Tanit was a Carthaginian and Phoenician goddess. Immanuel Velikovsky claimed that the name of modern Tunis, near the site of Carthage, is a cognate of Tanit. She was also adopted by the Berbers and claims have been made that Tanit was also a Hyksos goddess.
The Egyptian city of Sais where Solon first learned of Atlantis had it principal temple dedicated to the goddess Neith, whom the Egyptian priests identified with Athene. In turn, Neith is also associated with the Libyan goddess Tanit.
The whole matter of the relevance of Saïs to the Atlantis story has been challenged by the theory(a) that Saïs and Tanis, named after Tanit, were in fact the same location. A starting point is the fact that the current village of Sa el Hagar adjacent to the ruins of Saïs has a counterpart at Tanis where there is a village called San el Hagar. Drawing on the writings of Strabo, Herodotus and the Bible some have concluded that the two cities were one. Velikovsky also proposed this idea in his Ramses II and His Time[0832.209], noting that “Tanis is mentioned in Scriptures as the capital of Egypt when. according to both the conventional plan and this reconstruction, Saïs was the capital.”
The island of Es Vedra off the west coast of Ibiza, the third largest of the Balearics, has had a number of imaginative myths, old and new, associated with it, including one that it is supposed to be the birthplace of Tanit!
Athens, according to tradition, was founded by the goddess Athene. It has been inhabited from around 5000 BC but it was not until the 2ndmillennium that it became an important Mycenaean centre. This conflicts with the idea that Athens engaged in a war with Atlantis around 9600 BC. It simply did not exist then.
A map Athens at the time of Plato is available online(a).
Lake Tritonis is frequently referred to by the classical writers.* Ian Wilson refers to Scylax of Caryanda as having “specifically described Lake Tritonis extending in his time over an area of 2,300 km2.“ He also cites Herodotus as confirming it as still partly extant in his time, a century later, describing it as a ‘great lagoon’, with a ‘large river’ (the Triton) flowing into it.[185.185]*
Lake Tritonis was considered the birthplace of Athene, the Greek Goddess of Wisdom, after whom Athens is named. The exact location of the lake is disputed but there is some consensus that the salty marshes or chotts of central Tunisia and North-East Algeria are the most likely candidates. It appears that these marshes were originally formed a large inland sea connected to the Mediterranean but due to seismic activity in the area were cut off from the sea. Diodorus Siculus records this event in his third book.
*I should also mention that Lake Tritonis along with the Greek island of Lemnos and the river Thermodon in northern Turkey, now known as Terme Çay, have all been associated with the Amazons(d).*
Edward Herbert Bunbury, a former British MP, included a chapter(a) on Lake Tritonis in his 1879 book on the history of ancient geography[1531.v1.316].
In 1883, Edward Dumergue, published a brief study of the Tunisian chotts, which he concluded were the remnants of an ancient inland sea that had been connected to the Mediterranean Sea at the Gulf of Gabes.
Lucile Taylor Hansen in The Ancient Atlantic, has included a speculative map taken from the Reader’s Digest showing Lake Tritonis, around 11.000 BC, as a megalake covering much of today’s Sahara, with the Ahaggar Mountains turned into an island. Atlantis is shown to the west in the Atlantic.
In modern times, Alberto Arecchi has taken the idea further and suggested that the inland sea, where the chotts are now, was the original ‘Atlantic Sea’ and that the city of Atlantis was situated on an extended landmass to the east of Tunisia and connected to Sicily due to a lower sea level. Arecchi’s identification of the chotts with Lake Tritonis has now been adopted by Lu Paradise in a May 2015 blog(c). The Qattara Depression of Northern Egypt also contains a series of salt lakes and marshes and is believed by others to have been Lake Tritonis.
Cindy Clendenon is the author of a book on hydromythology in which she concludes that “the now-extinct Lake Tritonis once was a Cyrenaican lagoon-sabkha complex near today’s Sabkha Ghuzayyil and Marsa Brega, Libya.”(b).
Athene is the goddess that gave her name to the Greek capital. Interestingly the pre-Hellenic people of Greece, the Pelasgians, believed that the goddess Athene or Athena was born beside Lake Tritonis in Libya. The North Africans had a legendary queen called Tin Hanan that Dr. Chaouat identified with Athene [(A)tin-ha(nan)]. De Prorok claimed to have found her tomb.
Both are similarly represented, Neith with a bow and arrow, Athene with a shield and spear. Neith is also associated with the Libyan goddess Tanit.
Some commentators have sought to link Athene with the Egyptian god Aten, while one website(a)(b) has claimed that Athene was the biblical Eve. The latter idea is also expressed on the Answers in Genesis website(c).
(c) See Archive 2500)
Panathenaea was an important annual festival of Pallas Athene that according to tradition dated from the time of the legendary king Theseus. From 566 BC Pisistratus, the Athenian aristocrat, arranged that every fourth year, when the festival would be known as the Greater Panathenaea, music and poetry competitions were included, together with games and the festival was extended by three or four days.
