All posts by Dhani Irwanto

About Dhani Irwanto

Dhani Irwanto is a hydro civil engineer and better known as a planner and an expert in hydrology, hydraulic structures, dams and hydropower, the profession involving inter-disciplinary that has lived for more than three decades. Apart from his professional life, he is also a researcher of the history of nations and civilizations, encouraged by the environment, social life, culture and traditions in the region where he grew up. His strong present in the internet has made him well known for his ideas on pre-history and ancient civilizations. Dhani Irwanto is the author of the books "Atlantis: The Lost City is in Java Sea" (2015), "Atlantis: Kota yang Hilang Ada di Laut Jawa" (2016), "Sundaland: Tracing the Cradle of Civilizations" (2019), Land of Punt: In Search of the Divine Land of the Egyptians (2019) and Taprobana: Classical Knowledge of an Island in the Opposite-Earth (2019). Dhani Irwanto was born in Yogyakarta, Indonesia in 1962. He is currently an owner and director of a consulting firm located in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia.

The Land of Ophir is in Sumatera

A research by Dhani Irwanto

The renowned maritime skills of the Phoenicians amazed King Solomon (973 – 33 BCE) that he asked the King of Tyre to send him Phoenician carpenters and veteran sailors to join his fleet to the Land of Ophir in 945 BCE (Kings 1:9-26). There is no exact certainty though about the location of the Land of Ophir. The geographical location of Ophir is described in exactly the same way as the Land of Punt. Both countries lie “far away, to the south-east”; the ships set sail from a port on the Red Sea and the round voyage lasts three years. The goods brought from Ophir are more or less the same as those the Egyptians brought from Punt and their other ports. King Solomon received a cargo of gold, silver, “algum wood”, precious stones, ivory, apes and peacocks every three years.

In pre-Islamic literature, Ophir is mentioned in the three pre-Islamic Arabic and Ethiopic sources: The Kitab-al- Magall, the Cave of Treasure, and the Conflict of Adam and Eve with Satan. The Kitab al-Magall states that in the days of Reu, a king of Saba (Sheba) named “Pharoah” annexed Ophir and Havilah to his kingdom, and “built Ophir with stones of gold, for the stones of its mountains are pure gold”. The existence of the biblical Eldorado of the Land of Ophir (I Kings 10:11, II Chronicles 9:21) is believed to be the final destination of the Lost Tribes of Israel. In Genesis 10 (the Table of Nations) is said to be the name of one of the sons of Joktan. Joktan or Yoktan was the second of the two sons of Eber, the great grandson of Shem – the son of Noah.

Onycha is one of the components of the consecrated Ketoret (incense) which appears in the Torah Book of Exodus (Exodus 30:34-36) and was used in the Jerusalem’s Solomon Temple. The internationally renowned Bible scholar Bochart stated, at one point in his research, that onycha was actually benzoin, a gum-resin from the Styrax sp (Abrahams 1979), which is likely imported from Sumatera. Styrax benzoin was available via import to the biblical lands during the Old Testament era.

A passage may be cited from Josephus in his Antiquity of the Jews (93/94 CE) in speaking of the pilots furnished to Solomon by Hiram of Tyre. Solomon gave his command that they should go along with his stewards to the land that previously called Ophir, but then the Aurea Chersonesus identified by the author as a region in western Sumatera named Tanjungemas renowned in the ancient times for its gold mines, to fetch gold. From this he makes a definite statement, that Ophir and the Aurea Chersonesus are one. The 16th to 17th century maps mention Mount Ophir, which is the present-day Mount Talamau, located about 100 kilometers (62 miles) northwest of Tanjungemas. The name Ophir was still in use until the Dutch colonial era to name a district which is now in the Pasaman Regency, West Sumatera Province. These are other evidence that Ophir is located in Sumatera.

The author concludes that the location of the Land of Ophir is the same as the Land of Punt or in the adjacent areas. Both locations concerned the Egyptian and Near Eastern kings because of their richness of precious metals, wood, precious stones, fragrances, animals and forest products. As the Land of Punt is the ancestral land of the Egyptians, the same thing can be applied to the Land of Ophir. The memories recorded in the Egyptian and biblical documentations are allegedly sourced from the Land of Punt, or the Land of Ophir, which is Sumatera.

Sumatera was known in the ancient time for producing gold, cinnamon, incense, camphor, spices and woods. Among those things, its flourishing gold mining industry is the most renowned so that Sumatera was referred to as Aurea Chersonesus, Chryse Insula, Aurea Insula, Suvarnabhumi, Suvarnadvipa, Ophir and Punt.

In the early centuries CE, Indians and Westerners called Southeast Asia the “Land of Gold”, and it was not long thereafter that the region became known for its pepper and the products of its rainforests, first aromatic woods and resins, and then the finest and rarest of spices. Terms of “Silk Route”, “Gold Route”, “Incense Route”, “Ivory Route”, “Cinnamon Route” and “Spice Route” among others were created referring to routes to East and Southeast Asia. From the 7th to the 10th centuries Arabs and Chinese thought of Southeast Asia’s gold, as well as the spices that created it; by the 15th century sailors from ports on the Atlantic, at the opposite side of the hemisphere, would sail into unknown oceans in order to find these Spice Islands. They all knew that Southeast Asia was the spice capital of the world. From roughly 1000 CE until the nineteenth-century ‘industrial age’, all world trade was more or less governed by the ebb and flow of spices in and out of Southeast Asia.

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The Phoenicians

A research by Dhani Irwanto

The Phoenicians was an ancient civilization composed of independent city-states which lay along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea stretching through what is now Syria, Lebanon and northern Israel, though some colonies later reached the Western Mediterranean and even the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, the most famous being Carthage. All were fiercely independent, rival cities and, unlike the neighboring inland states, the Phoenicians represented a confederation of maritime traders rather than a defined country. Phoenician city-states began to take form ca 3200 BCE and were firmly established by ca 2750 BCE. Phoenicia thrived as a maritime trader and manufacturing center from ca 1500 – 330 BCE and was highly regarded for their skill in ship-building, glass-making, the production of dyes and an impressive level of skill in the manufacture of luxury and common goods. As Egyptian and Near Eastern documents record, the Late Bronze Age (ca 1600 – 1200 BCE) was a time of economic prosperity for these trading centers. With the decline of Egyptian influence about 1200 BCE, the cities were freed from foreign domination. The ultimate collapse of Egyptian power in the region occurred about 1175 BCE at the hands of the Sea Peoples, of whom the best known are the Philistines. By the late 8th century BCE, the Phoenicians, alongside the Greeks, had founded trading posts around the entire Mediterranean. Sea traders from Phoenicia and Carthage (a Phoenician colony traditionally founded in 814 BCE) even ventured beyond the Strait of Gibraltar as far as Britain in search of tin.

Figure 1 – Trade routes of the Phoenicians

For more than a thousand years, the Phoenicians sailed under different flags in the Mediterranean, the Atlantic, the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean. The first recorded appearance of the Phoenicians in the Indian Ocean is connected with the establishment of the port of Ezion-Geber in 950 BCE. It is also possible for them to sail by their own trading expeditions since they knew about the benefits of sailing to the Far East. There is no doubt they were capable of crossing vast oceans using currents and winds.

The Phoenicians were famed in Classical Greece and Rome as “traders in purple”, referring to their monopoly on the precious purple dye of the murex snail, used, among other things, for royal clothing, and for the spread of their alphabet. The trade of precious commodity also involved precious gems, where rubies and diamonds were first cut and polished in India (Greater India, including Southeast Asia). The most credible scholars knew that the Phoenicians were very secretive with the sources of their trading empire. The source of the materials and the recipe for the preparation of the dye solution are still in mystery.

The main natural resources of the Phoenician cities in the eastern Mediterranean were the prized cedars of Lebanon. Phoenician artisans were skilled in wood, ivory, and metalworking, as well as textile production. The Phoenicians used the cedar of Lebanon for building commercial and military ships, as well as houses, palaces and temples. There is no evidence of ancient cedar forests in Lebanon; the current cedar trees could very well have been transplanted from elsewhere during ancient times. Other than that, the stories of tin credibly involve the Phoenician. The mystery still remains as to where the Phoenicians truly arose from, certainly not from the Mediterranean region because there is no story about it. There is no history of Indian sailors trading on the open seas; for they were better known as brokers or middlemen for the sake of logistics. The secretive of the Phoenicians makes unanswered question from where the Phoenicians arose.

The oldest attested form of the name Phoenicia is the Mycenaean po-ni-ki-jo. Po-ni-ki, ultimately borrowed from Ancient Egyptian fnḫw (fenkhu) meaning “Asiatics, Semites”. Herodotus’ account (written ca 440 BCE) refers to the myths of Io and Europa (History, I:1):

According to the Persians best informed in history, the Phoenicians began the quarrel. These people, who had formerly dwelt on the shores of the Erythraean Sea, having migrated to the Mediterranean and settled in the parts which they now inhabit, began at once, they say, to adventure on long voyages, freighting their vessels with the wares of Egypt and Assyria …”

The Indian Ocean was formerly named the Erythraean Sea (Herodotus, Dicaearchus, Eratosthenes, Posidonius and Strabo), where the Phoenicians formerly dwelt and need long voyages to migrate to the Mediterranean. Implicit in this account is that the Phoenicians were originated from the “East” or “Asiatic” at the shore of the Indian Ocean.

Velikovsky (2006) relates the name Phoenicia to pontifex, which means “high priest”. The word “pontiff” is not of Latin origin. It is not derived from “pons”, but probably from “Punt”. When it is said that Hatshepsut, after visiting Punt, built a “punt” for the god Amon, this means a sacred place of worship. By erecting a “punt” in Egypt, Hatshepsut also introduced the institution of the high priest, copying the service of the temple in Jerusalem, built on a Phoenician model.

