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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Sumeria

Marduk & Tiamat

Marduk & Tiamat were two of the leading gods of the Babylonian pantheon (a). The controversial writer Zecharia Sitchin, in The Twelfth Planet [1599] identifies Marduk and Tiamat as planetary bodies that were involved in a re-ordering of the solar system through catastrophic collisions some millions of years ago (b). However, his proposed Sumerian cosmology includes another planet in our solar system, ‘Nibiru’ with an orbital period of 3,600 years, whose inhabitants visited Earth during their previous close encounters and genetically manipulated the development of humans!

Now, Stuart L. Harris has published a paper(c) naming a body, Marduk/Nibiru, that had a number of close encounters with Earth causing global catastrophes, which included the destruction of Atlantis in 9577 BC, which he believes had been situated in the North Atlantic near Rockall. He proposes that this event generated a tsunami 1,500 metres high that swept across Europe. Harris also credits Marduk with the destruction of the planet Tiamat, which led to the creation of the asteroid belt.

The Babylonian Marduk is frequently associated with the Greek Phaëton.

(a) https://www.ancient.eu/Marduk/

(b) https://www.tokenrock.com/explain-tiamat-planetary-theory-144.html

(c) https://www.academia.edu/37958235/Sinking_of_Atlantis_by_Marduk_in_9577_BC_Part_4_Destruction_from_the_flood

Flinders Petrie, Wm. M.

William Matthew Flinders Petrie (1853-1942) was a renowned English Egyptologist, who developed improved archaeological methods, some of which are still employed today.*One of his first publications was in 1883, entitled The Pyramids and Temples 0f Gizeh[1660].*

Jason Colavito has drawn attention(a)  to a short article written by Flinders Petrie in Ancient Egypt, September 1924, in which he finds value in the work of Reginald Fessenden, who was an advocate of Atlantis in the Caucasus. However, I note that he makes no explicit comment on Fessenden’s Atlantis theory. Petrie was interested in the evidence that strongly suggested that people from the Caucasus region had an influence on the development of the ancient Egyptian culture, noting again a couple of year s later “It appears, then, that the cultural connections of the earliest Egyptians, as well as the physical descriptions in their mythology, point to the Caucasus region. When, further, we find there the names of the principal places of the mythology in their relative positions, it gives strong grounds for regarding that region as the homeland of the earliest civilization of the Egyptians”. (Ancient Egypt, June 1926) (b) .

Dr. Margaret Murray (1863-1963), who worked with Petrie, was also sympathetic to this view. More recently, Ronnie Gallagher has taken up this cause and has gone further by suggesting the possibility that not only were migrants from the Caucasus responsible for kick-starting the development of Egyptian culture, but that people from the same region had a similar influence on the early inhabitants of Sumeria and the Indus Valley.

Although Flinders Petrie is better known for his extensive work in Egypt, he also excavated in Palestine, where he died and was buried.

(a) http://www.jasoncolavito.com/flinders-petrie-on-atlantis.html

(b) https://grahamhancock.com/gallagherr1/

Origin of the Atlantis Narrative

The Origin of the Atlantis Narrative is declared by Plato to have been Egyptian as it was brought to Athens from Egypt by Solon. This is the almost universally accepted provenance of the story. However, other suggestions have emerged from time to time.

Felice Vinci, who is probably best known for his Homer in the Baltic believes that the origins of most of Greek mythology are to be found in northern Europe.

Another even more exotic claim(a) is that Plato’s Atlantis story was a reworking of the destruction of Lankapura as recorded in the Ramayana(b) , one of the two great Hindu epic poems.

Dhani Irwanto claims that its origins lie in Indonesia and were later carried by refugees to Egypt, presumably via the Indus Valley and Sumeria!

Ashok Malhotra believes that the Atlantis tale originated in the Indus Valley(c) , inspired by the submergence of Dwarka and then moved westward via Sumeria.

