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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Troy

Troy is believed to have been founded by Ilus, son of Troas, giving it the names of both Troy and Ilios (Ilium) with some slight variants.

“According to new evidence obtained from excavations, archaeologists say that the ancient city of Troy in northwestern Turkey may have been more than six centuries older than previously thought. Rüstem Aslan, who is from the Archaeology Department of Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University (ÇOMU), said that because of fires, earthquakes, and wars, the ancient city of Troy had been destroyed and re-established numerous times throughout the years.” This report pushes the origins of this famous city back to around 3500 BC.(s)

The city is generally accepted by modern scholarship to have been situated at Hissarlik in what is now northwest Turkey. Confusion over the site being Troy can be traced back to the 1st century AD geographer Strabo, who claimed that Ilion and Troy were two different cities!(t) In the 18th century many scholars consider the village of Pinarbasi, 10 km south of Hissarlik, as a more likely location for Troy.

The Hisarlik “theory had first been put forward in 1821 by Charles Maclaren, a Scottish newspaper publisher and amateur geologist. Maclaren identified Hisarlik as the Homeric Troy without having visited the region. His theory was based to an extent on observations by the Cambridge professor of mineralogy Edward Daniel Clarke and his assistant John Martin Cripps. In 1801, those gentlemen were the first to have linked the archaeological site at Hisarlik with historic Troy.”(m)

The earliest excavations at Hissarlik began in 1856 by a British naval officer, John Burton. His work was continued in 1863 until 1865 by an amateur researcher, Frank Calvert. It was Calvert who directed Schliemann to Hissarlik and the rest is history(j).

However, some high profile authorities such as Sir Moses Finley (1912-1986) have denounced the whole idea of a Trojan War as a fiction in his book, The World of Odysseus [1139]. Predating Finley, in 1909, Albert Gruhn argued against Hissarlik as Troy’s location(i).

The Swedish scholar, Martin P. Nilsson (1874-1967) who argued for a Scandinavian origin for the Mycenaeans [1140], also considered the identification of Hissarlik with Homer’s Troy as unproven.

Troy as Atlantis is not a commonly held idea, although Strabo, suggested such a link. So it was quite understandable that when Swiss geo-archaeologist, Eberhard Zangger, expressed this view [483] it caused quite a stir. In essence, Zangger proposed(g) that Plato’s story of Atlantis Troywas a retelling of the Trojan War.

For me the Trojan Atlantis theory makes little sense as Troy was to the north east of Athens and Plato clearly states that the Atlantean invasion came from the west. 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 west of both Athens and Egypt.(Tim.24e & Crit. 114c)

Troy would have been well known to Plato, so why did he not simply name them? Furthermore, Plato tells us that the Atlanteans had control of the Mediterranean as far as Libya and Tyrrhenia, which is not a claim that can be made for the Trojans. What about the elephants, the two crops a year or in this scenario, where were the Pillars of Heracles?

A very unusual theory explaining the fall of Troy as a consequence of a plasma discharge is offered by Peter Mungo Jupp on The Thunderbolts Project website(d) together with a video(e).

Zangger proceeded to re-interpret Plato’s text to accommodate a location in North-West Turkey. He contends that the original Atlantis story contains many words that have been critically mistranslated. The Bronze Age Atlantis of Plato matches the Bronze Age Troy. He points out that Plato’s reference to Atlantis as an island is misleading, since at that time in Egypt where the story originated, they frequently referred to any foreign land as an island. He also compares the position of the bull in the culture of Ancient Anatolia with that of Plato’s Atlantis. He also identifies the plain mentioned in the Atlantis narrative, which is more distant from the sea now, due to silting. Zangger considers these Atlantean/Trojans to have been one of the Sea Peoples who he believes were the Greek speaking city-states of the Aegean.

Rather strangely, Zangger admits (p.220) that “Troy does not match the description of Atlantis in terms of date, location, size and island character…..”, so the reader can be forgiven for wondering why he wrote his book in the first place. Elsewhere(f), another interesting comment from Zangger was that “One thing is clear, however: the site of Hisarlik has more similarities with Atlantis than with Troy.”

