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

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Joining The Dots


Joining The Dots

I have now published my new book, Joining The Dots, which offers a fresh look at the Atlantis mystery. I have addressed the critical questions of when, where and who, using Plato's own words, tempered with some critical thinking and a modicum of common sense.


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Benjamin Jowett

Atlanticus

Atlanticus is the word used by Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa to describe Atlantis. Thomas Taylor in his celebrated translation of Plato’s works has subtitled Critias as Atlanticus. In the 20th century The Critias Atlanticus was published, being a compilation(a) of seven translations of Plato’s Critias that includes the work of Thomas Taylor, Benjamin Jowett, Henry Davis, R. G. Bury, Lewis Spence, W.R.M. Lamb, John Alexander Stewart.

*(a) https://web.archive.org/web/20190516063330/http://www.hiddenmysteries.com/xcart/Critias-Atlanticus.html*

Apulia, Izabol

Izabol Apulia (1977- ) is a young dedicated hobbyist cartographer, who lives in Mesa, Arizona. She has developed a huge collection of maps(a), principally of Mediterranean islands, that depicts them at various stages between the Last Glacial Maximum and the present, showing how the rising sea levels gradually reduced them in size. She is highly critical of the sea level data developed and published by Kurt Lambeck and his team, preferring to use her own figures .

Apulia is also an inveterate blogger, using the name of ‘mapmistress’. She frequently published text to accompany individual maps that are often quite interesting. However, when she commented on Atlantis, in my opinion, she was seriously in error. Her big claim is that English translations of Plato’s text have been ‘botched’, in particular the work of Benjamin Jowett, whom she claims ‘invented’ the word Atlantis, which she further claims reads as ‘Atlas’ in the original text!

Not content with that, she places the Pillars of Heracles on Rhodes, with Atlantis to the north of that island in the Aegean.(b)

*(a) http://mapmistress.com/

Site offline Nov. 2018 – See: https://web.archive.org/web/20180215195713/http://mapmistress.com/*

(b) http://pseudoastro.wordpress.com/2009/02/01/planet-x-and-2012-the-pole-shift-geographic-spin-axis-explained-and-debunked/ (about half way down page)

(c) http://mapmistress.blog.com/timescale/  (offline 2015) See Archive 2566

Andreas, Thomas (L)

Thomas Andreas is the compiler of a short e-book entitled The Truth about Atlantis: What Plato Really Said[932] which includes the translation of the Atlantis sections of Critias and Timaeus, by Benjamin Jowett as well as Jowett’s commentary on those passages. The book also includes a very brief ‘fact sheet’. This offering provides little additional information on the Atlantis question.

Susemihl, Franz

Franz_SusemihlFranz Susemihl (1826-1901) was a professor of classical philology at Greifswald University and later became rector there. He was renowned in academic circles for his translations of the works of Plato and Aristotle. His remarks on the Atlantis commentators of his day are as relevant today as over a century ago when he said “The catalogue of statements about Atlantis is a fairly good aid for the study of human madness.”  The accuracy of his statement is borne out by the swollen ranks of today’s ‘lunatic fringe’ who claim inspiration from psychics, extraterrestrials or who insist that Atlantis was powered by crystals and possessed flying machines. The publication of such nonsense has continually undermined the credibility of serious Atlantology.

*Susemihl’s German translation of Plato’s Timaeus and Critias is available online.(a)(b). Thorwald C. Franke has also included Susemihl’s translation along with that of Müller, Bury and Jowett and the Greek text of John Burnet[1492], all in a parallel format(c).*

It should be noted that Susemihl was an Atlantis sceptic.

(a) http://www.opera-platonis.de/Timaios.html

(b) http://www.opera-platonis.de/Kritias.html

*(c) https://www.atlantis-scout.de/atlantis-timaeus-critias-synopsis.htm*

Shepard, Aaron (L)

Aaron Shepard is an American writer who published[857] the Atlantis related passages of Timaeus and Critias using the 19th century translation of Benjamin Jowett and entitled it The Atlantis Dialogue. In a short introduction, he expresses the view “that Atlantis was an invention designed to help illustrate his (Plato’s) philosophy” and should be treated as just an allegorical tale.

 

English Translations (L)

English Translations of Plato’s Timaeus and Critias have been freely available since 1793 when Thomas Taylor produced his translation.

In 1804 Taylor published the first English translation of the entire Platonic corpus. In 1871, Benjamin Jowett produced  the most commonly quoted version of the Atlantis Dialogues, principally because his work is now out of copyright. Henry Davis produced a translation of Critias in the 19th century and John Alexander Stewart also offered a translation of Critias early in the 20th century.

