An A-Z Guide To The Search For Plato's Atlantis

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Joining The Dots


Joining The Dots

I have now published my new book, Joining The Dots, which offers a fresh look at the Atlantis mystery. I have addressed the critical questions of when, where and who, using Plato's own words, tempered with some critical thinking and a modicum of common sense.


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Steven Sora

Pinzon, Martin Alonzo

Martin Alonzo Pinzon (1441-1493) is probably best known as the captain of the Pinta, one of the three ships in Columbus’ first voyage to the New World. However, while Columbus garnered all the fame, it seems that Pinzon should have been accorded even greater recognition. According to Steven Sora in an Atlantis Rising article in 2015(a), Pinzon and his brother, Vincente who commanded the Nina, had already crossed the Atlantic three times before Columbus, a claim Sora supports with three sources. They apparently made landfall in was later named Brazil.

Roger Coghill, in The Message of Atlantis[494.1040] notes that Pinzon died only days after returning home “believing on his death bed that he had at last discovered the island of Atlantis.” However, Coghill does not give any reference.

Half a millennium later the achievements of the Pinzons were finally recognised in the form of a postage stamp.

*(a) See: Archive 3480*

Balearic Islands

The Balearic Islands in the Western Mediterranean were not occupied until Balearicsaround 2200 BC. Although the two larger islands of Majorca and Minorca have many megalithic monuments, principally taulas and talayots, they have not, so far, been part of any Atlantis location theory. The only mention that I can find is the unsubstantiated claim by Frank Joseph[0104.66] that the early settlers were invaders from Atlantis.

*Steven Sora noted(d) that From the Bible we know the Tartessians were ruled by kings and mentioned with princes of the isles—very likely islands like Corsica and the Balearics.” I mention this as Tartessos is frequently linked with Atlantis.*

The island of Es Vedra off the west coast of Ibiza, the third largest of the Balearics, has had a number of imaginative myths, old and new, associated with it, including that it is supposed to be the birthplace of the goddess Tanit and the limestone on the island is alleged to have been used to build the Egyptian Pyramids. Then, for good measure, Es Vedra is also claimed to be a peak of the mountains of Atlantis!(c)

In 1911, Albert Gruhn proposed that Atlantis may have lain between the Balearics and Sardinia(a), while a century later the American nuclear engineer, Robert J. Tuttle, suggested[1148.301]  the Balearics as a possible location when sea levels were lower and the archipelago was more extensive,*explaining that “For Atlantis, we must relocate the ‘Pillars of Herakles’ to somewhere between Tunisia (the Roman ‘Africa’), Sicily and the toe of Italy”*

The most recent discovery of a prehistoric stone structure on Menorca was reported in the Spring 2016 edition of Popular Archaeology magazine(b). 

(a) http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&d=NOT19110819.2.22.16

(b)  http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/spring-2016/article/archaeologists-uncover-monumental-prehistoric-structure-on-island-of-menorca

(c) https://www.ibiza-spotlight.com/magazine/2013/07/legends-ibiza-es-vedra

*(d) https://atlantisrisingmagazine.com/article/in-search-of-tarshish/ (offline May 2019)*

Trojan War

The Trojan War, at first sight, may appear to have little to do with the story of Atlantis except that some recent commentators have endeavoured to claim that the war with Atlantis was just a retelling of the Trojan War. The leading proponent of the idea is Eberhard Zangger in his 1992 book The Flood from Heaven[483] and later in a paper(l) published in Oxford Journal of Archaeology. He also argues that survivors of the War became the Sea Peoples, while Frank Joseph contends that conflict between the Egyptians and the Sea Peoples was part of the Trojan War[108.11]. Steven Sora asserts that the Atlantean war recorded by Plato is a distortion of the Trojan War and he contentiously claims that Troy was located on the Iberian Peninsula rather than the more generally accepted Hissarlik in Turkey. Others have located the War in the North Sea or the Baltic. Of these, Iman Wilkens is arguably the best known advocate of an English location for Troy since 1990. In 2018, Gerard Janssen has added further support for Wilkens theory(k).

However. controversy has surrounded various aspects of the War since earliest times. Strabo(a) tells us that Aristotle dismissed the matter of the Achaean wall as an invention, a matter that is treated at length by Classics Professor Timothy W. Boyd(b). In fact the entire account has been the subject of continual criticism. A more nuanced approach to the reality or otherwise of the ‘War’ is offered by Petros Koutoupis(j).

