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The Lost City Of Atlantis.
Did Atlantis really exist? Are the stories of Atlantis true? Could Atlantis be no more than fable? It was the Greek philosopher, Plato, who brought to the world the story of the lost city of Atlantis. His story began to unfold for him around 355 B.C. He wrote about this land called Atlantis in two of his dialogues, Timaeus and Critias, around 370 B.C.
Plato used a series of dialogues to express his ideas. In this type of writing, the author's thoughts are explored in a series of arguments and debates between various characters in the story.
A character named Kritias tells an account of Atlantis that has been in his family for generations. According the character the story was originally told to his ancestor Solon, by a priest during Solon's visit to Egypt.
The capital city of Atlantis was a marvel of architecture and engineering. The city was composed of a series of concentric walls and canals. At the very center was a hill, and on top of the hill a temple to Poseidon. Inside was a gold statue of the God of the Sea showing him driving six winged horses.
Around 9000 years before the time of Plato, after the people of Atlantis became corrupt and greedy, the Gods decided to destroy them. A violent Earth quake shook the land, giant waves rolled over the shores, and the island sank into the sea never to be seen again.
At numerous points in the dialogues Plato's characters refer to the story of Atlantis as "genuine history" and it being within "the realm of fact." Plato also seems to put into the story a lot of detail about Atlantis that would be unnecessary if he had intended to use it only as a literary device.
In "Timaeus," Plato described Atlantis as a prosperous nation out to expand its domain: "Now in this island of Atlantis there was a great and wonderful empire which had rule over the whole island and several others, and over parts of the continent," he wrote, "and, furthermore, the men of Atlantis had subjected the parts of Libya within the columns of Heracles as far as Egypt, and of Europe as far as Tyrrhenia."
Plato goes on to tell how the Atlanteans made a grave mistake by seeking to conquer Greece. They could not withstand the Greeks' military might, and following their defeat, a natural disaster sealed their fate. "Timaeus" continues: "But afterwards there occurred violent Earth quakes and floods; and in a single day and night of misfortune all your warlike men in a body sank into the Earth , and the island of Atlantis in like manner disappeared in the depths of the sea."
Interestingly, Plato tells a more metaphysical version of the Atlantis story in "Critias." There he describes the lost continent as the kingdom of Poseidon, the God of the sea. This Atlantis was a noble, sophisticated society that reigned in peace for centuries, until its people became complacent and greedy. Angered by their fall from grace, Zeus chose to punish them by destroying Atlantis.
By Plato's account, Poseidon, God of the sea, sired five pairs of male twins with mortal women. Poseidon appointed the eldest of these sons, Atlas the Titan, ruler of his beautiful island domain. Atlas became the personification of the mountains or pillars that held up the sky. Plato described Atlantis as a vast island-continent west of the Mediterranean, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean. The Greek word Atlantis means the island of Atlas, just as the word Atlantic means the ocean of Atlas.
By Egyptian record, Keftiu was destroyed by the seas in an apocalypse. It seems likely Solon carried legends of Keftiu to Greece, where he passed it to his son and grandson.
Plato recorded and embellished the story from Solon's grandson Critias the Younger. As in many ancient writings, history and myth were indistinguishably intermixed. Plato probably translated "the land of the pillars which held the sky" (Keftiu) into the land of the Titan Atlas (who held the sky). Comparison of ancient Egyptian records of Keftiu identifies a number of similarities to Plato's Atlantis. It seems likely that Plato's Atlantis was a retelling (and renaming) of Egypt's Keftiu.
When Plato identified the location of the land he named Atlantis, he placed it to the west-in the Atlantic Ocean. In reality, Egyptian legend placed Keftiu west of Egypt, not necessarily west of the Mediterranean. In describing Atlantis as an island (or continent) in the Atlantic Ocean, we suspect Plato was merely wrong in his interpretation of the Egyptian legend he was retelling.
Yet Plato preserved enough detail about the land of Atlantis that its identification now seems very likely, and rather less mysterious than many new-age advocates would like. It is likely that Atlantis was the land of the Minoan culture, namely ancient Crete and Thera. If this hypothesis is correct, Plato never realized that the land of Atlantis was already familiar to him. Let's have a look at the evidence which suggests that Minoan Crete and surrounding islands bear a striking resemblance to what Plato described as Atlantis.
Archaeological records show that the Minoan culture spread its dominion throughout the nearby islands of the Aegean, very roughly from 3000 years BC to about 1400 years BC. Crete, now part of Greece, was the capital for the Minoan people an advanced civilization with language, commercial shipping, complex architecture, ritual and games.
