An A-Z Guide To The Search For Plato's Atlantis

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Christian & Siegfried Schoppe

Pillars of Herakles

Pillars of Heracles, when googled, will offer nearly 100,000 results, with Wikipedia and Britannica usually heading the list.

Wikipedia says “The Pillars of Hercules was the phrase that was applied in Antiquity to the promontories that flank the entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar. The northern Pillar, Calpe Mons, is the Rock of Gibraltar. A corresponding North African peak not being predominant, the identity of the southern Pillar, Abila Mons, has been disputed throughout history, with the two most likely candidates being Monte Hacho in Ceuta and Jebel Musa in Morocco.”

Britannica says “Pillars of Heracles, also called Pillars of Hercules, two promontories at the eastern end of the Strait of Gibraltar. The northern pillar is the Rock of Gibraltar at Gibraltar, and the southern pillar has been identified as one of two peaks: Jebel Moussa (Musa), in Morocco, or Mount Hacho (held by Spain), near the city of Ceuta (the Spanish exclave on the Moroccan coast).”

Although these two popular sources substantially agree with each other, the concurrence is misleading. In fact, various aspects of the Pillars have been the subject of controversy for a very, very long time.

CONFUSION

The Pillars of Heracles (PoH) according to conventional wisdom were always situated somewhere in the vicinity of the Strait of Gibraltar. However, the truth is rather different. The question of the location of the Pillars has led to confusion and controversy for millennia. A flavour of this was contained  in William Smith’s still highly-regarded Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography [1719] of 1854, where it lists many of the locations proposed by ancient authors. One short paragraph in it encapsulates the confusion that has existed in the past and still does, although seldom highlighted, today – ” But when the ancient writers began to investigate the matter more closely, they were greatly divided in opinion as to where the Pillars were to be sought, what they were, and why they were called by the name of Hercules.”(w)

When I began my study of the Pillars, it became obvious very early on that the subject was more complicated than usually presented. Frankly, I never expected to end up as bewildered as I did. First of all, I find that some of the ancient writers have not only referred to two pillars, but even three(x) and four of them.

HERAKLES

That was bad enough, but when I was then confronted with a multiplicity of mythical heroes named Herakles, numbering two (Herodotus)(ap), three (Diodorus), four (Servius), six by Cicero and a prize-winning forty-four by Varro, I was even more perplexed.

John K. Lundwall wrote at length about the multiplicity of Herakles’ in ancient mythologies in his book Mythos & Cosmos [1747] and online(z). William Smith’s Dictionary noted that “Herodotus tells us that the original Heracles hailed from Egypt and says that according to the Egyptian tradition, Heracles was one of twelve deities descended from the original eight gods who created the universe (2.43-5). Diodorus claimed that when Osiris went to accomplish his labors he left the government of Egypt in the hands of this primordial Heracles. Remarkably, Pausanias, Tacitus, and Macrobius all confirm that Heracles hailed from Egypt [1729.401]Lundwall also refers to the Phoenician Herakles – Melqart and its possible influence on the development of the Greek myth. He concluded that ” Heracles was not invented by the Greeks. He was inherited by the Greeks. Half of his labors descend from Mycenaean or Minoan times, implicating a Heracles like figure with a series of labors in the days before Greece was founded. Gilgamesh is a Near Eastern Heracles.”

Apart from the Canaanite Melqart(ak) and the biblical Samson, Herakles was also associated with Briareus or Cronos. Aelian, in his Varia Historia 5.3, noted that “Aristotle affirms that those Pillars which are now called of Hercules, were first called the Pillars of Briareus.”

Herodotus visited a temple of Heracles in Tyre with two pillars, one of gold and the other emerald. According to the priests there, it had stood for two thousand three hundred years or from approximately 2700 BC. Another suggestion has been that the ‘Pillars Heracles’ was a Greek rendering of the Egyptian ‘Pillars of Osiris’.(t)

So not only do we have a number of Heracles but also a variety of names for them.

THE NATURE OF THE PILLARS

My confusion was further compounded by the term stelai used by Plato to describe the Pillars, which is the Greek word for stone or wooden slabs used as boundary or commemorative markers, not a reference to supportive columns. Rhys Carpenter favours the idea that the term when applied to the Strait of Gibraltar was used with the sense of boundary markers, indicating ”the limits of the Inner Sea that, for the Greeks, was the navigable world” [221.156]. It is reasonable to suggest that as the Greeks became more expansionist with their trade and colonisation, new limits were set as they moved incrementally westward along with the appellation of the ‘Pillars of Hercules’.

One advocate of this idea, Thorwald C. Franke maintains that the westward shift of the ‘Pillars’ from the Strait of Messina towards Gibraltar occurred a century before Solon. He expanded on this at the 2008 Atlantis Conference [0750.170] and in his 2006 book on Herodotus [0300].

Further difficulties were provided by early authors describing the Pillars as mountains, statues, islands or promontories! Egerton Sykes was convinced that the Pillars had been two menhirs, 30ft tall that had stood on top of the Rock of Gibraltar(u)! In this regard, it is interesting that Jürgen Spanuth dismissed those who have identified the red and white cliffs of Heligoland as the Pillars of Heracles, decrying the idea as a fallacy [015.100]. He explained that “Natural rock formations were not what was originally meant by the Pillars of Heracles. Those at the Straits of Gibraltar were not, as one so often reads, the rocks to the north and south of the Straits, but two man-made pillars which stood before the temple of Heracles at Gades (present-day Cádiz) about 100 km north of the Straits.” Spanuth also denied that the Straits of Gibraltar were ever closed [p248].

Some of the earliest references to the Pillars of Heracles come from Pindar, who seems to have used the term as a metaphor for the limits of human capabilities,

be it in sport or more usually, geographical boundaries. So as the Greeks gradually extended the range of their maritime capabilities, new boundaries were established and designated as the new Pillars of Heracles .

PHOENICIAN PILLARS

Gades was originally named Gadir (walled city) and is thought to have been founded by the Phoenicians around 1100 BC and Carthage circa 814 BC, although there are question marks around both dates.(ao)

Strabo wrote; “Concerning the foundation of Gades, the Gaditanians report that a certain oracle commanded the Tyrians to found a colony by the Pillars of Hercules. Those who were sent out for the purpose of exploring, when they had arrived at the strait by Calpe, imagined that the capes which form the strait were the boundaries of the habitable earth, as well as of the expedition of Hercules, and consequently they were what the oracle termed the Pillars. They landed on the inside of the straits, at a place where the city of the Exitani now stands. Here they offered sacrifices, which however not being favourable, they returned. After a time others were sent, who advanced about 1500 stadia beyond the strait, to an island consecrated to Hercules, and lying opposite to Onoba, a city of Iberia: considering that here were the Pillars, they sacrificed to the god, but the sacrifices being again unfavourable, they returned home. In the third voyage they reached Gades, and founded the temple in the eastern part of the island, and the city in the west. (3.5.5.) If this story has any historical basis, the first Phoenician visits to the vicinity of Gibraltar must have taken place before 1100 BC.

Heracles is clearly the Greek counterpart of the Phoenician god Melqart, who was the principal god of the Phoenician city of Tyre. Melqart was brought to the most successful Tyrian colony, Carthage and subsequently further west, where at least three temples dedicated to Melqart have been identified in ancient Spain, Gades, Ebusus, and Carthago Nova. Across the Strait in Morocco, the ancient Phoenician city of Lixus also had a temple to Melqart.

Pairs of free standing columns were apparently important in Phoenician temples and are also to be found in Egyptian temples, as well as being part of Solomon’s temple (built by Phoenician craftsmen). Consequently the pillars of Melqart temple in Gades are considered by some to be the origin of the reference to the Pillars of Melqart and later of Heracles (by the Greeks) and Hercules (by the Romans) as applied to the Strait of Gibraltar.

Greek colonisation by individual city-states got under way early in the first millennium BC. This expansion of trade and territory took place gradually during the eighth, seventh and sixth centuries BC. The online Ancient History Encyclopedia website noted that “One of the most important consequences of this process, in broad terms, was that the movement of goods, people, art, and ideas in this period spread the Greek way of life far and wide to Spain, France, Italy, the Adriatic, the Black Sea, and North Africa. In total then, the Greeks established some 500 colonies which involved up to 60,000 Greek citizen colonists, so that by 500 BCE these new territories would eventually account for 40% of all Greeks in the Hellenic World.”(aq)

While the AHE offers an excellent overview of Greek colonisation, a valuable and more detailed study is also available online(ar), namely, The Expansion of the Greek World, Eighth to Sixth Centuries B.C. [1752], edited by Boardman & Hammond.

