The Lost Civilization of Atlantis
The Lost Civilization of Atlantis
The highly influential ancient Greek philosopher Plato (see image on the right) wrote in the year 360 BC about Atlantis in his dialogues "Timaeus" and "Critias." In these dialogues it was told by the character Critias that his grandfather heard about the story of Atlantis hundred years ago from Solon; A well-known Athenian poet and politician (statesman). In the year 565 BC, Solon heard about the story during his stay in the city of Saïs in Egypt, from the priests of the goddess Neith. A very aged priest - who ancient Greek historians later identified as Sonchis of Sais - told him that, from that time some 9,000 years ago, "Athens" (the city or the area that we know today as Athens) had been in conflict with the great power of Atlantis, which was then destroyed in a catastrophe.
The name "Atlantis" (and also the other names he mentions in regards to Atlantis) is actually a Greek translation of the Egyptian name to maintain the original meaning of the actual name, because the Egyptian name would also have been a translation to the ancient Egyptian language. It is however unknown by which name Atlantis would have been known by the ancient Egyptians.
Plato's dialogues tell us that before the advanced Greek civilization, there once was another highly advanced civilization called "Atlantis", and was a huge island that was larger than (former) Libya (North-Africa) and Asia (Asia Minor) put together. Plato's account is regarded by many as the most credible account of a possible ancient lost civilization.
Quoted from Plato's "Timaeus" (21a-27b):
"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, 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. [todays Etruria]"
Atlantis was situated beyond the "Columns of Heracles", also known as the Pillars/Columns of Hercules and is known today as the Strait of Gibraltar). If one travels from the Mediterranean Sea beyond the Strait of Gibraltar one will find themselves within the vast Atlantic Ocean. For generations its people lived virtuous lives until greed and power began to corrupt them. The final destruction of Atlantis happened some 9,500 years before Plato's time, when the land disappeared in the depths of the sea due to violent earthquakes and floods.
The dialogue "Timaeus" mentioned that, during
Plato's time, there was an impassable and impenetrable shoal of
mud in these parts of the sea that was caused by the subsidence of
the island. There are many scholars today who believe that Plato's
story about Atlantis was merely a fictional account, a possible
metaphor, because there is no known land or civilization which fits
its descriptions. However, both dialogues "Timaeus"
seem to implicate a purely historical account with so much detail
that would be quite unnecessary for merely a metaphor.
In the dialogue "Critias" Plato wrote that Atlantis was founded by Poseidon - known in Greek mythology as "the god of the sea" - who did fell in love with a mortal woman named Cleito. Cleito gave birth to five sets of twin boys, and the domain was divided amongst them. The eldest, named Atlas, became the first king of Atlantis. In Greek mythology Atlas was the bearer of the heavens, and Greek historian Herodotus mentioned that Atlas was in fact a lofty mountain that by the Atlantean natives was seen as the pillar of the heaven:
this at a distance of ten days' journey there is another hill of salt
and spring of water, and men dwell round it. Near this salt hill is a
mountain named Atlas, which is small in circuit and rounded on every
side; and so exceedingly lofty is it said to be, that it is not
possible to see its summits, for clouds never leave them either in
the summer or in the winter. This the natives say is the pillar of
the heaven. After this mountain these men got their name, for they
are called Atlantians; and it is said that they neither eat anything
that has life nor have any dreams."
(Source: Herodotus History Book IV, 184.)
Poseidon had his own temple within the citadel of Atlantis City. Its exterior was entirely covered with silver and its pinnacles with gold, and the interior of the temple was of ivory, gold, silver, and an legendary material called "orichalch" (or orichalcum) which appeared to shone like fire, even to the pillars and floor.
Today most scholars agree orichalcum would have been a brass-like alloy, which was made in antiquity by cementation. This process was achieved with the reaction of zinc ore, charcoal and copper metal in a crucible. During early 2015, divers had recovered 39 ingots from a ship that sunk some 2,600 ago off the coast of Sicily. Analyzed with X-ray fluorescence, these ingots turned to be an alloy made with 75 to 80 percent copper, 15 to 20 percent zinc and small percentages of nickel, lead and iron. Therefore it is possibly that this material could be the legendary material orichalch. (See this news report from news.discovery.com. More photo's are shown at: arquivosdoinsolito.blogspot.nl and revistagalileu.globo.com.)