It seems very likely that related islands (e.g. Santorini/Thera) may have been part of the same culture. The Minoans were peaceful: very little evidence of military activity was found in their ruins. A 4-storied palace at Knossos, Crete, was said to be the capitol of the Minoan culture. Correspondence of Minoan cultural artifacts with aspects of the Atlantis legend make the identity of the two seem virtually certain. Perhaps the most unusual of these is the Minoan bull fighting.
By Egyptian legend, the inhabitants of Keftiu would engage in ritualistic bull fighting, with unarmed Minoan bullfighters wrestling and jumping over uninjured bulls. This same foolhardy practice is richly illustrated in remaining Minoan artwork.
Plato's (Egyptian) legend also holds that Atlantis was peaceful - this is confirmed by a virtually complete absence of weapons in Minoan ruins and in Minoan artwork - unusual for peoples of that time. Egyptian legend held that elephants were found on Keftiu - while there were presumably no elephants on Crete, the Minoans were known to deal in African ivory, and appear to have been the principal access to ivory for Egypt 20 centuries before Christ.
Plato's maps of Atlantis have even been argued to resemble the geography of ancient Crete.
Many ancient greek myths take their location from Minoan Crete more than ten centuries before Plato. Daedalus, the ancient scientist, was supposedly the architect of the palace at Knossos.
There one can still find ruins alleged to be the labyrinth that housed the legendary Minotaur, the monster (half-human, half bull) haven been slain by Thesius.
So ancient myths were not new to Minoan Crete. Regardless of the legend, Minoan culture extended across the island of Crete, with most of its developments along the northern coast of Crete. But, after more than a thousand years of dominance, the Minoan culture came to an abrupt end, circa 1470 BC.
But what of the fabled apocalypse which, according to the Egyptians, swallowed Keftiu-Atlantis in one day and one night? This also has basis in historical fact. The trail of evidence leads to the small island of Santorini.
Santorini was about 4 times larger than Krakatoa, and probably at least twice as violent. The fury of Santorini's final explosion is inferred from geologic core samples, from comparison to the detailed observations made on Krakotoa in 1883, and from the simultaneous obliteration of almost all Minoan settlements. The geologic record dates the final explosion of Santorini with remarkable accuracy. The likely picture then, is this.
In summer, circa 1470 BC, Santorini exploded. Volcanic ash filled the sky, blotted out the sun, and triggered hail and lightning. A heavy layer of volcanic ash rained down over the Aegean, covering islands and crops. Earth quakes shook the land, and stone structures fell from the motion. When the enormous magma chamber at Santorini finally collapsed to form the existing caldera, enormous tsunamis (tidal waves) spread outward in all directions.
The coastal villages of Crete were flooded and destroyed. The only major Minoan structure surviving the waves and Earth quakes was the palace at Knossos, far enough inland to escape the tidal waves. But in the days that followed, volcanic ash covered some settlements, and defoliated the island.
In famine from the ash, with the bulk of their civilization washed away, the remaining Minoans were overrun by Mycaeneans from Greece, and Knossos finally fell.
The modern island of Santorini is now the rim of the Volcano - the caldera is covered by the Aegean Sea. Mounds of pumice and volcanic ash mark its center, where the Volcano remains. New inhabitants of Santorini mine the volcanic ash to make cement - and still find ancient ruins under the stone. The ash is now the soil, olive and fruit trees cover the landscape, and former Atlantis (Crete, Santorini, and perhaps other Aegean islands) is mostly buried. New inhabitants have rebuilt Crete, but the mute ruins of ancient Atlantis can still be seen.
- The End of Atlantis: New light on an Old Legend
ARTICLES IN THE NEWS MENTIONING PLATO
Atlantis was governed in peace, was rich in commerce, was advanced in knowledge, and held dominion over the surrounding islands and continents. By Plato's legend, the people of Atlantis became complacent and their leaders arrogant; in punishment the Gods destroyed Atlantis, flooding it and submerging the island in one day and night. Although Plato was the first to use the term "Atlantis," there are antecedents to the legend. There is an Egyptian legend which Solon probably heard while travelling in Egypt, and was passed down to Plato years later. The island nation of Keftiu, home of one of the four pillars that held up the sky, was said to be a glorious advanced civilization which was destroyed and sank beneath the ocean.
