José Angel Hernández is an Independent Spanish researcher with an interesting website(a), which, although in Spanish, translates quite well with Google into English. Although his subject matter is wide-ranging he has produced a number of papers relevant to the subject matter of this site.
He first(b) compares the bull cult of Atlantis with the status of the bull in the Indus Valley civilisation. He then takes a sceptical view of the Atlantis story arguing strongly against the idea that the 9,000 years recorded by Plato should be treated as ‘months’ or ‘seasons’. In another section(c) he outlines parallels between Tartessos and ancient India and goes so far as to suggest the Indus Valley city of Lothal established colonies north and south of the Strait of Gibraltar and known as Tartessos. Unexpectedly, he then proceeds to identify the Tarshish of the Bible with the coast of the Indus Valley!
(1) is the name of an ancient ceremonial mound in Biarritz in the French Basque country.
*(4) Frank Joseph has suggested[104.33] that Atalya or Atalia was, through time, transformed into Italy, adding that Atalia means ‘Land of Atlas’. This entry in The Atlantis Encyclopedia has been copied on a number of websites.*
However, the etymology of ‘Italy’ is not clear, but the most common proposal is that “Latin Italia may derive from Oscan víteliú, meaning “[land] of young cattle” (Latin vitulus “calf”, Umbrian vitlu), via Greek transmission (evidenced in the loss of initial digamma). The bull was a symbol of the southern Italic tribes”(b). In passing I should mention that Plato tells us that the Atlanteans who controlled southern Italy as far as Tyrhennia(c) also had a bull cult.
At their best, none of these references can be offered as having anything more than the most tenuous link with the original Atlantis.
Also See: Atalaia
(c) Timaeus 25b & Critias 114c
A Bull Cult is noted by Plato as one of the characteristics of the culture of Atlantis. Unfortunately, it does little to identify the location of Atlantis since the bull featured prominently in the culture of so many ancient peoples and continues today, principally in the bullfights of Spain, Portugal, and Mexico.
In northern Italy, there was a Gaulish tribe called the Taurini during the first and second centuries BC. The bull was also a symbol of the southern Italic tribes, in a region which Plato informs us was occupied by Atlanteans(e). In Sicily, modern Taormina was formerly known as Tauromenium in Roman times, which may suggest an even earlier association with a bull cult!
Mithraism, which originated in Iranian mythology and developed rapidly in Italy in the first century AD, included in its beliefs, the killing of a bull by the deity Mithras(g).
Writing in Egerton Sykes’ Atlantis in 1955 (Vol.8 No.3), Vera Howe outlined the extent of the bull cults which ranged from Assyria, across the Mediterranean and up to the British Isles. In Volume 10, No. 4, Käte Müller Lisowski (1883-1960) also wrote of bull links between Crete and Ireland. In the February 1963 (Vol.16 No.1) edition of the same journal, it is recounted that Ireland had bull feasts and bull-fighting in ancient times. There is also evidence of a bull cult among the Picts of Scotland(h). Let us not forget that the Israelites began to worship a golden bull-calf when they thought that they had been abandoned by Moses(b).
It is generally accepted that the bull was also associated with lunar religions(a) as the horns resembled the crescent-Moon. Even today the crescent is one of the principal icons of the Islamic faith.
At the 2005 Atlantis Conference, Professor Stavros Papamarinopoulos delivered a paper(i) outlining the Bronze Age bull rituals in Egypt and the Aegean and their parallels in Iberia. In the Temple of Seti at Abydos there is a well-known wall carving depicting Seti I and his son Ramses II roping a bull and further along the wall, sacrificing it.
Robert Ishoy had pointed out bull carvings in Sardinia. The Minoan bull jumpers on Crete are widely known. The Egyptians had a cult of Apis the Bull, a fact mentioned by R. McQuillen in support of his Egyptian Atlantis theory. When the Israelites rebelled they worshipped a golden calf or more correctly a young bull (Exodus 32). Exodus 29.36 also instructs the priests that “Each day you shall offer a bull as a sin offering for atonement.“
In the seventeenth century, Olof Rudbeck associated the ancient Swedish custom of sacrificing a bull to Odin with the bull immolation described in Plato’s Atlantis.