The reality of the Trojan War as related by Homer has been debated for well over a century. There is a view that much of what he wrote was fictional, but that the ancient Greeks accepted this, but at the same time they possessed an historical account of the war that varied considerably from Homer’s account(f). 

Over 130 quotations from the Illiad and Odyssey have been identified in Plato’s writings, suggesting the possibility of him having adopted some of Homer’s nautical data, which may account for Plato’s Atlantean fleet having 1200 ships which might have been a rounding up of Homer’s 1186 ships in the Achaean fleet!

Like so many other early historical events, the Trojan War has also generated its fair share of nutty ideas, such as Hans-Peny Hirmenech’s wild suggestion that the rows of standing stones at Carnac marked the tombs of Atlantean soldiers who fought in the Trojan War! Arthur Louis Joquel II, proposed that the War was fought between two groups of refugees from the Gobi desert, while Jacques de Mahieu maintained that refugees from Troy fled to America after the War where they are now identified as the Olmecs! In November 2017, an Italian naval archaeologist, Francesco Tiboni, claimed(h). that the Trojan Horse was in fact a ship. This is blamed on the mistranslation of one word in Homer.

Various attempts have been made to determine the exact date of the War, with astronomical dating relating to eclipses noted by Homer. In the 1920’s astronomers Carl Schoch and Paul Neugebauer put the sack of Troy at close to 1190 BC. In 2008, Constantino Baikouzis and Marcelo O. Magnasco proposed 1178 BC as the date of the eclipse that coincided with the return Odysseus, ten years after the War(a). Stuart L. Harris published a paper on the Migration & Diffusion website in 2017(g), in which he endorsed the 1190 BC date for the end of the Trojan War.

A new dating of the end of the Trojan War has been presented by Stavros Papamarinopoulos et al. in a paper(c) now available on the Academia.edu website. Working with astronomical data relating to eclipses in the 2nd millennium BC, they have calculated the ending of the War to have taken place in 1218 BC and Odysseus’ return as 1207 BC.

What is noteworthy is that virtually all the recent studies of the eclipse data are in agreement that the Trojan War ended near the end of the 13th century BC, which in turn can be linked to archaeological evidence at the Hissarlik site. Perhaps even more important is the 1218 BC date for the Trojan War recorded on the Parian Marble, reinforcing the Papamarinoupolos date.

*Eric Cline has suggested that an earlier date is a possibility, as “scholars are now agreed that even within Homer’s Iliad there are accounts of warriors and events from centuries predating the traditional setting of the Trojan War in 1250 BC” [1005.40].*

However, even more radical redating has been strongly advocated by a number of commentators(d)(e) and not without good reason.

(a)Geographica XIII.1.36

(b) https://www.google.co.uk/search?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GZEV_enIE442IE442&q=achaean+wall+aristotle

(c) http://www.academia.edu/7806255/A_NEW_ASTRONOMICAL_DATING_OF_THE_TROJAN_WARS_END

(d) http://www.mikamar.biz/rainbow11/mikamar/articles/troy.htm (offline) see Archive 2401

(e) http://www.varchive.org/schorr/troy.htm

(f) https://gatesofnineveh.wordpress.com/2011/09/06/the-trojan-war-in-greek-historical-sources/

(g) http://www.migration-diffusion.info/article.php?year=2017&id=509

(h) http://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/italian-archaeologist-claims-that-the-trojan-horse-was-really-the-trojan-boat

(i) https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/science-news/3345362/Scientists-calculate-the-exact-date-of-the-Trojan-horse-using-eclipse-in-Homer.html

(j) https://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends/was-there-ever-trojan-war-001737

(k) http://www.homerusodyssee.nl/id12.htm

(l) https://www.academia.edu/25590584/Plato_s_Atlantis_Account_A_Distorted_Recollection_of_the_Trojan_War

Scylla and Charybdis

Scylla and Charybidis were a sea monster and a whirlpool in Greek mythology who according to Homer and other writers were located opposite each other across a narrow strait. This led to the idiomatic phrase “between Scylla and Charybidis” similar to our more modern phrase of being “between the devil and the deep blue sea” describing being caught between two opposing forces.