More significantly, there is another Atlantis-like story that was closer to Plato's world, in terms of time and geography... and it is based in fact. The Minoan Civilization was a great and peaceful culture based on the island of Crete, which reigned as long ago as 2200 B.C. The Minoan island of Santorini, later known as Thera, was home to a huge volcano. In 1470 B.C., it erupted with a force estimated to be greater than Krakatoa, obliterating everything on Santorini's surface. The resulting Earth quakes and tsunamis devastated the rest of the Minoan Civilization, whose remnants were easily conquered by Greek forces.
Perhaps Santorini was the "real" Atlantis. Some have argued against this idea, noting Plato specified that Atlantis sank 10,000 years ago, but the Minoan disaster had taken place only 1,000 years earlier. Still, it could be that translation errors over the centuries altered what Plato really wrote, or maybe he was intentionally blurring the historical facts to suit his purposes. And there exists yet another strong possibility: that Plato entirely made Atlantis up himself.
Regardless, his story of the sunken continent went on to captivate the generations that followed. Other Greek thinkers, such as Aristotle and Pliny, disputed the existence of Atlantis, while Plutarch and Herodotus wrote of it as historical fact. Atlantis became entrenched in folklore all around the world, charted on ocean maps and sought by explorers.
In 1882, Ignatius Donnelly, a U.S. congressman from Minnesota, brought the legend into the American consciousness with his book, Atlantis: The Antediluvian World.
Edgar Cayce(1877-1945) became the U.S.'s most prominent advocate of a factual Atlantis. Widely known as The Sleeping Prophet, Cayce claimed the ability to see the future and to communicate with long-dead spirits from the past. He identified hundreds of people -- including himself -- as reincarnated Atlanteans.
Cayce said that Atlantis had been situated near the Bermuda island of Bimini. He believed that Atlanteans possessed remarkable technologies, including supremely powerful fire-crystals which they harnessed for energy. A disaster in which the fire-crystals went out of control was responsible for Atlantis's sinking, he said, in what sounds very much like a cautionary fable on the dangers of nuclear power. Remaining active beneath the ocean waves, damaged fire-crystals send out energy fields that interfere with passing ships and aircraft -- which is how Cayce accounted for the Bermuda Triangle.
Cayce prophesied that part of Atlantis would rise again to the surface in "1968 or 1969." It didn't, and no one has yet found hard evidence that it was ever there. With sonar tracing and modern knowledge of plate tectonics, it appears impossible that a mid-Atlantic continent could have once existed. Still, many argue that there must have been an Atlantis, because of the many cultural similarities on either side of the ocean which could not have developed independently, making Atlantis quite literally a "missing link" -- the topographical equivalent of Bigfoot.
In more ways than one.
More Theories About Atlantis
By K.T. Frost
Frost suggested that instead of being west of the Pillars of Hercules Atlantis was east. He also thought that the catastrophic end of the island had come not 9000 years before Plato's time, but only 900. If this was true the land of Atlantis might already be a well-known place even in Plato's time: The Island of Crete.
Crete is now a part of modern Greece and lies just south of the Athens across part of the Mediterranean Sea. Before 1500 B.C. it was the seat of the Minoan Empire. The Minoans dominated the eastern Mediterranean with a powerful navy and probably extracted tribute from other surrounding nations. Archaeological excavations have shown the Minoan Crete was probably one of the most sophisticated cultures of its time. It had splendid architecture, and art. A code of laws gave women equal legal status as men. Agriculture was highly developed and an extensive irrigation system existed.
Then, seemingly in a blink of an eye, the Minoan Civilization disappeared. Geological studies have shown that on an island we now know as Santorinas, located just ten miles to the north of Crete, a disaster occurred that was very capable of toppling the Minoan state.
Santorinas today is a lush Mediterranean paradise consisting of several islands in a ring shape. Twenty-five hundred years ago, though, it was a single large island with a Volcano in the center. The Volcano blew itself apart in a massive explosion around 1500 B.C.
To understand the effect of such an explosion, scientists have compared it with the most powerful volcanic explosion in historic times. This occurred on the Island of Krakatoa in 1883. There a giant wave, or tsunami, 120 feet high raced across the sea and hit neighboring islands killing 36,000 people. Ash thrown up into the air blackened the skies for three days. The sound of the explosion was heard as far away as 3,000 miles.
The explosion at Santorinas was four times as powerful as Krakatoa.
The tsunami that hit Crete must have traveled inland for over half a mile destroying any coastal towns or cities. The great Minoan fleet of ships was sunk in a few seconds. Overnight the powerful Minoan Empire was crushed and Crete changed to a political backwater. One can hardly imagine a catastrophe more like Plato's description of Atlantis' fate than the destruction of Crete.