The temple contained a colossal statue of Poseidon standing in a chariot drawn by six winged horses, about him a hundred Nereids riding on dolphins. Arranged outside the building were golden statues of the first ten kings and their wives.
Because of the excessive use of noble metals within the large construction, the description of the temple of Poseidon seems similar to the description of the "Valhalla" from Norse mythology, which had been described in the Poetic Edda as appearing shining and golden. According to the vikings, Valhalla was the domain of the god Odin, and a kind of heaven for the slain soldiers which were brought to him by the Valkyries (Odin's warrior maiden). It seems that the mythologic place "Asgard"; the residence of the gods, was in fact Atlantis City as described by Plato. It is also reminiscent of of the temple of the "LORD", as described in the apocryphic book: "The Book of Enoch". In chapter 14:8-23 of the book this temple is described with an interior and a floor made out of crystal stones, where the roof appeared like agited stars and flashes of lightning, where a flame burned around its walls, and where its portal blazed with fire. Perhaps this wasn't real fire but merely the reddish shimmering of the material orichalc.
As Plato mentioned in his dialogues that one was already familair with the god Poseidon during the Atlantean times it probably means that the origins of Greek mythology were much older than the Greek civilization itself (as we know it today) and therefore they could be traced back to the age of the civilization of Atlantis. Could it be that these origins of Greek mythology, these testimonies from Atlantis, could have been spread to other parts of the world where it was passed on from where it ultimately took the form of the Greek, Norse and ancient Mesopotamian mythologies?
On the island Santorini (classically named Thera), which like Crete was part of the Greek archipelago, there would have been a devastating earthquake and a vulcanic eruption around 1628 BC. Although some think that Plato described the demise of this island, he explicitly mentioned that Atlantis was situated past the Columns of Heracles, which marks the beginning of the Atlantic Ocean, when sailing from Greece. Also, the period of the demise of Santorini (between 1627-1600 BC) doesn't match the period of the demise of Atlantis which Plato mentioned.
Kircher's map of Atlantis from the time frame around 10,000 BC.
Athanasius Kircher (1601-1680), a rennaissance man very much like Leonardo da Vinci, made a map (seen above) based on Plato's descriptions in his book "Mundus Subterraneus" (The Underground World) in ca. 1665. (Note that north is shown down and south is shown up.)
Vasilis Pashos' comprehensive map of the whole continent of Atlantis during its much earlier times.
(Possibly around 20,000 BC)
The map shown above had been drawn in the year 1979 by writer and researcher Vasilis Pashos, founder of the Atlantis Museum in Athens. It is based on ancient data of, amongst others; Plato ("Timaeus" and "Critias"), Diodoros Sikeliotis ("Historic Bookcase"), Poseidonios (Kikeron's teacher), and the work: "Collection of travellers' narrations" by the geographer Marchellus.
Today there are two sea mounts named after both Atlantis and Plato; the "Atlantis Seamount", and the "Plato Seamount" (seen above) which are possibly described in his dialogs. (See the coordinates: 33 28'N, 28 39'W at Google Maps or Google Earth.) Google's world map, based on satellite images and bathymetric data, shows since the images from 2009 also a grid of lines that is situated a little eastward from these sea mounts. According to a Google spokesman these lines would be errors which would be corrected in the upcoming image data from 2012, but when this data emerged one could still see the very same grid pattern, although somewhat less noticeable because of the lower image quality and cleared out image data compared to the image data from 2011.
Perhaps they think it must be an error because they simply could not believe it? There doesn't seem to be any good reason to exclude the possibility without any doubt that these couldn't be some kind of remnants from a sunken ancient civilization while on the other hand it is located near a place that Plato possibly could have been descriped in his dialogs. (See the chapter: "Geographic Evidence" for more information about this peculiar grid pattern.)
