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

Latest News

  • NEWS September 2023

    NEWS September 2023

    September 2023. Hi Atlantipedes, At present I am in Sardinia for a short visit. Later we move to Sicily and Malta. The trip is purely vacational. Unfortunately, I am writing this in a dreadful apartment, sitting on a bed, with access to just one useable socket and a small Notebook. Consequently, I possibly will not […]Read More »
  • Joining The Dots

    Joining The Dots

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

Recent Updates

Okeanos

Atlantic Sea

The Atlantic Sea is a geographical term, used by classical writers, such as  Plato and Aristotle. In the context of Atlantis studies, it is not to be confused with what we now know as the Atlantic Ocean. For the ancient Greeks ‘Okeanos’ was the name of a great river that flowed around the known world.

>The valuable Theoi.com website notes(c) In the ancient Greek cosmogony the RIVER OKEANOS (Oceanus) was a great, fresh-water stream which encircled the flat disc of the earth. It was the source of all of the earth’s fresh-water–from the rivers and springs which drew their waters from it through subterranean aquifers to the clouds which dipped below the horizon to collect their moisture from its stream.”<

Plato never referred to Atlantis as being located in the Atlantic Ocean, instead, he placed it in the Atlantic Sea. In a recent book [1895], Carlos Bisceglia made one simple but highly pertinent comment – “If Plato had thought that Atlantis was an island located in what we today call the Atlantic Ocean, he would have written that his Atlantis was ‘in the Middle of Okeanos’.”

The first English translation of the Atlantis texts by Thomas Taylor at the beginning of the 19th century correctly translated the word as ‘Sea’, however, after that, most English translations used ‘Ocean’ including the most widely available offering from Atlantis sceptic Benjamin Jowett.

This claim of mistranslation is supported by Plato who noted that “in those days the Atlantic was navigable” (Tim. 24e), which clearly implies that in Plato’s time it was not. Additionally, Aristotle seemed to echo Plato when he wrote(a)  that “outside the pillars of Heracles the sea is shallow owing to the mud, but calm, for it lies in a hollow.” This is not a description of the Atlantic that we know, which is not shallow, calm or lying in a hollow and which he also refers to as a sea, not an ocean. Both Plato and Aristotle seem to be describing a relatively small body of water. So, what sea were they referring to? The most popular suggestions so far are (1) The Western Basin of the Mediterranean, (2) The Tyrrhenian Sea or (3) The chotts of N.W. Africa.

Among others, Mário Saa a Portuguese writer identified the Western Mediterranean as Plato’s Atlantic Sea on a map in his book, Erridânia: geografia antiquíssima [1677]. A French website(b)  supporting this identification has offered the map below. I also endorse this as a possible location for Plato’s Atlantic Sea in my book Joining the Dots.

(a)  https://classics.mit.edu?Aristotle/meteorology.2.ii.html

(b)  http://histoiresecrete.leforum.eu/t716-quelques-questions-se-poser-sur-le-Tim-e-Critias.htm (registration required)

(c) OCEANUS – Earth-Encircling River of Greek Mythology (theoi.com) *

Bisceglia, Carlos Alberto

Carlos Alberto Bisceglia is the author of Atlantis 2021 – Lost Continent Discovered [1895]. He has several other books currently being translated from their original Italian.

Bisceglia’s central claim is that Atlantis was situated on an ‘island’ in northwest Africa. He claims “that the ‘geographical coordinates’ left by Plato indicate that the empire of Atlantis included the regions enclosed by Mauritania, Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia, the adjacent islands, and possibly southern Spain.” He further claims that this territory was known to the Egyptians as ‘Ma’, being an abbreviation of Meshwash!

The African Humid Period which ended between 6,000 and 5,000 years ago, saw North Africa as home to some very extensive river systems and huge lakes. In what is now Western Sahara, the Tamanrasset River flowed from the Atlas Mountains southward and then west to the Atlantic. This creates a virtual ‘island’ enclosing the Atlantean territory delineated above, leaving a relatively small ‘isthmus’ in the Atlas mountains between the Mediterranean and the source of the river.

A comparable claim was made by Michael Hübner in 2008, when he described the Souss-Massa plain of Morocco as an island, surrounded as it is by mountains and called ‘island’ by the native Amazigh people!