Solomon’s alliance with Hiram, the king of the Phoenicians, explains the strong Phoenician influence in the life of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel. This influence is stressed in the scriptures in the story of the erection of the temple, built with the help of Hiram, who provided Solomon with building material and with the chief craftsman, a man of Hebrew-Phoenician origin (I Kings 7:13-14). Also the common expedition to Ophir and the peaceful transfer of territory from the domain of one king to that of the other (I Kings 9:11) might have brought it about that the whole of Palestine at that time was called Phoenicia. It is very likely that the Egyptian expeditions to the Land of Punt at the later period were also by the help of the Phoenicians.

Perhaps the most significant contribution of the Phoenicians was an alphabetic writing system that became the root of the Western alphabets. Linguistic and alphabet studies of the Rejangese culture conducted by among others Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles (1817), J Park Harrison (1896), EEEG Schroder (1927) and MA Jaspen (1983) show some correlations to the ancient Phoenician and Egyptian. The author makes comparisons among the three main groups of the southern Sumateran scripts: Rencong (or Ancung) in Kerinci, Rejang in Bengkulu and Lampung in southern Sumatera, and the Proto-Egyptian and Proto-Sinaitic (Old Phoenician) as shown in Table 1 (Irwanto 2015). Also shown the Brahmin-influenced scripts, Ugarit and the modern Latin.

Table 1 – Ancient Phoenician-Nusantara-Indian alphabet correspondences

As we can see from the comparison, the Lampung, Rejang and Rencong closely resemble the Phoenician’s Proto-Sinaitic rather than the Indian’s Brahmi. These three regions of Sumatera were very little influenced by Indian culture in the past. The Phoenician alphabet was derived from Egyptian hieroglyphics and became one of the most widely used writing systems, spread by Phoenician merchants across the Mediterranean world, where it evolved and was assimilated by many other cultures.

Jones-Gregorio in 1994 made a study for his thesis about Egyptian and West Semitic words in the Rejangese culture base on Jaspen’s Rejang dictionary. He concludes that many of the Rejangese words seem to be unquestionably ancient Egyptian and Phoenician.

From the genetic studies, most of the descendant lineages of haplogroup K2, also known as K-M526, are located today in Southeast Asia and Oceania (Karafet et al 2014). Ancient members of haplogroup K2, M70, dispersed across the Mediterranean world. They traveled west along the coast of North Africa and also along Mediterranean coastline of southern Europe. These movements suggest an intriguing possibility that the M70 marker may have been carried by the Phoenicians (Spencer Wells 2007).

The origins of the Egyptians as well as the Phoenicians are probably the Land of Punt, viz Sumatera. We could speculate that the Egyptians were the earlier Puntites and the Phoenicians the later. During the Late Period much of Egyptian trade was in the hands of the Phoenicians and Greeks. A long history of contacts with the Egyptians made the Puntites (or the Sumaterans) learned from the Egyptians how to voyage and to trade luxurious goods of their products. It is natural that the producers always keen to sell their products directly to the costumers to gain their own profit. They allegedly had a cooperation with the Buginese in Sulawesi to build the ship. Buginese traders were frequently visited Bengkulu and Enggano Island in the ancient times for the trading of supreme quality coconuts (Helfrich 1891). The Rejangese alphabet is also related to the Buginese. The Buginese has the pinisi ship – phonetically in close resemblance with the name “Phoenicia” – which has been proven tough to sail the vast oceans.

The abundance of wood with high quality in Sumatera could probably facilitate them to build more sophisticated ships than those of the Egyptians. The source of goods to trade, ie murex snail, incense, precious gems and cedar wood among others are typical of the Southeast Asian origins. Perhaps, these Puntites who had managed to do this trade were then called the Phoenicians, from the roots “Punt”, “Pwene” or “pinisi”. To have the monopoly of the Asian traded goods in the Mediterranean, the Phoenicians kept the secrecy of the sources until in the 18th century the Dutch and the British managed to explore the resources in great amount. The Indian Ocean coastal people of Sumatera as well as the Buginese are renowned for their proficiency in trade. Their legends and songs also tell stories about oversea trading (merantau, “to wander about”). The Buginese along with the Barito Dayak in Kalimantan are traced to have relationships to the Malagasy in the antiquity.

Also, a long history of contacts with the Egyptians made the Puntites learn hieroglyphic writing, but then developed it further to become an alphabetic script. The Lampung, Rejang, Rencong and Bugis alphabets are the legacies of this script as has been discussed above.

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Pyramids Building

A research by Dhani Irwanto

A pyramid is a structure whose outer surfaces are triangular and converge to a single point at the top, making the shape roughly a pyramid in the geometric sense. A step pyramid is an architectural structure that uses flat platforms, or steps, receding from the ground up, to achieve a completed shape similar to a geometric pyramid. Step pyramids are structures which characterized several cultures throughout history, in several locations throughout the world. These pyramids are typically large and made of several layers of stone.

As well as menhirs, stone tables, and stone statues, Austronesian megalithic culture in the archipelago also featured earth-and-stone step pyramid structure, referred to as punden berundak, regarded as one of the characteristics of the original culture of the archipelago. These structures have been found and spread throughout the archipelago as far as Polynesia. Most of them are found in the island of Java. Gunungpadang is the biggest and the oldest earth-and-stone step pyramid structure dated ca 25,000 years ago or older (Natawidjaja 2013). The Sukuh and Cetho temples in Central Java (dates are debated) show the Austronesian indigenous elements of step pyramid that somewhat resemble the Mesoamerican pyramids. The huge Borobudur temple is the largest Buddhist temple in the world, which allegedly built on the previous earth-and-stone step pyramid. The construction of stone pyramids was based on the native belief that mountains and other high places are the abode of the spirits of the ancestors, or the most ideal pilgrimage places to worship them. They feel the need for pilgrimages, in addition to worship, in a belief that the ancestral spirits can solve their everyday life problems.

Spread of step pyramids in Southeast Asia

The earth-and-stone step pyramids were normally built on natural or manmade mounds, hills or hillsides. As the civilizations were developing, they built larger pyramids so that more stones were required. The majority of the weight are closer to the ground and material higher up on the pyramid will be pushing down from above. The stones could pose problems on the strength of the earth to hold the weight – a case that has been observed at Borobudur temple. Therefore, pyramids with heavier stone weight pushing on the earth fill are observed to have less earth fill or even without it. This design allowed early civilizations to create stable monumental structures. Dry stones were used in the construction where minimum human work are required.

Pyramids have been built by civilizations in many parts of the world. For thousands of years, the largest structures on Earth were pyramids. They spread from Egypt to America, that emerged separately from one another by oceans who supposedly never discovered each other’s existence. There are no firmly established connections between the different civilizations that built them, but their similarities show that they sprang from a common origin. In South and Southeast Asia, architectural elements were added on the terraced plinths of the pyramids, including multiple tower shrines. They gradually transformed into temples that mostly influenced by the Hindu and Buddhist architecture. Some of the temples retain their pyramidal form, such as Gangaikondachola-puram, Thanjavur, Airavatesvara and Srirangam temples in India; Prasat Thom temple in Cambodia; and Borobudur, Sukuh and Cetho temples in Indonesia. Balinese puras are also in the form of earth-and-stone step pyramids, that are vigorously fantastical, with gilt paint and colored glass.

Development of pyramid building

In Mesopotamia, the Sumerians, Babylonians, Elamites, Akkadians and Assyrians built the earliest pyramidal structures, called ziggurats, began near the end of the Early Dynastic Period. They were constructed of sun-dried mud-brick so that little remains of them. The ziggurat was a pyramidal structure with a flat top, built in receding tiers upon a rectangular, oval or square platform. They probably had shrines at the top with the access would have been by a series of ramps on one side of the ziggurat or by a spiral ramp from base to summit.

The Egyptian pyramids are huge structures built of brick or stone, shaped as a reference to the rays of the sun. They began building pyramids after 2700 BCE until about 1700 BCE. The first pyramid was built during the Third Dynasty by king Djoser and his architect Imhotep, as a step pyramid by stacking six mastabas (rectangular, flat-roofed ancient Egyptian tomb). The largest pyramids are the pyramids at Giza (2575 – 2150 BCE).

In Mesoamerica, such as the Aztecs, Maya, Purépechans, Teotihuacans and Toltec built pyramids from around 1000 BCE up until the time of the Spanish conquest in the early 16th century. The Mesoamerican pyramids were usually stepped, with temples on top, more similar to the Mesopotamian ziggurat. These are usually made out of stone and mortar but some of the earliest may have been made out of clay. The largest pyramid by volume is the pyramid of Cholula in Mexico.

Other civilizations also built pyramid-shaped structures in the past. There are many square flat-topped mound tombs in China, most of which are ancient mausoleums and burial mounds built to house the remains of several early emperors of China and their imperial relatives. Many native American societies of ancient North America built large pyramidal earth structures known as platform mounds. Andean cultures in Peru had used pyramids in various architectural structures. The Nubian in Sudan built steep-angled pyramids at three sites to serve as tombs for the kings and queens of Napata and Meroë. The Igbo culture in Nigeria built three clay or mud pyramids structures. Two pyramid-like structures are found in Greece, one at Hellenikon and the other at Ligourio. A Greek traveler and geographer Pausanias (2nd century CE) mentions two buildings resembling pyramids in Greece, but neither of these still survive. In the district of Chacona, Spain, six rectangular pyramid-shaped, terraced structures, referred to as the Pyramids of Güímar, are found.

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Copyright © Dhani Irwanto, 2019. All rights reserved.

Nusasura: The Atlantis Island?

