the city of Sais. Apart from anachronisms in Plato’s narrative the archaeological evidence completely contradicts the dates seemingly offered by the priests of Sais. It is interesting that most of the chronology revisionist debate centres on the second millennium BC which is arguably the most rational timeframe for the destruction of Atlantis based on the Bronze Age references in Timaeus and Critias, provided they are not just anachronistic embellishments.
Turkey is the preferred location of Atlantis according to authors Peter James and Eberhard Zangger. In his book James asserts that Plato took the idea for Atlantis from the city of Tantalis, which was located in what is today the Province of Manisa in Western Turkey, just north-east of the ancient port of Smyrna (today’s Izmir). Zangger also opts for Turkey but favours ancient Troy as the original Atlantis.
Coincidentally, Çatal Hüyük, one of the world’s oldest cities, is located in Turkey just over 200 km south of the capital Ankara. Like Atlantis, Çatal Hüyük also had a bull cult and a Great Mother Goddess reminiscent of ancient Malta. After decades of work, excavations are continuing on the site(a). Mysteriously, this early city of some seven thousand people apparently abandoned their homes around 5600-6000 BC. They were not the only settlement to be abandoned around this period. Cyprus, Palestine and Syria and more famously Jericho all provide evidence of abandonment at the same time.
Ian Wilson has pointed out that following the Younger Dryas mini Ice Age of around 9000 BC a further mini Ice age occurred between 6200 BC and 5800 BC, a period that coincides with this unexplained desertion of Çatal Hüyük and elsewhere.
However exciting Çatal Hüyük may be, its antiquity would appear to have been overshadowed by the discoveries made at Göbekli Tepe where the site has been dated to 9600BC. Also noteworthy is Asikli Höyük which is 1,000 years older than the Çatal Hüyük settlement on the Konya plain and as the earliest village settlement founded in the Cappadocia region, the site is no less important(b).
*(a) http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/september-2011/article/latest-find-at-world-s-largest-neolithic-settlement-a-harbinger-of-surprises-yet-to-come#sthash.GfaDj9ED.dpuf (offline March 2018)*
Tantalis is referred to, by Pliny, as the capital of ancient Lydia in western Turkey. It was later known as Magnesium ad Sipylum. Tantalis was apparently named after the legendary King Tantalus, who had remarkable similarities with Atlas; they were both Titans, supported the heavens and had mountains named after them(a). This powerful city was flooded following an earthquake and is now reputed to be located beneath the now dried-up Lake Saloe. Also note that Atlantis is an anagram of Tantalis – coincidence?
British archaeologist Peter James has identified Tantalis as the original Atlantis and that it was located just north east of modern Izmir (Smyrna). James reached this conclusion after a study of classical writers, comparative mythology and local place-names. Unfortunately, there has, as yet, been no archaeological expedition to confirm James’ contention.
Objections to James’ theory are that Tantalis was:
i) not on an island.
ii) not outside the conventional location of the Pillars of Hercules.
iii) too close to Greece (James raises this objection against the Santorini theory).
iv) not a circular city (?).
N.B. Sardis was also known as the capital of Lydia by the early 7th century BC.
Meropes, according to Ignatius Donnelly, was the name applied by the classical writer Theopompus to the inhabitants of Atlantis. This reference is to be found in the works of Aelian (Bk III, Chap. XVIII) that in fact does not mention Atlantis but refers to a huge distant continent that may in fact, as some speculate, have been an early reference to America. Peter James also supports[047.293] this view of Meropes being ‘an oblique reference to Atlantis’ .
The Greek historian Strabo wrote (Book VII) of an island with an advanced culture called Meropis and its inhabitants Meropes. He also supported the reality of Plato’s Atlantis story.
Jean Gattefossé contended that the Atlas Mountains of North Africa were also known as the Meros. He believed that these mountains had previously bounded a large inland sea that has been referred to as both the Meropic and Atlantic Sea.
*Frank Joseph has speculated that “Merope was probably the name of an allied kingdom or colony of the Atlantean Empire in coastal North Africa, perhaps, occupying the southern half of present-day Morocco” [104.186].
In 1898, the American novelist, H.H. Buckman (1858-1914), published Merope or The Destruction of Atlantis , which uses a fictional account of the final days of Atlantis as a backdrop to what is classified by some to be an early example of science fiction.*
Meropes is also an ancient name for the inhabitants of the Greek island of Kos.
James came to public attention when he co-authored with Nick Thorpe a book that explored the problems of the chronology of the Mediterranean and Near East in the second millennium BC. The following years saw the production of an impressive three-volume work by David Rohl offering similar ideas on a New Chronology for the region. In fact, James and Rohl had collaborated until they had divergent views regarding the identification of the biblical Shishak, Rohl favouring Ramesses II, while James opted for Ramesses III.
