This document is a Google translation of an article by Luana Monte in which she identifies Thera with the biblical Tarshish. I have removed text that was triplicated and inserted paragraphs to which Italians seem particularly averse.
Journal of Archaeology Online
Luana MONTE: Thera, the island of many names, is perhaps the legendary Tarshish?
Thursday, August 24, 2006 00:00 |
In the Aegean Sea, just north of Crete, is Thera , the southernmost of the Cyclades Islands, so named for being arranged in a circle, greek Kyklos , around Delos , birthplace of Apollo. In the configuration of Minoan Thera was shocked by the terrible volcano that dominated and “contemporary Thera is no longer an island, but a group of several islands, formed after the eruption of the mid-second millennium BC and the Next: Thera, Therasia Aspronisi and around the caldera, Palaea Kameni and Nea Kameni in the center thereof. If the original was round and dominated by the mountain, now its main feature is precisely this caldera, on the walls, which rise vertically from the sea for over 200 meters, is almost impressed, thanks to the layers that are followed, the whole geological history island ”
(1). Thera is today better known as Santorini , the name derives from the Venetians, who avendovi found a small chapel built in honor of St. Irene, would spend the whole island to Santa (Santa Irini, a name now then over time Santorini). Men, over the millennia, they called this island in different ways. In ancient times was called Strongyle , ie “round”, a name that is well suited to a volcanic island, and that was also given today’s Stromboli in the Aeolian islands, also a volcanic Mediterranean
(2). Another name given to the island in antiquity, the beauty of its scenery, was Kalliste or Calliste , ie “beautiful”, as Apollonius Rhodius and Pliny testify: ” the island called Calliste, or beautiful, sacred nurse of the sons of Euphemus “,” Tera called the Beautiful, when came out of the sea ”
(3). Herodotus tells us that, subsequently, it was named of Thera Thera or a Spartan hero, a descendant of Cadmus, who was colonized with the companions: ” During those days, Tera, son of Autesione … started from Sparta to found a colony. This Tera, race Cadmea … stated that he would remain in Sparta, but it would put to sea to reach the people of his race … In fact, the island now known as Tera had landed the son of Agenor Cadmus, in search of Europa, we had landed and … I had left some Phoenicians, including Membliareo that belonged to his family. They inhabited the island called Calliste for eight generations before the arrival of Tera from Sparta … Tera went with three pentecontere to reach the descendants of Membliareo … The island of Calliste was then called Thera after its colonizer ”
(4). This narrate the sources, but the tablets found at Knossos, on which are given to religious texts in Linear B writing Mycenaeans
(5) They deny this version: In fact, some of them (Fp1, 6, 5.1, 6.2, 13.2, 14.2, 48.2) dating back to XV-XIV sec.aC about, among the names of deities addressed offerings, we read the name q-ra-si-ja (in Fp.16.2 is qe-ra-si-jo ). In the tablet Fp1, for example, have noted the offers of a month, which consisted of various amounts oil to be assigned to the sanctuaries of Zeus Ditteo of Amnisos, the Daidaleion, to all the gods, to Qe-ra-si-ja
(6). Some people associate the name, qe-ra-si-ja to Tiresias , the famous seer, who to a god of the hunt
(7). Indeed, many think that Qe-ra-si-ja is a deity purely Cretan, Mycenaean, and then passed into the pantheon that his name is connected to an ethnic Thera / Therasia . “… That a local goddess of the island of Thera was also worshiped in Crete is certainly possible given that the Minoans were in close contact with the island, as is proved by the excavations at Akrotiri … Repeated eruptions have made ??them sensitive to the constant looming threat the Volcano ”
(8). A cultic use of pumice from Thera , placed in conical cups, to be offered to the deity (eg documented archaeologically. to Zakro to Nirou Chani), persisted over time, after the great catastrophe which befell the ‘Minoan empire around 1500 BC, and that there were traces even after two hundred years. And ‘reasonable suporre that “the deity worshiped by offering heaps of pumice originally from Thera was nothing but the same q-ra-si-ja . In Crete the cult begins … at the end of the sixteenth century … ”
(9). In short qe-ra-si-ja would be a source word pregreca “associated with the name Thera / Therasia and the ethnic Therasios . It is argued that ‘qe-ra-si-ja’ was a local goddess who was worshiped at Thera and Crete that was worshiped by offering heaps of pumice. His real name was apparently unknown to the Minoans, who called it simply ” the Thera “from the name of his island”
(10) The Minoan Crete, due to its geographical position it was in an ideal condition for maritime and in fact was the center of a dense network of routes, who put it in communication with the various countries of the Mediterranean: departing from Amnisos , could be reached through the Cyclades to the Greek mainland, from Zakro or Palekastro, in the east, it sailed for the Levant, Rhodes, Cyprus and Egypt, from Kommos on the south coast, you could fly to Libya and Egypt. Next in Crete, the island of Thera , was the crossroads of international trade, as evidenced by the materials found there, imported from Egypt, Greece and the Orient: “The existence of a large natural bay, which is currently covered by a mantle of scoria, made ??of Akrotiri a great stopover point on the routes between Crete and other islands, mainland Greece and Asia Minor. Experience the seafaring island of the Cyclades … offered the opportunity to Minoan Crete to establish international business relations, based on the exchange of surplus agricultural products with esotici.Gli Cycladic island thus became the most experienced sailors prehistoric Aegean, offering their services in exchange for material goods. The city of Akrotiri with its discoveries and perhaps the best proof of these trading activities. The exceptional wealth, reflected in the elegant residences, in the murals and rinvenimenti can be explained satisfactorily only by recognizing at Akrotiri on the role of the center’s primary international maritime trade: more than half of the lead weights and about half of the oldest anfore bracket (the most common container for transporting wine and oil) have so far found throughout the Aegean area, come from Akrotiri and indicate in whose hands they were, at that time, trade and shipping. Finds from Crete and mainland Greece, Egypt and Syro-Palestinian coast confirm the international character of these commercial activities ”