<Bahasa Indonesia>

A research by Dhani Irwanto, 1 June 2018

In 2017, I visited an island in the middle of the Java Sea, namely the Bawean Island, to deliver a presentation about the island’s connection with Atlantis. I spent a few days there, wandering around the tiny island to observe and talk to every resident I met. There is an interesting thing that I got when talking with them. Some people told a legend about the existence of a mysterious island located on the north of the island, in the middle of the Java Sea, which is now drowned. They also told about the frequent occurrence of fishing boats or vessels that ran aground or lost when sailing near the mysterious island.

After returning from the island, I thought about opening up the old maps composed by geographers from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. After I observed, many maps show the existence of an island located in the northeast of the Bawean Island, with various names such as Nusasua, Nisasira, Nusasira and Nisaira (see attached maps). Then I interpreted the names into Nusasura in the Austronesian language group. Is Nusasura the Island of Atlantis?

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In a research published in 2015, I undertook a hypothesis of the island of Atlantis, where there is the capital city of the kingdom of Atlantis, that is located on the northeast of the Bawean Island. The island is now drowned and overgrown by a coral reef named Gosong Gia or Annie Florence Reef. This coral reef was mapped in detail using multi-beam echosounder some time ago. From the pattern of the coral reef, the structure of the city and its dimensions narrated by Plato can still be seen. The location of the coral reef is more or less the same as the Nusasura shown on the above maps. Please note that the authors of the maps were informed by European sailors who sailed in the Java Sea. The sailors obtained the information about the islands in the Java Sea from the local residents or sailors, who probably also told of the mysterious island and then it was described by the European sailors.

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Gosong Gia 05

Furthermore, I also observed the ancient records contained in Egypt. From here I obtained a word that sounds like Nusasura, Neserser. In the mythology of the Ancient Egyptians, the island and the lake of Neserser, “the island and the lake of flames” (in the volcanic region) where Osiris and Thoth came from, is often mentioned in their myths. As described in the Papyrus of Nu (in the Book of Dead), the myth tells that Osiris has his throne on the island of Neserser in the center of six or seven concentric circles with a gate at each and they are all in the “lake” of Neserser. The concentric circles were built for Ra by the dwellers of the lake. Thoth had his lands around the lake and he visited Osiris on the island. There was a great flood in the lake of Neserser and somehow these circles of Ra became hidden.

As written in many tomb texts from the Middle Kingdom and the Second Intermediate Periods in the Ancient Egypt, in the concepts of the divinities and the deceased, the Neserser island is a heaven-like place, a place where judgement is passed and the deceased is reborn equipped with a status (god or common being). The Hetep-fields is a kind of paradise under the supervision of the god Hetep with whom the deceased identifies himself, and where he leads the happy life reserved for the privileged. In the concept, Osiris, Horus and Thoth were given the status of gods or ancestral divinities.

The description of Neserser is resemblant to the story of Atlantis.

  • Six or seven concentric circles were built for Ra on the island of Neserser, conforming to the Atlantis’ four circles of lands (including the central land) and three circles of water, built by the god Poseidon.
  • Either Osiris or Atlas have their thrones on the central lands.
  • The lake of Neserser is conforming to the almost closed sea around the Atlantis capital island. Plato describes the sea as a water with a mouth to the outer sea, thus arbitrarily can be called a lake. As described above, I made a hypothesis in 2015 that the sea is the ancient Java Sea where it had only one outlet.
  • There was a great flood in the lake of Neserser which devastated the island of Neserser, and then it was hidden. This is also in conformity with the descriptions about the destruction of Atlantis.

Again, a sound-like word of Nusasura, Nisir, is also found on the Mesopotamian clay tablets, the name of a sea where Gilgamesh sets out on a series of journeys to search for his ancestor Utnapishtim that has been given eternal life. In 2016, I made a hypothesis that the Epic of Gilgamesh fit the conditions in Indonesia, from the descriptions such as full of noisy birds and cicadas, and monkeys scream and yell in the trees.

Nusasura could have come from the words “nusa” and “asura”, meaning the island of the Asuras. Asuras (also known as Suras and Asuryas) in the dharmic mythology are a class of divine beings or power-seeking deities. Asuras are described as powerful superhuman demigods with good or bad qualities. The good Asuras are called Adityas and are led by Baruna, while the malevolent ones are called Danavas and are led by Vritra. In later Vedic and post-Vedic texts, the benevolent gods are called Devas, while malevolent Asuras compete against these Devas and are considered “enemy of the gods”. In the above Atlantis hypothesis, I made an analogy of the god Baruna with Poseidon, the founder of Atlantis.

The term Asura is linguistically related to the Ahuras of Indo-Iranian people and pre-Zoroastrianism era. In both religions, Ahura, Vouruna and Daeva of pre-Zoroastrianism (Asura, Baruna and Deva of Dharmism) are found, but their roles are on opposite sides. That is, Ahura evolves to represent the good in pre-Zoroastrianism, while Asura evolves to represent the bad in Vedic religion, while Daeva evolves to represent the bad in pre-Zoroastrianism, while Deva evolves to represent the good in Vedic religion. This contrasting roles have led some scholars to deduce that there may have been wars in proto-Indo-European communities, and their gods and demons evolved to reflect their differences. In the Atlantis context, there was a war between Atlantis and “the Athens” (a borrowed name). The Asuras/Ahuras could be analogous to the Atlantean while the Devas/Daevas were “the Athenian”.

Please notice also the linguistic resemblance between Asura and Osiris in the above ancient records of Egypt. Osiris or Atlas have their thrones on the central lands. Note that Osiris was originally the god of water and vegetation. Therefore we can speculate that Asura, Osiris and Atlas are the same person. The name Atlantis was derived from Atlas, Neserser from Osiris and therefore Nusasura from Asura.

Phonetically, Asura is similar to Ashur, the chief god of the Assyrian pantheon, god of military prowess and empire, and namesake of the Assyrian Empire. Some scholars have claimed that Ashur was represented as the winged sun that appears frequently in Assyrian iconography. One variation contain a winged disc with horns, enclosing four circles revolving round a middle circle. The Zoroastrian’s Ahura also have similar representation. From the characters he owns, that are powerful, mighty and has the symbol of solar disc, Ashur could be the association of Asura in the Mesopotamian culture. The circles inside the disc have similar configuration with the land-and-water circles of Atlantis.

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Copyright © Dhani Irwanto, 2018. All rights reserved.

Aurea Chersonesus is in Sumatera

<Bahasa Indonesia>

A research by Dhani Irwanto, 8 June 2017

The 2nd century Ptolemy’s Geographia, based on the work by Marinus of Tyre a century earlier, contains a region named Aurea Chersonesus, meaning the Golden Peninsula in Latin (Χρυσῆ Χερσόνησος, Chrysḗ Chersónēsos in Ancient Greek). The Aurea Chersonesus is also shown on the mappa mundi of Andreas Walsperger, made in Constance around 1448.

It is not known if Ptolemy had any maps in his original Geographia. In any case, Renaissance scholars managed to reconstitute a series of maps from the tables of locations compiled in Geographia. The earliest surviving maps of these works came from the end of the 13th century. The first printed edition of Geographia with the reconstituted maps was published in Rome in 1477, thereby becoming the first ever printed atlas of the world. Ptolemy, like many early geographers, believed the Indian Ocean to be a closed sea and maps based on Ptolemy’s work show Aurea Chersonesus to be located within a closed basin, though by the 8th century, Arab geographers were aware that the idea of the Indian Ocean as a close basin was mistaken.

The series of maps contain twelve maps on Asia, in which the eleventh map (hence the name Undecima Asiae Tabula) depicts India Extra Gangem (India beyond the Ganges River) and Sinae (China). There is a region on the map labeled Aurea Chersonesus. As the name implies, the Renaissance mapmakers drew the region as a promontory protruding from the land labeled India Extra Gangem, and Barussae – a renowned port town of Barus in the western coast of Sumatera – is plotted as a group of small islands even though Ptolemy writes it as a cannibalist common place (quinw). Aurea Chersonesus is then typically acknowledged to be the Malay Peninsula. However, the author argues that Aurea Chersonesus is a place in western Sumatera called Tanjungemas renowned for its gold mines in the ancient time, as discussed below.

The names and coordinates of various geographical features and settlements of the Aurea Chersonesus are given in Ptolemy’s Geographia, including towns and rivers. Ptolemy’s views concerning the geography of southeastern Asia was derived mainly from the works of his predecessor Marinus of Tyre, who had quoted the knowledge from the sailor Alexander who had visited Aurea Chersonesus. Of course, we can not expect a good accuracy of the coordinates because of the method of their measurements and most of them are derived from the information without knowing the exact locations. The latitudes of the places around the Aurea Chersonesus are only a few degrees from the equator, either south or north, or considering the method for measuring the latitudes in the time, it can be generally said that the region is in the proximity of the equator. Ptolemy could have been confused with the north or south latitudes of the places since he knew only the maximum hours of the day.

There is a region in Sumatera named Tanjungemas, literally means the Golden Peninsula, now the name of a district in Tanahdatar Regency in the West Sumatera Province of Indonesia. The region is in the latitudes of between 0º 24” and 0º 33” south of the equator, so that it is in the proximity of the equator. The region is renowned for its gold mining in the ancient time and supposedly located in the land of origin of the Malays. Its location is in the upper Batanghari and Inderagiri Rivers where the miners allegedly use them to transport the product to the eastern coast of Sumatera.

Location of Tanjungemas

Figure 1 – Location of Tanjungemas

The region was in the proximity of the capital city of Malayapura Kingdom (Letter Kingdom of Malay, also known as Pagaruyung Kingdom) founded by Adityawarman and presided over the central Sumatera region between 1347 and 1375, most likely to control the local gold trade. A Portuguese Tomé Pires in Suma Oriental mentions a gold-rich area referring to this region in some time between 1513 and 1515. The first European to enter the region was Thomas Dias, a Portuguese employed by the Dutch governor of Malaka, who travelled from the east coast to reach the region in 1684. The primary local occupations at the time were gold panning and agriculture, he reported. The British Governor-General of Bencoolen Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles visited Pagaruyung in 1818, reaching it from the west coast.