Many, such as Heinrich Schliemann[1243], assume the original to have been located between Sicily and the Italian mainland at the strait of Messina. A minority have opted for the Scylla being Calpe (The Rock of Gibraltar) and Charybdis being Mt. Abyla across the strait in North Africa or in other words the Pillars of Heracles(a) . However, Professor Arysio Santos promoting his Atlantis in Indonesia theory suggested that the ‘original’ Pillars of Heracles were in at Sunda Strait and later brought to ancient Greece where it was included by Homer in his Odysseus as Scylla and Charybdis!(b)

Writers who have located the wanderings of Ulysses in the North Atlantic have gone further afield in their search for Scylla and Charybdis with the west coast of Scotland (Pillot[742] and Nyland[394]), the Orkneys (Sora)[395] southwest Cornwall near the Scilly Isles (Wilkens)[610] .

(a)  http://www.cadiznews.co.uk/info2.cfm?info_id=29858 (offline April, 2015)
(b) http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=1yeBGKreTCYC&pg=PA286&lpg=PA286&dq=%22scylla+and+charybdis%22+pillars+of+heracles&source=bl&ots=OHY6tg_u_n&sig=CCNonMEsUxIRU4DXYPUGH8F_mP8&hl=en&ei=_xF6TrW0DIqp0AX_ltyvAQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CC4Q6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false

Homer

Homer (c. 8th cent. BC) is generally accepted as the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, regarded as the two greatest epic poems of ancient Greece. A recent study of the Greek used by Homer has enabled scientists from the University of Reading to confirm that the language used is compatible with that used in the 8th century BC, in fact dating it to around 762 BC(i).

It should also be noted that over 130 quotations from the Illiad and Odyssey have been identified in Plato’s writings(s). George Edwin Howes (1865-1942), an American classicist, produced a dissertation[1458] on Homeric quotations in Plato and Aristotle.

Almost nothing is known of his life. He has been variously described as mad, blind and even mythical. Andrew Dalby, the English linguist, has gone so far as to claim[0591] that the author of the two famed epics was in fact a woman! While in 1897 Samuel Butler, the novelist, was even more specific when he proposed that Homer was a Sicilian woman(j).

For centuries it was assumed that the content of these Homeric poems was the product of his imagination, just as the historical reality of Homer himself has been questioned. In 1795, F.A. Wolf, a German academic declared that ‘Homer’ was in fact a collective name applied to various homerpoets whose works were finally combined into their present form in the 6th century BC. Wolf’s ideas sparked furious argument among Greek scholars that still resonates today. Now (2015), historian, Adam Nicholson has claimed that the author ‘Homer’ should not be thought of as a person but instead as a ‘culture’(o).

The identification of the site at Hissarlik in modern Turkey as Troy by Heinrich Schliemann led to a complete re-appraisal of Homer’s work and, of course, further controversy. Homer’s Iliad is the story of the Trojan War and it has been suggested that in fact he had compressed three or more Trojan wars into one narrative. What is not generally known is that there are also ancient non-Homeric accounts of the Trojan War(q).

Kenneth Wood and his wife Florence have built on the research of his mother-in-law, the late Edna Leigh, and produced, Homer’s Secret Iliad[391], a book that attempts to prove that the Iliad was written as an aide memoire for a wide range of astronomical data.

Allied to, but not directly comparable with, is the astronomical information identified in the Bible by the likes of E. W. Maunder (1851-1928)[1137].

Guy Gervis has adopted some of their work and specifies a date of around 2300 BC for the events described in the Iliad and Odyssey, based on an analysis of this astronomical data(n)Harald A.T. Reiche held  similar views which followed some of the ideas expressed in Hamlet’s Mill[0524]  by Santillana & Dechend who were colleagues of Reiche at M.I.T. They also claimed that “myths were vehicles for memorising and transmitting certain kinds of astronomical and cosmological information.”

A recent study of solar eclipses recorded in Odyssey using data from NASA has apparently confirmed that Odysseus returned to Ithaca on 25th of October 1207 BC(r).

