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

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    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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Bosporus, The

?The Bosporus or Bosphorus is described by Wikipedia as “a narrow, natural strait and an internationally significant waterway located in northwestern Turkey. It forms part of the continental boundary between Asia and Europe, and divides Turkey by separating Anatolia from Thrace. It is the world’s narrowest strait used for international navigation. The Bosporus connects the Black Sea with the Sea of Marmara, and, by extension via the Dardanelles, the Aegean and Mediterranean seas, and by the Kerch Strait, the Sea of Azov.”

A number of modern commentators have promoted the Bosporus as the location of the Pillars of Herakles; Eberhard Zangger, Christian and Siegfried Schoppe and Werner E. Friedrich.

Arysio dos Santos in his book Atlantis [320.186] noted that “The Bosphorus was considered to be the site of the ‘Pillars of Hercules’ even before the name of these famous features was transplanted to the region of Gibraltar, where it remains stuck down to the present time. In reality, bosporus or bosphorus (or bosporos or bosphoros, rather, the Greek words from which the Latin name derives) means ‘cattle passage, oxford’ precisely because Hercules was said to have crossed there with the cattle he rustled from Geryon, in Erytheia.”

de Camp, Lyon Sprague

L. Sprague deCamp (1907-2000) is probably better known as a science fiction writer with over 120 books to his credit, including two non-fiction titles, Citadels of Mystery (First ed.: Ancient Ruins and Archaeology) [0820] and Lost Continents [0194], in which he was extremely sceptical of the reality of the Atlantis described by Plato. He offers the blunt declaration that Plato concocted the whole story, basing the tale on a mixture of the wealth of Tartessos in Spain, the destruction of the Greek island of Atalanta all intermingled with the mythology of Atlas. Although his criticism is harsh, it should be said that deCamp does display a reasonable degree of objectivity. It is probably because of his perceived integrity that other Atlantis sceptics continually trot out his views in support of their own position.

>A few years after Lost Continents was published, Nikolai Zhirov wrote a critique of the book(c), rejecting both its style and content. He notes that “the work shows a bad one-sided knowledge of geology and oceanography which is not counterbalanced by a critical examination of the published geological and oceanographical facts, although it is only by a study of these last that the Atlantis problem can be fully resolved.” Personally, I think that Zhirov’s comments are a reflection of his own bias towards an Atlantic location for Atlantis and ignore many other aspects of the Atlantis question, such as the date when Atlantis existed, as well as the identity of the Atlanteans.<

One of deCamp’s most quoted extracts is that “you cannot change all the details of Plato’s story and still claim to have Plato’s story.” While I fully endorse this comment, I must point out that there is a difference between changing and interpreting. For example when Plato refers to Asia or Libya, even deCamp accepted that in Plato’s day ‘Asia’ was not the landmass we know, stretching from the Urals to Japan, but a much smaller territory [0194.27]. In fact the term ‘Asia’ at one point was just applied to a small region of modern Turkey. Similarly, ‘Libya’ was not the country we know by that name today, but the term was often employed to designate all of North Africa west of Egypt. There are a number of other details in Plato’s narrative that require explanation or interpretation and so as long as any such elucidation is based on evidence and reason they cannot be glibly dismissed as substantive ‘changes’.

He scathingly refutes the more outlandish Atlantis theories that have deviated dramatically from Plato’s narrative, commenting that without matching the “date, location, size and island character” with the text we do not have Atlantis.

DeCamp also considered Alfred Wegner’s theory of continental drift as “very doubtful”, but corrected this statement in a 1970 edition of his book. Immanuel Velikovsky also received the sharp end of deCamp’s pen, describing his catastrophic theories as ‘mad’. Further information on deCamp can be found on the internet(a) where excerpts from his Lost Continents are also available(b).

Henry Eichner drew attention [0287] to the fact that in three books relating to Atlantis authored by deCamp he describes a ring found by Adolf Schulten at the site of Tartessos, but slightly differently in all three! In Lost Continents it is plain, in Lands Beyond it is copper, while in Ancient Ruins and Archaeology it became gold!

Frank Joseph incorrectly claimed in the July/August 2011 issue of AtlantisRising magazine that DeCamp “formerly a staunch disbeliever in Atlantis, was later convinced it did indeed exist in south-coastal Iberia.”

(a) https://www.lspraguedecamp.com/ (offline August 2016)

(b) https://books.google.com/books/about/Lost_continents.html?id=3YHwFivT-ykC

>(c) Atlantis, Volume 11, No.5, July/August 1958<

Fundamentalist Atlantology

Fundamentalist Atlantology is a term that I use to describe the idea that everything written about Atlantis by Plato, must be taken at face value. In other words when he refers to 9,000 years, this along with all the other numbers he uses in relation to the dimensions of the plain of Atlantis, its structures or its military manpower should be accepted literally! Such an acceptance flies in the face of both common sense and science, particularly in the case of Plato’s dating of Atlantis, while the dimensions he has for the ditch surrounding the plain of Atlantis were deemed incredible (his word) by Plato himself (Crit.118c), he felt obliged out of deference to Solon’s reputation he recorded the details as he received them.

