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

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    I have now published my new book, Joining The Dots, which offers a fresh look at the Atlantis mystery. I have addressed the critical questions of when, where and who, using Plato’s own words, tempered with some critical thinking and a modicum of common sense.Read More »
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Tantalis (L)

Tantalis is referred to, by Pliny, as the capital of ancient Lydia in western Turkey. It was later known as Magnesium ad Sipylum. Tantalis was apparently named after the legendary King Tantalus, who had remarkable similarities with Atlas; they were both Titans, supported the heavens and had mountains named after them(a).  This powerful city was flooded following an earthquake and is now reputed to be located beneath the now dried-up Lake Saloe. Also note that Atlantis is an anagram of Tantalis – coincidence?

British archaeologist Peter James has identified Tantalis as the original Atlantis and that it was located just north east of modern Izmir (Smyrna). James reached this conclusion[047] after a study of classical writers, comparative mythology and local place-names. Unfortunately, there has, as yet, been no archaeological expedition to confirm James’ contention.

Objections to James’ theory are that Tantalis was:

i) not on an island.

ii) not outside the conventional location of the Pillars of Hercules.

iii) too close to Greece (James raises this objection against the Santorini theory).

iv) not a circular city (?).

N.B. Sardis was also known as the capital of Lydia by the early 7th century BC.

(a) “https://www.jstor.org/stable/262536?seq=2#page_scan_tab_contents

Spartel Island

Spartel Island also known as the Majuan Bank, was situated just west of the Strait of Gibraltar and according to Jacques Collina-spartelGirard was the site of Atlantis. There is little doubt that before the last deglaciation Spartel was dry land.

Marc-Andre Gutscher from the University of Brest has added some support to Collina-Girard’s theory based on his interpretation of new bathymetric data and is prepared to debate the viability of human habitation on Spartel around 9600 BC. According to Gutscher a large earthquake hit the island 12,000 years ago. Furthermore, there is also evidence of at least eight subsequent earthquakes, each of which could have resulted in a drop of the seafloor by several metres.

Accordingly Gustcher speculated that Spartel circa 9600 BC could have been 40 metres higher than expected. However, at this early date he would not expect the Bronze Age civilisation described by Plato to have existed on the island and that his sonar investigation did not reveal any suggestion of an extinct civilisation.

Gustcher subsequently withdrew his support for a Spartel Atlantis(a). However, Collina-Girard continues to advocate the idea, expanding on his views in a 2009 book[0999]L’Atlantide retrouvée? Enquête scientifique autour d’un mythe.

Further criticism of Collina-Girard’s theory has been voiced by Alain Moreau(b).

(a) https://archaeology.about.com/od/controversies/a/atlantis05_3.htm

*(b) https://www.mondenouveau.fr/continents-disparus-les-fausses-atlantides-antarctique-ile-du-cap-spartel-partie-4/* (link broken Oct. 2017)

Hébert, Jacques

Jacques Hébert is the author of Atlantide: La Solution Oubliee[373] concerning Atlantis. As a former Parisian police jhebert, Jacqueschief, he claims to have applied his skills in that field to solving the mystery of Plato’s island. He critically re-examines the original text and offers an interpretation that he believes provides a more rational and harmonious reading of the narrative. His conclusion is that Atlantis lay in the Indian Ocean and that its culture was derived from the Indus valley. He specifically identifies the Yemeni island of Socotra as part of the Atlantean civilisation

Hébert postulates that this empire had at least trade connections in the eastern Mediterranean and quite possibly had a colony in the region that produced the predecessors of the Phoenicians.

Hébert identifies Bab el Mandeb as Plato’s Pillars of Heracles, by assuming that Solon mistook the description of that strait, given to him by the priests of Sais, with the Strait of Gibraltar, which has similar features. The earthquake that destroyed Atlantis is attributed by him to a close encounter with an extraterrestrial body.

A 2004 interview with Hébert can be read online(a).

>(a) http://www.vox-populi.net/spip.php?article21  (French)<

Marcellinus, Ammianus

Ammianus Marcellinus (330-395 AD) was a Greek historian, who was well-known to the Roman Emperor Julian. He is widely quoted on the internet as having written that the destruction of Atlantis was an accepted fact by the intelligentsia of Alexandria. However, I am indebted to Bernhard Beier of Atlantisforschung.de for pointing out that no such statement was made by Marcellinus, referring to the English translations of his work by John C. Rolfe(a) and Charles D. Yonge(b). On the Atlantisforschung website(c) be suggests that the quote originated from an overly liberal interpretation of a line from Lewis Spence’s The History of Atlantis[259.33]. He described a class of earthquake that suddenly swallows up large tracts of land as had happened in the Atlantic to a large island.