LOCATION

Classical writers frequently refer to the ‘Pillars’ without being in anyway specific regarding their location. It always seemed to me that when the Greeks began their Mediterranean trade expansion and colonisation outside the Aegean, apart from the Pentapolis of Cyrenaica in the far south and some possible trading posts in Levant, they did so exploiting the northern shores of the Mediterranean. Understandably, they would have taken the shortest route from the Greek mainland to the heel of Italy and later on to Sicily. As this development progressed, new limits were set, and in time, exceeded. I suggest that these limits were each in turn designated the ‘Pillars of Heracles’ as they expanded further. I speculate that Capo Colonna (Cape of the Column) in Calabria(as), in South Italy, may have been one of those early boundaries. Interestingly, 18th century maps display up to five islands near the cape, which are no longer shown on charts(at). This appeared on respected atlases as late as 1860. According to Armin Wolf, these were originally added to maps by Ortelius, inspired by some earlier cartographers and the comments of Pseudo-Skylax and Pliny(au)!

Homer did not use the term Pillars of Heracles, although he does refer to the Pillars of Atlas (Odysseus 1.51-4).

Hecataeus (550-476 BC), according to Oliver D. Smith in a 2019 paper(y), placed the PoH at Mastia, which is thought to be Cartagena in southeastern Spain. This identification if principally based on the early 20th century studies of Adolf Schulten.

Scylax of Caryanda (late 6th & early 5th cent. BC) describes in his Periplus(a), a guide to the Mediterranean, that the Maltese Islands as lying to the east of the Pillars of Heracles. This would place the archipelago east of the Gulf of Gabes, which is compatible with the opinions of Hofmann and Sarantitis.  Anton Mifsud argues that had the Pillars been located at Gibraltar, the islands to the east would have been the Balearics, which was certainly true for the ancient Greeks shore-hugging mariners.

Pindar (518-438 BC) would appear to have considered that the PoH were a metaphor for the limits physical prowess as well established Greek geographical knowledge (Olympian 3.43-45), a boundary that was never static. In 1778, Jean-Silvain Bailly was certain that the Pillars of Hercules  were just “a name that denotes limits or boundaries.” [0926.2.293] More recently Professor Dag Øistein Endsjø, at Norway’s University of Oslo, has endorsed the idea that the ancient Greeks used the ‘Pillars of Heracles’ as a metaphor to express the limits of human endeavour(d) and quotes the classicist, James S. Romm in support(e).

Aristotle (385-322 BC) Aristotle wrote(g) that “outside the pillars of Heracles the sea is shallow owing to the mud, but calm, for it lies in a hollow.” This is not a description of the Atlantic that we know, which is not shallow, calm or lying in a hollow and which he refers to as a ‘sea’ not an ‘ocean’.

Eratosthenes (276-194 BC) was thought by some to been responsible for the fixing of the PoH at Gibraltar. In fact, in the early days of the compilation of Atlantipedia, I wrote that “no writer prior to Eratosthenes had referred to the Pillars of Heracles being located at Gibraltar.” This was wrong and was the result of a combination of hastily quoting Sergio Frau(al) and badly paraphrasing a passage from George Sarantitis’ book – “How, from the times of Ephorus (405 BC), Plato and Aristotle and until Eratosthenes (276 BC) and Strabo (63 BC), did the Pillars ‘migrate’ to Gibraltar?”(m)

Pseudo-Scymnus (c.140 BC) placed the Pillars at Mainake(y) thought to be modern Malaga. However, Spanuth cites from the same source a reference to a ‘Northern Pillar’ in the land of the Frisians, as support for his North Sea Atlantis!

Strabo (64 BC-23 AD), the Greek historian and geographer, noted that “close to the Pillars there are two isles, one of which they call Hera’s Island; moreover, there are some who call also these isles the Pillars.” (Bk.3, Chap.5) The two isles referred to as near the Pillars have never been identified; as there are no islands in the strait at Gibraltar, but there are in the Sea of Marmara near the Bosporus, another location candidate!

He also records that Alexander the Great built an altar and ‘Pillars of Heracles’ at the eastern limit of his Empire.

Pliny the Elder (23/24-79 AD) noted that in Sogdiana in modern Uzbekistan there was reputed to be an altar and ‘Pillars of Heracles’.

Tacitus (55-120 AD), the renowned Latin historian, in his Germania (chap.34), clearly states that it was believed that the Pillars of Hercules were located near the Rhine in the territory of the Frisians. So the Romans either though that the ‘Pillars’ were not situated at Gibraltar or could exist at more than one location at the same time.

My contention is that although there is no doubt that the term ‘Pillars of Herakles’ was eventually applied to the Gibraltar region, it was also applied to a few stops as the Greeks stuttered their way there from the Aegean along the Mediterranean. Ronald H. Fritze, an ardent Atlantis sceptic, noted in his Invented Knowledge [709.23] ” While at various times the geography of the ancient Greeks applied the name of Pillars of Hercules to other locations in the Aegean region, in this case Plato is quite explicit that he means the Pillars of Hercules that are now known as the Straits of Gibraltar.” So if it can accepted that the PoH was applied to a number of locations in the Aegean by the Greeks, why not also to other places as they gradually expanded westward?

MODERN  LOCATION THEORIES

From the 19th century onwards, locations for the Pillars were proposed which stretched the length of the Mediterranean and beyond.

Perhaps the first ‘modern’ writer to propose the Eastern Mediterranean as the location for the ‘Pillars’ was the Russian, Avraam Norov (1795-1869). He considered them to have been shrines, drawing on both Greek and Arabic sources that could be investigated further.

Some also believed that other ‘Pillars of Heracles’ existed in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea region. This is possibly because until the 1st millennium BC, the Greeks were, generally speaking, restricted to those areas. It would appear that for the ancient Greeks, the Pillars of Heracles marked straits or promontories at the limits of their known world. These boundaries were extended further and further as their maritime capabilities improved. and probably led to the decline in the usage of the title at former boundaries, eventually leaving us with only the Strait of Gibraltar to carry the name.

In the Late Bronze Age the Bosporus in the east and probably the Strait of Sicily in the west confined the Greeks. It was only shortly before Solon’s trip to Egypt that the Greek colony of Massalia (modern Marseilles) was founded and so, at last, the western limit of the Mediterranean was brought >within easier regular reach of Greek ships, but Massalia was still nearly 2,000 km, by sea, from Gades (Cadiz). Later their furthest trading post was probably at Mainake (Malaga), beyond which was Phoenician territory and it was 100 km from Gibraltar and 200km from Cadiz.<

The idea that geographical designations can radically change their location over time is illustrated by the name (H)esperia, which means ‘evening land’ or as we might say ‘land of the setting sun’, was originally used by Greeks to indicate Italy and later employed by Roman writers as a designation for Spain. It could be argued that the Greek use of this appellation could be an indication that when introduced, they were not too sure what lay beyond Italy! 

Fundamentalist Atlantology, as proclaimed by the ‘prophet’ Ignatius Donnelly in the 19th century, will accept no explanation other than that Plato was referring to ‘Pillars’ near Gibraltar‘. Certainly, it is perfectly clear that Plato may have been referring to the Strait of Gibraltar, but it is also evident that this was not the only location with that designation in ancient times. Consequently, if any of the alternatives mentioned above enable the construction of a new credible Atlantis location hypothesis, then it deserves careful rational consideration.

Even today, the debate continues, highlighted by modern classical scholars, such as Duane W. Roller (1946- ) in Through the Pillars of Herakles [1483.203], in which he states that “The exact location of the Pillars of Herakles was long a matter of dispute. Although they may seem obvious today as the two large mountains at the western end of the Mediterranean, Gibraltar and Jebel Mousa, such was not the case in antiquity, and understanding of the region changed as topographical knowledge increased. At some early date, Homer’s mythical and unlocated Pillars of Atlas (Od. 1.51-4) became associated with the wanderer Herakles, but as the western end of the Mediterranean became better understood in the latter seventh century BC, uncertainty increased rather than decreased. Herodotus, who mentioned the Pillars several times, placed them east of Gadeira and Tartessos (4.8, 152), which could mean anywhere in the 50-kilometer-long strait (the modern Strait of Gibraltar) that runs east to the opening of the Mediterranean, through rugged topography with several promontories that could be identified as the Pillars, although especially prominent are Gibraltar and Jebel Mousa (the Kalpe and Abilyx of Strabo) at the eastern end. The early prominence of Gadeira caused some (such as Pindar) to place them in that area, or at points east thereof, such as Tarifa or Cape Trafalgar: the sources seem uncertain as to whether height or prominence was the defining criterion.”

