9,000 is arguably the most important number in Plato’s Atlantis narrative. It is found in Critias 108e describing the number of years between the war with Atlantis and the time of Solon’s visit to Egypt. However, in Timaeus 23e it is also given as the number of years since the foundation of Athens.
Taken at face value, it implies that around 9600 BC Atlantis launched an attack on Athens and Egypt. However, archaeologically this makes no sense as the is no evidence of structured societies at either location until many thousands of years later.
Nevertheless, it should be noted that when Greek numerical notation was developing, 9,000 was the largest value that could be expressed by a single character. Later, it was sometimes used to describe a large but indefinite amount. A Bible study site tells us that “The use of definite numerical expressions in an indefinite sense, that is, as round numbers, which is met with in many languages, seems to have been very prevalent in Western Asia from early times to the present day.”(a)
This apparent contradiction has baffled commentators for centuries. The ancient Egyptians had three calendars, solar, lunar and seasonal. As the solar years made little sense, attention turned to the lunar calendar used for religious purposes, keeping in mind that Solon received the Atlantis story from priests. Dividing 9,000 lunar cycles by 13 gives us around 692 solar years or circa 1300 BC for the war with Atlantis, which in isolation is more credible.
However, there are many other large numbers used by Plato in the Atlantis narrative relating to the military strength and dimensions of architectural features, which also seem to be exaggerations and, in my opinion, are all seeingly inflated to a similar degree! As I see it, there are two possible solutions. Either the numbers are the result of a variety of unrelated translations and/or transcription errors or we must consider the possibility that there is a single explanation for all the apparent anomalies. Reluctantly, I have suggested ‘factor ten‘ as the most likely solution.
>However, there are other details in the Atlantis narrative that conflict with this early date for the war with Atlantis. Plato clearly states that following the submergence of Atlantis its remains lay in shallow waters creating a maritime hazard and continuing to remain a danger to shipping until at least Plato’s time (Tim 25d). Since 9600 BC saw the ending of the last ice age, sea levels have risen 400 feet since then with minimal increases during the last couple of millennia. Shallows created in 9600 BC could not have lasted until Plato’s day.<
>Additionally, the earliest known solid wheels were not in use until the 5th millennium BC and were not developed as the lighter spoked wheels, suitable for chariots, until a millennium or more later. So when Plato refers to the Atlanteans having 10,000 chariots (Crit.119a), he could not have been referring to an army in 9600 BC. Furthermore, the greatest chariot battle in history took place in what is now Syria at the Battle of Kadesh in 1275 BC, between the Egyptians and the Hittites. The total number of chariots involved was between 5,000 and 6,000. In other words, a literal acceptance of what Plato wrote suggests that the Atlanteans had twice the number of chariots as that of the opponents at Kadesh combined. On top of that, those that accept the Atlantis story try to tell us that the Atlanteans had 10,000 chariots, eight thousand years earlier than Kadesh, millennia before chariots were invented!<
>Add to that, the clear evidence that horse domestication doesn’t appear in the archaeological record until about 5,500 years ago(b). Plato records that Atlantis had horse racing (117C) and horse baths (117b)! Not in 9600 BC.<
Caphtor is a place referred to in the Bible (Jeremiah 47.4, Amos 9.7) and located by traditional Hebrew sources to have been near Pelusium in the eastern Nile Delta. Some think that Jeremiah’s reference to “the coasts of Caphtor” implied that Caphtor was an island. The late Walter Baucum also identified Caphtor with the Egyptian Kaft-ur in the Delta, once occupied by the Philistines [183.309]. A. H. Sayce, a respected 19th century Assyriologist, among others, also placed Caphtor in the Delta.
Keftiu was an Egyptian placename and since the 18th century has been frequently associated with Crete. Half a century ago James E. Jennings of Akron University wrote a paper in which he concluded that “it appears that there is sufficient evidence to support the contention that Caphtor was Crete”(f).
While many commentators today equate Caphtor with Crete, the evidence is far from clear. As Manuel Robbins points out [856.316], the identification of Caphtor with Crete “is based on not one but a string of assumptions. If any of these assumptions are wrong, the conclusion fails, and these assumptions are shaky.”
Baucum offers evidence that the Egyptians also used Keftiu when referring to north of the Orontes River (Syria), Cyprus, Cilicia (S.W. Turkey) as well as Crete. He also attributes the exclusive association of Caphtor with Crete to Champollion’s guessed at identification of the Philistines as the Sea Peoples! A chapter in a book  by Nissim Raphael Ganor that bluntly states that “The Philistines and the ‘Sea Peoples’, not the same entity” is worth reading for anyone studying this particular controversy(i).
Manuel Robbins has concluded [p336] that the most likely location for Keftiu was either Cyprus, Syria or Eastern Anatolia, but that it is essentially a mystery.
Matters become confused when we find that there is also a popular theory that Caphtor and Keftiu referred to the same place. Robbins disputed such an identification. He offers pictorial evidence from tombs on the west bank of the Nile opposite Thebes that might equally suggest Syria as the home of Caphtor [p334], but this is also far from conclusive.
