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

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Ghembaza, Thérêse (L)

Thérêse Ghembaza is a French researcher who has a website, in French and English, entitled The Great Enigmas of Antiquity(a) in which she discusses matters such as the Hyksos, the identity of Moses and the Kushites. The site also deals with her theory that Atlantis had been situated in Meroë on the Upper Nile, a theory that she developed in  another paper(c), which is  worth a read.

While at first sight this might be seen as a wild claim, Ghembaza offers a well reasoned theory which was presented to the 2nd Atlantis Conference held in Athens in 2008. She has imaginatively linked aspects of Meroitic geography and history with Plato’s story of Atlantis. For example, she identifies Tyrrhenia with Tyre in Lebanon and claims that Tyrrhenia in Italy was a later colony of Tyre! While some of her ideas are convincing I found others a little threadbare. Nevertheless Ghembaza must be applauded for her efforts to construct a scientific explanation for the Atlantis narrative.

In April 2015 Ghembaza offered a short paper(d)  in support of identifying Bab-el-Mandeb as the location of the Pillars of Heracles.

Ghembaza has kindly drawn my attention to two quotations from Pliny the Elder and Ovid  that offer possible explanations for Plato’s orichalcum (see Document 091011). The former refers to a Cypriot copper mixed with gold which gave a fiery colour and called pyropus, while Ovid also refers to a cladding of pyropus. She also mentions auricupride(Cu3Au), an alloy that may be connected with orichalcum.



(d) See {2526}

Tyre (m)

Tyre was located in what is modern Lebanon and is considered to have been originally a colony of Sidon. According to LebanonEgyptian records they ruled it during the middle of the second millennium BC, but lost control when their influence in the area declined. Independence brought commercial success that saw Tyre surpass Sidon in wealth and influence and eventually establish its own colonies across the Mediterranean. One of these was Carthage in North Africa, which in time became a rival of the Roman Empire in the west. It also had colonies in Greece and frequently fought with Egypt.

The location of Tyre, on an island with a superb natural harbour and which had great wealth and was supported by its many colonies, has been seen as a mirror of Atlantis. The Old Testament prophecies of Ezekiel, writing around 600 BC, described (26:19, 27: 27-28) the destruction of Tyre in terms that have prompted some to link it with Plato’s description of Atlantisdemise, written two hundred years later. Recently, a sunken city has been discovered between Tyre and Sidon and according to its discoverer, Mohammed Sargi, is the 4,000 year old City of Yarmuta referred to in the Tell al-Amarna letters.

Carl Fredrich Baer, the imaginative 18th century writer, proposed a linkage between Tyre and Tyrrhenia. This idea has been insula-herculisrevived recently by the claims of Jaime Manuschevich[468] that the Tyrrhenians were Phoenicians from Tyre.*[Other supporters of a Tyrrhenian linkage with Tyre are J.D.Brady, Thérêse Ghembaza and most recently Dhani Irwanto. J.S. Gordon also claims[339.241] that Tyre was so named by the Tyrrhenians.]*

In Greek mythology it is said that Cadmus, son of the Phoenician king Agenor, brought the alphabet to Greece, suggesting a closer connection than generally thought.

*[J.P. Rambling places the Pillars of Heracles on Insula Herculis, now a sunken island, immediately south of Tyre(a).


Melqart (L)

Melqart was the son of El the supreme deity of the Phoenicians. He was the Melqartprincipal god of the city of Tyre and was sometimes known as Baal. As Tyre gained supremacy throughout the Phoenician world, Melqart also gained prominence. Melqart is the only Phoenician god mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. The Temple of Melqart in Tyre was similar to that built by Solomon in Jerusalem. This is understandable as craftsmen from Tyre built the temple in Jerusalem and there would have had a natural exchange of religious ideas, as they were neighbours. Herodotus describes the main entrance to the sanctuary as being flanked by two columns or pillars known as ‘betyls’, one made of gold and the other of ‘smaragdus’— often translated as ‘emerald.’

The cult of Melqart was brought to Carthage, the most successful Tyrian colony, and temples dedicated to Melqart are found in at least three sites in Spain; Gades (modern Cadiz), Ebusus, and Carthago Nova. Near to Gades, at the Strait of Gibraltar, the mountains on either side were first known as the Pillars of Melqart, and then later changed to the Pillars of Heracles. Across the Strait of Gibraltar, at the Atlantic coast of Morocco was the Phoenician colony of Lixus, where there was another temple of Melqart.

In classical literature Melqart and Heracles have been referred to interchangeably, by many historians such as Josephus Flavius.

It is thought that the city of Cadiz was originally founded as Gadir (walled city) by the Phoenicians around 1100 BC, although hard evidence does not prove a date earlier than the 9th century BC. In his 2011 book, Ancient Phoenicia Mark Woolmer has claimed [1053.46] that the archaeological evidence indicates a date around the middle of the 8th century BC.

It is regarded as the most ancient functioning city in Western Europe. Gadir had a temple that was dedicated to the Phoenician god Melqart. Some consider that the columns of this temple were the origin of the reference of the Columns of Heracles. Commentators on Plato’s Atlantis story have linked Cadiz (formerly Gades) with the second son of Poseidon, Gadirus.

