Monday, 22 February 2016

06. Bloody Weather!

Exactly when the Atlantic Ocean breached the Mediterranean 'wall' between Africa and Europe is open to debate. Personally I think it happened more than once due to the nature of the melt-down from the ice age. Sea-level rises fluctuated in their speed and volume. For centuries it may be slow and gradual, then for a variety of reasons there would a sudden rapid rise before once again slowing. The impact of these sudden spurts would be felt globally but the Mediterranean was particularly vulnerable.

Going back 10,000 years to the end of the ice age would seem to be a logical place to start looking for catastrophes, but in reality it would likely take a few thousand years before a thaw became globally significant. The Ogygian flood is eponymous with Ogyges a mythical king of Attica, other accounts have him as the king of Thebes. The name 'Ogyges' is synonymous with 'primeval' and 'earliest dawn', the Ogygian flood is said to have covered the whole world and devastated Attica until the reign of king Cecrops.

Plato stated in 'Laws' that this flood had occurred ten thousand years before his time, as opposed to only 'one or two thousand years that have elapsed' since the discovery of music, and other inventions. Again we have this numerological anomaly, but in this case it can be plausible whichever way you apply it.  It has to be considered that Plato may well have been inaccurate numerically with the Atlantis story as it came from Egypt. The same discrepancy is unlikely for stories of Greek origin as the system had changed by the time of Plato. In the Dialogue of Timaeus the texts report that many great deluges took place since that time. On this point I can broadly agree with Plato yet many choose to overlook it.

For our purposes we just need to find a Biblical proportioned deluge we can trace. We know most Great Deluge legends fall between 3200-2800 BC, but the Aegean area is somewhat unique due to location. Perhaps one most significant account of a great flood - to our story of Atlantis - happened around 2130 BCE, as mentioned by Marcus Terrentius Varro 116-27 BC. Varro was a Roman writer whom, in the Varronian Chronology, tried to give a year by year account of Roman history. Although not a fan of Roman 'historians', it is through him we can hypothesise about a now almost traceable Atlantis.

Zeus by all accounts, was an Olympian god was born from two Titans, as was Prometheus who was himself considered a Titan. It was Zeus who was alleged to have sent forth the flood of Deucalion, a type of event usually associated with Poseidon. It was of course natural phenomena and the genealogy of Deucalion is heavily flawed. As a consequence of this particular deluge, we see the first migrations to the eastern Mediterranean shorelines. A descendant of Prometheus through Deucalion, or in other versions Zeus, was Hellen the progenitor of the Greek speaking peoples. Hellen is associated with ancient Thessaly which is the location for both Mount Othrys - home of the Titans - and the city of Thebes.

From Hellen we get the Hellenes and Hellas, as recorded by Homer in the Iliad. This also gives the historical eras known as the Helladic Periods. In brief, they are as follows:-

Early Helladic Period 2900-2000 BC
Historians will tell you nomadic tribes chose to settle down in central and southern Greece, but they state their origin is a mystery. Once again this is due to not taking into account the Aegean landmass. They brought with them new methods of agriculture. Little is known other than they were fully integrated with indigenous Greek tribes around 2000 BC.

Middle Helladic Period 2000-1550 BC
The Middle Helladic Civilization saw a number of city-states beginning to emerge. More significance was placed on warriors and maritime trade. A social order developed in Greece. This period shows Minoan influence and moves into the Mycenaean era.

Later Helladic Period 1500-1100 BC
The Later Helladic Civilization was dominated by Mycenaean politics. The rich culture and traditions of this era gave rise to the Classical Greek legends. There is much speculation surrounding the decline of the Helladic Civilization which began the Greek Dark Ages, internal strife, invasion, or as I tend to think, a combination of both with a bit of natural disaster thrown in.

Our interest here is more with the offspring of Hellen, rather than Hellen himself. His sons were Aeolus, Dorus, and Xuthus. Xuthus had two sons Achaeus and Ion, although Ion was said to be the adoptive son of Apollo. From here we get Aeolus the progenitor of the Aeolians, Dorus the Dorians, Achaeus the Achaeans, and Ion the Ionians. We will look at these later but for the moment we recognise these as the ancient Greeks who are stated as Aegean in origin. One of the interesting things I find with accepted views of Atlantis, is how well the hypothesised shape fits nicely into our Aegean map. The only flaw being the map is for some reason upside down.

The dimensions and location leave something to be desired. This could be due to misinterpretation as otherwise it fits nicely, even to the central mountain (Naxos).

At this point I feel I should mention, it is my belief Solon,  Critias and / or Plato, begin to twist the story to their own ends (see Conspiracy). The problem most people have in interpreting Plato is knowing whether he is presenting fact or fiction. Indeed most are of the opinion it is one or the other. Even those who tend to share my belief it is a combination of the two, tend to guess wrong my opinion.

Being an advocate of Socrates didn't endear Plato to Athens and he would have felt the need to tread carefully. The purpose of the tale (implied by Socrates) was as a moral warning against corruption.

In the Timaeus Dialogue the Egyptian priest says to Solon:
'Many great and wonderful deeds are recorded of your state in our histories. But one of them exceeds all the rest in greatness and valour. For these histories tell of a mighty power which unprovoked made an expedition against the whole of Europe and Asia, and to which your city (Athens) put an end'

Plato suggested the Atlanteans tried to conquer the world such was their greed, but this is very unlikely, at least in the way Plato/Critias/Solon presents it. They were more technologically advanced and dominated trade, enforced evacuation was most likely the reason behind 'invasion'. Evidence also suggests they were on the whole accepted in the earlier migrations, even welcomed, due to the knowledge they brought with them. Pre-Deucalion the Aegean island home of Atlantis would have looked similar to the map below. The surrounding Aegean shore-lines would also have been extended but I made no adjustments for those. It is very relevant though.

Landmass - generally the most fertile land - was being lost all around the Mediterranean coasts. This caused people to move inland as pastures and agricultural land flooded. As the people moved inland, generally to less arable land, over-population became a huge problem.

At first the Atlanteans are living the good life, in every way. They traded and had everything they needed. The Atlanteans had 'slaves' of sorts but they were more farmers, builders, and those who tended to animals. They were well treated and well fed, sharing in the spoils a relatively advanced culture provided. In a modern context they would be considered working class but were treated far better than elitists treat the equivalent today. Legend has it that the island was divided up amongst the ten children of Poseidon, the eldest, Atlas, becoming the first king.

It is reasonable to assume the Titans (whoever they were) knew the increased flooding and volcanic activity on the Aegean landmass were likely to get worse. They may have abandoned the island during the first volcanic eruption, possibly on Milos, one of three known major eruptions to further devastate the island. Earthquakes and tsunamis were also prevalent at this time. An increase in tectonic activity over a 10 year period could well have given rise to the Titanomachy myth. 

Whilst there may well have been ructions between the Titans and Olympians it is unlikely - in my opinion - to have resulted in a war of epic proportions. In a nutshell the Titanomachy myth was purely a matter of bad weather.

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