James has been studying the Atlantis question since the early 1970’s. Paul Dunbavin recounts that James had originally favoured Megalithic Britain as Atlantis. Francis Hitching in The World Atlas of Mysteries notes how James calculated the date of the demise of Atlantis as 3600 BC. He arrives at this by accepting the commonly agreed date for the beginning of Egyptian civilisation of 3100 BC. He then adds the 1,000 years, which Solon was told by the Egyptian priests, was the time that had elapsed between the Atlantean Athenian war and then arbitrarily subtracts 500 years to compensate for an assumed nationalistic exaggeration of the Egypt’s antiquity; a habit common to many ancient kingdoms.
However, when he finally published his work on the subject he controversially offered a site in Anatolia in western Turkey as his preferred location for Atlantis. Unfortunately, he has been unable to obtain permission from the authorities to dig at the site and hopefully substantiate his theory. The book is supported by a website(a).
James was also highly vocal in debating the dendrochronological dating of the Uluburun shipwreck discovered in 1982 off southwestern Turkey. The initial date given was 1315 BC, later revised to 1305 BC but due to a lack of bark on the piece of wood tested a definitive date was impossible. Even if the bark had been attached it would still only have provided the date that the tree had been felled not the date of the shipwreck(b). Subsequently, the more imprecise radiocarbon dating gave a date of ‘around’ 1300 BC.
James is also co-author, again with Nick Thorpe, of Ancient Inventions , which is a 672-page tome that offers a fascinating account of the inventive capabilities of ancient civilisations. In this book he comments that “Plato’s yarn is largely a work of fiction” (p.455).
Stephen E. Franklin offers a wide-ranging website(a) which includes a book, as yet unpublished, that ambitiously aims to reconcile the chronologies of the ancient Hebrews, Assyrians and Egyptians. This has been an area of great contention ever since the writings of Immanuel Velikovsky were published in the 1950’s. David Rohl has published a series of books on the subject in recent years with further contributions from Peter James and Emmet J. Sweeney.
Franklin’s book has chapter 8(c) devoted to the Garden of Eden and Atlantis where he maintains that the 9,000 ‘years’ of Plato refer to the three ‘seasons’ in the Egyptian year, an idea that seems to be gaining acceptance (see Radek Brychta, Rosario Vieni and Axel Hausmann).
*Franklin has claimed that the Phaistos Disk is a king-list of Cretan rulers and also that it has a calendrical function(d) .*
Some years ago Franklin published a book on the origins of the Tarot deck. Its subtitle was A Study of the Astronomical Substructure of Game and Divining Boards. This can be downloaded for free from his website(b).
Crete was until recently thought to have been first settled around 7000 BC. However, excavations at nine sites in 2008 and 2009 have revealed double-edged hand axes dated to “at least” 130,000 years ago. This discovery has suggested(a) that Stone Age man had developed seafaring abilities.
There is a general consensus Crete was known as Keftiu by the ancient Egyptians.
Sir Arthur Evans, knighted for his archaeological finds on Crete, excavated at Knossos from 1900-1905 leading to the discovery of the famous ‘palace’ there. Evans saw Knossos as an administrative centre although it had no defensive features, which might be expected. In the 1970’s Hans Georg Wunderlich (1928-1974) following the views of Oswald Spengler, proposed in The Secret of Crete , that the ‘palace’ was in fact a mortuary temple. This idea has more recently been considered by the late Philip Coppens(c).
As early as 1910 the Rev. James Baikie suggested Crete as the location of Atlantis. A year earlier K.T. Frost outlined parallels between Atlantis and the Minoan empire. In the 1920’s Joseph McCabe a former Catholic priest was also convinced that Crete was the location of Atlantis. More decades were to pass before Dr Angelos Galanopoulos developed the idea further. There has been doubt that the decline of the Minoan civilisation in the 2nd millennium BC was linked with Theran explosion. Nevertheless, Bacon and Galanopoulos admit that a Minoan explanation for the Atlantis story ‘is correct in all points’ except date, dimensions and location of ‘Pillars’! Many commentators have added reasons to support the Minoan Hypothesis.
*Atlantis was the way to other islands. This is an accurate description of Crete as the gateway to the Cyclades and Greece.
*The palace of the Atlanteans is on a low hill 50 stadia inland and near to a fertile plain is a good description of Knossos.
*The description of the land fits perfectly with the southern coast of Crete.
*There were bulls hunted without weapons, which is characteristic of Minoan Crete.
*The construction of the buildings matches Knossos.
Marjorie Braymer highlights the fact that the Cretan Mesara Plain is oblong in shape and one tenth of the dimensions of the plain mentioned by Plato. A fact that gains in importance if a tenfold exaggeration of the dimensions by Plato is accepted.
