Pillars of Heracles
Alex Hawk has supported the Minoan Hypothesis for the past two decades on a rather slim website(a). He claims that Atlantis was known as Keftiu to the Egyptians and he places the Pillars of Heracles in the Cyclades.
The River Danube is the second longest river in Europe, which was known to the ancient Greeks as ‘Istros’. It rises in Germany’s Black Forest and after passing through many countries, including four capital cities, it eventually empties into the Black Sea.
A number of researchers have associated the river with Plato’s Atlantis. One of the earliest was Nicolae Densusianu who proposed that Atlantis had been situated in ancient Dacia, his native Romania. Over a century later some of his ideas have been revived by other Romanian commentators such as Adrian Bucurescu and Alexandra Furdui. Densusian’s nationalism is now frowned upon and there is an understandable suspicion that his modern Romanian supporters may have similar underlying motivations.
There is a gorge on the Danube known as the Iron Gates which provides part of the boundary between Serbia and Romania. Densusianu located the Pillars of Heracles at the Iron Gates, an idea supported by Ticleanu, Constantin & Nicolescu who place Atlantis further west on the Pannonian Plain. However, Ranko Jakovlievic expressed the view that the Iron Gates section of the Danube was the location of Atlantis!
Related to this, is the claim by ‘Sherlock’ that Pindar’s Olympian Ode 3 suggested that the Pillars of Herakles had been situated at the confluence of the Seva and Danube rivers near modern Belgrade(b) .
>A recent book  by Antonije Shkokljev & Slave Nikolovski–Katin also recount an ancient version of the ‘Labours of Hercules’ that took place in the Balkans.<
Christian and Siegfried Schoppe locate Atlantis east of the Danube Delta on Snake Island in the Black Sea an idea now adopted by George K. Weller(a) .
Alexandra Ioana Furdui, is Romanian by birth, an architect by profession, who now lives in Australia. Her interest in ancient history has resulted in a book entitled Island: Myth…Reality …or Both?  in which she posits Atlantis as a large island in the antediluvian freshwater Black Sea ruled by the Titans of Greek mythology, some of whom later started another civilisation in the lower Danube, where she claims the Pillars of Herakles were situated, which is probably the result of being influenced by the earlier work of Nicolae Densusianu.
Pytheas was a 3rd century BC navigator from the Greek colony of Massalia (Marseilles) and is best known for his voyage in the North Atlantic, possibly around 240 BC. His trip took in the British Isles and as he ventured further North and claimed to have reached Thule.
>Gregory Douglas Wear, in his study of early excursions by Mediterranean peoples into the North Atlantic concluded that with the current state of archaeological and historical research, it is nothing less than impossible to verify with certainty, whether Greeks, Phoenicians, Carthaginians or any other pre-Pythean Mediterranean dweller actually set foot on the British Isles, northern France, or anywhere else in north-western Europe north of Galicia(c).<
Thule has generated volumes of debate regarding its location. Pytheas described Thule as lying six days’ sail to the north of Britain. Iceland, Norway(a) and the Faroes along with the Scottish Shetland and Orkney Islands have all been proposed as Pytheas’ Thule.
Søren Tillisch, a Danish archaeologist, accepts that the identification of the Faeroes as the Thule of Pytheas is reasonable, but he still thinks that the Estonian island of Saaremaa in the Baltic is also a feasible candidate(b).
Rhys Carpenter devoted an interesting chapter of his Beyond the Pillars of Hercules in which he suggested that Pytheas’ voyage was undertaken with commercial objectives in mind, but on that level it was unsuccessful. However, as a voyage of discovery, it was an unparalleled achievement, earning for Pytheas Carpenter’s accolade of ”antiquity’s Greatest Explorer”.
Carpenter favours the idea that the term, ‘Pillars of Hercules’, when applied to the Strait of Gibraltar was used with the sense of boundary markers, indicating ”the limits of the Inner Sea that, for the Greeks, was the navigable world.”[p156]
Fundamentalist Atlantology is a term that I use to describe the idea that everything written about Atlantis by Plato, must be taken at face value. In other words when he refers to 9,000 years, this along with all the other numbers he uses in relation to the dimensions of the plain of Atlantis, its structures or its military manpower should be accepted literally! Such an acceptance flies in the face of both common sense and science, particularly in the case of Plato’s dating of Atlantis, while the dimensions he has for the ditch surrounding the plain of Atlantis were deemed incredible (his word) by Plato himself (Crit.118c), he felt obliged out of deference to Solon’s reputation he recorded the details as he received them.
Without wishing to offend anyone, I believe that acceptance, for example, of Plato’s/Solon’s numbers is comparable with the belief of religious fundamentalists who hold that creation’took just six days.
Although it is understandable that researchers have accepted Plato’s details without question, there has been extensive research over the past century into seeking more rational explanations for many of those more difficult passages in the Atlantis narrative which has produced alternative explanations that are compatible with both science and common sense.
While Plato’s 9,000 years were initially, rather glibly dismissed as a transcription error and that hundreds and not thousands had been intended, it has been demonstrated that the ancient Egyptian priesthood used a lunar calendar so that the ‘ýears’ were in fact months, which was noted in the 4th century BC by Eudoxus of Cnidos and repeated by Manetho and Diodorus Siculus. This would reduce the timeline by a factor of twelve. Another explanation was put forward by Rosario Vieni who proposed that the ‘years’ actually referred to seasons of which there are three in the Egyptian solar year. These, as far as I am aware, are the principal alternatives suggested in place of a literal reading of 9,000 years. After all, neither Athens or Egypt was home to anything more than primitive societies 9,000 years before Solon’s visit.
