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

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J.V. Luce

Sea Peoples

The Sea Peoples is the name given by modern scholarship to a group of allies who caused havoc among the nations of the Eastern Mediterranean including Egypt, which they invaded at least twice, in the 2nd millennium BC. The phrase ‘Sea Peoples’ was never used in ancient records, in fact, the coining of the term in 1855 is now generally attributed to French Egyptologist, Emmanuel de Rougé who used the term ‘peuples de la mer’ (literally “peoples of the sea”) in a description of reliefs at Medinet Habu. The phrase was later popularized by another French Egyptologist, Gaston Maspero (1846-1916). Eckart Kahlhofer has recently suggested that even earlier, J. F. Champollion (1790–1832) employed an equivalent term gens navales’ to describe the occupants of the invading swan-necked boats.

Also related to the carvings at Medinet Habu is an interesting study of the Sea Peoples’ ships depicted there, by the nautical archaeologist Professor Andrea Salimbetti’s website has a lengthy paper on Aegean Bronze Age ships(al) as well as the Sea Peoples(am).

Cyprian Broodbank in The Making of the Middle Sea [1127] argues that the Sea People “never actually existed as a single people. Instead, small roving bands were a symptom of the collapse, not the cause, and they were blown out of proportion by Egyptian propagandists working for Ramasses III.” (ai)

Broodbank is a co-author with Giulio Lucarini of a paper(av) about Mediterranean Africa that “draws on a new surge in data to present the first up-to-date interpretative synthesis of this region’s archaeology from the start of the Holocene until the threshold of the Iron Age (9600–1000 bc).”

Motivation

One website(h) describes the Sea People as groups of dispossessed raiders driven by hunger following crop failures resulting from climate change. The same idea is expanded on by Lu Paradise in an extensive article(v).

A different view was expressed by the Egyptologist Robert Anderson who commented “It would seem that, rather than bands of plunderers, the Sea People were probably part of a great migration of displaced people. The migration was most likely the result of widespread crop failures and famine.”(d)

Evidence is mounting that climate change played a significant part in the Late Bronze Age collapse of civilisations in the Eastern Mediterranean region. There is a school of thought that believes that the widespread societal disintegration was more the result of environmental factors rather than the depredations of the Sea Peoples(ag).

Origins

The Sea Peoples’ exact origin continues to be a matter of intense speculation(ad). The debate regarding their true identity has been ongoing for a long time and will probably continue as long as the chronologies of the Middle East are not fully harmonized to the satisfaction of most. There is, however, some agreement that the Sea Peoples mounted two separate invasion attempts on Egypt around 1208 & 1176 BC (Facchetti & Negri).

Sea Peoples from the Adriatic

“While most of the Sea Peoples came from either the Aegean or the wider Mediterranean, many historians argue that groups from the Adriatic Sea also joined the migration. Specifically, Austrian historian Fritz Schachermeyr asserted in 1982 that the Sherden and Shekelesh were originally from the Adriatic and had connections to the ancient Illyrians.

Although Schachermeyr’s theory is not commonly held among students of the Sea Peoples, there are those who continue to believe that a famine in the Balkans drove several tribes, including the Illyrians, to migrate over land and over water(ba).”

Mycenaean Sea Peoples

The Oxford Companion to the Bible [0605] is certain that the Sea Peoples were originally Mycenaean, who moved south, following the collapse of their civilisation at the end of the Late Bronze Age. They were repelled by the Egyptians and then moved on to the Levant where they later became known as the Philistines. A paper(ab) that also links the Philistines with the Sea Peoples from a biblical perspective is available.

Shelley Wachsmann(aj), also offers evidence that at least some Mycenaeans were involved with the Sea Peoples(ak).

There is a claim that the Sea Peoples also attacked Mycenaean Greece on two occasions and that Athens survived both(ae). Contrast that with the contention that there was a Mycenaean group within the Sea Peoples. The confusion surrounding the Sea Peoples is exemplified by the response to a question on the quora.com website(af).

Sea Peoples from Anatolia (Northern Levant)

Erick Wright, formerly a regular contributor to the now-defunct Atlantis Rising forums(b) had initially thought that Atlantis had been situated in Morocco but further research led him to conclude that Atlantis was located in what today is Southern Turkey and that Atlanteans were among the Sea Peoples who attacked Egypt in 1200 BC. Another Atlantis Rising forum(e) on the subject is also worth a look as is another illustrated site(f) which includes a map of the homelands of the Sea Peoples.

The historian, Sanford Hoist, published a paper in which he argued(j) for an Anatolian origin for the Sea Peoples together with other groups such as the Phoenicians.

David Rohl, a high-profile archaeologist, has proposed an Anatolian homeland for most of the Sea Peoples listed by the Egyptians in his book, The Lords of Avaris [0232].

The most recent addition to our knowledge of the Sea Peoples appears to be imminent with the publication of a paper in the December 2017 issue of the journal Proceedings of the Dutch Archaeological and Historical Society. Written by Frederik Woudhuizen and Eberhard Zangger, the authors offer a translation of a 3200-year-old inscription That may refer to the Sea Peoples and link them with western Turkey. You can read more, now, on the Livescience website(z). In a 2006 paper(ac), The Ethnicity of the Sea Peoples, Woudhuizen included some groups from the Central Mediterranean as part of the Sea Peoples.

Erich Fred Legner offers an extensive paper(au) on the diversity of the Sea Peoples. Brian Janeway explored the idea that the Sea Peoples originated in the Northern Levant(aw).

Sea Peoples from Southern Levant (Modern Syria, Lebanon, Israel & Palestine)

Joseph Morris in his thesis(m) presented to the Classics Department of Florida State University in 2006 defined the Sea Peoples as “a coalition consisting of the indigenous populations of Syria-Palestine led by the neo-Hittite states.”

Eric Cline noted in 1117 BC: The Year Civilization Collapsed [1005] that the only member of the Sea Peoples alliance whose identity has been ‘firmly established’ is that of the Peleset who are accepted as Philistines. He also comments that identifying the Shekelesh with Sicily and the Shardana with Sardinia is based in part on the ‘consonantal similarities’ [p.4]. In a 2016 article, Cline wrote, “As for what role the Sea Peoples actually played in the destruction of civilizations around 1200 BCE and shortly thereafter, I personally think that they have been set up as a scapegoat, because of the Egyptian inscriptions, and that they were as much victims as oppressors. I doubt that they were responsible for all of the destructions that we blame on them and I think that they are only one of the many factors that together contributed to a “perfect storm” that ended the Bronze Age. These stressors, as they are sometimes called, probably also included drought, famine, earthquakes, and possible internal rebellions in addition to external invaders, all of which combined to cause a systems collapse.” (az)

Sea Peoples or North Sea Peoples?

Until the middle of the 20th century, there was a consensus that the Sea Peoples originated in the Mediterranean region. That is until Jürgen Spanuth published his claim that Atlantis had been located in the North Sea and equated the Atlanteans with the Sea Peoples. This radical idea, with some variations, was adopted by several commentators and unsurprisingly, many were from Northern Europe. Spanuth referred to them as the North Sea Peoples [0015] and offered a range of evidence from the Egyptian inscriptions at Medinet Habu to support this idea. This evidence includes a variety of features that Egyptians used to portray the Sea Peoples such as types of swords, the shape of ships, shields and helmets as well as hair, clothing and shaving fashions. He then identified these Scandinavians as Atlanteans who later attacked Egypt. His opinion in this regard was strongly supported by Felix R. Paturi [1339.218]. More recently, Spanuth’s ideas have also been echoed by Walter Baucum in his Bronze Age Atlantis [0183].

In the 2007 DVD, Atlantis: Secret Star-Mappers of a Lost World, Childress identifies the Baltic as the original home of the Sea Peoples, reminiscent of the theories of Jürgen Spanuth, half a century earlier.

Similarly, Ellis Peterson endorses Spanuth’s Scandinavian location for Atlantis(ax).

Eckart Kahlhofer has now (2022) been investigating the idea of ‘North Sea Peoples’ for thirty years and supports the concept in his free ebook. He claims that in the twelfth century BC the Egyptians referred to the Sea Peoples as the Nine Bows people, which is a geographical term.

