The Egyptian Calendar is central to the debate regarding the date of the Alantean war. At first sight it appears that Plato dated that event to 9,000 years prior to Solon’s visit to Egypt. However, since such a date conflicts with both archaeology and common sense, commentators have striven to reconcile the differences. Either the number is exaggerated, the unit of measurement is wrong, or both require revision. I’m inclined towards the latter.
The ancient Egyptians had three types of ‘years’, solar, lunar or seasonal(a). The first was based on the heliacal rising(b) of the star Sirius, the second was a count of the annual lunar cycles and the last was the number of seasons of which there were three in the Egyptian year. The lunar cycles or months were the means by which the Egyptian priesthood calculated the passage of time and since Solon received the story of Atlantis from Egyptian priests it is assumed by many that the 9,000 ‘years’ were in fact months. Apart from modern authorities, the use of lunar cycles by the Egyptians for calculating time was noted by Eudoxus of Cnidos (410- 355 BC) and also by Plutarch, Manetho, Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus.
Some others, such as Radek Brychta and Rosario Vieni, have proposed that the number of seasons were used in a similar manner. Even more extreme was the contention of André de Paniagua who claimed that the date of Atlantis was recorded in Sothic cycles of 1,460 solar years each, which would push its time back 13 million years!
Nevertheless, there are many who still maintain that Plato’s 9,000 should be taken literally, even though neither Egypt nor Athens existed as structured societies at such an early date!
Seasons are sub-divisions of the year usually based on changes in ecology, weather or hours of daylight. The number of seasons varies between two (Polar) and six (India). My native Ireland has been described by cynics as now having only three seasons, as recent weather changes seem to have removed summer from our calendar.
The Egyptian year is divided into three seasons as they also did in the Indus civilisation. In an effort to make Plato’s 9,000 years more credible, commentators as early Giovanni Carli in the 18th century and Rafinesque in the 19th have suggested that Plato’s years were in fact ‘seasons’. The idea has gained further traction in more recent years with support from Axel Hausmann and Radek Brychta and most recently Rosario Vieni. Both Hausmann and Vieni presented papers to the 2005 Atlantis Conference, where Hausmann proposed that the ‘years’ be treated as seasons and so concluded that the demise of Atlantis took place in 3522 BC[629.359]. However, at the same conference Vieni presented his paper entitled “11,500 years ago…..” [629.337], obviously at that stage accepting Plato’s 9,000 years at face value. Three years later, he presented a paper to the 2008 Atlantis Conference which he entitled “About 5600 years ago….” [750.347], in which he had changed his understanding of Plato’s ‘years’ to be now seasons. While his intellectual honesty is to be applauded, I must point out that because a person changes their opinion, there is no guarantee that their second choice is any more correct than the first.
I am not convinced by the ‘seasons’ explanation, as it just seems to be a rather feeble attempt to explain away Plato’s 9,000 being a reference to solar years. Supporters of this ‘seasons’ explanation appear to be forced to look for an alternative to a literal 9,000 years as that figure conflicts dramatically with the Bronze Age setting of the Atlantis narrative and runs counter to the archaeological evidence for dating the foundation of both Athens and the Egyptian civilisation.
The more popular alternative suggestion of treating the ‘years’ as lunar cycles makes much more sense, as it brings the Atlantis story into the end of the Greek Bronze Age. It also matches the time of the destruction of the spring on the Acropolis (Crit.112d) and conforms to details on the Parian Marble. But perhaps most important of all is that the use of lunar cycles by the Egyptians for calculating time was noted by Eudoxus of Cnidos (410-355 BC) and also by Plutarch, Manetho, Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus.
Sumeria was unknown until the middle of the 19th century. With the discovery and the decipherment of the Sumerian cuneiform tablets the sophistication of their culture prompted the idea that Sumer had been ‘the cradle of civilisation.’ Subsequent discoveries, such as the those in the Indus Valley and more recently Göbekli Tepe have now somewhat diluted that idea.
*The origin of the Sumerians is still something of a mystery as is their language which seems to be an ‘isolate’, unrelated to any known language group. Ronnie Gallagher has suggested that migrants from the Caucasus had provided the impetus that led to the development of the Sumerian civilisation. Gallagher’s theory is supported by Jerald Jack Starr on his Sumerian Shakespeare website, who emphatically attributes a Caucasian origin to the Sumerians(l).*
Sumeria has now been proposed as a possible source of the Atlantis story. Dr. Ashok Malhotra, a professor of Engineering, has suggested(a) that that ‘the likelihood of the Atlantis stories being of Sumerian origin is strengthened by the fact that the submergence of ancient cities was a strong part of the Sumerian mythology. It dominates their historical tradition. The destruction of the ancient city as a result of sin was also part of their beliefs.’ Malhotra then proposes that these Sumerian stories reflected actual flooding events in the Indus Valley region that were brought first to Sumeria and then were later transferred to Egypt and from thence via Solon to Plato to us.