(11). Around the middle of the second millennium BC, the Minoan sailors, merchants of Crete, Thera, of the islands, then, perhaps, not yet called the Cyclades, but were described as Therasie , named after the most illustrious of them, sailed the length and breadth of the central-eastern Mediterranean on their agile and fast boats, touching the ports of Greek coasts, Syro-Palestinian, Egyptian, exchanging different goods: precious metals, ivory, craft products, oil, wine, fruits of the earth, spice, spices, wool, pottery, jewelry. The appearance of Minoan wall paintings in style , both for the technique that iconography, at Avaris , in Egypt, to Alalakh, in Anatolia, in Qatna , in Syria, Kabri, in Israel, shows the arrival, in those places, not only of artists from the Minoan world, but also of officials and wealthy merchants are able to accept and appreciate those decorations. Frescoes of Akrotiri show us “tall, elegant ships but also reliable and fast, able to challenge the open sea”
(12), perhaps in these other places were depicted boats and boats that celebrated the power and wealth which was based on the Minoan trading empire and that, in the heart and stories of those who had traveled, is transfigured, becoming a legendary and fabulous connotation. Maybe that the most agile and fast boat that Minoan Crete, were associated with Thera and the neighboring islands and that, even after the eruption of the volcano of Thera , and the advent of the Mycenaeans, things have not changed: in this case it would have been called the ship of Thera, Therasia, boat Therasios . In Semitic languages ??the vowels are not written, therefore, probably along the Syrian coast-Palestinian sources in place of Therasios , they noted Trss , you could read Tarshish … Tarshish is a name repeated several times in the Bible, and from time to time, identifies a person (son of Javan; descendant of Benjamin, counselor of the king of Persia) a location (the fleet .., the king’s ships went to ..; the king of ..), a type (Jehoshaphat built ships of Tarshish to go for gold ..)
(13). The first mention occurs in respect of the sons of Javan, son of Jafeth, third son of Noah: “The sons of Javan: Elisa Tarshish, Kittim, and those of Cyprus Rhodes “( Genesis, 10, 4); “Sons of Greece: Elisa, Tarshish, Kittim, and those of Cyprus Rhodes” ( Chronicle , 1, 1, 7). In relation to the type, Then, the ships of Tarshish are certainly suitable for large ships sailing the high seas: “Because the king had at sea a navy of Tarshish, beyond the fleet of Hiram: every three years came the navy of Tarshish brought loads of gold and d ‘ silver, ivory, and apes “(1 Kings, 10, 22);” Then Jehoshaphat king of Judah joined with Ahaziah king of Israel …. to build ships capable of reaching Tarsis .. “( Chronicles 2, 20, 35-36); “.. there will be a day of the Lord of hosts against all the ships of Tarshish, and against all luxury boats” ( Isaiah , 2, 12-16); “ships in the front row of Tarshish, bringing your sons from afar, with silver and gold “( Isaiah, 60, 9). The prophets Isaiah (eighth century. BC.), Jeremiah and Ezekiel (both of the VII-VI century . BC), frequently appoint Tarshish: “Let the lament, ships of Tarshish, for your refuge has been destroyed! While returning from the land of Kittim, it was given them news … Switch to Tarshish, make lamentation, inhabitants of the coast … Nurture your land like the Nile, O daughter of Tarshish, the port does not exist anymore …. “( Isaiah , 23, 1-10). “Wrought silver and laminate brought from Tarshish, and gold of Ophir, work as an artist and hand jewelery, purple and scarlet is their role: all the work of talented artists ..”. ( Jeremiah , 10, 9). “Tarshish traded with you, for your riches of every kind, exchanging your goods with silver, iron, tin and lead .. The ships of Tarshish traveled, bringing your merchandise “( Ezekiel , 27.12 to 25). From biblical quotations given, it is evident that Tarshish must also be a location relatively distant from Israel, and Jonah “went on his way to escape to Tarshish, away from the Lord “( Jonah , 1.3). The affirmation of Psalm 48, “there trembling seized them, as labor pains of giving birth, like the east wind that pierces the ships of Tarshish” (7-8) , has me thinking that, since vessels propelled by an east wind, you dirigessero west, and then you find that Tarshish in the far West. And in the West, unknown place, so beautiful, prosperous and happy, where the Greeks projected their hopes and dreams
(14), Greek sources put Tartessos, mysterious locality mentioned by various authors, assimilated to Tarshish . Stesichorus (600 BC) speaks in Gerioneide , of which there are few snippets: “Almost opposite the famous Erythia, with the myriad sources, from the roots of silver, the river Tartessos ( fragment 6 – a ). Herodotus (fifth century BC) says that when they reached Focei Tartessos, “made friends with the king of Tartessii, whose name was Argantonio; Tartessos he ruled for eighty years and lived one hundred and twenty … “(I, 163, 2). Even Coleo of Samos, according to Herodotus, came to Tartessos (IV, 152, 2). Apollodorus (second century BC) Tartessos appointment in relation to the story of Heracles and Geryon (2.5, 10). Pausanias (second century .. C.), in his Description of Greece (6,19,3) reports that “tell the Tartessos is a river in the land of the Iberians, who throws himself into the sea with two branches, and that between these two mouths lies a city with the same name … ”