Without wishing to offend anyone, I believe that acceptance, for example, of Plato’s/Solon’s numbers is comparable with the belief of religious fundamentalists who hold that creation’took just six days.

Although it is understandable that researchers have accepted Plato’s details without question, there has been extensive research over the past century into seeking more rational explanations for many of those more difficult passages in the Atlantis narrative which has produced alternative explanations that are compatible with both science and common sense.

While Plato’s 9,000 years were initially, rather glibly dismissed as a transcription error and that hundreds and not thousands had been intended, it has been demonstrated that the ancient Egyptian priesthood used a lunar calendar so that the ‘ýears’ were in fact months, which was noted in the 4th century BC by Eudoxus of Cnidos and repeated by Manetho and Diodorus Siculus. This would reduce the timeline by a factor of twelve. Another explanation was put forward by Rosario Vieni who proposed that the ‘years’ actually referred to seasons of which there are three in the Egyptian solar year. These, as far as I am aware, are the principal alternatives suggested in place of a literal reading of 9,000 years. After all, neither Athens or Egypt was home to anything more than primitive societies 9,000 years before Solon’s visit.

A further example concerns the size of Atlantis, which Plato consistently referred to as an island and never a continent and is described by him as greater than Libya and Asia combined. Irrespective of how extensive in size the Libya and Asia in question were, the Greek word for greater – meizon, actually relates to greater in strength, power or influence not extent. A few years ago Thorwald C. Franke pointed out that the traditional enemies of Egypt came from Libya and Asia, so that to describe the threat from Atlantis as greater than Libya and Asia combined indicates how great the threat from Atlantis was.

The more contentious issue of the actual location of the Pillars of Heracles, I will not go into here, suffice it to say that a number of valid competing arguments have been put forward in favour of locations other than the Strait of Gibraltar. In fact all of them could have been correct at different times, changing their position as the Greek colonists and traders gradually moved westward. Eventually, I believe that at some point in time the term simply became a metaphor for the limits of the world as generally known to the Greeks.

My point is that understandable difficulties exist in the Atlantis texts and that a number of sensible alternative explanations have been put forward, which will be individually tried and tested until a consensus emerges, in the same way that the idea of a geocentric universe was gradually replaced by the simple fact that our little planet revolves around the sun.

Luongo, Marilyn

Marilyn Luongo is a South African entrepreneur involved in social projects there(b). Her website has an unexpected section dealing with the history of the Middle East(a) of which the second half involves a review of Plato’s Atlantis account. She attempts to link Mesopotamia with Atlantis, beginning with locating the ‘Pillars of Heracles’ at the Strait of Hormuz and then using the highly controversial interpretation of ‘meizon‘ meaning ‘between’ rather than ‘greater’ she proceeds to argue that Mesopotamia is ‘between’ Asia and Libya and therefore is the home of Atlantis!>She cited a paper by Andreea Haktanir who supported this interpretation of meizon(c).<

(a) https://web.archive.org/web/20201025223607/https://www.middle-east.mavericsa.co.za/history.htm

(b) Founder’s Page (archive.org)

(c) History (archive.org) *  

 

Bering Strait

The Bering Strait between Asia and America has been a source of ongoing controversy regarding the peopling of America.

James Howell (1594-1666) relates how even in the 17th century the existence of the strait, then known as the Anian, was disputed, although at the same time there was also a theory that the nomadic Scythians had originally crossed over the Strait from America[1313].

By the end of the 18th century the importance of the Strait had been recognised, when Paul Felix Cabrera wrote “That most troublesome of all the difficulties hitherto started by authors respecting the passage of animals to America, particularly of the ferocious kinds at enmity with man, even retaining in full force the plausible reasons so ingeniously urged, if not entirely removed, is nearly surmounted by the discovery and examination of Anian or Behring’s straits’ which are of no greater breadth than thirteen leagues from shore to shore, and where, by means of the ice, the two continents of Asia and America are connected; this would afford a practical route not only for animals but men, from whom it is possible to suppose that those who inhabit the most northerly countries from the straits as far as Hudson’s and Baffin’s Bays, and from the Frozen Sea to California, New Mexico, and Canada to the southward, are descended.” (s)

In certain circumstances, it is still possible to walk across the Bering Strait. “A 2.5-mile stretch divides Russia’s Big Diomede island from Alaska’s Little Diomede island. In the winter, the water separating the two islands freezes, allowing you to trek from one destination to the other.”(n) Wikipedia notes that “numerous successful crossings without the use of a boat have also been recorded since at least the early 20th century.” (o)

There is little doubt that at some point in prehistory a landbridge linked the two continents.