George Michanowsky went much further and claimed that the Sumerians had known Atlantis under the name of NI-DUK-KI, known today as Dilmun[282.66]. The renowned Henry Rawlinson interpreted this name to mean ‘blessed hill’ or ‘blessed isle’. While Michanowsky’s suggestion is highly speculative, if correct, it would be the earliest known reference to Atlantis.
The Sumerian king list(e) from Larsa records eight kings (some versions note ten) before the Deluge, which may have been reflected, in a distorted fashion, in the ten patriarchs of Genesis and/or the ten kings of Atlantis! Another suggested link is with the eight generations between Adam and Noah recorded in Genesis chapter 5.
John Sassoon would seem to support Malhotra’s thesis in his book, which proposes a Sumerian origin for the Jews with possible earlier links with the Indus valley. He is not concerned with Atlantis, just the ancestry of the Jewish people of whom Abraham was born in Sumeria around 2000-1800 BC. Sassoon’s views offer a possible transmission route for Eastern traditions and myths to have reached Egypt and subsequently through Solon to Athens.
In 2001 a book by Radek Brychta was published in the Czech Republic in which he also advocates a Sumerian connection. He identifies Atlantis with the legendary Dilmun of Sumerian legend and locates it on the Indus civilisation island of Dholavira. Excerpts from this fascinating book are available on the Internet and worth a read.
However, the most extreme claims came from Zechariah Sitchin who proposed that the Sumerians had been ‘influenced’ by ancient astronauts from the planet Nibiru, which information is to be found in their cuneiform tablets if Sitchin’s translation is to be believed. Similar daft ideas(g) have been put forward by Hermann Burgard but so far have only been foisted on a German-reading public.
As if that was not bad enough, we now (Oct 2016) have the Iraqi Transport Minister claiming, among other matters, that the Sumerians launched spaceships 8,000 years ago(h)!
Jim Allen, the leading advocate of ‘Atlantis in the Andes’ has also claimed(b) a Sumerian connection with South America citing Ruth & Alpheus Hyatt Verrill, who include in their book[838.293] three pages of Sumerian words compared with the language of ancient Peru as well as other cultural aspects there. They also believed that Sargon (2369-2314 BC) was known in Peru as the deity Viracocha! Their fanciful idea stems from an account of Sargon sailing to the west and spending three years there! Zhirov supported this claim[458.23] describing it as ”a seemingly semi-fantastic theory”. My reason for considering this claim to be nonsensical, is simply that Sargon was continually engaged in expanding his empire and constantly dealing with rebellions in the various city states that he ruled over. The idea that he took three years out to visit America, 14,000 km away, is in no way credible.
Nevertheless, the idea of Sargon in South America persists with James Bailey repeating it in Sailing to Paradise[0150.66] and more recently by the Afrocentrist, Clyde Winters in an article on the Ancient Origins website(f) in which he quotes Bailey and the Verrills as supporting Lake Titicaca as the Lake Manu of Sumerian tradition. A further article(j) on the same website begins with the forceful claim that “it is becoming increasingly clear that the Sumerians had established a colony in South America called Kuga-Ki.” The paper is based on a series of questionable artifacts, the Fuente Magna Bowl, the Crespi Collection and the Pokoyia monument!
The Fuente Magna Bowl is frequently offered as evidence of a pre-Columbian link with the Sumerians(c), although its provenance is unclear and there are suggestions of a hoax. A sceptical view of the ‘Bowl’ by Carl Feagans(k) is available.
The very existence of Sumerians has recently been attacked in an appendix to The Three Ages of Atlantis by Marin, Minella & Schievenin. They maintain that the Sumerian ‘language’ “could be an artificial construct created by Akkadian priests” to be used for liturgical purposes. These ideas were first expressed at the end of the 19th century by the respected Orientalist, Joseph Halévy. Andi Zeneli has expressed comparable ideas(d) regarding the Sumerian language.
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).
Dilmun (Tilmun) is a legendary island paradise referred to in the mythology of Sumeria. Today, Bahrain is generally believed to harbour the location of this renowned city.