There was considerable academic opposition to Zangger’s theory(a). Arn Strohmeyer wrote a refutation of the idea of a Trojan Atlantis in a German language book [559].

An American researcher, J. D. Brady, in a somewhat complicated theory places Atlantis in the Bay of Troy.

To confuse matters further Prof. Arysio Nunes dos Santos, a leading proponent of Atlantis in the South China Sea, places Troy in that same region of Asia(b).

Furthermore, the late Philip Coppens reviewed(h) the question marks that still hang over our traditional view of Troy.

Felice Vinci has placed Troy in the Baltic and his views have been endorsed by the American researcher Stuart L. Harris in a number of articles on the excellent Migration and Diffusion website(c). Harris specifically identifies Finland as the location of Troy, which he claims fell in 1283 BC although he subsequently revised this to 1190 BC, which is more in line with conventional thinking. The dating of the Trojan War has spawned its own collection of controversies.

However, the idea of a northern source for Homeric material is not new. In 1918, an English translation of a paper by Carus Sterne (Dr. Ernst Ludwig Krause)(1839-1903) was published with the title of The Northern Origin of the Story of Troy.(n)

Iman Wilkens is arguably the best known proponent of a North Atlantic Troy, which he places in Britain. Another scholar, who argues strongly for Homer’s geographical being identifiable in the Atlantic, is Gerard Janssen of the University of Leiden, who has published a number of papers on the subject(u).

Most recently (May, 2019) historian Bernard Jones(q) has joined the ranks of those advocating a Northern European location for Troy in his book, The Discovery of Troy and Its Lost History [1638]. He has also written an article supporting his ideas in the Ancient Origins website(o). For some balance, I suggest that you also read Jason Colavito’s comments(p).

Steven Sora in an article(k) in Atlantis Rising Magazine suggested a site near Lisbon called ‘Troia’ as just possibly the original Troy, as part of his theory that Homer’s epics were based on events that took place in the Atlantic. Two years later, in the same publication, Sora investigates the claim of an Italian Odyssey(l).

Roberto Salinas Price (1938-2012) was a Mexican Homeric scholar who caused quite a stir in 1985 in Yugoslavia, as it was then, when he claimed that the village of Gabela 15 miles from the Adriatic’s Dalmatian coast in what is now Bosnia-Herzegovina, was the ‘real’ location of Troy in his Homeric Whispers[1544].

More recently another Adriatic location theory has come from the Croatian historian, Vedran Sinožic in his book Naša Troja (Our Troy)[1543].After many years of research and exhaustive work on collecting all available information and knowledge, Sinožic provides numerous arguments that prove that the legendary Homer Troy is not located in Hisarlik in Turkey, but is located in the Republic of Croatia – today’s town of Motovun in Istria.” Sinožic who has been developing his theory over the past 30 years has also identified a connection between his Troy and the Celtic world.

Similarly, Zlatko Mandzuka has placed the travels of Odysseus in the Adriatic in his 2014 book, Demystifying the Odyssey[1396].

>Fernando Fernández Díaz is a Spanish writer, who has moved Troy to Iberia in his Cómo encontramos la verdadera Troya (y su Cultura material) en Iberia [1810] (How we find the real Troy (and its material Culture) in Iberia.).<

Like most high-profile ancient sites, Troy has developed its own mystique, inviting the more imaginative among us to speculate on its associations, including a possible link with Atlantis. Recently, a British genealogist, Anthony Adolph, has proposed that the ancestry of the British can be traced back to Troy in his book Brutus of Troy[1505].

It is thought that Schliemann has some doubts about the size of the Troy that he unearthed, as it seemed to fall short of the powerful and prestigious city described by Homer. His misgivings were justified when many decades later the German archaeologist, Manfred Korfmann (1942-2005), resumed excavations at Hissarlik and eventually exposed a Troy that was perhaps ten times greater in extent than Schliemann’s Troy(r).

