9,000 is arguably the most important number in Plato’s Atlantis narrative. It is found in Critias 108e describing the number of years between the war with Atlantis and the time of Solon’s visit to Egypt. However, in Timaeus 23e it is also given as the number of years since the foundation of Athens.
Taken at face value, it implies that around 9600 BC Atlantis launched an attack on Athens and Egypt. However, archaeologically this makes no sense as the is no evidence of structured societies at either location until many thousands of years later.
Nevertheless, it should be noted that when Greek numerical notation was developing, 9,000 was the largest value that could be expressed by a single character. Later, it was sometimes used to describe a large but indefinite amount. A Bible study site tells us that “The use of definite numerical expressions in an indefinite sense, that is, as round numbers, which is met with in many languages, seems to have been very prevalent in Western Asia from early times to the present day.”(a)
This apparent contradiction has baffled commentators for centuries. The ancient Egyptians had three calendars, solar, lunar and seasonal. As the solar years made little sense, attention turned to the lunar calendar used for religious purposes, keeping in mind that Solon received the Atlantis story from priests. Dividing 9,000 lunar cycles by 13 gives us around 692 solar years or circa 1300 BC for the war with Atlantis, which in isolation is more credible.
However, there are many other large numbers used by Plato in the Atlantis narrative relating to the military strength and dimensions of architectural features, which also seem to be exaggerations and, in my opinion, are all seeingly inflated to a similar degree! As I see it, there are two possible solutions. Either the numbers are the result of a variety of unrelated translations and/or transcription errors or we must consider the possibility that there is a single explanation for all the apparent anomalies. Reluctantly, I have suggested ‘factor ten‘ as the most likely solution.
>However, there are other details in the Atlantis narrative that conflict with this early date for the war with Atlantis. Plato clearly states that following the submergence of Atlantis its remains lay in shallow waters creating a maritime hazard and continuing to remain a danger to shipping until at least Plato’s time (Tim 25d). Since 9600 BC saw the ending of the last ice age, sea levels have risen 400 feet since then with minimal increases during the last couple of millennia. Shallows created in 9600 BC could not have lasted until Plato’s day.<
>Additionally, the earliest known solid wheels were not in use until the 5th millennium BC and were not developed as the lighter spoked wheels, suitable for chariots, until a millennium or more later. So when Plato refers to the Atlanteans having 10,000 chariots (Crit.119a), he could not have been referring to an army in 9600 BC. Furthermore, the greatest chariot battle in history took place in what is now Syria at the Battle of Kadesh in 1275 BC, between the Egyptians and the Hittites. The total number of chariots involved was between 5,000 and 6,000. In other words, a literal acceptance of what Plato wrote suggests that the Atlanteans had twice the number of chariots as that of the opponents at Kadesh combined. On top of that, those that accept the Atlantis story try to tell us that the Atlanteans had 10,000 chariots, eight thousand years earlier than Kadesh, millennia before chariots were invented!<
>Add to that, the clear evidence that horse domestication doesn’t appear in the archaeological record until about 5,500 years ago(b). Plato records that Atlantis had horse racing (117C) and horse baths (117b)! Not in 9600 BC.<
Victor Staner (Captain Vic), like so many others before him, is absolutely convinced that he has located Atlantis. His research led him to the region of the Azores in the Atlantic, where Google Earth enabled him to match underwater features with details in Plato’s text.
Staner has described his theory in greater detail on his website(a), where there is a link to the relevant pdf file, which can be downloaded(b).
My objection to this location, is that there is no explanation of either why or how a hypothetical civilisation in the Atlantic would launch an attack on an Athens over 4,000 km away around 9,600 BC, millennia before that city even existed?
Peter Marshall (1946- ) is a British philosopher, historian and full-time writer. Included in his output is Europe’s Lost Civilisation , which offers us his interesting overview of the megalithic remains of Europe based on personal his personal observation during a voyage from Scotland to Malta.
Marshall, in reviewing Anton Mifsud’s theory of a Maltese Atlantis, dismisses the idea on the grounds that it seriously conflicts with Plato’s date of around 9,600 BC as the date for the demise of Atlantis. He shares with many others a reluctance to challenge Plato’s date in spite of the fact that it conflicts with commonsense and archaeology in so far as Atlantis could not have attacked either Athens or Egypt, as in the tenth millennium BC Athens did not even exist and there is no evidence of any structured society in Egypt. Combined with which is another fact, namely, that all of Plato’s large numbers seem to be exaggerations.