*However, in 1983, Daniel Potts published a paper(c) which does not challenge the prevailing identification, but instead suggested that it is necessary “to both broaden and restrict the identification of Dilmun, according to the particular time in history to which one is referring.” He traces the use of the name in Mesopotamian texts as early as 3000 BC. He contends that Dilmun was applied to eastern Arabia by Early Dynastic Sumerians and that later power shifted to Bahrain with the name, Dilmun, which possibly applied to the island as well as part of mainland Arabia. Then around 2000 BC the use of the appellation appears to have been extended to include the island of Failaka, off Kuwait. Potts suggests that subsequently Failaka may have replaced Bahrain as the centre of Dilmun.*
Thirty years ago George Michanowsky proposed that the Sumerian inscription NI-DUK-KI was the equivalent of the Akkadian ‘Dilmun’ and that it probably referred to Bahrain. He went further and identified Dilmun as Atlantis, which he contended was inundated when sea levels rose as a consequence of global warming caused by a supernova that was noted by the Sumerians 7,000 years ago.
However, in 2001 Radek Brychta published a book that refutes this. Instead, he identifies Dilmun with the Indus civilisation city of Dholavira and proceeds to argue cogently for its acceptance as the original inspiration behind Plato’s Atlantis tale. He contends that the city declined at the end of the 3rd or beginning of the 2nd millennium BC as a result of natural catastrophes in the region. Brychta notes how flooding created swamps that impeded access to Dholavira reminiscent of Plato’s shoals preventing navigation where Atlantis had subsided. Brychta outlines the contacts between the Indus civilisation and Sumeria and between Sumeria and Egypt and proposes this as the route of the story of Dholavira’s demise, which eventually was related to Solon. Brachta’s book was published in the Czech Republic but extensive excerpts are available on the Internet(a) and well worth a viewing.
Brachta’s theory is supported by Yashwant Koak, who is due to publish a book on his concept of Atlantis in India. Koak claims that investigations at Dholavira have shown a 92% match with Plato’s description of Atlantis.
The Malagaybay website has an interesting illustrated article about Dilmun.(b)
(a) http://www.i-atlantis.com/enindex.htm (Offline)
Radek Brychta is a Czech writer who has written about the transmission of the Atlantis story from the Indus civilisation city of Dholavira, which he claims was the legendary island of Dilmun recorded by the Sumerians and from them, transferred to Egypt and eventually related to Solon.
John Sassoon has suggested, based on Genesis 11.2 that the Sumerians had in fact migrated from the east with the Indus Valley as a possible point of origin. He suggests further that the Sumerians were in fact the progenitors of the Jews. This theory would also offer a line of transmission from the Indus valley to the Nile delta.
An abbreviated version of Brychta’s book in seven sections(a) with an extensive bibliography(b) is available on the internet and is worth a read.
He includes a rational explanation for the 9,000 year age of Atlantis by noting that the Egyptians, as well as the Indus civilisation, counted time in seasons of which there were three annually. Dividing 9,000 by three and adding the probable date of Solon’s Egyptian sojourn, 590 BC, gives us a more credible date of 3590 BC. This idea has also been proposed by Rosario Vieni.
A further possible link between the Atlantis story and the Indus civilisation is strengthened by such matters as the existence of elephants.
(a) http://atlantis.brychta.org/en1.htm (offline Feb. 2016) see Archive 2905
Dholavira is a recently discovered city of the Indus Valley civilisation, and is now estimated to be one of the five largest (out of 700) Harappan sites, covering an area of up to 100 hectares.* It is known locally as Kotada. Only 10% of the site has been excavated, leaving a promise of further important discoveries still to come.*
Its foundation is dated to around 3000 BC and it flourished until approximately 1500 BC(a). 2010 saw the first discovery in Dholivira of an inscription on natural stone in the Indus script. 2011 produced a report(b) that what may be the world’s oldest theatrical stage had been found on the Dholavira site.
The city has number of special features outlined on a Pakistani website in 2015. The same posting(f) suggests that “the Indus Valley civilisation. Ideally it should be called Indus-Saraswsati civilisation, but the work to trace the path of saraswati is still in progress.”
At least two writers have claimed Dholavira as the source of Plato’s Atlantis story. Radek Brychta who has already written(d)(e) on the subject of an Atlantean connection and Yashwant Koak who is planning to publish in the near future,*although, as of May 2018 nothing further has been heard of this.*One claim is that “the archaeological discoveries at the site of Dholavira matches 90% of the description of the Atlantis city.”
*Brychta wrote an article on his Atlantean Dholavira for the Atlantisforschung.de website(d)..