During annual Lesser Panathenaea there was a solemn procession to the Acropolis in thanksgiving to Athene for having saved the city, giving it victory over the ‘nation of Poseidon’. Ammianus Marcellinus recounts how the peplum, a richly embroidered robe of Minerva (the Roman equivalent of Athena) was carried in this procession, on which could be seen a representation of the war between the Athenians and the Atlantides. That this was a clear reference to the defeat of the Atlanteans is supported by Humboldt, Böckh, Donnelly[1179.91], Baldwin[0653.396] and Joseph.
*Justin Winsor relates the same story with some minor changes “In the Scholia to Plato’s Republic it is said that at the great Panathenaea there was carried in procession a peplum ornamented with representations of the contest between the giants and the gods, while on the peplum carried in the little Panathenaea could be seen the war of the Athenians against the Atlantides. Even Humboldt accepted this as an independent testimony in favor of the antiquity of the story ; but Martin has shown that, apart from the total inconsistency of the report with the expressions of Plato, who places the narration of this forgotten deed of his countrymen at the celebration of the festival of the little Panathenaea, the scholiast has only is read Proclus, who states that the peplum depicted the repulse of the barbarians, i.e. Persians, by the Greeks.” [1673.1.42]
The Persian interpretation is a minority view, which is greatly weakened by the fact that this ceremony was performed at least 138 years before Plato was even born would appear to demonstrate that he could not have invented the existence of Atlantis and in fact the celebratory procession was inaugurated long before the Persian Wars began. Apart from that, the ancient Greeks arrogantly referred to all non-Greeks as ‘barbarians’ and could, in this instance, be applied more aptly to the Atlanteans rather than the Persians.*
The Parian Marble allows us to calculate the date of the first Panathenaea occurring in 1506/5 BC. If ‘the nation of Poseidon’ is not a reference to Atlantis, what does it refer to? One suggestion, perhaps more contentious, is that it is an illusion to the Sea Peoples.
The contest between Athena and Poseidon on the West pediment of the Acropolis is related to the later conflict between Erechtheus, an early king of Athens, and the Eleusinians under the leadership of Eumolpos. Keep in mind that Poseidon is the father of Eumolpos, dated by some to reigning around 1400 BC.
New research by Professor Efrosyni Boutsikas of the University of Kent has shown(a) that the start of the annual festival was signalled by the appearance of the Draco constellation over the Erechtheion on the Acropolis of Athens.
Egypt occupies the northeastern corner of Africa. However, the ancient Egyptians considered themselves as Asian (Tim. 24b). In practical terms its territory consisted of a few miles either side of the Nile and its large Delta. In an expansionist period in the 2nd millennium BC, Egypt controlled parts of what are now Israel, Lebanon and Syria. Over its long history, Egypt itself was overrun by a variety of invaders – Hyksos, Kushites, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks and Romans.
Egypt was viewed by the Greeks of Plato’s time as guardians of ancient history and wisdom and consequently was a place of pilgrimage for many of its greatest philosophers, who travelled there to be initiated into the cults of Isis and Osiris. Gustav Parthey (1798-1872), the German antiquarian, researched the education of 40 leading philosophers, writers and politicians of ancient Greece and found that all had studied under Egyptian priests. Clement of Alexandria (150-215 AD) suggested that Plato travelled to Heliopolis and was a disciple of the Egyptian priest Sechnuphis. Other classical writers such as Strabo and Plutarch have confirmed this(i).
In spite of this the Greeks arrogantly referred to all non-Greeks, including the Atlanteans (Crit. 113a) as ‘barbarians’. It is of interest that Athene after whom the Greek capital is named, originated in Egypt where she was worshipped as Neith.
The late Philip Coppens went as far as to suggest(a) that Greece was in fact an Egyptian colony!
Plato’s text seems to infer that the destruction of Atlantis in 9600 BC was contemporary with Egyptian civilisation, raising archaeological questions regarding the earliest date for the establishment of an organised society in Egypt. Unfortunately, there is not a lot to support this contention. The oldest known art in Egypt was discovered in 2007 when petroglyphs estimated to be 15,000 years old. The earliest culture along the Nile, identified by archaeologists is that of what is known as the Badarian dated to around 4500 BC. They produced basic pottery, jewellery and used stone tools although they had some knowledge of metals. The Badarians were followed by the Naqada who led on to what we identify as the spectacular ancient Egyptian civilisation. However, in 2007, rock carvings, similar in style to the Lascaux paintings were discovered near the village of Qurta, 650km south of Cairo. The 160 carvings, spread over 1.5km of rock face, discovered so far, mainly depict wild bulls and have been dated to 13000 BC(h)
September 2013 saw the publication(c)(d) of a more definitive date for the start of the state of Egypt, beginning with the reign of king Aha circa 3100 BC. The evidence indicated that the process of moving from the pre-Dynastic groupings to a form of statehood was more rapid than previous thought. This undermines even more firmly the claims of the Egyptians that their country was founded around 8,600 BC as reported by Plato.
It is not surprising that ancient Egypt has presented us with very many unanswered questions, some of which have been compiled, posted on Wikipedia but subsequently removed(g).
