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.
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 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.
(d) http://www.mikamar.biz/rainbow11/mikamar/articles/troy.htm (offline) see Archive 2401
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 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 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 poets 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, 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).
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 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 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 that it refers entirely to the Eastern Mediterranean to Iman Wilkens’ book, Where Troy Once Stood, 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 in the 19th century. Gilbert Pillot has also argued for voyages of Ulysses having taken him into the North Atlantic. In 1973, Ernst Gideon wrote in a similar vein in Troje Lag in Engeland.
*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.
Felice Vinci also supports 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. 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 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 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 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, who also concurs with the opinion of J.V. Luce , 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.
(k) https://web.archive.org/web/20180320072706/http://www.nwepexplore.com (see ‘n’)
Tyrrhenia was the Greek name for that part of modern Italy formerly occupied by the Etruscans, who were known as Tusci by the Romans, from which we get its current name, Tuscany. Plato twice described (Tim.25B & Crit.114C) Tyrrhenia together with Libya providing the northern and southern boundaries of the sphere of influence of the oAtlanteans. Anton Mifsud points out that the present Maltese Islands, were considerably more extensive in prehistoric times and being situated between these two locations adding considerable credence to his claim that the Maltese Islands are probably the remnants of Atlantis. Some ancient maps mark the sea to the west of the Strait of Messina between Sicily and Italy as the ‘Atlantic Ocean’. Furthermore, this strait has also had the title of ‘the Pillars of Heracles’.
One dissenting voice is that of R. McQuillen who is convinced(a) that the Platonic tale refers to another Tyrrhenia, in Turkey, while Taylor Hansen considered the Tyrrhenians to have moved east where they were known as Phoenicians[0572.34]. However, there are persistent claims that the Tyrrhenians did originate in Anatolia with Troy, Lemnos and Lydia being frequently mentioned. There are also counterclaims based on the conflicting account by classical authors(a). The matter remains unresolved.
The Tyrrhenians were also known to the Greeks as Tyrsenians and some have identified them with the Teresh, one of the Sea Peoples(c).
Turkey is the preferred location of Atlantis according to authors Peter James and Eberhard Zangger. In his book James asserts that Plato took the idea for Atlantis from the city of Tantalis, which was located in what is today the Province of Manisa in Western Turkey, just north-east of the ancient port of Smyrna (today’s Izmir). Zangger also opts for Turkey but favours ancient Troy as the original Atlantis.
Coincidentally, Çatal Hüyük, one of the world’s oldest cities, is located in Turkey just over 200 km south of the capital Ankara. Like Atlantis, Çatal Hüyük also had a bull cult and a Great Mother Goddess reminiscent of ancient Malta. After decades of work, excavations are continuing on the site(a). Mysteriously, this early city of some seven thousand people apparently abandoned their homes around 5600-6000 BC. They were not the only settlement to be abandoned around this period. Cyprus, Palestine and Syria and more famously Jericho all provide evidence of abandonment at the same time.
Ian Wilson has pointed out that following the Younger Dryas mini Ice Age of around 9000 BC a further mini Ice age occurred between 6200 BC and 5800 BC, a period that coincides with this unexplained desertion of Çatal Hüyük and elsewhere.
However exciting Çatal Hüyük may be, its antiquity would appear to have been overshadowed by the discoveries made at Göbekli Tepe where the site has been dated to 9600BC. Also noteworthy is Asikli Höyük which is 1,000 years older than the Çatal Hüyük settlement on the Konya plain and as the earliest village settlement founded in the Cappadocia region, the site is no less important(b).
*(a) http://popular-archaeology.com/issue/september-2011/article/latest-find-at-world-s-largest-neolithic-settlement-a-harbinger-of-surprises-yet-to-come#sthash.GfaDj9ED.dpuf (offline March 2018)*
Troy is generally accepted by modern scholarship to have been situated at Hissarlik in what is now northwest Turkey.
Confusion over the site being Troy can be traced back to the 1st century AD geographer Strabo, who claimed that Ilion and Troy were two different cities! In the 18th century many scholars consider the village of Pinarbasi, 10 km south of Hissarlik, as a more likely location for Troy. The Hisarlik “theory had first been put forward in 1821 by Charles Maclaren, a Scottish newspaper publisher and amateur geologist. Maclaren identified Hisarlik as the Homeric Troy without having visited the region. His theory was based to an extent on observations by the Cambridge professor of mineralogy Edward Daniel Clarke and his assistant John Martin Cripps. In 1801, those gentlemen were the first to have linked the archaeological site at Hisarl?k with historic Troy.”(m)
The earliest excavations at Hissarlik began in 1856 by a British naval officer, John Burton. His work was continued in 1863 until 1865 by an amateur researcher, Frank Calvert. It was Calvert who directed Schliemann to Hissarlik and the rest is history(j).
