Atlantis is a fictional island mentioned within an allegory on the hubris of nations in Plato‘s works Timaeus and Critias, where it represents the antagonist naval power that besieges “Ancient Athens”, the pseudo-historic embodiment of Plato’s ideal state (see The Republic). In the story, Athens was able to repel the Atlantean attack.
Atlantis is a legendary “lost” island subcontinent often idealized as an advanced, utopian society holding wisdom that could bring world peace. The idea of Atlantis has captivated dreamers, occultists and New Agers for generations.
Unlike many legends whose origins have been lost in the mists of time, we know exactly when and where the story of Atlantis first appeared. The story was first told in two of Plato’s dialogues, the “Timaeus” and the “Critias,” written about 330 B.C.
The Word “Atlantis”
A legendary island in the Atlantic Ocean west of Gibraltar, said by Plato to have sunk beneath the sea during an earthquake.
Type the word “Atlantis” into Google and 120 million results pop up. Like El Dorado or Shangri-la, the legendary sunken city of Atlantis hovers on the horizon of our imagination, tantalizing, mysterious, unreachable.
Author Mark Adams explains why he thinks Atlantis may have been off the coast of Morocco; how an Irishman created the world’s largest database of Atlantis lore; and how the parting of the Red Sea, in the biblical story in Exodus, may be connected to Atlantis.
It was Plato’s “Critias” that set people off thinking that Atlantis actually existed.
Though today Atlantis is often thought of as a peaceful utopia, the Atlantis that Plato described in his fable was very different. In his book “Frauds, Myths and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology” (McGraw-Hill, 2013) professor of archaeology Ken Feder summarizes the story: “A technologically sophisticated but morally bankrupt evil empire — Atlantis — attempts world domination by force.
As propaganda, the Atlantis legend is more about the heroic Athens than a sunken civilization; if Atlantis really existed today and was found, its residents would probably try to kill and enslave us all. It’s clear that Plato made up Atlantis as a plot device for his stories because there are no other records of it anywhere else in the world. There are many extant Greek texts; surely someone else would have also mentioned, at least in passing, such a remarkable place. There is simply no evidence from any source that the legends about Atlantis existed before Plato wrote about it.
6 Clues to the Location of Atlantis
Plato was a philosopher and mathematician in Classical Greece, and the founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world.
In modern times, the location of Atlantis has been the subject of great debate. In recent years, the number of locations chosen for that fabled land has reached some kind of critical mass bordering on the absurd.
where did Plato say that Atlantis once stood? He gives us several clues.
- Atlantis was a large island. This eliminates the Sahara, South America, Antarctica, the Irish Shelf and the North Sea continental shelf as candidates for Atlantis. None of these were islands twelve thousand years ago.
- Atlantis was beyond the Pillars of Heracles (today’s Strait of Gibraltar). This eliminates Sardinia, Corsica, Crete, Thera, Cyprus or any other location in the Mediterranean.
- Atlantis was in the Atlantic Ocean (the “true” ocean beyond the Mediterranean which Plato described as merely a lake with a narrow entrance). This eliminates Indonesia and any other locations outside of the Atlantic Ocean.
- Atlantis succumbed to a violent cataclysm and was swallowed by the sea.
- Atlantis was as large as Ancient Libya and Asia Minor combined. This is rather inexact, but in rough figures it would be equivalent to a body of land between one and two times the size of Texas (the largest state in the contiguous United States).
- The closest portion of Atlantis faced a region known as Gadira (a region in southwestern Spain, surrounding the city of Cádiz, the oldest European city on the Atlantic coast). This eliminates the South Atlantic and the recently publicized Spartel Island (Spartel is too close to Gibraltar to face Gadira, it succumbed far too slowly over thousands of years and it was far too small).
Collected And Prepared By Nayab Khan