Scholars have generally supported the idea that Homer’s works have a Mediterranean backdrop with regular attempts to reconcile his geography with modern locations, such as the claim in 2005 by Robert Brittlestone, a British investigator to have located the site of Ithaca, the homeland of Odysseus, on the Greek island of Cephalonia. This popular idea should be put alongside the views of Zlatko Mandzuka who maintains[1396] that all the locations mentioned in the Odyssey can be identified in the Adriatic.

Nevertheless, there has been a growing body of opinion that insists that this Mediterranean identification is impossible. A range of alternative regions has been proposed(f) as the setting for the epics, which extend from Portugal as far northward as the Baltic.

In his Odyssey (VII: 80), Homer wrote about the island of Scheria in the western sea. His description of the island has been compared with Plato’s description of Atlantis and has led to the theory that they refer to the same place. There is little doubt that both the detailed geography and climatic descriptions given by Homer cannot be reconciled with that of the Mediterranean. Consequently, the Odyssey has had many interpretations, ranging from Tim Severin’s conclusion[392] that it refers entirely to the Eastern Mediterranean to Iman Wilkens’ book, Where Troy Once Stood[610], that has the voyage include the west coast of Africa, then across to the West Indies and following the Gulf Stream returns to Troy which he locates in Britain. Location is not a problem exclusive to the writings of Plato. Wilkins views are a reflection of similar ideas expressed by Théophile Cailleux[393] in the 19th century. Gilbert Pillot has also argued for voyages of Ulysses having taken him into the North Atlantic[742]. In 1973, Ernst Gideon (? – 1975) wrote in a similar vein in* Homerus Zanger der Kelten, reprinted later as Troje Lag in Engelan[1643].

An interesting overview of the various attempts to transfer the Odyssey from the Mediterranean to Northern Europe is available(w).*

Another researcher who places all of Odysseus’ travels in the eastern Atlantic is Gerard. W.J. Janssen of Leiden University on the academia.edu website(v).

E.J. de Meester also argues for the British Isles as the location of many of Homer’s references. It struck me as quite remarkable that the level of debate regarding the date, source and geographical details of Homer’s works is rather similar to the controversy surrounding Plato’s Atlantis in Timaeus and Critias. The late Edo Nyland was another researcher who had also opted for a Scottish backdrop to the Odyssey and had recently published his views[394].

Felice Vinci also supports[019] a Northern European background to the Iliad and Odyssey. However, in Vinci’s case, Scandinavia, and in particular the Baltic Sea, is identified as the location for the adventures in Homer’s classics. An English language synopsis of his book is available on the Internet. The persuasiveness of Vinci’s argument has recently renewed interest in the idea of a Baltic Atlantis. The assumption being that if Troy could be located in the Baltic, so might Atlantis. Vinci’s views are comparable with those of J. Rendel Harris expressed in a lecture delivered in 1924(p)  in which he claims that we are entitled to take Homer and his Odysseus out of the Mediterranean or the Black Sea, and to allow them excursions into Northern latitudes.

However, a scathing review of Vinci’s book can be found on the Internet(d) and in issue 216 (2006) of Fortean Times written by Marinus Anthony van der Sluijs.

Further support for a Northern European Troy has come from the historian Edward Furlong, a former naval navigation officer, who has advocated for over twenty years that the journey of Odysseus went as far north as Norway. His particular views are outlined on the Internet(c) .

Other writers, such as the late Henrietta Mertz [0396/7], have suggested that Homer’s epic refers to a trip to North America. Professor Enrico Mattievich Kucich of Lima University is also certain that the ancient Greeks discovered America America[400]. However revolutionary this idea may seem it shows how this particular subject is growing and would probably justify a reference book of its own.

In 1973 James Bailey proposed in his well-received The God-Kings and the Titans[149] that the Odysseus recorded a trans-Atlantic trip. Evidence exists for large-scale mining as early of the 5th millennium BC. Bailey maintained that the Europeans imported enormous quantities of copper and tin from Central and South America to feed the demands of the Old World Bronze Age, an idea that was later heavily promoted by Frank Joseph.

Finally, the Atlantis connection with this entry is that if, as now appears to be at least a possibility, Homer’s Odyssey was about a journey to the North Sea then the possibility of a North Sea influence on the Atlantis story is somewhat reinforced.

A recent book[395] by Steven Sora has developed the Atlantic notion further with the suggestion that not only was Troy located outside the Strait of Gibraltar but that both Homer’s Trojan war and Plato’s Atlantean war are two versions of the same war with the understandable distortions and embellishments that can occur with a narrative, probably involving some degree of oral transmission and then written down hundreds of years after the events concerned.