(15). Many authors and scholars, ancient and modern, have sought to understand how you should place known or could identify the Biblical Tarshish, the Tartessos of the Greeks. There has been much speculation: Tarso , in Cilicia (Josephus), Carthage , Rhodes or Cyprus ; Tarrha , ancient city on the island of Crete; Tharros in Sardinia; Tartessos in Spain, a settlement related to the activity of mining and processing of metals (Tarshish is etymologically approached furnace, refinery ). We have not much news around the first millennium before Christ, and the port city of Tarsus in Cilicia, Rhodes and Cyprus are clearly named in the Bible , from the archaeological data available to us , does not seem to Carthage, or Tarrha or Tharros or Tartessos existed in the tenth century BC (indeed the Iberian Tartessos has not yet been identified with certainty with a real site), or in Greek or Phoenician ships that date must be pushed with regularity to the Iberian coast (the first settlement “Western” in that land are dated around the eighth century BC). In summary, Tarshish : there is far from the Lord , far from the coast of Palestine, located in the West, as the east wind will pierces the ship; is between the peoples Greeks, being mentioned in Genesis and Chronicles along with Rhodes and Cyprus, among the sons of Javan, Ionia, Greece. Its ships are part of the fleet of King Solomon (tenth century BC); fly like clouds, like doves , that are nimble and maneuverable, and suitable for navigation on the high seas, carrying gold and silver, ivory, apes, baboons, and exchange the goods of Tyre with silver, iron, tin and lead. A cuneiform inscription in the era of the Assyrian king Assurheddon (681-668 BC) appoint a Tarsisi , together with Cyprus and Javan: “All the kingdoms (islands) of the medium sea, the land of Tarshish Iadanan and Iaman up to have bowed to my feet. ” The kingdoms of the middle of the sea very much reminiscent of Psalm 72, 10: The kings of Tarshish and the islands will , together with the fact that this quote the personification of the locality, Tarshish, is called the son of Ionia or Greece, suggesting that it may be of Thera and the Cyclades, located on the west coast of Palestine, west of Cyprus, Rhodes, far away, but not so much (as it would be Spain), it can not be considered tax Assyria. In fact, Thera satisfies all the conditions attached to Tarshish : it is to the west, but close enough to Assyria, is linked to other islands, is quoted from the Bible that Assyrian inscription, has large ships able to sail the seas, trading with the Syro-Palestinian coast
(16). Some verses from ‘ Ippolito of Euripides, “Ship cretica, white wings, and for the resonant ocean waves traghettasti my sovereign from affluent homes ..” which describes a vessel sailing in the Aegean, with its white sails as wings white, reminiscent in a unique way the quote from Isaiah: “Who are these that fly along like clouds, like doves to their nests? There are ships that gather for me, the ships of Tarshish in the front row … “( Isaiah 60, 8-9). The easterly winds that tear the ships of Tarshish , mentioned in Psalm 48, 7-8 , could be the Etesian winds that blow in the Aegean in the summer and, especially offshore, can blow so hard as to cause storms. Cyclades, then, are rich in metals: “The gold mines of Sifnos and Taso, those of silver Kimolos, Sifnos by, Siro and Laurion, at the eastern tip of Attica, the people attracted to the Aegean where the search for raw materials has always represented a problem of vital importance. Besides gold and silver, the inhabitants of the Cyclades have used arsenic to copper Kitno of Sifnos or, again, of Laurion .. ”
(17). The name passed from Greek sources, Tartessos recalls of placenames pregreci the Aegean, as Knossos, Tilisso, Lissos … Tarshish, with the expansion of geographical knowledge and the progress of colonization suffered the fate of many other names: “In fact, the Greeks ribattezzavano with the same names, cities and regions posed as the most distant from the mother country, so often, when the source is mentioned only the name of a locality, without further information of historical or geographical reasons, not easy to identify exactly which site it is … ”
(18). The same happened with the name of Hesperia, the land of the sunset , “the first name that is assigned to the eastern coast of Italy, the most easily accessible, the nearest, and later when the geographical horizons were extended further, also came to designate Iberia “(ibid. p. 56). Thus, in all likelihood, the biblical Tarshish , from the Aegean was first moved to Sardinia, in the River Tirso, then in Iberia, in the area of the Guadalquivir. As long as Thera, as recounted the classical sources, it was derived from the homonymous Spartan colonist, son of Autesione and a descendant of Cadmus, was difficult to associate the Aegean island of Solomon and Hiram, King of Tyre, who lived in the tenth century BC: too little would be time, because it turning in a highly civilized and has a fleet and trade relations with all countries in the East. The discovery, decryption and interpretation of the Linear B tablets of Knossos, bringing the q- ra-si-ja , which predates the name Thera / Therasia even the Minoan, we can now put the Aegean island in connection with the legendary Tarshish / Tartessos and formulate a new exciting hypotheses. things have not changed, in which case it would have been called Ship of Thera, Therasia, boat Therasios . In Semitic languages ??the vowels are not written, therefore, probably along the Syrian coast-Palestinian sources in place of Therasios , they noted Trss , you could read Tarshish … Tarshish is a name repeated several times in the Bible, and from time to time, identifies a person (son of Javan; descendant of Benjamin, counselor of the king of Persia) a location (the fleet .., the king’s ships went to ..; the king of ..), a type (Jehoshaphat built ships of Tarshish to go for gold ..)
(1) Monte L.. Atlantis The Mysterious Island , Genoa, 2004, p. 100.
(2) “In this island [Lipari] and Sicily it is another, called the first Terasia now Iera, why sacred to Vulcan in it is a hill that spews flames at night. The third island, 6 miles east of Stromboli Lipari [Strongyle], site of the palace of Aeolus … “Pliny, Natural History , III, 93-94.
(3) Apollonius Rhodius, The Argonautica , IV, vv. 1757-1758; Pliny, Op cit., IV, 70.
(4) Herodotus, Histories , IV 147-148. And Apollonius: “Tera, the good son of Autesione, took them to the island Calliste which he gave his name Thera. But that came well after the time Euphemus “, Ibid, IV, vv. 1760-1764. In Sparta “There is another sanctuary of Athena … was dedicated, he says, from Thera, son of Autesione … when he led her to found a colony on the island now called by his name, Thera “Pausanias, Guide of Greece 3.15.6
(5) In the mid-second millennium BC, the Minoan empire was at its peak and at its maximum extension, but the forces of nature unleashed the terrible eruption of the volcano Thera, upset this view: the Mycenaean warriors taking advantage of the favorable moment, when a disaster had weakened the power of Minoan Crete, and landed in the other Minoan bases and seized it, imposing their rule.
