Atlantis was a legendary ancient culture and island, whose existence and location have never been confirmed. The first mentions we have are from the classical Greek philosopher Plato, who said that it was destroyed by a natural disaster (possibly an earthquake or tsunami) about 9,000 years before his own time.
Plato's Timaeus (21e - 25d) and his Critias are the only written accounts of Atlantis; in these Plato gives some information on the size and location of the island of Atlantis. Atlantis might be a work of fiction, however, an extended parable intended to illustrate Plato's philosophy of the ideal government. Plato's account purports to be based on a visit to Egypt by the Athenian lawgiver Solon, itself quite possibly a legendary event. Sonchis, priest of Thebes, is purported to have translated it into Greek for Solon.
Aristotle wrote of a large island in the Atlantic that the Carthaginians knew as Antilia. Proclus, the commentator of "Timaeus" mentions that Marcellus, relying on ancient historians, stated in his Aethiopiaka that in the Outer Ocean (the Atlantic) there were seven small islands dedicated to Persephone, and three large ones; one of these, comprising 1,000 stadia in length, was dedicated to Poseidon. Proclus tells us that Crantor reported that he, too, had seen the columns on which the story of Atlantis was preserved as reported by Plato: the Sais priest showed him its history in hieroglyph characters. Some other writers called it Poseidonis after Poseidon. Plutarch mentions Saturnia or Ogygia about five days' sail to the west of Britain. He added that westwards from that island, there were the three islands of Cronus, to where proud and warlike men used to come from the continent beyond the islands, in order to offer sacrifice to the gods of the ocean.
Other Greek accounts
An important Greek festival of Pallas Athene, the Panathenaea was dated from the days of king Theseus. It consisted of a solemn procession to the Acropolis in which a peplos was carried to the goddess, for she had once saved the city, gaining victory over the nation of Poseidon, that is, the Atlanteans. As Lewis Spence comments, this cult was in existence already 125 years before Plato, which means that the story could not be invented by him. The historian Ammianus Marcellinus wrote that "the intelligentsia of Alexandria considered the destruction of Atlantis an historical fact, described 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. Diodorus Siculus recorded that the Atlanteans did not know the fruits of Ceres. In fact, cereals were unknown to American Indians. Pausanias called this island "Satyrides," referring to the Atlantes and those who profess to know the measurements of the earth. He states that far west of the Ocean there lies a group of islands whose inhabitants are red-skinned and whose hair is like that of the horse. (Christopher Columbus described the Indians similarly.) A fragmentary work of Theophrastus of Lesbos tells about the colonies of Atlantis in the sea. Hesiod wrote that the garden of the Hesperides was on an island in the sea where the sun sets. Pliny the Elder recorded that this land was 12,000 km distant from Cádiz, and Uba, a Numidian king intended to establish a stock farm of purple Murex there. Diodorus Siculus declares that the ancient Phoenicians and Etruscans knew America, the enormous island outside the Pillars of Heracles. He describes it as the climate is very mild, fruits and vegetables grow ripe throughout the year. There are huge mountains covered with large forests, and wide, irrigable plains with navigable rivers. Scylax of Caryanda gives similar account.
Marcellus claims that the survivors of the sinking Atlantis migrated to Western Europe. Timagenes tells almost the same, citing the Druids of Gaul as his sources. He tries to classify the Gallic tribes according to their origins and tells of one of these claiming that they were colonists who came there from a remote island. Theopompus of Chios, a Greek historian called this land beyond the ocean as "Meropis". The dialogue between King Midas and the wise Silenus mentions the Meropids, the first men with huge cities of gold and silver. Silenus knows that besides the well-known portions of the world there is another, unknown, of incredible immensity, where immeasurably vast blooming meadows and pastures feed herds of various, huge and mighty beasts. Claudius Aelianus cites Theopompus, knowing of the existence of the huge island out in the Atlantic as a continuing tradition among the Phoenicians or Carthaginians of Cádiz. Perhaps the Byzantine friar Cosmas Indicopleustes understood Plato better than the ancient and modern "Aristotelians", says Merezhkovsky. In his Topographia Christiana he included a chart of the (flat) world: it showed an inner continent, a compact mainland surrounded by sea, and this was surrounded by an outer ring-shaped continent, with the inscription, "The earth beyond the Ocean, where men lived before the Flood." The Garden of Eden is placed in the eastern end of this continent.