A number of alternative locations have been identified as being referred to in ancient times as the Pillars of Heracles. Robert Schoch [0454.87] writes “This distinctive name, taken from the most powerful hero of Greek mythology, was given to a number of ancient sites known in modern times by quite different appellations. The Greeks, however, used the name Pillars of Heracles to mark other sites besides Gibraltar, some outside the Mediterranean – namely, the Canary Islands in the Atlantic and the Strait of Kerch dividing the Black Sea from the Sea of Azov – and even more inside – specifically, the Strait of Bonafaccio between Corsica and Sardinia, the Strait of Messina between mainland Italy and Sicily, the Greek Peleponnese, the mountainous coast of Tunisia, and the Nile Delta.”

Even Nikolai Zhirov, a proponent of an Atlantic Atlantis, accepted that they were other locations considered to have been designated Pillars of Herakles, both within and beyond Gibraltar, as shown on a map of half a century ago in his well-regarded book [458.86]. He lists, Gibraltar, Gulf of Gabes, Kerch Strait , the Moroccan coast, the Nile Delta and the Peleponnese, but like Schoch, fails to provide references.

We also find that Arthur C. Clarke suggested that there was evidence that the early Greeks did not originally refer to the Strait of Gibraltar as the Pillars of Heracles. Clarke also failed to cite his sources, but expressed a personal preference for the Strait of Messina.  

WITHIN THE MEDITERRANEAN

I shall begin my review of PoH locations at the eastern end of the Mediterranean in Lebanon

?TYRE

J. P. Rambling has placed the ‘Pillars’ on Insula Herculis, now a small sunken island immediately south of Phoenician Tyre(k).

BOSPORUS

Eberhard Zangger [0483] cited the work of Servius(aa) in which he wrote (“Columnas Herculis legimus et in Ponto et in Hispania”) translated by Zangger as “through the Columns of Herakles we go within the Black Sea as well as in Spain”.

A German site(ab) by Willy Dorn offers a comparable translation – “Durch die Säulen des Herakles fahren wir im Schwarzen Meer wie auch in Spanien”) “We drive through the pillars of Heracles in the Black Sea as well as in Spain”

Similarly, a Spanish author, Paulino Zamarro, wrote(ac)(“pues sabemos de Columnas de Hércules tanto en el Ponto como en Hispania”) which translates as “for we know of Columns of Hercules both in the Ponto and hispania”.

Nicolae Densusianu offered “according to what we read, the Pillars of Hercules exist both in the Pontos region, and also in Hispania.”(ad)

The Stockton University website(ae), which similarly offers “We read of pillars of Hercules both in the Black Sea and in Spain”

Whichever translation is used, it clearly indicates that at least two locations were called the ‘Pillars of Heracles’.

Werner E. Friedrich has also argued [695] in favour of Pillars at the Bosporus, citing Euctemon of Athens (c.440 BC) who described the Pillars as two islands near the entrance to the strait having characteristics comparable to Prince’s Islands in the Sea of Marmara. Friedrich quotes Ephorus identifying two islands as the Pillars, just as Strabo did (see above), although there are no islands in the Strait of Gibraltar.

Christian & Siegfried Schoppe, in support of their Black Sea location for Atlantis, maintain that the Pillars were situated at the Bosporus and not Gibraltar. They contend “the maintained misinterpretation results from the fact that Herakles went to Iberia. At late Hellenistic and at Roman times Iberia was Spain. However, this leads to inconsistencies: After putting up the Pillars (supposed at Gibraltar) Herakles put together a fleet to go to Iberia – he was still there!”  This makes no sense, however as the Schoppes pointed out that in the distant past ‘Iberia’ related to the land of an ethnic group to the east of the Black Sea.

DANUBE

Moving eastward and inland from the Black Sea we have a strong case presented for the Danube as the home of its own Pillars.The Danubewas known to the ancient Greeks as the Istros as well as Okeanos Potamos. The lower reaches of the river have ancient and deep-rooted cultural links with Hercules that are still very obvious today.

In Romania,  just north of Orsova on a tributary of the Daube lies B?ile Herculane, sometimes called Hercules’ City, which has seen human habitation since the Paleolithic era. There is a legend that a weary Hercules stopped in the valley to bathe and rest. During the Roman occupation,  the local Herculaneum Spa was known all over the Empire.

Pindar confirms the visit of Hercules to the Danube (Istrus)(ag).

Even as early as the 1st century BC, local coinage displayed images of Hercules(af).

Just over a century ago, Nicolae Densusianu finished his monumental work Ancient Dacia(ah), which included fifteen pages(j) of the most comprehensive and fully referenced defence of any PoH location proposed, namely, the Iron Gates gorge on the Danube in ancient Dacia – modern Romania.

Densusianu’s offering has been reinforced recently by Antonije Shkokljev & Slave Nikolovski–Katin who have recorded [1742]  a version of the ‘Labours of Hercules’ that took place in the land of the Hyperboreans and its Danube River(ai). Other more recent writers have also specified the Iron Gates as the location of the PoH.

A paper presented to the 2008 Atlantis Conference by Ticleanu, Constantin & Nicolescu [0750.375] has the ‘Pillars’ at the Iron Gates, but place Atlantis a little further west on what is now the Pannonian Plain. Similarly, an anonymous commentator, ‘Sherlock’, referencing Pindar (Olympian 3) also places the Pillars at the confluence of the Seva and Danube rivers near today’s Belgrade(s)

AEGEAN

Back in the Mediterranean, Capes Maleas and Matapan (Tainaron) in thePeloponnese are the two most southerly points of mainland Greece. They have been proposed by Galanopoulos & Bacon [0263] as the Pillars of Heracles, when the early Greeks were initially confined to the Aegean Sea and the two promontories were the western limits of their maritime knowledge at that time. They argue that it is possible that the ‘Pillars of Hercules’ are not the Straits of Gibraltar?

“This has been the subject of some interesting conjectures. Nearly all the labours of Hercules were performed in the Peloponnese. The last and hardest of those which Eurytheus imposed on the hero was to descend to Hades and bring back its three-headed dog guardian, Cerberus. According to the most general version Hercules entered Hades through the abyss at Cape Taenarun (the modern Cape Matapan), the western cape of the Gulf of Laconia. The eastern cape of this gulf is Cape Maleas, a dangerous promontory, notorious for its rough seas.

Pausanias records that on either side of this windswept promontory were temples, that on the west dedicated to Poseidon, that on the east to Apollo. It is perhaps therefore not extravagant to suggest that the Pillars of Hercules referred to are the promontories of Taenarum and Maleas; and it is perhaps significant that the twin brother of Atlas was allotted the extremity of Atlantis closest to the Pillars of Hercules. The relevant passage in the Critias (114A-B) states:

And the name of his younger twin-brother, who had for his portion the extremity of the island near the pillars of Hercules up to the part of the country now called Gadeira after the name of that region, was Eumelus in Greek, but in the native tongue Gadeirus — which fact may have given its title to the country.’

Since the region had been named after the second son of Poseidon, whose Greek name was Eumelus, its Greek title must likewise have been Eumelus, a name which brings to mind the most westerly of the Cyclades, Melos, which is in fact not far from the notorious Cape Maleas. The name Eumelus was in use in the Cyclades; and the ancient inscription (‘Eumelus an excellent danger’) was found on a rock on the island of Thera.

In general, it can be argued from a number of points in Plato’s narrative that placing ‘the Pillars of Hercules’ at the south of the Peloponnese makes sense, while identifying them with the Straits of Gibraltar does not [p.97].”

Both James Mavor and Rodney Castleden defend this view, which continues to have some support(p).

Paulino Zamarro has mapped 13 locations(f) identified as Pillars by classical authors and expands on this further in his book [0024]. He identified Pori, a rocky islet north of the Greek island of Antikythera, as the location of the Pillars.

