Thérêse Ghembaza is a French researcher who has a website, in French and English, entitled The Great Enigmas of Antiquity(a) in which she discusses matters such as the Hyksos, the identity of Moses and the Kushites. The site also deals with her theory that Atlantis had been situated in Meroë on the Upper Nile, a theory that she developed in a number of other papers(c), which are certainly worth a read.
While at first sight this might be seen as a wild claim, Ghembaza offers a well reasoned theory which was presented to the 2nd Atlantis Conference held in Athens in 2008. She has imaginatively linked aspects of Meroitic geography and history with Plato’s story of Atlantis. For example, she identifies Tyrrhenia with Tyre in Lebanon and claims that Tyrrhenia in Italy was a later colony of Tyre! While some of her ideas are convincing I found others a little threadbare. Nevertheless Ghembaza must be applauded for her efforts to construct a scientific explanation for the Atlantis narrative.
In April 2015, Ghembaza offered a short paper(d) in support of identifying Bab-el-Mandeb as the location of the Pillars of Heracles.
Ghembaza has kindly drawn my attention to two quotations from Pliny the Elder and Ovid that offer possible explanations for Plato’s orichalcum (see Document 091011). The former refers to a Cypriot copper mixed with gold which gave a fiery colour and called pyropus, while Ovid also refers to a cladding of pyropus, a term often translated as bronze. She also mentions auricupride(Cu3Au), an alloy that may be connected with orichalcum.
(b) Hecataeus of Miletus‘ Periegesis 550 – 480 “now lost, but probably the main source of Plato and Eratosthenes”
(d) See: Archive 2526
Neith was an ancient Egyptian goddess and patron god of Sais, where Solon is said to have learned about Atlantis. Neith is often identified with the Greek goddess Athena as well as the Berber and Punic goddess Tanith (Tanit, Tanut), although this has been disputed (a). Tanith is said to be derived from the Phoenician lunar goddess and claims have been made that Tanit was also a Hyksos goddess.
The association of Greek with Egyptian deities was originally told to us by Herodotus(b). A similar connection between Greek and Hindu gods has also been identified(c).
(b) See: Archive 2574
The Biblical Exodus has been linked by some with the time of the destruction of Atlantis. J. G. Bennett has firmly identified the 2nd millennium BC eruption of Thera with the destruction of Atlantis(f) and in turn the effect of the volcanic fallout on the Egyptian nation generating the Plagues of Egypt recorded in Exodus.
Dr. Hans Goedicke, a leading Austrian Egyptologist, expressed a similar view regarding an Exodus link in a 1981 lecture, leading to quite a media stir(c). Ian Wilson, best known for The Turin Shroud, has calculated that the volcanic plume from the Theran eruption would have been clearly visible from the Nile Delta[979.112].
Riaan Booysen believes(b) that there were two Exodus events that can be linked with three possible Theran eruptions and has identified the Israelites as the Hyksos. Ralph Ellis has also linked the biblical Exodus with the expulsios of the Hyksos and devoted a short book to the idea.
Immanuel Velikovsky and others believed that the controversial Ipuwer Papyrus provides evidence in support of the biblical Exodus as well as the ‘Plagues of Egypt’(d).
Emilio Spedicato links the biblical Exodus with the explosion of Phaëton in 1447 BC, without any reference to the destruction of Atlantis, which, based on his interpretation of Plato’s text, he associates with a much earlier catastrophe(a).
Alfred de Grazia offers a radical interpretation of the Exodus in God’s Fire , in which he saw the Exodus as a highly organised, rather than an opportunistic event. He also attributed some level of electrical knowledge to Moses, whom he credits with the construction of the Ark of the Covenant, if not the ‘invention’ of Yahweh himself!
Perhaps the most extreme Exodus theory has been presented if by Finkelstein & Silberman, who have claimed that “the saga of Israel’s Exodus from Egypt is neither historical truth nor literary fiction” [280.70]. However, the same disbelieving Finkelstein is now going on a search for the Ark of the Covenant(e) !
Flavio Barbiero has now produced an extensive paper(g) in which he precisely dates the Exodus to the night between the 14th and 15th of July of 1208 B.C. (2/3 July of today).
Riaan Booysen is a South African researcher (and avid tennis fan) who has written articles on a number of ancient mysteries, which can be found on his website(e). Among his controversial ideas are that the Queen of Sheba, Nefertiti and Helen of Troy were a single person(d).
He offers a major paper on Atlantis(a), in which he bravely identifies its location as an extensive landmass which included present day Australia. Unlike other writers who have offered similar suggestions based on guesswork, Booysen offers a coherent thesis based on the geology of the South Pacific and early cartography.
His theory requires a radical redating of the Antarctic ice cap, which has led to continued debate on the internet(c).
Booysen has published another contentious offering in 2013, entitled Thera and the Exodus in which he argues that there were at least two Theran eruptions which led to two separate ‘Exodus’ events by the biblical Israelites, whom he identifies as the Hyksos!
