Late Bronze Age Collapse of civilisations in the Eastern Mediterranean in the second half of the 2nd millennium BC has been variously attributed to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and severe climate change. It is extremely unlikely that all these occurred around the same time through coincidence. Unfortunately, it is not clear to what extent these events were interrelated. As I see it, political upheavals do not lead to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or drought and so can be safely viewed as an effect rather than a cause. Similarly, climate change is just as unlikely to have caused eruptions or seismic activity and so can also be classified as an effect. Consequently, we are left with earthquakes and volcanoes as the prime suspects for the catastrophic turmoil that took place in the Middle East between the 15th and 12th centuries BC. Nevertheless, August 2013 saw further evidence published which blamed climate change for demise of civilisations in the region.
Robert Drews dismisses any suggestion that Greece suffered a critical drought around 1200 BC, citing the absence of any supporting reference by Homer or Hesiod as evidence. He proposes that “the transition from chariot to infantry warfare as the primary cause of the Great Kingdoms’ downfall.”
This extended period of chaos began around 1450 BC when the eruptions on Thera took place. These caused the well-documented devastation in the region including the ending of the Minoan civilisation and probably the Exodus of the Bible and the Plagues of Egypt as well. According to the Parian Marble, the Flood of Deucalion probably took place around the same time.
Professor Stavros Papamarinopoulos has written of the ‘seismic storm’ that beset the Eastern Mediterranean between 1225 and 1175 BC(a). Similar ideas have been expressed by Amos Nur & Eric H.Cline(b)(c). The invasion of the Sea Peoples recorded by the Egyptians, and parts of Plato’s Atlantis story all appear to have taken place around this period. Plato refers to a spring on the Athenian acropolis (Crit.112d) that was destroyed during an earthquake. Rainer Kühne notes that this spring only existed for about 25 years but was rediscovered by the Swedish archaeologist, Oscar Broneer, who excavated there from 1959 to 1967. The destruction of the spring and barracks, by an earthquake, was confirmed as having occurring at the end of the 12th century BC.
(this is a shorter version of (c) below)
Oscar Theodore Broneer (1894-1992) was born in Sweden but moved to the United States in 1913. Plato described both the Acropolis of Athens as well as Atlantis at the time of their war. He noted that a spring on the Acropolis had been destroyed by an earthquake at that time. Then in 1939, Broneer rediscovered the spring together with evidence that it had been destroyed around 1200 BC, giving us a possible anchor for dating the Atlantis conflict. Broneer’s papers are archived at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens.
An interesting 2020 review of Broneer’s work by Tony Petrangelo can be found on his Atlantis.FYI website(a).
Some years ago, Rainer W. Kühne drew attention to the fact that Plato referred to a spring (Crit.112d) on the Acropolis that was destroyed during an earthquake, which he noted had only existed for about 25 years, but was rediscovered by Broneer. This discovery has implications for the historical reality of Atlantis as well as the time of its demise.
The full text of this important illustrated paper is available online(b).
Acropolis is the name given to the central highest position in ancient Greek cities, occupied by the principal religious and civic buildings. The Athenian acropolis was crowned by the magnificent Parthenon, constructed between 447-432 BC. An interesting claim is that the Parthenon was once ‘a riot of colour’(d). Another remarkable feature of the building is that its breadth has been carefully measured at 101.34 feet, which is exactly a second of latitude at the equator(b). The acropolis of Athens is the best known and often erroneously referred to as ‘The’ Acropolis. It is worth noting that the general description of an acropolis is mirrored in Plato’s description of the central buildings of Atlantis that were also located on elevated ground. Writers such as Jürgen Spanuth, Rainer W. Kühne(a) as well as Papamarinopoulos(c) have concluded that the acropolis of Athens provides convincing evidence that the war between Atlantis and Athens took place around 1200 BC. Papamarinopoulos comments further that the “Athens of Critias, is proved a reality of the 12th century B.C., described only by Plato and not by historians, such as Herodotus, Thucydides and others. Analysts of the past have mixed Plato’s fabricated Athens presented in his dialogue Republic with the non-fabricated Athens of his dialogue Critias. This serious error has deflected researchers from their target to interpret Plato’s text efficiently.” (e)
Plato referred to dwellings for warriors (Crit. 112b) situated to the north of the Acropolis that were built in the 15th century BC and were not located again until the earlier part of our 20th century. He also refers to a spring (Critias 112d) that was destroyed during an earthquake. Kühne notes that this spring only existed for about 25 years but was found by the Swedish archaeologist, Oscar Broneer (1894-1992), who excavated there from 1959 to 1967. The destruction of the spring and barracks, by an earthquake, was confirmed as having occurring at the end of the 12th century BC. Plato describes how these catastrophes, of inundation and earthquake, that caused the destruction on the Acropolis, were only survived by those living inland, who were uneducated illiterate people, resulting in the knowledge of writing being lost.
J. Chadwick & Michael Ventris have shown that Linear B was written in an early Greek language and that in Greece it remained in use until around 1200 BC. Subsequently, the Greeks were without a script until the 8th century BC. This date of 1200 BC would appear to match the end of the war between Athens and Atlantis except for Plato’s reference to the earthquake being accompanied by a flood that was the third before the flood of Deucalion, usually dated to at least some centuries before 1200 BC, which implies an earlier date for the Atlantean war.
Collina-Girard in common with many others seems convinced that Atlantis was destroyed around 9500 BC but that Plato’s description of Atlantis is fictional. Collina-Girard’s theory of an Atlantis in the Gibraltar Strait inundated at the end of the Ice Age many thousands of years before the Acropolis existed, forced him to denounce Plato’s Bronze Age descriptions as fiction otherwise he could not justify the exploration of Spartel Island.