Before the emergence of these Bronze Age seafarers, there was a history of Northern Boat-Peoples who gradually expanded globally after the last Ice Age. A paper by Andres Pääbo charts their story(k). Zach Zorich is a freelance journalist and contributing editor at Archaeology magazine. In January 2016 he wrote an article(r) that would seem to contradict the idea of Northern European ‘Sea People’ invading Egypt, for the simple reason that sailing boats were not developed in Scandinavia until around the time of the Vikings! – “The plank boats and log boats being built in northern Europe were not the most advanced watercraft of their time. The Greeks, Egyptians, and other cultures around the Mediterranean Sea used sailing ships to conduct trade, and sails wouldn’t be used in Northern Europe until the Iron Age, during the seventh or eighth century CE.”

Another site(an) also describes the various ships of the period used by the Egyptians, Greeks and the Sea Peoples. One unusual suggestion on the same site is that some of the Sea Peoples, although allied with groups from across the Mediterranean, came from Britain and Northern Europe(ao)!

The Sea Peoples’ Alliances

I have used the plural because the evidence suggests that over the extended period of the Sea Peoples activities the alliances did experience some change in members.

Federico Bardanzellu offers several papers on his Museo dei Dolmen website(n) in which he suggests specific homelands for many of the members of the alliance(o).

Bob Idjennaden along with co-author, Mebarek S. Taklit, have produced The Mysterious Sea Peoples attack Egypt [1195], which provides an overview of the various incursions against Egypt during the 2nd millennium BC. The prominent part played by the Berbers or their ancestors in varying alliances that constituted the Sea Peoples is highlighted.

According to Raffaele D’Amato & Andrea Salimbeti [1152.20]+, the Denyen were one of the major groups of the Sea Peoples and have been known in ancient sources by different names; Danai, Danaoi, Danaus, Danaids, Dene, Danaids, Danuna. Others have linked them with the Danaan of Irish mythology. The Tuatha de Danaan invaded Ireland in prehistoric times. Having noted that Dan/Don/Danu were ancient words for water, it is not such a wild supposition that the Tuatha de Danaan were at least a constituent part of the Sea Peoples, an idea promoted by Leonardo Melis. A short review of D’Amato’s and Salimbeti’s book is available(bb).

On the other hand, Egerton Sykes thought that the Tuatha de Danaan were refugees from Atlantis, an idea he expressed in his 1949 edition of Ignatius Donnelly’s Atlantis. A paper offering a sober Irish (not an oxymoron) view of the Tuatha de Danaan should also be read(bc).

Sykes was convinced that Murias one of the four legendary cities of the de Danann had been located in Bimini. This highly speculative idea failed to bear fruit as have all efforts to identify the location of the other three cities, Falias, Finias and Gorias.

Speculation regarding the identity of individual tribes in the federation can be found on various websites(i)(f). One of the most comprehensive is provided by two Italian military historians, D’Amato & Salimbeti in their 2015 booklet [1152]+ and on the internet(l) and both are to be highly recommended. They highlight the complexities involved in definitively identifying the members of the varying alliances that were loosely described as the ‘Sea Peoples’ over a three-hundred-year period.

Atlantis and the Sea Peoples

The German classical scholar, Wilhelm Christ, was probably the first to identify the invading Sea Peoples with the Atlanteans(p), predating Jürgen Spanuth’s theory by the better part of a century. Christ’s idea was also supported to varying degrees by Theodor Gomperz, Spyridon Marinatos, John V. Luce, and Herwig Görgemanns.>A translation of the relevant text of Christ’s 1886 paper was recently published by Jason Colavito(bd).<

Quite a number of other writers have identified the Atlanteans as the Sea Peoples whose invasion of the Eastern Mediterranean has been recorded in some detail by the Egyptians. One such high-profile identification in the 20th century was by Spyridon Marinatos. One of the latest to join this school is Dr Rainer W. Kühne who not only makes the same identification but, using satellite images, believes that he has pinpointed the capital of Atlantis in Southern Spain. His website has a list of comparisons of Atlanteans to the Sea Peoples(a), which is worth consideration.

‘Rider’, the anonymous author of an article(ae)  concerning ‘the campaigns of the Sea Peoples’ on the allempires.com website also suggests that Plato’s Atlanteans can be identified with the Sea Peoples.

Frank Joseph contends that conflict between the Egyptians and the Sea Peoples was part of the Trojan War [0108.11] and has identified the Meshwesh, one of the Sea Peoples, as Atlantean [1535]. His speculation extended to describing ‘the Atlantean Sea Peoples’ as culture bearers who were responsible for, among other matters, the famous Serpent Mound of Ohio(ay).

Eberhard Zangger argues that the Sea Peoples were survivors of the Trojan War that fled to various parts of both the central and eastern Mediterranean(g). He has written further on this identification and more on the Luwian Studies website(s). Zangger claims that the Sea Peoples were an alliance of Libyans and Western Anatolian (Luwian) states(w)(y), which seems odd since Plato describes the Atlanteans as mightier than Libya and Asia combined. If Zangger is correct in identifying Troy as Atlantis [0483], he is also implying that according to Plato, a part (Troy) is greater than the whole (Libya and Asia combined), Troy being part of Asia! Something is wrong with his theory.

In 2020, Sean Welsh maintained that survivors of the eruption of Thera, which held the capital of Atlantis ‘morphed’ into the Sea Peoples [1874].

Other Theories

A more recent (2017) paper(aa) on a conservative website suggests that the Sea Peoples were ‘early Western Europeans’.

>W.S. Baird has also offered a western Mediterranean identification for the Sea Peoples, whom he considers to have originally been colonists from the Aegean who settled in the southeast of Spain and are known as the El Argar culture! Their society suffered some form of collapse around 1350 BC and according to Baird is in some way connected with the emergence of the Sea Peoples!<(ap)

The most radical suggestion regarding the Sea Peoples has come from Jim Allen, who promotes a South American location for Atlantis. He also seemingly equates at least some of the Sea Peoples with his South American Atlanteans [077.123], and has drawn attention to the similarity of some of the Sea Peoples’ headgear with that of Amazonian ‘Indians’(c)!

The Malagabay website published a lengthy article(t) in July 2016, offering evidence along with some conjecture, supporting the equally extreme idea that the Sea Peoples had originated in India and having migrated westward, some of them reached the Aegean and became known as Dorians! The author of the article appears to have followed the ideas of Edward Pococke (1604-1691) published in his India in Greece [1231].

Another unexpected twist is the claim by the discoverer of the Phaistos Disk, Luigi Pernier, that the characters used on the Disk are similar to the representations of the Sea Peoples at Medinet Habu.

>Peter Adamis, an Australian ex-military serviceman has devoted a section of his website to the question of the Sea Peoples identity. It offers a large number of related videos and papers(ae).<

Two contributors to the Sea Peoples debate in the 1970s were Alessandra Nibbi (1923-2007) [1670] and Nancy K. Sandars (1914-2015) [1671] who, although they had their differences, appear to have agreed on: “(a) the ‘Sea Peoples’ were not one particular people, (b) their label as being ‘of the sea’ is misleading, and (c) earlier attempts to blame the cataclysmic collapse throughout the East Mediterranean in the Late Bronze Age on the Sea Peoples is untenable.”

Sources

The earliest book devoted to the Sea Peoples that I am aware of was Immanuel Velikovsky’s Peoples of the Sea. However, Velikovsky was more concerned with revising the chronologies of the Middle East and so focused on dating the invasion of the Sea Peoples rather than identifying their origins. Velikovsky has an interesting footnote in his Peoples of the Sea [758.4], which reads; “When Ramses III speaks of ‘Peoples of the Sea’ he specifies the Tkeker, the Shekelesh, the Teresh, the Weshesh and the Sherden (or Sardan); he specifies the Denyen as ‘Peoples of the Isles.'”  It would be interesting to know the reason for the distinction.

Trude & Moshe Dothan have added another valuable book to the Sea Peoples literature with their People of the Sea which has the interesting sub-title of The Search for the Philistines [1524]. Related to their work, is the result of recent excavations at Ashkelon, an important Philistine city, which suggests that the city had received migrants from southern Europe during the Bronze Age, who may have constituted a component of the Sea Peoples(ah). Clearly, further investigation will be required to confirm these indications.

An extensive review of all the available material relating to the Sea Peoples was also published online in October 2015(q). The MalagaBay website (now closed) had also a wide-ranging illustrated article(u) about the Sea Peoples, although without reaching any firm conclusions.