Regarding Atlantis Marshall has decided to ‘sit on the fence’ noting that “Yet while the myth of Atlantis has not been proved, neither has it been disproved, and it must remain a mystery waiting to be solved”
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.
Marco Goti is the Italian author of The Island of Plato in which he attempts to demonstrate that Atlantis was situated in Greenland. I say attempts because, in my opinion, he fails dismally. He starts by locating the Pillars of Heracles in the Atlantic, with one side being the basaltic columns at the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland and their counterparts across the sea in Scotland’s Isle of Staffa. This idea was touted by W. C. Beaumont over sixty years earlier(a).
>The Cyclopean Islands off the east coast of Sicily near Mt. Etna referred to by Homer in his Odyssey are also known for their basaltic columns.<
Goti then moves on to Iceland, which he identifies as Thule and spends too much time describing a variety of unpronounceable locations there. He eventually heads for Greenland, which he contends must be Atlantis as it is greater than Libya and Asia combined, ignoring that Plato was referring to might rather than size. Goti posits the huge plain described by Plato to have been situated in the centre of Greenland, ignoring the fact that ice cores dated to over 100,000 years have been identified there, and apart from which the huge island is not submerged. He offers two papers with extracts from his book(b)(c) as well as some evidence of neolithic activity in Greenland(d).
Goti decries other promoters of Atlantis theories for ignoring details in Plato’s account that don’t fit their particular ideas and then he moves Athens to Sweden, has Atlantis above water for hundreds of thousands of years, no elephants, no two annual crops and does not explain how Greenland Atlanteans controlled southern Italy as far as Tyrrhenia, all of which demands a thumbs down from me.
The Origin of the Atlantis Narrative is declared by Plato to have been Egyptian as it was brought to Athens from Egypt by Solon. This is the almost universally accepted provenance of the story. However, other suggestions have emerged from time to time.
Another even more exotic claim(a) is that Plato’s Atlantis story was a reworking of the destruction of Lankapura as recorded in the Ramayana(b), one of the two great Hindu epic poems.
(a) https://archives.sundayobserver.lk/2001/pix/PrintPage.asp?REF=/2013/03/17/mon06.asp (Offline Sept.2017 – See Archive 2058)
(b) http://www.valmikiramayan.net/ (link broken)
P. Philip Flambas is the Australian author of Plato’s Caribbean Atlantis. The self-explanatory title makes Dr Flambas’ objective clear. The book was published in Australia and is a hefty 932 pages and is also available as a Kindle ebook. The book is so enormous that a full critique would require another book. He outlined his theories on the Ancient Origins website(b).
In my opinion, the book has many flaws and is just a case of quantity masquerading as quality. One of my first gripes is that the author places Atlantis in the 10th millennium BC, a period during which there is NO archaeological evidence for any structured societies in either Egypt or Athens.
Even more ridiculous, is his suggestion that the Atlantean Empire was centred in the Caribbean and included what are now the U.S. states around the Gulf of Mexico, all of Mesoamerica and all the countries along the northern coast of South America. Then realising that Plato had also described Atlantean territory that included parts of Europe and North Africa, Flambas added them as well for good measure. Flambas accepts that the Atlantean territory included parts of Europe and North Africa but that, apparently unknown to Plato, the capital of this empire was in the Caribbean! I don’t find that credible, but readers will have to decide for themselves.
Eleven millennia later, Europe could not keep control of its American colonies even with improved navigation, vessels and weaponry, so how did his Caribbean Atlantis manage the control of its European territory?
Furthermore, Flambas is incorrect in saying that Plato noted that part of Atlantean territory extended as far as the Tyrrhenian Sea, in fact, he said that they controlled as far as Tyrrhenia (Timaeus 25b & Critias 114c), in other words, they held part of southern Italy. Even without that, if parts of the Western Mediterranean had been occupied by Atlanteans from the Caribbean, it is hard to believe that some knowledge of the existence of the Americas was not well known throughout the whole Mediterranean region, sailors not being known as the most tight-lipped people. But Flambas claims that this knowledge was not available to Europeans until Columbus, eleven thousand years.
