Climate Change

Although a major issue today, climate change was substantially more of a problem to the ancients. Against popular belief it is not a man made issue but rather a result of the cycles of the Earth. The paradox is that the melting of the polar ice caps will lead to another ice age. Global warming is a man made problem but rather than being a cause of climate change, it is merely hastening the process. Mammoths have been found 'fast-frozen' in ice with tropical vegetation in their stomachs. This is a warning the next big freeze may well happen very rapidly, too rapid for us to prepare for it.

Exactly when the Atlantic Ocean breached the Mediterranean 'wall' between Africa and Europe is open to debate. It could have 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 millennia 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 or 'tipping points' would be felt globally but the Mediterranean was particularly vulnerable.

Map showing Europe and the Mediterranean at the end of the last Ice Age c.10000 BC

Going back 10,000 years to the end of the ice age would seem to be a logical place to start, yet there were globally significant deluges every few thousand years as the thaw gathered momentum. 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 (similar to the Biblical flood) and devastated Attica so badly there were no more kings until the reign of King Cecrops c.1556-1506 BC. Were this period 100 years we would be back at the familiar date of 1650 BC.

Plato in Laws, Book III, argues the Ogygian 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. For once Plato may have been accurate in his dates although there were so many deluges in the region it was hard to miss. In addition he probably arrived at the date knowing the date of the Atlantis story (which was placed 9,000 years before the time of Solon) would become a nonsense.

*Music occupied an important role in the Greek sacrificial ceremonies. The sarcophagus of Hagia Triada shows that the aulos (a double reeded wind instrument) was present during sacrifices as early as 1300 BC. Music was also used for initiation, worship, and religious celebration.

Plato writes in Critias:-

"...there has never been any considerable accumulation of the soil coming down from the mountains, as in other places, but the earth has fallen away all round and sunk out of sight. The consequence is, that in comparison of what then was, there are remaining only the bones of the wasted body, as they may be called, as in the case of small islands, all the richer and softer parts of the soil having fallen away, and the mere skeleton of the land being left."

This passage is often overlooked or wrongly attributed to the Greek mainland yet is a fitting reference to Aegeara and theislands of the Cyclades. There are two more flood legends from ancient Greece, those of Dardanus and Deucalion. Dardanus was the grandfather of Tros who in turn was the great grandfather of King Priam. Deucalion was the father of Hellen the progenitor of the Greek speaking peoples who gives us the historical eras known as the Helladic Periods.

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, the 'invasion' was simply an enforced evacuation of their homeland. The Athenians themselves were descendants of earlier migrants from the doomed Aegean landmass.

Pre-2000 BC the Aegean island home of Atlantis would have looked similar to the map below. 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 to higher ground, over-population became a huge problem with the land unable to sustain a large population.

The landmass of Aegeara pre-2000 BC. The surrounding coastlines would also have been extended but no allowance has been made for those

Aegeara was doomed from the start just as are many cities and areas today as sea-levels continue to rise. Many Aegearans began to evacuate the island long before the demise of Atlantis.