Many of the details of the Atlantis story fit with what is now known about Crete. Women had a relatively high political status, both cultures were peaceful, and both enjoyed the unusual sport of ritualistic bullfighting (where an unarmed man wrestled and jumped over an uninjured bull).
Galanopoulos suggested there was a mistake during translation of some of the figures from Egyptian to Greek and an extra zero added. This would mean 900 years ago became 9000, and the distance from Egypt to "Atlantis" went from 250 miles to 2,500. If this were true, Plato, knowing the layout of the Mediterranean Sea, would have been forced to assume the location of island continent was squarely in the Atlantic Ocean.
The exact location of Atlantis is not known as the continent split into many sections that moved in different directions.
Many researchers believe that Atlantis is near the Azores Islands. The Azores are a group of islands belonging to Portugal located about 900 miles (1500 km) west of the Portuguese coast. Some people believe the islands are the mountaintops of the sunken continent of Atlantis.
Other researchers believe that Atlantis is an exaggeration of the historical destruction of Thera and the Minoan empire and can now be found in the Aegean.
The island of Thera, also known as Santorini, is a volcanic island located due north of Crete in the Aegean Sea. Sometime around 1500 BC it was devastated by a volcanic explosion that may have contributed to the sudden downfall of the Minoan civilization.
Ancient writings from the Aztecs and Mayans like the Chilam Balam, Dresden Codex, Popuhl Vuh, Codex Cortesianus, and Troano Manuscript were also translated into histories of the destruction of Atlantis and Lemuria.
The Oera Linda Book from Holland is said to be one of the oldest books ever found. It tells of the destruction of the large Atlantic island by Earth quakes and tidal waves.
The ancient greek historian Diodorus wrote that thousands of years earlier Phoenicians had been to the immense Atlantic island (where Plato wrote Atlantis was.
Phoenician hieroglyphics have been found on numerous ruins in the South American jungles that are so ancient that the Indian tribes nearby lost memory of who built these ruins.
Diodorus wrote that the Atlanteans had WAR with the Amazonians!
The Greek Kantor reported visiting Egypt where they saw a marble column carved with hieroglyphics about Atlantis.
Greek historian Ammianus Marcellinus wrote about the destruction of Atlantis.
Plutarch wrote about the lost continent in his book Lives.
Herodotus, regarded by some as the greatest historians of the ancients, wrote about the mysterious island civilization in the Atlantic and a city located in the region where Dr. Asher's expedition had found just that!
The Greek historian Timagenus wrote of the war between Atlantis and Europe and said tribes in ancient France said that was their original home.
Bright paintings in caves in France clearly show people wearing 20th century clothing: one painting led to an underground pyramid complex. French historian and archaeologist Robert Charroux dated them at 15,000 B.C.
Claudius Aelianus referred to Atlantis in his 3rd century work The nature of Animals.
Theopompos - a Greek historian - wrote of the huge size of Atlantis and its cities of Machimum and Eusebius and a golden age free from disease and manual labour.
James Churchward wrote several volumes of books documenting ancient writings he claims to have translated in Southeast Asia concerning Atlantis and Mu, while geologist William Niven claimed to have excavated identical tablets in Mexico.
Dr. George Hunt Williamson, who authored several books on his Atlantean-Lemurian research in the 1950's, was an anthropologist explorer once listed in Who's Who in America. Williamson wrote how descendants of the Incas led him to an ancient manuscript in a temple in the Andes Mountains that told of the destruction of Atlantis and Mu, which had an advanced technology, by Earth quakes and tidal waves. Williamson also visited dozens of Indian tribes in the United States and Mexico that told him of Atlantis and Mu, including the Hopi Indians.
The tablet from Lhasa, Tibet and also from Easter Island make It is clear from ancient writings that belief in Atlantis was common and accepted in Greece, Egypt, and Mayax (Mayan and Aztec Empires) by historians.
The Basques of Spain, the Guals of France, the tribes of the Canary and Azores islands, a tribe in Holland, and dozens of Indian tribes all speak of their origins in a large lost and sunken Atlantic land in which they all believe.
The Germans and the Nordic Scandinavians spoke of a vanished continent in the North Atlantic Ocean called Thule with the civilization of Hyperborea located on it. Thule reportedly stretched into what is now the northern polar ice cap where it is buried underneath miles of ice so we cannot see it.
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