(6) Corpus of Mycenaean Inscriptions from Knossos I (1-1063), Rome 1986. IG LXXXVIII / 1
(7) “… Querasiya (” the Slayer “? word group ther, the game?) .. “. Faure P., Ulysses El Greco , Rome, 1985, p. 113.
(8) S. Hiller – Minoan Qe-Ra-Si-Ja. The Religious Impact of the Thera Volcano on Minoan Crete, p. 675 et seq., in: ” Thera and the Aegean World I “, London, 1978.
(10) C. Lambrou-Phillipson – Thera in the Mythology of the Classical Tradition: An Archaeological Approach, p. 170, in: ” Thera and the Aegean World III “, London, 1989.
(11) C. Doumas, Thera, in: EAA, Supplement II, 1971-1994 , p.751.
(12) Monte L., op., p. 130.
(13) The Bible , Casale Monferrato, 1995: ( Genesis , 1.10, 4, and Chronicles , 1.1, 7; Chronicles , 1, 7, 10, Esther , 1, 14), (1 King , 10, 22; Chronicles , 2.9, 21; Psalms , 72.10), (1 Kings, 22, 49).
(14) In the collective imagination of the ancient Tarshish / Tartessos was associated with Atlantis, the mysterious and fascinating land suddenly disappeared under the waves of the sea, with whom he shared the location to the west.
(15) Among the Latin authors, Cicero probably refers to Herodotus when senectute in De, 69, speaks of ‘King of the ages of Tartessii Argantonio, while Gaius Julius Solinus (third century AD), in his “Collection of memorable things,” IV, 1, tells how Sardo and Norace giungessero in Sardinia “the one from Africa, the’ else to Tartessos of Spain. ”
(16) “.. during the 34. year of the reign of Thutmose III Cretan ships carrying timber from Palestine to Egypt ..” (Traffics Mycenaeans in the Mediterranean, Proceedings of Palermo, Taranto, 1986, p.250.
(17) L. Godart – The Cycladic civilization, in: Archaeological No. 2, February 1994, Milan, pp. 60-61. Wealth of metals can associate Thera and the Cyclades with an etymology type ” furnace or refinery “while being islands to another etymology asociata to Tarshish, and akin to the sea or coast …
(18) Monte L., op., p. 174.
Author: Monte, Luana
History: Arch Greek
Italian Atlantology can be traced back to the 16th century when Fracastoro, Garimberto and Ramusio, identified the Americas as Atlantis. In fact, we should look to the 15th century when Ficino was the first to translate Plato’s entire works into Latin giving medieval Europe its first access to the complete Atlantis texts. Not much happened until 1788 when Carli attributed the destruction of Atlantis to a close encounter with a comet. In 1840, Angelo Mazzoldi proposed Italy as the location of Atlantis and as the hyper-diffusionist mother culture of the great civilisations of the Eastern Mediterranean region. He was followed by others such as Giuseppe Brex(b).
Not much developed in pre-war Italy apart from Russo’s journal which ran from 1930 until 1932. After the war, other Atlantis journals were established by Gianni Belli(d) in 1956 and Bettini in 1963 and reportedly one in Trieste by Antonio Romain & Serge Robbia(c).
After that, there was a wide range of theories advanced by Italian researchers. Spedicato located Atlantis in Hispaniola, Stecchini opted for São Tomé, Barbiero, who although Croatian by birth was an admiral in the Italian Navy nominated the Antarctic as the home of Atlantis before the Flem-Aths published their Antarctic ideas. Bulloni chose the Arctic, Pincherle identified the Mandaeans as the last of the Atlanteans and Monte links Thera with Tarshish.
In recent years the most widely reported Atlantis theory to emanate from Italy came from Sergio Frau who advocates Sardinia as the original Atlantis. However, this idea is not new having been promoted by Poddighe in 1982. Frau has subsequently been supported by other commentators such as Tozzi and Novo. I cannot help feeling that there might be a trace of nationalism underlying this theory, a suspicion that I have held regarding writers of other nationalities.
The latter end of the 20th century saw the development of the Internet which enabled the instant promotion of Atlantis theories, both silly and serious, to a global audience. Italy was no exception, where websites, such as Edicolaweb that are sympathetic to the exploration of historical mysteries emerged(a).
More recently, Marin, Minella & Schievenin had The Three Ages of Atlantis published in 2014. This is an English translation of their original 2010 work. In it, they suggest that Atlantis had originally existed in Antarctica and after its destruction survivors established two other Atlantises in South America and the Mediterranean. Perhaps more credible is the theory of Capuchin friar, Antonio Moro who, in 2013, suggested that Atlantis had included Iberia, the south coast of France and the west coast of Italy!
> I must include here a mention of the website of Pierluigi Montalbano where he and various guest authors have written many interesting articles, particularly about Sardinia and its Nuraghic past as well as Atlantis. The site is well worth a browse and as it has Google Translate built-in it is accessible to all(e).<
(c) Atlantis, Vol 16, No.2, April 1963.
Thera is an ancient name for today’s Aegean archipelago of Santorini, which are the remains of a volcanic island.
Only two of the islands are inhabited, the main island, Santorini and Therasia, which had been joined before the 16th century BC eruption. Recent excavations have revealed a pre-eruption settlement on Therasia(x).
Although it exhibited low-level activity in 1939-41 and 1950-51, it was in 1926 when it last erupted violently, destroying many hundreds of buildings in less than a minute. Eruptions of similarity intensity occurred in 1650, 1707 and 1866. Although Thera is thought to have violently erupted around 54,000 & 18,500 BC, it was not until the middle of the sixteenth century BC that it provided what was probably the most powerful and destructive volcanic explosion in the Mediterranean during the Bronze Age. Although the exact date of this event is still the subject of some controversy, the most recent evidence(a) indicates a date around 1613 BC ±13years, while archaeologists are more supportive of a date circa 1500 BC.