I did not find Bisceglia’s claim convincing. His insistence that the Atlantis war took place 9,000 years before Solon, millennia before Athens even existed and certainly well past the African Humid Period is, for me, untenable. His book lacks focus and could have been fruitfully edited to half its size. Having described his Atlantis, he wanders off all over the world to Göbekli Tepe, Gunung Padang, Nan Madol along with many other places, all interesting, but without any real connection to Atlantis in NW Africa. He names the Richat Structure along with the 50km distant Semsiyat Dome as the capital(s) of Atlantis! According to Bisceglia, the larger structure (Richat) was reserved for the deity, the smaller one (Semsiyat) for his ‘people’!

Nevertheless, Bisceglia offers a pathetic explanation as to why his chosen Atlantis location is not submerged by suggesting that his Land of Ma was confused with the Land of Mu (Sundaland) in the Pacific and that the two separate accounts ‘were merged into one’. He adds “how the Egyptian priests knew this is a mystery. Evidently, some survivors from Sundaland arrived in some way in Egypt”

>However, Bisceglia made one simple but highly pertinent comment – “If Plato had thought that Atlantis was an island located in what we today call the Atlantic Ocean, he would have written that his Atlantis was ‘in the Middle of Okeanos’.” For the Greeks of Plato’s time, Okeanos referred specifically to the great river that encircled the known world. Instead. he placed Atlantis in the Atlantic Sea, which in my opinion brings us back to the Mediterranean.

In 2022, Bisceglia’s entire book was plagiarised under the name of Annabel Caras and is still (8th May 2023) on sale at Amazon.<

Sea of Kronos

The Sea of Kronos (Cronos), according to modern researchers such as Alan Alford and Frank Joseph as well as Immanuel Velikovsky, is a name frequently applied to the Atlantic Ocean by ancient writers. Velikovsky cites Plutarch, Clement of Alexandria and Aristotle in support of this contention(a). If Plato believed that Atlantis had been located in the Atlantic why did he not simply say that it was situated in the Okeanos or the Sea of Kronos?

The 1624 Argonautica Map by Abraham Ortelius has the Adriatic Sea designated as ‘Cronivm Mare’. Eratosthenes in his Map of the Oecumene referred to the frozen Cronian Sea as being seven days north of Britain. Diodorus Siculus (Bk.III 61.3) describes Kronos as lord of Sicily, Libya and Italy!

Until it can be shown otherwise, I am inclined to think that Plato did not know precisely where Atlantis had been located but used the term ‘beyond the Pillars of Herakles’ as indicative of a place outside the ambit of what was common Greek maritime knowledge at that time!

>However, Plato was aware that Atlantean territory included part of North Africa, Southern Italy and some of the islands in that region (Tim 25a). Not only does this imply that, according to Diodorus, Atlantis was ruled by Kronos, but that the Pilllars were east of that realm!<

(a) https://www.varchive.org/lec/valais/satflood.htm

Hecatæus of Miletus

Hecatæus of Miletus (c. 550-476 BC) was one of the earliest Greek geographers. His view of the ‘world’ was that the then current concept of a landmass with the Mediterranean at its centre, encompassed by Europe and parts of Africa and Asia, all ofhecataeus map which are surrounded by the Great Ocean or Okeanos. What is interesting about this model is that it does not show any island opposite the Strait of Gibraltar or even a hint of a ‘continent’ opposite as described by Plato. It should be noted that Hecatæus lived after Solon and also visited the priests of Egypt. As he did not make provision on his map for Atlantis it would suggest that he was not given the story or if he was, he was too sceptical to record it. In fact Hecatæus was inclined to dismiss much of Greek mythology as ‘ridiculous’.

Robin Lane Fox, the English classicist, wrote that the Hecateus located the Pillars of Heracles at Gibraltar[1403.208].

It is of interest that during his visit to Egypt, Hecateus was shown 345 statues by the priests at Thebes that represented as many generations of high priests. It is thought that he was not impressed by this claim. However, this reference has been employed as evidence for the great antiquity of the Egyptians and as firm support for Plato’s date of 9600 BC for the war with Atlantis.

Also worth noting is the fact that many decades later when Herodotus was shown the same collection of statues along with a similar claim of antiquity, the number recorded had dropped to 341!

Peter James has pointed out [047.75] that in the ancient world it was commonplace for nations to claim the greatest antiquity for their homeland, with Egypt, Phrygia and Babylonia being prominent contenders.