Although it is frequently claimed that the Hadji Ahmed Map of 1559 shows a landbridge between the two continents, it only appears to be so because of the way the map is drawn.

A recent paper(a) by Heather Pringle and Krista Langlois offers evidence that the link was more than just an isthmus, but was in fact a vast area of land, Beringia, the size of Australia and that it provided a crossing point, for humans and animals earlier and for longer than previously believed (See map above right).

After crossing the Strait there were two southward routes, one along the coast and the other via what is known as the Ice-Free Corridor Route which ran between two vast ice sheets, the Laurentide to the east and the Cordilleran to the west(c). According to a 2018 report(i), the coastal route which followed deglaciation was physically and environmentally viable for early human migration to the Americas.” Another report in 2018 claims that the earliest settlers in America were island-hopping sea-farers from Asia(j)(k).

However, there is now compelling evidence that people reached South America before the existence of the northern ice-free corridor, suggesting the alternative coastal migration route, which, so far, has little evidence to support it. This recent report is the result of excavations at the Huaca Prieta ceremonial mound, 600 Km north of the Peruvian capital, Lima. Human activity there has now been dated to around 15,000 years ago(e). Further evidence has now emerged(p) that the peopling of America was not carried out by a single group, but by immigrants from different geographical areas.

Professor Jody Hey of Rutgers University published in 2011 the results of his North American DNA studies, which confirmed the arrival of the first migrants from Asia around 14,000 years ago in a group of not more than 70 people(r).

Pre-Columbian contact between Asia and Alaska was confirmed by a report(b) from Purdue University in September 2016. Artifacts were discovered in a house dated between 700 and 900 years old. The bronze items were identified as having been smelted in Asia, while a leather strap was radio carbon-dated to between 500 and 800 years old.

Another 2016 report(d) added genetic evidence for the Beringia migration route, when the remains of two infants, dated to around 10,000 years ago were discovered at the Upward Sun River site in Alaska.

>Further supportive evidence of the use of the Beringia landbridge was uncovered at Alaska’s Swan Point site where human occupation has been dated as far back as 14,000 years ago. “Another notable aspect of Swan Point is the role it has played in understanding  the prehistoric migration of peoples into the Americas. A type of stone tool, the microblade, which was unearthed at the site, has been found to resemble those used by the Dyuktai people, who lived in Siberia around the same period. This shows that people crossed from Siberia to Alaska on the  Beringia land bridge.”(t)<

The ‘received wisdom’ regarding the origins of the Clovis people was that they had crossed into the Americas from Asia via the Bering Strait 12,000 years ago. This has been challenged in a book[1516] by two archaeologists, Dennis J. Stanford and Bruce A. Bradley, who claim “that the first Americans crossed the Atlantic by boat and arrived earlier than previously thought. Supplying archaeological and oceanographic evidence to support this assertion, the book dismantles the old paradigm while persuasively linking Clovis technology with the culture of the Solutrean people who occupied France and Spain more than 20,000 years ago.” In 2014, Stephen Oppenheimer endorsed the work of Stanford and Bradley(h). Coincidentally, an article(m) in the August 2017 edition of Antiquity offers evidence that humans lived in Brazil more than 20,000 years ago, which is many millennia before the Clovis people arrived in North America.

A sceptical view of their work should also be read(f). Furthermore, in 2016 the Solutrean Hypothesis also appears to have been contradicted by recent genetic studies(g).

Late August 2019 saw the dating controversy surrounding the arrival of the First Americans re-ignited with a study that pushes the date back to over 16,000 years ago(l). This is based on archaeological discoveries at Cooper’s Ferry in Idaho. This earlier date suggests that the ice-free corridor would not have been available to these people, but are more likely to have used the coastal route from Asia via the Bering Strait. A secondary matter raised by these finds is that “Based on their analysis of the stone tools from Cooper’s Ferry, the researchers suggest that they are most similar to artifacts of the same general period found on the other side of the Pacific. Specifically, they appear to share many traits with tools produced on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido 13,000-16,000 years ago!”

The idea that the Clovis people were the first Americans is gradually losing support as the evidence found at Cooper’s Ferry and other sites indicate otherwise. A recent paper on the National Geographic website supports such a revised view(q).

The only direct connection of the Bering Strait with Atlantis has been suggested by Albert. M. Chelchelnitsky, who proposed that Atlantis had been situated in Alaska and placed the Pillars of Herakles in the Strait itself.