EGYPT

In spite of all this, two writers, R. McQuillen and Hossam Aboulfotouh, have independently suggested the vicinity of Canopus situated in the west of the Nile Delta as the location of the ‘Pillars’. Luana Monte, a supporter of the Minoan Hypothesis has also proposed [0485] a location at the mouth of the Nile Delta where the recently rediscovered sunken city of Herakleoin was situated. This identification appears to have been made in order to keep the Minoan Empire west of the ‘Pillars’.

STRAIT of OTRANTO

Moving on, we find that Alessio Toscano has suggested that the Pillars were situated at the Strait of Otranto and that Plato’s ‘Atlantic’ was in fact the Adriatic Sea!

The STRAIT of MESSINA is a strong contender as a location of the PoH in the Central Mediterranean. For years I have struggled with the idea that the Atlanteans had attacked from beyond Pillars located at Gibraltar since Plato tells us that they already had control of northern Africa and southern Italy along with a number of islands. To me this could only make sense if the Pillars were situated east of Gibraltar.

I recently recalled that Thorwald C. Franke had arrived at the same conclusion in a paper delivered to the 2008 Atlantis Conference held in Athens [750], where he noted that “On the one hand Atlantis is said to have ruled in Italy and Northern Africa before it invaded the region ‘within the straits’. On the other hand Atlantis wanted to subdue ‘at a blow…..the whole region within the straits.’ How could Atlantis subdue ‘at a blow’ the ‘whole’ region ‘within the straits’ after Atlantis already had conquered the whole western Mediterranean sea”

“This is easily explained if we localise the Atlantis straits at the straits of Messina and consider the sea ‘within the straits’ to be the eastern Mediterranean sea only.”

Some commentators had suggested the Strait of Sicily, but I find it strange that what we call today the Strait of Sicily is 90 miles wide. Now the definition of ‘strait’ is a narrow passage of water connecting two large bodies of water. How 90 miles can be described as ‘narrow’ eludes me. Is it possible that we are dealing with a case of mistaken identity and that the ‘Strait of Sicily’, when referred to in ancient times, was in fact the Strait of Messina, which is narrow? Keeping in mind that Philo of Alexandria (20 BC-50 AD)  in his On the Eternity of the World(aj) wrote “Are you ignorant of the celebrated account which is given of that most sacred Sicilian strait, which in old times joined Sicily to the continent of Italy?” So. understandably, the Strait of Messina is a ‘prime suspect’.

On the other hand the Strait of Messina was one of the locations known as the site of the ‘Pillars’ and considering that mariners at that time preferred to stay close to the coast, I would opt for the Strait of Messina rather than the more frequently proposed Strait of Sicily. In a 1959 article(r) entitled Atlantis – A New Theory, Arthur R. Weir investigates the story of Scylla & Charybdis and is happy to accept that is refers to features in the Strait of Messina. In commenting on the Pillars he notes it is “quite clear that while to a Roman of the time of Julius Caesar the ‘Pillars of Heracles’ meant the Straits of Gibraltar, to a Greek of

 six centuries or more earlier they meant the Straits of Messina, and this immediately suggests a very different location for Atlantis.” Weir goes on to suggest a location, south of Sardinia and east of the Balearics.

?SICILY

Federico Bardanzellu locates the Pillars on the island of Motya off the west coast of Sicily(h), a view that is hotly disputed. This would suggest that Atlantis was located west of there, which would bring you to Sardinia – 200 miles away. However, the Pillars were described as being close to Atlantis, which makes this suggestion improbable.

Sergio Frau in his book, Le Colonne d’Ercole: Un’inchiesta [0302] , insists that the Pillars were in fact located in the Strait of Sicily. He sees this location as according with the writings of Homer and Hesiod. He discusses in detail the reference by Herodotus to an island to the west of the Pillars, suggesting that the word ocean had a different meaning than to-day and pointing out that elsewhere Herodotus refers to Sardinia as the largest island in the world. Following this lead Frau concluded that Atlantis was in fact located in Sardinia.

MALTA

As Felice Vinci mentioned earlier, according to Aristotle, the Pillars of Heracles were also known by the earlier name of ‘Pillars of Briareus’ (Aelian Var.Hist.5.3). Plutarch places Briareus near Ogygia, from which we can assume that the Pillars of Heracles are close to Ogygia [019.270]. Since Malta is identified by some as Ogygia, it is not unreasonable, to conclude that the Pillars were probably in the region of the Maltese Islands.

Anton Mifsud has now revised his opinion regarding the Pillars and in a December 2017 illustrated article(o) he identified the Maltese promontory of Ras ir-Raheb near Rabat, with its two enormous limestone columns as the Pillars of Herakles. This headland had originally been topped by a Temple of Herakles, confirmed by archaeologist, Professor Nicholas Vella. A 2020 article about the Minoans offered additional support for this location(v).

STRAIT OF SICILY

Robert J. Tuttle, is the author of The Fourth Source [1148], in which he touched on the subject of Atlantis, takes issue with the translations of Plato’s text by Bury and Lee, who refer to the ‘Atlantic Ocean’, which he claims should read as the ‘Sea of Atlantis’ and locates the ‘Pillars of Herakles’ somewhere between Tunisia, Sicily and the ‘toe of Italy’.

Rosario Vieni has suggested that the Symplegades, at the Bosporus, encountered by Homer’s Argonauts were precursors of the Pillars of Heracles, although Vieni settled on the Strait of Sicily as their location [1177], before Sergio Frau adopted the same location. However, there is little doubt that during the last two centuries BC ‘the Pillars’ referred almost exclusively to the Strait of Gibraltar.

Delisle de Sales placed the ‘Pillars’ not too far away at the Gulf of Tunis, the gateway to Carthage.

GULF OF GABES

As mentioned above Scylax of Caryanda described in his Periplus(a) that the Maltese Islands lay to the east of the Pillars of Heracles, which would place the archipelago east of the Gulf of Gabes. Antonio Usai, in a critique of Frau’s book Usai opted for the Pillars having been between the east coast of Tunisia and the islands of Kerkennah in the Gulf of Gabes  [0980]. George Sarantitis presented a paper to the 2008 Atlantis Conference in which he also argued that the Pillars had been situated in the Gulf of Gabes [750.403]. He cites Strabo among others to highlight the multiplicity of locations that have been attributed to Pillars in ancient times.

Ulrich Hofmann combines the Periplus of Scylax with the writings of Herodotus to build a credible argument for placing Atlantis in North Africa in Lake Tritonis, now occupied by the chotts of modern Algeria and Tunisia. Consequently, Hofmann places the Pillars at the Gulf of Gabés. Hofmann also argues that the Pillars were part of Atlantis rather than separate from it.

GIBRALTAR

There is no doubt that the region of Gibraltar was considered, at least by the Greeks, to be home to the Pillars from the middle of the first millennium BC. However, although sought by Phoenicians, Greeks and Romans, they were never found. I contend that they were metaphorical not physical.<

BEYOND GIBRALTAR

 A more distant location was proposed by Chechelnitsky who placed the ‘Pillars’ at the Bering Strait between the Chukchi and Seward peninsulas in Russia and the USA respectively.

Arguably the most unusual suggestion this year has come Marco Goti in his book, The Island of Plato [1430] in which he identified the ‘Pillars’ in the Atlantic, being the basalt columns of the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland in the west and their counterpart in Scotland’s Isle of Staffa in the east! However, this idea is not original, having been first mooted nearly seventy years ago by W.C. Beaumont(n).

Olof Rudbeck‘s chosen location was further east in the Baltic at the Øresund Strait between Sweden and Denmark.

Ogygia has also been identified with one of the Faroe Islands in the North Atlantic by Felice Vinci [019.3], who then proposed that the Pillars of Heracles had also been located in that archipelago. John Larsen has made similar suggestions.

Exotic locations such as Chott-el-Jerid in Tunisia, Bab-el-Mandeb(b) at the mouth of the Red Sea, the Strait of Hormuz(i) at the entrance to the Persian Gulf and even the Palk Strait between Sri Lanka and India have all been suggested at some stage as the ‘Pillars’.

George H. Cooper offered [0236] an even more outrageous solution when he wrote that the megaliths of Stonehenge in England were the original Pillars of Heracles.