1925 saw W.R.M. Lamb publish a translation of some of Plato’s works and today his rendering of both Timaeus and Critias is used by the Perseus Digital Library(a). In 1929, Lewis Spence included a composite version of the Atlantis texts in The History of Atlantis, using the English translations of Jowett and Archer-Hind for Timaeus and the French translations of Jolibois and Negris for Critias. Rev. R. G. Bury gave us what was arguably the best translation of the Dialogues (Loeb Classical Library, 1929) and is included at the beginning of this book. Francis M. Cornford (1874-1943) published his Timaeus (Bobbs-Merrill, 1937)

Sir Desmond Lee produced a new English translation in 1972 (Penguin)

Professor Diskin Clay delivered an acclaimed translation of Critias (Hackett Publishing, 1997). Professor Donald J. Zeyl offered a new translation of Timaeus (Hackett Publishing, 2000). Dr. Peter Kalkavage published a highly regarded translation of Timaeus (Focus Philosophical Library, 2001).

In 2008, Robin Waterfield offered a new translation of Critias and Timaeus[0922 as well as a revision of Desmond Lee’s translation of them by Thomas Kjeller Johansen.

(a) http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/collections

Spence, Lewis

James Lewis Thomas Chalmers Spence (1874-1955) attended Edinburgh University, after which he began a career in journalism that included a stint as sub-editor of The Scotsman. His book publishing began in 1908 with the first English translation of the sacred Mayan book Popul Vuh[257], followed by A Dictionary of Mythology, so that eventually he had over forty works to his name. He was a keen Scottish Nationalist and stood for parliament in 1929. He was a founder member of the political movement that later evolved into today’s Scottish National Party (SNP).

Among his literary output, which included mythology, occultism and poetry, were five books relating to Atlantis[256,258,259,260 262]. In 1932 he was editor of the Atlantis Quarterly magazine. He corresponded with Percy Fawcett and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, advising the latter on the subject of Atlantis preceding the writing of The Maracot Deep and recently republished as Atlantis – Discovering the Lost City [235], another example of cynical publishing!

Spence at one point became the Chosen Chief of British Druidism and there is a claim that he was a member of at least one continental Rosicrucian organisation, although this report may be the result of confusion with H. Spencer Lewis, an American Rosicrucian. In 1941 he wrote[261] about the occult and the war, then raging in Europe. In that book he argued that the war was the result of a satanic conspiracy centred in Munich and the Baltic States. The following year he wrote[262] of his view that Atlantis had been destroyed as a form of divine retribution and that Europe was in danger of a similar fate.

His books were very popular with the general public but scorned by the scientific establishment, whom Spence mockingly referred to as “The Tape Measure School”. In truth his theories relating to Atlantis were highly speculative and often based on rather tenuous links. Spence believed that Atlantis was situated in the Atlantic and linked by a land bridge with the Yucatan Peninsula and that after the destruction of Atlantis, 13,000 years ago, the Atlantean refugees fled across this landbridge and are now recognised as the ancient Maya. A recent website(d) supports the idea of a landbridge from Cuba to the Yucatan Peninsula.

Spence believed that the ancient traditions of Britain and Ireland contain memories of Atlantis. An article of his on the subject can be found on the Internet.

*In The Problem of Atlantis[258.205] Spence quoted a report that allegedly came from the Western Union Telegraph Company, which claimed that while searching in the Atlantic for a lost cable in 1923 that when taking soundings at the exact same spot where it had been laid twenty-five years before they found that the ocean bed had risen nearly two and a quarter miles. The account was quoted widely; however, not long afterwards, Robert B. Stacy-Judd made direct enquiries of his own to Western Union and the U.S. Navy, who denied knowledge of any such report[607.47]! It would be interesting to know the source of this ‘fake news’.*

Spence’s The History of Atlantis[259] can now be downloaded or read online(c).  In this book Spence offers his own composite translation of the Atlantis texts based on the English and French translation of Jowett, Archer-Hind, Jolibois and Negris.

A 2005 edition of the book from Barnes & Noble has an introduction by Professor Trevor Palmer.

It appears that among others Spence’s work inspired the backdrop to the a number of works by the pulp fiction writer, Robert E. Howard(e), who is perhaps best known as the creator of Conan the Barbarian.

(c) http://www.archive.org/details/historyofatlanti00spenuoft

(d) http://www.theglobeandmail.com/technology/science/evidence-of-ancient-city-found-in-depths-off-cuba/article4157433/

(e) http://www.signature-reads.com/2013/09/the-world-of-robert-e-howard-barbarians-brawn-and-pseudo-history/

Minoan Hypothesis

The Minoan Hypothesis proposes an eastern Mediterranean origin for Plato’s Atlantis centred on the island of Thera and/or Crete. The term ‘Minoan’ was coined by the renowned archaeologist Sir Arthur Evans after the mythic king Minos. (Sir Arthur was the son of another well-known British archaeologist, Sir John Evans). Evans thought that the Minoans had originated in Northern Egypt and came to Crete as refugees. However, recent genetic studies seem to indicate a European ancestry!

