Pillars odf Heracles
Lacedaemon and Laconia were the ancient names for a city state centred on Sparta, whose name eventually superseded theirs. Lacedaemon is the preferred location of Atlantis of Dr Theodore Spyropoulos, a Greek archaeologist, who is author of a three-volume work entitled Lacedaemon.
He was one of the archaeologists who discovered the ruins of Akrotiri on Santorini in 1967. In 2007, he was took part in the excavations at Pellana(c), now a village 27 km north of Sparta. Spyropoulos believes that Pellana was the Mycenaean capital of Lyconia mentioned by Homer.
In June 2014 he published two short papers(a)(b) on the Ancient Origins website arguing for Lacedaemon as the location of Plato’s Atlantis. In his own words;
“There is a vast bibliography about Atlantis, but the modern scholarship concluded that to locate Atlantis and to prove the validity of its identification, four points of agreement must be met and generally accepted. (See E. Bloedow. ‘Fire and Flood from Heaven: Was Atlantis at Troy?’ La Parola del Passato 48, 1993, pp.109-160
Atlantis was an island.
It lay beyond the ‘Pillars of Hercules’.
It was larger than Asia and Libya together.
Its destruction (sinking) produced a barrier of impassable mud.
These four prerequisites are completely fulfilled in the case of Lacedaemon.”
His contention is that in ancient times Lacedaemon had been a large lake or lagoon containing a number islands, both natural and artificial, one of which was the island of Atlantis.
His explanation for Atlantis being greater than Asia and Libya combined is that they were local names for two of the other islands in Lake Lacedaemon! He alone has identified the ‘Pillars of Heracles’ with Columns on Mt. Thornax, 2 km from the Lagoon of Lacedaemon! For example, Atlantis attacked Athens and Egypt from their base in the west (Tim.25b & Crit.114c), not something that could be attributed to Lacedaemon.
I would have expected something more convincing from such an experienced academic, considering the range of other details on offer in Plato’s narrative.
Asia is a term used by Plato, particularly in connection with his description of Atlantis being greater than Libya and Asia together. Leaving aside the various arguments that the original passage meant that Atlantis was greater in ‘power’ rather than in geographical extent or that a change of a single letter in the Greek text would indicate a location ‘between’ Libya and Asia, we must again keep in mind that many words changed their meaning over the centuries. Edward Gibbon, the renowned 18th century English historian, noted that Greek and Roman writers used the term Asia to refer to Turkey, while others identify its use as a reference to ancient Lydia, a relatively small kingdom in western Turkey, rather than the vast continent it describes today. The same confusion is found in relation to Plato’s use of ‘Libya’ and also the ‘Pillars of Heracles’.
*Complicating matters further is the fact that the Egyptians considered themselves to be Asian, a fact recorded by Plato (Tim.24b).*
Furthermore, in Tim.24e, Plato informs us that Atlanteans were intent on the domination of all of the eastern Mediterranean including ‘Asia’, a clear indication that the Atlanteans arrived from the west.