Pythagoras (c570 – c495 BC) was a Greek philosopher and mathematician and probably best known today for the theorm relating to right-angled triangles that is named after him. However, it has been shown that it was known at least a thousand years earlier in Egypt, Babylon and China(a).
Although born in Samos he eventually moved to Croton in Magna Graecia, now southern Italy. There, he established a quasi-religious sect of what were
in effect were number worshippers.
Wikipedia notes(c) that “Aristotle claimed that the philosophy of Plato closely followed the teachings of the Pythagoreans, and Cicero repeats this claim: Platonem ferunt didicisse Pythagorea omnia (“They say Plato learned all things Pythagorean”). Bertrand Russell, in his A History of Western Philosophy, contended that the influence of Pythagoras on Plato and others was so great that he should be considered the most influential of all Western philosophers.”
Mark Adams in his Meet Me in Atlantis has touched on the possible Pythagorean influence on Plato’s use of numbers in his Dialogues. With this in mind, Adams visited the late Ernest G. McClain the author of a highly original idea, namely that details contained in Plato’s Atlantis story can be explained in terms of mathematical/musical theory. This was expressed in his 1978 book, The Pythagorean Plato, which can be read online(b), but, be warned, most will find this very technical offering rather heavy going.
*In 2010, Dr. Jay Kennedy, an American at the University of Manchester, also claimed to have found evidence of Pythagorean influence in Plato’s dialogues claiming that they contain a regular mathematical structure which relates them to an ancient 12-note musical scale. “Kennedy’s breakthrough, published in the journal Apeiron this week, is based on stichometry: the measure of ancient texts by standard line lengths. Kennedy used a computer to restore the most accurate contemporary versions of Plato’s manuscripts to their original form, which would consist of lines of 35 characters, with no spaces or punctuation. What he found was that within a margin of error of just one or two percent, many of Plato’s dialogues had line lengths based on round multiples of twelve hundred.”(e) A critique(f) of Kennedy’s theory by Professor Andrew Gregory of University College London should be read for balance.*
An example of Plato’s regard for specific numbers is his idea that 5,040 is a perfect number and is the ideal population for a polis (city). It is a number divisible by all integers from 1 to 10, which would have had even greater significance prior to the invention of decimals. Some of the other factoids claimed for this number are really scary or at least thought-provoking(d).
(b) http://www.ernestmcclain.net/Plato_OPTIMIZED.pdf (Offline May 2017)
Mark Adams is an American writer from New York State with the best-selling Turn Right at Machu Picchu to his credit. He has spent recent years researching the subject of Atlantis, travelling extensively in the process. One of his trips took him to Ireland where I had the pleasure of meeting him and having many discussions on the subject.
His book, Meet me in Atlantis, gives readers an up-to-date overview of modern Atlantis theories that is both comprehensive and fair. I am aware of the amount of research that Adams has put into this work, interviewing a wide range of individuals, including myself, on both sides of the Atlantic. He has an easy-to-read style and while I do not agree with all of his views, I sincerely believe that this book should be compulsory reading for anyone with a serious interest in the subject.
Following the initial publication of his book Adams gave a number of promotional media interviews and in May 2016, following the publication of the paperback edition, he wrote an article(a) listing three ‘problems’ that he believes should be kept in mind when embarking on a search for Atlantis;
“1. Every Single Reliable Clue We Have about Atlantis comes from Plato
- Plato Was a Pythagorean
- Plato Was a Philosopher, not a Historian”
For my part, I do not see these as problems, just matters for consideration rather than concern.
Geodesy is usually defined as the measurement and mapping of the Earth. As a science it is traced back to Pythagoras (6th cent. BC), who was thought to be the first to propose the sphericity of the Earth. Later, Eratosthenes (276 BC– 195 BC) was one of the earliest to attempt to determine the dimensions of our Earth and succeeded with remarkable accuracy.
A controversial aspect of modern geodesy is the claim that many ancient sites were deliberately established at locations that had specific geodetic relationship to each other and/or the dimensions of the Earth. For example(a) in ancient Egypt, from Giza to the Equator is 1/12th the circumference of the Earth, Amarna to the Equator is 1/13th, Luxor 1/14th and Philae 1/15th! Graham Hancock in his Heaven’s Mirror pointed to similar relationships around the globe suggesting a possible world grid. This idea of a world grid has a number of supporters, but is often classified as a ‘fringe’ interest due to the attempt by some to link gridlines with UFOs and their use of the grid as a power source(w).