(a) https://web.archive.org/web/20150912081113/https://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/1995/95.02.18.html

(b) http://www.atlan.org/articles/atlantis/

(c) https://www.migration-diffusion.info/article.php?authorid=113

(d) https://www.thunderbolts.info/wp/2013/09/16/troy-homers-plasma-holocaust/

(e) https://www.mungoflix.com/mungoflix/free-video-troy-iliad-ep1-d17/

(f) https://www.moneymuseum.com/pdf/yesterday/03_Antiquity/Atlantis%20en.pdf

(g) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mo-lb2AAGfY

(h) https://www.philipcoppens.com/troy.html or  See: Archive 2482

(i) https://www.jstor.org/stable/496830?seq=14#page_scan_tab_contents

(j) https://turkisharchaeonews.net/site/troy

(k) Atlantis Rising Magazine #64 July/Aug 2007  See: Archive 3275

(l) Atlantis Rising Magazine #74 March/April 2009  See: Archive 3276

(m) https://luwianstudies.org/the-investigation-of-troy/

(n) The Open Court magazine. Vol.XXXII (No.8) August 1918. No. 747   See: https://archive.org/stream/opencourt_aug1918caru/opencourt_aug1918caru_djvu.txt

(o) https://www.ancient-origins.net/ancient-places-europe/location-troy-0011933

(p) https://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/new-book-claims-homers-iliad-proves-troy-was-a-celtic-city-in-northern-europe

(q) https://www.trojanhistory.com/

(r) https://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/19/obituaries/manfred-korfmann-63-is-dead-expanded-excavation-at-troy.html?_r=0

(s) https://mysteriousuniverse.org/2019/08/ancient-city-of-troy-is-centuries-older-than-originally-thought/

(t) https://web.archive.org/web/20121130173504/http://www.6millionandcounting.com/articles/article5.php

(u) https://leidenuniv.academia.edu/GerardJanssen

 

Marcellus

Marcellus was a Greek geographer, about whom very little is known. He wrote just before or just after the start of the Common Era, offering what is probably the earliest independent reference to Atlantis after Plato. He states that it consisted of ‘seven islands and also three others of immense extent’, the middle one of which was dedicated to the Atlantean god Poseidon. The magnitude of this island was ‘one thousand stadia ‘, and the inhabitants of it preserved the remembrance of their ancestors, or the Atlantic island that had existed there, and was truly prodigiously great; which for many periods had domination over all the islands in the Atlantic Sea.’

*The above passage from Marcellus’ now lost Ethiopic History,  is cited by Proclus in his commentary on Timaeus.

One interpretation is that in this extract the Atlantic ‘Sea’ is the Tyrrhenian Sea and that the three ‘immense’ islands referred to are Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily! Outside the Aegean, the Central Mediterranean is the only location within striking distance of Athens that has three very large islands together with numerous smaller ones.*

Plate Tectonics

Plate Tectonics is the name given to the widely accepted geological theory that explains the observable fact of continental drift. Abraham Ortelius, a 16th century cartographer was one of the first to suggest that Africa, Europe and the Americas had at one time been joined together. In the 17th century Sir Francis Bacon is claimed to have been similarly struck by the complementary profiles of South America and Africa, but this, according to G.L. Herries Davies, is an exaggeration of what Bacon actually wrote(j). Alexander von Humboldt writing at the end of the 18th century, also commented that the lands bordering the Atlantic Ocean had once been joined.” Decades later Snider-Pellegrini expressed similar ideas that eventually led to the theories of ‘continental drift’ and plate tectonics.

In 1912, Alfred Wegener and Frank Taylor first outlined the concept of continental drift, which proposed that the surface of the Earth is in motion albeit very slowly. At first the idea was considered preposterous by the scientific community but gradually gained acceptance as evidence in its favour accumulated. In the early 1960’s the theory of ‘sea-floor spreading’ was developed and gradually the idea that the Earth’s surface consists of a number of plates that move relative to each other gained acceptance and evolved into the theory of plate tectonics that we have today. However, there are some anomalies that the present theory does not explain so that further revision is probably required.