He dates these events to ca. 1613 & 1450 BC.
Booysen has now commented on negative feedback from his book(b).
A year later he ventured into even more contentious territory with the publication of BARBELO – The Story of Jesus Christ, now available as a free ebook(f).
Avaris (Tell el Dab’a) located in the Nile Delta, was the capital of the Hyksos rulers of northern Egypt during the second millennium BC. Recent excavations have unearthed Minoan style frescoes, including bull leaping. At least one writer has remarked on the similarity of this ‘island’ city to Plato’s Atlantis (The Jerusalem Post, July 12th 2006)
The Hyksos is the name applied to two dynasties of foreign kings who ruled Egypt around 1650-1530 BC(a). Gerard Gertoux suggests three dynasties reigning from circa 1750- 1530!(l) They are generally accepted to have been a Semitic people, from an unknown land, who invaded Egypt around 1710 BC. They ruled for over a hundred years until defeated by the Egyptian Pharaoh Amasis I.
Their name was originally taken to mean ‘Shepherd Kings, but more recently, it is accepted that the Egyptian term ‘heqa-khase’ which means ‘rulers of foreign lands’ gives us a simple but credible title of ‘Foreign Kings’. It has been suggested by David J. Gibson (1904-1966) that the modern interpretation indicated that the Hyksos ruled a vast empire and has devoted a book to justifying this view(g).
Walter Baucum summarises his view on the subject as follows, “The Early Hyksos Shepherd Rulers of Egypt were descendants of Shem and identical with Typhon and the Titans, the peoples of Set, and to some degree with the Hebrews. The early Hyksos were to a large degree Israelites but after they left, the Amalekites conquered Egypt and were also referred to as Hyksos”.
There have also been persistent suggestions that there were strong links between the Hyksos and Crete, as referred to below, but the exact nature of the links is unclear and may not be more than you get between nations trading over an extended period. The relevance of such links, if they were ever shown to be political rather than commercial, would take on new significance for supporters of the Minoan Hypothesis. Time will tell.
E. J. de Meester has suggested links between Crete and the Hyksos, an idea an included in an article by Philip Coppens(b). In a similar vein Diaz-Montexano claims that a study of the names of the Hyksos pharaohs suggests to him that they were proto-Greek or Mycenaeans.
An example of the diversity of opinions regards the origins of the Hyksos is a brief article written by Emilio Spedicato who identifies them with the Scythians. Gunnar Heinsohn (1943- ) is a German professor emeritus at the University of Bremen, who presented a paper entitled ‘Who were the Hyksos’ to the 6th International Congress of Egyptology in 1993, in which he concluded that they were to be identified with the Old-Akkadians(j).
Perhaps even more radical is the suggestion by Riaan Booysen that the Hyksos were the fleeing Israelites in the biblical Exodus story(c). In fact he claims that there were two ‘exoduses’ which coincided with two separate eruptions on Thera. This idea is not as new as it might seems as something similar was proposed by the 1st century AD Jewish historian Josephus(d).
Nick Austin also identifies the Hyksos as Jews [1661.184], but is more generous than Booysen claiming that there were four separate eruptions of Thera. Like many others he has also associated the biblical Exodus and the Plagues of Egypt with the Theran eruptions.
Ralph Ellis, among others, has endorsed(e)(f) the idea that the biblical Exodus and the historical Expulsion of the Hyksos describe the same event.
There are theories, many and varied, regarding the origins and post-Egyptian settlement of the Hyksos. Arguably, the most exotic was put forward by a Chinese geochemist, Sun Weidong, who proposed that Hyksos migrants were responsible for the founding of the Chinese civilisation!(h)(i)
>The full facts relating to the Hyksos’ rule are only slowly emerging(m) and I expect that it will be some years before a definitive history can be agreed.<
In July 2020, it was reported that “new research led by Bournemouth University archaeologists supports the theory that the Hyksos, the rulers of the 15th Dynasty of ancient Egypt, were not from a unified place of origin, but Western Asiatics whose ancestors moved into Egypt during the Middle Kingdom, lived there for centuries, and then rose to rule the north of Egypt.”(k)
(b) See: Archive 2133
(g) See: Archive 3468
Egypt occupies the northeastern corner of Africa. However, the ancient Egyptians considered themselves as Asian (Tim. 24b). In practical terms its territory consisted of a few miles either side of the Nile and its large Delta. In an expansionist period in the 2nd millennium BC, Egypt controlled parts of what are now Israel, Lebanon and Syria. Over its long history, Egypt itself was overrun by a variety of invaders – Hyksos, Kushites, Assyrians, Persians, Greeks and Romans.
Egypt was viewed by the Greeks of Plato’s time as guardians of ancient history and wisdom and consequently was a place of pilgrimage for many of its greatest philosophers, who travelled there to be initiated into the cults of Isis and Osiris. Gustav Parthey (1798-1872), the German antiquarian, researched the education of 40 leading philosophers, writers and politicians of ancient Greece and found that all had studied under Egyptian priests. Clement of Alexandria (150-215 AD) suggested that Plato travelled to Heliopolis and was a disciple of the Egyptian priest Sechnuphis. Other classical writers such as Strabo and Plutarch have confirmed this(i).