Ukraine is soon to be added to the growing list of alternative locations for the setting of Homer’s epics with the publication of Homer, The Immanent Biography, a book by A.I. Zolotukhin(g). He claims that Homer was born in Alibant (Mykolayiv, Ukraine) on September 14, 657 BC(t). He follows the views of Karl Ernst von Baer (1792-1876) who believed that most of Odysseus’s travels took place in the Black Sea rather than the Mediterranean. Additionally, he locates Atlantis in the western Crimean area of Evpatoria(l). His 60-page book is available on his website(m).

An interesting paper(e) by the German historian, Armin Wolf, relates how his research over 40 years unearthed 80 theories on the geography of the Odyssey, of which around 30 were accompanied by maps. One of the earliest maps of the travels of Odysseus was produced by Abraham Ortelius in 1597(u) , in which the adventures of Odysseus all take place within the Central and Eastern Mediterranean, arguably reflecting the maritime limits of Greek experience at the time of Homer’s sources!

In 2009, Wolf published, Homers Reise: Auf den Spuren des Odysseus[669] a German language book that expands on the subject, also locating all the travels of Odysseus within Central and Eastern Mediterranean.

Wolf’s ideas were enthusiastically adopted by Wolfgang Geisthövel in his Homer’s Mediterranean[1578], who also concurs with the opinion of J.V. Luce [1579], who proposed that Homer was “describing fictional events against authentic backgrounds.” This would be comparable to a James Bond movie, which has an invented storyline set in actual exotic locations around the world.

Perhaps the most radical suggestion has come from the Italian writer, Michele Manher, who has proposed(h) that Homer’s Iliad originated in India where elements of it can be identified in the Mahabharata!

In August 2015, a fifteen hour reading of the Iliad was performed in London.

(c) https://www.academia.edu/8167048/WHERE_DID_ODYSSEUS_GO_

(d) http://mythopedia.info/Vinci-review.pdf

(e) http://www.ine-notebooks.org/index.php/te/article/viewPDFInterstitial/119/175

(f) http://codexceltica.blogspot.com/search?q=atlantis

(g) http://pushkinclub.homerandatlantis.com/english/homer.html

(h) http://www.migration-diffusion.info/article.php?id=100

(i) http://www.insidescience.org/content/geneticists-estimate-publication-date-iliad/946

(j) http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/aoto/

(k) https://web.archive.org/web/20180320072706/http://www.nwepexplore.com (see ‘n’)

(l) http://homerandatlantis.com/?lang=en

(m) http://homerandatlantis.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Homer_The_Immanent_biography_pdf2.pdf

(n) https://web.archive.org/web/20180320072706/http://www.nwepexplore.com

(o) http://www.newser.com/story/200859/homer-wasnt-a-person-historian.html

(p) https://www.escholar.manchester.ac.uk/api/datastream?publicationPid=uk-ac-man-scw:1m1163&datastreamId=POST-PEER-REVIEW-PUBLISHERS-DOCUMENT.PDF

(q) https://luwianstudies.org/the-homeric-epics/

(r) http://www.historydisclosure.com/scientists-provide-evidence-that-homers-odyssey-is-not-fiction/

(s) http://plato-dialogues.org/tools/char/homerqot.htm

(t) http://homerandatlantis.com/?p=4938&lang=en

(u) https://kottke.org/19/03/mapping-the-odyssey-isnt-easy

(v) https://www.academia.edu/38535990/ATLANTIC_OGUGIA_AND_KALUPSO?email_work_card=view-paper

*(w) https://codexceltica.blogspot.com/2009/10/homers-north-atlantic-odyssey.html*

 

 

 

Lisbon (L)

Lisbon, capital of modern Portugal was previously called Olissipo, which is a modification of its Phoenician name ‘Alis Ubbo’ that some writers, such as Steven Sora, suggest that it means ‘the port of LisbonUlysses’. Later, under the Romans, it was known as ‘Felicita Julia Olisipo’ and renamed by the Moors ‘Aschbouna’.