(a) https://www.hakaimagazine.com/article-long/sunken-bridge-size-continent

(b) https://westerndigs.org/asian-metal-found-in-alaska-reveals-trade-centuries-before-european-contact/

(c) https://web.archive.org/web/20151114195842/https://www.sfu.museum/journey/an-en/secondaire1er-middle/route_libre_de_glace-ice_free_route

(d) https://www.ancient-origins.net/ancient-places-americas/children-upward-sun-river-11500-year-old-remains-shed-light-alaska-s-021109

(e) https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/05/traces-some-south-america-s-earliest-people-found-under-ancient-dirt-pyramid

(f) https://www.academia.edu/5119515/On_thin_ice_Problems_with_Stanford_and_Bradley_s_Solutrean-Clovis_hypothesis

(g) https://news.ku.edu/2015/12/17/genetic-data-does-not-support-ancient-trans-atlantic-migration-professor-says

(h) https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00438243.2014.966273?journalCode=rwar20

(i) https://popular-archaeology.com/article/along-alaskas-pacific-coast-early-humans-could-have-migrated-to-the-americas/

(j) https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/30/science/boulders-americas-migration.html?smtyp=cur&smid=tw-nytimesscience

(k) https://gizmodo.com/humans-may-have-reached-north-america-by-more-than-one-1828194893?lR=T

(l)  First Americans Arrived More Than 16,000 Years Ago, According To Find In Idaho | Discover Magazine (archive.org)

(m) https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/science-ticker/stone-age-people-brazil-20000-years-ago

(n) https://www.farandwide.com/s/amazing-geography-facts-d9d661749cad43df?utm_campaign=geographyfacts-784179a2ed294a2c&utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=out&aid=008d034cf1b163e30d943e921a0636ed90&utm_term=The+Primary+Market+%28Wazimo%29&dicbo=v1-29f4a6cf44bc9d8c64c5f64ebad4fcf4-008d034cf1b163e30d943e921a0636ed90-gu4taylemmygkllgmu3toljugnswcllbgmytmljxgmztcyjrmezdmojwmi

(o) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bering_Strait

(p) https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/skeleton-mexico-tulum-paleoindian-population-americas-anthropology-a9319641.html

(q) https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/2019/08/coopers-landing-idaho-site-americas-oldest/

(r) https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1385290/North-America-populated-70-people-claims-stunning-new-DNA-research.html

(s) https://olivercowdery.com/texts/1822DRio.htm

>(t) Swan Point Alaska’s Unique Stone Tools Are Proof of Beringia Theory | Ancient Origins (ancient-origins.net)<

Bambrough, Sean

Sean Bambrough is a New Zealand researcher of ancient mysteries. Since 1999 he has been developing a theory that places Plato’s Atlantis in the Andes and identifies its city as Tiwanaku. He has published 37 pages of notes in support of this contention(a)(c). A reader will find them tough going and at times repetitious, but it is clear that he has put a lot of study into the subject even if he has, in my opinion, produced a very flawed theory.

Several researchers have assumed that when Plato referred to an ‘opposite continent’ he was referring to the Americas, however, Herodotus, who flourished after Solon and before Plato, was quite clear that there were only three continents known to the Greeks, Europe, Asia and Libya [4.42].

Bambrough’s first major error is to equate the sinking of Atlantis with the uplifting of the Andes! The Andes are rising at a rate of some millimetres per year. and the geological evidence is that in the past the uplift rate was somewhat more rapid, which “in geologic terms, rapid means rising one kilometer or more over several millions of years.”(b)(e)

There is no evidence that the cataclysmic upheaval described by him could have occurred around 1400BC. He does not explain how these newly elevated mountains created muddy shoals that made the Atlantic impassable.

As I have already argued in respect of Jim Allen’s Andean theory, the idea of an invasion of the eastern Mediterranean by an army from the west side of South America is untenable. That they would try it in reed boats like those of Titicaca is equally daft. Then, this mighty army from ten regions of South America was defeated by the small city-state of Athens is equally laughable.

I could go on, but just a final couple of points; Plato never described Atlantis as a continent and Kircher’s speculative map depicts Atlantis quite clearly in our Atlantic Ocean between Spain and America.

Bambrough has recently updated his website(d), however, his writing style is as irritating as ever, in particular his excessive use of retronyms (forward slashes).

In 2017, he published(f) an extended ‘check-list’ which he feels supports his location theory. This offering is far too long and repetitious. It is clearly a triumph of quantity over quality

>In 2021, Bambrough has now published his paper/ebook on the academia.edu website(g). This migration has done nothing to improve the quality of its content. It is just a huge collection of lists, most of which could be discarded.<

(a) https://atlantisonline.smfforfree2.com/index.php/topic,33901.0.html

(b) https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140421135926.htm

(c) https://atlantisonline.smfforfree2.com/index.php/topic,33831.15.html

(d)  https://atlantipedia.ie/samples/archive-2674/

(e) https://www.rochester.edu/newscenter/taking-the-pulse-of-mountain-formation-in-the-andes/

(f) https://www.allempires.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=36133 (link broken Dec. 2019)

 

(g)  https://www.academia.edu/61088843/Atlantis_Found_in_the_Andes_by_V_Sean_Bambrough *

