The Lost City of Atlantis -
2,300 years ago, Plato wrote an account of an ancient City long
forgotten; a thriving, wealthy, peaceful civilization known
as Atlantis. The entire island was said to have disappeared
into the Atlantic ocean after a day & night of fierce earthquakes
Ever since this first account was written, people of all ages
& from all walks of life have been fascinated by the Legend.
The world's scholars & scientists have searched for evidence
to suggest that Atlantis was once a real city, many have staked
their careers & reputations on their strong beliefs, but
the majority consider it to be a fairy story written by Plato
to express his own aversion to war & corruption. However,
recent discoveries are giving hope to the believers...
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Lloyd K. Townsend illustrates his impression of a day in Atlantis.
17th century painting by Monsù Desiderio of the fall
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Why is it that after
thousands of years, so many of us still search for the answer
to this mystery? Did it exist or didn't it. We can't seem to
let go of it, as if deep down we know it existed, as though
we possess some collective memory of it within our subconcious,
which doesn't let us accept it as myth. Like the ghost of someone
long gone that lingers on until the mystery of their death has
been resolved and they can finally be at peace, their story
having been told.
Ever since the first recorded history of Atlantis,
written by the Greek philosopher Plato over 2,360 years ago,
debate has raged as to whether or not Atlantis ever really existed.
Plato described it as an extraordinary Utopian society, thriving
around 9,600 BC, which valued peace, art and wisdom, possessed
advanced technological knowledge for the time, and enjoyed riches
beyond that of any subsequent civilization. The land was said
to have been very fertile, with abundant food, water, animals,
wood, and flowers. But, as the story goes, after several generations
of ruling the leaders became increasingly greedy and corrupt,
and started to wage war on their neighbouring countries. They
conquered parts of North Africa and Europe and were about to
attack Egypt and Athens, when the Athenian army valiantly drove
them back and defeated them. It is shortly after this victory
by the Athenians that violent and devastating earthquakes, and
the resulting tidal waves and floods, destroyed the Athenian
army, as well as the entire Island continent of Atlantis, submerging
it beneath the sea "in a single day and night".
The question is : Did Plato write this as a moralistic story,
or as a true historical account?
Plato's 2 writings
pertaining to Atlantis are the "Timaeus",
and the "Critias", written in 360BC, at which time
Plato would have been aged about 67 or 68. These are the earliest
known written records about the Lost Continent of Atlantis,
all other written references to Atlantis have been written since,
and have been based on these writings by Plato.
Timaeus and the Critias are actually written in the form of
dialogues between 4 main characters: Socrates (.Greek
philosopher, and Plato's teacher.),
& historian.), Timaeus
astronomer.), and Hermocrates
from Syracuse.). All
were real people.
The Timaeus includes only a passing reference to Atlantis, but
the second writing, the Critias, has a much more in depth description
of Atlantis leading upto it's downfall.
The story is told by the character Critias, who was possibly
Plato's maternal great-grandfather. Critias had heard the story
as a child from his own Grandfather, Critias the Elder, who
had heard it from his father Dropides, who had heard it from
his friend Solon, a great Athenian Law-giver reputed to have
been an honest and true man.
Solon had been told the story of Atlantis during his stay in
Sais, Egypt, by an elderly Egytian priest who claimed to have
acquired the knowledge directly from ancient records in his
keeping. After hearing of the account, Solon had intended to
record it himself, for posterity's sake, but for one reason
or another he never did.
Just for the record, Solon really did visit Sais, Egypt, although
the date Plato gives for this is about 20 years off. This at
least is indisputable fact.