Carvings of bulls’ heads decorated the home of ancient Anatolia in modern Turkey. There are bull carvings to be seen at Tarxien in Malta and not far away in Northern Tunisia ancient carvings of bulls are also to be found(c). The ancient Celts also included bulls in their ceremonies. The Assyrians had a bull-god as their guardian. The oldest church in Toulouse is dedicated to St. Taur, a possible reference to an earlier bull cult. Further afield, in India, there is a bull-taming sport, jallikattu, which is practised annually in the villages of the southern state of Tamil Nadu and is recently the subject of a failed attempt to ban it(f).
Dhani Irwanto, who claims a Sundaland location for Atlantis has proposed that Plato’s mention of bulls was the result a distorted account of the original Atlantis narrative brought by refugees from Indonesia and was a reference to the local water buffalo!
Peter James in a short appendix to his book, The Sunken Kingdom supports a Lydian origin for the Atlantis tale and argued that Plato’s text makes no reference to the bull-leaping game depicted in Minoan art. However, quoted the studies of the British anthropologist Jane Harrison(1850-1928) who discovered that a coin from Troy’s Roman period depicted a bull being sacrificed in exactly the same manner as Plato’s description, namely, suspended from a pillar. The Roman bull sacrifice ritual was known as ‘taurobolium’.
James also provides other instances of possible Atlantean-style bull worship in the same region which also contains his proposed location for Atlantis, ancient Sipylus.
In conclusion, therefore, it must be obvious from the above that Plato’s reference to bull rituals is no definitive guide to finding an exclusive location and so probably has limited value in any quest for Atlantis.
(a) See: https://web.archive.org/web/20170705055429/https://www.touregypt.net:80/egypt-info/magazine-mag04012001-magf5.htm
(e) Timaeus 25b & Critias 114c
The Indus Valley civilisation is dated to 2600-1900 BC (preceded by the Mehrgarh People) is now referred to as the Harappan civilisation. To date, over a thousand settlements and five cities have been identified, but only 10% have been excavated(v).
The origins of the Indus people has been debated for some time, but a DNA study of four skeletons discovered, some years ago, at Rakhigarhi, in India, may offer some clues. However, three years later (2017) the results have still not been made public(z)(aa)! A September 2019 report in Live Science highlighted the fact that gathering usable DNA from the Indus Valley is extremely difficult as the climate there degrades it rapidly. Attempts to extract DNA from 61 individuals in the cemetery in Rakhigarhi was successful in only one instance. Unfortunately, only limited information was gleaned from this study, namely that “about two-thirds to three-fourths of the ancestry of all modern South Asians comes from a population group related to that of this Indus Valley individual.” according to Vagheesh Narasimhan, one of the authors of the report.
In recent years, the Indus region has received several nominations as the source of the Atlantis story. Dr Ashok Malhotra has identified the submergence of the city of Dwarka as the inspiration for the story, which was then brought to Sumeria and later Egypt before transmission to Greece.
A 2014 blogger offered similar ideas with a paper(n) entitled ‘Atlantis was Indus valley plateau?’ but then proceeds to describe Indonesia as the hyperdiffusionist source for the great civilisations “such as those of the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Cretans and the Mesopotamians. These also included the Jews, the Phoenicians, and the Aryans, driven away from their ancestral lands in Indonesia and Southeast Asia.”
In Thorwald C. Franke’s Newsletter No.119 he draws attention to a review by Professor Heinz-Günther Nesselrath of a new over-priced book by Erika Daniels-Qasim. Although the book is published in German, Nesselrath’s highly critical review is in English(ac), Nesselrath reveals that this is just another useless attempt to link Plato’s Atlantis with the Indus Valley civilisation. Franke describes it as a ‘sad book’.
Although the ‘ancient alien’ idea has nothing to back it up, the claim that a very ancient nuclear war destroyed the Indus civilisation has had some support(ad). However, Jason Colavito has also debunked the story of the ‘radioactive skeleton’ there(ab).
In 2012, the Spanish researcher, José Angel Hernández, proposed that the Tarshish of the Bible was to be found on the coastal region of the Indus Valley, but that Tartessos was a colony of the Indus city of Lhotal and had been situated on both sides of the Strait of Gibraltar! He also compared the bull cult of Plato’s Atlantis with that of the Indus civilisation(f)(g).