*(a) http://archives.sundayobserver.lk/2001/pix/PrintPage.asp?REF=/2013/03/17/mon06.asp (Offline Sept.2017 – See Archive 2058)*

(b) http://www.valmikiramayan.net/

(c) http://ezinearticles.com/?In-Search-of-Atlantis—-Getting-CloserHYPERLINK “http://ezinearticles.com/?In-Search-of-Atlantis—-Getting-Closer&id=313482″&HYPERLINK “http://ezinearticles.com/?In-Search-of-Atlantis—-Getting-Closer&id=313482″id=313482

Bucurescu, Adrian

BurcurescuAdrian Bucurescu is a Romanian ethnographer and a prolific article writer and also the author of Dacia Secreta and Dacia Magica. He identifies the Black Sea and what is now mainland Romania as the home of Atlantis. He locates the Pillars of Hercules at the Danube gorge at the mouth of S-W Romanian river Cerna (also known as Acheron, Charon, Geryon) and that the capital of Atlantis was the city of Tulcea (Tul=atlas+Cea=land) at the Danube Delta.

Furthermore, Bucurescu claims that Plato originally said 5,000 not 9,000 years had elapsed between the Atlantean war and Solon’s visit to Egypt. He bases this idea on his claim that the works of the Greek philosophers were preserved in Arabic translations after the fall of Constantinople and that their numbers ‘5’ and ‘9’ were sufficiently similar to have led to a transcription error!(b)

*Bucurescu’s ideas should be compared with those of Densusianu and the more recent book of Alexandra Furdui.*

However, a further contribution on Graham Hancock’s website has him  listing the ten kingdoms (of Atlantis) extending over a much larger region, including Poland, Egypt and Sumeria(a)!

(a) http://grahamhancock.com/phorum/read.php?1,176280,176318

(b) http://grahamhancock.com/phorum/read.php?1,176280,176305#msg-176305

Nibiru

Nibiru was a Sumerian astronomical term used to describe a planetary body that periodically approached Earth. This account was hijacked by the late Zechariah Sitchin to construct his Planet X theory in which he claimed that this planet had an orbit which took it to the outer limits of the solar system returning every 3600 years to the vicinity of Earth. Sitchin claimed that during one of these visits some of its inhabitants came to earth and become the ‘gods’ of the Sumerians. However, Sitchin failed to explain how the inhabitants of this Planet X survived the lack of heat and light that it would have had to endure as it moved away from the proximity of the Sun. For us inhabitants of Earth a drop of just a few degrees is fatal.

However, Emilio Spedicato has a radically different and certainly more rational view of this Sumerian planet.  He ascribes a much shorter orbital period of 20 years to Nibiru and claims that close encounters with this planet as having had a dramatic physical effect on the prehistory of our planet including the capturing of our Moon, the destruction of Atlantis and later the biblical Exodus! His scenario has elements that can be traced to Velikovsky, Ackerman and Hörbiger.

Professor Spedicato’s November 2012 paper, From Nibiru to Tiamat, an Astronomic Scenario for Earliest Sumerian Cosmology, can be read or downloaded from the excellent Diffusion and Migration website(1). A number of his other papers can be found on the same website and are certainly worth studying.

In sharp contrast to the serious work of Spedicato, for the past couple of years we have been subjected to a barrage of silly articles(b) linking Nibiru with the promised 2012 global catastrophes ‘predicted’ by the Mayan calendar.

A debunking of both Sitchin’s scholarship and the existence of Nibiru has been offered by a number of sites(c).

*However, some people, such as David Meade (a pen-name) who describes himself as a ‘Christian numerologist’ predicted that Nibiru would collide with Earth on September 23, 2017! When this did not happen he moved the event to October, but again nothing happened. But he persisted and subsequently moved our demise to March 2018, then April, with a final suggestion for the year of between May and December(d).*

(a) http://www.migration-diffusion.info/article.php?year=2012&id=351

(b) http://yowusa.com/

(c) https://archive.is/AoTJ7

*(d) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Meade_(author)*

Gallagher, Ronnie

Ronnie Gallagher is an amateur archaeologist with a great interest in the Caucasus region, where Ronnie Gallagherhe has carried out extensive research. He has written an interesting paper on the effects of the post-glacial flooding of the Caspian Sea and its former physical connection with the Black Sea as well as with the Arctic Ocean(a).

Gallagher has also drawn attention to cart ruts in Azerbaijan(b) similar to, but not as numerous as, those on Malta. He is also an admirer of the work of Reginald Fessenden who placed Atlantis in the Caucasus(c) and proposed that migrants from that region were responsible for kick-starting what we know as the Egyptian civilisation. The renowned Flinders Petrie and Margaret Murray were sympathetic to this view, as is Gallagher(d) .