*(e) http://atlantis.brychta.org/en7.htm (English)*
Also See: Dilmun
The Indus Valley civilisation is dated to 2600-1900 BC (preceded by the Mehrgarh People) and is now referred to as the Harappan civilisation. To date, over a thousand settlements and five cities have been identified, but only 10% have been excavated(v).
The origins of the Indus people has been debated for some time, but a DNA study of four skeletons discovered, some years ago, at Rakhigarhi, in India, may offer some clues. However, three years later the results have still not been made public(z)(aa)!
Indus has recently received a number of nominations as the original source of the Atlantis story. Dr. Ashok Malhotra has identified the submergence of the city of Dwarka as the inspiration for the story, which was then brought to Sumeria and later Egypt before transmission to Greece.
A 2014 blogger offered similar ideas with a paper(n) entitled ‘Atlantis was Indus valley plateau?’ but then proceeds to describe Indonesia as the hyperdiffusionist source for the great civilisations “such as those of the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Cretans and the Mesopotamians. These also included the Jews, the Phoenicians, and the Aryans, driven away from their ancestral lands in Indonesia and Southeast Asia.”
In Thorwald C. Franke’s Newsletter No.119 he draws attention to a review by Ptofessor Heinz-Günther Nesselrath of a new over-priced book by Erika Daniels-Qasim. Although the book is published in German, Nesselrath’s highly critical review is in English(ac), Nesselrath reveals that this is just another useless attempt to link Plato’s Atlantis with the Indus Valley civilisation. Franke describes it as a ‘sad book’.
Although the ‘ancient alien’ idea has nothing to back it up, the claim that a very ancient nuclear war destroyed the Indus civilisation has had some support(ad). However, Jason Colavito has also debunked the story of the ‘radioactive skeleton’ there(ab).
In 2012, the Spanish researcher, José Angel Hernández, proposed that the Tarshish of the Bible was to be found on the coast al region of the Indus Valley, but that Tartessos was a colony of the Indus city of Lhotal and had been situated on both sides of the Strait of Gibraltar! He also compared the bull cult of Plato’s Atlantis with that of the Indus civilisation(f)(g).
The central Indus city of Mohenjo-Daro was only rediscovered in 1922(m) and a curious more recent discovery there, was that 10% of artifacts found there related to play! Clusters of game pieces suggested the use of communal social centres. Unrelated, but perhaps more relevant to our study is the fact that there is a dearth of weaponry fortifications or evidence of warfare in the Indus culture(d), which is in sharp contrast to the belligerent Atlantean society described by Plato.
A frequently referred to anomaly at Mohenjo-Daro is evidence of vitrification and radioactivity that some have attributed to attacks by ancient aliens. A more balanced view(k)(l) can be found online. A 2015 article on this subject is also worth a look(o). Jason Colavito has unearthed(ab) the origin of this claim, tracing it back to the 1960’s and an unreliable Russian writer, Alexander Gorbovsky, compounded by later distortions by ‘fringe investigators.
A 2012 conference on Harappan archaeology saw the origins of that culture pushed back to the 7th millennium BC, contemporary with that of Sumer(j). The same conference saw linguistic connections between the two cultures under discussion. However, despite numerous attempts over the past century the Indus Valley script remains undeciphered(p), although there are regular claims of successful decipherment, 2007(q), 2009(r), 2011(s), 2013(t), to-date totalling nearly 100, somewhat reminiscent of the constant flow of Atlantis theories. Now linguists are turning to computer technology to finally solve the problem(x).
A radical theory regarding Mohenjo-Daro has been proposed by an Indian researcher, Jeyakumar Ramasami, in which he claims that the city was in fact a necropolis and not a metropolis. His book on the subject can be down loaded as a free Word file(e). A similar theory was proposed by Hans Georg Wunderlich regarding the Minoan ‘palace’ of Knossos on Crete.
A comprehensive website(a) with many photos and diagrams relating to the Indus Valley civilisation is available. A related article by Patrick Chouinard is also of interest(b).
A recent discovery off the Konkan Coast in the State of Maharashtra in western India has revealed a remarkable structure that based on sea level changes may be 8,000 years old(c). A wall 24 km long, 2.7 metres high and 2.5 metres in width was discovered in just three metres of water. Speculation has centred on the possibility of it being evidence of a completely unknown civilisation that could pre-date that of the Indus Valley. A second site, thought to be pre-Harappan, located in Rakhigarhi village in Haryana’s Hisar district, over 200 km from Chandigarh, is now under investigation.