(a) https://archive.org/details/ammianusmarcelli01ammiuoft

(b) https://archive.org/details/romanhistoryof00ammiiala

(c) https://atlantisforschung.de/index.php?title=Ammianus_Marcellinus  (German)

Pharos

pharosPharos in the Nile Delta has been suggested by R. McQuillen as the location of Atlantis. It should be noted that the cities of Canopus and Herakleion in the same area were submerged, apparently due to liquefaction(h), following an earthquake between 731 and 743 BC. If something similar occurred to Atlantis situated at Pharos it might explain the shoals of mud reported by Plato and may even have been the reason for the erection of the famous lighthouse there, completed around 280 BC.

This lighthouse at Pharos took 20 years to build and is reported to have been as much as 450 feet in height, topped with a statue of Poseidon (or Zeus). It is claimed that there was also a furnace on top which, according to Robert Temple [928], suggested that some form of mirror reflected light out to sea. There is evidence from writers as early as Homer that nocturnal sea travel was commonplace in ancient times(d), so some system of beacons to assist this, would have been a natural development.

In a study of ancient lighthouses (pharology) by Ken Trethewey(a), he indicates that there were probably precursors to the Alexandrian edifice, but that there is no archaeological evidence to support this contention. One suggestion is that altars, temples and latterly Christian churches frequently situated at the end of promontories may have functioned initially as navigational aids, keeping in mind that early Mediterranean seafarers preferred coastal hugging to open sea travel. I would think it strange if such locations were not used for beacons.

A book review by Terrance M.P. Duggan draws attention to the use of the word ‘pharos’ as far back as Homer’s time, centuries before the Alexandrine structure was built(c). Duggan has also noted in an extensive study of ancient beacons(d) how “sailing at night was practiced in antiquity, first by the Phoenicians” and that “later, sailing at night is mentioned repeatedly by Homer in the Odyssey.” It must be obvious that such regular nocturnal travel could not have been achieved without the availability of some system of warning beacons.

Duggan also notes the use of false beacons such as in the story of “Palamedes’s father, the King of Naupilus or Euboea, then lit a series of false beacons leading to the shipwreck off Euboea of much of the Achaean fleet returning from the Trojan War, using false maritime navigational beacons to serve as a wrecker’s device, and with the use of these false navigational beacons quite clearly indicating the presence at this date of considerable numbers of genuine navigational beacons along coastlines to provide an expected navigational guide for ships sailing through the night.

What I also found interesting was another quote by Duggan of a passage from Al-Mas’udi, circa 947 AD – “At the point where the Mediterranean Sea joins the Atlantic Ocean there is a lighthouse of stone and copper (bronze), built by the giant Hercules (probably to be associated with the location of the Phoenician Temple of Melkart-Herakles on the North African side). It is covered with inscriptions and statues whose hand gestures proclaim to those coming from the Mediterranean who wish to enter the Atlantic Ocean, ‘There is no way beyond me’” This is a clear association of Heracles with a lighthouse and raises the question of whether this was a more widespread occurrence, which seems possible.

At the other end of the Mediterranean, the Colossus of Rhodes is also thought by some(g) to have functioned as a lighthouse, but at the very least was a daytime navigational marker, Heracles was also worshipped on the island as the founder of its first settlement.

The Tower of Hercules is an ancient Roman lighthouse on a peninsula about 2.4 km (1.5 mi) from the centre of the town of A Coruña, Galicia, in north-western Spain.>There is also a claim that a Roman lighthouse existed at Akko (Acre), now in northern Israel, is discussed elsewhere and supported by numismatic and archaeological evidence(i).

Massimo Rapisarda & Marcello Ranieri have now published a paper(f) pointing to possible land-based navigational aids, most likely, Phoenician, at the Sicilian promontory of Capo Gallo. They also refer to “the  renowned  Phoenician ability  to  navigate  at  night.”

Trethewey, a leading pharologist, published Ancient Lighthouses [1667] in 2018. Furthermore, he has also published a series of eight lengthy papers on pharology on the academia.edu website(e).

Another paper by Marco Vigano also investigates the subject of proto-lighthouses(b), furthermore, a book review by Terrance M.P. Duggan draws attention to the use of the word ‘pharos’ as far back as Homer’s time, centuries before the Alexandrine structure was built(c). Duggan has also written a paper on The Missing Navigational Markers(d).

A recent book, The Electric Mirror on the Pharos Lighthouse[948], edited by Larry Brian Radka, argues spiritedly for the use of electricity at Pharos!