[1152.20]+ https://img.4plebs.org/boards/tg/image/1498/88/1498880873171.pdf  

(a) Location and Dating of Atlantis (archive.org)

(b) https://web.archive.org/web/20130718184625/http://forums.atlantisrising.com:80/ubb/Forum1/HTML/000855.html

(c) http://www.atlantisbolivia.org/headgear.htm (link broken) see part atlantis bolivia part 4 conclusion, mummies,uente magna and links 

(d)  https://web.archive.org/web/20181014190855/http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/seapeople.htm

(e) https://web.archive.org/web/20080820154251/http://forums.atlantisrising.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/000911.html

(f) http://www.artsales.com/ARTistory/Ancient_Ships/17_sea_peoples.html

(g) http://archive.aramcoworld.com/issue/199503/who.were.the.sea.people.htm

(h) http://www.historyfiles.co.uk/KingListsMiddEast/AnatoliaSeaPeoples.htm

(i) Archive 2813

(j) http://www.phoenician.org/sea_peoples.htm

(k) Archive 2337 (all three parts)

(l) http://www.salimbeti.com/micenei/index.htm

(m) http://web.archive.org/web/20060903164435/http:/dscholarship.lib.fsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1199HYPERLINK *

(n) http://www.museodeidolmen.it/englishdefault.html

(o) http://www.museodeidolmen.it/englishpopomare.html

(p) Abhandlungen der bayerischen Akademie der Wissenschaften, Vol.. XVII, 2nd part, Munich 1886, pp. 451-512. (German)

(q) http://www.salimbeti.com/micenei/sea.htm 

(s) https://luwianstudies.org/the-sea-peoples-inscriptions-and-excavation-results/

(t) https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2016/07/07/catastrophic-english-india-in-greece/

(u) https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2016/02/18/deja-vu-vikings/

(v) https://ancientpatriarchs.wordpress.com/2016/05/23/were-sea-peoples-invading-egypt-from-atlantis-due-to-global-climate-change/

(w) https://luwianstudies.org/the-sea-peoples-inscriptions-and-excavation-results/ 

(x) http://rlebling.blogspot.ie/2012/03/where-was-ogygia-isle-of-calypso.html

(y) 3,000 years ago, the mysterious ‘Sea Peoples’ civilization was wiped out by ‘World War Zero’ | Ancient Code (archive.org) 

(z) https://www.livescience.com/60629-ancient-inscription-trojan-prince-sea-people.html

(aa) Archive 3429

(ab) https://img.4plebs.org/boards/tg/image/1498/88/1498880873171.pdf

(ac) https://www.academia.edu/7287651/The_Ethnicity_of_the_Sea_Peoples_dissertation_

(ad) https://listverse.com/2016/06/06/10-theories-regarding-the-sea-peoples/

(ae) The Campaigns of the Sea Peoples – All Empires (archive.org) 

(af)  https://www.quora.com/Where-did-the-Sea-Peoples-the-people-who-invaded-Greece-Egypt-and-the-Hittite-Empire-in-the-Late-Bronze-Age-come-from

(ag) http://www.q-mag.org/cyprus-salt-lakes-exonerate-peoples-of-the-sea-from-causing-the-destruction-of-bronze-age-civilizations.html 

(ah) https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/7/eaax0061

(ai) https://www.reddit.com/r/history/comments/c3fm5j/who_were_the_mysterious_sea_people_during_the/  (halfway down page)

(aj) https://www.academia.edu/4594906/The_Ships_of_the_Sea_Peoples

(ak) https://www.academia.edu/4635111/Were_the_Sea_Peoples_Mycenaeans_The_Evidence_of_Ship_Iconography  

(al) http://www.salimbeti.com/micenei/ships.htm

(am) http://www.salimbeti.com/micenei/sea.htm

(an) http://www.artsales.com/Ancient%20Ships/aTableofContents.htm

(ao) http://www.artsales.com/ARTistory/Ancient_Ships/17_sea_peoples.html

(ap) https://minoanatlantis.com/Origin_Sea_Peoples.php

(aq) https://www.nationalgeographic.com/history/magazine/2020/03-04/pirates-once-swashbuckled-across-ancient-mediterranean/

(ar) https://www.academia.edu/173946/M_J_Adams_and_M_E_Cohen_The_Sea_Peoples_in_Primary_Sources

(as) Cambridge Ancient History Ist edition, Vol.II, p.8

(at) https://www.academia.edu/34555497/The_Sea_Peoples_Superior_on_Land_and_at_Sea      

(au) File: <seapeopl (archive.org) 

(av) (99+) (PDF) The Dynamics of Mediterranean Africa, ca. 9600-1000 bc: An Interpretative Synthesis of Knowns and Unknowns | Giulio Lucarini – Academia.edu     

(aw) https://www.academia.edu/38648258/Sea_Peoples_of_the_Northern_Levant 

(ax) https://hiddenhistorysecrets.blogspot.com/2008/01/hidden-history-scandinavia-atlantis.html

(ay) Atlantis Rising magazine #36  http://pdfarchive.info/index.php?pages/At  

(az) https://www.asor.org/anetoday/2016/09/who-sea-peoples/ 

(ba) https://listverse.com/2016/06/06/10-theories-regarding-the-sea-peoples/ 

(bb) https://www.ancient-origins.net/book-reviews/sea-peoples-bronze-age-mediterranean-c-1400-bc-1000-bc-002830  

(bc) https://www.irishcentral.com/opinion/others/tuatha-de-danann-irish-gods-aliens 

(bd) Atlantis and the Sea Peoples – JASON COLAVITO *

(be) SEA PEOPLES – ABALINX *

Modern Classical Scholars

Modern Classical Scholars are frequently constrained by the need to raise research funding and are consequently reluctant to express privately-held views on particular controversial subjects. Others want to avoid endangering career prospects or simply fear ridicule. Atlantis can be considered one such ‘hot potato’ topic.

Nevertheless over the past century a number of classical scholars have expressed acceptance of all or some of the Atlantis story as historically factual. Hans Diller, J.V.Luce, J.G.Stallbaum, Victor Bérard, W.Brandenstein, Denys Eissart, H.Görgemanns, Walter Leaf and W.Christ have all supported the reality of Atlantis.

Unfortunately, the expansion of the Internet has permitted the widespread publication of many nonsensical ideas regarding Atlantis. The proliferation of such drivel has undermined the credibility of the more rational ideas of serious researchers>and forcing many of those that are full-time academics to remain ‘in the closet’.

Interpretation

Interpretation, which deals with the spoken word, obviously preceded translation which is concerned with the written word and could only have followed the development and spread of literacy. Interpretation in ancient Egypt goes back to 3000 BC when we find what seems to be the earliest hieroglyphic believed to mean ‘interpreter’(a)(b).

J.V. Luce informs us[120.23] that one of the Saite pharaohs, Psammetichus I (c.664-610 BC), established a school for interpreters, which possibly had its services availed of by Solon during his visit there.

(a) See: Archive 3442

(b) https://linguistics.stackexchange.com/questions/4589/is-there-an-egyptian-hieroglyphic-symbol-meaning-interpreter

Homer

Homer (c. 8th cent. BC) is generally accepted as the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, regarded as the two greatest epic poems of ancient Greece. A recent study of the Greek used by Homer has enabled scientists from the University of Reading to confirm that the language used is compatible with that used in the 8th century BC, in fact dating it to around 762 BC(i).

It should also be noted that over 130 quotations from the Illiad and Odyssey have been identified in Plato’s writings(s). George Edwin Howes (1865-1942), an American classicist, produced a dissertation[1458]+ on Homeric quotations in Plato and Aristotle.

Almost nothing is known of Homer’s life. He has been variously described as mad, blind and even mythical. Andrew Dalby, the English linguist, has gone so far as to claim[0591] that the author of the two famed epics was a woman! While in 1897 Samuel Butler, the novelist, was even more specific when he proposed that Homer was a Sicilian woman(j).

For centuries it was assumed that the content of these Homeric poems was the product of his imagination, just as the historical reality of Homer himself has been questioned. In 1795, F.A. Wolf, a German academic declared that ‘Homer’ was just a collective name applied to various homerpoets whose works were finally combined into their present form in the 6th century BC. Wolf’s ideas sparked furious argument among Greek scholars that still resonates today. Now (2015), historian, Adam Nicholson has claimed that the author ‘Homer’ should not be thought of as a person but instead as a ‘culture’(o).