However, some high profile authorities such as Sir Moses Finley (1912-1986) have denounced the whole idea of a Trojan War as a fiction in his book, The World of Odysseus. In 1909, Albert Gruhn argued against Hissarlik as Troy’s location(i).
The Swedish scholar, Martin P. Nilsson (1874-1967) who argued for a Scandinavian origin for the Mycenaeans, also considered the identification of Hissarlik with Homer’s Troy as unproven.
Troy as Atlantis is not a commonly held idea, although Strabo, suggested such a link. So it was quite understandable that when Swiss geo-archaeologist, Eberhard Zangger, expressed this view it caused quite a stir. In essence, Zangger proposed(g) that Plato’s story of Atlantis was a retelling of the Trojan War.
For me the Trojan Atlantis theory makes little sense as Troy was to the north east of Athens and Plato clearly states that the Atlantean invasion came from the west. In fact what Plato said was that the invasion came from the Atlantic Sea (pelagos). Although there is some disagreement about the location of this Atlantic Sea, all candidates proposed so far are west of both Athens and Egypt.(Tim.24e & Crit. 114c)
Troy would have been well known to Plato, so why did he not simply name them? Furthermore, Plato tells us that the Atlanteans had control of the Mediterranean as far as Libya and Tyrrhenia, which is not a claim that can be made for the Trojans. What about the elephants, the two crops a year or in this scenario, where were the Pillars of Heracles?
A very unusual theory explaining the fall of Troy as a consequence of a plasma discharge is offered by Peter Mungo Jupp on The Thunderbolts Project website(d) together with a video(e).
Zangger proceeded to re-interpret Plato’s text to accommodate a location in North-West Turkey. He contends that the original Atlantis story contains many words that have been critically mistranslated. The Bronze Age Atlantis of Plato matches the Bronze Age Troy. He points out that Plato’s reference to Atlantis as an island is misleading, since at that time in Egypt where the story originated, they frequently referred to any foreign land as an island. He also compares the position of the bull in the culture of Ancient Anatolia with that of Plato’s Atlantis. He also identifies the plain mentioned in the Atlantis narrative, which is more distant from the sea now, due to silting. Zangger considers these Atlantean/Trojans to have been one of the Sea Peoples who he believes were the Greek speaking city-states of the Aegean.
Rather strangely, Zangger admits (p.220) that “Troy does not match the description of Atlantis in terms of date, location, size and island character…..”, so the reader can be forgiven for wondering why he wrote his book in the first place. Elsewhere(f), another interesting comment from Zangger was that “One thing is clear, however: the site of Hisarlik has more similarities with Atlantis than with Troy.”
An American researcher, J. D. Brady, in a somewhat complicated theory places Atlantis in the Bay of Troy.
To confuse matters further Prof. Arysio Nunes dos Santos, a leading proponent of Atlantis in the South China Sea, places Troy in that same region of Asia(b).
Furthermore, the late Philip Coppens reviewed(h) the question marks that still hang over our traditional view of Troy.
Felice Vinci has placed Troy in the Baltic and his views have been endorsed by the American researcher Stuart L. Harris in a number of articles on the excellent Migration and Diffusion website(c). Harris specifically identifies Finland as the location of Troy, which he claims fell in 1283 BC although he subsequently revised this to 1190 BC, which is more in line with conventional thinking. The dating of the Trojan War has spawned its own collection of controversies.
*However, the idea of a northern source for Homeric material is not new. In 1918, an English translation of a paper by Carus Sterne (Dr. Ernst Ludwig Krause)(1839-1903) was published with the title of The Northern Origin of the Story of Troy.(n)*
Steven Sora in an article(k) in Atlantis Rising Magazine suggested a site near Lisbon called ‘Troia’ as just possibly the original Troy, as part of his theory that Homer’s epics were based on events that took place in the Atlantic. Two years later, in the same publication, Sora investigates the claim of an Italian Odyssey(l).
Roberto Salinas Price (1938-2012) was a Mexican Homeric scholar who caused quite a stir in 1985 in Yugoslavia, as it was then, when he claimed that the village of Gabela 15 miles from the Adriatic’s Dalmatian coast in what is now Bosnia Herezgovina, was the ‘real’ location of Troy in his Homeric Whispers.