A 2008 article(i) adds further information about the Indus Valley, which includes a reference to Neolithic site at Mehrgarh a precursor to the Indus civilisation and dated to 7000 BC, a date that has now been pushed back to 8000 BC according to a paper published(u) in the May 25th 2016 edition of Nature.
A recent paper(w) has revealed how the Indus people coped with the consequences of climate change when their civilisation was at its height around. 2500-1900 BC. Until recently it was thought that many the Indus settlements had been dependent on a major Himalayan river, the Ghaggar-Hakra, now dried up. However, recent studies(y) indicate that this river changed course over 8,000 years ago suggesting that “when the Indus people settled the area, there was only an abandoned large river valley occupied by seasonal monsoon river flow instead of a large Himalayan river.” So it seems that unlike the Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilisations the Indus people did not require a substantial permanent river!
(l) http://ancientaliensdebunked.com/references-and-transcripts/ancient-nuclear-warefare/ (offline May 2016) See: Archive 3516
(n) http://indiandefence.com/threads/atlantis-was-indus-valley-plateu.45878/ (offline Feb. 2016) See: Archive 3617
(q) http://www.hindunet.org/hvk/articles/0207/56.html (offline Nov. 2016)
Dating the Atlantis War is one of the most contentious difficulties faced by Atlantology. The critical problem is to identify the time of the Atlantean War and that of the later destruction of Atlantis itself; two events apparently separated by a time span not recorded by Plato. This entry is only concerned with the date of the war. However, it should be pointed out that Plato also reveals that the Atlantis story has a very long history before the war, back to a time when ships and sailing did not yet exist (Crit.113e), so it is understandable when Plato filled the historical gap with mythological characters, namely fijves sets of twins sired by Poseidon. Of course, Poseidon being a sea god did not require a boat to get to the island of Atlantis! Plato also informs us that the twins and their descendants lived on the island for ‘many generations’ and extended their rule over many other islands in the sea (Crit.114c).
There are roughly three schools of thought regarding this important detail. The first group persist in accepting at face value Plato’s reference to a period of 9,000 solar years having elapsed since the War with Atlantis up to the time of Solon’s visit around 550 BC. The second group are convinced that the 9,000 refers to periods other than solar years, such as lunar cycles or seasons. The third group seeks to identify the time of Atlantis by linking it to other known historical events.
[1.0] 9550 BC is factually correct
This view has a slowly dwindling number of supporters among serious investigators. In order to defend this date they cite a wide range of evidence to suggest the existence of advanced cultures in the 10th millennium BC. Matters such as an earlier than conventionally accepted date for the Sphinx, early proto-alphabets a la Glozel or apparently anomalous structures such as the Lixus foundations or the controversial Baalbek megaliths have all been recruited in order to support an early date for Atlantis, many, if not all, have their dates hotly disputed. Apart from the contentious dates there is NOTHING to definitively link any of them with Plato’s Atlantis.
In common with most nations, the Egyptians competitively promoted the great antiquity of their own origins. Herodotus reports that while in Egypt he was told of a succession of kings extending over 17,000 years. The priests of Memphis told him firmly that 341 kings and a similar number of high priests had until then, ruled their country. (Herodotus, Book II, 142). Even an average reign of 20 years would give a total of nearly 7000 years whereas a more improbable 26-year average would be required to span the necessary 9000 years.
It is therefore obvious that the 17,000 years related to Herodotus is not credible raising a question regarding the trustworthiness of the 9000 years told to Solon.
In The Laws Plato refers to Egyptian art going back 10,000 years, seemingly, indicating a consistency in his belief in great antiquity of civilisation and fully compatible with his date for Atlantis. However, I have discovered that in Plato’s time ‘ten thousand’ was frequently used simply to express a large but indefinite number.
A Bible study site tells us that “The use of definite numerical expressions in an indefinite sense, that is, as round numbers, which is met with in many languages, seems to have been very prevalent in Western Asia from early times to the present day.”(h)
The acceptance of Plato’s 9,000 years as literally correct defies both commonsense and the archaeological evidence, which demonstrates that neither Athens nor a structured Egypt existed at such an early period.