However, Gallagher goes further and suggests that people from the Caucasus were also responsible for the development of the great cultures of Sumeria and the Indus Valley!

His own conclusion regarding the location of Atlantis in the Caucasus region was that it was inundated as a consequence of the creation of a vast ‘flooded Eurasia’ that resulted from the collapse of glacial ice-dams(d), *comparable with the Lake Missoula Floods in America.*

Gallagher’s paper should be read in conjunction with a 2004 paper(e) from a team of Russian and US scientists that relates to a ‘Giant Siberian Lake’.

*His studies in Ajerbaijan continue, where he has identified an extensive number of strandlines in the region resulting from ancient catastrophic flooding.*

He has now published two extended abstracts of recent papers on the academia.edu website(f)(g). 

Also See: Lake Agassiz, Deglaciation and Melt Water Pulses.

(a) http://www.scribd.com/doc/95437026/The-Ice-Age-Rise-and-Fall-of-the-Ponto-Caspian-Ancient-Mariners-and-the-Asiatic-Mediterranean

(b) http://www.azer.com/aiweb/categories/magazine/ai103_folder/103_articles/103_cart_ruts.html

(c) http://www.radiocom.net/Deluge/Deluge1-6.htm

(d) http://www.grahamhancock.com/forum/GallagherR1.php

(e) http://www.esd.ornl.gov/projects/qen/lake.html  (Jan.2017, no longer available see Archive 2372)

(f)https://www.academia.edu/37625564/Observations_of_Caspian_strandlines_their_use_as_highstand_indicators_with_consideration_for_their_implications_with_regard_to_regional_geomorphology_paleodrainage_and_biodiversity

(g) https://www.academia.edu/37625563/Anthropomorphic_images_in_Azerbaijans_landscape_and_their_possible_significance

 

Sumeria

Sumeria was unknown until the middle of the 19th century. With the discovery and the decipherment of the Sumerian cuneiform tablets the sophistication of their culture prompted the idea that Sumer had been ‘the cradle of civilisation.’ Subsequent discoveries, such as the those in the Indus Valley and more recently  Göbekli Tepe have now somewhat diluted that idea.

*The origin of the Sumerians is still something of a mystery as is their language which seems to be an ‘isolate’, unrelated to any known language group. Ronnie Gallagher has suggested that migrants from the Caucasus had provided the impetus that led to the development of the Sumerian civilisation. Gallagher’s theory is supported by Jerald Jack Starr on his Sumerian Shakespeare website, who emphatically attributes a Caucasian origin to the Sumerians(l).*

AncientSumeria2Sumeria has now been proposed as a possible source of the Atlantis story. Dr. Ashok Malhotra, a professor of Engineering, has suggested(a) that that ‘the likelihood of the Atlantis stories being of Sumerian origin is strengthened by the fact that the submergence of ancient cities was a strong part of the Sumerian mythology. It dominates their historical tradition. The destruction of the ancient city as a result of sin was also part of their beliefs.’ Malhotra then proposes that these Sumerian stories reflected actual flooding events in the Indus Valley region that were brought first to Sumeria and then were later transferred to Egypt and from thence via Solon to Plato to us.

George Michanowsky went much further and claimed that the Sumerians had known Atlantis under the name of NI-DUK-KI, known today as Dilmun[282.66]. The renowned Henry Rawlinson interpreted this name to mean ‘blessed hill’ or ‘blessed isle’. While Michanowsky’s suggestion is highly speculative, if correct, it would be the earliest known reference to Atlantis.

The Sumerian king list(e) from Larsa records eight kings (some versions note ten) before the Deluge, which may have been reflected, in a distorted fashion, in the ten patriarchs of Genesis and/or the ten kings of Atlantis! Another suggested link is with the eight generations between Adam and Noah recorded in Genesis chapter 5.

John Sassoon would seem to support Malhotra’s thesis in his book[566], which proposes a Sumerian origin for the Jews with possible earlier links with the Indus valley. He is not concerned with Atlantis, just the ancestry of the Jewish people of whom Abraham was born in Sumeria around 2000-1800 BC. Sassoon’s views offer a possible transmission route for Eastern traditions and myths to have reached Egypt and subsequently through Solon to Athens.