J. G. Bennett has gone further and argued strongly for a linkage of the destruction of Minoan civilisation, with the Flood of Deucalion, the Biblical Exodus and the obliteration of Plato’s Atlantis. Bennett quotes Plato’s Laws (705.15), which speaks of a significant migration from Crete, as evidence for a major catastrophe on the island.
In April 2004, a BBC Timewatch programme looked at a possible link between Crete and Atlantis focussing on evidence of ancient tsunami damage on the island that they linked to the eruption of Thera. This idea has been refuted by W. Shepard Baird who offers a pyroclastic surge as a more credible explanation(b). In 2010, the BBC broadcast another documentary supporting the Minoan Hypothesis, although not very convincingly in the opinion of this compiler.
On the other hand, Peter James points out that there is no connection in Greek mythology between Crete and Atlas. Further objections include the fact that no ancient canals have been found on Crete, the island did not sink and the failure of Plato to simply name Crete as the location of his Atlantis.
Recently Gavin Menzies has, unsuccessfully, in my view, attempted to breathe new life into the Minoan Hypothesis in The Lost Empire of Atlantis.
An even less impressive effort to support a Minoan Atlantis is a slender work by Lee R. Kerr entitled Griffin Quest – Investigating Atlantis , who also published an equally useless sequel, Atlantis of the Minoans and Celts.
(c) http://www.philipcoppens.com/crete_dead.html (offline Mar. 2018 see Archive 2133)
Mike Baillie is Emeritus Professor of Palaeoecology in the School of Archaeology and Palaeoecology, Queen’s University, Belfast. He is a dendrochronologist of world renown, who outlined in his recent book  the evidence for catastrophic encounters with asteroids or comets over the past five millennia that opened a whole new chapter in the search for the truth about our past. Baillie ascribes these events to 2354-2345 BC, 1628-1623 BC, 1159-1141 BC, 208-204 BC and 536-545 AD. He touches on a number of legendary and historical events such as the Deluge, the Exodus and King Arthur, but seems to studiously avoid any direct reference to Atlantis. Nevertheless, his theory in conjunction with the suggestions of writers such as Emilio Spedicato enhances the possibility of the destruction of Atlantis being a consequence of a more widespread catastrophe.
In 2004 it was revealed that a very large comet or asteroid, estimated to be ¾ of a mile in diameter, crashed into what is now Germany. The date is calculated at 200 BC, which coincides with one of Baillie’s dated catastrophes. A crater field stretching from the town of Altoetting to Lake Chiemsee is all that remains today.
Perhaps even more relevant to our study was a PowerPoint presentation(b) from Baillie to a Quantavolution Conference in Athens in 2011, which offered compelling evidence for a catastrophic event in 2345 BC. His data reinforces the work of George Dodwell who demonstrated with his study of ancient gnomons, decades earlier, that something dramatic happened to the rotational axis of the Earth in 2345 BC, which is possibly the same 2346 BC encounter with a comet proposed by William Whiston in 1696. At the same conference Baillie also presented evidence for dating the eruption of Thera to 1628 BC.
Baillie is also co-author with Patrick McCafferty of a fascinating work that reinterprets some of the heroes and gods of Celtic mythology as a coded account of our ancestors’ observation of a close encounter or impact of comets with the Earth. However, Baillie’s books should be read in conjunction with an equally compelling volume(a) by David Talbot and Wallace Thornhill who offer a complementary but rather than conflicting interpretation of early man’s perception of highly visible cosmic events. Talbot and Thornhill have linked ancient myths and thousands of petroglyphs with their view of an electric universe, where large-scale plasma phenomena were witnessed and recorded by preliterate man. Their book has drawn extensively on the work of Dr. Anthony Peratt, who has gathered and classified an enormous database of petroglyphs from all over the world that are apparently a record of celestial demonstration(s) of plasma physics.
(c) http://www.cais-soas.com/CAIS/Religions/non-iranian/Judaism/Persian_Judaism/book6/pt1.htm (half way down page)
Atlas was the first king of Atlantis and was the son of Poseidon according to the story of Atlantis from Plato. However, in traditional, Atlas was the son of the Titan, Iapetus, often identified with the biblical Japheth, and the nymph Clymene. This apparent contradiction can be explained by the fact that the name Atlas is applied to more than one figure in Greek legends.
Atlas is usually portrayed kneeling with the world on his shoulders. However, the earliest known statue of Atlas, the 2nd century Farnese Atlas(c), which is a Roman copy of an older Greek statue, has the sky is represented as a sphere with a map of the stars and constellations known to the Ancient Greeks, which they represented as objects, animals and mythological creatures and characters. 16th century cartographers assumed that the globe represented the Earth, not the sky and since then it has been depicted accordingly.