These anomalies together with the geographical match between the two continents led to the formulation of the Expanding Earth Hypothesis(b).

When sea-floor spreading was identified in the Atlantic, some writers investigated where it might fit into the drama of Atlantis. It is not surprising that plate tectonics have been claimed by some, such as Frank Joseph, to support the existence of Atlantis, while others, including sceptic Paul Jordan, maintain that it makes the existence of Atlantis in the Atlantic an impossibility.

A further sceptical view of Atlantis in the Atlantic, by Benjamin Radford, claims(k) that “plate tectonics demonstrate that Atlantis is impossible; as the continents have drifted, the seafloor has spread over time, not contracted. There would simply be no place for Atlantis to sink into. As Ken Feder notes, ‘The geology is clear; there could have been no large land surface that then sank in the area where Plato places Atlantis. Together, modern archaeology and geology provide an unambiguous verdict: There was no Atlantic continent; there was no great civilization called Atlantis.'” This, of course, is perfectly true, except that Plato placed Atlantis in the Atlantic Sea, which many believe was a reference at that particular time to the Western Mediterranean!

An interesting website on the subject of the problems associated with the theory of plate tectonics by David Pratt is worth a read(a)(d). Equally critical is the opening chapter of Thomas J. Krupa’s book Biblical Flood, Noah’s Ark and the Star of David[1010]. Sustained opposition to the theory has found expression in the NCGT Journal(e) since 1996.

Robert Bauval has written a paper on the possible effect that plate tectonics may have had on the accuracy of the orientation of the Giza pyramids(m).

Marvin Herndon has proposed a new theory, which he has entitled ‘Whole-Earth Decompression Dynamics’; a subtle combination of plate tectonics and the Expanded Earth Hypothesis(g). The idea of subduction is also challenged by the New Pangaea Theory (NPT)(h).

The starting point of NPT is that “252 million years ago our planet was impacted by a massive comet, a comet far larger than the one that wiped out the dinosaurs.  This previous impact was so powerful it fractured the Earth’s crust, began the breakup of Pangaea and wiped out most of the life on the planet.”(o) The author, J. Chris Everett, proposes the comet, 100km in diameter, was absorbed into the body of our planet.

P.P. Flambas, author of Plato’s Caribbean Atlantis[1368] in which he has proposed a modification to the current theory of PT, which he has called the ‘Hydraulic Hypothesis’ to explain shortcomings in accepted PT theory and support his Atlantis location.

A July 2016 report was published on the rate of tectonic movement, estimated to be comparable to the speed of fingernail growth(f).

In 2020, it was reported that scientists are beginning to understand the importance of another characteristic of any planet likely to support life, and it is one that fits squarely into (James) Lovelock’s view of Earth as a dynamic participant rather than a passive backdrop: an active system of drifting continents, otherwise known as plate tectonics. On the face of it, the connection between life, with its relatively brief cycles and dizzying complexity, and plate tectonics, with its much slower cycles and ostensibly simpler interactions, appears tenuous. But on Earth, at least, that connection is direct and deep.” (n).

Evidence of plate tectonics has now been identified on Mars(c)! In October 2019 NASA confirmed that a number of ‘marsquakes’ have been confirmed on the ‘Red Planet’(l). So far, the evidence suggests that our planet is more more moon-like than earth-like.

(a) https://davidpratt.info/tecto.htm

(b) See: https://web.archive.org/web/20171105200137/https://www.grisda.org/origins/15053.htm

(c) https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120809155831.htm

(d) https://www.thunderbolts.info/wp/2012/11/27/serious-issues-with-plate-tectonics-2/

(e) https://www.ncgtjournal.com/index.html

(f) https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/23/science/continental-drift-tectonic-plates.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fscience&action=click&contentCollection=science&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=sectionfront&_r=1

(g) https://www.nuclearplanet.com/510090.pdf

(h) https://web.archive.org/web/20170429173617/https://newpangaeatheory.com/the-enigmas/

(i) https://www.thunderbolts.info/forum/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=16534

