The Strait of Gibraltar according to Greek mythology was created by Herakles. Neville Chipulina explains that “it seems that the person responsible for the myths about Hercules was Peisander of Rhodes, a 7th century BC Greek epic poet who apparently got the story from an unknown Pisinus of Lindus who almost certainly plagiarised it from somebody else. In other words, it’s a pretty old story.”(c)
The Strait is very much a part of many current Atlantis theories. Primarily, it is contended that the region itself held the location of Atlantis. This is based on Plato’s statement that Eumelos, also known as Gadeirus, the twin brother of Atlas the first king of Atlantis gave his name to Gades, known today as Cadiz. Andalusia in Southern Spain has been the focus of attention for over a hundred years. In recent years Georgeos Diaz-Montexano and his rival Jacques Colina- Girard have been investigating the waters of the Strait itself while south of the Strait Jonas Bergman has advanced his theory that Atlantis was located just across the Strait in Morocco.
Although there is general acceptance that the Pillars of Heracles had their final resting place in the vicinity of the Strait of Gibraltar, it must be noted that there have been other candidates at different times with equally valid claims. The location of the ‘Pillars’ referred to by Plato at the time of Atlantis is the subject of continuing debate.
Strato, the philosopher, quoted by Strabo, spoke of a dam separating the Atlantic and the Mediterranean being breached by a cataclysm. This idea was reinforced by comments of Seneca. Furthermore, a number of Arabic writers, including Al-Mas’udi, Al-Biruni and Al-Idrisi, have all concurred with this idea of a Gibraltar land bridge in late prehistory.
A more radical theory is that of Paulino Zamarro who contends that the Strait was in fact closed by a landbridge during the last Ice Age because of the lower sea levels together with silting. When the waters rose and breached the landbridge, he believes that the flood submerged Atlantis, which he situates in the Aegean. Others support Zamarro’s idea of a Gibraltar Dam amongst whom are Constantin Benetatos and Joseph S. Ellul.
Terry Westerman on his heavily illustrated website surveys impact craters globally. He suggests that “The Strait of Gibraltar was formed by two meteor impacts. The first blasted the round area in the western Mediterranean Sea to form a land bridge between Spain and Morocco.” He maintains that a second impact broke the landbridge around 5.33 million years ago, creating what is called the Zanclean Flood which refilled the then desiccated Mediterranean(d).
A German-language website(a) presented some of the following data+, apparently recording the dramatic widening of the Strait of Gibraltar between 400 BC and 400 AD. The same list was included in the ‘Strait of Gibraltar’ entry of the German Wikipedia(b) until a few years ago. It has since been removed.
+Damastes of Sigeum, circa 400 BC. – about 1.3 km
+Pseudo-Skylax, probably fourth Century BC – about 1.3 km
*Turiano Greslio? 300BC – 8.0 km
+Strabo 63 BC- 24 AD – from 9.5 to 13.0 km
+Pomponius Mela , 50 AD – about the 15.0 km
+Pliny the Elder, 50 AD – about 15.0 km
*+Victor Vicensa (*Vitensa?), 400 AD – about 18 km
>Procopius, 550 AD – about 15.0 km<
The above figures suggest that in the latter half of the first millennium BC, the Strait of Gibraltar was gradually widened.>However, the figures given suggest that between 400 and 550 AD the Straits narrowed again seems absurd.<Nevertheless, until the methods used and all the data on offer have been verified, the idea must be treated with great caution.
My list had originally included Euctemon, the 5th century BC Athenian astronomer, however, Werner E. Friedrich notes that Euctemon was referring to the Sea of Marmara near the entrance to the Black Sea [0695.38].
However, more recently, John Jensen Jnr. has offered a comparable, if shorter, number of dates showing the reducing width of the strait the further back you go, from which he extrapolated that around 3450 YBP when he believes that a landbridge there was breached(e).
Georgeos Diaz-Montexano has also referred to the descriptions by ancient writers of the Strait of Gibraltar indicating a width of around two kilometres. Unfortunately, he does not cite references(f). He also is sympathetic to the existence of an earlier landbridge at Gibraltar.
The Population of Atlantis has been estimated by a number of Atlantologists, based on the data provided by Plato.
Otto Muck considered the population of Atlantis to have been at least 20 million.