Assuming that Tanjungemas is supposedly the Golden Chersonesus, the author identifies various geographical features and their coordinates mentioned in the Geographia written by Ptolemy. Marinus apparently obtained the information from three separate notes of the regions, those are the mining, the eastern coast, and the piracy prone regions, that made Ptolemy to plot them in different scale because of the inaccuracy of the data, and to give exaggeration on the mining region. Hence, three separate identifications are made, as follow.

The region of Aurea Chersonesus contains places names, a trading place (emporium), rivers (fluvius) and promontories (promont). The plot of their coordinates given by Ptolemy are shown on Figure 2.

  1. Balonca, place → Batusangkar

Batusangkar is the capital of the Tanah Datar Regency in West Sumatera Province, known as “the city of culture”. The town is near the former seat of the Minangkabau royalty established by Adityawarman, the king of Malayapura (Letter Kingdom of Malay) in Pagaruyung in the 13th century, represented by the reconstructed Pagaruyung Palace. The town has the richest stone inscriptions in Sumatera left by Adityavarman. There was a Dutch outpost in the town established during the Padri War (1821 – 1837) known as Fort van der Capellen, built between 1822 and 1826.

  1. Tacola, emporium (trading place) → Tikalak, Singkarak

Singkarak is a district in the Solok Regency of West Sumatera Province, located on the shore of Lake Singakarak. Tikalak is a village near the main settlement of Singkarak District, also on the shore of Lake Singkarak. Ptolemy mentions that the maximum hours of the day at Tacola is 12¼ or about 0º 50’ in latitude. Singkarak and Tikalak have latitudes of about 0º 40’ south of equator.

  1. Cocconagara, place → Nagari Solok

Solok, or previously known as Nagari Solok, is a town in the Solok Regency of West Sumatera Province.

  1. Palanda, fluvius (river), place → Batang Lunto, Sawahlunto

The names of Batang Lunto and Sawahlunto apparently came from the root name Lunto, a place in the bank of the junction of Ombilin River and Batang Lunto River. Batang Lunto (batang means “river”) is a tributary of Ombilin River where supposedly irrigate the surrounding rice fields, hence named Sawahlunto (sawah means “rice field”).

Sawahlunto is one of the mining towns in West Sumatera. It was first established as a town in 1882 by the Dutch along with coal mining operations. Coal was discovered in the mid-19th century by a Dutch geologist De Greve. Sawahlunto was a regency and is now a town in the West Sumatera Province.

  1. Chrysoana/Chrysoanu, fluvius (river) → Sungaimas, Selo River and upper Ombilin River

Chryse in Greek means “gold” and soana is allegedly from sungai, means “river”, hence Chrysoana means the Golden River. The western side of Tanjungemas is bordered by Selo River, and a segment of Ombilin River between its junctions with the Batang Lunto and Selo River. These rivers were apparently named Sungai Emas, meaning “Golden River”, as the name is bore by a village named Sungaimas (also meaning “Golden River”) located on the bank of the Selo River near the town of Batusangkar.

  1. Tharra, place → Muara

Muara or later known as Muara Sijunjung is a capital town of Sijunjung Regency, West Sumatera Province, located on the bank of Kuantan River where it branches out into three rivers in the town. It was allegedly the entry point to navigate to Tanjungemas after the land route from the last navigation point in the upper Batanghari River at Padangroco, mentioned by Ptolemy as Attibam fluvius (river).

  1. Attibam, fluvius (river); Sarabes, estuary → upper Batanghari River; Muarasabak

Ptolemy writes that there was a separate river apart from the Chrysoanu fluvius (Selo and upper Ombilin Rivers) and the Palandas fluvius (Batang Lunto River) around the region of Aurea Chersonesus (Tanjungemas) named Attibam fluvius, geographically located south of Tharra (Muara Sijunjung). This river is apparently the upper Batanghari River (see Attaba fluvius hereafter) at around Padangroco. Furthermore, he writes that it was a part of a large river flowing southeastward (the Batanghari River) which emptied at Sarabes (Muarasabak, see Zabaæ and Attaba fluvius hereafter).

Archaeological records show that people accessed Tanjungemas through Batanghari river as it was more navigable than the adjacent Inderagiri River. The uppermost point of the navigation was at Padangroco, allegedly a resting place – where later on Adityawarman built some temples in this area – before continuing through a land route to Muara Sijunjung. The estuary of the Batanghari River on the eastern coast of Sumatera, known as Muarasabak, then developed into a busy trading port, the center of the 7th century Malayu Kingdom (Earlier Kingdom of Malay) and the center of the Buddhist education, as evidenced by archaeological records, inscriptions and chronicles of the Indians, Chinese and Arabs.

  1. Promontorium (promontory) → promontories on the coast of Lake Singkarak

Ptolemy mentions two promontories around the Aurea Cheersonesus region. They apparently the place names prefixed with “tanjung” (means “promontory”) along the eastern coast of Lake Singkarak, such as Tanjungbatutebal, Tanjungbuluh, Tanjungaur, Tanjungtabing and Tanjungmuara.

Tanjungemas 1a

Figure 2 – Places in the region of Tanjungemas. Inset is the plot of places given by Ptolemy with his coordinate system. Numbers are related to the explanations in the text.

The region of the eastern coast consists of place names, a river (fluvius), a bay (sinus), a social body (civitas) and a trading place (emporium). The plot of their coordinates given by Ptolemy are shown on Figure 3.

  1. Perimula, place; Perimulicus, sinus (bay) → Berhala Island, Bay/Strait of Berhala

Berhala  is now the names of a strait and a bay, and two small islands off the eastern coast of Sumatera near the city of Jambi.

  1. Coli, civitas (social body of citizens) → Kuala, Kualatungkal

There are several places named with a prefix Kuala (means “estuary”) on the coast of Berhala Bay. The most prominent one is Kualatungkal, which is an ancient town mostly occupied by the Banjar people from Kalimantan.

  1. Attaba, fluvius (river) → Batang Sabak, Batanghari River

There is a delta at the estuary of Batanghari River named Muarasabak, meaning the estuary of Sabak. It implies that the Batanghari River was previously called Batang Sabak (batang means “river”). See also Zabæ hereafter.

  1. Maleucolon, promontorium (promontory) → Sungailokan, Tanjung Jabung

Tanjung Jabung (tanjung means “promontory”) is a promontory at the eastern coat of Sumatera which ends the Berhala Bay (Perimulicus sinus) on the south. There is a village there named Sungailokan.

  1. Sabana, emporium (trading place) → Jambi city, also see Sobani fluvius hereafter

Jambi is the capital city of Jambi Province located on the eastern coast of central Sumatera on the bank of Batanghari River. It was the site of the Srivijaya Empire that engaged in trade throughout the Strait of Malaka and beyond. Jambi succeeded Palembang, its southern economic and military rival, as the capital of the kingdom. The movement of the capital to Jambi was partly induced by the 1025 raid by pirates from the Chola region of southern India, which destroyed much of Palembang.

The Jambi provincial administration is striving to have the ancient Muarojambi temple site at Muarojambi village not so far from the city of Jambi, recognized as a world heritage site. The site was a Buddhist education center that flourished during the 7th and 8th centuries and the temples are made from bricks similar to those used in Buddhist temples in India. The Nalanda inscription (860 CE) talks about king Devapaladeva of Bengala (Pala Empire) who had granted the request of Sri Maharaja of Suvarnadvipa  (Sumatera), Balaputra, to build a Buddhist monastery at Nalanda (present day Bihar state of Northeastern India).

Jambi is mentioned in Chinese chronicles in the era of Sung Dynasty as Chan-pi (Slamet Muljana, 2006). The history of the Sung Dynasty describes that the king of San-fo-tsi (Suvarnabhumi , “the Land of Gold”) resided in Chan-pi. The messenger from Chan-pi came for the first time at the Emperor’s palace in 853 CE. The second messenger came also in 871 CE. This information incarnates that Chan-pi has appeared confined to China in those years. A Chinese chronicle by Ling Pio Lui (890 – 905 CE) also mentions Chan-pi to send a trade mission to China. Earlier from a Tang Chinese monk, Yijing, wrote that he visited the Buddhist education center in 671 CE for six months to learn Sanskrit grammar and Malay language. In the year 687 CE, he stopped in again on his way back to Tang China and stayed there for two years to translate original Sanskrit Buddhist scriptures into Chinese. He describes that the place was a center of Buddhism where foreign scholars gathered.

Tanjungemas 2a

Figure 3 – Places in the region of eastern coast. Inset is the plot of places given by Ptolemy with his coordinate system. Numbers are related to the explanations in the text.

The piracy prone regions consist of place names, rivers (fluvius), a social body (civitas) and a trading place (emporium). It appears that these places are located along the Batanghari River which prone to piracy. The plot of their coordinates given by Ptolemy are shown on Figure 4.

  1. Zabæ, civitas (social body of citizens) → Muarasabak

According to Ptolemy, Marinus had quoted the sailor Alexander as journeying from the Golden Chersonese (Tanjungemas), ran from west to east, for a period of twenty days, until a port called Zabæ was reached. From this point, he declared, ships sailed southeastward for a still longer period until the town of Cattigara (unidentified place) was reached. Ptolemy mentions that its maximum hours of the day is more than 12¼ or about 1º in latitude. Apparently, Zabæ is the present-day Muarasabak (from muara, “estuary”, and Sabak), a delta at the estuary of Batanghari River, supposedly a busy trading port in the ancient time. Its latitude is about 1º south of equator.

