Battle of Marathon
August Hunt is an American freelance writer with a range of fictional and historical works to his name. His interests range across Arthurian literature, Celtic religion, mythology and folklore.
In 2008 he published a new Atlantis theory on the Internet in which he linked the Persian Empire with Atlantis, with either Persepolis or Susa as the capital city of the Atlanteans. In 2010, he published The Real Moses and his God and added A New Theory on Atlantis as a thirty-page appendix to it. The first is now available online(c), while his Atlantis theory has been published separately as a Kindle book.
Hunt argues that the 9,000 years since the Atlantean-Athenian War must be wrong since Athens did not exist until around 3000 BC. He then points out that the only conflict in which the Athenians defeated a large invading force was against the Persians at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC. He strangely refers to the Atlantis story as a prophesy even though it was recorded by Plato over a century after the Battle of Marathon!
His most bizarre suggestion is that the 9,000 years quoted by Plato actually refers to the number of Athenians at the Battle of Marathon.
I was surprised to read[p138] that Hunt found “it odd that no one has thought to associate this geographical entity (Persia) with the Atlantis described by Plato”, since he was not the first to suggest a connection between the Persia-Athenian War and the war with Atlantis. Pierre-André Latreille (1762-1833) the French entomologist did so in 1819 when he concluded that Plato’s tale was a distorted version of the war with Persia. William Henry Babcock (1849-1922) also suggested that Plato’s Atlantis story incorporated details of the defeat of the Persians. Benjamin Jowett, held a related opinion. In 1953, the German classicist, Hans Diller, expressed the view that Plato’s Atlantis account was a fictional parallel with the Greco-Persian wars. In 2007 the prominent sceptic, Pierre Vidal-Naquet, also saw parallels with the Persian war in Plato’s narrative.
The Persian Wars took place between 500 and 449 BC, while Solon lived circa 630-560 BC, so it would not have been possible for Solon to refer to those conflicts in the Atlantis story that he brought from Egypt. We are therefore forced to conclude that Jowett and others were probably accusing Plato of lying about the provenance of the story, if not the actual contents of the narrative!
Jim Allen who advocates a Bolivian Atlantis has also written an extensive article(b) linking the Persian military details with the forces of Atlantis.
In view of all this it is hard to accept Hunt’s claim that he is the author of a new Atlantis theory.
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.
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 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
Jim Allen in a discussion of a number of ancient Persian cities, notes 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!