In 2001 a book by Radek Brychta was published in the Czech Republic in which he also advocates a Sumerian connection. He identifies Atlantis with the legendary Dilmun of Sumerian legend and locates it on the Indus civilisation island of Dholavira. Excerpts from this fascinating book are available on the Internet and worth a read.

However, the most extreme claims came from Zechariah Sitchin who proposed that the Sumerians had been ‘influenced’ by ancient astronauts from the planet Nibiru, which information is to be found in their cuneiform tablets if Sitchin’s translation is to be believed. Similar daft ideas(g) have been put forward by Hermann Burgard[1316] but so far have only been foisted on a German-reading public.

As if that was not bad enough, we now (Oct 2016) have the Iraqi Transport Minister claiming, among other matters, that the Sumerians launched spaceships 8,000 years ago(h)!

The Sumerian texts also crop up in the theories of Dieter Bremer[1022] and Jakob Vorberger, who claim that Atlantis was a space station(I)!

Jim Allen, the leading advocate of ‘Atlantis in the Andes’ has also claimed(b) a Sumerian connection with South America citing  Ruth & Alpheus Hyatt Verrill, who include in their book[838.293] three pages of Sumerian words compared with the language of ancient Peru as well as other cultural aspects there. They also believed that Sargon (2369-2314 BC) was known in Peru as the deity Viracocha! Their fanciful idea stems from an account of Sargon sailing to the west and spending three years there!  Zhirov supported this claim[458.23] describing it as ”a seemingly semi-fantastic theory”. My reason for considering this claim to be nonsensical, is simply that Sargon was continually engaged in expanding his empire and constantly dealing with rebellions in the various city states that he ruled over. The idea that he took three years out to visit America, 14,000 km away, is in no way credible.

Nevertheless, the idea of Sargon in South America persists with James Bailey repeating it in Sailing to Paradise[0150.66] and more recently by the Afrocentrist, Clyde Winters in an article on the Ancient Origins website(f) in which he quotes Bailey and the Verrills as supporting Lake Titicaca as the Lake Manu of Sumerian tradition. A further article(j) on the same website begins with the forceful claim that it is becoming increasingly clear that the Sumerians had established a colony in South America called Kuga-Ki.” The paper is based on a series of questionable artifacts, the Fuente Magna Bowl, the Crespi Collection and the Pokoyia monument!

The Fuente Magna Bowl is frequently offered as evidence of a pre-Columbian link with the Sumerians(c), although its provenance is unclear and there are suggestions of a hoax. A sceptical view of the ‘Bowl’ by Carl Feagans(k) is available.

The very existence of Sumerians has recently been attacked in an appendix to The Three Ages of Atlantis[972] by Marin, Minella & Schievenin. They maintain that the Sumerian ‘language’ “could be an artificial construct created by Akkadian priests” to be used for liturgical purposes. These ideas were first expressed at the end of the 19th century by the respected Orientalist, Joseph Halévy. Andi Zeneli has expressed comparable ideas(d) regarding the Sumerian language.

(a) http://ezinearticles.com/?In-Search-of-Atlantis—-Getting-Closer&id=313482

(b) http://www.atlantisbolivia.org/boliviaandthesumerianconnection.htm

(c) http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1551445/posts

(d) http://sumeriantestament.blogspot.ie/2012/08/what-is-sumerian.html

(e) http://www.ancient-origins.net/myths-legends-asia/sumerian-king-list-still-puzzles-historians-after-more-century-research-001287

(f) http://www.ancient-origins.net/opinion-guest-authors/was-bolivia-peru-sunset-land-sumerians-006708?nopaging=1

(g) https://www.amazon.de/Encheduanna-Offenbarungen-Oberfl%C3%A4chlich-Priesterf%C3%BCrstin-Originaltitel/dp/3943565033

(h) http://www.ancient-origins.net/news-mysterious-phenomena/iraqi-transport-minister-announces-sumerians-launched-spaceships-7000-021011?utm_source=Ancient-Origins+Newsletter&utm_campaign=e99e2b8dea-Top_Trending_Stories_Oct_No2_REAL_10_10_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_2dcd13de15-e99e2b8dea-85158329

(i) http://www.atlantisbremer.de/atlantis-in-der-mythologie/atlantis-in-mesopotamischen-ueberlieferungen

(j) http://www.ancient-origins.net/artifacts-ancient-writings/representation-sumerian-elites-detected-crespi-gold-tablets-009920