So many archaeological artifacts were found in Muara Sabak, such as ancient boats, settlements, golden figurines and tombs, also potteries, ceramics, beads and pebbles thought to date from the Song Dynasty (11th to 13th centuries CE). The Arab chronicle by Abu Zaid Hassan (916 CE) mentions the place as Zabag or Zabaj where there was an emperor of Sribuza (Srivijaya) there. Other Arab explorers and chronicles also mention it: Mas’udi (10th century), Ibn Serapion (ca 950 CE), Aja’ib al-Hind (ca 1000 CE), Mukhtasar al-Aja’ib (ca 1000 CE), Al-Biruni’s India (early 11th century), Marwasi (ca 1120 CE) and Al-Idrisi (mid-12th century). Several 16th to 17th century maps mention it as Saban or Sabi.

  1. Acadra, place → Kotokandis

Kotokandis is a village on the bank of the junction of Batanghari River and its delta. There are ruins of Buddhist temples and finding of a Hindu bronze figurine of Dipalaksmi here and the adjacent Simpang village. There are also ancient tomb sites believed by the local people as the tombs of Orang Kayo Hitam, Putri Mayang Mangurai and Orang Kayo Pingai, the founders of the Jambi Sultanate.

  1. Thipinobasti, emporium (trading place) → Suakkandis

Suakkandis, previously known as Muarakumpeh, is a village on the bank of the junction of Batanghari River and its tributary, the Kumpeh river. Suakkandis was supposedly an ancient trading port where at present the majority of the population are fishermen. The Dutch used it as a trading post to control logistics to Muarasabak in the era of colonialism.

  1. Sobani, fluvius (river) → Lesser Jambi Stream, Muarojambi

There is a place on the bank of Batanghari River near the city of Jambi named Muarojambi, meaning the estuary of Jambi Stream. A small stream is there named Sungai Jambi Kecil, meaning “Lesser Jambi Stream”. Muarojambi is renown for the large Buddhist temple complex, supposedly used as the Buddhism learning center mentioned in ancient texts.

  1. Pagrasa, place → Lubukrusa

Lubukrusa is a small village on the bank of Batanghari River westward of Jambi city. There is a tributary named Danaubangko River across this village so that it was prone to piracy.

  1. Samarade, place → Muaratembesi

Muaratembesi is a district on the bank of the junction of Batanghari and Tembesi Rivers so that it was prone to piracy. Muaratembesi is supposedly the center of the 6th to 7th centuries Malayu Kingdom (Earlier Kingdom of Malay). There is a ruin of a fort built by the Dutch here.

Tanjungemas 3a

Figure 4 – Places in the region of piracy prone. Inset is the plot of places given by Ptolemy with his coordinate system. Numbers are related to the explanations in the text.

Greek knowledge of lands further to their east improved after the conquests of Alexander the Great, but specific references to places in Southeast Asia did not appear until after the rise of the Roman Empire. Greek geographer Eratosthenes (ca 276 –  195/194 BCE) and Roman geographer Pomponius Mela (43 CE ) had written about Chryse Insula (“Land of Gold”). Roman philosopher Pliny (23 – 79 CE) in Natural History referred to Chryse as both a promontory and an island. The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea (between the 1st and 3rd centuries CE) refers to an island of Chryse, located furthest extremity towards the east of the inhabited world and lying under the rising sun itself. Dionysius Periegetes (about the end of the 3rd century) mentioned that the island of Chryse was situated at the very rising of the sun. Avienus (4th century CE) referred to the Insula Aurea (“Golden Island”) located where the Scythian seas give rise to the dawn.

The island of Chryse or Aurea argued by some in modern times as meaning Sumatera and equate it with Suvarnabhumi (“Land of Gold”) and Suvarnadvipa  (“Island of Gold”), while including or excluding the Malay Peninsula. Many ancient sources such as the Mahavamsa (between 543 BCE and 304 CE), some stories of the Jataka tales (around the 4th century BCE) and Milinda Panha (between 100 BCE and 200 CE) mention Suvarnabhumi. An inscription found at Padangroco (1286 CE), states that an image of Buddha Amoghapasa Lokeshvara was brought to Dharmasraya (Letter Kingdom of Malay) on the upper Batanghari River, transported from Bhumijava (Java) to Suvarnabhumi  (Sumatera), and erected by order of the Javanese ruler Kertanegara. The inscription clearly identifies Suvarnabhumi as Tanjungemas, or Aurea Chersonesus by Ptolemy, which is located in Sumatera. A Majapahit chronicle Nagarakretagama (1336 CE) mentions Suvarnabhumi to refer Sumatera.

An Indian text Samaraiccakaha (8th century CE) describes a sea voyage to Suvarnadvipa. These pointing out to the direction of western part of insular Southeast Asia. Buddhist Bengali religious leader and master Atisha, Indian Brahmin Buddhist scholar and a professor of Nalanda Dharmapala, and the South Indian Buddhist Vajrabodhi had visited Suvarnadvipa which refer to the Buddhist learning center in Sumatera. An influential Indian Buddhist philosopher Dharmakirti who worked at Nalanda, a Srivijayan prince of the Sailendra dynasty, born around the turn of the 7th century in Suvarnadvipa. All of these clearly identify Suvarnadvipa as Sumatera.

A passage may be cited from Josephus in his Antiquity of the Jews (93/94 CE) in speaking of the pilots furnished to Solomon by Hiram of Tyre. Solomon gave his command that they should go along with his stewards to the land that previously called Ophir, but then the Aurea Chersonesus, to fetch gold. From this he makes a definite statement, that Ophir and the Aurea Chersonesus are one. The 16th to 17th century maps mention Mount Ophir, which is the present-day Mount Talamau, located about 100 kilometers (62 miles) northwest of Tanjungemas. These are other evidence that the Aurea Chersonesus and Ophir are Tanjungemas.

While textual evidence may be ambiguous, there are plenty of physical evidence to indicate that Sumatera was the site of a flourishing gold mining industry in pre-historic times. When New Age European explorers and traders came to the island, they found widespread abandoned alluvial and underground gold workings. The extensiveness of some of these workings suggests the presence of a very large, organized workforce. Some of the larger sites include Lebongdonok in Bengkulu, where large grinding stones and classical gold coins have been found, underground excavations in palaeo-alluvials covered by volcanic deposits in Jambi, and Salido in West Sumatera. There is also archaeological evidence indicating that gold was melted and worked at Kotacina, which was a major trading center between the 12th and 14th centuries, located 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) southwest of Belawan in northeast Sumatera. Srivijaya Empire’s wealth and fame were mainly due to the reserves of gold found within its kingdom. In the 14th century, a senior minister of Majapahit Empire Adityawarman founded the Malayapura Kingdom centered near Tanjungemas and presided over the central Sumatera region, most likely to control the local gold trade.

In conclusion, it can be assumed that Aurea Chersonesus, Chryse Insula, Aurea Insula, Suvarnabhumi, Suvarnadvipa and Ophir refer to the same island, that is Sumatera, and specifically Tanjungemas is the most renowned in pre-historic times.

***

Copyright © Dhani Irwanto, 2017. All rights reserved.

Lemuria and Mu

<Bahasa Indonesia>

A research by Dhani Irwanto, 5 March 2017

Lemuria and Mu are sometimes distinct and sometimes interchangeable names for a legendary lost continent, which, according to its proponents, existed in the Atlantic, Indian or Pacific Oceans and had many of the attributes associated with Atlantis. The mysterious lost lands of Lemuria and Mu were conceived of during the 19th century, when the theory of evolution was introduced and was among the advances in the sciences that challenged conventional ways of understanding life. Archaeological discoveries among the ruins of the Egyptians, Maya and other societies were forcing new interpretations of history, and radical forms of mysticism, such as theosophy, were becoming popular.

Lemuria is the name of a hypothetical “lost land” variously located in the Indian or Pacific Oceans. A German naturalist Ernst Heinrich Haeckel (1834 – 1919), proposed that a land bridge spanning the Indian Ocean separating Madagascar from India could explain the widespread distribution of lemurs, small, primitive tree-dwelling mammals found in Africa, Madagascar, India and the Southeast Asian archipelago. Haeckel also suggested that lemurs were the ancestors of the human race and that this land bridge was the “probable cradle of the human race”. The name Lemuria originated with zoologist Phillip Lutley Sclater (1829 – 1913) in 1864 to gave the hypothetical continent in an article The Mammals of Madagascar in The Quarterly Journal of Science.

Lemuria then entered the lexicon of the occult through the works of Russian occultist Helena Petrovna Blavatsky (1831 – 1891). In her massive tome The Secret Doctrine (1888), Blavatsky describes a history originating millions of years ago with the ‘Lords of Flame’ and goes on to discusses five ‘Root Races’ which have existed on earth, each one dying out in an earth-shattering cataclysm. The third of these Root Races she called the ‘Lemurian’, which lived a million years ago, and who were bizarre telepathic giants who kept dinosaurs as pets. The Lemurians eventually drowned when their continent was submerged beneath the Pacific Ocean. The progeny of the Lemurians was the fourth Root Race, the human Atlanteans, who were brought down by their use of black magic, their continent of Atlantis sinking beneath the waves 850,000 years ago. Present humanity represents the Fifth Root Race. Blavatsky also describes survivors of the catastrophic destruction of Lemuria escaping to become the ancestors of some of the Aboriginal tribes of Australia. She maintained that she took all of her information regarding Lemuria from the Book of Dzyan, supposed to have been written in Atlantis and shown to her by the Indian adepts known as the ‘Mahatmas’.

According to L Sprague de Camp, Blavatsky’s concept of Lemuria was influenced by other contemporaneous writers on the theme of lost continents, notably American congressman Ignatius L Donnelly, American cult leader Thomas Lake Harris and the French writer Louis Jacolliot. What Blavatsky and other occultists since have suggested concerning Lemuria could be partly interpreted as an ideal spiritual condition of the soul, a kind of spiritual-historical vision. Nevertheless, there are some psychics and prophets who even today regard the existence of ancient Lemuria as a physical reality.