(a) https://www.academia.edu/Documents/in/Ancient_lighthouses

(b) https://www.academia.edu/30325978/Boulders_and_Lights_Guides_to_an_insidious_World._Four_thousand_years_of_navigation_aids_in_the_Mediterranean?auto=download

(c) https://www.academia.edu/13182366/Baldassarre_Giardina_Navigare_necesse_est._Lighthouses_from_Antiquity_into_the_Middle_Ages_History_architecture_iconography_and_archaeological_remains_Oxford_2010_Archaeopress_BAR_Int._Series_2096?email_work_card=view-paper

(d) https://www.academia.edu/7665901/On_the_Missing_Navigational_Markers?auto=download

(e) https://www.academia.edu/Documents/in/Lighthouses

(f) https://www.academia.edu/31132814/A_PHOENICIAN_LIGHTHOUSE_AT_CAPO_GALLO_PALERMO?email_work_card=view-paper

(g) https://www.athensjournals.gr/mediterranean/2019-5-1-2-Kebric.pdf

(h) Science Notes 2001: The Sunken Cities of Egypt (ucsc.edu)

(i) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/236849769_The_Roman_Lighthouse_in_Akko_Israel *

 

Earthquake

An earthquake, not a volcanic eruption resulted in the inundation of Atlantis according to Plato’s account. Although, for those who believe that the destruction of ancient Santorini was the inspiration behind Plato’s Atlantis story, it is not difficult to imagine an earthquake accompanying an eruption such as that which occurred on Thera in the 2nd millennium BC, particularly in an area that had been prone to frequent earthquakes over thousands of years.

Stavros Papamarinopoulos at the 2005 Atlantis Conference highlighted(h) the part played by earthquakes in the description of the ancient Athenian Acropolis in the Atlantis narrative, which he saw a part of a 50-year ‘seismic storm’ which ravaged the Eastern Mediterranean around the 12th century BC [629.499].*Later, in 365 AD, a massive earthquake near Crete, killed thousands, caused damage in Alexandria and submerged the Roman city of Neapolis on the east coast of Tunisia, which has only recently been rediscovered(j). On Crete, some land was uplifted by as much as 30 feet.*

However, earthquakes in the region have continued ever since. Dr. Iain Stewart recounts how an earthquake in Greece in the 5th century BC led to the death of 20,000 Spartans(i).

Earthquakes were once thought to be a form of divine retribution, so when an earthquake in 1570, causing death, damage and the alteration of the River Po’s course, ‘infallible’ Pope Pius V declared it to be the consequence of god’s wrath against the Jews!(b)

A PhD Dissertation by Jamie Rae Bluestone investigates early understanding of earthquakes, which inevitably touches on the Atlantis story(a).

A recent paper by Marc-Andre Gutscher discussed the Cadiz subduction zone, which appears to be ‘locked’ and consequently liable to generate very strong earthquakes over long return periods. Gutscher offered evidence of deposits dated to 12000 BC which ‘may correspond to the destructive earthquake and tsunami described by Plato’. However, he recognised that Plato describes a Bronze Age society, while Spartel Island in the Strait of Gibraltar would only have been inhabited by ‘simple fishermen’ unlikely to have merited a mention in the records of the Egyptian priests.

In the Mediterranean the Aegean and Turkey are the most seismically active, followed by Italy (including Sicily)(f) and North Africa from Morocco to Tunisia. There is a European Earthquake Catalogue that graphically illustrates earthquake activity over the past 1,000 years(e). Italy is also home to most of the active volcanoes in the Med.

Ben Davidson, promotes the idea that earthquakes are caused by solar activity (c) and offers what he considers compelling evidence on a YouTube clip(d).

Up-to-date earthquake information is available on the Geofon website(g).

[The words ‘seismology’ and ‘epicentre’ were coined in 1858 by an Irishman, Robert Mallet (1810-1881)]

(a) https://conservancy.umn.edu/bitstream/handle/11299/99438/Bluestone_umn_0130E_11718.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

(b) https://www.newser.com/story/211354/medieval-quake-rocked-city-moved-big-river-forever.html

(c) https://www.suspicious0bservers.org/

(d) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBvo7lvf

(e)   https://www.emidius.eu/SHEEC/catalogue/

(f) https://gisetc.com/european-earthquake-risk-concentrated-around-the-mediterranean/

(g)  https://geofon.gfz-potsdam.de/eqinfo/eqinfo.php

(h) https://www.2009-q-conf-kandersteg.grazian-archive.com/platoandtheseism/papamarinopoulos-newversionof2009.pdf

(i) https://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/greeks/atlantis_01.shtml

*(j) https://www.realmofhistory.com/2017/09/02/tsunami-roman-neapolis-discovered-tunisia/*