Frankly, I find all the competing opinions(h) extremely confusing and unsatisfactory and believe that a solution to these conflicting ideas is far from a resolution.
Some others have been in favour of identifying Keftiu with Cyprus, among whom, Immanuel Velikovsky argued(g) that if Cyprus was not Caphtor, then it is the only island of any importance in the Eastern Mediterranean not mentioned in the Bible [039.210]. Caphtor/Keftiu: A New Investigation  by John Strange also supports this identification with Cyprus. Walter Baucum claims that “Keftiu was the coastline from Tyre northwards to Anatolia, and included the islands of Crete and Cyprus” [p107].
Yair Davidy in his Introduction to Baucum’s book[183.x] and his own Lost Israelite Identity [1375.208] claims that there was another Keftiu in Northern Europe. Jürgen Spanuth claimed that Caphtor and the Norse ‘holmr Asgard’ mean the same [015.94], namely, “the island of the heaven-pillar”. More recent support for a Northern Europe Caphtor is offered by Eckart Kahlhofer who, like Spanuth, also claims it as the location of Atlantis and adds that it was also the home of the Philistines!
Making matters worse was the introduction of Atlantis into the discussion, bringing with it its own range of conflicting ideas. There is also a number of commentators, including Bruce Wayne(d) and Alex Hawk(e), who take Keftiu to be another name for Minoan Crete and equate it with Atlantis. Robert Ishoy considers Nuragic Sardinia as Keftiu/Atlantis(b).
Although Plato was the first to use the term ‘Atlantis’, there are antecedents to his account of a drowned civilisation. There is an Egyptian legend, which Solon probably heard while travelling in Egypt, and was passed down to Plato years later. It concerns the island nation of Keftiu, home to one of the four pillars that held up the sky. It was said to be a glorious advanced civilization, which was destroyed and sank beneath the ocean. It has been suggested that Plato embellished Solon’s story from “the land of the four pillars that held up the sky” into “the land of the Titan, Atlas, who held up the sky.” The Egyptian legend refers to an island west of Egypt, but not necessarily west of the Mediterranean. It may be relevant to point here that Crete is more northerly of Egypt whereas some of the suggested Atlantis locations such as the Maltese Islands or Sardinia are in fact located westward.
It seems that the debate(a) regarding the identification of Keftiu is set to continue for some time. Muddying the waters further is a serious claim of a Minoan connection with Japan(c) with a particular reference to the Linear A script!
Axel Hausmann (1939-2014) was a German physics professor at the Technical University of Aachen. He had identified a circular underwater feature 20 miles due south of Syracuse in Sicily (36°45’N & 15°18’E) as the possible location of Plato’s city of Atlantis and south of that again existed the plain of Atlantis extending as far as Malta. He contended that Atlantis had an area of influence that stretched from Tunisia to Italy including Malta and Sicily. He erroneously claimed in a paper presented to the 2005 Atlantis Conference [629.351] to be the first to suggest the Central Mediterranean region as a runner in the Atlantis Stakes(c). However, he does appear to be the first scientist to promote the idea of a late breaching of a Gibraltar Dam leading to the inundation of Atlantis.
Hausmann placed the Pillars of Heracles at what was formerly a narrow strait between northeast Tunisia near what is now Cape Bon and an enlarged Sicilian landmass, which incorporated Malta.
He dated the submergence of Atlantis to around 3500 BC, based on the assumption that Plato’s ‘years’ were Egyptian seasons (three per solar year). He perceived the remarkable megalithic temples on Malta & Gozo as the remnants of Atlantis and anticipated similar discoveries on Sicily.
In a paper delivered to the 2005 Atlantis Conference on Milos, Hausmann speculated that the famous cart-ruts of Malta were irrigation channels[629.356], ignoring the fact that they follow the natural undulations of the landscape, unless he thought that these Maltese Atlanteans found a way to make water flow uphill.
Hausmann has also followed the suggestion of the late Ulf Richter who argued that the linear measurements of Atlantis used the Egyptian khet (52m)as the unit of measurement rather than the Greek stade (175m).
Hausmann proposed that the survivors of the catastrophe migrated to Crete, Egypt and Syria where they provided the stimulus for the subsequent civilisations of Egypt, Minoan Crete and Sumer. He specifically identified the Phaistos Disk as possibly having been brought to Crete by Atlantean refugees and also presented a paper on this idea to the 2005 Atlantis Conference(c). He has written a number of books including a second volume more directly related to Atlantis, Atlantis – Die Versunkene Wiege der Kulturen (Atlantis-The Sunken Cradle of Culture).
*Hausmann has written a two-part paper entitled Atlantis war Sizilien (Atlantis is Sicily) available on the Atlantisforschung.de website(a)(b) . In it, he echoes my own view that it seems incredible that commentators place Atlantis in locations on every continent and ignore the only region that Plato unambiguously identified as Atlantean territory, namely the Central Mediterranean, from Southern Italy to North Africa (Crit. 114c & Tim. 25a/b).