Edwin Björkman noted the opinion that the name Atlas does not have a Greek root but is generally thought to have a Semitic origin. He also suggested the possibility that the name may have been derived from one of the Greek words for sea, thalassa.
However, Peter James points out[047.190] the name has a clear etymology in the Greek root ‘tlaô’ which can mean ‘to bear’, ‘to endure’ or ‘to dare’. Atlas has also been identified with both the Egyptian god Shuand the biblical Enoch, the latter being a more controversial concept. Lewis Spence went further and identified the meso-American deity, Quetzalcoatl, with Atlas!
A somewhat more conventional view was offered by Thorwald Franke who has written a convincing paper(a) identifying Atlas with king Italos of the Sicels, who gave their name to Sicily and were one of the earliest groups to inhabit the island.
A more radical view has been put forward by Brit-Am writer John R.Salverda, who claims that the biblical Adam is the Atlas of Plato’s Atlantis narrative. A similar theory was proposed by Roger M. Pearlman in a 2018 booklet . In this small, difficult to read, book the author suggests, a linkage between the destruction of Sodom & Gomorrah and Atlantis, places Atlantis in the Jordan Valley and equates Abraham with Atlas – “ If Atlas as described in Plato’s work was based on a historic figure, Abraham alone meets key criteria.”*In a more recent paper(d), Pearlman suggests that Göbekli Tepe was founded by Noah (Noach) and his sons!*
Moving further east, the Hittites had an equivalent if not original version of Atlas in the form of Tantalus. The Hittites in turn may have developed the identity from the Hurrian god Ubelleris. It was this Anatolian figure that led Peter James to his conclusion that Atlantis had been located in Turkey. Tantalus had a son Pelops, whom some consider Phrygian and according to Herodotus the Phrygians were the oldest race on earth.
An even more extreme idea has been proposed by Sean Griffin that the yogic concept of Kundalini is contained within part of Plato’s Atlantis story(b). Griffin begins his explanation by pointing out that Atlas is the medical term for the 33rd vertebra of the human spine!
Amazons is the name used by classical writers(k) to identify two matriarchal nations living near the Black Sea and in ancient Libya, but at apparently different periods. An extensive website on the subject associates the Amazons with three locations; Lake Tritonis(j) , the Greek island of Lemnos(i) and the River Thermodon, now known as Terme Çay, in northern Turkey(h).
Accounts relating to these remote times are understandably vague but one tale describes the Libyan Amazons as waging war against the Atlanteans, a race who lived in a prosperous country with great cities.
Attention has been drawn to the fact that the Berbers, also known as Amazigh in North-West Africa have a matriarchal culture. The possibility of an etymological connection between Amazon and Amazigh was suggested by Guy C. Rothery (1863-1940) in his 1910 book, The Amazons , and recently endorsed by Emmet Sweeney in his Atlantis: The Evidence of Science. In 1912 Florence Mary Bennett published Religious Cults Associated with the Amazons, which has been republished in recent years.
Another matriarchal society in the same region has also been suggested for the Maltese Islands(h).
Sir John Chardin (1643-1713) a French-born traveller and merchant reported that a tribe of Amazons still existed in the Caucasus in the 17th century(d).
Although the idea may be seen as fanciful, recent archaeological discoveries have provided evidence of female warriors in ancient times in parts of the former Soviet Union. The archaeologist Jeannine Davis-Kimball has written of her investigations into the subject. Peter James offers a solution to the existence of two locations for the Amazons. He believes that the original Black Sea location is correct and that the transference of the story to North Africa was the result of the ‘libyanising’ intent of Dionysus of Miletus, who was later quoted by Diodorus Siculus in his account(f) of the Amazons.
. James offers this explanation as part of a larger relocation of mythologies to more westerly locations. Other interesting views of the Amazon mystery can be found on a number of websites(a)(b).
Lewis Spence advanced the imaginative view[259.49]that the Amazons were not women at all, but men whose appearance was considered effeminate by some commentators. A more rational explanation on offer is that the males of some peoples had little facial hair or shaved (such as the Hittites) and were possibly described by their more hirsute enemies as ‘women’.
The popular idea that the Amazons were single-breasted, man-hating warriors has recently been comprehensively debunked by Adrienne Mayor in her latest book, The Amazons .
The Smithsonian magazine published a useful overview(e) of the history of the Amazon story in the April 2004 edition and in September 2011 revealed the story of the little-known female warriors of Benin (formerly Dahomey), numbered in their thousands, who were active during the 17th,18th and 19th centuries. The BBC published an article in August 2018 on their history and their modern day descendants(l) .