Carthage (M)

Carthage is today a suburb of the North African city of Tunis. Tradition has it that the Phoenicians of Tyre founded it around 815 BC.*[Prior to that, the Roman poet, Silius Italicus (100-200 AD), tells us that according to legend the land there had been occupied by Pelasgians(e).

In 500 BC Hanno the Navigator was dispatched from Carthage with the intention of establishing new African colonies. Around a century another Carthaginian voyager, Himilco, is also thought to have travelled northward(f) in the Atlantic and possibly reached Ireland, referred to as ‘isola sacra’. Christopher Jones has claimed on his website(d) that Hamilco reached Britain and Ireland in the 5th century BC.]*

The circular laycarthagenorthafrica200bcout of the city with a central Acropolis on Byrsa hill, surrounded by a plain with an extensive irrigation system, has prompted a number of authors, including Massimo Pallotino[222] and C. Corbato[223] to suggest that it had been the model for Plato’s description of Atlantis. This idea has now been adopted by Luana Monte(c).

However, it was probably Victor Bérard, who in 1929 was one of the first to point out[160] the similarity of Carthage with Plato’s description of Atlantis.*[In like manner, when the Romans destroyed Carthage after the Punic Wars, they built a new Carthage on the ruins, which became the second largest city in the Western Empire.]*

Frank Joseph follows Lewis Spence in suggesting that Carthage may have been built on the remains of an earlier city that had been Atlantis or one of her colonies.

Andis Kaulins has suggested that “ancient Tartessus (which was written in Phoenician as Kart-hadasht) could have been the predecessor city to Carthage on the other side of the Strait of Sicily. Plato reported that Tartessus was at the Pillars of Herakles.”(a)  Kaulins places the Pillars of Heracles somewhere between the ‘toe of Italy’ and Tunisia.

A book-length PhD thesis by Sean Rainey on Carthaginian imperialism and trade is available online(b).







Pillars of Heracles (L)

The Pillars of Heracles is the name given by Plato to describe a maritime boundary marker of the ancient Greek world. According to his text, Atlantis lay just beyond or just before this boundary. However, strictly speaking, Plato does not call them ‘pillars’ but refers to them as stelai (pronounced “stee-lie”) and its singular Stele (pronounced “stee-lee”) which are the Greek words for stone slabs used as boundary or commemorative markers, not a reference to supportive columns.

According to Aristotle, the Pillars of Heracles were also known by the earlier name of ‘Pillars of Briareus’. Plutarch places Briareus near Ogygia, from which we can assume that the Pillars of Heracles are close to Ogygia. Since Malta has been identified as Ogygia, it was not unreasonable, to conclude, as some do, that the Pillars were probably in the region of the Maltese Islands.

However, Ogygia has also been identified with one of the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic by Felice Vinci[019.3], who then proposed that the Pillars of Heracles had been located on the archipelago. John Larsen has made similar suggestions.

Furthermore, Aristotle also wrote that “outside the pillars of Heracles the sea is shallow owing to the mud, but calm, for it lies in a hollow.” This is not a description of the Atlantic that we know, which is not shallow, calm or lying in a hollow and which he refers to as a sea not an ocean.

Classical writers frequently refer to the Pillars without being in anyway specific regarding their location. Rosario Vieni has suggested that the Symplegades, at the Bosporus, encountered by Homer’s Argonauts were precursors of the Pillars of Heracles, although he settled on the Strait of Sicily as their location[1177], before Sergio Frau adopted the same location. 

However, there is little doubt that during the last centuries BC ‘the Pillars’ referred almost exclusively to the Strait of Gibraltar. The online encyclopaedia Wikipedia notes that Pillars were, in earlier times, identified with the Strait of Sicily, but from the time of Erastosthenes (c. 250 BC) the term was used to refer to the Strait of Gibraltar, reflecting the expansion of Greek maritime knowledge.

Federico Bardanzellu locates them on the island of Motya off the west coast of Sicily(h). This view is hotly disputed.

Alessio Toscano has suggested that the Pillars were situated at the Strait of Otranto and that Plato’s ‘Atlantic’ was in fact the Adriatic Sea. A more distant location was proposed by Chechelnitsky who placed the ‘Pillars’ at the Bering Strait between the Chukchi and Seward peninsulas in Russia and the USA respectively.

It always seemed to me that when the Greeks began their expansion westward, they did so hugging the northern shores of the Mediterranean. Understandably, they would have taken the shortest route from the Greek mainland to the heel of Italy and later on to Sicily. As they progressed with their colonisation, new limits were set, and in time, exceeded. I suggest that these limits were each in turn designated the ‘Pillars of Heracles’ as they expanded. I speculate that Capo Colonna (Cape of the Column) in Calabria may have been one of those boundaries. Interestingly, 18th century maps shown up to five islands near the cape that are no longer visible(g), suggesting the possibility that in ancient times they could have been even more extensive, creating a strait that might have matched Plato’s description. On the other hand the Strait of Messina was one of the locations recorded as the site of the ‘Pillars’ and considering that mariners at that time preferred to stay close to the coast, I would opt for the Strait of Messina rather than the more frequently proposed Strait of Sicily.

An extensive collection of classical references to the ‘Pillars’ is to be found on the Internet(j).

