Strait of Otranto
The Strait of Otranto is a 45-mile stretch of water that separates the ‘heel’ of Italy from Albania at the entrance to the Adriatic Sea. It is also one of a number of proposed locations for the ‘Pillars of Heracles’ referred to by Plato. However, proponents of this idea are not agreed on the location of Atlantis, Fatih Hodži? places Atlantis in the Southern Adriatic Basin, while more recently, Alessio Toscano has opted for the northeastern Adriatic. An anonymous contributor to the all empires website(a) has an extensively illustrated entry, which designates the Albanian city of Durres as Atlantis and notes the multiplicity of locations that have referred to as the ‘Pillars of Heracles’, including the Strait of Otranto.
Alessio Toscano is an Italian blogger who believes that Atlantis was located in northeast Italy, specifically the Lagoon of Grado. Toscano has elaborated that he considers “that it is quite possible that a series of tsunamis triggered a disaster which destroyed Atlantis which was located between Grado and Aquileia and that Gadirus mentioned by Critias could be Grado.“
He believes that the Adriatic Sea, which is surrounded by a continent, was Plato’s ‘Atlantic’ and that the Pillars of Heracles were situated at the Strait of Otranto(a)! ?
Michael Hübner (1966-2013) was a German researcher who presented to the 2008 Atlantis Conference in Athens, a carefully reasoned argument for placing Atlantis in North-West Africa on the Souss-Massa plain of Morocco. He has gathered and organised a range of geographical details and other clues contained in Plato’s text,which he maintained lead inexorably to Morocco. His paper is now available on the internet(a) and a fuller exposition of his hypothesis has now been published, in German, as Atlantis?:Ein Indizienbeweis , (Atlantis?:Circumstantial Evidence).
Hübner also published a number of video clips on his website in support of his theory. He begins with a lucid demonstration of a Hierarchical Constraint Satisfaction (HCS) approach to solving the mystery. These clips offer a body of evidence which are perhaps the most impressive that I have encountered in the course of many years of research. He matches many of the geographical details recorded by Plato as well as clearly showing rocks coloured red, white and black still in use in buildings in the same area. Hübner also shows possible harbour remains close to Cape Ghir (Rhir), not far north from Agadir (Plato’s ‘Gadeiros’). Although there are still some outstanding questions in my mind, I consider Hübner’s hypothesis one of the more original on offer to date.
However, I perceive some flaws in his search criteria definitions, which in my opinion, have led to an erroneous conclusion, although I think it possible that his Moroccan location may have been partof the Atlantean domain. Furthermore, I consider that his conclusions also conflict with some of the geographical clues provided by Plato.
Nevertheless, I am happy to promote Hübner’s website as a ‘must see’ for any serious student of Atlantology and I had looked forward to the publication of his book in English. In the meanwhile a video on YouTube(b) gives a good overview of his theory.
The 2011 Atlantis Conference saw Hübner present additional evidence(c) in which he translated his HCS method into a series of mathematical formulae.
Tragically, Michael Hübner died in December 2013 as a result of a cycling accident. He left a valuable contribution to Atlantis studies. Mark Adams met Hübner shortly before his death, so in March 2015 when Adams’ book, Meet me in Atlantis, was published, the ensuing media attention probably gave Hübner’s theory more publicity than when he was alive!
Although, I have always been impressed by Hübner’s methodology, my principal objection to his conclusions is based on the fact that all early empires expanded through the invasion of territory that was contiguous or within easy reach by sea. This was a logical requirement for pre-invasion intelligence gathering and for the invasion itself, but also for effective ongoing administrative control. Agadir in Morocco is around 3300 km (2000 miles), by sea, from Athens and so does not match Hübner’s very first ‘constraint’, which requires that “Atlantis should be located within a reasonable range from Athens.” He arbitrarily decided that ‘a reasonable range’ was within a 5,000 km radius based on the fact that the campaigns of Alexander the Great reached a maximum of 4,700 km from Macedonia. However, he seems to have missed the point that Alexander began his attack on the Persian Empire by crossing the Hellespont (Dardanelles), which is less than a mile wide at its narrowest. As is the case with all ancient empires, Alexander expanded his Macedonian empire incrementally, always advancing through various adjacent territories. Alexander’s aim was to conquer the Persian Empire and having done that, he continued with his opportunistic expansionism into India. My point being, that ancient land invasions were always aimed at neighbouring territory, then, if further expansion became possible, it was usually undertaken immediately beyond the newly extended borders. Alexander, did not initially set out to conquer India, but, as he experienced victory after victory, his sense of invincibility grew and so he pushed on until the threat of overwhelming odds ahead and opposition within his own army persuaded him to return home.
Similarly, naval invasions are best carried out over the shortest distances for the obvious logistical reasons of supplies and the risk of inclement weather and rough seas. There are many extreme Atlantis location theories, such as America, Antarctica and the Andes, from which it would have idiotic to launch an attack on Athens, over 3,000 years ago, particularly as there were more attractive and easier places to invade, closer to home, rather than Athens, from where up-to-date pre-invasion military intelligence would have been impossible. Hübner’s Agadir location being 3,300 km from Athens is not as ridiculous as the Transatlantic suggestions, but it is still far too great a distance to make it practical. If expansion had been necessary, nearby territory in Africa or Iberia would, in my opinion, have offered far better targets!
