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

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  • NEWS September 2023

    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 »
  • 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.Read More »

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The purpose of this compilation is to provide a guide to the past and the continuing search for Plato’s Atlantis in an A to Z format. As such, to date, it is the most comprehensive sourcebook available, in English, on the subject, enabling readers to follow the development of Atlantis theories, particularly from the time that interest in the subject was given such a powerful impetus by the publication of Ignatius Donnelly’s book, Atlantis – The Antediluvian World, over a century ago. Although his original work is now rather dated and widely accepted to be scientifically unsound in many respects, it is still in print and continues to be frequently quoted.

As I see it, Atlantis seekers can be divided into three broad groups, fundamentalists, rationalists and fantasists. I view the fundamentalists as those who demand a strict acceptance of the details of Plato’s text even when it conflicts with reason or the weight of indisputable scientific evidence, similar to the manner with which religious fundamentalists view their chosen ‘holy book’. For example, although Plato repeatedly dates the war with Atlantis to 9,000 years prior to Solon’s visit to Egypt, which places it in the Stone Age. However, his description of Atlantis is that of an advanced Bronze Age civilisation, while there is not a scintilla of evidence to support the existence of such a structured society in either ancient Egypt or Greece during the Stone Age.

In order to reconcile this apparent contradiction, some fundamentalists became fantasists by suggesting that the anomalous advanced civilisation of Atlantis was the consequence of Extraterrestrials intervention. However, such a far-fetched explanation does not account for Athens being the military equal of Atlantis at such a remote date, while the archaeological evidence from that period consistently shows that the then inhabitants of what is now Greece were armed with nothing more than rocks and sticks.

The rationalists on the other hand recognise that there are anomalies and unexplained contradictions in Plato’s Atlantis texts and have produced a broad range of explanations in order to resolve these difficulties. Sceptics frequently cite the need to re-interpret details of Plato’s account as evidence of the incredibility of the entire Atlantis tale. However, it must be pointed out that re-interpretation is quite common when dealing with ancient texts because of linguistic, scientific or culturally generated problems. An obvious example of this is to be found in the creation story in Genesis, which declares unambiguously that the universe was created in seven ‘days’, a concept that was blindly accepted for centuries by all Christians until our scientific knowledge developed a more credible view of ‘creation’. Perhaps we should consider the fact that the works of Shakespeare, which are relatively recent, also require interpretation because in the comparatively short intervening period, language, cultural references and contemporary political issues, have altered far more than most 21st century English speakers appreciate.

Similarly, the numbers in Plato’s Atlantis story were not seriously challenged on any scale until the 20th century when common sense combined with an improved knowledge of prehistory and ancient metrology prompted some writers to offer plausible alternatives to the 9,000 years and the dimensions of the described over-engineered features of the city of Atlantis. Although the fundamentalists and the rationalists hotly debate the numbers in the Atlantis story, it does not detract from the underlying probability of historical facts being at the core of the narrative anymore than the ‘seven days of creation’ versus ‘millions of years’ debate regarding the Genesis story takes from the reality of the sequential development of the universe.

I personally favour the rationalist approach to the Atlantis question and have endeavoured to develop my views within the limits of that paradigm. In fairness to readers, I think it would be unreasonable to produce this compilation without declaring my  views on the subject and do so briefly through editorial comment throughout these pages.

The convoluted chain of transmission of the Atlantis texts from Plato to us, at a minimum, involved a series of translations from Classical Greek to Latin and then back to Medieval Greek and finally into a modern vernacular language such as English. If we believe Plato, before him the tale was translated from the records of the Egyptian priests in Sais, related to Solon, who then made notes that came down to Plato, his relative. Before reaching Sais, the narrative was probably transmitted orally before being committed to writing. [EXPAND the loss of meter’s value when translated] To expect an original story to survive such a journey uncorrupted is stretching credibility beyond reasonable limits.