 

Gilbert, Adrian

adrian%20gilbertAdrian Gilbert (1949- ) is the well-respected author of a number of books[326] and television documentaries on what are considered ‘fringe’ subjects. He is probably best known for The Mayan Prophecies[0327] co-authored with Maurice Cotterell  as well as The Orion Mystery co-authored with Robert Bauval. He has also studied connections between the Bible and astrology[0328].

Influenced by the ‘prophecies’ of Edgar Cayce he believes that Atlantis, or at least part of it, had existed in the West Indies near Bimini and that following its final inundation around 10,500 BC he claims that refugees fled to the Yucatan Peninsula where they developed the Mayan civilisation.

>In The Mayan Prophecies, Gilbert and Cottrell, in an attempt to justify their claim that Plato was referring to an American Atlantis, have offered a flawed translation of Timaeus 24-25 [p166], using the word ‘ocean’ where the Greek text uses the words ‘pontos’ or ‘pelagos’ which both mean sea not ocean. The first English translation of Plato’s text by Thomas Taylor correctly used the word sea for ‘pontos’ and ‘pelagos’, including the term ‘Atlantic Sea’.

For the Greeks the word ‘ocean’ (okeanos) only referred to the huge sea that flowed around the known world.

Leaving all that aside we should note that Herodotus, who flourished after Solon and before Plato, was quite clear that there were only three continents known to the Greeks; Europe, Asia and Libya(b) in fact, prior to Herodotus only two land masses were considered continents, Europe and Asia, with Libya sometimes considered part of Asia. So when Plato does use the word ‘continent’  (Tim. 24e-25a, Crit. 111a) we can reasonably conclude that he was referring to one of these land masses, and more than likely to either Europe or Libya (North Africa) as Atlantis was to the west of Athens and Egypt, ruling out Asia.<

Gilbert’s principal interest is the Mayan calendar and the fact that it will reset to zero at midnight on the 21st of December 2012. This coincides with the earlier views of the American archaeologist, Michael D. Coe, who wrote about the significance of 2012 as early as 1966 in his book, The Maya. However, he has suggested three different dates between Dec. 24 2011 and Jan 11 2013 in various editions of his book(a).

It is claimed that this date will coincide with catastrophic events that occur cyclically every 5,000 years. Many authors, such as Patrick Geryl have speculated on the nature of the calamities that this date may bring.

(a) https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/2012_apocalypse

(b) The Histories, Book 4. v.42  *

 

 

Atlantic Ocean *

The Atlantic Ocean as defined by modern geography stretches between the Poles and is bounded on the west by the Americas and on the east by Europe and Africa. The word ocean is taken from the Greek ‘Okeanos’ which in turn has been suggested to have a Phoenician origin. Okeanos or ‘ocean river’ is first mentioned in Homer’s Iliad, a term that was employed by many ancient writers to refer to an ocean that they believed encircled the then-known world.

As a slight digression, I should mention that ‘Okeanos Potamos’ is an old name for the River Danube, a fact woven into Densusianu‘s theory of a Romanian Atlantis.

It seems that ‘Atlantic sea’ was a term first used by the poet Stesichorus (630-555 BC)(h), about two hundred years before Timaeus was composed by Plato and coinciding with the time of Solon’s famous visit to Egypt, to describe the seas beyond the Pillars of Heracles (Histories I. 202). If this is correct, then we must ask what term was used prior to Herodotus? If it was Okeanos, what body of water, if any, did the term ‘Atlantic’ apply to at the earlier period?. There have been suggestions that the word referred to the western Mediterranean.

Jacques R. Pauwels in his Beneath the Dust of Time[1656] maintains that contrary to popular belief “The Atlantic Ocean does not owe its name to these mountains, as we are often told; on the contrary, they received the name Atlas because they were situated near the Ocean and, like the Okeanos, conjured up the end of the (inhabited) world, the Oikoumene, and separated the earth from the heavens.”

George Sarantitis has proposed that the term used by Plato, Atlantikos Pelagos, can be more legitimately interpreted as ‘Atlantean archipelago’!(d)

However, some researchers, such as Alberto Arecchi(f), have asserted that the name was given to a very large inland sea in what is now North Africa bound by the Atlas Mountains. Jean Gattefosse was a leading exponent of this during the first half of the 20th century.Sarantitis has expanded on this idea, proposing(c) a vast network of huge inland lakes and waterways in what is now the Sahara, which has, in his view, allows a more acceptable interpretation of Hanno’s voyage. Others such as Diodorus (3.38), as late as the 3rd century BC, used the term ‘Atlantic’ to describe the Indian Ocean. It is quite clear that ancient geographical names did not always have the same meanings that they do today.