[2.0] 9000 refers to units of time other than solar years
Advocates of this view, understandably point out, that the Atlantis described in such detail by Plato belongs to the Bronze Age and could not have existed at an earlier date. It is worth noting that the technology is coincidental with the most advanced known to Plato and his audience. For those who argue that mankind has been destroyed on one or more occasion and has had to start again from scratch, it is not credible that if this was the case, that the culture and technology described by Plato as existing in 9500 BC is precisely what he would have experienced himself. There is nothing in the Atlantis texts to connect it with a pre-Bronze Age society, nor is there anything to suggest any technology or cultural advance beyond that of the 4th century BC. Plato’s tale tells of the existence of at least three major nations before the destruction of Atlantis: Egypt, Athens and Atlantis. There is no archaeological evidence to indicate anything other than Neolithic cultures existing in Egypt or Athens around 9500 BC. In fact, the currently accepted date for the beginning of Egyptian civilisation is circa 3100 BC and also for the existence of a primitive culture around Athens at about the same time. This would parallel the time of the western European megalithic builders.
It may be worth noting the comments of Israel Finkelstein and Neil Silberman who have argued for a 7thcentury BC date for the final draft of the Exodus narrative rather than during the 2nd millennium BCas suggested by the text.
“In much the same way that European illuminated manuscripts of the Middle Ages depicted Jerusalem as a European city with turrets and battlements in order to heighten its direct impact on contemporary readers” (p68). Similarly, it is quite possible that Plato added architectural and technological details of his day to a more ancient tale of a lost civilisation in order to make a more powerful impression on his audience.
According to Bury’s translation, Plato mentions (Crit. 119e) that iron was used for utensils and weapons in Atlantis and so forcing us to look to a date later than 2000 BC for its destruction. Olaf Rudbeck spotted this reference around 1700.
Diaz-Montexano claims that the ‘9000 years’ in Critias has been mistranslated. He refers to the earliest versions of Critias that are available and insists that the texts permit a translation of either ‘9 times in a 1000 years’ or ‘1009’, the first being the more rational! Frank Joseph has also used this 1009 number, quoting private correspondence from Kenneth Caroli, in his 2015 regurgitation of Atlantis and 2012. Diaz-Montexano has also drawn attention to the commentary on Timaeus by Proclus,writing in the 5th century AD, where he treats Plato’s use of 9000 as having symbolic rather than literal meaning. It should also be kept in mind that many cultures, ancient and modern use specific numbers to indicate indefinite values(e).
[2.2] In June 2017, a forum on the Historum.com website included the following possible explanation for the Atlantean dates:
“ The date 8000 is given as a fraction of 8 since the Greeks commonly used fractional notation. Plato wrote in 400 BC and Solon obtained the account in 570 BC.
No Egyptian Annals ever went back 9000 or even 8000 years. The furthest back the Egyptian annals went at the time of Herodotus was to 3050 BC to the reign of Menes the first Pharaoh who Herodotus knew about. Therefore it is obvious that the number of years has been given as a fraction which was extremely common in Greek numerology.
Thus the war between Atlantis and Athens occurred in 9000/8 + 570 = 1695 BC (+/-63 years) which is pretty close to the date of the war between the Titans and the Gods c.1685-1675 BC. The entire story of Atlantis runs concurrent to the time of the Thera Eruption. You even have 10 kings ruling the land equivalent to the 12 Titans.”
The bible too denotes years as fractions, i.e. seasons, equinoxes/solstices etc. That is why you have biblical patriarchs that lived 800 and 900 year old. The ages to Noah are all counted in Lunar months.”(i)
While I’m aware that the Egyptians also had a different way of dealing with fractions, I really cannot fully understand the suggestion made above.
[2.3] 900 not 9000 years
In order to address these apparent conflicts, some have suggested that the stated 9000 years, which allegedly elapsed since the catastrophe, are the result of incorrect transcription by someone along what is a very long chain of transmission and that hundreds have somehow been confused with thousands and that the correct figure should be 900 years. Another suggestion is that the Egyptian hieroglyphics for ‘hundred’ and ‘thousand’ are easily confused. This explanation does not hold water, as there is little room for confusion between these hieroglyphics as illustrated below.
However, 900 years earlier than Solon would place the conflict with the Atlanteans during the XVIIIth Dynasty and would have been well recorded. More recently Diaz-Montexano put forward the idea that the Egyptian words for ‘100’ and ‘1000’ when spoken sounded similar leading to Solon’s error. This idea has now been taken up by James Nienhuis and in greater detail by R. McQuillen(a) .
Another explanation offered by James W. Mavor Jnr. is that the original Egyptian story emanated from Crete where it may have been written in either the Linear A or Linear B script where the symbols for 100 and 1000 are quite similar. In both scripts the symbol for 100 is a circle whereas the symbol for 1000 is a circle with four equally spaced small spikes or excrescences projecting outward.
