An A-Z Guide To The Search For Plato's Atlantis

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Dimensions of Atlantis

The Geographical Dimensions of Atlantis were not fully recorded by Plato, except for a comment that its influence extended as far as Libya and Tyrrhenia. Initially the island of Atlantis was divided among the ten sons of mythical Poseidon and then over time it seems that they acquired other islands as well as some of the nearby continental mainland.

Plato’s descriptions and dimensions relate only to the capital of Atlantis that would appear to have been located on a large island, although this is not absolutely clear. Plato notes that a plain adjacent to the city was 2,000 x 3,000 stadia, (385 x 580 km or 240 x 360 miles). Ulf Richter argued that the unit of measurement employed was in fact the Egyptian khet, which would reduce Plato’s figures by a factor of 3.5, giving us more credible dimensions.

Although these measurements have been disputed as exaggerations resulting from a misinterpretation of the original Egyptian unit of measurement it must be pointed out that Plato also discusses the size of the Atlantean army which indicates a total of around a million men. Such a military force would have to be supported by a civilian population numbering many more millions. Such a figure could not be accommodated on a small island but would require a larger landmass with at least the dimensions recorded by Plato.

To confuse matters further Plato describes Atlantis as being greater (meizon) than Libya and Asia together. This led many Atlantis seekers to search for the remains of a very large island and were forced to assume that it could only have existed in the Atlantic, an idea refuted by modern geology. However, another more credible interpretation is that this refers to the power of Atlantis being greater than Libya and Asia combined.

Thorwald Franke points out that “For Egyptians the world of their “traditional” enemies divided in two: To the west there were the Libyans, to the east there were the Asians. If an Egyptian scribe wanted to say, that an enemy was more dangerous than the “usual” enemies of Egypt, which was the case with the Sea Peoples‘ invasion, then he would have most probably said, that this enemy was “more powerful than Libya and Asia put together”. If, what is likely, the statement “more powerful” in the Egyptian original had been expressed by the common word “wr”, then the mistake is explained: “wr” is “big” in its basic meaning, but it is widely used in a metaphorical way.

*I note that in a short article(a) in early 2016 and in The Destruction of Atlantis[102.82], Frank Joseph has now adopted Franke’s explanation. Unsurprisingly, Joseph does not credit Franke as the author of this elegant clarification.

(a)  (offline Jan. 2018)*