Possibly related features may be the ley lines identified by Alfred Watkins in Britain(c)(g), the Alesia alignments in France discovered by Xavier Guichard(b) or the Heilige Linien of Germany claimed by Wilhelm Teudt(aa).
Heinz Kaminski had claimed to have discovered a megalithic grid system that stretched from Stonehenge across Europe with an east-west and north-south orientation and referred to as the Stonehenge/Wormbach System(h).
‘The Way of Virachoca’ in the Andes which runs through Tiwanaku and is oriented exactly 45° west of true north and runs for over 1000 miles, has been studied by Maria Scholten d’Ebneth in the 1970’s and expanded on by a number of Spanish speaking commentators and is now the subject of an article by Dave Truman(x).
In 1973, three Russians, engineers Valery Makarov and Vyacheslav Morozov along with Nikolay Goncharov, an artist, published in Russian an article with the eye-catching title of Is the Earth a Giant Crystal? (y) This was probably the earliest presentation of an earth grid based on ancient historical sites. A brief history of the earth grid theories that emerged around this time is available online(z). There is now a Russian geodesy website with an English translation(ab).
David Hatcher Childress published his Anti-Gravity and the World Grid in 1993, with the modest claim that he “proves that the earth is surrounded by an intricate electronic grid network offering free energy.” Obviously, Childress’ understanding of ‘proof’ is different to mine, as the only proof required is the production of some of this free energy, which he has not done.
Tom Brooks has entered the fray with a study of 1500 prehistoric sites and his conclusion that the inhabitants of ancient Britain had a designed a navigation system based on a grid of isosceles triangles(i). Brooks has gone a step further and speculatively claimed that the accuracy of this geometry-based system could only have been designed through “extraterrestrial intervention”(r). This concept is explored more fully in his latest book, Seeing Around Corners: Geometry in Stone Age Britain and in a series of video clips(s). A more critical view of Brooks’ ideas is also available on the Internet(j).
Some years ago a former employee of a NASA sub-contractor, Maurice Chatelain claimed that within a 450-mile radius of the Aegean island of Delos that 13 mystical sites, when connected by straight lines formed a perfect Maltese Cross(u)!
Others such as Livio Stecchini(d) and Jim Alison(e) using geodetic calculations have identified São Tomé and Cape Verde respectively as the location of Atlantis. I must also include Hugo Kennes, a Belgian researcher with a passionate interest in global grids and sacred geometry(l)(p). Kennes has also informed me of a new Facebook group(q) deal with all aspects of the subject, as well as another(v) that includes submerged cities and other features.
Anyone interested in pursuing a study of this subject might like to look over James Q. Jacobs’ archaeogeodesy website(f) as well as the BioGeometry website (m).
If you have pursued all the links so far, you can pamper yourself further with a paper(k) by William Becker and Beth Hagens(n). Another researcher in this field is Dan Shaw whose website(o) give a good overview of the subject.
Jean-Pierre Lacroix added his weight to the debate with his 1998 paper entitled The Mapmakers from the Ice Age(t).
*A global network of sacred sites was also put forward by Rand Flem-Ath & Colin Wilson in The Atlantis Blueprint . This book was intended as a sequel to When the Sky Fell , but generally wandered off into other areas after the first couple of chapters.*
I am somewhat sceptical about certain aspects of geodesy, particularly some of the claims of a world grid. However, it does raise many questions that require further study. In this connection, I would recommend John Sase’s Curious Alignments  as a good starting point.
* (i) http://www.prehistoric-geometry.co.uk/ (offline 2016) See: https://web.archive.org/web/20160628154229/http://www.prehistoric-geometry.co.uk/*
(m) http://www.biogeometry.org/page34.html (offline May 2017)
(r) http://www.prehistoric-geometry.co.uk/ [See (i)]
The Concentric Rings or other architectural features extracted by artists from Plato’s description of the capital of Atlantis have continually fascinated students of the story and many have attempted to link them with similar ancient features found elsewhere in the world as evidence of a widespread culture. Stonehenge, Old Owstrey, Carthage and Syracuse have all been suggested, but such comparisons have never been convincing. Diaz-Montexano has recently published(a) an image of a fragment of pottery found near Seville in Spain that shows concentric circles and insists that it is a symbol of Atlantis. Ulf Erlingsson has made a similar claim regarding some concentric circles carved on a stone basin found at Newgrange in Ireland.