Flambas has a large section on empires and their development through the occupation of contiguous territory, which I fully agree with, yet he proposes that these ancient Atlanteans preferred to expand across the wild Atlantic to colonise the Mediterranean rather than the easier option of pushing either north into North America or south into the equally valuable South America with shorter supply lines. Expansion across the Atlantic makes no sense.
On a more positive note, as a layman, I think that Dr Flambas has done creditable original work with his “Hydraulic Hypothesis” which relates to a modification of our view of Plate Tectonics. The extensive geological research carried out by him is admirable, but for me, his attempt to link it with Plato’s story of Atlantis is just a speculation too far.
Finally, his book is well illustrated, but to produce a volume of this size without an index is unforgivable. I was also disappointed to find that much of Flambas’ Chronology of Atlantis Theories was copied from this site, including errors, without any attribution!
Flambas has also written on the debate surrounding the abrupt ending of Plato’s Critias(a). He concluded that “rather than Plato leaving the Critias unfinished, a more likely explanation for its abrupt ending is that it was once complete and the remainder was lost, as were thousands of other Ancient Greek literary works. That loss may also include the Hermocrates dialogue, which was possibly the first or final part of a trilogy, or yet another dialogue that would have created four related dialogues.”
In a subsequent online discussion(a) about Flambas’ paper, the most salient opposing comment came from Thorwald C.Franke who proposed that Critias was never finished and “the Hermocrates wrote since there are not any other testimonies from ancient authors. All the other dialogues have left traces in ancient literature.”
>Flambas has produced a trilogy of videos to augment his book. Part 1 is now available on the academia.edu website(c).<
Lake Titicaca is the largest lake in South America and at over three kilometres is arguably the highest navigable lake in the world**, shared by Peru and Bolivia. In spite of claims to the contrary it is a fresh water lake, but is slowly reducing in size due reduced inflow from the retreating Andean glaciers. Lake Poopó to the south has now dried out completely(a).
***Karakul in Tajikistan exists at 4,000 metres and “is so salty, it’s almost impossible to navigate a boat on it without capsizing due to the vessel riding so far out of the water.”(e)*
To the south of the lake are remarkable archaeological remains of Tiwanaku and the equally exciting Puma Punku. Both sites have produced some extreme theories regarding the builders of these monuments, their technology level and the date of their construction. Arthur Posnansky, followed by Kurt Bilau have proposed a date of circa 9500 BC as the date of fall of Tiwanaku. There are also reports of pre-Incan structures submerged in Titicaca(d) .
South of Lake Titicaca, near Lake Poopó is Pampa Aullagus, a site identified by Jim Allen as the location of Plato’s Atlantis. While there is little doubt that advanced cultures existed around Titicaca, linking the region to Plato’s story is stretching credibility to its limits. I have already argued in respect of Jim Allen’s Andean theory, that 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, that this mighty army from ten regions of South America were defeated by the small city-state of Athens is just as laughable.
Equally questionable is the idea that there was a Sumerian presence around Titicaca, in relation to which Clyde Winters quotes(b) James Bailey as well as Ruth and A. Hyatt Verrill in supporting the idea that Lake Manu in Sumerian tradition was in fact Titicaca. The controversial(c) Fuente Magna bowl is also offered as evidence of this idea.
In her book, The Secret History of the World , she argues against an Egyptian source for the Atlantis story, claiming that it is unlikely that an Egyptian priest would have described the Athenians as “the fairest and noblest race of men”, nor give greater antiquity to the Greeks than the Egyptians. Others have countered these sentiments with the suggestion that they were nothing more than diplomatic flattery on the part of the Egyptians.>Similarly, it has been argued that the Egyptian priest had referred to the city of Athens being older than the city of Sais, not all of Egypt.<
Her bizarre views on the Maltese cart ruts should be read in that entry.
Christos A. Djonis is a Greek Cypriot now living in the United States. His first book Cyprus-The Island of Aphrodite, is a travel guide to that island. He has now ventured into much deeper waters with his latest book Uchronia-Atlantis Revealed. The central core of his theory is that Atlantis lay in the Aegean Sea, to the north of Thera, which itself contained the capital city of the Atlantean confederation. He gives no credit to Paulino Zamarro who proposed a similar location fifteen years ago.