More recently another Adriatic location theory has come from the Croatian historian, Vedran Sinožic in hisbook Naša Troja (Our Troy). “After many years of research and exhaustive work on collecting all available information and knowledge, Sinožic provides numerous arguments that prove that the legendary Homer Troy is not located in Hisarlik in Turkey, but is located in the Republic of Croatia – today’s town of Motovun in Istria.” Sinožic who has been developing his theory over the past 30 years has also identified a connection between his Troy and the Celtic world.
Like most high-profile ancient sites, Troy has developed its own mystique, inviting the more imaginative among us to speculate on its associations, including a possible link with Atlantis. Recently, a British genealogist, Anthony Adolph, has proposed that the ancestry of the British can be traced back to Troy in his book Brutus of Troy.
(h) http://www.philipcoppens.com/troy.html (Offline March 2018) See: Archive 2482
(k) Atlantis Rising Magazine #64 July/Aug 2007
(l) Atlantis Rising Magazine #74 March/April 2009
*(n) The Open Court magazine. Vol.XXXII (No.8) August 1918. No. 747*
Lake Tritonis is frequently referred to by the classical writers.* Ian Wilson refers to Scylax of Caryanda as having “specifically described Lake Tritonis extending in his time over an area of 2,300 km2.” He also cites Herodotus as confirming it as still partly extant in his time, a century later, describing it as a ‘great lagoon’, with a ‘large river’ (the Triton) flowing into it.[185.185]*
Lake Tritonis was considered the birthplace of Athene, the Greek Goddess of Wisdom, after whom Athens is named. The exact location of the lake is disputed but there is some consensus that the salty marshes or chotts of central Tunisia and North-East Algeria are the most likely candidates. It appears that these marshes were originally formed a large inland sea connected to the Mediterranean but due to seismic activity in the area were cut off from the sea. Diodorus Siculus records this event in his third book.
*I should also mention that Lake Tritonis along with the Greek island of Lemnos and the river Thermodon in northern Turkey, now known as Terme Çay, have all been associated with the Amazons(d).*
Edward Herbert Bunbury, a former British MP, included a chapter(a) on Lake Tritonis in his 1879 book on the history of ancient geography[1531.v1.316].
In 1883, Edward Dumergue, published a brief study of the Tunisian chotts, which he concluded were the remnants of an ancient inland sea that had been connected to the Mediterranean Sea at the Gulf of Gabes.
Lucile Taylor Hansen in The Ancient Atlantic, has included a speculative map taken from the Reader’s Digest showing Lake Tritonis, around 11.000 BC, as a megalake covering much of today’s Sahara, with the Ahaggar Mountains turned into an island. Atlantis is shown to the west in the Atlantic.
In modern times, Alberto Arecchi has taken the idea further and suggested that the inland sea, where the chotts are now, was the original ‘Atlantic Sea’ and that the city of Atlantis was situated on an extended landmass to the east of Tunisia and connected to Sicily due to a lower sea level. Arecchi’s identification of the chotts with Lake Tritonis has now been adopted by Lu Paradise in a May 2015 blog(c). The Qattara Depression of Northern Egypt also contains a series of salt lakes and marshes and is believed by others to have been Lake Tritonis.
Cindy Clendenon is the author of a book on hydromythology in which she concludes that “the now-extinct Lake Tritonis once was a Cyrenaican lagoon-sabkha complex near today’s Sabkha Ghuzayyil and Marsa Brega, Libya.”(b).
Tantalis is referred to, by Pliny, as the capital of ancient Lydia in western Turkey. It was later known as Magnesium ad Sipylum. Tantalis was apparently named after the legendary King Tantalus, who had remarkable similarities with Atlas; they were both Titans, supported the heavens and had mountains named after them(a). This powerful city was flooded following an earthquake and is now reputed to be located beneath the now dried-up Lake Saloe. Also note that Atlantis is an anagram of Tantalis – coincidence?
British archaeologist Peter James has identified Tantalis as the original Atlantis and that it was located just north east of modern Izmir (Smyrna). James reached this conclusion after a study of classical writers, comparative mythology and local place-names. Unfortunately, there has, as yet, been no archaeological expedition to confirm James’ contention.
Objections to James’ theory are that Tantalis was:
i) not on an island.
ii) not outside the conventional location of the Pillars of Hercules.
iii) too close to Greece (James raises this objection against the Santorini theory).
iv) not a circular city (?).
N.B. Sardis was also known as the capital of Lydia by the early 7th century BC.
Sunken Cities, Harbours and Islands are to be found all over the world. Sometimes these were caused by local seismic, tectonic or volcanic events. A greater number were undoubtedly caused by the rising sea levels that followed the deglaciation at the end of the last Ice Age. This deglaciation continues today as the greenhouse gases produced by human activity threatens to raise sea levels further that could inundate a number of our major cities that could lead to dramatic social and economic consequences.
