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

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  • NEWS DECEMBER 2022

    NEWS DECEMBER 2022

    Atlantipedia will be wound down in 2023. After nearly twenty years compiling Atlantipedia on my own, and as I am now approaching my 80th birthday, I have decided to cut back on the time I dedicate to developing this website. An orderly conclusion rather than an enforced one is always preferable before the Grim Reaper […]Read More »
  • 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.Read More »
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Finley, Moses I.

Moses I. Finley, originally Finkelstein (1912–1986) was an American-born British academic. He moved to England in 1955, where he developed as a classical scholar and eventually became Master of Darwin College, Cambridge. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1979.

In common with a number of archaeologists and historians at the time, Finley maintained that none of the events in Homer’s works are historical, particularly in his book, The World of Odysseus [1139] and was highly critical of Michael Wood’s In Search of the Trojan War  [1141] when it first appeared in 1984, four years before modern archaeology was undertaken at the Hissarlik site.(a) 

>Finley in chapter two of his Aspects of Antiquity [1953] listed a number of weaknesses in Schliemann’s identification of Hissarlik as Homer’s Troy. Some of his more important points are summarized here(f).

“Schliemann’s “Troy” site had been over the ages razed and rebuilt many times, and the various rebuildings are commonly referred to by numbered names such as “Troy I” or “Troy VIIa”.

Schliemann’s “Troy” site has only one stage of its history that has any resemblance to Greece. That is Troy VIIa, which contains pottery shards and other evidence that it had contact with Greece. All the other “Troy” ruins at Schliemann’s site have no remains that even suggest they ever had contact with the greeks.

Troy VIIa is actually one of the smallest constructions at Schliemann’s “Troy” site. To quote Finley: ‘a shabby, impoverished huddled in one small sector of the ridge, as unlike the Homeric picture of the large and wealthy city of Priam as one could imagine.’

Schliemann’s great treasures which are held to prove his site was a country of vast power and influence, were found at Troy II. Troy II dates to 2500-2200 bc, long predating the greeks.

In fact, Finley contends on pages 37-38 of his book that our historical concept of the greeks of the Homeric age being a continental power capable of staging such a massive expedition is based wholely upon the description of it as such in The Illiad, and not upon archaeological evidence from the greek civilizations of the Homeric era. In other words, rather than the undeniable existence of the Achaean empire serving as proof of the events depicted in Homer, instead, the existence of the Achaean Greek empire is based solely upon its being mentioned in The Illiad

There are no surviving written records of the Achaeans or Trojans from the Homeric era. Both the Egyptians and the Hittites did keep historical records, legal documents, treaties, etc, that have survived for modern archaeologists to translate. Neither the Hittites nor the Pharaohs make any reference to the Achaeans or the Trojans.”<

Finley’s sceptical views went beyond the Trojan War and extended to Plato’s Atlantis. In 1969, a number of books and papers were published giving added impetus to the Minoan Hypothesis. Finley attacked James W. Mavor‘s Voyage to Atlantis [265] in The New York Review of Books (b). This evoked a response(c) from Mavor not long afterward.

In December 1969, Finley wrote a combined critical review of both Atlantis [263] by Galanopoulos & Bacon as well as J. V. Luce‘s Lost Atlantis(U.S) (The End of Atlantis, U.K.) [120] for the same publication(d), to which Galanopoulos also responded(e).

(a) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_the_Homeric_epics

(b) Wayback Machine (archive.org)

(c) https://www.nybooks.com/articles/1969/12/04/back-to-atlantis-again/

(d) Back to Atlantis | by M.I. Finley | The New York Review of Books (archive.org)

(e) The End of Atlantis | by A.G. Galanopoulos | The New York Review of Books (archive.org)

(f) http://www.rbsp.info/rbs/CLONE/VGS/wilkens.html *