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

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Archive 2934

Atlantis = Cyprus ?

The lost civilisation of Atlantis has been located virtually anywhere in the world… and some have even gone as far as space… Researcher Robert Sarmast has now concluded that the lost civilisation must have been located near Cyprus… and he may be right.

Philip Coppens

“Atlantis” is a unique word, a translation from the Egyptian word Keftiu into Greek. Keftiu itself was a translation of an original Atlantean word – thus said Plato, the person who wrote about Atlantis. As it is a unique name, and a unique account, the story of identifying Atlantis is difficult – had it been easy, the mystery would have been solved long ago.
When Plato wrote his Timaeus and Critias, he would probably never have imagined that Atlantis would create a controversy in the following millennia. The controversy started almost immediately after he had written about it and apart from medieval times, has captured the imagination of western civilisation. And even though the civilisation is often believed to be located in the Atlantic Ocean, numerous locations have been proposed, from America to the Middle East. Equally, the inhabitants of the island have been classified as gods, extra-terrestrial beings or a special racial type. Confronted with so many possibilities, few are able to make sense of it all.

One of the many researchers who claim to have located Atlantis is the American researcher Robert Sarmast. Though his story may not be as spectacular as some of the other theories, it does have the advantage that his possibility is likely… and thus might be the key that unlocks the problem.
One of the most remarkable facts about the disappearance of Atlantis is that the “continent” slowly sank. It was the end result of a series of disasters, which include earthquakes. According to Sarmast, this is a clue in determining the location; few locations in the world can meet these specific demands… and an island in the Atlantic Ocean does not meet the criteria.
Briefly, Sarmast has identified the Mediterranean Sea as the location for Atlantis, specifically the area immediately to the southeast of Cyprus, currently buried underneath 1500 metres – about a mile – of water. It is known that the Mediterranean has not always been a sea – at least not as large as its current size. At least three times, earthquakes and the continental drift have closed the Street of Gibraltar. As a consequence, water began to evaporate, turning the sea into land. This is now an accepted scientific fact, testified by various geological remains, including the visible routes of the Nile, continuing its course much further. Graham Hancock is one of the authors who has gone in search of evidence that buildings and cart ruts around the island of Malta are now buried underneath the water’s surface; evidence that even relatively recently – 5000 years ago – the water level seems to have been lower than today.
Sarmast argues that approximately 10,000 years ago, the Street was closed off, which resulted in one of the biggest waterfalls the world has ever seen: a hundred times bigger than Victoria Falls. But when earthquakes reopened the corridor, millions of tons of water slow entered the Mediterranean, whereby land began to “sink” underneath the water. And Sarmast believes that Atlantis was lost in this catastrophe.

Atlantis has a number of characteristics, whereby Sarmast has been able to confirm that they apply to Cyprus. The presence of elephants and copper are two important characteristics, which fit within his hypothesis. Copper was so abundant in Cyprus that the island was actually named after the metal.
But what about the so-called “Pillars of Hercules”, where Atlantis was said to be located beyond? Criticism against the identification of the Pillars as Gibraltar predates Sarmast; Eberhard Zangger was one of those who argued that various locations around the Mediterranean Sea carried that description. Gibraltar should not be considered the sole candidate for that title.
But could Atlantis be an island, if the Mediterranean Sea was not a sea? Even though most of the sea was turned into land, the rivers still emptied inside the area… and some ocean must always have remained at the bottom, unless the period in which the Mediterranean was cut off from the Atlantic Ocean was extremely long.

It is a fact that the shores of the Mediterranean Sea show signs of the origins of civilisation, whereby the eastern shores has many remains that are dated to 8000 BC – relatively shortly after the sinking of Atlantis, which the ancient Egyptians had dated to approximately 9500 BC. It thus seems likely that that region indeed had an unknown civilisation… and if Atlantis was located in the Atlantic Ocean, would we not have seen those signs in the western Mediterranean, or even on the western shores of the Atlantic Ocean, along Spain and Morocco?
Sarmast adds that Cyprus still has a yearly Festival of the Flood, whose origin has been lost in the mists of time. Is it a remembrance of the catastrophe? The festival is even named Kataklysmos and even though it is now celebrated at Pentecost, it is clear that this was an old festival that the Church Christianised.
It is not the only potential link with Atlantis. The highest mountain on the island is now almost two kilometres above sea level, and is named Olympos. Is this the original Olympos, the sacred mountain of the Greek gods?
Cyprus is also recognized as the centre of the cult of Venus, the Mother Goddess, who many historians have identified as the central object of worship in primitive societies. Researchers have shown that between roughly 20,000 and 5000 BC, a cult of the Mother Goddess existed around the eastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. The island also has the village of Yeroskipou, a name derived from “Hiero Skepos”, or “Holy Gardens”. The gardens were dedicated to Aphrodite/Venus and could well be identical to “Paradise” and the Garden of Eden. The name “paradise” actually refers to a garden, enclosed by a wall and this is precisely what these gardens were: sacred territories, walled off from the world. Inside was a veritable paradise, with springs, flowers and trees, whereby the worshippers of the goddess practiced free sex in worship of the goddess of love.

Sarmast touches upon, but does not extensively discuss, the possibility that the demise of Atlantis may be connected with the story of Noah and the Flood. It is clear that a catastrophe of this sort – the filling of the Mediterranean basin – and the Ark of Noah beginning to float on water, until it finally reaches land, are very similar. Indeed, once the waters had risen to a new level, the world had been transformed and the evils of the old world had been washed away. And it is clear that the evil was also in Atlantis, as the disaster that befell it, has been identified as God washing the slate clean of the evil that the civilisation had begun to wreak upon its neighbours.
Whether it was God or a natural disaster, it is clear that the refilling of the basin must have created a massive reaction – panic – with the people that lived inside it. Some must have been confronted with a rising sea-level, some may even have experienced a tsunami. Many must have died. Atlantis had a further problem, in the sense that it was a plain, located next to the sea. If it had been a mountain civilisation, they may have survived, or had more time. Amongst all the victims that the disaster must have made, a civilisation along the shores must have been its major victim. And the Egyptians remembered them…
As such, perhaps we need to look upon Noah as the eccentric scientist, who observed the possibilities of the upcoming disaster and took his precautions. As such, he was well equipped to face the disaster – and succeed in his survival… perhaps he was one of the few who did…

Sarmast hypothesis remains for the moment that. But he is in the process of mapping the area. Even though the Mediterranean Sea is well-known, its surface is not. Sarmast is equally hopeful that traces of the civilisation have survived, despite being buried under a mile of water. And some of the maps he and his team of researchers have been able to get from the area in question do seem to indicate that Atlantis may indeed be located there. Though much more work is required, at least, this possibility is more hopeful than so many of the alternatives…

This article appeared in Frontier Magazine 11.2 (April-May 2005)