The central Indus city of Mohenjo-Daro was only rediscovered in 1922(m) and a curious more recent discovery there, was that 10% of artefacts found there related to play! Clusters of game pieces suggested the use of communal social centres. Unrelated, but perhaps more relevant to our study is the fact that there is a dearth of weaponry fortifications or evidence of warfare in the Indus culture(d), which is in sharp contrast to the belligerent Atlantean society described by Plato. More details of the city and the Indus culture can be read on the Italian larazzodeltempo.it website(ag)(ah).
A frequently referred to anomaly at Mohenjo-Daro is evidence of vitrification and radioactivity that some have attributed to atomic warfare or attacks by ancient aliens(af). A more balanced view(k)(l) can be found online. A 2015 article on this subject is also worth a look(o). Jason Colavito has unearthed(ab) the origin of this claim, tracing it back to the 1960s and an unreliable Russian writer, Alexander Gorbovsky, compounded by later distortions by ‘fringe investigators.
A 2012 conference on Harappan archaeology saw the origins of that culture pushed back to the 7th millennium BC, contemporary with that of Sumer(j). The same conference saw linguistic connections between the two cultures under discussion. However, despite numerous attempts over the past century the Indus Valley script remains undeciphered(p), although there are regular claims of successful decipherment, 2007(q), 2009(r), 2011(s), 2013(t), to date totalling nearly 100, somewhat reminiscent of the constant flow of Atlantis theories. Now linguists are turning to computer technology to finally solve the problem(x).
A radical theory regarding Mohenjo-Daro has been proposed by an Indian researcher, Jeyakumar Ramasami, in which he claims that the city was a necropolis and not a metropolis. His book on the subject can be downloaded as a free Word file(e). A similar theory was proposed by Hans Georg Wunderlich regarding the Minoan ‘palace’ of Knossos on Crete.
A comprehensive website(a) with many photos and diagrams relating to the Indus Valley civilisation is available. A related article by Patrick Chouinard is also of interest(b).
A recent discovery off the Konkan Coast in the State of Maharashtra in western India has revealed a remarkable structure that is based on sea-level changes that may be 8,000 years old(c). A wall 24 km long, 2.7 metres high and 2.5 metres in width was discovered in just three metres of water. Speculation has centred on the possibility of it being evidence of a completely unknown civilisation that could pre-date that of the Indus Valley. A second site, thought to be pre-Harappan, located in Rakhigarhi village in Haryana’s Hisar district, over 200 km from Chandigarh, is now under investigation.
A 2008 article(i) adds further information about the Indus Valley, which includes a reference to the Neolithic site at Mehrgarh a precursor to the Indus civilisation and dated to 7000 BC, a date that has now been pushed back to 8000 BC according to a paper published(u) in the May 25th 2016 edition of Nature.
A recent paper(w) has revealed how the Indus people coped with the consequences of climate change when their civilisation was at its height around 2500-1900 BC. Another paper suggests that the demise of the Indus Valley civilisation was the result of climate change caused by changing monsoon patterns. The author, Nishant Malik, assistant professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology’s School of Mathematical Sciences, used mathematical modelling to support his claim(ae).
Until now it was thought that many of the Indus settlements had been dependent on a major Himalayan river, the Ghaggar-Hakra, now dried up. However, recent studies(y) indicate that this river changed course over 8,000 years ago suggesting that “when the Indus people settled the area, there was only an abandoned large river valley occupied by seasonal monsoon river flow instead of a large Himalayan river.” So it seems that unlike the Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilisations the Indus people did not require a substantial permanent river!
An article on the Ancient Origins website in January 2022 reviews the history of Mohenjo Daro and unfortunately highlights that “Although it has survived for five millennia, Mohenjo Daro now faces imminent destruction. While the intense heat of the Indus Valley, monsoon rains, and salt from the underground water table is having damaging effects on the treasured site, it is the visitors that flock in their thousands to the site that are the biggest threat. Adding to the problem is a lack of funding, public indifference, and government neglect. The government even approved a festival being held at the site back in 2014, where tents, lights and stages were hammered into the walls of the delicate ruins.
Mohenjo Daro is already in an incredibly fragile condition. It is estimated that at its current rate of degradation, the World Heritage-listed site could be gone within 20 years(ai).”
(j) Archive 2329
(l) See: Archive 3516
(n) See: Archive 3617
(q) https://www.hindunet.org/hvk/articles/0207/56.html (offline Nov. 2016)