In a 2021 review of Victor Davis Hanson’s Who Killed Homer? [1854], Adam Kirsch outlines how “Milman Perry proved that the Iliad and the Odyssey were not written by a lone genius(ah). They were originally not written at all, but through fieldwork in Yugoslavia, Perry (1902-1935) demonstrated how the Homeric epics were the result of traditional bardic storytelling. Wikipedia describes Perry as an American Classicist whose theories on the origin of Homer’s works have revolutionized Homeric studies to such a fundamental degree that he has been described as the ‘Darwin of Homeric studies’.”

Ed Whelan, an Irish classical scholar, published a brief paper in 2021 that endorsed the Homeric ‘multiple authors’ theory(ap).

An anonymous author offered “Although there has been a great deal of controversy about the question of whether Homer alone wrote the two famous poems, much of the evidence points towards Homer being the author due to the consistent style of writing. Also, some analysts argue that Homer may have written one of the poems but not the other since both differ greatly in style. In contrast, the reason other analysts state for this difference is that Iliad was written in his youth while Odyssey was created during Homer’s years of age.” (aq).

The identification of the site at Hissarlik in modern Turkey as Troy by Heinrich Schliemann led to a complete re-appraisal of Homer’s work and, of course, further controversy. Homer’s Iliad is the story of the Trojan War and it has been suggested that in fact, he had compressed three or more Trojan wars into one narrative. What is not generally known is that there are also ancient non-Homeric accounts of the Trojan War(q).

Kenneth Wood and his wife Florence have built on the research of his mother-in-law, the late Edna Leigh, and produced, Homer’s Secret Iliad[391], a book that attempts to prove that the Iliad was written as an aide-memoire for a wide range of astronomical data.

Allied to, but not directly comparable with, is the astronomical information identified in the Bible by the likes of E. W. Maunder (1851-1928)[1137].

Guy Gervis has adopted some of their work and specifies a date of around 2300 BC for the events described in the Iliad and Odyssey, based on an analysis of this astronomical data(n)Harald A.T. Reiche held similar views which followed some of the ideas expressed in Hamlet’s Mill[0524]  by Santillana & Dechend who were colleagues of Reiche at M.I.T. They also claimed that “myths were vehicles for memorising and transmitting certain kinds of astronomical and cosmological information.”

Much has been written about the historicity of Homer’s epic accounts, including a good overview on Wikipedia(ab). Many have concluded that Homer did use real events, even if they were frequently dressed in mythological clothing compatible with the literary conventions of his day. I consider Plato to have treated the story of Atlantis similarly.

A recent study of solar eclipses recorded in Odyssey using data from NASA has confirmed that Odysseus returned to Ithaca on the 25th of October 1207 BC(r).

Scholars have generally supported the idea that Homer’s works have a Mediterranean backdrop with regular attempts to reconcile his geography with modern locations, such as the claim in 2005 by Robert Brittlestone, a British investigator to have located the site of Ithaca, the homeland of Odysseus, on the Greek island of Cephalonia. This popular idea should be put alongside the views of Zlatko Mandzuka who maintains[1396] that all the locations mentioned in the Odyssey can be identified in the Adriatic.

Nevertheless, there has been a growing body of opinion that insists that this Mediterranean identification is impossible. A range of alternative regions has been proposed(f) as the setting for the epics, which extend from Portugal as far northward as the Baltic.

In his Odyssey (VII: 80), Homer wrote about the island of Scheria in the western sea. His description of the island has been compared with Plato’s description of Atlantis and has led to the theory that they refer to the same place. There is little doubt that both the detailed geography and climatic descriptions that are provided by Homer cannot be easily reconciled with that of the Mediterranean. Consequently, the Odyssey has had many interpretations, ranging from Tim Severin’s conclusion[392] that it refers entirely to the Eastern Mediterranean to Iman Wilkens’ book, Where Troy Once Stood[610], which has the voyage include the west coast of Africa, then across to the West Indies and following the Gulf Stream returns to Troy which he locates in Britain.

Location is not a problem exclusive to the writings of Plato. Wilkins’s claims are a reflection of similar ideas expressed by Théophile Cailleux[393] in the 19th century. Gilbert Pillot has also argued for voyages of Ulysses having taken him into the North Atlantic[742]. A Spanish review of Pillot’s book is available(ag). In 1973, Ernst Gideon (? – 1975) wrote in a similar vein in Homerus Zanger der Kelten, reprinted later as Troje Lag in Engelan[1643].

It is worth noting that Bernard Jones has recently moved [1638] Troy to Britain, probably in the vicinity of Cambridge, a location also preferred by Wilkens! Like many others, he argues that Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey were not set in the Mediterranean as so many of the details that he provides are incompatible with the characteristics of that sea. However, Jones has gone further and claimed that there are details in Virgil’s Aeneid, which are equally inconsistent with the Mediterranean [p.6-10], requiring a new location!

An interesting overview of the various attempts to transfer the Odyssey from the Mediterranean to Northern Europe is available(w). Damien Mackey has also endorsed the idea of a Northern European backdrop to Homer’s Odyssey(aa).

Another researcher who places most of Odysseus’ travels in the eastern Atlantic is Gerard. W.J. Janssen of Leiden University on the academia.edu website(v). In a series of six papers(ai-an), he systematically reviews Homer’s geography, identifying locations referred to by him with places in the Atlantic. He compares his identifications with other commentators including Iman Wilkens and Théophile Cailleux. His website, with an English translation, offers additional information, including the suggestion(ao) that Homer’s Laestrygonians were to be found in Cuba, an interpretation also offered by Cailleux and Wilkens. They also claim that Odysseus’  Caribbean trip included a visit to Saba, a Dutch possession, which is identified as the Aeolian Isle!

The idea of an Atlantic backdrop to the Homeric epics will not go away. The Dutch researcher, N.R. De Graaf(ae). continues to write extensively on his Homeros Explorations website(ad)(x) regarding many of the specifics in Homer’s accounts. He has proposed Lanzarote in the Canaries as the location of Scheria, which concurs with the views of Wilkens and Janssen. Other specifics are that Ithaca was near Cadiz and that Sparta was Cordoba, while the ancient city of Carmona on the plains of Andalucia are, for De Graaf, Mycenae!(af)

E.J. de Meester also argued(ac) for the British Isles as the location of many of Homer’s references. It struck me as quite remarkable that the level of debate regarding the date, source and geographical details of Homer’s works is rather similar to the controversy surrounding Plato’s Atlantis in Timaeus and Critias. The late Edo Nyland was another researcher who had also opted for a Scottish backdrop to the Odyssey and had recently published his views[394].

Felice Vinci also supports[019] a Northern European background to the Iliad and Odyssey. However, in Vinci’s case, Scandinavia, and in particular the Baltic Sea, is identified as the location for the adventures in Homer’s classic. An English language synopsis of his book is available on the Internet. The persuasiveness of Vinci’s argument has recently renewed interest in the idea of a Baltic Atlantis. The assumption being that if Troy could be located in the Baltic, so might Atlantis. Vinci’s views are comparable with those of J. Rendel Harris expressed in a lecture delivered in 1924(p)  in which he claims that we are entitled to take Homer and his Odysseus out of the Mediterranean or the Black Sea, and to allow them excursions into Northern latitudes.

However, a scathing review of Vinci’s book can be found on the Internet(d) and in issue 216 (2006) of Fortean Times written by Marinus Anthony van der Sluijs.

Further support for a Northern European Troy has come from the historian Edward Furlong, a former naval navigation officer, who has advocated for over twenty years that the journey of Odysseus went as far north as Norway. His particular views are outlined on the Internet(c).

Other writers, such as the late Henrietta Mertz [0396/7], have suggested that Homer’s epic refers to a trip to North America. Professor Enrico Mattievich Kucich of Lima University is also certain that the ancient Greeks discovered America America[400]. However revolutionary this idea may seem it shows how this particular subject is growing and would probably justify a reference book of its own.

The idea of an Atlantic backdrop to the Homeric epics will not go away. The Dutch researcher, N.R. De Graaf continues to write extensively on his Homeros Explorations website(x) regarding many of the specifics in Homer’s accounts.

In 1973, James Bailey also proposed in his well-received The God-Kings and the Titans[149] that the Odyssey recorded a trans-Atlantic trip. Evidence exists for large-scale mining in the Americas as early as the 5th millennium BC. Bailey maintained that the Europeans imported enormous quantities of copper and tin from Central and South America to feed the demands of the Old World Bronze Age, an idea that was later heavily promoted by Frank Joseph and in great, if overly speculative, detail by Reinoud de Jong(y).