The flooding of Atlantis, as recorded by Plato, continues to prompt opportunistic writers to try to link any new discovery of submerged structures with this prehistoric catastrophe. Cuba, The Baltic Sea, Malta, and Southern Spain, among others, have all been touted as Atlantis on this basis. Many more are yet to be discovered that will attract this same spurious identification. There is also the possibility that a sunken structure from Atlantis will be discovered that will not be identified as such.
Even more depressing is the possibility that mankind may have to wait until the inevitable next ice age, when the sea levels again drop, before we will have our best opportunity to identify the true location of Plato’s city. That is assuming that we are still around and in a position to scientifically search for the site of this enduring mystery.
The most spectacular sunken city recently discovered is undoubtedly that of Thonis-Heracleion off the coast of modern Alexandria(c). A close second might be the city found in the Gulf of Cambay in India, for which claims of extreme antiquity have been made, however, archaeologist Justin Morris from the British Museum said more work would need to be undertaken before the site could be categorically said to belong to a 9,000 year old civilisation.
The sunken town of Dunwich was once the 10th largest settlement in England and is frequently referred to as ‘Britain’s Atlantis’. However it was inundated relatively recently, in 1286 AD, and obviously has no connection with Plato’s Atlantis. Modern technology has now enabled an accurate mapping of this old town(b). Similarly, the German city of Rungholt was flooded by the Wadden Sea less than a century later(d).
In 2009 the lost city of Bathonea was rediscovered just 20 km from Istanbul. Evidence of human habitation in an area dated to earlier than 10,000 BC has been found. Millennia later a Greek settlement was established on the site and later expanded by the Romans. Excavation of the partially submerged city may take up to a century. The discovery of cities such as Bathonea understandably raise hopes that someday the remains of Atlantis may also be found.
*In 2017, also in Turkey a sunken city has been found in the waters of Lake Van in the far east of the country(e).*
A Swedish website dedicated to underwater archaeology, lists a number of known sunken cities(a).
The Shardana (or Sherden) is usually accepted as another name for one of the groups that comprised the maritime alliance of Sea Peoples. The earliest reference to the Shardana is in the Amarna Letters (1350 BC). However, they are also recorded as mercenaries in the Egyptian army. Since a number of writers have linked the Sea Peoples with the Atlanteans, the Shardana may be legitimately included in any comprehensive search for the truth of the Atlantis story.
The Shardana do appear to have a more complicated history than we are initially led to believe. They are first mentioned in the Amarna Letters (14th century BC.) where they are depicted as part of an Egyptian garrison, after that, some of them were part of the personal guard of Rameses II, later still they are listed as part of the Sea Peoples. A subsequent reference describes them occupying part of Phoenicia.
They are generally identified with the ancient Sardinians, who were the builders of the Nuraghi. Leonardo Melis, a Sardinian, has written extensively on the subject. Links have also been proposed between the Shardana and the lost tribe of Dan and even the Tuatha De Danaan who invaded Ireland.
Trude & Moshe Dothan in their People of the Sea identify the Shardana as part of the ‘Aegean Sea Peoples’, who settled on the coast of Caanan[p.214]. They also note that “There was as well linguistic and archaeological evidence connecting them with the island of Sardinia, where Mycenaean IIIC:1b pottery was found. Sardinia may have been either their original homeland or, more probably, one of their final points of settlement.”
D’Amato & Salimbeti concluded that ” on the basis of the combined evidence from Corsica and Sardinia, it is difficult to conclude with any confidence if the Sherden originated from or later moved to this part of the Mediterranean.” They find the second theory “more reasonable.”[1152.17]
*David Rohl has suggested that the Shardana had originated in Sardis in Anatolia, but “ended up settling in the western Mediterranean, first on the Italian coastal plain west of the Apennines and then in Sardinia – which is, of course, named after them – and Corsica. Their name was clearly pronounced ‘Shardana.'” [229.410]*
DNA testing has shown links between Sardinia and Anatolia in Turkey. The late Philip Coppens also noted that the Sardinians are genetically different to their neighbours on Corsica and the mainland of Europe and suggested an Eastern Mediterranean origin for them.(a)
Giovanni Ugas an archaeologist at the University of Cagliari has written extensively on the subject of the Shardana, who he claims were the builders of the nuraghi. Ugas has also touched on the subject of Atlantis, which he locates in northwest Africa(b), across Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia.
Obviously further research is required to try to establish with greater certainty the exact origins of the Shardana and their links, if any, with Sardinia and/or Atlantis.
(a) http://www.philipcoppens.com/sardinia.html (Offline Dec. 2017) (See Archive 2131)