*Nevertheless, the most potent argument against the ‘factor ten’ solution is that if the priests did not intend to suggest that Egypt was founded 8000 years before Solon’s visit but had actually meant 800 years, it would place the establishment of Egypt at around 1450 BC, which is clearly at variance with undisputed archaeological evidence. However, I contend that they were referring to the establishment of Sais as a centre of importance, not the foundation of the entire country.*
[2.4] 9000 months not years
As early as 1572 Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa suggested the application of lunar ‘years’ rather than solar years to Plato’s figures. Augustin Zárate expressed the same view in 1577, quoting Eudoxus in support of it.
Then there are some, such as Émile Mir Chaouat and Jürgen Hepke who subscribe to the view that the 9000 ‘years’ recorded by Plato referred to months rather than solar years, as the early Egyptians extensively used a lunar calendar and in fact continued to use it throughout their long history, particularly for determining the dates of religious festivals and since Solon received the Atlantis story from Egyptian priests it would be understandable if they used lunar ‘years’ in their conversations. Eudoxus of Cnidos (c.400 BC- c. 350 BC), mathematician and astronomer, who spent a year in Egypt, declared, “The Egyptians reckon a month as a year”. Diodorus Siculus (1st cent. BC) echoes this statement. (see Richard A. Parker) and Manetho (3rd cent.BC) (Aegyptiaca[1373.40])
This use of months rather than years would give us a total of just 750 years before Solon’s visit and so would place the Atlantis catastrophe around 1300 BC, nearly coinciding with the eruption of Thera and the collapse of the Minoan civilisation.
A similar explanation as been offered by J.Q. Jacobs to rationalise the incredible time spans found in ancient Indian literature, who suggested that numbers referred to days rather than years(b).
[2.5] 5,000 not 9,000 years
A claim was made on Graham Hancock’s website in 2008(c) that Plato did not write 9,000 but instead wrote 5,000, but that the characters for both were quite similar leading to the misunderstanding. This claim was apparently originally made by Livezeanu Mihai. However, my reading of Greek numerals makes this improbable as 9,000 requires five characters ( one for 5,000 and one for each of the other four thousands), while 5,000 needs just the one.
[3.1] Sometime after 9500 BC.
Jonas Bergmancorrectly points out that according to the story related by the priests of Sais to Solon,the Egyptian civilisation was founded 1000 years after Athens was first established in 9600 BC. Plato describes the original division of the earth between the gods of old, Poseidon got Atlantis and Athena got Greece. The implication is that both were founded at the same time, namely 9600 BC. Realistically, the 9000 year time span is better treated as an introductory literary cliché such as ‘once upon a time’ or the Irish ‘fado, fado’ (long, long ago). Plato’s text describes the building of Atlantis and informs us that no man could get to the island ‘for ships and voyages were not yet’. Since Atlantis had twelve hundred warships at the time of the conflict with Athens, the war could not have taken place in 9600 BC. The development of seafaring and shipbuilding would have taken a considerable time. Bergman concludes that the war with Atlantis took place long after 9600 BC.
[3.2] Peter James as quoted in Francis Hitching’s The World Atlas of Mysteries[307.138] is reported to have accepted the orthodox date of 3100 BC as the start of Egyptian civilisation and considering the priest’s statement that the events outlined took place one thousand years before the creation of Egypt and so added only 500 years to compensate for nationalistic exaggeration and has concluded that 3600 BC is a more realistic date for the destruction of Atlantis.
[3.3] Early in the 20th century, the German scholar Adolf Schulten and the classicist H. Diller from Kiel, both advocated an even more radical date of around 500 BC, having identified the narrative of Plato as paralleling much of the Persian wars (500-449 BC) with the Greeks. This however would be after Solon’s trip to Egypt and have made little sense of Plato’s reference to him.
[3.4] 4015 BC is the precise date offered by Col. Alexander Braghine who credits the destruction of Atlantis to a close encounter with Halley’s Comet on the 7th June in that year. This is close to the date favoured by deGrazia.
[3.5] 3590-1850 BChas been suggested by the Czech writer Radek Brychta who has developed an ingenious idea based on the fact that the Egyptians who were so dependent on the Nile, divided their year into three seasons related to their river, the flooding, the blossom and the harvest periods. Brychta points out that counting time by seasons rather than solar years was common in the Indus civilisation that occupied part of modern Pakistan. Even today Pakistan has three seasons, cool, hot and wet. Brychta contends that the 9000 ‘years’ related to Solon were in fact seasons and should be read by us as 3000 years which when added to the date of Solon’s Egyptian visit would give an outside date of 3590 BC. If Brychta is correct this 9000 year/season corruption could easily have occurred during the transmission and translation of the story during its journey from the Indus to the Nile valley.