(j) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/238388608_Francis_Bacon_and_Continental_Drift

(k) https://www.livescience.com/23217-lost-city-of-atlantis.html

(l)  https://www.universetoday.com/143625/insight-has-already-detected-21-marsquakes/

(m) https://www.robertbauval.co.uk/articles/articles/platetectonicsandgp.html

(n) https://nautil.us/issue/86/energy/why-aliens-and-volcanoes-go-together-rp

>o) https://web.archive.org/web/20170429211143/https://newpangaeatheory.com/the-new-pangaea-theory/ <

Persian Wars

The Persian Wars are believed by some to have been the inspiration for the story of the Atlantean invasion described by Plato. Giuseppe Bartoli was apparently the first, in 1780, to make such a claim. Not too long afterwards Pierre-André Latreille supported the same idea[1018].

This idea fails on two principal grounds, date and geography. Since the Persian War took place around 500-449 BC, this would make it subsequent to Solon’s visit to Egypt (570-526 BC) and Persia was east of Athens and Egypt, while the Atlanteans came from the west (Tim.25b & Crit.114c)! 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 west of both Athens and Egypt.

Since the Persian War took place over half a century after Solon’s death, in some ways, the suggestion that the Persian conflict inspired Plato’s Atlantis story, implies that Plato lied about Solon as the conduit for the account, which is completely at variance with the acceptance of Plato as a man of unquestioned integrity.

Apart from this date discrepancy, Jürgen Spanuth lists[015] other divergences of the Persian Invasion theory from Plato’s text. Spanuth, together with many other authors, favours the Sea Peoples or as he puts it ‘the North Sea Peoples’, being the Atlanteans of Plato’s tale.

However, Pierre Vidal-Naquet, a prominent Atlantis sceptic, is adamant that the Persian Wars, with some modifications, parallel the Athenian war with Atlantis. William Babcock expressed a similar opinion in the early years of the 20th century. Acceptance of this view would rule Solon out as Plato’s source and undermine the credibility of the whole narrative.

Keep in mind that you can also find parallels between many of the European wars of the last few hundred years.

*In the mid-20th century, W. A. Heidel, an Atlantis sceptic, claimed(a) that an expeditionary naval force was sent by Darius in 515 BC under Scylax of Caryanda to explore the Indus River, which eventually encountered waters too shallow for his ships, was the inspiration behind Plato’s tale of unnavigable seas!*

He further claimed that Plato’s battle between Atlantis and Athens is a distortion of a war of invasion between the Persians and the Indians.

In late 2008 a new theory about Atlantis, was launched(a) by August Hunt that purports to link Atlantis with the Persian Empire with either Persepolis or Susa as the Atlantean capital described by Plato. He also offers the curious explanation for Plato’s 9,000 years for the age of Atlantis as being in reality a reference to the number of Athenians present at the Battle of Marathon! His short book is entitled Atalante and the Persian Empire[1413]

Jim Allen in a discussion of a number of ancient Persian cities, notes[877] that some are circular and often had concentric walls, suggesting that they may have been the inspiration for Plato’s description of Atlantis’ capital city!

If the Persians were in fact the Atlanteans of Plato’s story, it seems rather odd that their invasion fleet, as recorded by Herodotus (Bk.7.89), included 200 Egyptian ships, while at the same time that Athens and Egypt were supposedly allies in opposition to Atlantis!

*(a)  https://www.jstor.org/stable/20022944?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents*

 

Algeria

Algeria or more precisely the western province of El Bayadh at 31.84°North Latitude and 103.03°East Longitude has been identified by the American researcher Gerald Wells as the location of Atlantis.

A more frequent suggestion is that the chotts of Algeria and Tunisia had been the location of the legendary Lake Tritonis when the Sahara was a more fertile place. Ulrich Hofmann supports this view while Alberto Arecchi contends that Lake Tritonis was the ‘Atlantic Sea’ referred to by Plato, with the Pillars of Heracles situated at the Gulf of Gabes.Chott_el_Jerid