(k) http://ahotcupofjoe.net/2015/03/sumerians-in-bolivia-probably-not/

(l) http://sumerianshakespeare.com/734501.html

 

 

 

Fessenden, Reginald Aubrey

Reginald Aubrey Fessenden, (1866-1932), was a remarkable Canadian ReginaldFessendenlrgwho, at the age of 24, had been head chemist to Thomas Edison. He was Professor of post-graduate Mathematics and Electrical Engineering, Western University of Pittsburgh and Engineering Commissioner, Ontario Power Commission. While there he took on the challenge of wireless communication and he made his first radio voice ‘broadcast’ on Christmas Eve, 1906, at a time when Marconi was still signalling in Morse code. In fact his first voice transmission was on December 23rd 1900 which was heard one mile away.

Fessenden investigated an ancient civilisation in the Causasus and identified it as Atlantis. The famous Egyptologist Flinders Petrie was interested in his work, which revealed evidence that people from the Caucasus had an influence on the development of ancient Egyptian culture(b)(c).*Dr. Margaret Murray (1863-1963), who worked with Petrie, was also sympathetic to this view. More recently, Ronnie Gallagher has taken up this cause and has gone further by suggesting the possibility that not only were migrants from the Caucasus responsible for kick-starting the development of Egyptian culture, but that people from the same region had a similar influence on the early inhabitants of Sumeria and the Indus Valley.*

Fessenden was also author of The Deluged Civilisation of the Caucasus Isthmus published in three parts between 1923 and 1933 and now available on the Internet(a). In this he discusses an alternative interpretation to the geography of early Greek myths and its consequences for Plato’s story of Atlantis.

*In 1940, Fessenden’s widow, Helen, just a year before her own death, completed Reginald’s unfinished autobiography[1615]. In Chapter 28 his support for Atlantis being situated in the Caucasus is reiterated.*

Jason Colavito has written a short critique of Fessenden’s work(d).

(a) http://www.radiocom.net/Deluge/Deluge1-6.htm

 http://www.radiocom.net/Deluge/Deluge7-10.htm

http://www.radiocom.net/Deluge/Deluge11.htm

(b) http://www.jasoncolavito.com/flinders-petrie-on-atlantis.html

(c) https://grahamhancock.com/gallagherr1/

(d) http://www.jasoncolavito.com/blog/on-atlantis-berossus-and-alternative-scholarship

 

Dilmun

Dilmun (Tilmun) is a legendary island paradise referred to in the mythology of Sumeria. Today, Bahrain is generally believed to harbour the location of this renowned city.

*However, in 1983, Daniel Potts published a paper(c) which does not challenge the prevailing identification, but instead suggested that it is necessary “to both broaden and restrict the identification of Dilmun, according to the particular time in history to which one is referring.” He traces the use of the name in Mesopotamian texts as early as 3000 BC. He contends that Dilmun was applied to eastern Arabia by Early Dynastic Sumerians and that later power shifted to Bahrain with the name, Dilmun, which possibly applied to the island as well as part of mainland Arabia. Then around 2000 BC the use of the appellation appears to have been extended to include the island of Failaka, off Kuwait. Potts suggests that subsequently Failaka may have replaced Bahrain as the centre of Dilmun.*

Thirty years ago George Michanowsky proposed[282] that the Sumerian inscription NI-DUK-KI was the equivalent of the Akkadian ‘Dilmun’ and that it probably referred to Bahrain. He went further and identified Dilmun as Atlantis, which he contended was inundated when sea levels rose as a consequence of global warming caused by a supernova that was noted by the Sumerians 7,000 years ago.

However, in 2001 Radek Brychta published a book[203] that refutes this. Instead, he identifies Dilmun with the Indus civilisation city of Dholavira and proceeds to argue cogently for its acceptance as the original inspiration behind Plato’s Atlantis tale. He contends that the city declined at the end of the 3rd or beginning of the 2nd millennium BC as a result of natural catastrophes in the region. Brychta notes how flooding created swamps that impeded access to Dholavira reminiscent of Plato’s shoals preventing navigation where Atlantis had subsided. Brychta outlines the contacts between the Indus civilisation and Sumeria and between Sumeria and Egypt and proposes this as the route of the story of Dholavira’s demise, which eventually was related to Solon. Brachta’s book was published in the Czech Republic but extensive excerpts are available on the Internet(a) and well worth a viewing.

