Battle of Salamis
The Atlantean Navy consisted of 1,200 ships, according to Plato. Such a fleet would be totally unnecessary unless your potential enemies had a similar force. It is worth noting that that over 130 quotations from the Illiad and Odyssey have been identified in Plato’s writings, suggesting the possibility of him having adopted some of Homer’s nautical data. Homer records that the Achaean fleet consisted of 1,186 ships, a number that could be naturally rounded up to 1,200 – a coincidence?
Similarly, Herodotus records that the Persians had a fleet of 1,207 triremes at the Battle of Salamis (480 BC). It is a further remarkable coincidence that of all the military statistics recorded by Plato, the only number that is not an exact thousand, relates to the size of the Atlantean fleet. A number that is the rounded value of the Achaean fleet in the Trojan War and the Persian fleet which attacked Athens just 50 years before Plato was born. It is not improbable that 1,200 was used in this isolated instance as a representation of the ultimate in naval power at that time! A website that reviews the classical sources relating to the Persian fleet in greater detail is available(c).
Since conventional archaeology identifies the Bronze Age Greeks and the Phoenicians in the Eastern Mediterranean as possessors of the earliest navies, the possibility of a naval force of such a great size 9600 BC is considered improbable if not completely impossible. Recent discoveries on Cyprus have provided evidence of primative seafaring in the region as early as 12,000 years ago. However, it appears that occasional travellers from Turkey and Syria who utilised crude stone tools arrived there in rather small boats. We are therefore forced to conclude that Plato’s reference to a powerful navy supporting an extensive merchant fleet is either a heavy embellishment of a real story regarding a prehistoric civilisation or an allusion to an actual Bronze Age thalassocracy.
An interesting series of illustrated articles(a) on ancient ships offers a useful background for the study of the Atlantean Navy.
Plato describes the Atlanteans as using triremes which is quite improbable as they were probably not developed until around the 7th century BC(b). It is more likely that Plato used the term trireme to make his narrative more relevant to his Greek audience.
The Parian Chronicle or Marmor Parium is inscribed on a stele made of high quality semi-translucent marble found on the Aegean island of Paros, which was greatly prized throughout the Hellenic world during the 1st millennium BC.
Two sections were found on the island in the 17th century by Thomas Arundell (1586-1643), 2nd Baron Arundell of Wardour, an ancestor of the 12th Baron, John Francis Arundell (1831-1906), who wrote a rebuttal of Ignatius Donnelly’s Atlantis theory. A final third section was found on Paros in 1897, silencing claims that the first two were fakes.
As early as 1788, Joseph Robertson (1726-1802) declared the Chronicle to be a modern fake(e) in a lengthy dissertation, a claim disproved by the discovery of the final piece over a century later. Even before the third fragment was found, Franke Parker published an in-depth study of the inscription in 1859(f).
This important register recounts the history of Greece in chronological sequence from 1581 BC until 264 BC and it is reasonably assumed that the latter date was the year it was written.
The first king of Athens is noted on the stele as the mythical Cecrops commencing 1582 BC. This is important as Cecrops is also mentioned by Plato in the Atlantis texts (Critias 110a). This date is far more realistic than the 9,600 BC told to Solon by the Egyptian priests as the time of Athens foundation. The Parian Chronicle seems to have been given little attention regarding the Atlantis mystery. This lack of a direct reference to the Atlantean war may be explained by a comment in Britannica and cited elsewhere(k) which notes(g) that “the author of the Chronicle has given much attention to the festivals, and to poetry and music; thus he has recorded the dates of the establishment of festivals, of the introduction of various kinds of poetry, the births and deaths of the poets, and their victories in contests of poetical skill. On the other hand, important political and military events are often entirely omitted; thus the return of the Heraclidae, Lycurgus, the wars of Messene, Draco, Solon, Cleisthenes, Pericles, the Peloponnesian War and the Thirty Tyrants are not even mentioned.”
Andrea Rotstein in a lengthy series of papers(i) discusses various aspects of the Parian Marble and also comments that “The Parian Marble, as many have noted, may be disappointing as a historical source. People and events that we deem important are missing: Lycurgus, Solon, Cleisthenes, Pericles, the Peloponnesian wars, do not appear in the extant text.” (j)
Furthermore, Wikipedia lists pages(h) of wars, battles and sieges involving the Greeks, few of which are mentioned in Parian Marble, although quite a number of Alexander’s exploits are recorded. Even the critical naval Battle of Salamis with the Persians is encapsulated on the ‘Marble’ in a mere seven words – “in which battle the Hellenes were victorious”.
Another name mentioned on the stele and by Plato is that of Deucalion. While there is some debate regarding the exact date of the deluge named after him, all commentators agree that it occurred in the middle of the 2nd millennium BC. J.G. Bennett(b) has calculated the date this Flood to around 1478 BC, while Britannica(c) offers 1529 BC. Stavros Papamarinopoulos has developed his own king-list based on other ancient sources, which generally parallels the Parian content(d).
A further item of interest is the date ascribed to the Trojan War, on the stele, as 1218 BC, but again some controversy surrounds this precise date. While there are a number of flawed details in the Parian Chronicle, probably due to the use of defective sources or perhaps transcription errors, the very specificity of the recorded dates strongly suggests that it was produced in order to offer a real historical record and not merely to recount Greek mythology.
The chronicle is far from being comprehensive, particularly regarding the earlier years, when understandably information is more sparse.
I believe that the full implication of the inscriptions for the Atlantis debate has yet to be realised.
It is interesting that Valerius Coucke (1888-1951) a Belgian theologian who had studied the controversial subject of the chronology of the Kindoms of Judah and Israel, employed the Parian Marble to support his theories(l). Independently, Edwin R. Thiele (1895-1986), an American archaeologist, who engaged in a study of the same period arrived at similar conclusions and are in complete agreement that the start of the divided monarchy began in Nisan of 931 BC, despite using different methods to arrive at this date. This may be interpreted as confirmation of the historical value of the Parian Marble!
An English translation of the Parian Marble is available on the internet(a).
(k) https://theodora.com/encyclopedia/p/parian_chronicle.html (link broken) See Archive 3638