In 2018, David L. Hildebrandt published Atlantis–The Awakening [1602], in which he has endeavoured to do just that with a mass of material that he claims supports the idea of Atlantis in Britain and Stonehenge as the remnants of the Temple of Poseidon. He suggests that the five trilithons represent the five sets of male twins, an idea voiced by Jürgen Spanuth and more recently by Dieter Braasch.

The late Arysio dos Santos [0320] claimed that “there was only one real pair of pillars: the ones that flank Sunda Strait in Indonesia”, in keeping with his Indonesian location for Atlantis. However, he does offer a map showing [p.130] nine sites designated by ancient authorities (but without references) as having been locations of ‘Pillars’, reinforcing the idea that the term was not exclusively applied to just one site. Santos’ map was based on the work of José Imbelloni.

ATLANTIS AND THE PILLARS OF HERACLES

The assumed location of the Pillars of Heracles, at the time of Solon, often plays a critical part in the formulation of the many  Atlantis theories on offer today. Even the authors of theories that have placed Plato’s island civilisation in such diverse locations as Antarctica, the North Sea or the South China Sea, have felt obliged to include an explanation for the nature and location of the ’Pillars’ within the framework of their particular hypothesis.   

There is one location clue in Plato’s text (Tim.24e) that is often overlooked, namely, that the island of Atlantis was situated close to the Pillars of Heracles. Although it can be argued that Plato’s island was immediately before or beyond the Pillars, the text seems to clearly imply proximity. This was pointed out by W.K.C. Guthrie in volume V of A History of Greek Philosophy [0946.245] and independently endorsed by Joseph Warren Wells in The Book on Atlantis [0783].

Sometimes, in ancient Greek literature, this phrase PoH refers to the strait between Sicily and the southern tip of Italy (a place which the Greeks did know well, having established colonies in Sicily and Southern Italy). An indication of the level of confusion that existed in early geography and cartography is the fact that some ancient maps & texts mark the Mediterranean region west of the Strait of Sicily as ‘the Atlantic Ocean’ and even state that Tyrrhenia is in the ‘Atlantic’!

Finally, my own conclusion regarding the location of the ‘Pillars’ is that a careful reading of Plato’s text shows clearly that they were located in the Central region of the Mediterranean. I base this view on Critias 108 which states that the Atlantean war was between those that lived outside the Pillars of Heracles and those that lived within them and (ii) Critias 114 which declares that Atlantis held sway over the Western Mediterranean as far as Tyrrhenia in the north and up to the borders of Egypt in the south. Consequently, we can assume that west of Tyrrhenia and of Egypt were beyond the Pillars of Heracles. Depending on the exact location of the ancient borders of Tyrrhenia and Egypt, the Pillars were probably situated somewhere in the vicinity of the Strait of Sicily.

This interpretation opens up the possibility of Malta, Sicily or even Sardinia as prime candidates for the location of Atlantis, with the ‘Pillars’ probably being at the Strait of Messina between Sicily and mainland Italy. My principal reason being that a strait is defined as “a naturally formed, narrow, typically navigable waterway that connects two larger bodies of water.” The Strait of Sicily is 145 km wide and cannot be realistically considered a strait. Similarly, it can be argued that at 13 km in width, the Strait of Gibraltar cannot be described as ‘narrow’! On the other hand the Strait of Messina, which at its narrowest is 3.1 km wide, fits the bill perfectly. Andis Kaulins is similarly inclined to favour the Central Mediterranean, also with the Strait of Messina as his prime candidate(q).

What is clear from all of the above is that the term Pillars of Heracles was, without doubt, applied to a variety of locations but Plato’s reference might relate to Gibraltar although equally strong if not stronger cases can be made for other sites at earlier dates. It is also plausible that at some point it also became a metaphor for any geographical limit.

CONCLUSION

Leaving aside the multiplicity of Herakles’ noted above, it is clear that the Herakles associated with Pillars was a mythological figure and when taken together with the fact that the ancient writers could not agree on the exact location or the nature of the Pillars and combined with the failure of both the Phoenicians and later the Romans to find the, it is reasonable to conclude that there were no physical Pillars of Herakles at Gibraltar.

It should be obvious that if the ancient mariners, Greeks, Phoenicians and Romans, despite centuries of searching, were unable to definitively identify the location of the Pillars, making my suggestion, that they were not physical but metaphorical, more credible.

Furthermore, the Gibraltar region together with all the other locations proposed for the Pillars of Herakles, none are known to have possessed the stelai described by Plato.

The PoH are described by Plato in terms implying proximity to Atlantis. He also described Atlantis as being beyond the Pillars of Herakles or westward of them. Furthermore, without any ambiguity, Plato identified central Mediterranean territory in southern Italy and northern Africa together with a number of the many islands there, as the Atlantean domain. Consequently, we must look to somewhere not too far east of those lands for the location of the Pillars. My personal choice is the Strait of Messina, one of the proposed landmarks named as the Pillars on their journey westward in step with the expansion of Greek trade and colonisation.

As explained elsewhere,  ancient empires or alliances only expanded by invading contiguous territory or attacking by sea, land that is within ‘easy reach’. From Gibraltar to Athens is over 2,500 km, which would make an attack over that distance totally irrational, whereas an invasion launched from southern Italy across the Strait of Otranto to mainland Greece is quite credible.

TRIVIA

Apart from any connection with Atlantis, it has been suggested that the vertical lines in the US dollar $ign (and by extension on the Bitcoin logo) represent the Pillars of Heracles!(l)

A more ‘out of this world’ suggestion(c) is that the ‘Pillars’ were in fact two bright stars in the western sky at the end of the last Age of Libra around 12,500 BC.

(a) http://www2.le.ac.uk/departments/archaeology/people/shipley/pseudo-skylax

(b) http://www.grahamhancock.com/underworld/DrSunilAtlantis.php

(c) http://dailygrail.com/blogs/Charles-Pope/2011/8/Atlantis-Above-and-Below-Part-3

(d) https://web.archive.org/web/20020603011136/http://www.gunnzone.org:80/constructs/endsjo.htm

(e) http://books.google.ie/books/about/The_Edges_of_the_Earth_in_Ancient_Though.html?id=UOTxOcI_YJgCHYPERLINK “http://books.google.ie/books/about/The_Edges_of_the_Earth_in_Ancient_Though.html?id=UOTxOcI_YJgC&redir_esc=y”&HYPERLINK “http://books.google.ie/books/about/The_Edges_of_the_Earth_in_Ancient_Though.html?id=UOTxOcI_YJgC&redir_esc=y”redir_esc=y

(f) http://www.atlantidaegeo.com/c_hercules.html

(g) .ii.html”http://classics.mit.edu?Aristotle/meteorology.2.ii.html

(h) https://web.archive.org/web/20200403114225/http://www.museodeidolmen.it/popomare.html

(i) https://web.archive.org/web/20200220020342/http://www.middle-east.mavericsa.co.za/history.html  (over half way down page)

(j) https://shebtiw.wordpress.com/the-sea/the-pillars-of-hercules/

(k) http://redefiningatlantis.blogspot.ie/search/label/Heracles

(l) http://www.pravda-tv.com/2016/07/atlantis-die-dollar-note-und-die-saeulen-des-herakles/

(m) http://gibraltar-intro.blogspot.ie/2015/10/bc-pillars-of-hercules-if-ordinary.html

(n) https://www.theflatearthsociety.org/library/pamphlets/Is%20Britain%20the%20Lost%20Atlantis.pdf

(o) https://www.academia.edu/35505631/THE_PILLARS_OF_HERCULES_MYTH_OR_REALITY?auto=download&campaign=weekly_digest

(p) https://stillcurrent.wordpress.com/2016/04/05/atlantis-maybe-not-so-lost/

(q) https://web.archive.org/web/20200130221548/http://www.lexiline.com/lexiline/lexi60.htm 

(r) https://drive.google.com/file/d/10JTH401O_ew1fs8uhXR9C5IjNDvqnmft/view  Science Fantasy #35 1969

(s) https://sherlockfindsatlantis.wordpress.com/

(t) (Atlantean) Research, Vol 1 No.2, July/August , 1948

(u) Atlantis, Vol.29, No.2, March 76.

