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

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Evidence (t)

The Evidence that is available at present to support the existence of Atlantis is at best circumstantial, since irrefutable physical proof has yet to be discovered. If the reality of Atlantis was subjected to the scrutiny of a courtroom it is not unreasonable that the burden of proof required in civil rather than criminal cases should be applied. Right now with the evidence available it is unlikely that a case for Atlantis that was “beyond reasonable doubt” could be made. However, one based on “the balance of probabilities” should be easier to construct successfully. In investigating a mystery that dates back thousands of years the quality of any available evidence is understandably diminished by the passage of so much time.

Although circumstantial evidence may be thought to be somewhat inadequate, we must consider that many killers have been convicted on the basis of inferred proof, sometimes even without a corpse.

We should not be surprised that physical evidence is in short supply, since, according to Plato, Atlantis was destroyed. Therefore, we must rely principally on Plato’s account, which is available to us in our vernacular languages, which are based on ancient Latin translations of earlier Greek texts that are unfortunately no longer available to us.

Our two, long deceased, main witnesses, Solon and Plato are generally accepted to have been held in high regard, both during their lives and long after their deaths. However, our first difficulty arises from the literary styles used by these two men. Solon had intended to adapt the Atlantis story as an epic poem, no doubt within the parameters of ‘poetic licence’ pertaining in his day. Similarly, Plato used the ‘Dialogue’ format to express his version of the story but quite clearly with embellishments intended for dramatic effect rather than to deceive his audience. The objective of an enquiry must be to separate these additions from the underlying historical facts.

The core story related by Plato is rather simple. A very powerful nation that existed long before Solon, invaded the eastern Mediterranean threatening Egypt and Athens. They were defeated and sometime later suffered the destruction of their island home in an earthquake. There are many other details  given by Plato, some anachronistic, some mythological,  which must then be forensically examined individually, in order to determine whether they might be historical facts or just Platonic additions. Stripped of these literary accretions the resulting text should be more helpful in locating Atlantis in time and place.