It is MinoanWorldclaimed(a) that Minoan influence extendedas far as the Iberian Peninsula as early as 3000 BC and is reflected there by what is now known as the Los Millares Culture. Minoan artifacts have also been found in the North Sea, but it is not certain if they were brought there by Minoans themselves or by middlemen. The German ethnologist, Hans Peter Duerr, has a paper on these discoveries on the Academia.edu website(e). He claims that the Minoans reached the British Isles as well as the Frisian Islands where he found artifacts with some Linear A inscriptions near the site of the old trading town of Rungholt, destroyed by a flood in 1362(f).

The advanced shipbuilding techniques of the Minoans are claimed are claimed to have been unmatched for around 3,500 years until the 1950’s(l).

The Hypothesis had it origin in 1872 when Louis Guillaume Figuier was the first to suggest[296] a link between the Theran explosion and Plato’s Atlantis. The 1883 devastating eruption of Krakatoa inspired Auguste Nicaise,  in an 1885 lecture(c) in Paris, to cite the destruction of Thera as an example of a civilisation being destroyed by a natural catastrophe, but without reference to Atlantis.

The Minoan Hypothesis proposes that the 2nd millennium BC eruption(s) of Thera brought about the destruction of Atlantis. K.T. Frost and James Baikie, in 1909 and 1910 respectively, outlined a case for identifying the Minoans with the Atlanteans, decades before the extent of the Theran eruption was fully appreciated by modern science.*In 1917, Edwin Balch added further support to the Hypothesis[0151].*

As early as April 1909 media speculation was already linking the discoveries on Crete with Atlantis(h), in spite of Jowett’s highly sceptical opinion.

Supporters of a Minoan Atlantis suggest that when Plato wrote of Atlantis being greater than Libya and Asia he had mistranscribed meson(between)as meizon (greater), which arguably would make sense from an Egyptian perspective as Crete is between Libya and Asia, although it is more difficult to apply this interpretation to Thera which is further north and would be more correctly described as being between Athens and Asia. Thorwald C. Franke has now offered a more rational explanation for this disputed phrase when he pointed out[750.173] that “for Egyptians the world of their ‘traditional’ enemies was 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, 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”.

It has been ‘received wisdom’ that the Minoans were a peace-loving people, in fact Dr. Barry Molloy of Sheffield University has now shown that the exact opposite was true(d) and that “building on recent developments in the study of warfare in prehistoric societies, Molloy’s research reveals that war was in fact a defining characteristic of the Minoan society, and that warrior identity was one of the dominant expressions of male identity.”

In 1939 Spyridon Marinatos published, in Antiquity, his opinion that the eruption on Thera had led to the demise of the Minoan civilisation. However the editors forbade him to make any reference to Atlantis. In 1951, Wilhelm Brandenstein published a Minoan Atlantis theory, echoing many of Frost’s and Marinatos’ ideas, but giving little credit to either.

The greatest proponents of the Minoan Hypothesis were arguably A.G. Galanopoulos and Edward Bacon. Others, such as J.V. Luce and James Mavor were impressed by their arguments and even Jacques Cousteau explored the seas around Santorini, while Richard Mooney, the ‘ancient aliens’ writer, thought[0842] that the Minoan theory offered a credible solution to the Atlantis mystery. More recently Elias Stergakos has proposed in an overpriced 68-page book[1035],  that Atlantis was an alliance of Aegean islands that included the Minoans.

Alain Moreau has expressed strong opposition to the Minoan Hypothesis in a rather caustic article(i), probably because it conflicts with his own support for an Atlantic location for Atlantis.

The hypothesis remains one of the most popular ideas with the general public although it conflicts with many elements in Plato’s story. A few examples of which are: where were the Pillars of Heracles? How could Crete/Thera support an army of one million men? Where were the Elephants? There is no evidence that Crete had walled cities such as Plato described. The Minoan ships were relatively light and did not require the huge harbours described in the Atlantis story.

Plato describes the Atlanteans as invading from their western base (Tim.25b & Crit.114c); Crete/Santorini are not west of either Egypt or Athens

Gavin Menzies has now become the standard bearer for the Minoan Hypothesis. In The Lost Empire of Atlantis[780] he argues for a vast Minoan Empire that spread throughout the Mediterranean and even discovered America (p.245). He goes further and claims that they were the exploiters of the vast Michigan copper reserves, which they floated down the Mississippi for processing before exporting it to feed the needs of the Mediterranean Bronze industry.