Finally, the Atlantis connection with this entry is that if, as now appears to be at least a possibility, Homer’s Odyssey was about a journey to the North Sea then the possibility of the North Sea setting for the Atlantis story is somewhat reinforced.

A recent book[395] by Steven Sora has developed the Atlantic notion further with the suggestion that not only was Troy located outside the Strait of Gibraltar but that both Homer’s Trojan War and Plato’s Atlantean war are two versions of the same war with the understandable distortions and embellishments that can occur with a narrative, probably involving some degree of oral transmission and then written down hundreds of years after the events concerned.

Ukraine is soon to be added to the growing list of alternative locations for the setting of Homer’s epics with the publication of Homer, The Immanent Biography, a book by A.I. Zolotukhin(g). He claims that Homer was born in Alibant (Mykolayiv, Ukraine) on September 14, 657 BC(t). He follows the views of Karl Ernst von Baer (1792-1876) who believed that most of Odysseus’s travels took place in the Black Sea rather than the Mediterranean. Additionally, he locates Atlantis in the western Crimean area of Evpatoria(l). His 60-page book is available on his website(m).

An interesting paper(e) by the German historian, Armin Wolf, relates how his research over 40 years unearthed 80 theories on the geography of the Odyssey, of which around 30 were accompanied by maps. One of the earliest maps of the travels of Odysseus was produced by Abraham Ortelius in 1597(u), in which the adventures of Odysseus all take place within the Central and Eastern Mediterranean, arguably reflecting the maritime limits of Greek experience at the time of Homer or his sources! Another website(z) by Jonathan S. Burgess, Professor of Classics at the University of Toronto offers further information on this, including some informative bibliographical material.

In 2009, Wolf published, Homers Reise: Auf den Spuren des Odysseus[669] a German-language book that expands on the subject, also locating all the travels of Odysseus within the Central and Eastern Mediterranean.

Wolf’s ideas were enthusiastically adopted by Wolfgang Geisthövel in his Homer’s Mediterranean[1578], who also concurs with the opinion of J.V. Luce [1579], who proposed that Homer was “describing fictional events against authentic backgrounds.” This would be comparable to a James Bond movie, which has an invented storyline set in actual exotic locations around the world.

Perhaps the most radical suggestion has come from the Italian writer, Michele Manher, who has proposed(h) that Homer’s Iliad originated in India where elements of it can be identified in the Mahabharata!

In August 2015, a fifteen-hour reading of the Iliad was performed in London.

[1458]+ https://archive.org/stream/jstor-310358/310358_djvu.txt *

(c) https://www.academia.edu/8167048/WHERE_DID_ODYSSEUS_GO_

(d) https://mythopedia.info/Vinci-review.pdf

(e) https://authorzilla.com/9AbvV/armin-wolf-mapping-homer-39-s-odyssey-research-notebooks.html 

(f) https://codexceltica.blogspot.com/search?q=atlantis

(g) https://pushkinclub.homerandatlantis.com/english/homer.html

(h) https://www.migration-diffusion.info/article.php?id=100

(i) https://www.insidescience.org/content/geneticists-estimate-publication-date-iliad/946

(j) https://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/aoto/index.htm 

(k) https://web.archive.org/web/20180320072706/https://www.nwepexplore.com (see ‘n’)

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

(m) https://homerandatlantis.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Homer_The_Immanent_biography_pdf2.pdf

(n) https://web.archive.org/web/20180320072706/https://www.nwepexplore.com

(o) https://www.newser.com/story/200859/homer-wasnt-a-person-historian.html

(p) https://www.escholar.manchester.ac.uk/api/datastream?publicationPid=uk-ac-man-scw:1m1163&datastreamId=POST-PEER-REVIEW-PUBLISHERS-DOCUMENT.PDF

(q) https://luwianstudies.org/the-homeric-epics/

(r) https://www.historydisclosure.com/scientists-provide-evidence-that-homers-odyssey-is-not-fiction/

(s) https://plato-dialogues.org/tools/char/homerqot.htm

(t) https://homerandatlantis.com/?p=4938&lang=en

(u) https://kottke.org/19/03/mapping-the-odyssey-isnt-easy

(v) https://www.academia.edu/38535990/ATLANTIC_OGUGIA_AND_KALUPSO?email_work_card=view-paper

(w) https://codexceltica.blogspot.com/2009/10/homers-north-atlantic-odyssey.html

(x) http://www.homeros-explorations.nl/

(y) https://www.academia.edu/3894415/COPPER_AND_TIN_FROM_AMERICA_c.2500-1200_BC_

(z) https://wakeofodysseus.com/

(aa) https://historyancientphilsophy.wordpress.com/2019/10/27/more-to-the-iliad-and-the-odyssey-than-meets-the-eye/

(ab) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_the_Homeric_epics#History

(ac) https://web.archive.org/web/20090907222615/https://home-3.tiscali.nl/~meester7/engodyssey.html

(ad)  Homeros Explorations – Homer, facts or fiction? (homeros-explorations.nl)

(ae) https://www.homeros-explorations.nl

(af) Mycenae, rich in gold – Homeros Explorations (homeros-explorations.nl)

(ag) Perijóresis: Odisea (perijoresis.blogspot.com) (Spanish)

(ah) https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/06/14/the-classicist-who-killed-homer

(ai)  https://www.academia.edu/40668880/ATLANTIC_GEOGRAPHY_IN_HOMER_I

(aj) https://www.academia.edu/40849368/ATLANTIC_GEOGRAPHY_IN_HOMER_II

(ak) https://www.academia.edu/40982169/ATLANTIC_GEOGRAPHY_IN_HOMER_III

(al)  https://www.academia.edu/41200642/ATLANTIC_GEOGRAPHY_IN_HOMER_IV

(am) https://www.academia.edu/41474241/ATLANTIC_GEOGRAPHY_IN_HOMER_PART_V

(an)  https://www.academia.edu/41625852/ATLANTIC_GEOGRAPHY_IN_HOMER_PART_VI

(ao) LAISTRUGONIACUBA, LA HAVANA (homerusodyssee.nl)

(ap)  The Homeric Question – Who WAS Homer? (bibliotecapleyades.net) 

(aq)  Homer | Biography, Books and Facts (famousauthors.org) 

Irish Atlantology

Irish Atlantology, with a couple of notable exceptions, has not been overly productive. The man responsible for kick-starting ‘modern’ interest in Atlantis, Ignatius Donnelly (1831-1901), was the son of an Irish emigrant to the United States and so, although he might have qualified for the Ireland Soccer Team, I must exclude him as a contributor to Irish Atlantology. Another excludee is Henry O’Brien (1807-1835) who, although unquestionably Irish, has been associated with the study of Atlantis by publishers who cynically retitled his The Round Towers of Ireland [124] as The Round Towers of Atlantis [125] although it does not contain a single reference to either Atlantis or Plato!

Edward Hull (1829-1917) was a noted geologist and like Donnelly supported the idea of the Azores as remnants of Atlantis.

Marion McMurrough Mulhall published a number of books including Beginnings or Glimpses of Vanished Civilizations [1343]. In this interesting, if rather dated work of 136 pages, she suggests that “The gods and goddesses of the ancient Greeks, the Phoenicians, the Hindoos, and the Scandinavians were simply the kings, queens, and heroes of Atlantis, and the acts attributed to them in mythology are a confused recollection of real historical events.

Helen O’Cleary in her book, Atlantis [1248], aimed at younger readers, expressed the opinion that the early inhabitants of Ireland may have been refugees, rather than colonisers from Atlantis. She sees the gods of Egypt as having more in common with the Celts than with the pantheons of ancient Greece and Rome.

The most famous Irish Atlantologist was unquestionably the late J. V.Luce (1920-2011). He was a respected classicist and a leading proponent of the Minoan Hypothesis although he considered Plato’s Atlantis story to be a mixture of fact and fiction [120].

P. A. Ó Síocháin (1905-1995), a barrister, sought to link Atlantis with the Irish legend of Hy-Brasil [498].

The filmmaker Bob Quinn, in his book Atlantean [534], links the Irish megalith builders with the culture of North Africa and the maritime heritage which connected both.

Herbie Brennan in The Atlantis Enigma [030] offered a fairly general overview of ancient mysteries but does little to solve the when? where? or who? associated with Atlantis.