However, the poet Pindar in the Third Nemean Ode would appear to have treated the Pillars as a metaphor for the limit of established Greek geographical knowledge (Olympian 3.43-45), a boundary that was never static.

Dag Øistein Endsjø, a  Norweigan professor, has added the use of the ‘Pillars’ as a metaphor to include the limits of human endeavour(d) and quotes the classicist, James S. Romm in support(e).

Paulino Zamarro has mapped 13 locations(f) identified as Pillars by classical authors and expands on this further in his book[024].

The Pillars are assumed by some to refer to the Rock of Gibraltar in Europe and to Mt. Acha or Jebel Musain, which are near Ceuta in Morocco. Others prefer to accept them as a physical pair of pillars set up outside a temple.

The idea that geographical terms can radically change their location over time is illustrated by the name (H)esperia, which means ‘evening land’ or as we might say ‘land of the setting sun’, was originally used by Greeks to indicate Italy and later employed by Roman writers as a designation for Spain. It could be argued that the Greek use of this appellation could be an indication that when introduced they were not too sure what lay beyond Italy.

Herodotus (Hist. Bk II.44) refers to Heracles as a god of the Egyptians ‘from time immemorial’. He also visited a temple of Heracles in Tyre with two pillars, one of gold and the other emerald. According to the priests there it had stood for two thousand three hundred years or from approximately 2700 BC.

Heracles is clearly the Greek counterpart of the Phoenician god Melqart, who was the principal god of the Phoenician city of Tyre. Melqart was brought to the most successful Tyrian colony, Carthage and subsequently further west, where at least three temples dedicated to Melqart have been identified in ancient Spain, Gades, Ebusus, and Carthago Nova. Across the Strait in Morocco, the ancient Phoenician city of Lixus also has a temple to Melqart.

Gades (Cadiz) was originally named Gadir (walled city). It has been generally accepted that it was founded around 1100 BC, although hard evidence does not prove a date earlier than the 9th century BC. It is today regarded as the most ancient functioning city in Western Europe.

Pairs of free standing columns were apparently important in Phoenician temples and are also to be found in Egyptian temples as well as being part of Solomon’s temple (built by Phoenician craftsmen). Consequently the pillars of Melqart temple in Gades are considered by some to be the origin of the reference to the Pillars of Melqart and later of Heracles (by the Greeks) and Hercules (by the Romans) as applied to the Strait of Gibraltar.

The Pillars of Heracles usually play a critical part in the construction of any theory relating to the location of Atlantis. Even the authors of theories that have placed Plato’s island civilisation in such diverse locations as Antarctica, the North Sea or the South China Sea, have felt obliged to include an explanation for the ’Pillars’ within the framework of their particular hypothesis.

There is one location clue in Plato’s text (Tim.24e) that is often overlooked, namely, that the island of Atlantis was situated close to the Pillars of Heracles. Although it can be argued that Plato’s island was immediately before or after the Pillars, the text seems to clearly imply proximity. This was pointed out by W.K.C. Guthrie in volume 5 of A History of Greek Philosophy [946.245] and independently endorsed by Joseph Warren Wells in The Book on Atlantis[783].

A number of alternative locations have been identified as being referred to in ancient times as the Pillars of Heracles. Robert Schoch[454] writes “This distinctive name, taken from the most powerful hero of Greek mythology, was given to a number of ancient sites known in modern times by quite different appellations”. The Greeks, however, used the name Pillars of Heracles to mark other sites besides Gibraltar, some outside the Mediterranean – namely, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic and the Strait of Kerch dividing the Black Sea from the Sea of Azov – and even more inside – specifically, the Strait of Bonafaccio between Corsica and Sardinia, the Strait of Messina between mainland Italy and Sicily, the Greek Peleponnese, the mountainous coast of Tunisia, and the Nile Delta. Tacitus, in chapter 34 of Germania, clearly states that it was believed that the Pillars of Hercules were located near the Rhine in the territory of the Frisians.

Perhaps the first ‘modern’ writer to propose the eastern Mediterranean as the location for the ‘Pillars’ was Russian, Avraam Norov. He considered them to have been shrines drawing on both Greek and Arabic sources for his ideas.

G. Galanopoulos and E. Bacon suggest[263] that the Pillars of Heracles were possibly associated with Melos, one of the Cyclades or Cape Maleas, the eastern promontory of the Gulf of Laconia. Both James Mavor and Rodney Castleden support this view.

Zangger quotes[483] the 4th century AD. Roman writer Servius, “Columnas Herculis legimus et in Ponto et in Hispania. (through the Columns of Herakles we go within the Black Sea as well as in Spain)”.

Tacitus, the renowned Latin historian, located the Pillars of Hercules in the Baltic. Strabo, the Greek historian and geographer, records that Alexander the Great built an altar and ‘Pillars of Heracles’ at the eastern limit of his Empire. Pliny the Elder noted that in Sogdiana in modern Uzbekistan there was reputed to be an altar and ‘Pillars of Heracles’. Aristotle in de Mundo describes the north coast of Europe on the edge of a vast sea, beyond the Celts and the Scythians up to Sinus Gallicus and the Pillars of Heracles!