- "This same Ocean has in its western region certain islands known to almost everyone by reason of the great number of those that journey to and fro. And there are two not far from the neighborhood of the Strait of Gades, one the Blessed Isle and another called the Fortunate. Although some reckon as islands of Ocean the twin promontories of Galicia and Lusitania, where are still to be seen the Temple of Hercules on one and Scipio's Monument on the other, yet since they are joined to the extremity of the Galician country, they belong rather to the great land of Europe than to the islands of Ocean." —Jordanes, Getica, chapter 1:4.
With rare exceptions, such as Francis Bacon's book The New Atlantis , interest in Atlantis then languished, until, some 2,200 years after Plato, the 1882 publication of by Minnesota politician and sometime crankish writer Ignatius Donnelly. Donnelly took Plato's account of Atlantis seriously and attempted to establish that all known ancient civilizations were descended from its high-neolithic culture.
Since Donnelly's day, there have been dozens — perhaps hundreds — of locations proposed for Atlantis. Some are more-or-less serious attempts at legitimate scholarly or archaeological works; others have been made by psychic or other pseudoscientific means.
Recent esoteric writers such as Helena Blavatsky, Edgar Cayce, and Jane Roberts/Seth proposed that Atlantis was an ancient, now-submerged, highly-evolved civilization. The metaphysical significance being that it was a land from which many of us continue to reincarnate, with Cayce adding that the Atlanteans also had ships and aircraft powered by a mysterious form of energy crystal. The work Toward the Light claims to describe Atlantis, including its exact geographical location.
Crete and Santorini
Among those who believe in an historical Atlantis, one common theory holds that Plato's story of the destruction of Atlantis was inspired by massive volcanic eruptions on the Mediterranean island of Santorini during Minoan times. A main criticism of this theory is that the ancient Greeks were well aware of volcanoes, and if there was a volcanic eruption, it would seem likely that it would be mentioned. Solon got his information from Egypt; if we assume that an Ancient Egyptian symbol for "hundred" was mistakenly read as "thousand", that reduces the age and size of Atlantis by a factor of a tenth, and with that alteration Atlantis fits Minoan Crete well. Many people consider this to be the likeliest theory.
Off the east coast of Cyprus
Robert Sarmast , an American architect, claims to have definitely found the lost city of Atlantis on November 14, 2004, saying that by using sonar scans he was able to find manmade walls that matched the description of the structures described by Plato, CNN reports. The site lies 1,500m deep in the Mediterranean Sea between Cyprus and Syria.
In 2002 the Italian journalist Sergio Frau in his book Le colonne d'Ercole hypothesized that the Pillars of Hercules could be identified not with Gibraltar but with the Sicily Strait between Africa and Sicily, so Atlantis was really Sardinia. A catastrophic event (with a big wave) eradicated from Sardinia the ancient and still enigmatic Nuragic civilization. The few survivors migrated to the near Italian peninsula, founding the Etruscan civilization, the base for the later Roman civilization .
Dr Anton Mifsud who, with co-authors Simon Mifsud, Chris Agius Sultana and Charles Savona Ventura, published Malta Echoes of Plato's Island also added another recent theory.Their book is the product of thoughtful and profound research about the archeological sites and ancient remains related to Atlantis. Frances Galea in his book Malta Fdal Atlantis also wrote about the results of his lifelong research on several ancient studies and known theories on Atlantis, particularly that of Giorgio Grongnet, the renowned Maltese architect, who in 1854 claimed that the Maltese Islands are the remnants of Atlantis.
Near Cape Spartel
Another recent theory is based on a recreation of the geography of the Mediterranean at the time of Atlantis' supposed existence. Plato states that Atlantis was located beyond the Pillars of Hercules, the name given to the Strait of Gibraltar linking the Mediterranean to the Atlantic Ocean. 11,000 years ago the sea level in the area was some 130 metres lower, exposing a number of islands in the strait. One of these, Spartel , could have been Atlantis, though there are a number of inconsistencies with Plato's account.
The geologist Eberhard Zangger has proposed the theory that Atlantis was in fact the city state of Troy (See: The Flood from Heaven: Deciphering the Atlantis legend; Sidgwick & Jackson, 1992, ISBN 0688113508). He both agrees and disagrees with Rainer W. Kühne: He believes too that the Trojans-Atlanteans were the sea peoples, but only a minor part of them. He proposes that all Greek speaking city states of the Aegean civilization or Mycenae constituted the sea peoples and that they destroyed each other's economies in a series of semi-fratricidal wars lasting several decades.
Tantalis (Manisa province in Turkey)
British archaeologist Peter James took a clue from Plato's mention of king Tantalus, and investigated the city of Tantalis (also Tantalos) in the province of Manisa, Turkey. In addition to having very similar sounding anagram names, numerous inscriptions and ancient writings from the region matched the Atlantis story. Tantalis, formerly a wealthy city state, was destroyed when a powerful earthquake struck and caused a lake to flood the city.