(v) https://www.argophilia.com/news/was-the-end-of-the-minoans-the-will-of-the-gods/227053/ (near end of page)

(w) http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.04.0064:entry=herculis-columnae-geo 

(x) http://dlib.nyu.edu/awdl/isaw/isaw-papers/5/

(y) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/334683935_In_Search_of_the_Pillars_of_Heracles

(z) http://cosmosandlogos.com/?p=732

(aa) Servius on Vergil’s Aeneid 11.262.1

(ab) https://willydorn.de/galerie/kunstdrucke/drucke-atlantis/informationen-zu-atlantis/

(ac) http://atlantidaegeo.com/c_hercules.html

(ad) PREHISTORIC DACIA by Nicolae Densu?ianu (Full English Translation) : Nicolae Densu?ianu : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive 3.16 – 10

(ae) https://www.stockton.edu/hellenic-studies/documents/chs-summaries/culley94.pdf

(af) http://www.wildwinds.com/coins/celtic/danube/i.html

(ag) Pindar, Olympian 3.25

(ah) PREHISTORIC DACIA by Nicolae Densu?ianu (Full English Translation) : Nicolae Densu?ianu : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive 3.16 – 01

(ai) https://www.academia.edu/30587794/_Cradle_of_the_Aegean_Culture_by_Antonije_Shkokljev_and_Slave_Nikolovski_Katin?email_work_card=view-paper (Chap. 16)

(aj) https://web.archive.org/web/20200726123301/http:/www.earlychristianwritings.com/yonge/book35.html, v139

(ak) https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Anabasis_of_Alexander/Book_II/Chapter_XVI

(al) https://www.chasingtheunexpected.com/sardinia-land-of-mystery-part-2-atlantis-lost-civilization/

(am) Plato’s Atlantis (Decoding the most famous myth) English translation of ‘The Apocalypse of a Myth’, 2017

(an) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claudius_Aelianus#Varia_Historia

(ao) https://archive.aramcoworld.com/issue/199203/pillars.of.hercules.sea.of.darkness.htm  {4748}

(ap) II, 42.44 {4747}

(aq) https://www.ancient.eu/Greek_Colonization/

(ar) https://www.academia.edu/28508777/The_Cambridge_Ancient_History_3rd_Edition_volume_03_part_3_The_Expansion_of_the_Greek_World

(as) https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/capo-colonna

(at) https://nl.pinterest.com/pin/734438651719489108/

(au) See: Note 5 Armin Wolf’s Wayback Machine (archive.org)

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

Ryan & Pitman

William Ryan & Walter Pitman published evidence, in 1997, that extensive flooding of the Black Sea occurred through the Bosphorus around 5600 BC. Controversy still surrounds various aspects of their

Pitman (l) & Ryan (r)

Pitman (l) & Ryan (r)

theory, some even claiming that the Black Sea broke into the Aegean, an idea that may be partially true(d)(e).

Nevertheless, their conclusions were challenged in a paper(c)  by Yanko, Gilbert and Dolukhanov, who offered evidence that the flooding of the Black Sea was not the rapid event claimed, but was spread over millennia, initially in the form of freshwater from the Caspian Sea via the Manych Spillway(d) as the glaciers retreated and later with seawater from the Mediterranean. The same paper concludes with the following; “The public perception that ‘Noah’s Flood’ happened there is not supported by any scientific evidence.”

Ryan & Pitman later published their theories in book form as Noah’s Flood[0025] and was understandably seized upon by many as proof of the veracity of the Bible. In fact a year before Ryan & Pitman launched their book, René & Denise Capart published l homme et les déluges[1062], in which they linked the Black Sea with the the Deluge of Noah. A Bulgarian father and son team, Petko & Dimitar Dimitrov, refer to the pre-flood Varna civilisation existing on the Black Sea plain[0998], but not calling it Atlantis by name. Their book is available online(a).

Inevitably, I suppose, Atlantis has been more firmly linked with this event by a number of commentators, particularly, Christian & Siegfried Schoppe(b). However, Hristo Smolenov also claimed that swathes of the Varna civilisation were inundated by the rising waters of the Black Sea but had no hesitation identifying it with Atlantis.

(a) https://io-bas.bg/noahproject/BOOK_PETKO.pdf

>(b) https://web.archive.org/web/20190819053842/https://www.black-sea-atlantis.com/schoppe.pdf<

(c) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/223177419_Controversy_over_the_great_flood_hypotheses_in_the_Black_Sea_in_light_of_geological_paleontological_and_archaeological_evidence

(d) https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1040618206001984

(e) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/282223495_The_late_glacial_great_flood_in_the_Ponto-Caspian_basin

Bulgaria

Bulgaria has not been totally excluded from the search for Atlantis. In 2012 it was announced that the oldest European town had been discovered in Bulgaria(a), near the town of Provadia and dated to about 4500 BC. Recently there were metal beads discovered in Bulgaria tentatively dated to 6000 BC. Along with recent discoveries of hoards of Thracian gold it is obvious that Bulgaria was no backwater, although identifying it with Atlantis is not a runner. Nevertheless, some have attempted(e) to link Atlantis with the ancient region of Thrace, which today would occupy a section of Bulgaria along with parts of Greece and Turkey.

In the mid-20th century the noted Bulgarian astronomer Nikola Bonev placed Atlantis in the Atlantic. However, the flooding of the Black Sea as revealed by Ryan & Pitman triggered the imagination of a number of people. The Schoppe father and son team who favour a Black Sea location for Atlantis have broken with the generally held view that Gadeiros, the twin brother of Atlas, gave his name to the city of Gades, now Cadiz in southwest Spain and proposed the more radical view that he gave his name to the Getae who occupied parts of today’s Bulgaria and Romania(b).

In 2012, Hristo Smolenov went further and suggested a closer connection between Bulgaria and Atlantis on his website(c), a video(c) and a book[1003], Zagora – Varna: The Hidden Superculture.

(a) https://www.nbcnews.com/id/49645182/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/bulgaria-claims-find-europes-oldest-town/#.VLgVH4tFBy0

>(b) https://web.archive.org/web/20190830053312/https://www.black-sea-atlantis.com/black-sea-atlantis/<

(c) https://atlantisblacksea.wordpress.com/tag/hristo-smolenov/

(d) https://atlantisblacksea.wordpress.com/atlantis-in-the-black-sea-videos/

(e) https://www.home2b.nl/home2b-secret-history/secret-history-atlantis1.html

Cahill, Michael A.

Michael A. Cahill (1961- ) is an Australian Lecturer in Biochemistry & Cell Biology, author of multiple patents, and scientific cofounder of the biotechnology company ProteoSys AG. He is also the author of an extensively researched two-volume work(b)(c), published in 2012, entitled Paradise Rediscovered: The Roots of Civilisation[818/9]. This offering of over 1100 pages is, by the author’s own admission, controversial. In it he puts forward the radical idea that “the long forgotten high society of Atlantis existed in the pre-Diluvian Stone Age at the mouth of the Black Sea [the location of present day Istanbul] and that its legends have come down to us in Indo-European and Middle Eastern mythologies (including the biblical Genesis account)”(d).

However Atlantis is only a tangent to main theme of this book, which opens with Solon in the Temple of Neith at Sais from Plato. Cahill recognised that the myth of Phaeton related by the old Egyptian priest actually referred to a supernova in the constellation of Cygnus. This was confirmation that the Atlantis account referred to the transmission of actual historical information by Plato, rather than fictional imagination, inspired further investigation.

For Cahill the inundation of Atlantis would have corresponded to the biblical Deluge, which Ryan and Pitman’s Noah’s Flood equated with the Black Sea Flood, dated at 6400 BC(e) after the breaching of the Bosporus. This date is around 1,200 years earlier than that suggested by Christian & Siegfried Schoppe, while Cahill’s proposed location for Atlantis, namely in the vicinity of modern Istanbul, is south of the Schoppe’s proposed Snake Island in the Black Sea. This location has, understandably, some local support from Adrian Bucurescu(g) and more recently from George K. Weller (h).

