The River Danube is the second longest river in Europe, which was known to the ancient Greeks as ‘Istros’. It rises in Germany’s Black Forest and after passing through many countries, including four capital cities, it eventually empties into the Black Sea.
A number of researchers have associated the river with Plato’s Atlantis. One of the earliest was Nicolae Densusianu who proposed that Atlantis had been situated in ancient Dacia, his native Romania. Over a century later some of his ideas have been revived by other Romanian commentators such as Adrian Bucurescu and Alexandra Furdui. Densusian’s nationalism is now frowned upon and there is an understandable suspicion that his modern Romanian supporters may have similar underlying motivations.
There is a gorge on the Danube known as the Iron Gates which provides part of the boundary between Serbia and Romania. Densusianu located the Pillars of Heracles at the Iron Gates, an idea supported by Ticleanu, Constantin & Nicolescu who place Atlantis further west on the Pannonian Plain. However, Ranko Jakovlievic expressed the view that the Iron Gates section of the Danube was the location of Atlantis!
Related to this, is the claim by ‘Sherlock’ that Pindar’s Olympian Ode 3 suggested that the Pillars of Herakles had been situated at the confluence of the Seva and Danube rivers near modern Belgrade(b) .
Christian and Siegfried Schoppe locate Atlantis east of the Danube Delta on Snake Island in the Black Sea an idea now adopted by George K. Weller(a) .
Adrian Bucurescu is a Romanian ethnographer and a prolific article writer and also the author of Dacia Secreta and Dacia Magica. He identifies the Black Sea and what is now mainland Romania as the home of Atlantis. He locates the Pillars of Hercules at the Danube gorge at the mouth of S-W Romanian river Cerna (also known as Acheron, Charon, Geryon) and that the capital of Atlantis was the city of Tulcea (Tul=atlas+Cea=land) at the Danube Delta.
Furthermore, Bucurescu claims that Plato originally said 5,000 not 9,000 years had elapsed between the Atlantean war and Solon’s visit to Egypt. He bases this idea on his claim that the works of the Greek philosophers were preserved in Arabic translations after the fall of Constantinople and that their numbers ‘5’ and ‘9’ were sufficiently similar to have led to a transcription error!(b)
However, a further contribution on Graham Hancock’s website has him listing the ten kingdoms (of Atlantis) extending over a much larger region, including Poland, Egypt and Sumeria(a)!
Thrace was an ancient kingdom, which according to Greek mythology was named after Thrax, the son of Ares, the Greek god of war. Some push back the origins of the Thracians to 3000 BC(b). Homer described the Thracians as allies of Troy. Today Thrace would occupy southeast Bulgaria along with adjacent parts of Greece and Turkey. Some have attempted to link Thrace with Atlantis(a). Abraham Akkerman suggests in Phenomenology of the Winter City[1179.98] that the inspiration for “Plato’s layout of his Ideal City on the island of Atlantis” may be found in Thrace. Keep in mind that situated just north of Thrace was Dacia, part of Romania, another Atlantis candidate.
Invasion today, as in the past, is usually the consequence of a shortage of resources (food, metals, oil, water), climate change (affecting food supply), overpopulation (also affecting food supply) or political upheaval. Although I do not speak as a military strategist, it would seem obvious that if, for any of these reasons, a state is forced into an expansionism, it will first look at their nearest neighbours and assess the chances of military success. It is obvious that before the introduction of airborne attacks, propinquity in the form of contiguous territory or short sea journeys have always been critical for a successful invasion(a) and the continued control of occupied territories. This is borne out by the simple historical fact that all the earliest empires, which were located in what we now call the Middle East, expanded through the invasion of its neighbours.
However, over-expansion can be costly and potentially dangerous. With particular reference to the fall of the Roman Empire, Rachel Nuwer noted in a recent BBC article(c) that. “By the end of the 100 BC the Romans had spread across the Mediterranean, to the places most easily accessed by sea. They should have stopped there, but things were going well and they felt empowered to expand to new frontiers by land. While transportation by sea was economical, however, transportation across land was slow and expensive. All the while, they were overextending themselves and running up costs.”
Many people think that military intelligence gathering is a relatively modern development. However, ancient documents, including the Bible, have accounts of spying thousands of years ago. Mary Rose Sheldon has produced an invaluable sourcebook on the subject, as well as a volume on Spies in the Bible, while Peter Dubovsky, in his Hezekiah and the Assyrian Spies, focuses on espionage described in 2 Kgs 18-19. It is reasonable therefore to assume that Atlantis also exercised due diligence and endeavoured to assess their opponents strengths and weaknesses before invading.
Boris Rankov has noted(b) in The Encyclopedia of Ancient History that military intelligence in ancient times had its value limited by the “slowness of communications, which meant that it was often out of date before any response could be brought to bear.” This, of course, ties in with the then established practice of invading those within your immediate proximity; supply lines are shorter and information more up-to-date. In turn, it implies that Atlantis was within relatively easy striking distance of Athens!
Even in modern times the same constraints determined the actions of invaders. Hitler could not have invaded Russia without first controlling Poland and Romania. Even expansionist Japan, although an island nation, expanded into Korea and Manchuria (China) and following the attack on Pearl Harbour spread even further within the same region.