In 1969 two commercial pilots, Robert Brush and Trigg Adams, photographed a series of large concentric circles in about three feet of water off the coast of Andros in the Bahamas. Estimates of the diameter of the circles range from 100 to 1,000 feet. Apparently, these rings are now covered by sand. It is hard to understand how such a feature in such very shallow water cannot be physically located and inspected. Richard Wingate in his book estimated the diameter at 1,000 yards. However, the rings described by Wingate were apparently on land, among Andros’ many swamps.
Two papers presented to the 2005 Atlantis Conference on Melos describe how an asteroid impact could produce similar concentric rings, which if located close to a coast could be converted easily to a series of canals for seagoing vessels. The authors, Filippos Tsikalas, V.V. Shuvavlov and Stavros Papamarinopoulos gave examples of such multi-ringed concentric morphology resulting from asteroid impacts. Not only does their suggestion provide a rational explanation for the shape of the canals but would also explain the apparent over-engineering of those waterways.
At the same conference the late Ulf Richter presented his idea, which also suggests that the concentric rings around the centre of the Atlantis capital had a natural origin. Richter has proposed that the Atlantis rings were the result of the erosion of an elevated salt dome that had exposed alternating rings of hard and soft rock that could be adapted to provide the waterways described by Plato.
Georgeos Diaz-Montexano has suggested that the ancient city under modern Jaen in Andalusia, Spain had a concentric layout similar to Plato’s description of Atlantis. In August 2016 archaeologists from the University of Tübingen revealed the discovery(i) of a Copper Age, Bell Beaker People site 50km east of Valencina near Seville, where the complex included a series of concentric earthwork circles.
Perhaps of equal interest is the 5,000- year-old site of Gilgal Refaim, on the Golan Heights, currently occupied by Israel. It is remarkably similar to Plato’s description of the capital of Atlantis and could be easily claimed as a model of that city, perhaps with greater legitimacy than some other suggestions(a).
Jim Allen in his latest book, Atlantis and the Persian Empire, devotes a well illustrated chapter to a discussion of a number of ‘circular cities’ that existed in ancient Persia and which some commentators claim were the inspiration for Plato’s description of the city of Atlantis. These include the old city of Firuzabad which was divided into 20 sectors by radial spokes as well as Ecbatana and Susa, both noted by Herodotus to have had concentric walls. Understandably, Allen, who promotes the idea of Atlantis in the Andes, has pointed out that many sites on the Altiplano have hilltops surrounded by concentric walls. However, as he seems to realise that to definitively link any of these locations with Plato’s Atlantis a large dollop of speculation was required.
Rodney Castleden compared the layout of Syracuse in Sicily with Plato’s Atlantis noting that the main city “had seen a revolution in its defensive works, with the building of unparalleled lengths of circuit walls punctuated by numerous bastions and towers, displaying the city-state’s power and wealth. The three major districts of the city, Ortygia, Achradina and Tycha, were surrounded by three separate circuit walls; Ortygia itself had three concentric walls, a double wall around the edge and an inner citadel”.[225.179]
Dale Drinnon has an interesting article(d) on the ‘rondels’ of the central Danubian region, which number about 200. Some of these Neolithic features have a lot in common with Plato’s description of the port city of Atlantis. The ubiquity of circular archaeological structures at that time is now quite clear, but they do not demonstrate any relationship with Atlantis.
The late Marcello Cosci based his Atlantis location on his interpretation aerial images of circular features on Sherbro Island, but as far as I can ascertain this idea has gained little traction.
One of the most remarkable natural examples of concentric features is to be found in modern Mauritania and known as the Richat Structure or Guelb er Richat. It is such a striking example that it is not surprising that some researchers have tried to link it with Atlantis. Robert deMelo and Jose D.C. Hernandez(o) are two advocates along with George S. Alexander & Natalis Rosen who were struck by the similarity of the Richat feature with Plato’s description and decided to investigate on the ground. Instability in the region prevented this until late 2008 when they visited the site, gathering material for a movie. The film was then finalised and published on their then newly established website in 2010(l), where the one hour video in support of their thesis can be freely downloaded(m).