Meizon

Meizon is given the sole meaning of  ‘greater’  in the respected Greek Lexicon of Liddell & Scott. Furthermore, in Bury’s translation of sections 20e -26a of Timaeus there are eleven instances of Plato using megas (great) meizon (greater) or megistos (greatest). In all cases, great or greatest is employed except just one, 24e, which uses the comparative meizon, which Bury translated as ‘larger’! J.Warren Wells concluded that Bury’s translation in this single instance is inconsistent with his other treatments of the word and it does not fit comfortably with the context[787.85]. This inconsistency is difficult to accept, so although meizon can have a secondary meaning of ‘larger’ it is quite reasonable to assume that the primary meaning of ‘greater’ was intended.

>Jürgen Spanuth addressed this problem in Atlantis-The Mystery Unravelled [017.109] noting that “In other parts of the Atlantis report misunderstandings easily arose. Plato asserts that Atlantis was ‘larger’, ‘more extensive’ (meizon),than Libya and Asia Minor. The Greek word ‘meizon’ can mean both ‘larger in size’ and ‘more powerful.’ As the size of the Atlantean kingdom is given between two hundred and three hundred miles, whereas Asia Minor is considerably bigger, in this context the word ‘meizon’ should be translated not by ‘larger in size’ but by ‘more powerful’, which corresponds much better to the actual facts.”<

In 2006, on a now-defunct website of his, Wells noted that Greater can mean larger, but this meaning is by no means the only possible meaning here; his overall usage of the word may show he meant greater in some other way.”

It is also worth considering that Alexander the Great, (Aléxandros ho Mégas) was so-called, not because of his physical size, apparently, he was short of stature, but because he was a powerful leader. 

The word has entered Atlantis debates in relation to its use in Timaeus 24e ’, where Plato describes Atlantis as ‘greater’ than Libya and Asia together and until recently has been most frequently interpreted to mean greater ‘in size’, an idea that I previously endorsed. However, some researchers have suggested that he intended to mean greater ‘in power’.

Other commentators do not seem to be fully aware that ‘Libya’ and ‘Asia’ had completely different meanings at the time of Plato. ‘Libya’ referred to part or all of North Africa, west of Egypt, while ‘Asia’ was sometimes applied to Lydia, a small kingdom in what is today Turkey. Incidentally, Plato’s  statement also demonstrates that Atlantis could not have existed in either of these territories as ‘a part cannot be greater than the whole.’

A more radical, but less credible, interpretation of Plato’s use of ‘meizon’ came from the historian P.B.S. Andrews suggested that the quotation has been the result of a misreading of Solon’s notes. He maintained that the text should be read as ’midway between Libya and Asia’ since in the original Greek there is only a difference on one letter between the words for midway (meson) and larger than (meizon). This suggestion was supported by the classical scholar J.V. Luce and more recently on Marilyn Luongo‘s website(a).

>Luongo attempted to link Mesopotamia with Atlantis, beginning with locating the Pillars of Heracles at the Strait of Hormuz and then using the highly controversial interpretation of ‘meizon‘ meaning ‘between’ rather than ‘greater’ she proceeded to argue that Mesopotamia is ‘between’ Asia and Libya and therefore is the home of Atlantis! She cited a paper by Andreea Haktanir to justify this interpretation of meizon(a).<

This interpretation is quite interesting, particularly if the Lydian explanation of ‘Asia’ mentioned above is correct. Viewed from either Athens or Egypt we find that Crete is located ‘midway’ between Lydia and Libya.

In 2021, Diego Ratti, proposed in his new book Atletenu [1821], an Egyptian location for Atlantis, centred on the Hyksos capital, Avaris. In that context, he found it expedient to interpret ‘meizon’ in Tim. 24e & Crit.108e as meaning between Libya and Asia, which Avaris clearly is. I pressed Ratti on this interpretation and, after further study, he responded with a more detailed explanation for his conclusion(d). This is best read in conjunction with the book.

In relation to all this, Felice Vinci has explained that ancient mariners measured territory by the length of its coastal perimeter, a method that was in use up to the time of Columbus. This would imply that the island of Atlantis was relatively modest in extent – I would speculate somewhere between the size of Cyprus and Sardinia. An area of such an extent has never been known to have been destroyed by an earthquake.

Until the 21st century, it was thought by many that meizon must have referred to the physical size of Atlantis rather than its military power. However, having read a paper[750.173] delivered by Thorwald C. Franke at the 2008 Atlantis Conference, I was persuaded otherwise.  His explanation is that “for Egyptians, the world of their ‘traditional’ enemies was divided in two: To the west, there were the Libyans, to the east there were the Asians. If an Egyptian scribe wanted to say, that an enemy was more dangerous than the ‘usual’ enemies, which was the case with the Sea Peoples’ invasion, then he would have most probably said, that this enemy was ‘more powerful than Libya and Asia put together’”.