Djonis accepts 9600 BC as the time of its existence as the lower sea level then would have created a single landmass with a large central plain. Among his other claims is the idea that during the Bronze Age the Minoans “were not only heavily mining copper from the area around Lake Superior, but they were regularly carrying tobacco and other spices from the Americas back to Santorini.”(d)
He supports this link with North America with the geographical spread of the human mitochondrial DNA designated Haplogroup X. In his own words(e),
“While most geneticists today maintain that haplogroup X walked to America via the Bering Strait, genetic maps show that the furthest region east of the Mediterranean with small traces of haplogroup X, is the Altai Republic in Southern Russia. No traces of haplogroup X exist between Altai Republic and the greater region of the Great Lakes. If haplogroup X infiltrated North America via the Bering Strait, why then does the greatest concentration of haplogroup X (away from the Mediterranean) exist around the Great Lakes and not in Alaska or alongside the west coast? Most importantly, how do we otherwise explain that heavy traces of haplogroup X incidentally also exist in Scotland, Orkney Islands, Faroe islands and Iceland, essentially all the island stops to North America from Europe.”
Not unexpectedly, Jason Colavito, who denies the existence of Atlantis, wrote a highly critical review of Djonis’ claims and had further exchanges with Djonis in the comments section of his blog(i).
Even more damning is that Djonis cites the 1996 claim of Mark McMenamin that ancient Carthaginian coins depicted America. Unfortunately, Djonis was apparently unaware that in 2000, McMenamin was obliged to confirm that the coins in question were fakes(k) as revealed in his book, Phoenicians, Fakes and Barry Fell . Nevertheless, as recently as 2020 Djonis was still being quoted in the media(m)(n) as using the fake coins as evidence for the existence of Atlantis. He continued to tout this falsehood into September 2021(o).
>In a December 2022 article, Djonis suggested that Atlantis lies under 400 feet of water in the Aegean(p). Unfortunately, this conflicts with Plato’s text which tells us that as late as Plato’s time the place where Atlantis had been submerged was still a maritime hazard. Keeping in mind that Kurt Lambeck has demonstrated(q) from a study of Roman fish pens that the sea level along the Italian coast, 2000 years ago, was just 1.35 metres below today’s levels and if we add a generous additional foot to take us back to Plato’s day, we can calculate that Atlantis should now be in around 5, not 400 feet, of water.<
Djonis does not explain why Plato unambiguously stated that the Atlanteans came from the west (Tim.25b & Crit.114c) and yet Djonis’ Atlantis is situated to the southeast of Athens and north of Egypt? In fact, what Plato said was that the invasion came from the Atlantic Sea (pelagos). Although there is some disagreement about the location of this Atlantic Sea, all candidates proposed so far are far west of both Athens and Egypt.
Instead, he prefers to parrot the discredited ancient astronaut theories of Zechariah Sitchin, based on his flawed interpretation of Sumerian texts. These include claims that humans were ‘created’ by these extraterrestrial visitors. In fact, he wastes over half his book discussing UFOs and ETs.
In April 2016 Djonis had an article published on the Ancient Origins website(j), in which he discussed Sitchin’s theory of Planet X without arriving at any conclusions. Why?
I did not find Djonis convincing regarding either the Annunaki or Atlantis.
January 2016 had Djonis plunge into the muddy waters relating to the early discovery of America with a three-part article on the Ancient Origins website(f). Not unexpectedly, Jason Colavito had few caustic comments to offer on this latest offering from Djonis(g).
Recently, Djonis and I exchanged emails in which I offered some of my reasons for rejecting his ideas. Clearly unhappy with my comments, he has now used Ancient Origins to rehash(h) his flawed ideas. Included in his offering is a sarcastic reference to me as an ‘expert’, a title I have never used or claimed. Apart from his support for the idea of ancient astronauts, which he carefully avoided in this recent article, my main gripe is that Djonis’ is content to discard elements in Plato’s account without any justifiable reason. Djonis presumptuously wrote of me that there is “no doubt in his mind that Atlantis was a myth.” On the contrary, I believe that it is highly probable that Atlantis existed, but, it is also quite clear that Plato’s narrative contains mythical elements that may have impeded researchers seeking to identify the historical Atlantis.
In 2021, Djonis published Atlantis: The Find of a Lifetime , in which, unsurprisingly, he just recycles the Uchronia material along with a degree of padding. This new and ‘expanded’ edition is in fact listed as 20 pages shorter. As of June 21st, I found it strange that the book is not mentioned on Djonis’ website(l)!
A YouTube clip(b) and PowerPoint presentation(c) are also available.