Mu is the name of a suggested lost continent whose concept and name were proposed by 19th-century travelers and writers Augustus Le Plongeon and Alice Dixon, who claimed that several ancient civilizations, such as those of Egypt and Mesoamerica, were created by refugees from Mu – which he located in the Atlantic Ocean. Le Plongeon and Dixon constructed an imaginative “history”, with the Maya sites in Yucatán being the cradle of civilization, with civilization then traveling east first to Atlantis and later to Ancient Egypt.

In his books Sacred Mysteries Among the Mayans and Quiches (1886) and Queen Moo and the Egyptian Sphinx (1896), Le Plongeon interpreted part of the text of what was then called the Troano Codex (also known as the Madrid Codex), as revealing that the Maya of Yucatán were the ancestors of the Egyptians and many other civilizations. He also believed that an ancient continent, which he called Mu, had been destroyed by a volcanic eruption, the survivors of this cataclysm founding the Maya civilization. Le Plongeon actually got the name “Mu” from Charles Étienne Brasseur de Bourbourg, who in 1864 mistranslated the Troano Codex using the de Landa alphabet. Researchers who have tried to use the de Landa alphabet have reported that it is completely erroneous. Le Plongeon’s credibility was badly damaged by this attempted translation of the Troana Codex. Recent research into the Mayan “alphabet” has shown it to not consist of hieroglyphics but logograms. Recent translations of the Troano Codex have shown it to be a treatise on astrology. Actually, the existence of Mu was already being disputed in the Le Plongeon’s time.

This concept of lost civilization of Mu was popularized and expanded by American Colonel James Churchward, who asserted that Mu was once located in the Pacific, with his publication of The Lost Continent of Mu in 1931. He claimed that the lost continent of Mu had once extended from an area north of Hawaii southwards as far as Fiji and Easter Island. According to Churchward, Mu was the original Garden of Eden and a technologically advanced civilization which boasted 64 million inhabitants. Around 12,000 years ago Mu was wiped out by an earthquake and submerged beneath the Pacific. Apparently Atlantis, a colony of Mu, was destroyed in the same way a thousand years later. All the world’s major ancient civilizations, from the Babylonians and the Persians, to the Maya and the Egyptians, were the remains of the colonies of Mu.

Churchward claimed he received this sensational information when, as a young officer in India during a famine in the 1880s, he became friendly with an Indian priest. This priest told Churchward that he and his two cousins were the only survivors of a 70,000 year old esoteric order which originated on Mu itself. This order was known as the “Naacal Brotherhood”. The priest showed Churchward a number of ancient tablets written by the Naacal Order in a forgotten ancient language, supposed to be the original language of mankind, which he taught the officer to read. Churchward later asserted that certain stone artefacts recovered in Mexico contained parts of the Sacred Inspired Writings of Mu, perhaps taking ideas from Augustus Le Plongeon and his use of the Troana Codex to provide evidence for the existence of Mu. Unfortunately, Churchward never produced any evidence to back up his exotic claims, he never published translations of the enigmatic Naacal tablets, and his books, though they still have many followers today, are perhaps better read as entertainment than factual studies of Mu.

The Lemuria and Mu theories disappeared completely from conventional scientific consideration after the theories of plate tectonics and continental drift were accepted by the larger scientific community. The theory affirms that moving plates of the Earth’s crust supported on less rigid mantle rocks causes continental drift, volcanic and seismic activity, and the formation of mountain chains. Geologists regard the theory of a sunken entire continent beneath the Pacific and Indian Oceans as an impossibility. If the massive foundations of a continent to be blown apart by volcanic action, its enormous base rocks would be seen today on the ocean floor. Madagascar and India were indeed once part of the same landmass, but plate movement caused India to break away and move to its present location would take millions of years. They also point out that theories of lost lands in the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans mostly originate in the 19th century, when knowledge of the area was limited and well before the ocean floor had been mapped.

Lemuria and Mu existence is now considered to have no factual basis. The very facts that the theory was conceived to explain are now seen to be false. They are today considered to be fictional places, and books on the subject are generally found in the religion and spirituality sections of book stores. The vast land submergence and the population dispersal, occurred during and after the sea level rise of the Last Glacial period, are indeed now widely accepted by the larger scientific community, but the 19th century approach of Lemuria and Mu to prove the existence is outdated and has no factual basis.

LGM Ocean Map

World ocean map in the height of the Last Glacial Maximum period. Sundaland is the only inhabitable landmass which now partly disappear.

***

Austronesian Language Family

A research by Dhani Irwanto, 16 January 2017

The Austronesian language family stretches halfway around the world, covering a wide geographic area from Madagascar to Easter Island, and from Taiwan and Hawai to New Zealand. The family includes most of the languages spoken on the islands of the Pacific with the exception of the indigenous Papuan and Australian languages.

Austronesian languages are spoken in Brunei, Cambodia, Chile, China, Cook Islands, East Timor, Fiji, French Polynesia, Guam, Indonesia, Kiribati, Madagascar, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mayotte, Micronesia, Myanmar, Nauru, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Taiwan, Thailand, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, USA, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Wallis and Futuna. The total number of speakers of Austronesian languages is about 386 million people, making it the fifth-largest language family by number of speakers, behind only the Indo-European, Sino-Tibetan, Niger-Congo and Afroasiatic languages.

austronesian-language-family

Figure 1 – Spread of Austronesian language family

The existence of the Austronesian language family was first discovered in the 17th century when Polynesian words were compared to words in Malay. Otto Dempwolff was the first researcher to extensively explore Austronesian languages using the comparative method. Another German, Wilhelm Schmidt, coined the German word austronesisch which comes from Latin auster (south wind) and Greek nêsos (island). The name Austronesian was formed from the same roots. The family is aptly named, as the vast majority of Austronesian languages are spoken on islands: only a few languages are indigenous to mainland Asia.

With 1268 languages, Austronesian is one of the largest and the most geographically far spread language families of the world. Austronesian and Niger-Congo are the two largest language families in the world, each having roughly one-fifth of the total languages counted in the world. The geographical span of Austronesian languages was the largest of any language family before the spread of Indo-European in the colonial period, ranging from Madagascar off the southeastern coast of Africa to Easter Island in the eastern Pacific.

Despite extensive research into Austronesian languages, their origin and early history remain a matter of debate. Some scholars propose that the ancestral Proto-Austronesian language originated in Taiwan (Formosa), while other linguists believe that it originated in the islands of Indonesia.

The Austronesian language family is usually divided into two branches: Formosan and Malayo-Polynesian, with the latter is by far the largest of the two. Malayo-Polynesian is traditionally divided into two main sub-branches: Western and Central-Eastern.

The Western sub-branch includes 531 languages spoken in Madagascar, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, parts of Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Micronesia (Chamorro and Palauan, represents over 300 million speakers and includes such widely spoken languages as Javanese, Malay, and Tagalog. The Central-Eastern sub-branch, sometimes referred to as Oceanic, contains around 706 languages spoken in most of New Guinea and throughout the islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia but excluding the aboriginal Australian and Papuan languages, represents only under 2 million speakers.

The seven largest Austronesian speakers are: Javanese (~100 million), Filipino/Tagalog (~70 million native, ~100 million total), Malay (Malaysian/Indonesian) (~45 million native, ~250 million total), Sundanese (~39 million), Cebuano (~19 million native, ~30 million total), Malagasy (~17 million) and Madurese (~14 million). Twenty or so Austronesian languages are official in their respective countries.

Javanese

Javanese language is a member of the Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian language family. Its closest relatives are Malay, Sundanese, Madurese and Balinese languages. It is the most spoken Austronesian language, and the tenth largest language by native speakers in the world, and the largest language without official status in the world. Javanese is considered to be one of the world’s classical languages, with a literary tradition that goes back over a thousand years.

Javanese is the native language of more than 100 million people. Javanese is spoken by over 75 million people in the central and eastern parts of the island of Java. There are also pockets of Javanese speakers in the northern coast of western Java, mainly around Banten and Cirebon. Approximately 7.5 million Javanese speakers reside on the island of Sumatera in the North Sumatera Utara and Lampung (southern Sumatera) provinces. It is also spoken in Malaysia (concentrated in the states of Selangor and Johor), in the Netherlands and in Singapore. In addition, there are Javanese settlements in Papua, Sulawesi, Maluku, Kalimantan and Sumatera. Javanese is also spoken in the former Dutch colony of Surinam and New Caledonia.

id_jb__rgb

Figure 2 – Spread of Javanese language in Java
(Source: Ethnologue, Languages of the World, Javanese)

id_sm__rgb

Figure 3 – Spread of Javanese language in Sumatera
(Source: Ethnologue, Languages of the World, Javanese)

Javanese is one of the Austronesian languages, but it is not particularly close to other languages and is difficult to classify. Most speakers of Javanese also speak Indonesian, the standardized form of Malay spoken in Indonesia, for official and commercial purposes as well as a means to communicate with non-Javanese-speaking Indonesians.

Scholars recognize four stages in the development of Javanese language: Old Javanese (up to the 13th century), Middle Javanese (up to the 15th century), New Javanese (up to the 19th century), and Modern Javanese (present-day Javanese).

The Javanese language can be traced back to at least 450 CE via the Sanskrit Tarumanegara inscription, although accounts regarding the origins of the Javanese people and their language are largely speculative. The oldest attestation of a work composed entirely in Javanese is the Sukabumi inscription located in the district of Pare in the Kediri regency of East Java, a work that dates from 804 CE, which is a copy of the original, dated 120 years earlier. The 8th and 9th centuries marked the beginning of the Javanese literary tradition, punctuated by the Buddhist treatise Sang Hyang Kamahayanikan and a Javanese rendition of the Sanskrit epic Ramayana. In 1293, the eastward expansion of the Hindu-Buddhist-Eastern Javanese empire known as Majapahit resulted in the spread of the Javanese language and writing system to Bali and Madura. Around the middle of the 14th century, Javanese replaced Balinese as the language of government and literature in Bali.