“Let us begin with the allegedly excessive numbers of inhabitants. This can be roughly calculated from the details Plato gives of the organisation of the Atlantean armed forces: 480,000-foot soldiers, 120,000 horsemen, 160,000 manning the 10,000 heavy chariots and 60,000 light chariots, and 240,000 sailors. These add up to approximately one million men under arms.” From this, Muck extrapolated a total population of between twenty and forty million for Atlantis.
Wolter Smit estimates(a) the Atlantean population figure to be between 28 and 155 million. Constantin Benetatos suggests(b) a lower figure of between 6 and 10 million but also considers Plato’s data to be exaggerated.
The total population of the entire world in 10,000 BC has been estimated at somewhere between one and ten million (c)(d)(e)(f). Even if we accept the somewhat questionable higher figure, we can see that this is only a half or a quarter of the population of Atlantis on its own. Consequently, we are forced to conclude that either Plato’s dating is wrong or the Atlantean military manpower figures are exaggerated or, as I suspect, both are incorrect. Therefore, once again we are forced to view Plato’s numbers with some suspicion.
Recently, P.P. Flambas in his oversized Plato’s Caribbean Atlantis has suggested that the world population at 11,000 BC was stable at around three million people, although there is a greater consensus that the figure was one million. However, Plato’s total for the Atlantean military alone is one million, which forces us to either consider that his date for the Atlantean War and/or the size of the Atlantean army is seriously wrong. I consider both to be exaggerated by a similar factor. The fact that the Athenians defeated the Atlanteans suggests much smaller armies and a lack of any archaeological evidence on Greek territory of more than a handful of troglodytes in the 10th Millennium BC contradicts the date.
A Gibraltar Landbridge or Dam is generally accepted to have existed on several occasions during the earth’s history. There is a broad consensus among geologists that the last time an enclosed and desiccated Mediterranean had its barrier to the Atlantic breached was around 5.3 million years ago. A paper by Daniel García-Castellanos on the refilling of the Mediterranean deserves a read(u).
Today, we generally think of the Strait of Gibraltar as the only gateway between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, while in fact there is evidence that millions of years ago the Strait was closed but that there were earlier access routes between the two bodies of water(n). The Betic Corridor in the north, which later became part of the Spanish Guadalquivir Basin and the Rifian Corridor in the south, in what is now Morocco(t).
However, a number of experts in different fields (noted by Van Sertima) have opted to suggest a more recent landbridge, perhaps 120,000 years ago, in order to explain some of the faunal migrations from Africa to the Iberian Peninsula.
When the last opening of the Mediterranean was demonstrated by Kenneth Hsu to have taken place 5.5 million years ago, the idea of a landbridge at Gibraltar being destroyed within the memory of man seemed rather unlikely. However, when I saw the bathymetric maps of the Mediterranean produced by Brosolo, Mascle & Loubrie, relating to the Younger Dryas Period, it raised new questions for me.
However, Hsu’s date for the last flooding of the Mediterranean has, understandably, found little support from young-Earth creationists, such as Lambert Dolphin(o). and Barry Setterfield, who have striven to reconcile the irreconcilable with obscure ideas, such as changes in the speed of light!
The 18th-century writer Georges-Louis Buffon speculated as early as 1749 on the existence of a Gibraltar Dam. Alexander Braghine refers[156.21] to Bishop Tollerat, a contemporary of Bory de Saint Vincent, claiming that a Gibraltar landbridge was breached by an earthquake and led to the submergence of Atlantis. Unfortunately, I have been unable to track down Tollerat.
Even popular fiction featured the idea of a Gibraltar landbridge. In 1869, Mark Twain in chapter 7 of Innocents Abroad voiced a then-current theory that there had been dry land between Gibraltar and North Africa allowing the passage northward of the so-called ‘Barbary apes’ that live on the ‘Rock’ today.
In 1921, H.G.Wells, in The Outline of History, offered a graphic, although speculative, description of the breaching of the Gibraltar Dam(g). He wrote that “This refilling of the Mediterranean, which by the rough chronology we are employing in this book may have happened somewhen between 30,000 and 10,000 B.C., must have been one of the greatest single events in the pre-history of our race.”
Manuel Sánchez de Ocaña was the Spanish Lieutenant General during the 1909 war in Africa. In a rare 1935 book, Accion de España en Africa(a) (Spanish Action in Africa) he refers to the ancient isthmus that linked Spain and North Africa as well as landbridges linking Europe and America on which he believed Atlantis had been situated.
François de Sarre (1947- ) was a noted French evolutionary zoologist who proposed that a landbridge had existed at Gibraltar, which was only destroyed in relatively recent times, possibly in the second millennium BC. In support of his view, he quotes Pomponius Mela, Diodorus Siculus and Pliny. He has also published a paper, in English, supporting his opinion with a spectrum of faunal evidence(k).
