Bob Idjennaden is a Belgian author now living in Ireland, working in the field of business organisation. His private interests include the study of North African prehistory and history. This has led to the writing of a series of short books, sometimes with co-authors, which deal with specific aspects of North African history and culture.
*[An article on the tribes of the Roman province of Africa Proconsularis, centred around modern Tunisia should be read(b) in conjunction with Idjennaden’s work.]*
I am not aware of Idjennaden touching on the subject of Atlantis, in spite of the fact that Plato clearly states that the Atlanteans controlled Libya as far as Egypt. Nevertheless, many of the books deal with specific matters related to different Atlantis theories, such as the Sea Peoples , the Canary Islands and Berbers.
Giovanni Ugas is an archaeologist at the University of Cagliari, Sardinia, who has written extensively about the Shardana, their name, origin and language(c). The Shardana are usually counted as one of the Sea Peoples.
He has also touched on the subject of Atlantis, describing it as “a fabulous story with a political message, but this does not preclude the existence of a physical and historical substratum on which the myth is built. The task of tracing the shreds of history and geography of this story is fraught with pitfalls.”
* He also claims that the Mediterranean coast of southern Spain and France, along with the Italian peninsula was the ‘true continent‘ referred to by Plato (Timaeus 25a).*
(c) http://www.sardiniapoint.it/5085.html (Italian)
Robert J. Tuttle (1935- ) is an American nuclear engineer and the author of The Fourth Source: Effects of Natural Nuclear Reactors, which is a ground-breaking review of “how the effects of nature’s own nuclear reactors have shaped the Earth, the Solar System, the Universe, and the history of life as we know it.”
This large volume (580 pages) challenges many accepted theories, such as glaciation, evolution, and mass extinctions and offers new ideas that will undoubtedly raise eyebrows(a).*The first 25 pages can be downloaded as a free pdf file.*
Surprisingly, Tuttle also tackles the question of Atlantis (p.301) suggesting the possibility that when sea levels were lower, the Balearic Islands in the Western Mediterranean were more extensive and possibly the home of Atlantis. He takes issue with Bury and Lee who refer to the ‘Atlantic Ocean’, which he claims should read as the ‘Sea of Atlantis’ and locates the ‘Pillars of Herakles’ somewhere between Tunisia, Sicily and the toe of Italy.
Two Crops a year is one of the characteristics of Atlantean agriculture according to Plato (Critias 118e).
The North African climate was slightly wetter at the time of Hannibal (2nd & 3rd cent. BC), later, Algeria, Egypt and particularly Tunisia, were the ‘breadbasket’ of Rome(b) and may also have been so for the Atlanteans who earlier had control from North Africa to Tyrrhenia! Even today well-irrigated plains in Tunisia can produce two crops a year, usually planted with the autumnal rains and harvested in the early spring and again planted in the spring and harvested in late summer. The Berbers of Morocco produce two crops a year—cereals in winter and vegetables in summer(a).
*It is worth noting that Mago, the Carthaginian author of a 28-book work on the agricultural practices of North Africa. had his books brought to Rome after the destruction of Carthage in 146 BC, where they were translated from Punic into Latin and Greek and were widely quoted. It is clear that Mago’s work was a reflection of a highly developed agricultural society in that region, a description that could also be applied to Plato’s Atlantis!*
Although two crops are possible annually in other parts of the world, I must emphasise that North Africa is the only part of the Atlantean territory referred to by Plato (Timaeus 25b) that was so productive and continued to be so until the Romans, who depended on it along with Egypt to feed Rome.
Ernle Bradford (1922-1986) served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, after which he settled in Malta. He then undertook the task of retracing the route taken by Ulysses starting from Troy and recounted in his book, Ulysses Found.
He made only one passing reference to Atlantis (p.57) which may be of interest to supporters of a Central Mediterranean Atlantis. When discussing the Egadi Islands off the west coast of Sicily he describes Levanzo, the smallest of the group as being “once joined to Sicily, and the island was surrounded by a large fertile plain. Levanzo, in fact, was joined to more than Sicily. Between this western corner of the Sicilian coast and the Cape Bon peninsula in Tunisia there once lay rich and fertile valleys-perhaps, who knows, long lost Atlantis?”*This would seem to be close the views of Alberto Arecchi and others.*
Kerkennah is the name of a group of Tunisian islands situated off its east coast.*The archipelago is one of the locations claimed to include Homer’s ‘Island of Goats’ and the home of the Cyclops in the Odyssey.*
In a recent book by Antonio Usai he claims that the original Pillars of Hercules were situated between the islands and the mainland. In support of his contention he quotes fron The Voyageof Hanno and other classical writers.
Rhelissia is a small settlement in the Kebili region of Tunisia on the south east edge of Chott el Jerid(a). It is situated at the mouth of what was considered the old River Tritonis, which once flowed into the Gulf of Gabes. Albert Herrmann identified it as the location of Atlantis based on his interpretation of Plato’s text. He was particularly impressed by the traces of ancient irrigation works in the vicinity, which were on a scale and of a style which Herrmann considered beyond the capabilities of the local inhabitants of his time.
Atlanteans vs Roman Technology
The ditch surrounding the Plain of Atlantis was found to be ‘incredible’ by Plato (Crit.118c), it is worth comparing it with one of the most extensive ancient ditch systems still visible to day.
While the length of the ditch is remarkable, but being a stade (600ft) in width and a plethrum (100ft) deep, it amounts to a cross section of an astounding 60,000 sq ft. It brought to my mind the Fossatum Africae, which was a defensive ditch over 600 km long delineating the southern limit of the Roman Empire in what is now Algeria and Tunisia. This feature was rediscovered in 1947 by Jean Baradez, a retired French Air Force pilot and described in great detail in his 1949 book, Fossatum Africae. While the depth and width of the fossatum varies considerably, they are approximately 10ft x 10ft, which would give an average cross section of just 100 sq ft.
This means that the Atlantean ditch described by Plato would have been 600 times greater in cross section than the best produced by the might of the Roman Empire. A rough graphical depiction is given in the paragraph above, where the initial letter ‘W’ represents the cross section of the Roman fossatum, while the entire paragraph represents the presumed dimensions of the perimeter ditch surrounding the plain of Atlantis. Also keep in mind that the effort required to raise earth from a depth of ten feet becomes exponentially greater the deeper you go, so that the manpower required excavating the Atlantean ditch would be many thousands of times greater than that required for the fossatum. No wonder Plato found the dimensions passed to him by Solon ‘incredible’.
The illustration above should convince any reasonable person that Plato’s numerical data, at least in this instance, is greatly exaggerated.
Henri-Paul Eydoux has also written a chapter on this African feature [927.171].
Mário Saa (1893-1971) was a Portuguese writer with a wide range of interests that included history and archaeology. In his 1936 book, Erridânia: geografia antiquíssima he located Atlantis between Italy and Tunisia and included Sicily and the Maltese archipelago. In a map drawn by him he designates the Western Mediterranean as the ‘Atlantic Sea.’