Professor Floyd McCoy of the University of Hawaii has written and broadcast extensively on the matter of the Late Bronze Age eruption of Thera, including a paper delivered to the 2005 Atlantis Conference. In it, he noted that “New finds of tephra – ash and pumice – both on land and on the seafloor indicate a far larger eruption than previously assumed, suggesting a volume of at least 100 km3 of tephra (bulk volume) ejected, perhaps more. Such a volume ranks the eruption on the Volcanic Explosivity Index (VEI) at 7.0, equivalent or larger than the 1815 eruption of Tambora (‘the year without a summer’), ten times larger than the eruption of Krakatau in 1883, and approximately 100 times that of Mt. St. Helens in 1980.”[629.311]
The 1500 BC date was supported by David A. Warburton who edited the Acts of the Minoan Eruption Chronology Workshop in 2007(af). The workshop provided a good overview of the Theran eruption dating debates, Warburton’s comments are to be found in the Epilogue.
While the eruption of the 2nd millennium BC undoubtedly caused extensive damage and disruption in the Eastern Mediterranean, its effect may have been felt much further afield. “Some scientists correlate a volcanic winter from the Minoan eruption with Chinese records documenting the collapse of the Xia dynasty in China. According to the Bamboo Annals, the collapse of the dynasty and the rise of the Shang dynasty (independently approximated to 1618 BC) was accompanied by ‘yellow fog, a dim sun, then three suns, frost in July, famine, and the withering of all five cereals’.”(at)
There was a series of eruptions that ended with a final enormous explosion that has been linked to the ending of the Minoan civilisation on Crete, the Plagues of Egypt and agricultural failures throughout the Eastern Mediterranean. For a geologist’s view of the island’s dramatic history, Walter Friedrich’s book is hard to beat. His book supports a 1640 BC date for the eruption although he has subsequently revised this to 1613 BC. Sturt W. Manning supported a 1628 BC date and Mike Baillie offered dendrochronological evidence for the same eruption date at the 2011 Quantavolution conference in Athens(j). This converges with McCoy’s date above. However, the dating of the eruption continues to be controversial as this December 2012 link(i)demonstrates. At the heart of the problem is that acceptance of an early 17th century BC date for the event conflicts with established Egyptian chronology. While the exact year of the eruption continues to be debated, there is now scientific evidence that it occurred in early summer(s).
A 2014 paper published in Antiquity by Paolo Cherubini would appear to confirm the 16th century BC as the date of the catastrophic eruption ruling out an earlier date as untenable(o). In the same year, the University of Birmingham published a report(u) that supported the 1625 BC date. The earlier Antiquity paper prompted a response by a group, led by Sturt Manning later in 2014(y).
In August 2018, an interdisciplinary group led by dendrochronologist Charlotte L. Pearson published a paper(ab)(ad), which concluded that the eruption of Thera took place in the 16th century BC. This conclusion was the result of using a combination of ‘dendro’ along with high-resolution radiocarbon dating methods. In April 2020, a new report in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences explained how a new study of “the wood of an ancient grove of juniper trees, which suggested that the volcano blew its top around the year 1560 B.C.”(ae)
October 2018 saw further evidence for an early 16th century BC date for the eruption emerge after the radiocarbon dating of some olive wood found on Therasia, one of the Santorini island groups (z). The same month saw the publication of a paper on the ResearchGate(aa) website dating the event to 1727-1600 BC!
Pearson published another paper in 2023(ar) in which she highlighted the difficulties attached to using dendrochronology and olive wood, with particular reference to the dating of the olive shrub found on Therasia. “However, this sample has proved highly controversial because olive trees do not necessarily produce annual growth rings in the way that pine or oak trees might. While some studies have shown that annual growth rings in olives are possible, others have shown that the nature of olive growth may mean that a stem or branch with bark may have actually ceased to accumulate growth bands several decades before the death of the tree.”
William Austin, an American researcher, offers, with great insistence, the precise date of 1612 BC for the eruption of Thera, in a lengthy 2016 paper (updated 2022) paper that begins with an open letter to Manfred Bietak and Sturt Manning. “The conclusion is that the radiocarbon date c.1613 BC was spot on. The Minoan eruption was in the spring of 1612 BC, via astronomy, via ice cores, via tree rings, via a stalagmite, via Babylonian chronology; all arrows point to the same exact year.” This is a carefully thought-out argument and useful addition to the literature on the subject(ap).
Nevertheless, in 2022, another report(aq) from Pearson, of the University of Arizona and her team claim that they have narrowed the eruption date to three possible dates – 1611 BC, 1562-1555 BC and 1538 BC!
After the eruption, we learn from Herodotus that Thera was resettled in the thirteenth century BC by the Phoenicians and around a century later by the Dorians(am).
The doctoral thesis of Dr David Sewell explores the cultural effects of the Theran eruption and can be read online(h).
Many centuries later the volcanic ash deposited by the Theran eruption was used in huge quantities to manufacture cement for the construction of the Suez Canal. It was during the mining of this material that workmen encountered large stone blocks under the layers of pumice, indicating buildings of great age.
It is claimed by many that a garbled Egyptian description of this devastating event was the basis for the story of the destruction of Atlantis. Louis Figuier was the first, in 1872, to publicly link the demise of Atlantis with the explosion on Thera. Opponents of this theory counter it by pointing out that Plato describes the inundation of an island much larger than Santorini or Crete, located in the Atlantic following an earthquake, not a volcanic eruption many thousands of years earlier. Various attempts have been made to reconcile this Minoan Hypothesis and its obvious inconsistencies with Plato’s text. They are discussed separately under
It was announced at the end of February 2010 that the BBC was about to air a dramatisation of the Theran disaster as well as a documentary on the eruption and its influence on the development of Plato’s story of Atlantis. June 2010 saw the historian, Bettany Hughes, front a disappointing BBC Timewatch Special, which also promoted the idea of the eruption on Thera as the inspiration for Plato’s story of Atlantis. The material introduced as evidence was highly selective and, for me, unconvincing. A few parallels between Thera and Plato’s description were trotted out, while the more numerous differences were ignored!