The Egyptian records that the priest was referencing have to
this day never been found. But there are theories that hidden
in a hall underneath the sphinx, or in the top of the great
pyramid, is a secret chamber containing ancient records of invaluable
historical, and perhaps future, importance. Several excavations
have been attempted to find this secret room, but all have lead
to dead ends. It is unknown exactly where this rumor originated,
it may have been Edgar Cayce, an American psychic / clairvoyant
of the early 1900's, who predicted (sometime before his death
in 1945) that in 1998 a "Hall of Records" would be
According to Cayce, the contents of the hall and the location
are as follows:
record of Atlantis from the beginning of those periods when
the Spirit took form, or began the encasements in that land;
and the developments of the peoples throughout their sojourn;
together with the record of the first destruction, and the changes
that took place in the land; with the record of the sojournings
of the peoples and their varied activities in other lands, and
a record of the meetings of all the nations or lands, for the
activities in the destruction of Atlantis; and the building
of the pyramid of initiation, together with whom, what, and
where the opening of the records would come, that are as copies
from the sunken Atlantis. For with the change, it [Atlantis]
must rise again. In position, this lies -- as the sun rises
from the waters -- as the line of the shadows (or light) falls
between the paws of the Sphinx; that was set later as the sentinel
or guard and which may not be entered from the connecting chambers
from the Sphinx's right paw until the time has been fulfilled
when the changes must be active in this sphere of man's experience."
was writing the Timaeus and the Critias as the first 2 parts
of a trilogy, which was to follow on from one of his previous
works called The Republic, and it is believed that in
this trilogy Atlantis was going to play a significant part.
But as you will notice when you read the Critias excerpt below,
he never finished it! It breaks off at the most exciting part,
never to be finished, or if it was finished, the end part has
been lost. So, out of the trilogy only the first book was completed,
the second was half done, and the third was never even started.
Timaeus : Click
here to read the excerpt regarding Atlantis from this first
here to read the excerpt regarding Atlantis from the second
known as Aristocles, was born in Athens approx 427 - 428BC,
and died peacefully in 347BC
at around 80 years of age.
He was a respected Greek philosopher, and a student
of Socrates, the Grandfather of Western Philosophy. When
Socrates was executed in Athens in 399BC,
Plato was deeply affected and spent several years travelling
and learning, before returning to Athens at age 40 to
set up a school of philosophy, which remained in operation
for over 900 years (until the Christians closed it down
suspecting it would undermine their religion). It's most
famous student was Aristotle.
None of the explanations put forward
by Atlantologists stay 100% true to Plato's description. Major
pieces of his description are often conveniently overlooked
so that a researcher's particular theory makes more sense. For
example, the location of Atlantis is quite clearly described
by Plato, but researchers have nonetheless "found"
Atlantis pretty much everywhere else.
Here are a few of the proposed locations, and the books written
(You can get the basic idea of
each theory by reading the blurb on the back cover or reading
Antarctica : " The
Atlantis Blueprint " by Colin Wilson and Rand Flem-Ath
Thera : " " by Charles R. Pellegrino
" " by Walter L. Friedrich, translated by
Alexander R. McBirney
Cyprus : " " by Robert Sarmast
Central America : " " by Ivar Zapp & George Erikson
popular theories as to the destruction of Atlantis are exactly
what Plato described, earthquakes and floods. The floods more
than likely attributable to the tidal waves that would have
been caused by the earthquakes.
Another theory is that there was a volcano on the island that
errupted with such force that the island was buried in molten
Yet another theory is that an asteroid hit the Island, exerting
the destructive power of hundreds of atomic bombs.
Someone has even put forward the idea that Atlantis was purposely
flooded by extra terrestrials in an attempt to kill some rebels
of their own planet who fled here to Earth and landed in Atlantis,
where they interbred with humans... @_@
Many experts believe
that Plato, being a master storyteller, created the story of
Atlantis to illustrate a philosophical point; that a perfect
society was corrupted and became greedy, waged war on their
neighbours, and were then divinely punished for it.
Could he have been imagining what may happen to his own home
of Athens if it didn't check itself and it's people soon? A
warning perhaps to the Athenian leaders that they may be heading
down the same path of greed and corruption, so much so as to
warrant them all a similar divine punishment?