This is a far more elegant and credible explanation than any reference to physical size, which forced researchers to seek lost continental-sized land masses and apparently justified the negativity of sceptics. Furthermore, it reinforces the Egyptian origin of the Atlantis story, demolishing any claim that Plato concocted the whole tale. If it had been invented by Plato he would probably have compared Atlantis to enemy territories nearer to home, such as the Persians.

This interpretation of meizon has now been ‘adopted’ by Frank Joseph in The Destruction of Atlantis[102.82], but without giving any due credit to Franke(b). No surprise there.!

(a) History (archive.org) *

(b) https://lost-origins.com/atlantis-no-lost-continent/ (offline Jan. 2018) See: Archive 2349

(c) https://web.archive.org/web/20070212101539/https://greekatlantis.com/

(d). More on Atlantis between Asia and Libya (atletenu.com)

Sceptics

Sceptics regarding the existence of Atlantis have been around since the time of Plato. The first such critic was assumed to be Aristotle, a pupil of Plato’s, who apparently denounced the Atlantis tale as an invention. However, this presumed scepticism of Aristotle has now been seriously challenged by Thorwald C. Franke in a 2012 book, Aristotle and Atlantis[706] specifically dealing with the subject. Nevertheless, Aristotle does record the existence of a large island in the Atlantic known to the Phoenicians as Antilia, inadvertently supporting Plato’s story(i).

Franke has recently outlined the extensive support for the existence of Atlantis from the earliest times in his recent German-language book[1255]. He has followed that with a YouTube video(j) in which he relates how scepticism became more extensive in the 19th century.

>Sprague deCamp was probably the most quoted Atlantis sceptic of the second half of the 20th century. He offered the blunt declaration that Plato concocted the whole story, basing the tale on a mixture of the wealth of Tartessos in Spain, and the destruction of the Greek island of Atalanta all intermingled with the mythology of Atlas.

One of deCamp’s most quoted extracts is that “you cannot change all the details of Plato’s story and still claim to have Plato’s story.” While I fully endorse this comment, I must point out that there is a difference between changing and interpreting details. For example, when Plato refers to Asia or Libya, even deCamp accepted that in Plato’s day ‘Asia’ was not the landmass we know, stretching from the Urals to Japan, but interpreted Plato’s ‘Asia’ as a reference to a much smaller territory [0194.27].<

Many modern commentators believe that in the interests of dramatic effect Plato heavily embellished the core truth underlying the story, namely that of an ancient submerged civilisation.

A claim frequently put forward by sceptics was echoed by Ian Alex Blaise, who wrote(l) that “we can summarise the ‘Timaeus and Critias’ as a parable of good (ancient Athens) triumphing over evil (Atlantis).” This, however, would appear to run counter to Plato’s narrative that records that both vanquished and victorious armies were destroyed!

Another critic, Joe Garcia, offers a paper attacking both the Minoan and Spanish location theories(m).

However, when we consider modern sceptics we find that they have been provided with unlimited ammunition by the poor scholarship of many Atlantis supporters and the outright ravings of the likes of Blavatsky, Steiner, Cayce, and a profusion of other authors, who claim to have channelled information regarding Atlantis.

Edwin Ramage, in his essay[522] on Atlantis, makes the interesting comment that “believers tend to overshadow the sceptics for the simple reason that a positive theory, whether it is simple or elaborate, tends to be more attractive and to make better reading than any attempt at refutation, no matter how well taken it may be.” This is probably akin to referenda questions being framed by governments in a manner that favours a Yes vote that will provide the outcome that they want. This is because most people prefer to say Yes rather than No.

However, if the Atlantis narrative has any truth in it, the legitimate criticisms of sceptics must be given due consideration. One such sceptic is Paul Jordan who has produced a highly critical work[418] on the subject. Jason Colavito is another vocal non-believer and has written a considerable amount on the subject(d). Several other websites(b)(c)(e) can also be recommended, in particular,  a seven-part offering by Pat Linse(b).

I recently came across a sceptic review of Atlantis theories by Justin Spring which I thought contained some novel views and although I totally disagree with his conclusions, I feel it should be given a reading(g).

While I expect that few sceptics will be reading this entry, I would recommend to anyone a paper by Karla Mclaren, a former New Age ‘believer’ who developed into a sceptic(f).

A 2015 survey by the Chapman University of California was repeated in 2016, which suggested that nearly 40% of Americans believe that an advanced prehistoric civilisation, such as Atlantis, existed, causing consternation among sceptics(h). Why they found it so depressing is hard to understand since popular belief is no guarantee that it is supported by reality. After all, it was once commonly thought that the sun revolved around the earth!