Dubliner, Ronan Coghlan produced his Companion to Atlantis and Other Mystery Lands [727] as an A-Z guide to Atlantis, Mu and Lemuria, which unfortunately includes a lot of dubious material which has emanated from ‘psychics’ and psychotics.

A 2010 contribution to Irish Atlantology was my own offering, Atlantipedia [1668]which was intended not only to inform but also encourage and hopefully assist others to take up Atlantean research. I wish all well in such an endeavour, irrespective of nationality. Truth does not recognise borders. It was a 500-page volume compared to the 2,100 pages that would be required to print the contents of this website now (May 2022).

>Ronnie Gallagher, an admirer of Reginald Fessenden, also located Atlantis in the Caucasus region and believes that was inundated as a consequence of the creation of a vast ‘flooded Eurasia’ that resulted from the collapse of glacial ice-dams(b), comparable with the Lake Missoula Floods in America.<

In November 2018, I published an ebook, Joining the Dots [1590]which reflected the results of my own fifteen years of research. The book had the self-explanatory subtitle of Plato’s Atlantis in the Central Mediterranean.

>In 2021, Anthony Woods, CEO of the unaccredited Keystone University(a)  published Atlantis Ireland, which is a pathetic attempt to identify Stone Age Ireland as a global hyperdiffusionist centre. He claims that megalith building, language and religion, all spread globally from Ireland, also known as Atlantis!<

(a) https://www.keystone.ie *

(b)  https://grahamhancock.com/gallagherr1/ *

Meizon

Meizon is given the sole meaning of  ‘greater’  in the respected Greek Lexicon of Liddell & Scott. Furthermore, in Bury’s translation of sections 20e -26a of Timaeus there are eleven instances of Plato using megas (great) meizon (greater) or megistos (greatest). In all cases, great or greatest is employed except just one, 24e, which uses the comparative meizon, which Bury translated as ‘larger’! J.Warren Wells concluded that Bury’s translation in this single instance is inconsistent with his other treatments of the word and it does not fit comfortably with the context[787.85]. This inconsistency is difficult to accept, so although meizon can have a secondary meaning of ‘larger’ it is quite reasonable to assume that the primary meaning of ‘greater’ was intended.

>Jürgen Spanuth addressed this problem in Atlantis-The Mystery Unravelled [017.109] noting that “In other parts of the Atlantis report misunderstandings easily arose. Plato asserts that Atlantis was ‘larger’, ‘more extensive’ (meizon),than Libya and Asia Minor. The Greek word ‘meizon’ can mean both ‘larger in size’ and ‘more powerful.’ As the size of the Atlantean kingdom is given between two hundred and three hundred miles, whereas Asia Minor is considerably bigger, in this context the word ‘meizon’ should be translated not by ‘larger in size’ but by ‘more powerful’, which corresponds much better to the actual facts.”<

In 2006, on a now-defunct website of his, Wells noted that Greater can mean larger, but this meaning is by no means the only possible meaning here; his overall usage of the word may show he meant greater in some other way.”

It is also worth considering that Alexander the Great, (Aléxandros ho Mégas) was so-called, not because of his physical size, apparently, he was short of stature, but because he was a powerful leader. 

The word has entered Atlantis debates in relation to its use in Timaeus 24e ’, where Plato describes Atlantis as ‘greater’ than Libya and Asia together and until recently has been most frequently interpreted to mean greater ‘in size’, an idea that I previously endorsed. However, some researchers have suggested that he intended to mean greater ‘in power’.

Other commentators do not seem to be fully aware that ‘Libya’ and ‘Asia’ had completely different meanings at the time of Plato. ‘Libya’ referred to part or all of North Africa, west of Egypt, while ‘Asia’ was sometimes applied to Lydia, a small kingdom in what is today Turkey. Incidentally, Plato’s  statement also demonstrates that Atlantis could not have existed in either of these territories as ‘a part cannot be greater than the whole.’

A more radical, but less credible, interpretation of Plato’s use of ‘meizon’ came from the historian P.B.S. Andrews suggested that the quotation has been the result of a misreading of Solon’s notes. He maintained that the text should be read as ’midway between Libya and Asia’ since in the original Greek there is only a difference on one letter between the words for midway (meson) and larger than (meizon). This suggestion was supported by the classical scholar J.V. Luce and more recently on Marilyn Luongo‘s website(a).

>Luongo attempted to link Mesopotamia with Atlantis, beginning with locating the Pillars of Heracles at the Strait of Hormuz and then using the highly controversial interpretation of ‘meizon‘ meaning ‘between’ rather than ‘greater’ she proceeded to argue that Mesopotamia is ‘between’ Asia and Libya and therefore is the home of Atlantis! She cited a paper by Andreea Haktanir to justify this interpretation of meizon(a).<

This interpretation is quite interesting, particularly if the Lydian explanation of ‘Asia’ mentioned above is correct. Viewed from either Athens or Egypt we find that Crete is located ‘midway’ between Lydia and Libya.

In 2021, Diego Ratti, proposed in his new book Atletenu [1821], an Egyptian location for Atlantis, centred on the Hyksos capital, Avaris. In that context, he found it expedient to interpret ‘meizon’ in Tim. 24e & Crit.108e as meaning between Libya and Asia, which Avaris clearly is. I pressed Ratti on this interpretation and, after further study, he responded with a more detailed explanation for his conclusion(d). This is best read in conjunction with the book.

In relation to all this, Felice Vinci has explained that ancient mariners measured territory by the length of its coastal perimeter, a method that was in use up to the time of Columbus. This would imply that the island of Atlantis was relatively modest in extent – I would speculate somewhere between the size of Cyprus and Sardinia. An area of such an extent has never been known to have been destroyed by an earthquake.

Until the 21st century, it was thought by many that meizon must have referred to the physical size of Atlantis rather than its military power. However, having read a paper[750.173] delivered by Thorwald C. Franke at the 2008 Atlantis Conference, I was persuaded otherwise.  His explanation is that “for Egyptians, the world of their ‘traditional’ enemies was divided in two: To the west, there were the Libyans, to the east there were the Asians. If an Egyptian scribe wanted to say, that an enemy was more dangerous than the ‘usual’ enemies, which was the case with the Sea Peoples’ invasion, then he would have most probably said, that this enemy was ‘more powerful than Libya and Asia put together’”.

This is a far more elegant and credible explanation than any reference to physical size, which forced researchers to seek lost continental-sized land masses and apparently justified the negativity of sceptics. Furthermore, it reinforces the Egyptian origin of the Atlantis story, demolishing any claim that Plato concocted the whole tale. If it had been invented by Plato he would probably have compared Atlantis to enemy territories nearer to home, such as the Persians.

This interpretation of meizon has now been ‘adopted’ by Frank Joseph in The Destruction of Atlantis[102.82], but without giving any due credit to Franke(b). No surprise there.!

(a) History (archive.org) *

(b) https://lost-origins.com/atlantis-no-lost-continent/ (offline Jan. 2018) See: Archive 2349

(c) https://web.archive.org/web/20070212101539/https://greekatlantis.com/

(d). More on Atlantis between Asia and Libya (atletenu.com)

Myths

Myths along with legends and nursery thymes are part of a culture’s folklore. The word is given a primary meaning in dictionaries of  “a traditional story of unknown authorship, serving usually to explain some phenomenon of nature, the origin of man, or the customs, religious rites etc. of a people. Mythological ‘gods’ were frequently personifications of those natural phenomena.  A secondary meaning is ‘fictitious story’ which is the usual dismissive and derogatory application of the term to the Atlantis story. Time and time again, various ‘myths’ across a wide range of cultures have been shown to have a factual basis. These myths were generated to explain something that is important but incomprehensible. Sometimes myths are imported from other cultures and languages, leading to possible distortion of the original tale.

J. V. Luce, the Irish classics scholar, has highlighted[0120.14] how various Greek myths and legends have been proven to contain historical elements and that Plato’s Atlantis story should be studied with this in mind.

Alexander Braghine quotes the French historian, Gustave Glotz (1862-1935), who wrote in his History of Greece, that “it is a well-known fact that legend comes before history, but an attentive and rigorous analysis of any myth gives us the opportunity to detect historical data even in a myth. The comparative method is very useful in these cases.”

Luce has also pointed out that Plato also uses ‘logos’ or truth rather than ‘muthos’ or legend when referring to the Atlantis story.

Euhemerus (circa 300 BC) was one of the first to propose that the ‘gods’ of Greek myth were in fact ancient heroes that were, by convention, posthumously ‘deified’ by their bardic biographers.