A further example concerns the size of Atlantis, which Plato consistently referred to as an island and never a continent and is described by him as greater than Libya and Asia combined. Irrespective of how extensive in size the Libya and Asia in question were, the Greek word for greater – meizon, actually relates to greater in strength, power or influence not extent. A few years ago Thorwald C. Franke pointed out that the traditional enemies of Egypt came from Libya and Asia, so that to describe the threat from Atlantis as greater than Libya and Asia combined indicates how great the threat from Atlantis was.
The more contentious issue of the actual location of the Pillars of Heracles, I will not go into here, suffice it to say that a number of valid competing arguments have been put forward in favour of locations other than the Strait of Gibraltar. In fact all of them could have been correct at different times, changing their position as the Greek colonists and traders gradually moved westward. Eventually, I believe that at some point in time the term simply became a metaphor for the limits of the world as generally known to the Greeks.
My point is that understandable difficulties exist in the Atlantis texts and that a number of sensible alternative explanations have been put forward, which will be individually tried and tested until a consensus emerges, in the same way that the idea of a geocentric universe was gradually replaced by the simple fact that our little planet revolves around the sun.
Marco Goti is the Italian author of The Island of Plato in which he attempts to demonstrate that Atlantis was situated in Greenland. I say attempts, because in my opinion he fails dismally. He starts by locating the Pillars of Heracles in the Atlantic, with one side being the basaltic columns at the Giants Causeway in Northern Ireland and their counterparts across the sea in Scotland’s Isle of Staffa.*This idea was touted by W. C. Beaumont over sixty years earlier(a).*
Goti then moves on to Iceland, which he identifies as Thule and spends too much time describing a variety of unpronounceable locations there. He eventually heads for Greenland, which he contends must be Atlantis as it is greater than Libya and Asia combined, ignoring that Plato was referring to might rather than size. Goti posits the huge plain apparently described by Plato to have been situated in the centre of Greenland, ignoring the fact that ice cores dated to over 100,000 years have been identified there, and apart from which the huge island is not submerged.
Goti decries other promoters of Atlantis theories for ignoring details in Plato’s account that don’t fit their particular ideas and then he moves Athens to Sweden, has Atlantis above water for hundreds of thousands of years, no elephants, no two annual crops and does not explain how Greenland Atlanteans controlled southern Italy as far as Tyrrhenia, all of which demands a thumbs down from me.
The Strait of Hormuz lies at the entrance to the Persian Gulf, which today has an average depth of just 35 metres. During the last Ice Age, it has been shown the Persian Gulf was a completely dry basin and possibly the home of a pre-historic civilisation. This idea has been developed by Dr Jeffrey Rose of the University of Birmingham(a).
>Marilyn Luongo offered one of the more unusual Atlantis theories by identifying the Strait of Hormuz as the location of the ‘Pillars of Heracles’ and then using the highly controversial interpretation of ‘meizon’ meaning ‘between’ rather than the more generally accepted ‘greater’ she proceeds to argue that Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) is ‘between’ Asia and Libya and therefore was the home of Atlantis!(b)<
Marilyn Luongo is a South African entrepreneur involved in social projects there(b). Her website has an unexpected section dealing with the history of the Middle East(a) of which the second half involves a review of Plato’s Atlantis account. She attempts 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 proceeds to argue that Mesopotamia is ‘between’ Asia and Libya and therefore is the home of Atlantis!
Ron Current is an American blogger with a passion for travel, history and photography. Beginning in March 2016 he has written a number of pieces(a) on Atlantis and has concluded that Thera (Santorini) and its 2nd millennium BC eruption was at least part of the inspiration behind Plato’s narrative.
He echoes the views of Galanopoulos & Bacon regarding the location of the Pillars of Heracles saying “There are two landmasses in the world of these ancient Greeks that were also called the Pillars of Heracles in that period. These are the two southward pointing headlands on each side of the Gulf of Laconia on Greece’s Peloponnese.” These would have been Capes Matapan and Maleas. This, of course, contradicts Plato’s clear statement that Atlantis attacked from the west, not the south.*In fact what Plato said was that the invasion came from the Atlantic Sea (pelagos). Although there is some disagreement about the location of this Atlantic Sea, all candidates proposed so far are west of both Athens and Egypt.*
Adrian Bucurescu is a Romanian ethnographer and a prolific article writer and also the author of Dacia Secreta and Dacia Magica. He identifies the Black Sea and what is now mainland Romania as the home of Atlantis. He locates the Pillars of Hercules at the Danube gorge at the mouth of S-W Romanian river Cerna (also known as Acheron, Charon, Geryon) and that the capital of Atlantis was the city of Tulcea (Tul=atlas+Cea=land) at the Danube Delta.
>A recent book  by Antonije Shkokljev & Slave Nikolovski–Katin have related an ancient version of the ‘Labours of Hercules’ based in the Balkan-Danube region.<
Furthermore, Bucurescu claims that Plato originally said 5,000 not 9,000 years had elapsed between the Atlantean war and Solon’s visit to Egypt. He bases this idea on his claim that the works of the Greek philosophers were preserved in Arabic translations after the fall of Constantinople and that their numbers ‘5’ and ‘9’ were sufficiently similar to have led to a transcription error!(b)>This is difficult to accept as the Arabic character for nine is rather like our ‘9’, while the Arabic five is like our zero!<
However, a further contribution on Graham Hancock’s website has him listing the ten kingdoms (of Atlantis) extending over a much larger region, including Poland, Egypt and Sumeria(a)!