Others have ventured further and proposed that a dam existed within the experience of man and that its last destruction led to the sinking of Atlantis which many claim was located in the Mediterranean. H. S. Bellamy refers to Strato quoted by Strabo, declaring that originally the strait did not exist but that the barrier was broken through in a cataclysm. Bellamy also quotes Seneca describing how Spain was separated from Africa by earthquakes. Neither of these references could have originated without human witnesses.
Alexander Braghine also added to the idea of a relatively recent landbridge when he wrote[156.139] “We possess a whole series of records of the width of these Straits, left by ancient and medieval writers of various centuries. At the beginning of the fifth century B.C. the width was only half a mile, but the writer Euton in 400 B.C., estimated it at 4 miles; Turiano Greslio, in 300 B.C., at 5 miles; and Titus Livius, at the beginning of the Christian Era, at 7 miles. Victor Vitensa, in A.D. 400, gives the width of the Straits as equal to 12 miles, and at present it is 15 miles wide.” John Jensen offers the same information as a graphic.
C. M. Hardy subscribed to the view that there had been a dam at Gibraltar that was breached around 4500 BC with such a force that it also led to the destruction of a landbridge between Tunisia and Italy. He believed that remnants of Atlantis will be found in the seas around Greece.
C. S. Rafinesque, the famous naturalist, claimed that there was a Gibraltar landbridge that was destroyed 654 years after Noah’s Flood. These claims are to be found in chapter 14 of Vol II of The American Nations published in 1836. This volume can now be downloaded for free(e). A creationist website(i) links the breaching of the landbridge with Noah’s Deluge, which the author claims not only flooded the Mediterranean but also spilled into the Black Sea, the Red Sea and also the Persian Gulf. (see below)
The standard argument against the landbridge theory is that although the Atlantic was dramatically lower during the last Ice Age it was not sufficient to expose a land bridge between Spain and Africa at Gibraltar. However, it should be noted that the underwater sill between the Atlantic and the Mediterranean would have been much higher than now. When we consider that the breaching of a landbridge at Gibraltar would have caused an incredible flow of water through the breach (hundreds of times the flow of Niagara Falls), scouring its bottom, so that by the time the levels in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean had equalised, the erosion of the sill between them would have been considerable and when viewed today would misleadingly suggest that the Mediterranean had not have been completely cut off from the Atlantic during the last Ice Age. In the future, the consequence of this is that when (not if) the next Ice Age begins the ocean levels will have to drop even lower if the Mediterranean is to be isolated from the Atlantic once again. An example of what a sudden release of large bodies of water can do is visible in the scablands of North America, created by the breaching of the glacial dam retaining Lake Missoula.
The Spanish researcher Paulino Zamarro contends, in his 2000 book, Del Estrecho de Gibraltar a la Atlantida that a Gibraltar dam was created by silting when the Atlantic was very much lower during the last Ice Age and that it lasted until 7,500 years ago when it was breached and destroyed Atlantis, which he locates in the Cyclades, with the island of Melos containing its capital city. Details of his theory can be found on the Internet(d). A larger version of Zamarro’s map is shown on the right.
Other researchers such as Constantin Benetatos maintain that this idea is supported by comments of ancient writers who suggest that at one time the Mediterranean had no existence. The philosopher Strato supported by Seneca refers to the sundering of such a dam linking Europe and Africa. The same idea was expressed by Diodorus Siculus, who said that Africa and Europe were joined and separated by Heracles. Such ideas could only have arisen if there had been a Gibraltar Dam far more recently than the conventionally accepted 5.3 million years ago. The lowering of the ocean levels at the beginning of the last Ice Age and the exposure of a landbridge or dam between Spain and Morocco would have had the effect of drying out the Mediterranean due to the fact that loss of water through evaporation in the region is greater than the amount of water from rivers that feed into it.
It is worth considering that although the catastrophic breaching of the Bosporus and consequent expansion of the Black Sea is generally accepted as fact, there are no specific legends to support it apart from a reappraisal of the Flood of Noah. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to point out that there is little by way of local myth or legend relating to the breaching of a Gibraltar Dam which is not proof that such an event did not occur.>Although, as you will see below, a number of highly regarded Arabic scholars have endorsed the idea of a breached dam at Gibraltar.<Furthermore, the area around the mouth of the Mediterranean is geologically unstable and could have been subjected to seismic activity that could have breached or even blocked the strait.