Plato was certainly not the first one who wrote about Atlantis. Possibly the oldest known mention of "Atlantis" could be traced back to the Oddysey of Homer. Homer was a Greek poet and singer who lived from around 800 to 750 BC. and he earned his money from collecting and writing down heroic legends, stories of gods and other mythical accounts. In his Oddysey, the sea-nymph Calypso was mentioned as being the daughter of Atlas, and she was also called "Atlantis" in ancient Greek. Her homeland was an island that was called Ogygia. The Ogygian flood, also known as the "deluge of Ogyges", is one of the three floods from ancient Greek myths. In many traditions the Ogygian flood is said to have been so devastating that it covered the whole world. The Greek word Ogygios meaning "Ogygian" came to be synonymous with "primeval", "primal" and "at earliest dawn", and thus Ogygia may be translated as "primeval land". It is however questionable whether Ogygia truely was (an island of) Atlantis. The Greek writer Hellanicus of Mytilene, who lived during the 5th century BC, also wrote about the daughter of Atlas in his work: "Atlantis" (or "Atlantias"), but unfortunately this work had been mostly lost. Also during the 5th century, the Greek historian Herodotus already called the sea past the Pillars of Heracles (the Strait of Gibraltar) the: "Atlantis Sea" (the Atlantic Ocean).
Why there is
relatively little written history left of a civilization which would
have existed for such a long time could be due to the destruction of
the great library of Alexandria in Egypt. This library was possibly
the greatest library that has ever existed on earth; A large source
of ancient literature, which for thousands of years had been the
Western world's most important center of learning. Historians tell us
that it was conceived and opened either during the reign of Ptolemy I
Soter (323-283 BC) or his son Ptolemy II (283-246 BC), though its
kept literature could have been much older, and could possibly have
contained more literature about the ancient continent and
civilization of Atlantis.
The Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus (330-400 CE) wrote that the intelligentsia of Alexandria regarded the story and destruction of Atlantis a historical fact; It was described as a class of earthquakes that suddenly, by a violent motion, opened up huge mouths and so swallowed up portions of the earth, as once in the Atlantic Ocean a large island was swallowed up.
As read in the writings of the Greek historian Plutarch; Julius Caesar "accidentally" burned down the library, but probably not completely. In this time, a daughter library in the Serapeum temple still existed. It was finally completely destroyed during the conquest of Egypt by the Arabs in the year 642 AD. In 2004, a Polish-Egyptian excavation team announced its discovery of the remains of the long lost lecture halls, or auditoria of the library (BBC news), which proved without any doubt that this great library truely had existed. According to Edgar Cayce the library was initially estalished in the year 10,300 BC (Edgar Cayce reading 315-4).
Could it be that among these lost books there were books about Atlantis, and could this be the most important reason why we know relatively little about Atlantis and her civilization, even though according various sources it would have existed for ten-thousands of years. There is actually a lot been written about Atlantis, even in this day and age; It is even said that it is the most documented subject in the history of literature. It is possible that it is referred to in ancient Hindu texts and it also became the subject of numerous esoteric, occult and theosofical works, and clairvoyant readings. However, many of the presented claims about Atlantis still remain to be proven for it to be regarded as factual evidence. Shirley Andrews which summarizes geologic and metaphysical evidence in her book: "Atlantis: Insights from a Lost Civilization" (1997).
name "Atlantis" is a remarkable name; It is often thought
to be connected to the god Atlas from Greek mythology: one of the
sons of the god Poseidon and the first king of Atlantis. Possibly,
the origins of this name may be traced back to Nahuatl; the language
of the Aztecs. The name seems to be a composition of several words
from the Nahua language; "atl" is the word for "water"
and "atlan" means: in the middle of the water. (The word
"antis" means: "copper".) "Azteca"
(Aztec) is the Nahuatl word for "people from Aztlán"
and Aztlán can be translated to: "place of origin".