Some of the details in Plato's description are the story's own
worst enemies in some ways. The biggest problem is the date
given to the destruction of Atlantis, which is around 9,600BC.
For there to have been a race that technologically advanced
at that particular time would re-write our known history of
our own species, because human civilization as we would think
of it has only been around since about 5000BC.
To be more precise,
in 9,600BC our species are thought
to have still been hunter-gatherers. The earliest city that
we have evidence of is from about 8000BC
called Catalhoyuk, in Turkey, and it is much more primitive
than what Plato describes. Also Plato talks of domesticated
cattle, and the earliest evidence researchers have found of
domesticated cattle is 6,000BC. The architecture
that Plato speaks of is far more advanced than what researchers
believe would have been in use at that time, as more sophisticated
buildings didn't start to show up until around 5,000BC
at the very earliest. In fact there is almost no archaeological
evidence that could support the claim that a society such as
that described by Plato would have existed at the time stated.
On the other hand,
there was no actual date given by the Egyptian Priest who first
spoke of Atlantis to Solon, what he said was that it existed
9,000 years ago.
Some have theorised
that the Egyptian Priest was actually referring to years in
the sense of the ancient Egyptian lunar calendar where a year
was actually a month. This may have confused people in the retelling
of it in Greece because the Greek calendar was similar to our
own, with 9000 years being 9000 years. ( I'm not really sure
of the specifics of the lunar calendar, and the 1 month = 1
year, so don't quote me! )
But if this was the case, it would set the year of the destruction
of Atlantis at a much more acceptable date, say between 1000
- 1500 BC.
Many believe that
Plato was basing his account of Atlantis on the history of the
Minoan civilization, which would coincide well with these new
dates. The history of the Minoan civilization and the description
of Atlantis have a suspicious amount in common at any rate.
Why can we find the same plants
and animal species on continents that are thousands of miles
apart from each other?
If Atlantis existed in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, it
would have served as a land bridge between these continents,
allowing the animals and plants (via the animals) to migrate
between. Experts in many different fields of research, not Atlantis
experts, have stated that they think there must have been a
land mass connecting the continents together somehow.
In the Timaeus dialogue, Plato said Atlantis
was "the way to other islands, and from these you might
pass to the whole of the opposite continent".
Also, can it be mere coincidence
that several ancient cultures seem to have spontaneously acquired
certain knowledge and skills that were seemingly beyond their
level of development at the time? The ability to build a perfect
pyramid for example, this skill could not have been developed
by several different cultures independantly of eachother in
such a short period of time. One theory is that they inherited
this knowlegde from a previous culture.
The Atlanteans were said to possess advanced skills and knowledge,
particularly of engineering, consider the sophisticated irrigation
systems and the canals as described by Plato. It is a possibility
that the Atlanteans were the original pyramid builders, and
they shared their knowledge with their neighbours.
The pyramids are extremely sophisticated structures, often built
so that their angles align perfectly with constellations in
the heavens or with perfect north south east and west.
German Author Erich von Däniken
believes these coincidences are attributable to "ancient
astronauts", aliens who visited Earth in ancient times
and shared techonologies with the ancient people. And a lot
of people believe that the inhabitants of Atlantis were in fact
aliens. They were said to be taller than the average person,
more beautiful, etc.
There have been suggestions they may have been aliens fleeing
their own recently destroyed planet (Mars has been implicated),
and they landed on earth and colonized Atlantis. There
are many bizarre theories..
The renowned American psychic Edgar
Cayce ( 1877 - 1945 ) conducted "readings" on thousands
of people in his time, often talking to them about their previous
lives. Some of the people he interviewed had, in a previous
life, lived in Atlantis, and from these people he collected
some unbelievably detailed descriptions of the place.