A theory by Juan Fernández Amador de los Ríos (1919), Jürgen Spanuth (1953), Georgeos Díaz-Montexano (2000) Atlantis Discovery , Rainer W. Kühne (2003) suggests that the Atlanteans were the Sea Peoples who attacked the Eastern Mediterranean countries around 1200 BC. The city and state of Atlantis were located in Andalucia, 50 kilometers southwest of Seville. Recent satellite photos show two rectangular structures which may be interpreted by Werner Wickbold (2002) and Rainer W. Kühne (2003) tas the "temple of Poseidon" and "the temple of Cleito and Poseidon".
German researchers Siegfried and Christian Schoppe locate Atlantis in the Black Sea: Before 5500 BC there was a great plain in the northwest at a former freshwater-lake. 5510 BC the barrier at today's Bosporus broke due to the rising sea level of the world-ocean. The Pillars of Hercules are identical with the Strait of Bosporus. Oreichalcos means the obsidian stone that used to be a cash-equivalent at that time and was replaced by the spondylus shell around 5500 BC. The geocatastrophic event led to the neolithic diaspora in Europe, also beginning 5500 BC.
In 2000AD Robert Ballard in a small submarine found remains of human habitation around 300 feet underwater in the Black Sea off the north coast of Turkey. The area flooded around 5000BC. This flood may have inspired the Biblical story of Noah's Ark; but the area need not be Atlantis.
The most recent speculation is published in the book (ISBN 0975594605) by Swedish geographer Dr. Ulf Erlingsson from University of Uppsala. It proposes that Atlantis actually referred to Ireland which fits closely in geographic and landmark descriptions. Ireland has not sunk beneath the sea, but the Dogger Bank shoal was an island which sank in the North Sea about 6100 B.C. as the world sea level rose as the Ice Age icecaps melted. Some related theories place the location of Atlantis between Britain and France on the Celtic Shelf . This theory was first developed seriously by Lewis Spence and has been recently revived by some oceanographers.
Geological studies of the mid-Atlantic fail to demonstrate that the continent of Atlantis existed there. However, the geology of the Atlantic Ocean does not exclude the possibility of a sunken island. If such an island existed it would have been much smaller than the island continent of Australia. Plato never claimed that a whole continent disappeared. He referenced a sunken island in front of another continent.
The modern day legendary Riven, The Seer, proposes Atlantis to be a mid-sized Continental island in the Atlantic Ocean based out of the Amperes/Gettysburg Seamounts that was destroyed in several stages from Asteroid and Meteoric showers combined with a major Transform Fracture adjacent to the Atlantic Ridge. In 1979 a Russian expedition team found traces of a civilization at the Amperes Seamount which was published in the New York Times. The final catastrophe occurring at 6482 BC for the time also of the Great Flood that pushed civilizations into the eastern mediterranean. Later Atlantis controlling its foundations up to Tyrhennia and Egypt from their Lake Tritonis Region no later than 1500 BC. Riven also translated the 10 Kings of Atlantis and the meaning of the name Atlantis into Fatherland and discovered the word Araklum in Etruscan scripts that relates to the mysterious Orichalcum element found in Atlantis. He argues that this battle must have been prior to 3100 BC and that the Narmer Palette and Gebel-Arak knife (4000 BC.), found in Egypt prior to King Menes(3100 BC), is evidence of an earlier foreign Sea-People invasion. His destruction theory is also based on the Eye of Ra Myth, the eruptions of Mt.Hekla and Mt.Vesuvius, the ecliptic alignment of planets on Nov 1,6482 BC, All Saints Day, and the flooding of the Black Sea from the Bosphorous straits opening. He has quite the visual website detailing Atlantis, its location and maps with a list of the Ten kings of Atlantis and links to research sites about Atlantis called Tribes of Atlantis by Riven. The Atlantis story is a retelling by Plato and not a myth as many scholars attest because of Plato and his idealistic philosophies. The Original authors were Solon and Dropides who told the story to Critias elder who told it to Critias junior. Critias detailed the story to Socrates where it was later adapted by Plato. In 570 BC, in the time of Pharaoh Amasis, the extremely elderly Egyptian Priest, realizing the end of Egypt was near, let the secret of Atlantis finally fall from his well guarded lips.
The German Otto Muck tries to confirm his view that Atlantis was in the Atlantic Ocean. Through the impact of a meteor the crust of the Earth ruptured along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and Atlantis sunk up to its mountain-peaks, which are now the Azores. A further effect of the impact was a floodwave that many cultures call the Deluge (mythology).