Alain Moreau has written a highly critical review(v) of the idea that the island of Thera/Santorini had been home to Atlantis.
Dr Dora Constantinidis who studied under Prof. Christos Doumas delivered a lecture in Melbourne on May 29th 2014 with the inviting title of Unravelling the Atlantis Myth at Akrotiri. However, the primary purpose of the talk was not to advance our knowledge of Atlantis but to encourage the sale of Bronze Age-inspired merchandise(p). Nevertheless, in late 2020, one commentator did speculate that Akrotiri may originally have been Atlantis!(aj)
It is noteworthy that “Unlike Pompeii, no human remains have been found at Akrotiri, and only one gold object was found on the site, suggesting that the Minoans performed an orderly evacuation before the eruption, and they had time to take their valuables before they fled.”(ak)
Another twist on the Thera explosion is offered by Andis Kaulins who suggests that there is a connection between that event and the Biblical story of Sodom and Gomorrah(g), while Riaan Booysen has linked two separate Theran eruptions with two Exodus events in the Bible(k), offering as evidence, the existence of two distinct Theran ash fallout areas, caused by different wind directions at the time of the events.
Vulcanologist Haraldur Sigurdsson of the University of Rhode Island following a 2006 study of Santorini estimated that the eruption of Thera was 120 times more powerful than the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. Sigurdsson expressed his personal view that “the mythology born out of this largest eruption must be responsible for the Atlantis legend.”(au)
Initially, it was thought that the collapse of the Theran caldera generated very destructive tsunamis, but new studies have concluded(w) that instead of that it was the violent entry of pyroclastic flows into the sea that triggered the tsunamis. Dale Dominey-Howes has published a paper suggesting that some claims relating to tsunamis generated by the Theran eruption(s) are exaggerations. However, a 2022 report indicates that a series of four tsunamis resulting from the eruption hit the Turkish coast at Çesme-Baglararasi, with one known fatality.(ao)
>In July 2023, National Geographic published an article on its website offering further information regarding the tsunamis generated by the eruptions of Thera and the evidence for it being investigated at a site in the resort town of Çesme on the coast of Turkey 100 miles north-northeast of Santorini. Archaeologist Vas?f ?aho?lu of Turkey’s Ankara University has worked there since 2009(aw).<
A further possible consequence of the Theran eruption(s) was proposed after the discovery of the Nebra Sky Disk(n), which was buried about 3,600 years ago. This is suggested to have resulted from the volcanic ash generated by the eruption blotting out the sun for up to 25 years. It is thought that the Disk had been used to synchronise the lunar and solar calendars(l) and when this was no longer possible the Disk was buried as some form of offering. A contrary view is offered elsewhere on the Internet(m), as well as further controversy(t) led by Peter Schauer from the University of Regensburg.
Andis Kaulins has also written an extensive paper on the Nebra Sky Disk. A 2014 update(r) on the Disk was posted by Claudia Bracholdt.
2020 brought further debate with the claim, in a lengthy paper, that the date of the Disk should be brought forward to the 1st millennium BC(ag). This was followed by a shorter but vehement rebuttal(ah)(al).
In December 2020, the Discovery Channel aired a new documentary, which attempted to revive the Minoan Hypothesis, placing Atlantis on today’s Santorini. This recycled claim adds little that is new and has been taken up by several media outlets(ai), repeating an old error that claims that Plato said that Atlantis was destroyed by a volcanic eruption, when in fact he clearly states that it was the result of an earthquake.
Paul Dunbavin in Prehistory Papers  discusses the Minoan Hypothesis and the extent to which it is inconsistent with the details provided by Plato. Despite the support from some academics for the idea that the story of Atlantis is linked to the Theran eruption, Dunbavin reiterates that “whenever you find a conflict between the opinion of a modern expert and that given in an ancient text then you should always prefer the source closest to the events.” [p160] The relevant chapter 15 is available as a separate paper online(av).
Before he retired, R. Cedric Leonard published a paper listing 18 reasons why he does not support the Minoan Hypothesis(as).
An extensive bibliography of books and articles on the subject of Thera can be found on the Internet(b).
(h) See: Archive 2199
(i) See: Archive 2200
(ac) Archive 3919
(af) (99+) (PDF) Manning, S.W. 2009. Beyond the Santorini eruption: some notes on dating the Late Minoan IB period on Crete, and implications for Cretan-Egyptian relations in the 15th century BC (and especially LMII). In D.A. Warburton (ed.), Time’s Up! Dating the Minoan eruption of Santorini. Acts of the Minoan Eruption Chronology Workshop, Sandbjerg November 2007 initiated by Jan Heinemeier & Walter L. Friedrich: 207-226. Monographs of the Danish Institute at Athens Volume 10. Athens: The Danish Institute at Athens. | Sturt Manning – Academia.edu
(ag) https://www.dguf.de/fileadmin/AI/ArchInf-EV_Gebhard_Krause_e.pdf?fbclid=IwAR1Ej3wkUGtIAdiPY59Yh6QKCrRyCueND7LK-5IvFSZTPdbHPShD4GlcZIg (link broken)
Tartessos or Tartessus is generally accepted to have existed along the valley of the Guadalquivir River where the rich deposits of copper and silver led to the development of a powerful native civilisation, which traded with the Phoenicians, who had colonies along the south coast of Spain(k).
A continuing debate is whether Tartessos was developed by a pre-Phoenician indigenous society or was a joint venture by locals along with the Phoenicians.(o) One of the few modern English-language books about Tartessos was written by Sebastian Celestino & Carolina López-Ruiz and entitled Tartessos and the Phoenicians in Iberia .
