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

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    NEWS September 2023

    September 2023. Hi Atlantipedes, At present I am in Sardinia for a short visit. Later we move to Sicily and Malta. The trip is purely vacational. Unfortunately, I am writing this in a dreadful apartment, sitting on a bed, with access to just one useable socket and a small Notebook. Consequently, I possibly will not […]Read More »
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    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.Read More »

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Archive 2846

Posted 09 October 2013 – 12:27 AM

Ulf Richter said it best qoute-

you were discussing the time of the destruction of Atlantis according to Plato´s texts. I will try to explain my doubts about the “9000 years” for the war (not for the foundation!) of Atlantis:

Reading thoroughfully the whole Timaios and Critias of Plato in the different translations, I found a serious logical discrepancy concerning the frequently cited „ 9000 years before Solon“:

1) In Tim23E is written: that the institutions in Egypt (religion, tempels, priests, state) were founded 8000 years before Solon, and those of Athens still 1000 years earlier: „She (the goddess Neith = Athene) founded your city (Athens) a thousand years before ours, receiving from the Earth and Hephaestus the seed of your race, and afterwards she founded ours (Sais/Egypt), of which the constitution is recorded in our sacred registers to be eight thousand years old. As touching your citizens of 9000 years ago, I will briefly inform you of their laws and of their most famous action; ” (transl. Jowett) . In the following chapters is described, that a war between the peoples inside and outside of the pillars of Hercules took place, but not necessarily 9000 years before Solon (where the state of Athens was just founded and could not have been able to withstand an Atlantis power of 1200 battle ships), but “once upon a time ” (Tim.24E, transl. R.G.Bury, like in the german translations; unfortunately in the translation of B. Jowett this sentence is left off).

2) After this first mentioning , by Critias, of the first state of Athens and its enemy, the state of Atlantis, the discourse went on with a long speech of Timaios about quite a different topic. During the next night Critias read through the records Solon had made during his visit in Sais, which Critias inherited from his grandfather, Critias the Elder, a relative of Solon. From this recapitulation he could tell about all the institutions and buildings in Atlantis with the astonishing details in numbers and dimensions. But obviously he did not find a date for the war between Athens and Atlantis in Solon´s records, and remembered from the last day only the number of 9000 years, which was however given there for the date of the foundation of Athens. He mixed this number up with the number of years for the war, which he would report on this morning, and said: “Now first of all we must recall the fact that 9000 was the sum of years since the war occurred, as is recorded, between the dwellers beyond the Pillars of Heracles and all those that dwelt within them; which war we have now to relate in detail . . .” (transl. Bury)

In this sentence Critias made two logical errors: first he connected the 9000 years not with the inauguration of Athens by the goddess Athene, but with the war between Athens and Atlantis, and secondly he forgot, that half of the population inside the Pillars of Heracles, namely the Libyans and the Europeans between the Pillars and Tuscany, were not on the side of the Athenians, but on the side of the Atlanteans.

It is obvious that this sentence was a rhetorical ornament at the beginning of a new narration, and that Critias (or Plato) mixed up two of the yesterday narrated events. On the day before, the date of the war was never mentioned, and so it was not possible to “recall” it. And it is completely illogical, that in the year of its foundation a state could defeat an enemy as mighty as Atlantis with 1200 ships and 1.2 millions of warriors.

If the war would have taken place 9000 years before Solon, how could the Athenians save the Egyptian or Saitic people, which had its foundation according to Platon´s text 1000 years later? How could the Egyptian priests write down this story, when Egypt and a priestly class didn´t exist for further 1000 years? But a great part of the “Atlantologists” take from this obviously illogical sentence the proof, that Atlantis was destroyed 9000 years before Solon.

3) The third mentioning of the 9000 years is in Crit 111B : „Many great deluges have taken place during the nine thousand years, for that is the number of years which have elapsed since the time of which I am speaking“, namely, between the time when the land around Athens was the best and fruitful in the world and the time of Solon, when due to the deluges all soil was washed into the sea and only „the mere skeleton of the land being left“ (transl. Jowett). This third citation of the 9000 years has nothing to do with the war or with the destruction of Atlantis!

The three different citations of the “9000 years” in Plato´s texts are meaning three different events! The second citation (“9000 is the sum of years since the war occurred . .”) must be an obvious error of Critias (or Plato). No date for the destruction and sinking of Atlantis is found in the texts. (only: “at a later time . .”)

From the above mentioned it is obvious, that from Plato´s texts an exact date for the war between Athens and Atlantis and the later destruction of both cannot be taken. The war took place “once upon a time” (Tim. 24E), and the destruction still “at a later time” (Tim.25C) And this “once upon a time” could well be in the Bronze Age, as the narrated weapons of the Atlanteans suggest.