The Majapahit Empire saw the rise of Middle Javanese as effectively a new language, intermediate between Old and New Javanese, though Middle Javanese is similar enough to New Javanese to be understood by anyone who is well acquainted with current literary Javanese.

The Majapahit empire fell to Islamic forces around the turn of the 16th century, signaling the end of the Hindu Javanese empire. This ushered in the rise of the Islamic Javanese empire known as Mataram Sultanate, which was originally a vassal state of Majapahit. The 16th century saw the emergence of the New Javanese language. As the empire conquered a number of Sundanese areas of western Java, the Javanese language and culture spread westward. In its wake, Javanese became the dominant language, absorbing and heavily influencing languages like Sundanese, as was the case with Balinese in the 14th century. It was also the court language in Palembang, South Sumatera, until the palace was sacked by the Dutch in the late 18th century.

In later years, contact with Dutch colonizers and other Indonesian ethnic groups influenced the character of the language in numerous ways, the most notable being the influx of foreign loanwords.

Tagalog

Tagalog language is a member of the Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian language family with more than 70 million speakers (28 million speakers as first language) in the Philippines, particularly in Manila, central and southern parts of Luzon, and also on the islands of Lubang, Marinduque, and the northern and eastern parts of Mindoro. Being Malayo-Polynesian, it is related to other Austronesian languages, such as Javanese, Malay (Indonesian and Malaysian), Sundanese, Cebuano, Malagasy and Madurese. It is the second most spoken Austronesian language after Javanese and before Malay. Tagalog speakers can also be found in many other countries, including Canada, Guam, Midway Islands, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and USA.

tagalog-3

Figure 4 – Spread of Tagalog language
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Tagalog was originally native to the southern part of Luzon, prior to spreading as a second language over all the islands of the Philippine archipelago, due to its selection as the basis for Filipino, the national language of the Philippines, and to the fact that Tagalog is spoken in the capital of Manila. From 1961 to 1987, Tagalog was also known as Pilipino, before it was changed to Filipino. Filipino has been influenced, principally in vocabulary by the languages with which they have come into contact: Sanskrit, Arabic, Chinese, English and Spanish.

The first written record of Tagalog is the Laguna Copperplate Inscription, which dates to 900 CE and exhibits fragments of the language along with Sanskrit, Malay, Javanese and Old Tagalog. The first known complete book to be written in Tagalog is the Doctrina Christiana (Christian Doctrine), printed in 1593.

Malay

Malay language, spoken in Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, parts of Thailand and southern Philippines, is a major language of the Austronesian language family. Over a period of two millennia, from a form that probably consisted of only 157 original words, Malay has undergone various stages of development that derived from different layers of foreign influences through international trade, religious expansion, colonization and developments of new socio-political trends. Within Austronesian, Malay language is part of a cluster of numerous closely related forms of speech known as the Malayan languages, which were spread across Malay Peninsula and the archipelago by Malay traders from Sumatera.

Modern Malay language has various official names. In Singapore and Brunei it is called Bahasa Melayu (Malay language); in Malaysia, Bahasa Malaysia (Malaysian language); and in Indonesia, Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian language); where the latter contributes about 60% of the total of all speakers. However, in areas of central to southern Sumatera where the language is indigenous, Indonesians refer to it as Bahasa Melayu and consider it one of their regional languages.

austronesian_including_malay_and_various_random_languages-svg

Figure 5 – Spread of Malay language
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The oldest form of Malay language, the Ancient Malay or Proto-Malay language, was descended from Proto-Malayo-Polynesian language spoken by the earliest Austronesian settlers in Southeast Asia, that derived from Proto-Austronesian which began to break up by at least 2000 BCE. Proto-Malay language was spoken in Kalimantan at least by 1000 BCE and was, it has been argued, the ancestral language of all subsequent Malay dialects. Linguists generally agree that the homeland of the Malayic-Dayak languages is in Kalimantan, based on its geographic spread in the interior, its variations that are not due to contact-induced change, and its sometimes conservative character. Around the beginning of the first millennium, Malayic speakers had established settlements in the coastal regions of modern-day South Central Vietnam, Tambelan, Riau Islands, Sumatera, Malay Peninsula, Kalimantan, Luzon, Maluku Islands, Bangka-Belitung Islands, and Java.

With the penetration and proliferation of Dravidian vocabulary and the influence of major Indian religions, Ancient Malay evolved into the Old Malay language. The oldest uncontroversial specimen of Old Malay is the 7th-century-CE Sojomerto inscription from Central Java, Kedukan Bukit inscription from South Sumatera and several other inscriptions dating from the 7th to 10th centuries discovered in Sumatera, Malay Peninsula, western Java, other islands in the archipelago, and Luzon.

Malay evolved extensively into Classical Malay through the gradual influx of numerous Arabic and Persian vocabulary, when Islam made its way to the region. Earliest instances of Arabic lexicons incorporated in the pre-classical Malay written in Kawi was found in the Minyetujoh inscription dated 1380 CE from Aceh. Pre-Classical Malay took on a more radical form as attested in the 1303 CE Terengganu inscription and the 1468 CE Pengkalan Kempas inscription from Malay Peninsula. Initially, Classical Malay was a diverse group of dialects, reflecting the varied origins of the Malay kingdoms of Southeast Asia. The language spread through interethnic contact and trade across the archipelago as far as the Philippines. This contact resulted in a lingua franca that was called Bazaar Malay (melayu pasar, market Malay). It is generally believed that Bazaar Malay was a pidgin, a grammatically simplified means of communication that develops between two or more groups that do not have a language in common.

From 19th to 20th century, Malay language evolved progressively through a significant grammatical improvements and lexical enrichment into a modern language with more than 800,000 phrases in various disciplines.

Role of Austronesian-speaking People around the World

Austronesian-speaking people were a maritime people with considerable navigational skills. This maritime heritage has allowed the Austronesian-speaking people left their cultural and material marks in the regions of the world and it is not unreasonable to assume that they can reach other continents, including Americas. Archaeology, transfer of crops and material culture, and historical records can all contribute to explore Austronesian-speaking people relationships with the world communities. Genetic evidence increasingly has strengthened the belief of the existence of these relationships and supports the notion of cultural transfer that have been there before. Blow-guns, backstrap looms, bark-cloth, paper, coconuts, sweet potatoes, bottle-gourds, sailing rafts, are striking examples of technology spread by Austronesian contacts (Roger Blench, 2014).

Genomic analysis of cultivated coconut (Cocos nucifera) has shed light on the movements of Austronesian-speaking people. By examining 10 microsatelite loci, researchers found that there are 2 genetically distinct subpopulations of coconut – one originating in the Indian Ocean, the other in the Pacific Ocean. However, there is evidence of admixture, the transfer of genetic material, between the two populations. Given that coconuts are ideally suited for ocean dispersal, it seems possible that individuals from one population could have floated to the other. However, the locations of the admixture events are limited to Madagascar and coastal east Africa and exclude the Seychelles. This pattern coincides with the known trade routes of Austronesian sailors. Additionally, there is a genetically distinct subpopulation of coconut on the eastern coast of South America which has undergone a genetic bottleneck resulting from a founder effect; however, its ancestral population is the pacific coconut, which suggests that Austronesian-speaking people may have sailed as far east as the Americas.

The earliest known evidences of maritime activities in the regions of Austronesian-speaking people are found as cave paintings in the islands of Muna (Southeast Sulawesi), Kai (Maluku), Arguni (Papua), Kalimantan, Sulawesi, Flores and Timor dated back for more than 10,000 years BCE, those are fully decorated by sailboat paintings. A study by Fritz and Paul Sarasin published in Nature (2014) suggests that paintings in the Maros-Pangkep caves in Sulawesi range from 17,400 to 39,900 years old. Similarities of prehistorical remains found in Java and Australian Aborigines show that ancient maritime activities had been made between them. Long distance sailing technology in the region must have appeared much earlier, with the peopling of Australia through Southeast Asia some 40,000 years ago (Green, 2006). Jukung, a type of boat used by the people of southern Kalimantan is found similarly in Madagascar, as well as their languages are closely similar.

boat-paintings

Figure 6 – Locations of rock arts with boat paintings

Archaeologists have revealed ample evidence of the active maritime networks in the Southeast Asian region that existed from at least 5,000 years ago, at the beginning of the Austronesian migration that spread throughout all of insular Southeast Asia and most of the Pacific (Bellwood, 1985, 1991, 1995; Bellwood and Dizon, 2005; Horridge, 1995; Reid, 1988; Ronquillo, 1998; Scott, 1994; Solheim, 1988, 2006). As pointed out by linguists, archaeologists and anthropologists, shared cultural traits such as language, agriculture, animal husbandry and pottery-making are evidence of the Austronesian maritime connection. Likewise a boat building tradition emerged out of Southeast Asian islands but scarcely addressed in archaeology and history subjects.

Similarities between boat-building technology in the regions of Austronesian-speaking people and in the Indian Ocean about 5,000 years ago were observed. Wooden boards added on the canoe hulls and sewn-plank boats spread across the archipelago were also observed on the boats in Egypt, Mesopotamia and the Indus River Valley. However, Horridge (2006) claimed that it is not appropriate to correlate them seeing that the Austronesian speaking people spread over the archipelago long before they were influenced by boat-building technology in the Indian Ocean or even Egypt. He shows that the Austronesian boats were developed using a triangular-shaped sail since about 200 BCE demonstrated by the spread of bronze kettle which is one of the artifacts of the Dong Son culture, but this sail type was developed in the Indian Ocean more recently about 200 CE and was adopted by the Portuguese sailors a thousand years later.