The ancient land-based empires were dependent on military might, whereas others, such as the Phoenicians, expanded their influence through trade, supported by extensive merchant fleets. However, over time, Phoenician or more correctly Carthaginian rivalry with Rome led to disastrous wars.
One of the primary military concerns today, as in ancient times, will be to ensure that its men are fed and watered and consequently there will be a need to keep its supply lines as short as possible.
The nearest possible belligerent to the west of Athens was across the Adriatic in Italy. I argue elsewhere that according to Plato, southern Italy constituted part of the Atlantean domain (see Etruscans). I suggest that the Atlantean invasion of Greece was probably launched from there. The motivation is unclear, but we can speculate that success in Greece would have been followed by the control of the entire Aegean, including Crete, offering a huge expansion in trade.
The alternative is that the nearest part of Atlantis was elsewhere, necessitating the bypassing of other territories on the way and stretching supply and communication lines more than desirable. Italy looks the best bet, with forces added from the Atlantean HQ in Sicily or Sardinia, possibly travelling through the Strait of Messina, sometimes identified as the location of the Pillars of Heracles.
In the south, the Atlantean forces in North Africa (Ancient Libya), if not augmenting the attack on Greece, were probably planning their invasion of Egypt (Timaeus 25b & Critias 114c). Success there would have been followed by a two-pronged attack by both northern and southern Atlantean forces on the eastern Mediterranean coast, later known as the Levant, giving them total control of the eastern Mediterranean Basin.
Invasion requirements are the strongest argument against any of the fanciful Atlantis theories that place Plato’s Atlantis in Antarctica, the Andes, or North America. It is ludicrous to claim that any invasion force came across the Atlantic to attack Greeks and Egyptians. That there were remarkable early cultures in both North and South America is absolutely undeniable, however, it is foolishness to claim that they had any connection with Plato’s story.
The Tartaria Tablets are three clay tablets found in 1961 in Romania, which have been a source of controversy for over half a century. They are incised with symbols that have been compared with those of the Vinca culture in the same region. If the Tablets are a genuine script they possibly pre-date the Sumerian script by a thousand years, having been dated to 5300 BC! Because Plato told us that Atlantis had writing, a few unconvincing attempts have been made to link Atlantis with the Vinca culture(c).
Marija Gimbutas the celebrated archaeologist bravely declared that the Tablets were examples of the world’s earliest writing system.
Keith Massey who, along with his twin brother Kevin, has offered an interpretation of the Phaistos Disk has now produced a mathematical explanation for the Tablets and has outlined it in a YouTube clip(a).
A book free 400-page book about the Tartaria Tablets can be applied for online(b).
Gadeiros was the twin brother of Atlas snd was known in Greek as Eumelos. It is generally accepted that he gave his name to the city of Gades, now Cadiz in southwest Spain. A more radical view is expressed by C. & S. Schoppe, who think that he gave his name to the Getae who occupied parts of today’s Bulgaria and Romania(a).
Others have sought to identify Gadeiros with Jacob’s son, Gad!
Romania does not automatically leap to mind as a possible location for Atlantis, nevertheless, in 1913 a massive book by Nicolae Densusianu was published in which such a claim was made. The suggestion was made en passant in this large work, which is mainly concerned with the prehistoric evolution of civilisation in the Dacia region of Romania. The 1000-page+ book in English is available in its entirety on the Internet.
The Pannonian Plain, now part of Hungary was formerly part of ancient Dacia. A paper was submitted to the 2008 Atlantis Conference in Athens by three Romanian researchers, M. Ticleanu, P. Constanin and R. Nicolescu proposing that this region had been the original location of Atlantis. This paper, together with a large number of maps, is now available on the internet(a).
The location of the Pillars of Heracles is also discussed in depth and the author not unexpectedly also locates them along the Danube (Pt3 – Ch.XVI). It is noteworthy that in ancient times the Danube was called Okeanos Potamos.
To what extent nationalistic motives were the moving force behind this noteworthy tome is difficult to ascertain, but the possibility should be borne in mind. However, his excessive nationalism, was popular during the communist regime, but is now deemed unacceptable and his work discredited.
In the meantime, neighbouring Bulgaria had seen the unearthing of remarkable artefacts, including gold jewellery, dating to 3000 BC and is now claiming the discovery of rock temples in the Rhodope Mountains that are a thousand years older than the Mesopotamian and Egyptian civilisations. Watch this space.
Nicolae Densusianu (1846-1911) was a Romanian ethnologist and folklorist, although he was born in Transylvania, at the time part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. He claimed that ancient Dacia had been the centre of a widespread Pelasgian Empire. His major work, published posthumously, Prehistoric Dacia, includes the suggestion that Atlantis had been located in Dacia, now Romania. The text of this extensive book, in English, is available in its entirety on the Internet.
His excessive nationalism, popular during the communist regime, is now deemed unacceptable and his work discredited.
Densusianu’s work has also been recently echoed in two books by the Serbian historian, Ranko Jakovljevic, although he moves the focus further west from Romania to his own native Serbia.