Scylax of Caryanda describes(a) in his Periplus, a guide to the Mediterranean, the Maltese Islands as lying to the east of the Pillars of Heracles. Ulrich Hofmann combines the Periplus of Pseudo-Scylax with the writings of Herodotus to build a credible argument for placing Atlantis in North Africa in Lake Tritonis, now occupied by the Chotts of modern Algeria and Tunisia. He places the Pillars at the Gulf of Gabés, which would put Malta to the east of them. Hofmann also argues that the Pillars were part of Atlantis rather than separate from it.

The late Arysio dos Santos claims[320] claimed that “there was only one real pair of pillars: the ones that flank Sunda Strait in Indonesia”, in keeping with his Indonesian location for Atlantis. However, he does list (p.130) nine sites designated by ancient authorities as having been locations of ‘Pillars’, reinforcing the idea that the term was not exclusively applied to just one site.

Anton Mifsud argues that had the Pillars been located at Gibraltar the islands to the east would have been the Balearics. Mifsud also points out that the 1st century BC writer, Apollonius Rhodius, located the Strait of Heracles in ancient Syrtis Minor, now the Gulf of Gabés.*[Delisle de Sales placed the ‘Pillars’ not too far away at the Gulf of Tunis, the gateway to Carthage.]*

Sergio Frau, in his recent book[302], published in Italy, insists that the Pillars were in fact located in the Strait of Sicily. He sees this location as according with the writings of Homer and Hesiod. He discusses in detail the reference by Herodotus to an island to the west of the Pillars, suggesting that the world ‘ocean’ had a different meaning than today and pointing out that elsewhere Herodotus refers to Sardinia as the largest island in the world. Following this lead Frau concluded that Atlantis was in fact located in Sardinia. Frau comments that Eratosthenes, circa 200 BC, was the first geographer to place the Pillars of Heracles at Gibraltar. He also quotes the earlier geographer Dicaearchus whose comments appear to also support a location near Malta. Antonio Usai , in his critique of Frau’s book has opted for the Pillars having been between the coast of Tunisia and the islands of Kerkennah.

It should be noted that many of the other known ‘Pillars of Heracles’ existed in the Eastern Mediterranean and Black Sea. This is possibly because until the middle of the 1st millennium BC the Greeks were, generally speaking, restricted to this region. It would appear that for the ancient Greeks, the Pillars of Heracles marked straits or promontories at the limits of their known world. These boundaries were extended further and further as their maritime capabilities improved. In the Late Bronze Age the Bosporus in the east and probably the Strait of Sicily in the west confined the Greeks. It was only shortly before Solon’s trip to Egypt that the Greek colony of Massilia (modern Marseilles) was founded and so, at last, the western limit of the Mediterranean was brought within the reach of Greek ships. Obviously as their range extended so too did the location of new Pillars and possibly led to the decline in the usage of the title at former boundaries, leaving us today with only the Strait of Gibraltar to carry the name.

In 1778, Jean-Silvain Bailly was certain that the Pillars of Hercules  were just “a name that denotes limits or boundaries.” [926.v2/293]

*[P. Rambling has placed the ‘Pillars’ on Insula Herculis, now a small sunken island immediately south of Tyre(k).]*

Various locations of the Pillars as noted by classical authors

P. Rambling has placed the ‘Pillars’ on Insula Herculis, now a small sunken island immediately south of Tyre(k).Various locations of the Pillars as noted by classical authors

Nevertheless, Thorwald C. Franke maintains that the westward shift of the ‘Pillars’ to Gibraltar occurred hundreds of years before Solon. He expanded on this at the 2008 Atlantis Conference[750] and in his 2006 book on Herodotus[300].

Even Arthur C. Clarke suggested that there was evidence that the early Greeks did not originally refer to the Strait of Gibraltar as the Pillars of Heracles. Clarke did not cite his sources, but expressed a personal preference for the Strait of Messina.

Fundamentalist Atlantology, as proclaimed by the ‘prophet’ Donnelly in the 19th century, will accept no explanation other than that Plato was referring to ‘Pillars’ near Gibraltar. Certainly, it is perfectly clear that Plato MAY have been referring to the Strait of Gibraltar, but it is also clear that this was not the only location with that designation in ancient times. Consequently, if any of the alternatives mentioned above enable the construction of a new credible Atlantis location hypothesis, then it deserves careful rational consideration.

In 1913, Nicolae Densusianu proposed a location for the Pillars on the Danube, in ancient Dacia, modern Romania. Ranko Jakovljevic has recently expressed the view that the nearby Iron Gates section of the Danube in Serbia was the location of Atlantis. A paper presented to the 2008 Atlantis Conference by Ticleanu, Constantin & Nicolescu[750.375] has the ‘Pillars’ at the Iron Gates but place Atlantis a little further west on what is now the Pannonian Plain.

Even more exotic locations such as Chott-el-Djerid in Tunisia, Bab-el-Mandeb(b) at the mouth of the Red Sea, the Strait of Hormuz(i) at the entrance to the Persian Gulf and even the Palk Strait between Sri Lanka and India have all been suggested at some stage as the ‘Pillars’.

George H. Cooper offered[236] an even more outrageous solution when he wrote that Stonehenge in England were the original Pillars of Heracles.

Sometimes, in ancient Greek literature, this phrase refers to the strait between Sicily and the southern tip of Italy (a place which the Greeks did know well, having established colonies in Sicily and southern Italy). An indication of the level of confusion that existed in early geography and cartography is the fact that some ancient maps & texts mark the Mediterranean region west of the Strait of Sicily as “the Atlantic Ocean” and even state that Tyrrhenia is in the ‘Atlantic’!