Tassos Kafantaris has also linked the Minoans with the exploitation of the Michigan copper, in his paper, Minoan Colonies in America?(k) He claims to expand on the work of Menzies, Mariolakos and Kontaratos. Another Greek Professor, Minas Tsikritsis, also supports the idea of ancient Greek contact with America. However, I think it more likely that the Minoans obtained their copper from Cyprus, whose name, after all, comes from the Greek word for copper.

Frank Joseph has criticised[802.144] the promotion of the Minoan Hypothesis by Greek archaeologists as motivated by nationalism rather than genuine scientific enquiry. This seems to ignore the fact that Nicaise and Figuier were French, Frost, Baikie and Bacon were British, Luce was Irish and Mavor was American.

Furthermore, Crete has quite clearly not sunk beneath the waves. Henry Eichner commented, most tellingly, that if Plato’s Atlantis was a reference to Crete, why did he not just say so? The late Philip Coppens was also strongly opposed to the Minoan Hypothesis.(g)

Eberhard Zangger,who favours Troy as Atlantis, disagrees strongly[484] with the idea that the Theran explosion was responsible for the 1500 BC collapse of the ‘New Palace’ civilisation.

Excavations on Thera have revealed very few bodies resulting from the 2nd millennium BC eruptions there.The understandable conclusion was that pre-eruption rumblings gave most of the inhabitants time to escape. Later, Therans founded a colony in Cyrene in North Africa, where you would expect that tales of the devastation would have been included in their folklore. However, Eumelos of Cyrene, originally a Theran, opted for the region of Malta as the remnants of Atlantis. How could he have been unaware of the fame of his homeland?

A 2008 documentary, Sinking Atlantis, looked at the demise of the Minoan civilisation(b). There is also an interesting article from James Thomas, who has published an extensive study of the Bronze Age, with particular reference to the Sea Peoples and the Minoans(j).

*More extreme is the theory of L. M. Dumizulu, who offers an afrocentric view of the Atlantis. He claims Thera was part of Atlantis and that the Minoans were black!(m)*

(a) http://www.minoanatlantis.com/Minoan_Spain.php

(b)  http://video.pbs.org/video/1204753806/

(c) http://fr.wikisource.org/wiki/Les_Terres_disparues

(d) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/01/130115101520.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Ffossils_ruins%2Fancient_civilizations+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Fossils+%26+Ruins+News+–+Ancient+Civilizations%29

(e) https://www.academia.edu/7256326/r_r_r_KOM_M_E_NTA_R_Eine_unendliche_Geschichte (offline 1/7/14)

(f) http://dienekes.blogspot.ie/2008/08/minoans-in-germany.html

*(g) https://web.archive.org/web/20180128190713/http://philipcoppens.com/lectures.php (June 3, 2011)*

(h) http://trove.nla.gov.au/ndp/del/article/97440192?searchTerm=Atlantis discovered&searchLimits=sortby=dateAsc

(i) http://www.mondenouveau.fr/continents-disparus-les-fausses-atlantides-de-santorin-partie-2/

(j) https://medium.com/the-bronze-age

(k) https://www.scribd.com/document/161156089/Minoan-Colonies-in-America

(l) http://www.ancient-origins.net/history/3500-year-old-advanced-minoan-technology-lost-art-not-seen-again-until-1950s-009899

*(m) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqTQeF2gLpg*

 

Jowett, Benjamin

jowett-benjamin01Benjamin Jowett (1817-1893) was a 19th century translator of Plato who famously declared that “no one knew better than Plato how to invent a noble lie”. His 1871 translation of Plato’s work is probably the most widely used, as it is now out of copyright.

The late Flying Eagle and Whispering Wind offered Jowett’s translation ‘with extra paragraph breaks, headings and clickable table of contents’(c).

Some Atlantis researchers such as Georgeos Diaz-Montexano are highly critical of the translation of certain key words and phrases by the more popular translators such as Jowett.

Jowett’s commentary(a) shows that he was thoroughly sceptical about Atlantis Jowett2and some believe that this view may well have coloured his translation.*He voiced the opinion that Plato’s Atlantean War was inspired by the Persian Wars with the Greeks. Those wars took place between 500 and 449 BC, while Solon lived circa 630-560 BC, so it would not have been possible for Solon to refer to the Persian Wars in the Atlantis story he brought from Egypt. We are therefore forced to conclude that Jowett was at least accusing Plato of lying about the provenance of the story, if not the actual contents of the narrative.*

A concordance of the Atlantis sections of the Dialogues is available as an inexpensive download(b)or in hardcopy.

(a) http://ancienthistory.about.com/library/bl/bl_text_plato_critias_intro.htm

*(b) http://www.lulu.de/content/731731 (link broken July 2018)*

(c) http://atlantis-today.com Go to: Atlantis History by Plato.