Was it real or is it just a myth? So many attention seekers have exaggerated or distorted the story that it has become synonymous with a “Fantasy” or an impossible quest.Could Atlantis have existed as an actual country? The answer could be yes.
Is it likely that Atlantis really existed exactly as described in Plato’s writings? The answer is likely to be no. Before exploring the possibility of an Atlantean civilization it is important to appreciate that many scholars believe that Plato’s description of his conversation with T & C was only ever a way of introducing the concept of a utopian society.
A society that ultimately collapsed because it failed to adhere to its moral and founding principles. But … intriguingly, there is more to this story than some skeptics would have people believe.
(Just remember this – non-mainstream theories that don’t conform to popular academic thinking rarely get college or university grants. Professional scientists would rather lose a limb than have their reputations called into question. Atlantis? let’s not go there.)
The only way to assess the validity of the story of Atlantis is through Literary Forensics. This is a process that examines each key point and determines how well it stands up to historical record (proof) and scientific evidence. Before you give up reading this section let us say that if the evidence was overwhelmingly against Atlantis, we wouldn’t have bothered compiling these pages. The best place to begin is also the most startling and often overlooked. Plato refers to the following text:
“Thereupon one of the (Egyptian) priests, who was of a very great age, said: “O Solon, Solon, you Hellenes are never anything but children, and there is not an old man among you.”
Solon in return asked him what he meant.
“I mean to say”, he replied, “that in mind you are all young; there is no old opinion handed down among you by ancient tradition, nor any science which is hoary with age. And I will tell you why. There have been, and will be again, many destructions of mankind arising out of many causes; the greatest have been brought about by the agencies of fire and water, and other lesser ones by innumerable other causes.” (Plato – 360 BC -Translated by Benjamin Jowett)
Whether the Egyptian priests referred to in the writings ever existed, Plato (Timaeus) clearly understands that the Earth, this small blue planet, is periodically subjected to intense natural disasters involving fire and water. That he understood and recognised this fact is absolutely not in question and it shows an incredible appreciation of natural science that doesn’t become apparent again for almost 2,000 years. He accepts, as do his companions, that catastrophic flooding is more common than most people alive today would like to admit. He also refers to the fact that the climate has changed and refers often to deluges and floods powerful enough to destroy coastal cities as well as references to cliffs and buildings having been eroded into the sea.
For this claim there is significant archaeological evidence and Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea does indeed have underwater ruins and at least one often visited submerged city. (See, for example, The Lycean city of Kekova, Naukratis, Thera and Santorini.)
According to Graham Hancock, author of Underworld; (since the last ice age) “More than 15 million square miles of habitable land were submerged underwater, resulting in a radical change to the Earth’s continental shape and the conditions in which people could live.”
“To coordinate the explorations of his skin-diving friends, Gargallo has organized the Mediterranean Institute of Underwater Archaeology. In his apartment off Rome’s Piazza, di Spagna, he has a map of Italy and Sicily with coloured pins indicating the site of 20 to 30 ruins known to his skin-divers. There is a big underwater city near Venice. Another, off Mondragone, north of Naples, runs along the bottom for nearly three miles.” (Time Magazine -1959)
This also shows that contrary to what “global warming” experts would have people believe, the Earth’s climate has been continuously changing (warming and cooling) without the help of man.
Many experts believe we are actually living in an ice age and this pleasant enough climate we enjoy is just a warm interglacial period. Geological evidence has confirmed that the last Ice Age completely finished only 10,000 years ago. So again, Plato is accurate in his statements.
So, let’s for the moment, assume that the description of Atlantis is both literal and accurate. If so, then Atlantis existed 11,500 to 9,300 years ago towards the later period of the last ice age. This is highly significant because sea levels would have been dramatically different than they are today.
According to geological studies, sea levels have risen 130 metres or 400ft in since the last Ice age. Also, it rules out any northern locations for the city as they would certainly not had the temperate climate described by Plato. (However, places that are extremely hot today would have been just pleasantly warm.)
“Church and White (2006) found a sea-level rise from January 1870 to December 2004 of 195 mm, a 20th century rate of sea-level rise of 1.7 ±0.3 mm per yr and a significant acceleration of sea-level rise of 0.013 ± 0.006 mm per year per yr.”
However, for the past 6,000 years (a few centuries before the first known written records), the world’s sea level has been gradually approaching the level we see today.
If this is so, and there is no reason to doubt it, then a considerable amount of land that is now underwater would have been habitable. Now we start to see some evidence that the context of Plato’s writings about Atlantis stand up to historical fact.
The Island of Atlantis, as described by Plato, is often perceived to be huge, the size of Asia and Libya (North Africa) combined. Published satellite imaging of the underwater regions of the world clearly indicates that no such land mass ever existed. (Still, this is not a perfected science and as recently as 2004, new underwater mountain ranges were being discovered) More relevant is the fact that any earthquake powerful enough to completely destroy all evidence of this Island, one at least the size of modern Australia, would have effectively ended 95% of all life on earth. (If not through the quake itself then through the ensuing volcanic activity.)
So is this description of Atlantis wrong? Well no – not actually. The answer lies in the ancient Greeks appreciation of the size of the world and the way they thought about it. Two factors need to be considered. Firstly, the world was that which was occupied by people and thus not the vast empty landmasses in between such as the Sahara. (Robertson and Vincent – 2004) Secondly, the further away from Greece the landmass, the less certain they were of its exact size. So in effect it is reasonable to conclude that Atlantis may not have been as big as it appears to be described. This is not an error on the part of Plato – he was recording facts as he understood them. The error is modern mans with his vastly superior understanding of the geography of this world.
What of the description of the Island Atlantis? Several key points stand out. The Island has a small central mountain (cone) surrounded by ripples or water filled depressions. There are many fissures, not manmade, in the ground. There are lakes surrounding this cone. Hot and cold springs are evident. The lands surrounding this central mountain are very fertile. There are cliffs at the edge of the sea.
This is a very clear, consistent and accurate description of a volcanic island. The central cone could be an ancient (dormant) volcano. Hot springs are definite indications of geothermal activity. Lands surrounding volcanoes are often very fertile – just look at the fields surrounding Naples and Mount Vesuvius. Finally, volcanic islands, particularly those of the Atlantic often have steep cliffs where they meet the sea.
The critical aspect of this description of Atlantis is not just what it describes – rather it is the fact that the components are consistent with each other. In other words, it sounds like the depiction of a real place rather than one conjured from the imagination. More importantly, Plato did not have easy access to the Internet or the Encyclopedia Britannica to check his facts – he wrote them as he understood them. This makes this description even more remarkable.