Austronesian boats on its development have unique characteristics with a triangular sail and single outrigger. The outrigger is made of bamboo trunks with transverse connectors at the top of the hull, while the triangular sail is formed using bamboo sticks supported by a slanting mast (Horridge, 2006).

Cloves and cinnamon were allegedly trade commodities brought by Austronesian speaking sailors towards India and Sri Lanka, and perhaps also towards the east coast of Africa by outrigged boats. They left trails of influences such as boat design, boat building techniques, outriggers, fishing techniques and so on as evidenced in the Greek literature (Christie, 1957 in Horridge, 2006). Hornel (1928 in Horridge, 2006) supported this argument that the boat shape in Bantu tribe in Victoria Nyanza, Uganda in East Africa is similar to those in Indonesia.

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The Capital City of Atlantis

<Bahasa Indonesia>

A research by Dhani Irwanto, 4 January 2017

Plato says that “where there was a city with a citadel and rings of water was in a real sea inside a strait surrounded by a boundless continent.” The boundless continent is the Sundaland attached to the Asian Continent, and the only sea surrounded by it in those days was the ancient Java Sea, suggesting that the capital island and city are located in the Java Sea.

The statement that “the island was located near the plain and all the canals met at the city and drained into the sea”, suggesting that the island is located south of the plain, in a place now under the Java Sea.

The site is identified by the sailors as Gosong Gia or Annie Florence Reef, a coral reef described as small in extent and dries at low water.

The city of Atlantis was an island with a small hill at its center. The city and the island existed long enough for many kings to develop it. It had rings of water and a passage from the sea to the inner ring. They bridged over the zones of sea which surrounded the ancient metropolis. A stone wall began at the sea and went all round. They used orichalcum, tin and brass or bronze to cover the outer walls of their cities.

There was a hill, not too high, near the middle of the center island. At the top of the central hill, a temple was built to honor Poseidon, which housed a giant gold statue of him. They built the palace in the habitation of the god and of their ancestors, which they continued to ornament in successive generations.

As said by Plato, the temple of Poseidon was built in the center island which was a hill, encircled by rings of waters. To reach the temple from the innermost ring of water, steps on the hill slope were definitely required. This could mean that the temple is featuring an earth-and-stone step pyramid structure, characterizes the original culture of Nusantara that is referred to as “punden berundak”. The temple was also the place to worship their ancestors.

As well as menhirs, stone tables, and stone statues, Austronesian megalithic culture in Nusantara features an earth and stone step pyramid structure, referred to as “punden berundak”. “Punden berundak” is regarded as one of the characteristics of the original culture of the archipelago. These structures have been found and spread throughout Nusantara as far as Polynesia.

The phrase “for which reason the sea in those parts is impassable and impenetrable, because there is a reef of mud, or clay, in the way” confirms the location. Coral reef is scarce in the Mediterranean so that the Greeks and the Egyptians did not own the term, then Plato wrote it as “a reef of mud, or clay”. Coral reefs grow best in warm, shallow, clear, sunny and agitated waters, and on hard, underwater surfaces, thus constitute the ideal conditions for the Java Sea. It is confirmed further by the phrase “caused by the subsidence of the island”, as the growth of the coral reef was caused by the sea level rise during the last glacial period.

The sea level kept rising until about 6,000 years ago. Corals grew on the solid structures, along with sedimentation and other processes.

There is an existing coral reef named Gosong Gia or Annie Florence Reef. The top of the reef is about 10 meters below the average sea level, and the surrounding sea bed is about 55 meters below the average sea level. The city structures are still apparent from the patterns of the reefs. The depth of the sea here exactly coincides the land level about 11,600 years ago. As Plato writes that “The sea in those parts is impassable and impenetrable, because there is a reef of mud or clay, or a coral reef.”

Gosong Gia 06c

Bawean Island off in the Java Sea is a prototype of the island of Atlantis as it has the same environment, geological formation and tectonic processes, as well as they are closely situated. Bawean and Atlantis islands are both located on a geological arc identified by the geologists as Bawean Arc. It is described that “they had springs, one of cold and another of hot water”. There are several hot and cold springs in the Bawean Island resulted from the tectonic activities in the region.

The descriptions “the stones were quarried from the center island and the zones, with white, black and red colors” and “they hollowed out double docks, having roofs formed out of the native rock” are also noticeable. The stones are apparently similar to the igneous rock deposited in the Bawean Island having the acidic white, alkaline black-grey and ferro-oxide red rocks. This igneous rock is hard and strong having enough natural strength to stand as roofs of the hollowed out double docks.

Plato Embodies the Athens as Part of the Atlantis Story

<Bahasa Indonesia>

A research by Dhani Irwanto, 26 May 2016

Plato is alleged to have embodied the Athens as part of the story of Atlantis to show their greatest and noblest action. This allegation is supported by the expressions contained in the Timaeus and Critias as shown below.

From the Timaeus Section 24e: “… your state stayed the course of a mighty host, which, starting from a distant point in the Atlantic ocean …”

From the Critias Section 108e: “… the war which was said to have taken place between those who dwelt outside the Pillars of Heracles and all who dwelt within them …”

From the Timaeus Section 25a: “… for this sea which is within the Straits of Heracles is only a harbor, having a narrow entrance, but that other is a real sea, and the surrounding land may be most truly called a boundless continent.

The positions of Atlantis and the Athens are geographically described as follows.

  1. The state of Atlantis is located at a distant point in the Atlantic Ocean. As discussed previously, the ancient Greek understanding on the Atlantic Ocean was the ocean surrounding the whole Earth, which are now arbitrarily divided into the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans.
  2. The Atlantis and the Athens were bordered by Pillars of Heracles which among others were placed in a strait called the Strait of Heracles.
  3. The city of Atlantis was within the Strait of Heracles, where there was a harbor with a narrow entrance and in a sea surrounded by a boundless continent. This means that the city of the Athens was at the outside of the strait and the sea.

These geographic descriptions are not applicable to the existence of Atlantis around the Mediterranean due to the fact that the city of the Athens in Greece is located on the side of the Mediterranean Sea and inside both the Strait of Sicily and the Strait of Gibraltar. Placing Atlantis at the opposite side of one of these straits is not consistent with the statement that the city of Atlantis was located inside a strait and in a sea surrounded by a boundless continent. The statement that the state of Atlantis was located at a distant point in the Atlantic Ocean by itself put the city of the Athens at a distant location as well since both regions were close together as told in the story, therefore they were not located around the Mediterranean.

The allegation that Plato had embodied the Athens as part of the story is further supported by the following expressions.

From the Timaeus Section 23e: “She founded your city [of the Athens] a thousand years before ours [Egypt] …”

From the Critias Sections 111b and 111c: “… but the earth [of the Athens] has fallen away all round and sunk out of sight … 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.

From the Critias Section 111d: “… not as now losing the water which flows off the bare earth into the sea …”

It is said that the Athens which formerly had a vast and fertile land, at the time of Solon had sunk all around and all that remains were small rocky parts, they may call the bones of the wasted body. What was meant by the land subsidence is due to the sea level rise during the Last Glacial period, so as if the land was fallen away. Only a few trees growing on the remains of the land and consists almost entirely of bare land so that rain water flows only just on it and then lost to the sea. These statements do not describe the conditions of the city of the Athens at the time of Solon and to this day is not so much different.

The statement that the city of the Athens had been established a thousand years before Egypt is also incompatible. Archaeological evidence suggests that Egyptian civilization is older than Greece. In addition, the city of the Athens is not proven to exist in 9,000 years before Solon, but only about 3,400 years ago.

Those Plato’s statements indicate that he had embodied the Athens as part of the story of Atlantis. The same thing he did to Egypt, Libya and Tyrrhenia. This is in order to support his ideology of an ideal state as in The Republic, related to the greatest and noblest action of the Ancient Athens and the defeat of aggressive Atlantis. The Atlantis in the story as told by Egyptian priests is probably ever really existed. However, the Athens, as well as the Egyptians, the Libyans and the Tyrrhenians, were probably primordial ethnic groups as their ancestors among the refugees and survivors prior the sea level rise, deluges and other catastrophes, then resettled on the present lands.

The Timeline of Atlantis Story

<Bahasa Indonesia>

A research by Dhani Irwanto, 25 May 2016

From the Timaeus Sections 23e and 24a: “She founded your city a thousand years before ours, receiving from the Earth and Hephaestus the seed of your race, and afterwards she founded ours, of which the constitution is recorded in our sacred registers to be eight thousand years old. As touching your citizens of nine thousand years ago, I will briefly inform you of their laws and of their most famous action …”

From the Critias Section 108e: “… nine thousand was the sum of years which had elapsed since the war which was said to have taken place between those who dwelt outside the Pillars of Heracles and all who dwelt within them …”

From the Critias Sections 111b and 111c: “Many great deluges have taken place during the nine thousand years, for that is the number of years which have elapsed since the time of which I am speaking; and during all this time and through so many changes, 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.

Based on the above narratives, the timeline of Atlantis story is made as below.

  1. Sometimes before 10,000 years before Solon – the “Athens” was founded
  2. Sometimes before 9,000 years before Solon – the “Egyptians” was founded
  3. Shortly before 9,000 years before Solon – the regions from “Libya” as far as “Egypt” and “Europe” as far as “Tyrrhenia” were conquered by Atlantis
  4. 9,000 years before Solon – a war between Atlantis and the “Athens” took place
  5. 8,000 years before Solon – the Egyptians recorded their sacred registers
  6. Between 9,000 years before Solon and Solon’s time – many great deluges and land subsidence took place
  7. About 600 BC – the Egyptian priests told story about Atlantis to Solon
  8. About 360 BC – Plato wrote Timaeus and Critias

timeline (2)