The confusion does not end there as some ancient writers have identified the Strait of Sicily as the location of the Pillars of Heracles and the waters of the Western Mediterranean as the Atlantic, with some identifying Tyrrhenia as being in the Atlantic.

Most important of all are the comments of Plato himself who refers to the Atlantic in Timaeus (24e) when Atlantis existed noting that ‘in those days the Atlantic was navigable’, implying that in his own time it was not. Consequently, he could not have been referring to the body of water that we know today as the Atlantic. Furthermore, Aristotle seemed to echo Plato when he wrote(e) that “outside the pillars of Heracles the sea is shallow owing to the mud, but calm, for it lies in a hollow.” This is not a description of the Atlantic that we know, which is not shallow, calm or lying in a hollow and which he also refers to as a sea not an ocean. So, what sea was he referring to?

Since other seas have been called Atlantic, we are therefore forced to consider possible alternatives that are also compatible with the other known features of Atlantis. The three leading candidates are

(i) the Western Mediterranean,

(ii) the Tyrrhenian Sea (which is part of the Western Mediterranean) and

(iii) the inland sea in North Africa, sometimes referred to as Lake Tritonis, favoured by Arecchi, Sarantitis and others.

I am personally inclined towards the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Pliny the Elder writing in the first century AD mentions a number of islands in what we now accept as the Atlantic Ocean. These include the Cassiterides (Britain), the Fortunate Isles (the Canaries), the Hesperides, the Gorgades and an island ‘off Mount Atlas’ named Atlantis. Understandably, Pliny’s comments have led to extensive controversy, particularly the identification of the island off Mount Atlas.

In fact, there is even some dispute about the location of the Mount Atlas in question, as there were a number of peaks known by that name in ancient times. Richard Hennig is cited by Zhirov[458.58]  as describing the ‘utter confusion’ among ancient authors regarding the location of Mount Atlas.

Ignatius Donnelly was convinced that Atlantis had been situated in the Atlantic opposite the entrance to the Mediterranean. His theories predominated for over half a century and are still popular today. The late Gerry Forster, a British writer, has a 50-page paper supporting Donnelly’s contention posted on his website entitled The Lost Continent Rediscovered(a).

In order to add scientific credibility to Donnelly’s views the discovery of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge was offered as confirmation of the existence of Atlantis as parts of the ‘ridge’ would have been exposed when ocean levels were hundreds of feet lower during the last Ice Age. Today, the Canaries and the Azores are just remnants of what were once larger landmasses.

When Alfred Wegener advanced the theory of Continental Drift, later replaced by that of Plate Tectonics, was first presented, some atlantologists assumed that a mechanism for the disappearance of Atlantis in the Atlantic had been found. However, when the slow rate of movement was fully realised, the theory also sank as an explanation for the demise of Atlantis.

In April 2009 the media burst into one of its occasional ‘Atlantis found’ phases, when it was reported that evidence of an underwater city had been identified 600 miles west of the Canary Islands using Google Earth. The co-ordinates were given as 31 15’15.53N and 24 15’30.53W.

Atlantic gridThe site appeared to show a grid-like street system, which was estimated to be the size of Wales – a highly improbable, if not impossible size for a Bronze Age city. Apart from which, what appeared to be ‘streets’ would have been kilometers in width. Google responded with the following explanatory statement:

“what users are seeing is an artifact of the data collection process. Bathymetric (sea-floor) data is often collected from boats using sonar to take measurements of the sea-floor. The lines reflect the path of the boat as it gathers the data.” It did not take long before one commentator suggested that this statement was a cover-up.

By early February 2012, Google had corrected what they called ‘blunders’ contained in the original data, which in turn removed the anomalous image(b). No doubt conspiracy theorists will have their appetites whetted by this development.

Nine years later, on April 3, 2018(g), the UK’s Express regurgitated the same story!

As usual, people will believe what they want to believe.