Lisbon has been identified by some with one of the first ten kings of Atlantis. One of whom was called Elasippos and it is claimed that he gave his name to that part of the Atlantean empire over which he ruled. The assumption is that over time Elasippos was corrupted to Lisbon. However, Plato pointed out that the names given by Solon had been Hellenised and consequently Elasippos would probably have been originally known by a totally dissimilar name and so any suggested connection with Lisbon would appear to have no real foundation.

Steven Sora, in The Triumph of the Sea Gods[0395.219] , maintains that the Lisbon area held the true location of both Troy AND Atlantis. He repeats this in his essay in Douglas Kenyon’s Forgotten Origins[1191].

Dating The Atlantis War

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.

Desmond Lee has commented[0435] that “the Greeks, both philosophers and others…….seem to have been curiously lacking in their sense of time-dimension.”

[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[280] 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.

[2.1]

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[1074] 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[682]) 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. Although this probably just refers to the founding of the city of Sais rather than the ancient Egyptian state.

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.

[3.6] 3100 BC asa date for the destruction of Atlantis has been proposed by a number of investigators including, David Furlong, Timo Niroma, and Duncan Steel. Hossam Aboulfotouh has proposed a similar  3070 BC as the date of Atlantis’ demise(f).

[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.

Daniel Duvillé suggested, over 70 years ago, that there were two Atlantises, one in the Atlantic and the other in East Africa.

[4.0] My own preference is to treat the use of 9000 by Solon/Plato as an expression of an indefinite number*or an exaggeration by a factor of ten. At the beginning of my research I strongly favoured the former, but as I proceeded to investigated other aspects of Plato’s Atlantis story, I realised that virtually all other large numbers used by him also appeared to be inflated by a comparable amount. In seeking a solution to this I found myself drawn to Occam’s Razor, which states that where there are competing theories, the simpler is to be preferred.*

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.*Some claim that the Greeks borrowed the Egyptian numbers(k).

At an early stage 9000 was the highest number expressed by a single character in Greek, which in time came to be used to denote a large but uncertain value. 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.

Diaz-Montexano has drawn attention to the writings of Proclus, who in his commentary on Timaeus declared the number 9,000 to have had a symbolic value (Timaeus 45b-f).

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[545] that delves extensively into Mediterranean and Middle Eastern prehistory and mythologies.

(a) http://gizacalc.freehostia.com/Atlantis.html 

(b) http://www.jqjacobs.net/astro/aryabhata.html

(c) http://www.grahamhancock.com/phorum/read.php?f=1&i=249446&t=249446

(d) http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=255909

(e) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indefinite_and_fictitious_numbers

(f) http://www.geog.ucl.ac.uk/about-the-department/people/emeritus/roger-flower/research/qarun

(g) http://www.minoanatlantis.com/Origin_Sea_Peoples.php

(h) http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/number/

(i) http://historum.com/speculative-history/128055-atlantis-truth-myth-3.html

*(j) https://web.archive.org/web/20100708140347/www.fotouh.netfirms.com/Aboulfotouh-Atlantis.htm

(k) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3109806.stm*

 

 

Sora, Steven

Steven Sora has been investigating and writing about historical mysteries for over a quarter of a century. His latest offering[395] addresses the geographical problems presented by Homer’s Odyssey and Iliad and links his conclusions to Plato’s tale of Atlantis. He contends, as many others do, that the ‘years’ referred to in Solon’s report were in fact lunar months, which would place the destruction of Atlantis around 1200 BC, coinciding with the time of the Trojan War.  He further asserts that the Atlantean war recorded by Plato is a Soradistortion of the Trojan War, but he contentiously claims that Troy was located on the Iberian Peninsula rather than the more generally accepted Turkey. This is a daring effort aimed at solving two persistent mysteries with one radical theory.

There is one interesting comment by Sora (p.6) which may have a bearing on the location of the Pillars of Heracles, where he claims that at the time when Homer wrote, around 755 BC, the Greeks had barely ventured as far as Italy. This would appear to suggest that at that time it is improbable that the ‘Pillars’ were identified by the Greeks with Gibraltar, but more likely to have been somewhere in the Central Mediterranean. Nevertheless Sora opts for the Gibraltar location!

Some more of his views can be read online in an Atlantis Rising article(a) .

*(a) http://atlantisrisingmagazine.com/article/echoes-of-atlantis-from-homer/ (offline) See: Archive 3329*