Cayce also made many predictions, a couple assosciated with
Atlantis. The most interesting and exciting of these Atlantis
predictions is this :
of the temples may yet be discovered under the slime of ages
and sea water near Bimini... Expect it in '68 or '69 - not so
Sure enough, in
1968 (some 23 years after Cayce's own death) the Bimini Road
was discovered in less than 15 feet of water on the floor of
the Atlantic Ocean, at North Bimini Island in the Bahamas. The
Bimini Road is a half mile long road of perfectly aligned limestone
rocks, most spectacular when viewed from the air. Some skeptics
believe that these rocks are a natural formation, and not man-made.
But now, thanks to new evidence uncovered at the area, many
Have a look at the images below and draw your own conclusions.
is what the stones look like from an aerial view.
photos of the Bimini Road
It is most intriguing that this
site was "discovered" exactly when and where Edgar
Cayce had predicted Atlantis to rise. An extraordinary coincidence?
Where does the Bimini Road lead? It descends into the sand and
nobody knows how far down it actually goes.
Is "road" even a correct description? It would appear
not. In the last few years intense research has been done in
the area to try to uncover the mystery of these stones.
Dr. Greg Little, a Psychologist and Prehistorian, and esteemed
author of over 30 books (including "Edgar
Cayce's Atlantis ") has lead the research team, and
has made some amazing discoveries. The most startling is that
beneath the gigantic and seemingly precisely placed stones,
is another layer of stones, exactly the same. This discovery
would tend to suggest that it is not a road at all, but perhaps
a wall. And it makes the argument a lot tougher for the skeptics
who believe it to be a natural formation!
Greg Little's team has uncovered markings on some of the rocks
that seem to to be deliberately carved holes or tool marks.
They have also found what appear to be anchors from ancient
ships, on which tests are still being conducted to determine
the the era that they may be from.
While Dr. Little is not convinced that it is the site of Atlantis,
he is convinced that it was an ancient shipping dock, but to
which civilization it belonged is unclear. The design of the
ship docks, if indeed that is what they are, resemble ancient
docks of Cuba, Asia, and parts of Africa.
Even if Dr Little is not convinced, the Bimini Road is believed
by many to be part of the ruins of Atlantis.
On the opposite side of the Atlantic
Ocean from Bimini, another location has recently been investigated
as a possible candidate for the remains of Atlantis. Spartel
Island, now just a mud shoal submerged 60 metres underwater,
lies just west of the Straights of Gibraltar (known in ancient
times as the pillars of Heracles / Hercules). It is in the exact
place that Plato described Atlantis to have existed.
"There was an island situated
in front of the Pillars of Hercules; the island was larger than
Libya and Asia put together," it was "the
way to other islands, and from these you might pass to the whole
of the opposite continent".
Geological evidence collected at
the site of Spartel Island confirms the island was ravaged by
earthquakes and tsunamis around 11,600 years ago.
The exact place, the exact time, the exact conditions.
But the man responsible for the most recent research expeditions
at this site, Marc-Andre
Gutscher, has seemingly
given up hope. At the recent conference in Milos regarding Atlantis
he seems to have become discouraged upon hearing the arguments
put forward by some of the other experts, who stressed that
a civilization such as that which Plato described could not
possibly have existed in 9,600BC....
While I am no expert on the theories
about Atlantis, I am an enthusiastic lover of mysterious things
and places, and Atlantis has intrigued me and inspired me since
the first time I heard of it.
I have a lot more reading to do on the subject, as there is
a wealth of books available and many many theories that have
been put forward, and perhaps after more research I may feel
differently about it all. But at the moment, as I write this,
I believe the most exciting possibilities for the location of
Atlantis to be the area of Bimini and the Bimini Road in the
Bahamas, or the recently investigated site of Spartel Island,
as described above. I can only hope that Marc Andre Gutsher
or some other researcher decides someday to continue the search
With our technology advancing in
leaps and bounds, we have never stood a better chance of finding
Atlantis than we do now. And It may be our generation that finds
it, after 11,600 years.
So get out there and look people!