In 2008, George Sarantitis put forward the idea that the Richat Structure was the location of Atlantis, supporting his contention with an intensive reappraisal of the translation of Plato’s text(n). He developed this further in his Greek language 2010 book, The Apocalypse of a Myth with an English translation currently in preparation.
However, Ulf Richter has pointed out that Richat is too wide (35 km), too elevated (400metres) and too far from the sea (500 km) to be seriously considered as the location of Atlantis.
A dissertation by Oliver D.Smith has suggested(e) the ancient site of Sesklo in Greece as the location of Atlantis, citing its circularity as an important reason for the identification. However, there are no concentric walls, the site is too small and most importantly, it’s not submerged.*Smith later decided that the Atlantis story was a fabrication!(p)*
In March 2015, the UK’s MailOnline published a generously illustrated article(g) concerning a number of sites with unexplained concentric circles in China’s Gobi Desert. The article also notes some superficial similarities with Stonehenge. I will not be surprised if a member of lunatic fringe concocts an Atlantis theory based on these images. (see right)
This obsession with concentricity has now extended to the interpretation of ancient Scandinavian armoury in particular items such as the Herzsprung Shield(c).
In 2011 Shoji Yoshinori offered the suggestion that Stonehenge was a 1/24th scale model of Atlantis(f). He includes a fascinating image in the pdf.
For my part, I wish to question Plato’s description of the layout of Atlantis’ capital city with its vast and perfectly engineered concentric alternating bands of land and sea. This is highly improbable as the layout of cities is invariably determined by the natural topography of the land available to it(h). Plato is describing a city designed by and for a god and his wife and as such his audience would expect it to be perfect and Plato did not let them down. I am therefore suggesting that those passages have been concocted within the parameters of ‘artistic licence’ and should be treated as part of the mythological strand in the narrative, in the same way that we view the ‘reality’ of Clieto’s five sets of male twins or even the physical existence of Poseidon himself.
Furthermore, Plato was a follower of Pythagoras, who taught that nothing exists without a centre, around which it revolves(k). A concept which may have inspired him to include it in his description of Poseidon’s Atlantis.
*(d) http://frontiers-of-anthropology.blogspot.ie/search/label/Rondels (link broken Aug. 2018) See: Archive 3595*
(e) http://academia.edu/3507001/Atlantis_as_Sesklo (now offline)
(m) http://visitingatlantis.com/Movie.html (not responding Aug. 2017 – see Home Page)
(n) http://platoproject.gr/system-wheels/ http://platoproject.gr/page13.html (offline Nov.2015)
Ernest G. McClain (1918-2014) was professor emeritus of music at Brooklyn College, New York. He is also the author of a highly original idea that details incorporated in Plato’s Atlantis story can be explained in terms of mathematical/musical theory, detailed in The Pythagorean Plato.
However, McClain’s hypothesis is not confined to Plato but extends to the New Testament and the Indian Vedas. His work is fully expounded in his Myth of Invariance: The Origins of the Gods, Mathematics and Music from the Rig Veda to Plato, published in 1985. However commendable, his work is highly technical and not for the faint-hearted. He also wrote an appendix for Driscoll & Kurtz’s Atlantis: Egyptian Genesis.
Ernest McClain passed away April 25th 2014(a) .
Sonchis was the elderly Egyptian priest of Sais, who, according to Plutarch(a), related to Solon the story of Atlantis as recorded in their temple. These conversations took place around 590 BC. Additionally, Plutarch records that Solon also spoke with Psenophis a priest of Heliopolis.
Lewis Spence notes that Clement of Alexandria also gave Sonchis as the name of the Egyptian priest who related to Pythagoras details of the science of the Egyptians.
Another name suggested by Paulo Riven is that of Udja-Hor-res-ne (Wedjahor-Resne) which might relate to another priest or an alternative name for Sonchis. This person was not only a priest and physician but also an admiral. A headless statue of Udja-Hor-res-ne is to be found in the Vatican Museum. I would urge caution regarding this identification.