[3.7] 2200 BCis the proposed date put forward by Dr. Anton Mifsud for the end of Atlantis, located in the vicinity of his native Malta. He arrived at this conclusion after studying the comments of Eumelos of Cyrene who dated the catastrophe to the reign of King Ninus of Assyria. Around the same time, in Egypt, unusually low Nile floods led to the collapse of centralised government and generations of political turmoil(f). According to some commentators(g) the Los Millares culture also ended around the same time.
[3.8] 1200 BC is a date favoured by investigators such as Frank Joseph, Eberhard Zangger and Steven Sora. It is dependent on the acceptance of Plato’s 9000 ‘years’ being lunar rather than solar. It is worth noting that this date has also been linked to the suggested close encounter with the Phaëton comet and its destructive effects globally.
[3.9] More than one Atlantis!
It is not unreasonable to consider Plato’s Atlantis narrative as a literary amalgam of two or more historically based stories or myths. One possibility is that the Egyptian priests related to Solon the tale of the inundation of a powerful and advanced culture in the dim and distant past. Such an event did occur, worldwide, when the Ice Age glaciers melted, resulting, for example, in the eastern Atlantic, the flooding the North Sea, the Celtic Shelf and dramatically reducing in size the Canaries and the Azores and creating the British Isles. Obviously, the entire world was affected by this event, so that there were also major inundations in the West Indies and the South China Sea. However, events off the coasts of Europe and Africa would be more likely to become part of folklore on this side of the Atlantic.
[4.0] My own preference is to treat the use of 9000 by Solon/Plato as an expression of an indefinite number. It is worth noting that the Egyptian hieratic numerals also stopped with the highest value, expressed by a single character, being 9000. However, having studied the matter more closely I am reluctantly drawn to the ‘factor ten’ theory. This I have written about at some length in Joining the Dots.
The 1st millennium BC saw the introduction and gradual development of new writing and numerical systems by the Greeks. At an early stage 9000 was the highest number expressed by a single character in Greek and in time it came to be used to denote a large but uncertain number. As the needs of commerce and science demanded ever higher numbers a new character ‘M’ for myriad with a value of 10,000 was introduced. It also was used to indicate a large indefinite number, a practice that continues to this very day. Greek numerical notation was still being developed during Plato’s life.
Today, we use similar expressions such as ‘I have a million things to do’ with no intention of being taken literally, but simply to indicate ‘many’(e). It is unfortunate that this interpretation of 9,000 does little to pinpoint the date of the Atlantean war, but it is not unreasonable to attribute a value to it of something in excess of 1,000 and possibly a multiple of it.
However, having said that, I am also attracted to the ’factor ten’ theory after a study of other numbers in the Atlantis narrative which all seem to be consistently exaggerated by a similar amount, which seems to be a factor of ten!
Andrew Collins in his Gateway to Atlantis[072.52] wrote “a gross inconsistency has crept into the account, for although Critias affirms that Athens’ aggressor came from ‘without’ the Pillars of Hercules, the actual war is here said to have taken place ‘nine thousand years’ before the date of the dialogue, c.421 BC. This implies a date in the region of 9421 BC, which is not what was stated in the Timaeus. Here 9000 years is the time that has elapsed between the foundation of Athens and Solon’s visit to Sais c. 570 BC. Since Egypt was said to have been founded a full thousand years later, and the ‘aggressor’ rose up against both Athens and Egypt, it provides a date post 8570 BC. These widely differing dates leave us with a glaring anomaly that defies explanation. The only obvious solution is to accuse Plato of a certain amount of sloppiness when compiling the text.”
Collins’ suggestion of ‘sloppiness’ is made somewhat redundant if my suggestion that Plato was using 9,000 as a large, but indefinite idiomatic value, could be substantiated.
The late Ulf Richter was quite unwilling to accept Plato’s 9,000 years as reliable after a close study of the relevant texts.
Others have produced evidence to suggest that this period in the Earth’s history saw one or more major catastrophic events that may or may not have been interconnected; (i) a collision or near miss with an extraterrestrial body, (ii) a pole shift, (iii) the melting of the glaciers of the last Ice Age and the consequent raising of sea levels worldwide. This rise provides a credible mechanism that could account for the ’sinking’ of Atlantis.
Mary Settegast, an archaeological researcher, has defended the early date for Atlantis with a remarkable book that delves extensively into Mediterranean and Middle Eastern prehistory and mythologies.