Brachta’s theory is supported by Yashwant Koak, who is due to publish a book on his concept of Atlantis in India. Koak claims that investigations at Dholavira have shown a 92% match with Plato’s description of Atlantis.

*The imaginative Zia Abbas also links Dilmun with Atlantis, but places it further east in Indonesia[001.28].*

The Malagaybay website has an interesting illustrated article about Dilmun.(b)

(a) http://www.i-atlantis.com/enindex.htm (Offline)

(b) https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2016/10/26/the-arabian-horizon-the-lost-lands-dilmun/ 

*(c) https://www.academia.edu/5789959/Potts_1983_-_Dilmun_Where_and_when?email_work_card=view-paper*

Credibility and Veracity of the Atlantis story (L)

The Credibility and Veracity of the Atlantis story must be considered on three levels. Was the story true and did Plato himself believe it to be so and is it credible to us today?  Any reading of the text reveals that Plato did believe it even though he had some reservations about some of its contents. Plato’s faith is clearly based on the fact that he traced the tale back to Solon whose reputation placed him beyond question for the Athenians of Plato’s era. For Plato to claim Solon as the primary conduit for the Atlantis story is the equivalent of an American writer today claiming George Washington as a source. Unless the citation is factually correct, any such writer would be committing literary suicide. In Plato’s case he not only quoted the ‘canonised’ Solon but also included two of his own dead relatives in the chain of transmission from Egypt. This combination of Solon and his own relatives in the provenance of the narrative has led many to conclude that it is highly improbable that Plato would have done so in the perpetration of a literary fraud, leading to the reasonable assumption that there must be some basis to the story. The fact that the chain of transmission is so convoluted, has also added to the view that the Atlantis story is to be believed. The account of how Plato received the story contains no logical contradictions, which further enhances its credibility. In addition to this, as H.S. Bellamy pointed out, it is remarkable that Plato was able to credit the Egyptians with knowledge and antiquity superior to that of the Greeks.

Plato relates how the priests of Sais told Solon that the last flood to engulf Athens led to the art of writing being lost and not regained for some considerable period. That the Egyptians were aware of this seems to come as a surprise to Solon. It was not until the 19th century that it was confirmed that the Greeks had possessed writing prior to the ‘Dark Age’, a discovery that adds further credence to the whole narrative.

In addition to all this, is the fact that Plato unambiguously claimed on four occasions in Timaeus that the story was true, as if anticipating the incredulity of some of his audience. It is not impossible, in fact it is more than likely, that Plato added his own elaboration to the Atlantis story in keeping with the norms of literary licence of his time. However, he has never been shown to be guilty of wholesale fabrication. Interestingly, Plato declared that his Republic is a fiction but that Atlantis is true.

John Michael Greer[0345.15] notes that Plato stated “three times in the Timaeus alone that the story Solon heard from the Egyptian priest is true, ‘not a mere legend but an actual fact (Tim.21a).’ This is the only place anywhere in Plato’s dialogues that he puts this much emphasis on the factual nature of one of his stories. This dosen’t guarantee the truth of his account of Atlantis, of course, but it does suggest that he wanted to make sure that his story was not dismissed as ‘a mere legend’.”

The Greek researcher, Anthony N. Kontaratos, listed[255] twenty-two instances of Plato asserting the truthfulness of the Atlantis story, directly and indirectly, in a paper delivered to the 2005 Atlantis Conference on Melos.

A common criticism is that Plato was merely using the Atlantis story to advance his own views of an ideal state. In fact, he had no need to concoct a country unknown to his listeners to promote his political philosophy when he had already expounded them more than once in other works without resorting to historical or geographical invention. It does seem far-fetched to suggest that Plato used the exotic story of Atlantis to highlight his ideal state system while his prehistoric Athens as outlined in Timaeus was already available for this very purpose.

If Plato had invented the Atlantis story it makes no sense that he included in the narrative his disquiet at some of the details contained in it. In Critias 118c he has the speaker, Critias, declare “now as regards the depth of this trench and its breadth and length, it seems incredible that it should be so large as the account states, considering that it was made by hand, and in addition to all the other operations. But none the less we must report what we heard”. Galanopoulos and Bacon drew attention to this extract as an inexplicable comment by a ‘fabulist’ intent on misleading an audience. They surmise that Plato was torn between the reputation of his source, Solon, and the incredibility of the content of his tale and opted for reputation over reason. If Plato had invented the story he would have devised more credible dimensions. They very fact that he offers such seemingly exaggerated numbers, which in other circumstances might have generated open derision, is in itself evidence that he accepted their veracity and believed that he was relaying a true story.