There are times when I regret that I have not had a university education and then along comes a qualified academic who manages to remove any such feeling. One of those is Seth Stein, a professor at Northwestern University, who specialises in plate tectonics, who was reported in early 2018(k) to have proposed that “one of the strongest reasons to dispel Atlantis as a true ancient civilization is the fact that we haven’t found it.” This asinine comment shows a total abandonment of critical thinking because he seems to think that because something has not been found, proves that it does not exist. For example, before Heinrich Schliemann, Troy did exist but had yet to be located. Professor Stein’s stupid statement is also built on a flawed understanding of what Plato said or more correctly, did not say. Plato never described Atlantis as a continent, as assumed by Stein and it can be reasonably argued that our Atlantic Ocean where he sought Atlantis was not the Atlantic ‘Sea’ referred to by Plato. I suggest that Stein sticks to earth sciences and leave Atlantis to others.

In October 2021, Franke published an essay on what he calls the ‘dark side’ of Atlantis scepticism, which offers an interesting overview of anti-Platonism since the time of the philosopher(n).

(b) Skeptic » Junior Skeptic » The Search for Atlantis (issue #10)   

(c) The Wild Side of Geoarchaeology Page (archive.org)

(d) https://searchatlantis.blogspot.com/2007/08/atlantis-mu-and-maya.html

(e) See: https://web.archive.org/web/20190530104546/https://www.skepticssa.org.au/html/atlantis.html

(f)  See: https://web.archive.org/web/20180605101330/https://www.csicop.org/si/show/bridging_the_chasm_between_two_cultures/

(g) https://scyllasoulspeak1.blogspot.ie/2011/06/atlantis-what-was-plato-really-up-to.html {3129}

(h) https://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/chapman-university-survey-finds-astonishing-levels-of-belief-in-ancient-astronauts-and-atlantis

(i) Strabo, II, 102 and XII, 598. Cf. Proclus In Timaeum 61a (Diehl I, p. 197).

(j) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HF62FLucvQk

(k) https://www.newsweek.com/could-lost-city-atlantis-exist-ocean-mapping-reveals-likelihood-legendary-city-828457

(l) https://www.oocities.org/debunkinglc/atlantis.html (link broken)  

(m) https://www.academia.edu/8064249/Did_Atlantis_Exist 

(n) The Dark Side of Atlantis Scepticism – Atlantis-Scout 

 

North Africa

North Africa has received considerable attention as a possible location for Atlantis since the beginning of the 19th century. Gattefosse and Butavand are names associated with early 20th century North African theorists. They, along with Borchardt, Herrmann and others have proposed locations as far west as Lixus on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, on through Tunisia and Libya and even as far east as the Nile delta.

One of the earliest writers was Ali Bey El Abbassi who discussed Atlantis and an ancient inland sea in the Sahara. The concept of such an inland sea, usually linked with Lake Tritonis, has persisted with the Chotts of Tunisia and Algeria as prime suspects. There is acceptance that a seismic/tectonic convulsion in the vicinity of the Gulf of Gabés cut off this inland sea from the Mediterranean. Diodorus Siculus records this event in his third book dating it to around 1250 BC. If such an event did not occur, how do we explain the salt laden chotts? However, proving a connection with Atlantis is another matter.

Whether this particular geological upheaval was related to the episode that destroyed parts of ancient Malta is questionable as the Maltese event was one of massive subsidence.

It should be kept in mind that Plato described the southern part of the Atlantean confederation as occupying North Africa as far eastward as Egypt (Tim.25b & Crit.114c). This of course conflicts with the idea of the Atlanteans invading from beyond ‘Pillars of Heracles’ situated at Gibraltar since they apparently already controlled at least part of the Western Mediterranean as far as Italy and Egypt.

*One of the principal arguments against Atlantis being located in North Africa is that Plato clearly referred to Atlantis as an island. However, as Papamarinopoulos has pointed out that regarding the Greek word for island, ‘nesos’ “a literary differentiation between ‘island’ and ‘peninsula’ did not exist in alphabetic Greek before Herodotus’ in the 5th century BC. Similarly, there was not any distinction between a coast and an island in Egyptian writing systems, up to the 5th century BC.” In conversation with Mark Adams[1070.198] Papamarinopoulos explains that in the sixth century BC, when Solon lived, nesos had five geographic meanings. “One, an island as we know it. Two, a promontory. Three, a peninsula. Four, a coast. Five, a land within a continent, surrounded by lakes, rivers or springs.”

Personally, from the context, I am quite happy to accept that the principal city of the Atlantean alliance existed on an island as we understand the word. This was probably north of Tunisia, where a number of possible candidates exist. However, it may be unwise to rule out a North African city just yet!

