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KRONOS Vol. I, Issue 2
A Reply To Isaacson
This author was already made aware of the ceramic problem regarding Thera's eruption and the revised chronology by Mr. Isaacson a year ago. At that time, I conceded the point in private and later, at the Velikovsky Symposium in Hamilton, Ontario, made a public statement expressing my agreement with Mr. Isaacson's alert observation. I should only like to add a few remarks on the subject of Crete, Thera, and Atlantis as a kind of supplement/correction to my earlier article on "Atlantis" which was published in the Winter 1973-74 issue of Pensee.
It would appear that if there were any truth to the Atlantis story as recounted by Plato, we are most likely dealing with a garbled pastiche of more than one event (see the satirical note on this subject by F. B. Jueneman in Industrial Research, September 1973, p. 13). The alteration of Thera's eruptive date from the 15th to the 10th century B. C. in no way proves injurious to Velikovsky's cosmological theories either. For if his revised chronology should prove to be correct ( and I personally believe that it is), then it would appear that a great disaster swept the island of Crete ca. 1500 B.C. anyway, though Thera would not have been the responsible agent. Sir Arthur Evans spoke "of a 'great catastrophe' that took place toward the close of Middle Minoan II. 'A great destruction' befell Knossos on the northern shore of the island and Phaestos on its southern shore. The isle lay prostrate, overwhelmed by the elements. When, finally, the survivors or their descendants began the work of restoration, their labor was destroyed again in an 'overthrow.' Barely half a century passed between these two catastrophes: one synchronical with the end of the Middle Kingdom in Egypt and the Exodus, the other, one or two generations later (I. Velikovsky, Earth in Upheaval, pp. 188-189)." The destruction described above might well have been the result of Venus' first close approach to the Earth as described in Worlds in Collision since Velikovsky's chronological revision would bring the end of the Egyptian Middle Kingdom along with the end of the period known as Middle Minoan II down to the year ca. 1500 B.C.
According to Mr. Isaacson, the final convulsion of Thera would have occurred in the 10th century B.C. as opposed to the 15th century. Interestingly enough, in Worlds in Collision, pp. 261-262, we read that "in the days of David a comet appeared in the form of a human being 'between the earth and the heaven, having a drawn sword in his hand stretched out over Jerusalem' (I Chron. 21: 16; and verse 14 where it is noted that 70,000 men of Israel "fell" by some pestilence.) This strange celestial apparition may very well have been the planet Mars embarking on its ultimately threatening path towards the Earth which it menaced in the 8th and 7th centuries B.C. The planet Mars may also have been associated in some way with "the stone on which the Temple of Solomon was built — Eben Shetiya, or fire stone — . . . a bolide that fell in the beginning of the tenth century, in the time of David . . . (W in C, p. 290)."
While it is true that volcanoes may not necessarily require a celestial trigger (an area in which modern geology is highly reluctant to consider), there is, nonetheless, an outside possibility that an extra-terrestrial agent (Mars?) helped to precipitate the Theran eruption which does not appear to have been as tremendous nor as destructive as geologists once thought. The Martian causal relationship is purely conjectural, however. There is still the matter of anomalous destruction patterns on Crete, already alluded to in my earlier work (Pensee, Ibid., p. 53), which have yet to be fully explained. More detailed analysis is demanded here.
As to the question of scribal error, I would still not rule out this possibility though that error may be masked by the numerous conflicting elements in Plato's narrative.
A final point of interest has to do with C-14 dating. Professor Galanopoulos carbon-14 tested some human bones, teeth and charred wood from a large tephra quarry near Phira (on Thera) in 1956. One of the resultant dates obtained was 1090 B.C. + 150 years. However, this date was "discounted as the sample is believed to have been contaminated by humic acid (J. V. Luce, Lost Atlantis, p. 63)." — L. M. Greenberg