Linguistics analysis had suggested the origin of the Indo-European languages in Anatolia (i.e. next to the Black Sea) around 6400 BC. Cahill looked for and found otherwise unlikely traces of Indo-European words in flood accounts, such as Genesis, The Book of Enoch, and The Epic of Gilgamesh. He has published a summary of the arguments in a poster presented at the 2011 Atlantis Conference in Santorini, Greece. Based upon the society reconstructed from the written flood accounts, from Indo-European comparative mythology, and from a host of other sources, the book concludes that this society was dominated by god-kings who commanded secret scientific Neolithic knowledge, possibly including an elixir which extended the life-span of the elite(f).From the Stonehenge-like circular Atlantis complex at the Bosporus the “gods” exerted a monopoly on power until 200 of them defected, revealing secret knowledge to “the daughters of man” to start a new farming culture that spread across Europe with its Indo-European languages. Paradise Rediscovered certainly poses challenging questions for many established social and archaeological paradigms. Whether or not this shadowy reconstruction is correct, and even Cahill does not insist that it is(d), it is well researched and its elaborate arguments are surprisingly plausible. (The above synopsis was written by Cahill at my request. TO’C)

Cahill has had problems with selling his books through Amazon and offers an alternative source for purchasers(h).

(b) https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15753858-paradise-rediscovered

(c) https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6082558.Michael_A_Cahill

(d) https://www.amazon.com/Paradise-Rediscovered-Roots-Civilisation-ebook/dp/B0089C9OSU/

(e) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/265937032_Status_of_the_Black_Sea_flood_hypothesis

(f) https://www.dailyadvertiser.com.au/story/129886/lecturers-search-for-longer-life/

>(g) https://sfinxredivivus.wordpress.com/tag/etnograful-adrian-bucurescu/

(h) https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/3147587-amazon-paperback-policy<

(i) http://www.ctq2.org/farmers-blog/comparison-of-platos-critias-with-george-k-wellers-concept-of-atlantis-and-its-location/

Schoppe, Christian & Siegfried

Siegfried Schoppe

Siegfried Schoppe

Christian & Siegfried Schoppe are a father and son team of German researchers, who firmly assert that Atlantis was located in the Black Sea. More specifically they suggest that Snake Island(b) situated 35 km east of the Danube Delta, was the location of the Atlantean capital. Snake Island has also been referred to in a Russian website(c) that discusses a Black Sea Atlantis. It includes a number of videoclips with Russian dialogue.

Snake Island has also been adopted by George K. Weller as the location of Atlantis(h).

Their contention is that before 5500 BC there was a great plain in the north-west of the area, now occupied by the Black Sea, which was then a much smaller freshwater-lake. Atlantis in their view was situated on what was formerly the shore of this lake. The Schoppe’s echo the

christian schoppe

christian schoppe

view of Ryan and Pitman who were probably the first in 1998, to advance the idea that around 5500 BC the barrier at today’s Bosporus broke open due to the rising world sea levels and raised the level of the Black Sea, flooding a huge area of cultivated land, an event that lay behind the story of Noah’s Flood.

The Schoppes, on the other hand, identify this flooding of the Black Sea with the flooding of Atlantis and maintain that the Pillars of Heracles are located at the Strait of Bosporus. They further suggest that the Orichalcum mentioned by Plato was in fact obsidian that used to be a cash-equivalent at that time and was replaced by the spondylus shell around 5500 BC. This geocatastrophic event, according to the Schoppes, led to the Neolithic diaspora in Europe that also began around 5500 BC.

They also claim to have identified the location of the ten kingdoms of the Atlantean empire through an investigation of placenames for both meaning and sound. The theories of the Schoppe’s are contained in their book, Atlantis und die Sintflut [186] and outlined on their website(a).

In 2005, the Schoppes offered their theory to the Atlantis Conference on Milos and have published their presentation online(g).

In June 2015, Siegfried Schoppe offered the latest paper in support of their Black Sea location for Atlantis(d) for publication on the Atlantipedia.ie website, as well as a shorter note, also in support of their theory(e).

In a short paper(f), the Schoppes also compared the effects of the fall of Rome with the consequences of the demise of Atlantis.

The Atlantis theory of the Schoppes, along with many others matches many of the clues offered by Plato, but for me, I find it difficult to understand how an Atlantis situated east of Athens and north of Egypt in the Black Sea could attack them 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).

(a) https://web.archive.org/web/20190830053312/https://www.black-sea-atlantis.com/black-sea-atlantis/

(b) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snake_Island_(Black_Sea)

(c) https://survincity.com/2010/04/conspiracy-theory-black-sea-atlantis-the-case-of/ (link broken Dec.2020)

(d) See: Archive 5098 (German)

(e) See: Archive 5099  (English)

(f) See: Archive 2873 (German/English)

(g) https://web.archive.org/web/20190819053202/https://www.black-sea-atlantis.com/milos.pdf

(h) https://www.ctq2.org/farmers-blog/comparison-of-platos-critias-with-george-k-wellers-concept-of-atlantis-and-its-location/

Atlantis Research Charter, The

The Atlantis Research Charter followed on from the 2005 Atlantis Conference in Melos. Some of the German participants including the late Ulf Richter, Christian & Siegfried Schoppe and Ulrich Hofmann decided to develop some basis for mutual cooperation. Thorwald C. Franke subsequently joined this group and provided the first draft of the Atlantis Research Charter. Unfortunately, the promoters of the Charter never developed beyond an informal association, due to a change in the research interests of some members and the untimely death of Ulf Richter.

The text of this charter is available on the Internet(a). Briefly, the charter aims to have the subject of Atlantis discussed from a scientific perspective as an open issue. The charter firmly rejects pseudoscience, dogmatism and abuse for political or religious ends.

(a) https://www.atlantis-scout.de/charter.htm

German Atlantology

German Atlantologists have made a considerable contribution to their subject over the past century. In fact, outside the English speaking world the Germans can arguably claim to have contributed most to scientific Atlantology. I think that there is sufficient material to justify a book on German Atlantology on its own. The extent of their influence can be gauged by entering ‘German’ in the Atlantipedia search box.

A recent newsletter from Thorwald C. Franke highlighted the work of German researchers, particularly in the early part of the 20th century. Surprisingly, he did not mention more recent German publications including his own(a) valuable contributions. In 2016 Franke published Kritische Geschichte der Meinungen und Hypothesen zu Platons Atlantis[1255] (Critical history of opinions and hypotheses about Plato’s Atlantis), which contains a review of virtually every Atlantis theorist from antiquity until the 20th century. Unfortunately, this 593-page tome is not available in English leaving German readers to be envied for having such a valuable research tool available to them. A summary of his book is available in English(b).

*So it is not without good reason that Franke recently urged serious Atlantis researchers to learn German as it provides access to a lot of valuable research.*

(a) https://www.atlantis-scout.de/atlanveroeff_engl.htm

(b) https://www.atlantis-scout.de/atlantis-geschichte-hypothesen.htm

*Also See: Aschenbrenner, Beier, Bischoff, L. Borchardt, P. Borchardt, Christ, Hausmann, Hofmann, Horn,

Hübner, Huf, Jessen, Kühne, Muck, Richter, Schoppe, Schulten, Spanuth and Tributsch.*

 

Iberia

Iberia was the ancient name for the peninsula that is today home to Spain and Portugal. Most Iberian centred theories have identified Andalusia as the most likely location for Atlantis.

Iberia CaucasusIberia is also the name of an early kingdom on the eastern coast of the Black Sea, known as Kartli in Georgian. This fact is used by the Schoppes to support their Atlantis in the Black Sea theory. This ancient Iberia in the Caucasus is sometimes claimed as the original home of wine(a), now dated to around 6000 BC(d)!*However, the most recent studies place the earliest evidence for wine production in Italy in the 4th millennium BC.(c) 

A short history of this Georgian Iberia is available online(b).

*(a) https://www.argophilia.com/news/georgia-origin-of-wine/24367/ (Link broken)*

(b) https://www.conflicts.rem33.com/images/Georgia/Caucasian%20Iberia.htm

(c) https://popular-archaeology.com/issue/summer-2017/article/world-s-oldest-italian-wine-just-discovered

(d) https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-41977709

Elasippos

Elasippos is the name of the elder of the fourth pair of twins who became kings of the Atlantean empire. This name is claimed to have been modified by time and usage to what we know as Lisbon today, where his kingdom is assumed to have existed. However, Plato tells us that the names of the original ten kings of Atlantis recorded by him have been Hellenised so that the putative connection between Elasippos and Lisbon is somewhat suspect.

The Greeks knew Lisbon as Olissipo and believed that this was derived from Ulysses whom is supposed to have founded the city, although it is more conventionally accepted as having been established by the Phoenicians and known by them as Alis-Ubbo.