Alberto Arecchi agrees(a) with the concept of a historical land bridge at Gibraltar, but places its breach to around 2300 BC. John Jensen puts it about a millennium later and suggested that the sundering of the Gibraltar Dam was probably outward from the Mediterranean into the Atlantic(q) rather than the more generally accepted other direction. As already intimated, Constantin Benetatos also supported(b) the existence of the Gibraltar Dam.
Joseph S. Ellul the Maltese writer was probably the first modern author to link the breaching of a Gibraltar landbridge with the destruction of Atlantis, which he claims to have been located adjacent to Malta. He identifies this submergence of Atlantis by the waters of the Atlantic with Noah’s Flood. Ellul interprets Genesis 7:11, 8:2, which refers to the “fountains of the great deep” bursting forth, as a reference to the collapse of the Gibraltar Dam.
Georgeos Diaz-Montexano, who has been searching for Atlantis off the coast of Spain and Gibraltar, has favourably referred to Zamarro’s silting theory and included the illustration, shown above, from Zamarro’s book on his websites. A further reference to silting can be read on another website(f).
When the Mediterranean eventually filled up, it is highly probable that it was then that the pressure of its waters led to the flooding of the Black Sea. It is reported that there are scouring marks at the entrance to the Black Sea that are very similar to those at Gibraltar. The date of the putative collapse of the Gibraltar Dam would therefore be marginally earlier, while the Mediterranean basins filled, than the accepted date for the breaching of the Bosporus currently calculated to have been around 5600 BC.
Robert Sarmast’s apparently dormant theory of Atlantis submerged off the coast of Cyprus under what is now a mile of water is totally dependent on the existence of a Gibraltar Dam during the last Ice Age and it being subsequently breached when the level of the Atlantic rose or the even more improbable lowering of the seafloor by a mile, as a consequence of seismic/tectonic activity in the region.
On the basis of evidence(c) offered by the quoted classical writers, the fact that sea levels rose hundreds of feet after the last Ice Age and examples of water damage to temples on elevated ground in Malta and nuraghi in Sardinia it is not unreasonable to conclude that a rupturing of a landbridge at Gibraltar within the last ten thousand year was possible if not probable.
The most dramatic suggestion regarding the creation of the Strait of Gibraltar has been offered by Terry Westerman(h), who proposed that the rupturing of the landbridge was caused by two meteor impacts.
>Finally, it is worth considering the comments of a number of respected Arabic scholars such as Al-Biruni, and Al-Mas’udi who lent support to the idea of a Gibraltar landbridge. Additionally, Al-Idrisi recounts how the Gibraltar landbridge was breached by Alexander the Great. While the introduction of Alexander, who was very highly regarded by the Arabs, is obviously a folkloric embellishment, it demonstrates an underlying belief in the existence of such an isthmus in the distant past. Adding strength to this idea is that al-Idrisi was born in Ceuta on the African side of the Strait of Gibraltar and consequently would undoubtedly have been fully aware of local traditions regarding a landbridge there in ancient times.<
However, all that must be reconciled with the scientific findings of Kenneth Hsu who dated the last opening of the Gibraltar Strait to 5.5 million years ago(m). This date has been unchallenged as far as I’m aware.
A paper published online in May 2022 would appear to contradict the idea that a landbridge blocking the Gibraltar Strait had collapsed, flooding the Mediterranean and contributing to the destruction of Atlantis.
This paper(a) includes a map showing the gradual encroachment inland by the Mediterranean at Spain’s Pego-Olvia (opposite Ibiza), between 9000 BC and 8100 BC. This was the result of post-glacial melting of the glaciers gradually raised sea levels allowing water to slowly move inland over the flat coastal plain at a rate of about a kilometre every century. Little has changed since then, indicating that any suggested landbridge could not have been breached after 8100 BC without a more significant expansion inland by the Mediterranean. It also suggests that in a scenario where a Mediterranean Atlantis was flooded during that period and particularly during the second millennium BC, it should still be in relatively shallow waters!
(b) See: Archive 2365
(h) https://www.geoledgers.com/Europe/Gibraltar/Gibraltar.html (link broken)
(i) https://www.makesyouthinkblog.com/?m=201204 (link broken) See Archive 2536
(p) Full article: Impacts of sea-level rise on prehistoric coastal communities: land use and risk perception during the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition in central Mediterranean Spain (tandfonline.com)