Finally, my own conclusion regarding the location of the ‘Pillars’ is that a careful reading of Plato’s text shows clearly that they were located in the Central or Western Mediterranean. I base this view on (i) Critias 108 which states that the Atlantean war was between those that lived outside the Pillars of Heracles and those that lived within them and (ii) Critias 114 which declares that Atlantis held sway over the Western Mediterranean as far as Tyrrhenia in the north and up to the borders of Egypt in the south. Consequently, we can assume that west of Tyrrhenia and of Egypt were beyond the Pillars of Heracles. Depending on the exact location of the ancient borders of Tyrrhenia and Egypt, the Pillars could have been situated between Malta and Crete. This interpretation opens up the possibility of Malta, Sicily or Sardinia as prime candidates for the location of Atlantis.

Plato’s comments make little sense, if he was describing an attack by people outside the Pillars located at Gibraltar on those inside the Pillars, since at least half of the coastal territory, in both Europe and Africa, east of Gibraltar was already conquered. However, if the Pillars were located somewhere much further east, his comments make greater sense.

The Schoppes, in support of their Black Sea location for Atlantis, maintain that the Pillars were situated at the Bosporus and not Gibraltar. They contend “the maintained misinterpretation results from the fact that Herakles went to Iberia. At late Hellenistic and at Roman times Iberia was Spain. However, this leads to inconsistencies: After putting up the Pillars (supposed to be Gibraltar) Herakles put together a fleet to go to Iberia, he was still there!” The Schoppes point out that in the distant past ‘Iberia related to the land of an ethnic group to the east of the Black Sea.

In spite of all this two writers, R. McQuillen and Hossam Aboulfotouh, have suggested the vicinity of Canopus, situated in the west of the Nile Delta, as the location of the ‘Pillars’.

Luana Monte, a supporter of the Minoan Hypothesis has also proposed[0485] a location at the mouth of the Nile Delta where the recently rediscovered sunken city of Herakleoin was situated. This identification appears to have been made in order to keep the Minoan Empire west of the ‘Pillars’.

Even more bizarre is the suggestion(c) that the ‘Pillars’ were in fact two bright stars in the western sky at the end of the last Age of Libra around 12,500 BC.

What is clear from all of the above is that the term Pillars of Heracles was, without doubt, applied to a variety of locations but Plato’s reference MIGHT relate to Gibraltar although equally strong if not stronger cases can be made for other sites at earlier dates. It is also plausible that at some point it also became a metaphor for any geographical limit.











Phoenicians (m)

The Phoenicians or Canaanites are linguistically regarded as a Semitic people, who among their many achievements are credited with giving us our alphabet (without vowels). They flourished during the 1st and 2nd millennia BC. The late Joseph Robert Jochmans has suggested(c) that similarities between Phoenician names and those of the sons of Poseidon are more than coincidental. The descendants of the Phoenicians are still to be found in great numbers in modern Lebanon as well as elements of the Phoenician language. Contrary to popular belief the Maltese language is more related to Phoenician than Arabic(g). Similarly, in a mountainous and isolated north-east corner of Asia Minor its people still speak Greek in a dialect known as Romeyka(l). Dr Ioanna Sitaridou of Queen’s College, Cambridge explains that ‘Although Romeyka can hardly be described as anything but a Modern Greek dialect, it preserves an impressive number of grammatical traits that add an Ancient Greek flavor to the dialect’s structure – traits that have been completely lost from other Modern Greek varieties.’ 

The Phoenicians have been frequently identified as the Atlanteans of Plato’s narrative.*[James Nienhuis has recently identified Canaanites as Atlanteans(m)!]*The supporters of a Bronze Age date for the invasion of the Atlanteans see in the Phoenicians the powerful far flung maritime civilisation described by Plato. However, this identification is in conflict with Plato’s statement that Atlantis or its influence extended as far as Tyrrhenia and Libya, whereas the Phoenicians had their PhoeneciaTradeRoutesoriginal base further east in the region of modern Lebanon and Israel. It also runs counter to Plato’s clear account of the Atlanteans attacking from the west.

*[The Phoenicians were never unilaterally at war with Greece and/or Egypt, but their successors, the Carthaginians, whose main military campaigns were directed against the Roman Empire, did clash with the Greeks in Sicily.]*

It is accepted that the Phoenician commercial empire began with the three cities of Tyre, Sidon and Byblos. They expanded with the establishment of trading settlements along the Mediterranean coast of North Africa usually separated by a day’s rowing – somewhere between 30 to 60 miles.

It is claimed that the Phoenicians together with the Egyptians had an influence on the development of the Minoan culture(e).

Jonas Bergman recently presented a paper to the 2005 Melos Atlantis Conference on the subject of a Phoenician association with the Atlantis story. He outlined how Plato’s description of Atlantis was similar to the western colonies of the Phoenicians.

Some writers such as the German Robert Prutz have advocated the idea that Phoenicians had discovered America, where he also placed Atlantis. However, in spite of the fact that there is widespread support for this concept and the even more extreme claims of Phoenicians in Australia, a Lebanese website (now offline) in the original home of Phoenicia, discounted all such claims for lack of evidence. Nevertheless, attention-seeking Rex Gilroy persists in promoting the idea of Phoenicians in Australia(h).