However, Frank Joseph claims that they knew it as Elasippos (b) and in Douglas Kenyon’s Forgotten Origins [1191.67] he translates the name as ‘Kingly horse-rider’. However, in The Lost Civilisation of Lemuria [0107] Joseph suggested that Elasippos was possibly a reference to Olisihpa a king of Nan Madol in the Pacific! (d)

It is interesting that this suggested Ulysses connection supports the view that the adventures of Homer’s hero took place outside the Mediterranean.

C.&S.Schoppe translate ‘Elasippos’ as ‘horse of war’ referring to its domestication and also claim that he gave his name to a region around the River Don(a) that flows into the Black Sea, their preferred location for Atlantis.

Other translations of the different variants of the name are ‘calm roadstead’ or ‘walled town’ (c).

>(a) https://web.archive.org/web/20190830053312/https://www.black-sea-atlantis.com/black-sea-atlantis/<

(b) See: Archive 3646

(c) https://web.archive.org/web/20130827234950/https://what-when-how.com/the-atlantis/ea-to-enigorio-and-enigohatgea/

(d) https://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/daily-mail-suggest-that-nan-madol-offers-evidence-for-atlantis

Black Sea

The Black Sea was known to the Greeks as the Euxine Sea and according to Strabo (1.2.10), in antiquity was often simply referred to as “the sea” (pontos).  It has also been known as the Scythian Sea after the people who lived on its northern shore.

It received little attention in connection with the Atlantis mystery until the 19th century when two French writers, André de Paniagua and Moreau de Jonnès, independently located Atlantis in the Sea of Azov. Some years later in 1923, R.A. Fessenden, a Canadian professor of BlackSeaMapMathematics and Electrical Engineering wrote about the prehistoric flooding of a civilisation in the Caucasus’ region, which he linked with Plato’s Atlantis. The text of this extensive work is now available on the Internet(a).

Little was heard of the region again until 1998, when Ryan &  Pitman identified the flooding of the Black Sea with Noah’s Flood[025]. This was followed in 2001 by Ian Wilson‘s Before the Flood [185], which reflected a similar line of thought.

In 2004, the Bulgarian father and son oceanographers, Petko and Dimitar Dimitrov, published their book, The Black Sea, the Flood and the Ancient Myths, in English, which supported much of Ryan and Pitman’s work. Unlike them, who based much of their conclusions on a study of molluscs, the Dimitrovs focused on sedimentation evidence. Their book is now available, in English, as a free pdf file(d). They also suggest that this Holocene influx into the Black Sea also triggered the Vedic Aryan migration to India(g).

Ryan and Pitman’s book unintentionally triggered the imaginations of a number of people into considering the possibility of a possible link between this inundation and the sinking of  Atlantis. While Ryan and Pitman have made no such suggestion, others such as Ian Wilson[185] have seen a distorted memory of the event as a possible inspiration for Plato’s story. In 2009, Liviu Giosan, a geologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute published a paper(e) which suggested that prior to the intrusion of the Mediterranean, the level of the Black Sea had been just 30 metres below its present level rather than the 80 metres proposed by Ryan and Pitman. This would imply a less extensive degree of flooding than previously thought. Giosan has offered a sceptical Ryan an opportunity to replicate his tests.

Although the scenario pictured by Ryan & Pitman and others is of a very rapid flooding of the original smaller Black Sea, more recent studies appear to indicate a more gradual raising of the water levels. “With more data to be analysed, it supports the idea that the waters rose unnoticeably, by metres over centuries, even millennia.”(o)

Nick Thom, a British engineer, wrote The Great Flood[776] which includes a section on the Black Sea in which he suggests that the flow of water was from the Black Sea into the Sea of Marmara rather than the other way around.

More recently Christian & Siegfried Schoppe, two German researchers have also asserted that the Black Sea was the original ‘Atlantis Ocean and that Atlantis was located in that region[186]. They have suggested that Snake Island located east of the mouth of the Danube was the probable site of Plato’s city. Their contention is that around 5500 BC a landbridge at the Bosporus was breached causing extensive flooding that created what we now know as the Black Sea. Until that time there had only been a small freshwater lake in the region. Although their book was published in German, the Schoppes have a website(b) with a useful amount of English content.

flying eagle and whisperingThe somewhat eccentric duo of the late Flying Eagle (1920-2007) and Whispering Wind, who also advocated a Black Sea location for Atlantis(a)(f),  claimed a specific site on the Strait of Kerch between the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov. Their theory was first expounded in their book[138] in 2004. They also followed the Ryan and Pitman date of 5500 BC for the inundation of the Black Sea.

The evidence to-date suggests that the flooding of the Black Sea coincided with a storegga event, which would require a catastrophe on a scale not previously considered. In a 2017 paper(i), John M. Jensen offers a range of evidence to support this contention.

A rather different approach is taken by the German researcher Werner E. Friedrich[695], who pushes back the expansion and the raising of the level of the Black Sea to around 10000 BC, at the end of the last Ice Age. He believes that this led to the flooding of Atlantis, which he claims to have been situated on a plain that had lain between ancient extensions of the rivers Donau and Don. Friedrich located the Pillars of Heracles in the Sea of Marmara[p.39].

A.I. Zolotukhin places Atlantis in the western Crimea on his multilingual website with the inviting title of Homer and Atlantis(j).

The legendary destroyed city of Ancomah, is frequently compared to Plato’s description of the destruction of Atlantis. It was reputed to have existed in the vicinity of the ancient port city of Trabzon, which is located on the south-east coast of the Black Sea.

Michael A. Cahill in his 2012 two-volume[818][819] publication on the development of civilisation locates Atlantis near what is modern Istanbul in the pre-Diluvian Stone Age.

The concept of a Black Sea Atlantis has the support of the rather eccentric Church of Vrilology(h)!

In October 2018, an attempt was made to breathe new life into the idea of Crimea as a remnant of an Atlantis submerged under the Black Sea. Unfortunately, it offers no evidence or references in the badly translated article(k). In the same month it was reported that the oldest intact shipwreck was discovered in the Black Sea by an Anglo-Bulgarian team. It was identified as a Greek trading vessel dated to 400 BC(l). The oxygen-free waters at the bottom of the Black Sea had preserved it and dozens of others located by the team.

In early 2019, George K. Weller, building on the theories of the Schoppes, also proposed the Black Sea as Atlantis’ home, again nominating Snake Island as the home of Mr. and Mrs. Poseidon, which, before the Black Sea was flooded, would have been the central peak of their island home, as referred to by Plato(n).

One of the most comprehensive internet papers on all aspects of the history of the Black Sea can be found on the Encyclopaedia Iranica website(m).

(a) https://www.radiocom.net/Deluge/Deluge1-6.htm

(b) See: https://atlantipedia.ie/samples/archive-3914/

(d) https://io-bas.bg/noahproject/BOOK_PETKO.pdf

(e)  See: https://web.archive.org/web/20150922224701/https://www.whoi.edu/main/news-releases/2009?tid=3622&cid=54863

(f) https://atlantis-today.com/Great_Atlantis_Flood.htm

(g) https://www.academia.edu/1293293/INITIATION_OF_THE_MIGRATION_OF_VEDIC_ARYANS_TO_INDIA_BY_A_CATASTROPHIC_FLOODING_OF_THE_FRESH_WATER_BLACK_SEA_BY_MEDITERRANEAN_SEA_DURING_THE_HOLOCENE._Yavor_Y._Shopov1_odor_Yalamov_Petko_Dimitrov_Dimitar_Dimitrov_and_Bono_Shkodrov

>(h) https://web.archive.org/web/20130108091223if_/https://www.vrilology.org/Atlantis_page.htm<

(i) https://www.migration-diffusion.info/article.php?year=2017&id=505

(j) https://homerandatlantis.com/?lang=en

(k) https://ktelegram.com/scientists-crimea-may-be-a-fragment-of-the-lost-city-of-atlantis/43728/ (link broken Jan. 2019)

(l) https://www.news.com.au/technology/science/archaeology/worlds-oldest-intact-shipwreck-discovered-at-the-bottom-of-the-black-sea/news-story/a2c3f39449fd7164712b2b708636d33e

(m) https://www.iranicaonline.org/

(n) https://www.ctq2.org/farmers-blog/comparison-of-platos-critias-with-george-k-wellers-concept-of-atlantis-and-its-location/

(o) https://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20191021-the-sea-of-60-ghostly-wrecked-ships