It is perfectly reasonable to assume that the older a myth is the less specific detail it may retain regarding any underlying truth. I would suggest that Plato’s story has at least two elements; (i) an ancient and powerful civilisation was destroyed through inundation hundreds if not thousands of years earlier and (ii) the detailed description of an expansionist Bronze Age alliance that was also destroyed. The first, because of its antiquity, is of necessity vague; the second is incredibly detailed in the manner of an eyewitness account.

The ancient Greeks were apparently not conscious of the last Ice Age and the consequent effects of the melting of the retreating glaciers. Today we are aware of these events and find it interesting that Plato’s description of the flooding of Atlantis and its date appears compatible with real prehistoric facts, although the melting of the glaciers was a relatively slow process and is highly unlikely to have submerged Atlantis in ‘a day and a night’. The second element in Plato’s story is too detailed to be considered as fact but could be accepted as a reasonable embellishment by Plato who in order to emphasise the might of the earlier civilisation, ascribed to it all the trappings of contemporary imperial nations such as the Persians.

Robert Bowie Johnson, Jnr has promoted(c) the idea that the Adam and Eve in Genesis are the counterparts of Zeus and Hera in Greek mythology.

Before writing was developed our ancestors artfully used the rhyme and rhythm (meter) of poetry as a vehicle to ensure the faithful conveyance of their legends and traditions over countless generations. However, the details are often misunderstood or corrupted when such traditions are translated into different languages and the aide memoire value of the original poetry is lost. Even when writing was available but known only to an elite few, the value of verse as a transmission vehicle continued for thousands of years.

The value of traditional stories was highlighted by a recent paper presented at a conference in Japan which resulted from a study of Aboriginal stories from around the Australian coast(d). The details in those stories, relating to the rising sea levels at the end of the last Ice Age, coincide with remarkable accuracy to what has already been demonstrated scientifically. The conclusion is that these oral traditions can reliably span at least ten millennia and raise questions regarding the value  traditional tales in other parts of the globe.

The Internet provides useful access to various mythological resources. One of those is Mythopedia(a) which has a valuable collection of articles and images dealing with mythologies and religions and the possible influence of ancient celestial sights on some aspects of them.

A paper(b) available on the internet by R. Cedric Leonard discusses with his usual thoroughness, various traditions and mythologies that may have contained details of the Atlantis story before Plato wrote his Timaeus and Critias dialogues.

In 2009, a paper(e) on the reliability of orally transmitted myths by Rens Van der Sluijs was published on the thunderbolts website. The same is said of the accuracy of nursery rhymes and other folk tales(f) some of which were of a more secular and sometimes subversive nature(g).

A groundbreaking overview of mythology is on offer[1431] from E. J. Michael Witzel (1943- ) who has traced the origins of many our myths to origins in Africa 100.000 years ago with the understandable revisions and accretions as humans spread throughout our planet, producing both new and local variations of the same themes. His influence today is seen by some, but not all, as comparable to that of James Frazer (1854-1941) and Eliade Mircea (1907-1986).

(a) https://mythopedia.info/

(b) See: https://web.archive.org/web/20170113172919/https://www.atlantisquest.com/Myth.html

>(c) https://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends-europe/zeus-and-hera-0012944<

(d) https://theconversation.com/ancient-aboriginal-stories-preserve-history-of-a-rise-in-sea-level-36010

(e) https://thunderbolts.info/tpod/2009/arch09/090127whispers.htm

(f) https://gesteofrobinhood.com/2015/01/03/how-the-people-ensured-their-heros-survival-transmitting-the-rymes-of-robyn-hode-through-time/

(g) https://www.ancient-origins.net/news-myths-legends/english-nursery-rhymes-unexpected-and-sometimes-disturbing-historical-origins?nopaging=1

Tsunami

A Tsunami was probably first described in the 5th century BC by Thucydides when he wrote “in my opinion, the cause of the phenomenon watsunami-formations this: where the earthquake was most violent, the sea receded and was then pushed back with even greater violence, thus bringing about a flood. Such a thing would not have happened without an earthquake” (Peloponnesian War, Book III.89)(b). However, there are also conditions that can produce tsunamis inland, such as occurred around 500 AD inundating Geneva in the Alps(k)(m).

The word ‘tsunami’ first appeared in an English language publication in the September 1896 edition of National Geographic Magazine in which the devastation caused by an earthquake wave in Japan was graphically described.

Recent studies(g) indicate that a similar tsunami saved the Greek town of Nea Poteidaia from a Persian attack in 479 BC. Herodotus in reporting the event attributed the Persian defeat to divine intervention by Poseidon, god of the sea.

A similar event on an even greater scale has been one of the suggestions as the possible cause of the flooding of Atlantis. A 2002 paper(a), by Louisiana State University geologist, Gary Byerly and his team, identified an ancient asteroid impact that generated a tsunami that “swept around the earth several times, inundating everything except the mountains”. The study of ancient tsunamis is at a very early stage of development.

Ivan T. Sanderson in one of his books, Investigating the Unexplained [768], recounts an 1863 report of a 200-foot high tsunami that sped up the Ganges and Houghli Rivers in India killing tens of thousands of people without ‘snapping-off’ trees. He contrasts this with the tree stumps covering acres around East Creek, New Jersey that have all been broken off at the same height and where he suggested that only a tsunami could have caused such widespread and uniform destruction. In view of the fact that some of these cedar trees had six-foot diameter trunks, he speculates on the possible size of a tsunami that could bring about such extreme damage.

Perhaps even more relevant to the study of Atlantis is the evidence gathered by Jürgen Spanuth in his chapter on the ‘Natural Catastrophes of the 13th Century’ including an interesting section on tsunamis [015.167].

Marc-André Gutscher of the University of Western Brittany in Plouzané, France, has discovered evidence of an ancient tsunami on Spartel Island, an Atlantis candidate, in the Gulf of Cadiz. Georgeos Diaz-Montexano has pointed out that Josephus, the 1st-century Jewish historian, seems to describe the devastation caused by its assault on the Atlantic coast of Spain and Portugal at the time of the Lusitanians and Cantabrians in the 1st millennium BC.

In the late 1970s, Booth & Fitch suggested in Earthshock[1295] that tsunamis may have been responsible for the devastation of Atlantis, an idea that has gained in popularity.

Sergio Frau has postulated that the Atlantean civilisation on Sardinia was destroyed by a tsunami.

Professor Stefano Tinti of Bologna University visited Sardinia and explained(r) “that until the 1980s no one was aware that tidal waves had occurred in the Mediterranean. But since 2004 scientists have identified 350 events of this type over a 2,500-year period,” and regarding the Sardinian tsunami “So what would have been required in our case?” he then asked. “We’re talking about a huge volume of water, some 500 metres high [the elevation up to which the nuraghi were affected]. Only a comet could do that if the impact occurred very close to the coast and in a very specific direction,” he asserted. An event of this sort may have occurred near Cagliari, with the resulting wave devastating the plain of Campidano.”

Tinti has also noted(w) that generally speaking, the majority of tsunamis are generated by seismic rather than volcanic activity. Globally, volcanic tsunamis account for only 2% of the total, however, the profusion of volcanoes in Southern Italy has considerably increased this percentage. Furthermore, according to a recent article on the BBC website “The scale of the tsunami hazard from volcanoes that collapse into the sea has been underestimated.”(x)

A 2022 report of a recent study(ac) revealed some new interesting information.

>“Archaeologists have found evidence of the largest known earthquake in human history — a terrifying magnitude-9.5 megaquake that caused a 5,000-mile-long (8,000 kilometres) tsunami and prompted human populations to abandon nearby coastlines for 1,000 years.

The earthquake struck about 3,800 years ago in what is now northern Chile when a tectonic plate rupture lifted the region’s coastline. The subsequent tsunami was so powerful, it created waves as high as 66 feet (20 meters) and travelled all the way to New Zealand, where it hurled car-size boulders hundreds of miles inland, the researchers found.” <

More recently, Dhani Irwanto has written about the probable effect of tsunamis on his Indonesian Atlantis(y). Studies of the sedimentary record in a sea cave in Sumatra have revealed the frequency and strength of tsunamis in the region over a five thousand year span from 5900 BC until 900 BC(u).