In 1886, the American novelist Ann Eliza Smith (1819-1905) published a fantasy novel(j), Atla, that tells the tale of the discovery of the Atlantis civilization by the Phoenicians.

In 1889, Enrique Onffroy de Thoron proposed[0901] that Atlantis had been Phoenician and situated in America. Indeed, claims still persist that the Phoenicians did reach South America(f). However, he was not the first to suggest this as he was preceded by Robertus Comtaeus Nortmannus as early as 1644 and Georg Horn in 1652 . Arguably, the best known exponent of the ‘Phoenicians in America’ school of thought was Bernardo Silva Ramos(i).

Hugh Fox (1932-2011) wrote of the early peoples of the Americas in his well-received Gods of the Cataclysm[1171]. The ‘cataclysm’ referred to is the biblical Deluge, in respect of which he follows the ideas of Velikovsky and the christian catastrophist Donald W. Patten (1929-2014), who attributed Noah’s Flood to a close encounter with a massive extraterrestrial body around 2800 BC. Fox explicitly claims that before the Flood, transoceanic travel was commonplace, with the Chinese in America, Indian theology in the Mediterranean and that after the Flood we had the Phoenicians and Odysseus in America.

The late Sabatino Moscati, a renowned linguist and archaeologist, wrote a highly regarded work[505] on the subject of the Phoenicians. Additionally, there is an invaluable website(a) available that covers all aspects of Phoenician culture. This same site(b), drawing on the work of Ignatius Donnelly, identifies the kings of Atlantis with the Phoenician pantheon and claims that the gods of the Greeks were also the deified Atlantean kings.

Jacques Hébert, who places Atlantis in the Indian Ocean on the island of Socotra, suggests that the Atlanteans had a colony in the Eastern Mediterranean whose inhabitants developed into the Phoenicians!



(c)    (offline July 2015)



(g) (offline Jan. 2016) see Archive 2852

(h) (reinstated)

(i)  (Portuguese)





Cádiz (L)

Cádiz is the modern name for ancient Gades considered the original kingdom of Gadeirus the twin brother of Atlas. However, the certainty normally associated with this accepted identification is weakened by the fact that quite a number of locations with similar sounding names are to be found in the Central and Western Mediterranean region.

cadizThe Spanish historian, Adolfo Valencia wrote a history of Cádiz[0208],  in which he suggested that Atlantis might have extended all the way from Cádiz to Malta.

It is generally accepted that the Phoenicians from Tyre founded Gadir, later to be known as Gades to the Romans. The Roman historian, Velleius Paterculus (c.19 BC – c.31 AD) wrote that Cadiz was founded 80 years after the Trojan War, circa 1100 BC. In the 9th century BC, the Phoenicians, under Princess Dido, founded a new capital at Carthage in North Africa. At Gades the Phoenicians/Carthaginians built a temple to Melqart that had two columns that many consider to be the original Pillars of Hercules. In 2007, it was announced that excavations in the old town centre produced shards of Phoenician pottery and walls dated to the 8th century BC, probably making it the oldest inhabited city in Europe.

Also See: Egadi Islands


Phocaea was an ancient port and the most northerly of the Ionian Greek cities in Asia Minor. It is now known as Foça, located north of Izmir in modern Turkey.

PhocaeaThe Phocaeans were noted by Herodotus as being the first Greeks to make long sea journeys (Book I. 163) and had ventured as far as Tartessos. They also founded a colony at Massalia, modern Marseilles around 600 BC. At one point the Carthaginians feared that their dominance of the Western Mediterranean was at risk and so with the aid of their allies, the Etruscans, they engaged the Phocaean colonists in a large naval battle, which resulted in the elimination of this Greek threat.

Alewyn J.Raubenheimer strongly disputes[744.91] this accepted account of the foundation of Massalia, claiming a much earlier date of around 2000 BC for the development there of a harbour by the Tyrians. Unfortunately, this bold assertion is based on Raubenheimer’s reading of the controversial Oera Linda Book, without any other supporting references!

Sardinia (L)

Sardinia is a region of Italy and after Sicily is the second largest island in the Mediterranean. Known to the Greeks as ‘Hyknusa’, during its long history Phoenicians, Etruscans, Greeks and Romans have all left their mark on Sardinia. Before that, the megalith builders(j) were active on Sardinia and Corsica. A comprehensive history of Sardinia from the time of Atlantis is available online, in Italian and English(m). There is a tradition that Sardinia got its name from Sardus, son of Hercules(aa).

Sardinia’s important position in the ancient world was suggested by Mark McMenamin, a geologist at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, who announced in Numismatist Magazine in November 1996, that he believed that the Carthaginians produced gold coins, between 350 and 320 BC, depicting small maps of the Mediterranean world with India to the east and America to the  west(e). When computer enhancement was applied to the images on some of those coins, he was amazed to note how the strange markings on them resembled maps made by Ptolemy, the Greek astronomer and geographer. The maps show what appears to emphasise the Mediterranean region, with Sardinia as a dot in the centre. The north coast of Africa appears at the bottom with Europe at the top, above the Phoenician homeland and India. The Strait of Gibraltar lies to the west; after that is the landmass of America. Some sceptics have been convinced of the correctness of McMenamin’s interpretation after seeing the enlarged images.