According to the history of the Aztec people of Mesoamerica, they
originally came from a now lost land called "Aztlán",
which they described like an island. The Aubin Codex tells that on
Aztlán, the Aztecs fled from a tyrannical elite (the Azteca
Chicomoztoca) and settled themselves into another land where they
called themselves Mexica. (Scholars of the 19th century named them
"Aztecs" again to distance modern Mexicans from
Mexican polymath and writer Carlos de Sigüenza y Góngora (1645-1700) came into possession of an unique collection of manuscripts and paintings from the indigenous Mexican people, which he inherited from his friend Don Juan de Alva; the son of Fernando de Alva Cortés Ixtlilxochitl and a direct descendant of the kings of Texcoco. Ixtlilxochitl was a learned man and wrote for the first time the history of Mexico into Spanish. In 1668, Sigüenza began the study of Aztec history and Toltec writing, and concluded that there had been another race of people before the Toltecs named the Olmecs. He believed that these Olmecs came from the mythical island of Atlantis and that they were responsible for the building of the pyramids at Teotihuacán. Later, after his death, his work was partly destroyed by the inquisition and another part became lost.
Fortunately, the Italian adventurer and traveler Gemelli Careri (1651-1725), with whom de Sigüenza also did share his information, included de Signüenza's information about Atlantis and the ancient Mexican calendar in his own book: "Giro del Mondo". (Source: "The Mayan Prophecies" (1995) by Adrian Gilbert and Maurice Cotterell.) In New Spain, Careri had the opportunity to study the pyramids carefully and their affinity to the Egyptian pyramids led him to believe that the ancient Egyptians and the Amerindians both descended from the inhabitants of Atlantis.
More (possible) references to Atlantis by historians and other sources:
The Greek historian and rhetorician Theopompos (c. 380 BC) wrote of the huge size of Atlantis and its cities of Machimum and Eusebius and a golden age free from disease and manual labor.
The Greek historian Diodorus Siculus (flourished between 60 and 30 BC) made a reference about Phoenicians had been to the immense "Atlantic island". He also wrote that these "Atlanteans" were engaged in war with the Amazonians.
The Greek historian Timagenus recorded the war between Atlantis and Europe. Tribes in ancient France said that Atlantis was their original home.
The Roman usurper Proculus (reigned c. 280 CE) visited the islands off Africa (Canaries or Azores) where the natives told him of the destruction of Atlantis.
In Norse mythology there is the mention of "Asgard"; a land or capital city situated in the centre of the world where the "Æsir" (the gods) lived. It may be that this Asgard was in fact the central situated capital of Atlantis which was named: "Atlantis City" by Plato.
The ancient "Thet Oera Linda Bok" (The Oera Linda Book) from the Netherlands (the oldest part is supposed to be dating from 2194 BC) mentions the submerge a large Atlantic island known as "Atland" (Frisian: "Atlân'') by vulcanic eruptions, earthquakes and rapid sea level changes. Its group of habitants who were followers of the goddes Freyja, fled to the place they later called "Frya's Land", currently known as the Dutch region of Friesland and its habitants are called Frisians today. The Frisian "Atlân" can be translated to "old land" and is similar to the Aztec "Aztlán" which could be translated as: "place of origin". (The text is fully readable online at: www.sacred-texts.com/atl/olb/index.php)
The ancient writings of the Aztecs and Mayans: the Chilam Balam, Desden Codex, Popuhl Vuh, Codex Cortesianus and Troano Manuscript also had been interpret as histories of the destruction of the lost continents of both Atlantis and Lemuria.
English occult writer and inventor James Churchward (1851-1936) wrote several volumes of books documenting ancient writings he claimed to have translated in Southeast Asia concerning Atlantis and Mu, while geologist William Niven claimed to have excavated identical tablets in Mexico.
According to the book: "The Mythical Origin of the Egyptian Temple" (1969) by E.A.E. Reymond, the ancient Egyptian annals at the inside of the west wall of the Horus Temple at Edfu tell us about a vulcanic archipelago in the west that was their first home land, and this may relate to Atlantis as well.
Many ancient writings and stories from Greece, Egypt, the Mayans and the Aztecs, the Basques from Spain, the Gauls from France, the tribes of the Canary and Azores islands, the Frisians from the Netherlands, and many Amerindian tribes all speak of their origins from a large sunken land within the region of the Atlantic Ocean.