Isla de la Juventud near Cuba
Recent underwater discoveries off the west coast of Cuba have led some to speculate on an Atlantean connection. However, even before these discoveries were announced, author Andrew Collins had explored the Cuba connection in a book titled "Gateway to Atlantis." Collins supports his hypothesis with a great deal of indirect but compelling historical and geographical evidence. He finally suggests present-day Isle of Youth and the shallow sea bottom that surrounds it as a possible location for Atlantis.
Bahama Bank and Caribbean
Not all geologists deny the possibility of a sunken island in Central America. After the Charles Berlitz book The Mystery of Atlantis , a Canadian Hungarian geologist-topographer's book was published, entitled . The author, Z.A. Simon, called the attention to these controversies. He included some supporting conclusions of Dr. J. Manson Valentine , M. Dmitri Ribikoff , E. Umland and C. Umland , Robert B. Stacy-Judd , Dr. David Zink , John P. Cohane , Peter Tompkins , Pino Turolla , Captain Alexander, Francis Hitching , James Bailey, Dr. C.J. Cazeau , Dr. S.D. Scott , Brad Steiger and William R. Fix .
The June 1981 edition of Marine Geology shows some radiocarbon dates on mangrove peat, based on the estimate of Broecker and Kulp, listing dates between 5590 and 3680 BC , with connection of the gradual sinking of the Florida–Bimini region. Most recently the rate of the sea level's rise has slowed to 4.5 in (114 mm) per century. Prior to that time it was one foot per century. Near Andros Island , underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau found a huge submerged cave 165 ft (50 m) beneath the surface. There are stalactites and stalagmites in it, that can be formed in the open air only. Marine sediments on the walls of the grotto enabled scientists to estimate its submersion around or after 10,000 BC. The submarine topography of the Bahamian region shown in the huge Russian Atlas Mira by detailed isobath s, catches the attention of a topographer. The sea floor on the northern side of Cuba, Haiti and Puerto Rico indicates a definite system of submerged valleys of ancient rivers, combined with sunken mountain ranges. The "Tongue of the Ocean" at Andros Island is undoubtedly an underwater ravine caused by terrible tectonic forces, surrounded by almost vertical walls, as a "memento" of the catastrophe. The main problem with this theory is that Atlantis was supposed to have submerged rapidly, following an earthquake.
Z.A. Simon offers an "accurate" map of Plato's rectangular island with its given dimensions as 2,000 by 3,000 stadia, overlaying its outline on the suspected ancient irregular shoreline of that traditional island in the Bahamas region. (An Attic stadium corresponds to 177.6 m)
Prof. Arysio Nunes dos Santos, Ph. D. in Nuclear Physics; Free-Docent, and Professor of Nuclear Physics at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil, has been researching on Atlantis for almost 30 years now, pointing out that "Atlantis was never found because we have all been looking in the wrong places". The reason for this, according to Prof. Santos, is that when Plato spoke of the Ocean of Atlantis, he was not speaking of the ocean that we today call Atlantic Ocean, but of the whole ocean that encircles Eurasia and Africa.
Prof. Santos hence concludes that Atlantis is really located in the Indo-Pacific Ocean, of which the modern Atlantic Ocean was deemed the eastward extension. Accordingly, the modern Atlantic Ocean was of old deemed to extend all the way to the East Indies, a conception which lasted down to the times of Christopher Columbus and other Renaissance explorers and geographers. Despite the prevalent opinion of experts of all sorts that "continents cannot possibly sink", Prof. Santos managed to discover a whole sunken continent in the region of Indonesia, which he identifies with the Lost Continent of Atlantis, as can be seen in the detailed map published in his Atlantis site .
Prof. Santos also identifies his Atlantis to Eden, the Judeo-Christian Paradise sunken in the Universal Flood. This event he dates at 11,600 BP [Before Present], the exact date of the catastrophic end of the last Pleistocene Ice Age, which also corresponds exactly to the date of Atlantis' demise as given by Plato and to the final sinking of Kumari Kandam, the sunken homeland of the Hindu Dravidas. Prof. Santos is presently planning an oceanographic expedition to the site in order to investigate several curious artefactual features he has already identified in the region he identifies with Atlantis-Eden.
India and Sri Lanka
In the south of India and Sri Lanka there is a reputed "Kumari Kandam" (kandam means "continent" in Tamil), believed to be submerged under the sea. This continent is surrounded by legendary stories similar to those of Atlantis. It has been called the "cradle of Dravidians". Also, there has been some people linking the "Kumari continent" to Lemuria.