It has been suggested(p) that the ancient city (2000-1400 BC) of Nora, just south of today’s Pula, was thriving long before the arrival of the Phoeniciansin the 8th cent. BC.. It appears that contact between Sardinia and its trading partners suddenly ceased around 1400 BC, until the arrival of the Phoenicians. Phoenician inscriptions, one dated to the 11th century BC, were been found at Nora(q) in 1773. These inscriptions refer to Pygmalian, King of Tyre and to a battle between Sardinians and Phoenicians at Tarshish!

It has been postulated that the Shardana, one of the Sea Peoples of the 2nd millennium BC, gave their name to Sardinia and were probably the builders of the hundreds of Nuraghi there. Leonardo Melis, a native Sardinian, has studied and written at length on the subject. David Rohl, the archaeologist and advocate of revising generally accepted ancient chronologies, has argued[0232] that the Shardana were in fact originally from Sardis in ancient Anatolia and that they migrated westward to Sardinia following the collapse of the Hittite Empire.

Apart from the enigmatic remains of the nuraghic period, Sardinia has presented archaeologists with a greater mystery in the form of a structure at Monte d’Accoddi that closely resembles a Mesopotamian ziggurat. The earliest parts of the monument have been dated to circa 3000 BC – the same period during which comparable step pyramids were being built in Mesopotamia. Leonardo Melis has speculated that the name of the site, Accoddi, may be connected to the Akkadian civilisation. Step pyramids are also found on Sicily(c) and additionally the Le Barnenez cairn(ad) (4500-4700 BC), in Brittany, has a superficial resemblance to some of the Western Mediterranean ‘pyramids’.

sardinia mapRecent discoveries of statue menhirs on Sardinia have suggested that in the 4th millennium BC the island was part of a culture which spread from the Black Sea to the Atlantic(f).

Statue menhirs are also found on adjacent Corsica.

The end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th centuries saw Antoine Court de Géblin and Delisle de Sales suggesting Sardinia as a remnant of Atlantis. However, the first person in more recent times to promote a Sardinian Atlantis was Paolo Valente Poddighe, who did so in 1982, but, it was 2006 before he published a book[711] supporting this claim.

It was nearly another twenty years before Robert Paul Ishoy was the first to have a website(a) that promoted Sardinia as the site of Atlantis. His contention is that Atlantis was a powerful state based in Sardinia that controlled most of the western Mediterranean and was at its peak between 2000 BC and 1400 BC. Ishoy further contends that the Keftiu, Atlantean and Nuraghi cultures were all one. He contends that they made attempts to conquer the principal civilisations of eastern Mediterranean including the Minoans, Athenians and Egyptians. During one of these attacks the Athenians with the unexpected support of floods and earthquakes defeated the Atlanteans. Ishoy has been planning an expedition to Sardinia to seek further evidence in support of his thesis.

In 2002, the Italian journalist, Sergio Frau, has written a book[302], in Italian, which firmly located Atlantis just south of Sardinia, where it is now covered by water(ah). He argued that the Pillars of Heracles were at one time located as a boundary marker at the Strait of Sicily and later moved to Gibraltar as the Greek awareness of the western Mediterranean developed with expanded trade. Frau attributes this change of location to the geographer Eratosthenes who flourished more than a century after Plato. Understandably, his theory has been greeted with the usual hail of criticism but was given support by UNESCO when it organised a symposium on the theory in Paris in 2005 followed by an exhibition in Rome the following year. In the interest of balance, Thorwald C. Franke’s critique(n) of Frau’s work is required reading, as well as a 21-point refutation of his book signed by 71 Sardinian historians, geologists and archaeologists(w).

In June 2015 Frau together with number of Italian scientists joined him when he visited Sardinia(x). They included historian Mario Lombardo; archaeologist Maria Teresa Giannotta; Claudio Giardino, a specialist in ancient metallurgy; cartographer Andrea Cantile; archivist Massimo Faraglia; and Stefano Tinti, a geophysicist and expert on tidal waves. Their objective was to study the evidence for a huge tsunami inundating the southern part of the island in ancient times.

A report in The Guardian (15/8/15) noted(y) that “Professor Tinti explained that until the 1980s no one was aware that tidal waves had occurred in the Mediterranean. But since 2004 scientists have identified 350 events of this type over a 2,500-year period,” and regarding the Sardinian tsunami “So what would have been required in our case?” he then asked. “We’re talking about a huge volume of water, some 500 metres high [the elevation up to which the nuraghi were affected]. Only a comet could do that, if the impact occurred very close to the coast and in a very specific direction,” he asserted. An event of this sort may have occurred near Cagliari, with the resulting wave devastating the plain of Campidano.”

Afterwards, Frau’s claim was given further attention(u) when an exhibition in the museum in Sardara, which focussed on that catastrophe which hit the island around 1175 BC. This cataclysm mainly effected the southern portion of Sardinia covering it with a layer of mud. A geophysicist, Stefano Tinti, claims that the most likely cause of such an incursion would be an enormous tidal wave resulting from the impact of a comet in the Mediterranean. It was not surprising that Jason Colavito debunked(v) any linkage of Sardinia with Atlantis as well as the claim of a cometary impact, but avoided offering any explanation for the layer of mud.