>A 2022 BBC article offers some additional up-to-date developments in the studies of Tartessos(v).<
It is assumed by most commentators that Tartessos was identical to the wealthy city of Tarshish that is mentioned in the Bible. There have been persistent attempts over the past century to link Tartessos with Atlantis. The last king of Tartessia, in what is now Southern Spain, is noted by Herodotus to have been Arganthonios, who is claimed to have ruled from 630 BC until 550 BC. Similarly, Ephorus a 4th century BC historian describes Tartessos as ‘a very prosperous market.’ However, if these dates are only approximately true, then Atlantis cannot be identified with Tartessos as they nearly coincide with the lifetime of Solon, who received the story of Atlantis as being very ancient.
However, the suggested linkage of Tartessos with Atlantis is disputed by some Spanish researchers, such as Mario Mas Fenollar  and Ester Rodríguez González(n). Mas Fennolar has claimed that at least a thousand years separated the two. Arysio dos Santos frequently claimed that Atlantis was Tartessos throughout his Atlantis and the Pillars of Hercules .
The existence of a ‘Tartessian’ empire is receiving gradual acceptance. Strabo writes of their system of canals running from the Guadalquivir River and a culture that had written records dating back 6,000 years. Their alphabet was slightly different to the ‘Iberian’. The Carthaginians were said to have been captured by Tartessos after the reign of Arganthonios and after that, contact with Tartessos seems to have ended abruptly!
The exact location of this city is not known apart from being near the mouth of the Guadalquivir River in Andalusia. The Guadalquivir was known as Baetis by the Romans and Tartessos to the Greeks. The present-day Gulf of Cadiz was known as Tartessius Sinus (Gulf of Tartessus) in Roman times. Cadiz is accepted to be a corruption of Gades that in turn is believed to have been named after Gaderius. This idea was proposed as early as 1634 by Rodrigo Caro, the Spanish historian and poet, in his Antigüedades y principado de la Ilustrísima ciudad de Sevilla, now available as a free ebook(i).
In 1849, the German researcher Gustav Moritz Redslob (1804-1882) carried out a study of everything available relating to Tartessos and concluded that the lost city had been the town of Tortosa on the River Ebro situated near Tarragona in Catalonia. The idea received little support.
A few years ago, Richard Cassaro endeavoured to link the megalithic walls of old Tarragona with the mythical one-eyed Cyclops and for good measure suggest a link with Atlantis(l). Concerning the giants, the images of doorways posted by Cassaro are too low to comfortably accommodate giants! Cassaro has previously made the same claim about megalithic structures in Italy(m)
The German archaeologist Adolf Schulten spent many years searching unsuccessfully for Tartessos, in the region of the Guadalquivir. He believed that Tartessos had been founded by Lydians in 1150 BC, which became the centre of an ancient culture that was Atlantis or at least one of its colonies. Schulten also noted that Tartessos disappeared from historical records around 500 BC, which is after Solon’s visit to Egypt and so could not have been Atlantis.
Otto Jessen, a German geographer, also believed that there had been a connection between Atlantis and Tartessos. Jean Gattefosse was convinced that the Pillars of Heracles were at Tartessos, which he identifies as modern Seville. However, Mrs E. M. Whishaw, who studied in the area for 25 years at the beginning of the 20th century, believed that Tartessos was just a colony of Atlantis. The discovery of a ‘sun temple’ 8 meters under the streets of Seville led Mrs Whishaw to surmise that Tartessos may be buried under that city. Edwin Björkman wrote a short book, The Search for Atlantis in which he identified Atlantis with Tartessos and also Homer’s Scheria.
Steven A. Arts, the author of Mystery Airships in the Sky, also penned an article for Atlantis Rising in which he suggests that the Tarshish of the Old Testament is a reference to Tartessos and by extension to Atlantis(r)!
More recently Karl Jürgen Hepke has written at length, on his website(a), about Tartessos. Dr Rainer W. Kühne, following the work of another German, Werner Wickboldt, had an article published in Antiquity that highlighted satellite images of the Guadalquivir valley that he has identified as a possible location for Atlantis. Kühne published an article(b) outlining his reasons for identifying Tartessos as the model for Plato’s Atlantis.
Although there is a consensus that Tartessos was located in Iberia, there have been some refinements of the idea. One of these is the opinion of Peter Daughtrey, expressed in his book, Atlantis and the Silver City in which he proposes that Tartessos was a state which extended from Gibraltar around the coast to include what is today Cadiz and on into Portugal’s Algarve having Silves as its ancient capital.
It was reported(c) in January 2010 that researchers were investigating the site in the Doñana National Park, at the mouth of the Guadalquivir, identified by Dr Rainer Kühne as Atlantis in a 2011 paper(s). In the same year, Professor Richard Freund of the University of Hartford garnered a lot of publicity when he visited the site and expressed the view that it was the location of Tartessos which he equates with Atlantis. The Jerusalem Post in seeking to give more balance to the discussion quoted archaeology professor Aren Maeir who commented that “Richard Freund is known as someone who makes ‘sensational’ finds. I would say that I am exceptionally skeptical about the thing, but I wouldn’t discount it 100% until I see the details, which haven’t been published as far as I know.”(u)
A minority view is that Tarshish is related to Tarxien (Tarshin) in Malta, which, however, is located some miles inland with no connection to the sea. Another unusual theory is offered by Luana Monte, who has opted for Thera as Tartessos. She bases this view on a rather convoluted etymology(e) which morphed its original name of Therasia into Therasios, which in Semitic languages having no vowels would read as ‘t.r.s.s’ and can be equated with Tarshish in the Bible, which in turn is generally accepted to refer to Tartessos.
>Giorgio Valdés favours a Sardinian location for Tartessos(f), an idea endorsed later by Giuseppe Mura in his 2018 book, published in Italian, Tartesso in Sardegna , the full title of which translates as Tartessos in Sardinia: Reasons, circumstances and methods used by ancient historians and geographers to remove Tartessos (the Tarshish of the Bible) from Caralis and place it in Spanish Andalusia. Caralis is an old name for Cagliari, the Sardinian capital.<
A more radical idea was put forward in 2012 by the Spanish researcher, José Angel Hernández, who proposed(g)(h) that the Tarshish of the Bible was to be found in the coastal region of the Indus Valley, but that Tartessos was a colony of the Indus city of Lhotal and had been situated on both sides of the Strait of Gibraltar!