Many writers have remarked how all aspects of ancient Egyptian culture seem to have arrived fully developed, in fact later dynasties did not surpass some of the achievements of the earlier ones. The conclusion of some is that the fully matured civilisation of the early Egyptians was in fact a legacy from elsewhere.
Sanchuniathon refers to the original kings of Egypt calling them ‘Aleteans’. Albert Slosman claims that survivors from Atlantis had migrated to Egypt. The archaeologist, Marcelle Weissen-Szumianska, in a 1965 book, Origines Atlantiques des Anciens Egyptiens , maintained that the pre-pharaonic Egyptians originated in Atlantis, which had been situated in Morocco! Others suggest that Egypt was an Atlantean colony. The idea was brought to a ridiculous level by Augustus Le Plongeon who claimed that Egypt was a Mayan colony!
A more grounded study by Alapan Roy Chowdhury investigates the claim put forward by some researchers that there are remarkable similarities between the cultures of ancient India and Egypt. “Was there a real connection or are these similarities only coincidences?”(j)
Robert Schoch has controversially dated the construction of the Sphinx to between 7000-5000 BC, while the megalithic structures at Nabta Playa suggest a sophisticated culture in that region around 5000 BC. Even if both these early dates are correct they are still over four and a half millennia short of Plato’s date. These most likely explanation is that Plato’s number of 9,000 years before Solon is incorrect as 9000 is too neat and may have been a siglum used to express a large but uncertain number or is an exaggeration just as today we speak of having ‘a million and one things to do’.
In 1897, a Russian scientist, A.N. Karnozhitsky was probably the earliest commentator to propose a close link between Egypt and Atlantis, placing the Pillars of Heracles near Sais and located Atlantis itself not far from the western mouth of the Nile.
Some years ago, Egypt was again been proposed as the original Atlantis, in a still (Mar. 2017) unpublished book, The Joshua Crossing, by N. R. James. However, 2006 did see a paper presented by Professor Hossam Aboulfotouh of Minia University, Egypt, placed Atlantis in the Nile Delta. The following year R. McQuillen also offered an Egyptian location for Atlantis, placing it at Pharos near Alexandria.
>More recently (March 2021), Diego Ratti, published Atletenu , in which he placed Atlantis in Egypt, with its capital located at Avaris, better know before now as the capital of the Hyksos. He questions a number of the English translations of the Greek text, offering his own where ‘appropriate’. The book is carefully constructed and well illustrated, but, although he appears to match a number of Plato’s Atlantis details with the Nile Delta, there was not enough to convince me.<
A novel idea has been put forward by Mary Whispering Wind(b), who bravely offers the idea that the Atlantean province of Egypt was in fact, Colchis, situated on the east coast of the Black Sea! She bases her claim on an interpretation of Herodotus (Book II.104/5) who was commenting on circumcision being only practiced by Egyptians, Ethiopians and Colchians, in my mind, stretching what Herodotus said beyond the acceptable.
An even more radical suggestion was made by Reinoud M. de Jong in a 2009 paper(f) where he boldly claimed “that during the whole period of the (Michigan) copper trade, America was part of the Egyptian Empire” and during the Old Kingdom “this huge empire was known as Atlantis”!
One blogger, from California, has gone so far as to suggest that the ‘Egypt’ which Solon visited was on the shores of the Sea of Marmara!(e)
(a) See Archive 2136
Saïs was a city on the Nile delta which, according to archaeology, existed at least from 3000 BC. Diodorus Siculus claimed that Saïs had been built by the Athenians before the flood of Deucalion (Histories 5.57). The present settlement is called Sa el Hagar. The Septuagint version of the Bible identifies Saïs with Pelusium, mentioned in Ezekiel 30:12-15. During the 7th century BC it became the capital of the pharaohs of the 26th Dynasty.
Saïs is the Egyptian city where Solon originally learned of the story of Atlantis. It housed the principal shrine of the Egyptian goddess Neith who has been identified with Athene. The Greek writer Charax of Pergamon (c. 200 AD) reflected this connection when he wrote that the citizens of Saïs referred to themselves as Athenai and Diodorus Siculus states that the Athenians claim to have originally come from Saïs.*There is an ancient, if disputed, tale that Cecrops, the first king of Athens established the city with colonists from Saïs.
This of course conflicts with Plato, who, in Timaeus (23e)* informs us that the city of Saïs (not Egypt, as some assume) was founded one thousand years after the city of Athens or 8,000 years before Solon’s visit. This, however, creates a problem, as it suggests that Athens was established at the same time that it fought and defeated a powerful invader!
No remains of the temples, with their celebrated inscribed pillars, have as yet been discovered. However, excavations are proceeding under the sponsorship of the Egypt Exploration Society and the University of Durham led by Dr. Penelope Wilson(b).
The whole matter of the relevance of Saïs to the Atlantis story has been challenged by a theory on the Internet(a) that Saïs and Tanis were in fact the same location. A starting point is the fact that the current village of Sa el Hagar adjacent to the ruins of Saïs has a counterpart at Tanis where there is a village called San el Hagar. Drawing on the writings of Strabo, Herodotus and the Bible some have concluded that the two cities were one. Immanuel Velikovsky proposed this idea in his Ramses II and His Time[832.209].