Another argument put forward that appears to exclude at least part of North Africa is that Plato, according to many translations, he refers to Atlantis as ‘greater’ than ‘Libya’ and ‘Asiacombined, using the Greek word, ‘meizon‘, which had a primary meaning of ‘more powerful’ not greater in size. Atlantis could not have been situated in either Libya or Asia because ‘a part cannot be greater than the whole’. However, if Plato was referring to military might rather than geographical extent, as seems quite likely, North Africa may indeed have been part of the Atlantean alliance, particularly as Plato describes the control of Atlantis in the Mediterranean as far Tyrrhenia and Egypt.*

 

Mediterranean Sea

The Mediterranean Sea is at the heart of the Atlantis story. Solon brings the tale back from Egypt to Athens and relates how the Atlanteans controlled the Mediterranean as far as Tyrrhenia and Egypt. The Atlanteans attack Athens and Egypt. Although the Pillars of Heracles are now generally believed to have been located at the Strait of Gibraltar, a number of other locations in the Mediterranean are known to have been similarly designated at different periods. As I have argued elsewhere, the Pillars of Heracles were undoubtedly a designation for the Strait of Gibraltar from the time of Eratosthenes, there is clear evidence that it was applied to other locations in earlier ages and probably over time, it became a metaphor for the limits of Greek maritime knowledge.

mediterraneannasa

I may be the first to claim here that modern studies of Homer’s Odysseus offer a possible argument in favour of a Central Mediterranean Atlantis. Armin Wolf, the German historian, has made a 40-year study of 80 theories regarding the route taken by Odysseus. Around 30 of these included maps, a number of which are included in Wolf’s book, Homers Reise: Auf den Spuren des Odysseus[669], a shorter version in English, including maps, is also available as a pdf file(a). It is obvious that although a reasonable degree of agreement exists between many of the theories regarding the position of the twelve specific locations recorded by Homer, those that confine the ‘wanderings’ to the Mediterranean, consistently keep all locations in the eastern basin and Central Mediterranean with the sole exception of the inclusion of Gibraltar which looks out of place on maps, with apparently nothing happening on the way there or on the return trip. Wolf’s carefully thought out route does not include Gibraltar and in my opinion is a better reflection of actual Greek seafaring knowledge and naval capabilities at that time and adds a further suggestion, however inconclusive, that the Pillars of Heracles were situated in the Central Mediterranean. Wolfgang Geisthövel follows Wolf’s conclusions in Homer’s Mediterranean[1578].

Today’s leading theories regarding the location of Atlantis are virtually all related to the Mediterranean region. Between Morocco in the west and the Black Sea in the east there is an embarrassment of suggested locations.

The principal objection to a Mediterranean location for Atlantis is frequently claimed to be the apparent physical extent of the island as described by Plato, which if accepted as written, could not have fitted anywhere in that body of water. He gives us measurements for the plain adjacent to the city as being 240×360 miles. However, it is widely agreed that most of Plato’s dimensions are highly suspect and exaggerated by as much as a factor of ten.

On the other hand, if Atlantis had been located outside the Mediterranean it is difficult to understand how the disaster that destroyed Atlantis could also have devastated Athens and its hinterland when the two locations would have been over 1700 miles apart. No single known natural disaster, such as an earthquake, could have affected the two cities at the same time. So if they were destroyed concurrently we must conclude that the two locations were situated in the same region and since Athens was clearly in the Mediterranean so must Atlantis. However, Plato does not explicitly say that the two armies were destroyed at the same time, although it seems to be implied.

As stated in the Invasion entry, all ancient empires expanded through the invasion of adjacent territories and so there is no good reason to think that Atlantis’ attack was not launched against an Athens that was within easy striking distance. This proximity could explain the inference that Atlantean and Athenian armies were destroyed simultaneously by some natural catastrophe!

Finally, please consider the following facts;

(1) Herodotus tells us that the ancient Greeks only knew of three continents, Asia, Europe and Libya (Africa) (Hist.4.42).

(2) Plato never called Atlantis a continent but consistently referred to it as an island.

(3) Finally, Herodotus also describes Sardinia as “the biggest island in the world.” (Hist.6.2)**, confirming a lack of knowledge of the world beyond the Mediterranean.

These three details taken together offer a compelling argument in favour of a Mediterranean Atlantis.

** Sicily is larger in terms of area (25,708 v 24,090 km2). However, the coastal length of Sardinia is much greater than Sicily’s (1843 v 1115 km). Felice Vinci recently explained[019] how ancient seafarers measured territory by its coastal perimeter rather than by its area, as we do today. So Herodotus was correct according to the conventions of his day.

>Cyprian Broodbank is a co-author with Giulio Lucarini of a paper(b) about Mediterranean Africa that “draws on a new surge in data to present the first up-to-date interpretative synthesis of this region’s archaeology from the start of the Holocene until the threshold of the Iron Age (9600–1000 bc).”<

(a) Wayback Machine (archive.org)

>(b) (99+) (PDF) The Dynamics of Mediterranean Africa, ca. 9600-1000 bc: An Interpretative Synthesis of Knowns and Unknowns | Giulio Lucarini – Academia.edu<