In the Gulf of Cambay, there is an archeological submarine site of a former island named Dwaraka, which is mainly associated with locations in Indian mythology (especially in the Mahabharata), which has also appeared in discussions about Atlantis. But its date (about 1,500 BC) is too recent to correspond to the real site of Atlantis, according to Plato's date of 9,600 BC.
Atlantis has also been the subject of such films as the 1961 Atlantis, the Lost Continent , Disney's 2001 animated feature Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Gainax's Anime series Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water, the French film Atlantis by Luc Besson (1991) - in fact an underwater wildlife documentary, the Stargate SG-1 TV show spin-off Stargate Atlantis, the book Atlantis Found by Clive Cussler and many others. A complete listing of the appearances of Atlantis in modern media would be too extensive to include here. Jules Verne's classic 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea also included a visit to sunken Atlantis aboard Captain Nemo's submarine Nautilus. One film set in times before Classical Greece arose shows shipwrecked Greek sailors in the Atlantic being rescued by a modern-looking submarine which was based on Atlantis.
In the book Celestial Matters , the Hellenistic civilization calls Amerindians "Atlanteans".
In the role-playing game Rifts, Atlantis is a continent in the Atlantic west of the Caribbean that rises back out of the sea in the far future. Besides the fairylike Atlanteans, Rifts Atlantis is peopled by alien colonists called the Splugorth, who enslave humans for sale on interdimensional markets.
Atlantis was also the subject of the PC-based Adventure game, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, published by LucasArts. In the game, Indiana races the Nazis to find Atlantis and to stop them from discovering the secrets of orichalcum.
In the videogame Tomb Raider, adventurer and treasure hunter Lara Croft's quest ultimately leads her to the buried ruins of Atlantis. Her employer turns out to be an Atlantean herself, having been imprisoned for the past 10,000 years in suspended animation and now seeking to reclaim the powers of her people for her own benefit.
In the Pendragon Cycle series of books, the survivors of Atlantis ("fairies") journey to Britain where, among other places, they settle in Lyonesse and Avalon. Morgan le Fay, the Lady of the Lake, and the Fisher King are all Atlanteans, and Merlin is the son of an Atlantean princess and a Celtic Druid.
In Stargate Atlantis, taken place at the end of season 7 of Stargate SG-1 (The Lost City), the SGC finds out there is a city known as Atlantis in another galaxy, the Pegasus Galaxy. Under the command of Doctor Elizabeth Weir, she and her expedition team set out to explore and find this city and if there are any Ancients remaining, learning that there are none. They venture off to find a new energy source within the Pegasus Galaxy for the trip back to Earth, only to encounter an alien race which defeated the powerful Ancients, known as The Wraith.
Other "lost lands"
- Perseus translated by Benjamin Jowett; alternative version with commentary.
- Critias translated by Benjamin Jowett; alternative version with commentary.
- Project Gutenberg Presents: Atlantis: the Antediluvian World by Ignatius Donnelly
- Open Directory Project: Atlantis
- More than 150 links to Atlantis pages (German/English)
- Classification of Atlantis hypotheses (German only)
- Atlantis in front Gibraltar, between Spain and Morocco; Atlantis = Tartessos, Atlanteans and Sea Peoples. Publication in "Beyond Sciencie". Apr 2000
- Atlantis = Tartessos, Atlanteans and Sea Peoples, publication in "Antiquity"
- Posts Oct 31, 2003: Graham Hancock Forum - Satellite images 'show Atlantis' in Spain
- June 6, 2004: BBC News - Satellite images 'show Atlantis' in Spain
- November 15, 2004: BBC News Have scientists really found the lost city of Atlantis?
- Atlantis in front of Gibraltar, between Andalusia and Morocco. Scientific proofs and archaeological discoveries. The solution of the mystery (Spanish/English)
- BBC News, 20 September, 2001, Atlantis 'obviously near Gibraltar'
- Prof. Arysio N. Santos' website on Atlantis in Indonesia )
- Atlantis could not possibly have existed, from the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal
- Atlantis in Andalusia, Antlanteans and Sea Peoples, in German language
- Jim Allen's Historic Atlantis in Bolivia. Atlantis: The Andes Solution
- Tribes of Atlantis by Riven
- ATLANTIS - The Cradle of Mankind
- Atlantis in the Black Sea
- Atlantis in the Torah
- Atlantis - from Blavatsky.net
- Anton & Simon Mifsud, Chris Agius Sultana & Charles Savona Ventura, Malta - Echoes of Plato's Island (ISBN 99932-15-01-5; 2000; 2nd edition 2001).