A relatively recent claim associating Tartessos with Atlantis came from Simcha Jacobovici in a promotional interview(p) for the 2017 National Geographic documentary, Atlantis Rising. In it, Jacobovici was joined by James Cameron as producer, but unfortunately, the documentary did not produce anything of any real substance despite a lot of pre-broadcast hype.
There is an extensive website(d) dealing with all aspects of Tartessos, including the full text of Schulten’s book on the city. Although this site is in Spanish, it is worthwhile using your Google translator to read an English version.
“Today, researchers consider Tartessos to be the Western Mediterranean’s first historical civilization. Now, at an excavation in Extremadura—a region of Spain that borders Portugal, just north of Seville—a new understanding of how that civilization may have ended is emerging from the orange and yellow soil. But the site, Casas del Turuñuelo, is also uncovering new questions.”(q) First surveyed in 2014 it was in late 2021, a report emerged of exciting excavations there that may have a bearing on the demise of Tartessos. Work is currently on hold because of a dispute with landowners, with only a quarter of the site uncovered. The project director is Sebastian Celestino Perez. The Atlas Obscura website offers further background and details of discoveries at the site(t).
(r) Atlantis Rising magazine #36 http://pdfarchive.info/index.php?pages/At
Ulf Richter (1935-2006) was a German researcher, who was a regular contributor to the Atlantis Rising forums and who presented a paper(a) to the 2005 Atlantis conference on Melos. Richter offered us a number of very interesting and cogently argued points in his essay [629.451]. He discusses the topographical details provided by Plato and concludes that the capital city of Atlantis was constructed on a river delta(b). He contended that the ‘circular’ canals were possibly an adaptation of existing natural features and provided good reasons to believe that the dimensions noted by Plato are incorrect as a consequence of confusion between the Greek stade and the Egyptian ‘khet’.
At the 2005 Atlantis Conference, Richter, when commenting on the Richat Structure, pointed out that it is too wide (35 km), too elevated (400 metres) and too far from the sea (500 km) to be seriously considered the location of Atlantis. [629.455]
Richter offered some thoughtful comments regarding his interpretation of Plato’s reference to 9,000 years, subsequently quoted on an online forum(d). [see Archive 2846]
Sadly, Ulf died of cancer in April 2006.
(a) https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download;jsessionid=89CD4BD9065C66632E2B3E0749E6D881?doi=10.1.1.621.7954&rep=rep1&type=pdf (link broken) *
The Identity of the Atlanteans has produced a range of speculative suggestions nearly as extensive as that of the proposed locations for Plato’s lost island. However, it is highly probable that we already know who the Atlanteans were, but under a different name.
The list below includes some of the more popular suggestions and as such is not necessarily exhaustive. While researchers have proposed particular locations for Atlantis, not all have identified an archaeologically identified culture to go with their chosen location. The problem is that most of the places suggested have endured successive invasions over the millennia by different peoples.
It would seem therefore that the most fruitful approach to solving the problem of identifying the Atlanteans would be to first focus on trying to determine the date of the demise of Atlantis. This should reduce the number of possible candidates, making it easier to identify the Atlanteans.
A final point to consider is that the historical Atlanteans were a military alliance, and as such may have included more than one or none of those listed here. The mythological Atlanteans, who included the five sets of male twins and their successors would be expected to share a common culture, whereas military coalitions are frequently more disparate.
Basques: William Lewy d’Abartiague, Edward Taylor Fletcher
Maltese: Anton Mifsud, Francis Xavier Aloisio, Kevin Falzon, Bibischok, Joseph Bosco, David Calvert-Orange, Giorgio Grongnet de Vasse, Albert Nikas, Joseph S. Ellul, Francis Galea, Tammam Kisrawi, Charles Savona-Ventura, Hubert Zeitlmair.
Maya: Robert B. Stacy-Judd, Charles Gates Dawes, Colin Wilson, Adrian Gilbert, L. M. Hosea, Augustus le Plongeon, Teobert Maler, Joachim Rittstieg, Lewis Spence, Edward Herbert Thompson, Jean-Frédérick de Waldeck,
Minoans: K.T. Frost, James Baikie, Walter Leaf, Edwin Balch, Donald A. Mackenzie, Ralph Magoffin, Spyridon Marinatos, Georges Poisson, Wilhelm Brandenstein, A. Galanopoulos, J. G. Bennett, Rhys Carpenter, P.B.S. Andrews, Edward Bacon, Willy Ley, J.V. Luce, James W. Mavor, Henry M. Eichner, Prince Michael of Greece, Nicholas Platon, N.W. Tschoegl, Richard Mooney, Rupert Furneaux, Martin Ebon, Francis Hitching, Charles Pellegrino, Rodney Castleden, Graham Phillips, Jacques Lebeau, Luana Monte, Fredrik Bruins, Gavin Menzies, Lee R. Kerr, Daniel P. Buckley.
Luana Monte is an Italian journalist and author of a number of books. She is a firm supporter of the Minoan Hypothesis and has promoted this view in a book published in Italian, Atlantis: L’Isola Misteriosa(b). In order to overcome one of the principal objections to the Minoan solution Monte argues forcefully that the Pillars of Heracles referred to by the Egyptian priests had been located at the mouth of the Nile at the now submerged port of Herakleion, named after Herakles(c). In a 2005 paper, she suggested that Carthage may have inspired Plato’s description of Atlantis(c). An Internet article(a) by Monte proposed that Thera had been known as Therasia, a name still applied to one of the islands created by the 2nd millennium BC eruption. She then claims that the name became corrupted to Tarsis, the equivalent of the biblical Tarshish and that subsequently the name was brought, by refugees, first to Sardinia and later to Iberia, where it was known as Tartessos. [An English translation can be read in Archive 3919.
(c) http://www.antikitera.net/articoli.asp?ID=116 (Italian)