(a) Wayback Machine (archive.org) *

(b) https://www.pcworld.com/article/249339/google_pulls_atlantis_from_google_earth.html

(c) The Peninsula of Libya and the Journey of Herodotus – Plato Project (archive.org) 

(d) The Importance of Accurate Translation – Plato Project (archive.org) 

(e) Meteorologica : Aristotle : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive  354a *

(f) https://www.liutprand.it/Atlantis.pdf

(g) https://www.express.co.uk/news/weird/940747/Atlantis-FOUND-400-mile-undersea-land-mass-Google-Earth-Azores

(h) https://www.loebclassics.com/view/stesichorus_i-fragments/1991/pb_LCL476.89.xml

Ocean or Sea

Ocean and Sea are words employed by classical writers in a manner different to our present usage. Originally the Greek word Oceanos referred to the ‘Great River’ that was assumed to flow around the then known world.

>That great resource Theoi.com notes(j)  In the ancient Greek cosmogony the RIVER OKEANOS (Oceanus) was a great, fresh-water stream which encircled the flat disc of the earth. It was the source of all of the earth’s fresh-water–from the rivers and springs which drew their waters from it through subterranean aquifers to the clouds which dipped below the horizon to collect their moisture from its stream.”<

Livio Stecchini wrote that “the existence of a river Oceanus as an extension of the Nile along the Equator was considered a serious reality in Greek times” (e)

Anton Mifsud has pointed out[209] that Homer used the word ocean for the sea and in fact used the same word for the Tyrrhenian ‘Sea’ (a). Both Seneca and Cicero referred to the Mediterranean Sea as the Atlantic Ocean(b)(c)Diodorus Siculus notes further that the word for ocean has even been applied to the Nile(d) by Homer. Herodotus also recorded that Homer called the Nile ‘Okeanòs’, as it was generally believed at the time that it began the Atlantic Ocean and flowed across the equator to Egypt(f)and ended in an ‘ocean’, the Mediterranean. (quoted by J.H. Agnew) [1232.123]

Georgeos Diaz-Montexano made a similar point when he offered the simplistic explanation that the classical writers had three words for bodies of saltwater; pontos (small), pelagos (medium) and okeanos (large). Plato always referred to Atlantis as being in a pelagos.

Alfred C. Moorhouse, among others, has pointed out(a) that ‘pontos’ is seemingly derived from words meaning ‘path’ or ‘bridge’, which in turn gave us the Latin ‘pons’ for bridge. Understandably, early sailors preferred shore-hugging and the use of trusted sea routes. ‘Pelagos’ refers to open seas, probably when out of sight of land. Agnieszka Adamowicz-Pospiech suggested that the words were used to distinguish “between the familiar and the foreign”.(h)

George Sarantitis suggested that ‘Pelagos’ “usually denotes a small sea in the shape of an embrace and contains islands, bays, peninsulas”, while ‘Pontos’ “denotes a sea with strong currents that require extra effort to navigate.”(i)

Carlos Bisceglia in his Atlantis 2021, made an important observation – “If Plato had thought that Atlantis was an island located in what we today call the Atlantic Ocean, he would have written that his Atlantis was ‘in the Middle of Okeanos’.” For the Greeks, Okeanos referred specifically to the great river that encircled the known world. Instead. he placed Atlantis in the Atlantic Sea, which in my opinion brings us back to the Mediterranean.

We can conclude therefore that since Plato never used the term ‘ocean’ in connection with Atlantis there is no proof that he was referring to our present-day Atlantic, while in all likelihood he was indicating the western basin of the Mediterranean or the reported large inland sea where the chotts of Tunisia and Algeria are all that remains of it today.

(a)  Odysseus x. 508,

(b)  Quaestiones Naturales,

(c) Somnium Scipioni

(d) Biblioteca Storica i.

(e) Ancient Cosmology (archive.org) 

(f) https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=_r5s5KZGIH0C&pg=PR1&lpg=PR1&dq=J.+Holmes+Agnew+1844+the+eclectic+magazine+of+foreign+literature&source=bl&ots=GXxJhZsft4&sig=l0-AzCjGpgBElfoDxt468yRjptQ&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiKu7vBuPzNAhUkBMAKHZocC3YQ6AEIIzAB#v=onepage&q=J.%20Holmes%20Agnew%201844%20the%20eclectic%20magazine%20of%20foreign%20literature&f=false

(g) https://www.jstor.org/stable/636658

(h) See Archive 6248 

(i) The Atlantis Hypothesis (2nd Conference)(Heliotopos, Athens, 2010) p.400

(j) OCEANUS – Earth-Encircling River of Greek Mythology (theoi.com) *