Tsunamis are also associated with the destruction on Crete following the eruption of Thera in the 2ndmillennium BC. A TV documentary entitled Sinking Atlantis(i), provided graphic evidence of tsunami damage on Minoan Crete(h).

J.V.Luce cited[120.119] a number of local legends from around the Aegean that may have originated with the tsunami that followed the eruption on Thera.

However, the extent of this damage is strongly contested by W. Sheppard Baird(j) and he proposes instead that it was in fact more likely to have been a pyroclastic surge from the Theran eruption that caused the most damage.

A recent report(d) concludes that a large tsunami generated by the volcanic activity of Mt. Etna around 6000 BC produced waves up to 43 feet high that struck the coasts of Greece and Libya. This event would have caused devastation on nearby Malta, where evidence of past tsunamis was published in the journal Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie. The research was carried out over three years by scientists from the University of Portsmouth, led by Dr Malcolm Bray with assistance from colleagues at the Department of Geography at the University of Malta(n). A 1693 earthquake generated the earliest recorded tsunami on Malta and as recent as 1908 Malta was hit by a tsunami that resulted from a catastrophic earthquake in the vicinity of the Strait of Messina(p).

On the Atlantic west coast of Ireland, we have a 250 km2 region, in County Clare, known as the Burren, which consists of limestone denuded of soil cover. Recently, strong evidence was discovered suggesting a 4000 BC tsunami in the region(o). For me, the karst landscape of the Burren is reminiscent of parts of Malta.

Plato’s description does not support the idea of a tsunami as the primary cause of Atlantis’ inundation since tsunamis will eventually subside and return to the ocean, whereas Atlantis was still under water years after the event, causing a permanent navigation hazard. John Michael Greer makes a similar point [345.126] in relation to the megatsunami which struck Madagascar in 2800 BC. Evidence of other ancient megatsunamis in Hawaii was presented at the 2012 meeting of the American Geophysical Union(l). The power of megatsunamis is highlighted in an article on the UK’s MailOnline website(t).

Recent excavations at Olympia on the Peloponnese peninsula, the location of the original Olympic Games, have pointed to the site having been repeatedly hit by devastating tsunamis during the past 7,000 years(c).

The Bunurong tribe in Australia have a ‘myth’ that explains the creation of Melbourne’s Port Philip Bay. A recent article(e) has linked this to a tsunami that resulted from the impact of Comet Manhuika southwest of New Zealand in the 15th century. A more cautious view of this event is expressed elsewhere(f).

The excellent livescience.com website has an interesting list of ten history-making tsunamis(q), while Wikipedia offers an extensive list of European tsunamis from prehistoric times until the present(s).

A 100-metre-high tsunami, caused by a landslide, one of the highest ever recorded was experienced in a remote area of Greenland in June 2017. Four lives were lost and eleven houses destroyed in the fishing village of Nuugaatsiaq, located on an island about 20 kilometres away(v).

The Greenland event would have been greatly overshadowed, literally, by the tsunami generated by the asteroid that struck Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula around 66 million years ago that killed off the dinosaurs. According to a 2021 report(z) it has been estimated that the impact produced a tsunami nearly a mile high!

>In 2020, David Keys, author of Catastrophe [1330] wrote an article for the UK’s Independent newspaper outlining the most recent research into the 6200 BC tsunami that destroyed Doggerland. It is estimated that multiple giant waves inundated some 2,700 square miles of land – from Scotland in the north to Norfolk in the south.

New underwater research carried out by the universities of Bradford, Warwick, St Andrews and Wales has for the first time discovered that the tsunami devastated parts of East Anglia and adjacent land which is now submerged beneath the southern part of the North Sea.” (ab)<

>On August 12, 2021, within minutes of each other, two earthquakes struck the South Sandwich Islands of the South Atlantic. National Geographic reported “These rumblings, which occurred on August 12, 2021, were not unusual on their own, since the islands sit atop a combative meeting of tectonic plates. The odd part is that they were followed by a tsunami powerful enough to show up on distant shores along the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. Although the swell wasn’t destructive, it was the first since the catastrophic tsunami of 2004 to be recorded in three different oceans(aa).<

(a) See: Archive 2931

(b) https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/History_of_the_Peloponnesian_War/Book_3#Sixth_Year_of_the_War_-_Campaigns_of_Demosthenes_in_Western_Greece_-_Ruin_of_Ambracia

(c)  https://www.uni-mainz.de/eng/14389.php

(d) https://www.livescience.com/1170-towering-ancient-tsunami-devastated-mediterranean.html

(e) https://www.thunderbolts.info/wp/2012/02/10/mega-tsunamis-chinese-junks-and-port-phillip-bay/

(f) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/240420231_Analysis_of_the_Mahuika_comet_impact_tsunami_hypothesis

(g) https://www.livescience.com/19809-ancient-wave-real-tsunami.html

(h) Sinking Atlantis | Full Episode | Secrets of the Dead | PBS (archive.org)

(i) https://video.pbs.org/video/1204753806/

(j) https://www.minoanatlantis.com/Sinking_Atlantis_Myth.php

(k) Tsunamis in the Alps? (archive.org)

(l) See: https://web.archive.org/web/20161209170519/https://www.livescience.com/25293-hawaii-giant-tsunami-landslides.html

(m) https://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/20/science/earth/a-tsunami-in-switzerland-lake-evidence-says-yes.html?ref=science&_r=0

(n) https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20140901/local/scientists-find-evidence-of-great-tsunami-in-malta.533987

(o) https://www.irishexaminer.com/ireland/6000-year-old-settlement-poses-tsunami-mystery-193230.html

(p) https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20050109/letters/tsunami-events-in-malta.102636

(q) https://www.livescience.com/28296-tsunamis-that-changed-history.html

(r) https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/aug/15/bronze-age-sardinia-archaeology-atlantis

(s) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tsunamis_in_Europe

(t) https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-4082550/The-terrifying-power-mega-tsunamis-Video-reveals-wave-wipe-ENTIRE-east-coast-s-unlikely-happen.html

(u) 5,000-Year-Long Tsunami Record Found in Guano-Encrusted Sumatran Cave – Seeker (archive.org)

(v) https://www.nature.com/news/huge-landslide-triggered-rare-greenland-mega-tsunami-1.22374

(w) https://www.springer.com/gp/book/9780792323167

(x) https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-49568107

(y) https://atlantisjavasea.com/2015/08/31/earthquakes-and-tsunamis/

(z) Chicxulub Asteroid Impact Created a Giant Tsunami Nearly a Mile High | Mysterious Universe

(aa) Source of mysterious global tsunami found near Antarctica (nationalgeographic.com) *

(ab) https://news.knowledia.com/GB/en/articles/how-a-giant-tsunami-devastated-britain-s-atlantis-3d966568f069ce0cc79d391c7f4a28ee51e59cfa

(ac) Scientists find evidence for biggest earthquake in human history | Live Science  *

Pre-Platonic References

PrePlatonic References to Atlantis are rare but this should not be surprising. First of all Atlantis is probably a Hellenised version of another name given to Solon by the priests of Sais. It is perfectly understandable for an individual state and its people would have a number of unrelated names, some of which can have a colloquial or even derogatory origin.

A good example of this today is the land where ’Dutch’ people come from has been known variously as ‘The Low Countries’, ’Holland’ or ’The Netherlands’. My own country has been known as ‘Ireland‘, ‘Erin‘, and ‘Hibernia’ and its people are often referred to as ’Celtic’, ’Irish’ ’Paddys’ in Britain or ’Micks’ in America.

Consequently, we should consider the name ’Atlantis’ as a possible invention of Plato’s and seek out pre-Platonic references through the descriptions used rather than by any name utilised by Plato.

Furthermore, Atlantis is probably just a ‘name of convenience’, applied to the alliance of a number of independent states, many of which were individually known previously by other names to the Greeks through trade. After all, if the Atlanteans were situated close enough to trade, they were close enough to invade.

J. Warren Wells[783.13] has pointed out that the word Atlantis was used by Hesiod in line 938 of his Theogony, centuries before both Plato and Solon, while Hellanicus of Lesbos certainly used the term before Plato. The earliest suggestion of Hellanicus offering a possible pre-Platonic mention of Atlantis was voiced by J.V. Luce in his contribution to Edwin Ramage’s Atlantis : Fact or Fiction[0522.72]

A collection of pre-Platonic references to Atlantis which do not directly use its name has been compiled by R.Cedric Leonard(a).

(a) See Archive 2055)

Also See: Hellanicus of Lesbos