An alternative view of Sardinia and its nuraghi was offered(z) by Brian Cairns on the Thunderbolts website, where he claimed that the nuraghi were constructed to offer protection from cosmic electrical strikes. In his conclusion he states that “while the evidence above is circumstantial, it seems that Sardinia had a very active electric environment.”

The late Vittorio Castellani who had advocated locating Atlantis in the British Isles was so impressed by Frau’s book that he changed his mind and supported the idea of a Sardinian Atlantis. Another keen supporter of Frau is Mario Tozzi who has also suggested that if Sardinia was Atlantis that the mysterious Etruscans may have been Sardinians(r)(s). Further support has come from Mario Cabriolu and architect Paolo Macoratti, who identifies the Plain of Campidano with the Plain of Atlantis and locates the Atlantean capital further south in the Gulf of Cagliari, illustrated on a map on the site(t).

As Sardinia is still very much above water, it might seem an unlikely choice as the location of Atlantis. However, if it is accepted that the Pillars of Heracles were in fact situated at the Strait of Sicily, there are a number of features on Sardinia that would support the theories of Ishoy and Frau. There is evidence that the large plain of Campidano was inundated, from the south, by a tsunami, following an earthquake, in the central Mediterranean in the 2ndmillennium BC. Professor Mauro Perra has argued against this(o) using extensive stratigraphic evidence. However, this tsunami also covered Punic and Roman remains indicating a much later date.

Furthermore, there are mountains protecting the plain from cold northern winds and rich mineral deposits are also found in the locality. Sardinia was well-known in ancient times as a source of silver as well as copper, iron and lead(af). The excellent website comments that Sardinia can scarcely have been occupied by the Phoenicians for anything but its metals. The southern and south-western parts of the island, where they made their settlements, were rich in copper and lead; and the position of the cities seems to indicate the intention to appropriate these metals.

In 2010, Giuseppe Mura published a book of nearly 600 pages, in which he identifies the Gulf of Cagliari as the location of the Pillars of Heracles that previously led to a channel which gave access to the Plain of Campidano, which he claims(g)(h) was the Plain of Atlantis described by Plato.

Furthermore, another young Sardinian has recently pointed out that colours associated by Plato with Atlantis, namely red, white and black, are found naturally on the island as well as excavated buildings of the Nuraghic period being painted in red and black stripes. The Sardinian regional flag also uses these colours.

We can expect that the future will see further development of the Sardinian Theory, which shows more promise than many of the other suggested locations.

For those interested in reading more about the history of Sardinia from its prehistory until the present should visit Claudio de Tisi’s website(i) (In Italian and English). It includes a review of Sergio Frau’s book on Atlantis. In 2011, travel writer Angela Corrias wrote a two-part article)(ab)(ac), which also includes a review of Frau’s theory.

There would appear to be growing support from local researchers on the island for the a Sardinian Atlantis . One of the more recent is Giorgio Valdés who equates Sardinia with Tartessos and Atlantis. This idea of Sardinia and Tartessos being identical goes back to the middle of the 20th century, when Wikipedia(k) tells us “that W.F. Albright (1941) and F.M. Cross (1972) suggested Tarshish was Sardinia because of the discovery of the ‘Nora Stone’ or ‘Nora Fragment’.” An extensive article(l) on the Nora Stele, in Italian, was written in January 2014, based on a translation by Jose Stromboni.

In 2013, Marin, Minella & Schievenin stated[972.43] that Sardinia was called Tartessos in ancient times, unfortunately, without providing any references.

In August 2016, Frau’s theory received a further spurt of publicity with an interview in Sputnik News, which was followed a few days later by the announcement that National Geographic was planning a documentary, co-produced by James Cameron and Simcha Jacobovici, based on Robert Ishoy’s Atlantis in Sardinia theory(ae).

However, Diaz-Montexano is also certain that the documentary will focus on his theory(ai).














(o) (Italian)



(r)  (Italian)





(w) (Italian)





(ab) parts)  (offline Nov. 2016 – See Archive 2898)










Brady, J. D.

Joseph Daniel Brady is an American researcher with a particular interest in scripture related non-fiction mysteries. He has now turned his attention to the question of Atlantis. In a somewhat complicated theory he makes a distinction between the Phoenician Tyre and the Tyre (Tyrus) whose destruction is described by Ezekiel (26 &27). He compares the demise of Ezekiel’s Tyre with Plato’s destruction of Atlantis. Brady proceeds to identify the Plain of Troy, formerly a bay as the final resting place of Atlantis.

In 2010 Brady published his ideas in a book with the ingenious title of Atlantis, which was available as a paperback[738] and an ebook. He also claims to have located the Garden of Eden as well as having found evidence within the Bible of life on other planets!

In 2014 Brady published a revised edition of his book with a new title, Atlantis: The Renamed Island[986], in which he claims that Atlantean gold treasure was hidden in a labyrinth on the Greek island of Lemnos. He further claims that Plato located Atlantis between Lemnos and Troy, in front of the Dardanelle Straits!(b)  *[Jason Colavito has reviewed Brady’s claim of treasure(c).]*


*[(c) ]*