If I’m asked to say what I consider a ‘reasonable striking distance’ for a naval invasion to be, I would hazard a layman’s guess at less than 500 km. When the Romans wiped out Carthage, the used Sicily as a stepping-stone and then had to travel less than 300 km to achieve their goal. But there are many variables to be considered; weather, time of year, terrain and the opposing military, which I think should be left to experts in military history and tactics. However, I must reiterate that 3,300 km is not credible.
My second criticism of Hübner’s presentation is his claim that Plato described Atlantis as being ‘west’ of Tyrrhenia, which is based on his assumption that Atlantis was situated on the Atlantic coast of Morocco and consequently believed that Atlantean territory extended from there eastward until it met Tyrrhenia.
In fact, what Plato said, twice, was that Atlantis extended as far as Tyrrhenia (Timaeus 25b &Critias 114c), The implication being that Tyrrhenian territory, which was situated in central Italy, was adjacent to part of the Atlantean domain, which, I suggest, was located in southern Italy. This would have left the Greek mainland just over 70 km away across the Strait of Otranto, well within striking distance. I think that it is safer to think of the Atlantean alliance having a north/south axis, from Southern Italy, across the Mediterranean, including Sicily together the Maltese and Pelagie Islands and large sections of the Maghreb, including Tunisia and Algeria.
In late 2018, the well-known TV presenter, Andrew Gough, who had previously supported the Minoan Hypothesis, posted a lengthy article on his website(e) endorsing Hübner’s theory.
A graphical demonstration of how HCS works is available on a YouTube clip(d).
The Adriatic Sea was mainly dry land during the last Ice Age until it was inundated between 8500-6000 BC. The last decade has seen a number of sites in the Adriatic region nominated as possible locations for Atlantis. A sunken town near Zadar would appear to be the latest candidate(d).
Fatih Hodzic, a Slovenian writer, has offered of a new theory(a), which places Atlantis in the southern Adriatic Basin. He contends that the destruction of Atlantis was a consequence of an asteroid impact, recorded in Greek mythology as Phaëton, impacting in either the Ionian or the Tyrrhenian Sea just west of Sicily.
Recently, Alessio Toscano has suggested that the Pillars of Heracles were situated at the Strait of Otranto and that Plato’s ‘Atlantic’ was in fact the Adriatic Sea(c).
The Italian side of the Adriatic has also had claims made of an association with Atlantis such as with Valbruna. Daniela Bortoluzzi has written a lengthy article suggesting a possible link between Atlantis and Venice(h). More detailed is the claim by Morven Robertson that Atlantis had been situated between Padua and Ferrara, not far from Venice.
Mljet is a Croatian island close to Dubrovnik and believed by some to be Homer’s Ogygia, which in turn has been identified as Atlantis. This same island offers a competing claim to be the place where St. Paul was shipwrecked on his way to Rome, rather than Malta. At the risk of offending my Maltese friends, I consider the Mljet claim to have some considerable merit. Apart from anything else, at that time ships, for reasons of safety, preferred to stay close to shore, which suggests that to use the Strait of Otranto would provide the shortest open sea journey available, after that the Strait of Messina would bring them straight up the Italian coast to Rome! I find it hard to understand how at any point on that route that a storm could have threatened to carry them to Syrtis Minor (Southern Tunisia) which was about 400 miles at the nearest point.
Dubrovnik was recently claimed to have a number of pyramids in its vicinity by Pero Metkovic as well as the location of Atlantis. His rather rambling blog(g) offers no evidence apart from over-imaginative speculation.
Another claim is that satellite imagery has revealed a network of lines near Durrés, west of Tirana in Albania, which are the remnants of Plato’s Atlantean canals. The co-ordinates are 41.08-41.02 N and 19.23 E. A blogsite(b) is also home to a number of articles adding support for this Durrés theory.
While the above suggestions are interesting, they are not convincing. Does it not seem strange that had Atlantis been located in the Adriatic, next door to Greece, that the Greeks in general and Plato in particular would have been unaware of it?
The Adriatic was also the backdrop to Homer’s Odyssey according to a new book by Zlatko Mandzuka, himself a native of the region. Even more radical is the claim that Troy itself had been located in Bosnia-Herzegovina or adjacent Croatia, the former by Roberto Salinas Price in 1985, while more recently the latter is promoted by Vedran Sinožic.
When the sunken ruins of a city, dated to around 1500 BC were discovered in 2015, near Croatia’s oldest city, Zadar, it generated the usual flurry of Atlantis speculation.
There was a media report(f) in early 2017 in which Mark Kempf claimed to have discovered the remains of Atlantis 30 miles off the coast of Croatia. Kempf is a treasure hunter and hopes that the discovery by him and his team will yield a fortune. I consider this report to be somewhat dubious.
Fatih Hodžic (1956-) was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina and is now living in Slovenia. He is a computer science graduate from the University of Maribor. His interest in prehistory and ancient cultures led him to develop a new theory(a), which places the location of Atlantis in the Southern Adriatic Basin. He contends that the destruction of Atlantis was a consequence of an asteroid impact, recorded in Greek mythology as Phaëton, that struck either the Ionian or the Tyrrhenian Sea just west of Sicily.
Hodžic also claims that the Pillars of Heracles were situated at the Strait of Otranto and that the nearly 70,000 stone blocks or stecaks spread through Bosnia and the surrounding region were remnants of Atlantean structures. Hodžic’s ideas are interesting but not wholly convincing.
In 2019, Hodžic published, in Croatian, Nepoznato doba megalita  (The Unknown Age of the Megalith) as well as a ten-page synopsis in English(b). A further paper about his Adriatic Atlantis is also available(c).