In spite of this the Greeks arrogantly referred to all non-Greeks, including the Atlanteans (Crit. 113a) as ‘barbarians’. It is of interest that Athene after whom the Greek capital is named, originated in Egypt where she was worshipped as Neith.
The late Philip Coppens went as far as to suggest(a) that Greece was in fact an Egyptian colony!
Plato’s text seems to infer that the destruction of Atlantis in 9600 BC was contemporary with Egyptian civilisation, raising archaeological questions regarding the earliest date for the establishment of an organised society in Egypt. Unfortunately, there is not a lot to support this contention. The oldest known art in Egypt was discovered in 2007 when petroglyphs estimated to be 15,000 years old. The earliest culture along the Nile, identified by archaeologists is that of what is known as the Badarian dated to around 4500 BC. They produced basic pottery, jewellery and used stone tools although they had some knowledge of metals. The Badarians were followed by the Naqada who led on to what we identify as the spectacular ancient Egyptian civilisation. However, in 2007, rock carvings, similar in style to the Lascaux paintings were discovered near the village of Qurta, 650km south of Cairo. The 160 carvings, spread over 1.5km of rock face, discovered so far, mainly depict wild bulls and have been dated to 13000 BC(h)
September 2013 saw the publication(c)(d) of a more definitive date for the start of the state of Egypt, beginning with the reign of king Aha circa 3100 BC. The evidence indicated that the process of moving from the pre-Dynastic groupings to a form of statehood was more rapid than previous thought. This undermines even more firmly the claims of the Egyptians that their country was founded around 8,600 BC as reported by Plato.
It is not surprising that ancient Egypt has presented us with very many unanswered questions, some of which have been compiled, posted on Wikipedia but subsequently removed(g).
Many writers have remarked how all aspects of ancient Egyptian culture seem to have arrived fully developed, in fact later dynasties did not surpass some of the achievements of the earlier ones. The conclusion of some is that the fully matured civilisation of the early Egyptians was in fact a legacy from elsewhere.
Sanchuniathon refers to the original kings of Egypt calling them ‘Aleteans’. Albert Slosman claims that survivors from Atlantis had migrated to Egypt. The archaeologist, Marcelle Weissen-Szumianska, in a 1965 book, Origines Atlantiques des Anciens Egyptiens , maintained that the pre-pharaonic Egyptians originated in Atlantis, which had been situated in Morocco! Others suggest that Egypt was an Atlantean colony. The idea was brought to a ridiculous level by Augustus Le Plongeon who claimed that Egypt was a Mayan colony!
>A more grounded study by Alapan Roy Chowdhury investigates the claim put forward by some researchers that there are remarkable similarities between the cultures of ancient India and Egypt. “Was there a real connection or are these similarities only coincidences?”(j)<
Robert Schoch has controversially dated the construction of the Sphinx to between 7000-5000 BC, while the megalithic structures at Nabta Playa suggest a sophisticated culture in that region around 5000 BC. Even if both these early dates are correct they are still over four and a half millennia short of Plato’s date. These most likely explanation is that Plato’s number of 9,000 years before Solon is incorrect as 9000 is too neat and may have been a siglum used to express a large but uncertain number or is an exaggeration just as today we speak of having ‘a million and one things to do’.
In 1897, a Russian scientist, A.N. Karnozhitsky was probably the earliest commentator to propose a close link between Egypt and Atlantis, placing the Pillars of Heracles near Sais and located Atlantis itself not far from the western mouth of the Nile.
Some years ago, Egypt was again been proposed as the original Atlantis, in a still (Mar. 2017) unpublished book, The Joshua Crossing, by N. R. James. However, 2006 did see a paper presented by Professor Hossam Aboulfotouh of Minia University, Egypt, placed Atlantis in the Nile Delta. The following year R. McQuillen also offered an Egyptian location for Atlantis, placing it at Pharos near Alexandria.
A novel idea has been put forward by Mary Whispering Wind(b), who bravely offers the idea that the Atlantean province of Egypt was in fact, Colchis, situated on the east coast of the Black Sea! She bases her claim on an interpretation of Herodotus (Book II.104/5) who was commenting on circumcision being only practiced by Egyptians, Ethiopians and Colchians, in my mind, stretching what Herodotus said beyond the acceptable.
An even more radical suggestion was made by Reinoud M. de Jong in a 2009 paper(f) where he boldly claimed “that during the whole period of the (Michigan) copper trade, America was part of the Egyptian Empire” and during the Old Kingdom “this huge empire was known as Atlantis”!
One blogger, from California, has gone so far as to suggest that the ‘Egypt’ which Solon visited was on the shores of the Sea of Marmara!(e)
(a) See Archive 2136