If we compare the manner in which Plato presents Atlantis in Timaeus and Critias with his introduction of the myth of Theuth and Thamus in his dialogue Phaedrus, where the speaker, Socrates, announces “I can tell you a story from the men of former times but only they know whether or not it is true”, we can see an element of doubt which he does not apply in the case of the Atlantis story. Although Plato clearly accepts that the Atlantis account is a ‘strange’ one, he is adamant that it is true, ‘having been attested by Solon, the wisest of the Seven Sages’. In his dialogue Timaeus, Plato has the speaker, Critias, twice emphasise that his story is about something that actually happened and he has Socrates himself welcome the story on that understanding.

The weight of evidence is that Plato believed the story to be true and if doubt is to be cast anywhere it should be directed towards Plato’s source, Solon, the Egyptian priests or the subsequent line of transmission. And so, the key questions are: (i) did the Egyptian priests tell Solon the truth and (ii) did Solon fully understand what he was being told and (iii) was the story transmitted intact to Plato?

In a March 2014 interview George Sarantitis gave his reasons for accepting Plato’s credibility, “So, going back to its author, Atlantis was written almost 2.360 years ago by the Greek philosopher-scientist Plato. He wrote about it in two separate books, Timaeus and Critias. Plato was renowned in his time and is considered to be of the greatest thinkers ever. Many believe Atlantis to be a figment of his imagination, written to illustrate a point. But Plato was an arch exponent of rationalism and logic, renowned and acclaimed philosopher-scientist of wide interdisciplinary knowledge and he wrote about Atlantis in the latter part of his life. It was in his last works. So the question is; would one like him, at his age and reputation and in that era, write a work of pure fiction, a fairytale? The logical answer is no. It’s illogical to expect that one under his circumstances would spend time to write such an incredible story solely for philosophical instruction. Would one reasonably expect Einstein or Hawkins for example, to write fairytales as part of their life’s work and especially while approaching the end of it? Besides, Plato’s account of Atlantis contains geographical directions, mathematical descriptions and precise measurements; hardly the stuff of fairy stories. Why (did) he write about it in two separate books?”(a)

Lewis Spence pointed out[259.41] that Sais, which had a Greek quarter, had very strong religious, social and commercial links with Athens that would have generated regular traffic between the two cities. It is highly unlikely that the Atlantis story was related to Solon alone and further remarks that as a  consequence, “if Plato’s account had not been inherited from Solon, and had its Egyptian form not been current in Sais, there were thousands of Greeks there who could have contradicted it, and that some negative of the kind would have reached Athens sooner or later.”

Eberhard Zangger contends that there is no reason to believe that Plato saw the Atlantis story as anything other than an actual historical account. He argues that the length and specificity of detail would render the tale purposeless as fiction.

The strongest case that can be brought against the credibility of Plato’s tale is perhaps the high numerical values given to both architectural dimensions and the antiquity ascribed to Egypt, Athens and Atlantis alike. Since Plato did not treat his audience as fools, we can only attribute these apparent exaggerations to a transmission error as the narrative passed through many persons from the Egyptian priests to Plato or, as some have suggested, from even earlier sources such as Sumeria or the Indus Valley.

The fact that Plato incorporated such excessive numbers into his Dialogues only enhances the view the Plato really believed the data given to him and that they were not the outpourings of a deluded romantic.

Finally, had Plato’s intention been to totally deceive his listeners then it is reasonable to expect that he would have used the long recognised ploy of carefully mixing the false with large dollops of commonly accepted truths, thus luring his audience into accepting everything presented as fact. There is no evidence of such a strategy, instead we have Plato doubting some of his own story but obviously compelled to relate it as given to him out of regard for its source, Solon.

Nevertheless, in spite of all this we cannot ignore the fact that there is a high level of scepticism regarding the Atlantis story, particularly among academics. I suspect that in many instances that this intellectual cowardice stems more from a need to protect careers rather than engage in controversy.

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