On balance, I, along with many others, believe that there must be a core of historical truth in the Atlantis narrative. I accept that Plato was describing an ancient military alliance that was destroyed at the very least hundreds and possibly some thousands of years before his own. I think it is highly probable that Plato attributed to this civilisation the most advanced social, military and architectural features of his era, more for dramatic effect rather than to deceive. This is comparable with the Renaissance artists who depicted Biblical scenes with the dress, weapons and architecture of their period without the accusation of dishonesty. The employment of such licence is frequently used to embellish fundamental facts, where real peripheral details are unavailable to the writer or artist and unlikely to be know to most readers or viewers.

Another likely source of confusion is the fact that any ancient civilisation was probably known by a number of names, descriptive and/or derogatory, by other cultures. This raises the distinct possibility that Atlantis may already be well known to us, but by a different title or more likely a variety of names as Atlantis was an alliance of a number of states. To determine if this was the case we need ancient chronologies to better synchronised, particularly in the Mediterranean region.

Those that dismiss the Atlantis narrative as a complete fiction frequently cite the paucity of contemporary supporting evidence for Plato’s story. However, I must point out that the amount of written material, from the classical Greek world and elsewhere, that has been lost is incalculable. A large amount of what we do have is only the consequence of being quoted by later writers. An indication of how much may have been lost is demonstrated by the story of the 11th century AD Egyptian astronomer Ibn al-Sanbadi who went to the library in Cairo when he heard that manuscripts there were being catalogued. He found 6,500 manuscripts relating to astronomy, mathematics and philosophy. According to David A. King, ‘not one of these survives amongst the 2,500 scientific manuscripts still preserved in Cairo today’. It is therefore not particularly strange that corroboration of Plato’s narrative is thin on the ground.

It is frequently insinuated that because Plato’s story is the sole unequivocal record that we have of the existence of Atlantis, that somehow being the only one of its kind makes it suspect. If the same faulty logic was to be applied elsewhere many religious doctrines substantiated by single biblical texts should be abandoned or unique objects such as the Antikythera Mechanism or the Phaistos Disk should be ignored as irrelevant. Consider what solitary inscriptions such as those found on the Egyptian Rosetta Stone or its Persian counterpart on the Behistun cliff-face, have done for the decipherment of ancient languages. The principal difference between Plato’s Atlantis story and the Rosetta and Behistun inscriptions is that both of the latter are originals written in three languages. The ambiguities and other difficulties in Plato’s narrative remain unresolved and the subject of continual and furious debate, a controversy that has generated hundreds of books and websites and inspired the compilation of this work.

The attack on Athens and Egypt by Atlantis can be treated as a criminal mystery. The mystery being – who were the Atlanteans, where did they come from and why and when did they attack? Identifying motive, means and opportunity usually solve crimes. Motivation for the invasion of another nation can follow from the difficulties arising from events such as crop failure, climate change, population pressure or political upheavals. The means to invade require manpower, military technology and transportation. Opportunity is usually offered by proximity, military intelligence and/or weaknesses in your prospective opponents. An empire that extended up to Tyrrhenia and the border of Libya would be in an ideal position to know the strength and vulnerabilities of Athens and Egypt. However, it seems strange that Atlantis would have attacked both Athens and Egypt simultaneously as a war launched on two fronts is recognised as a strategy for potential disaster as Herr Hitler discovered millennia later. This alliance of Athens and Egypt against a common enemy is not supported by our current knowledge of their respective histories. This would seem to indicate either an invention or the exercising of literary licence by either Plato or the Egyptian priests. However, the Atlantis ‘alliance’ probably allowed independent military action by its constituent members, as centralised ‘command and control’ at that time, without modern communications, would have been difficult, if not impossible.

There are some elements in Plato’s narrative that could be considered as non-historical additions. Unfortunately, I am not qualified to go beyond an amateur’s conjecture, however, there are many classical scholars who could add a lot to the debate if only they would shed their anti-Atlantis prejudices and apply their expertise to identify the details of the historical foundation underlying Plato’s tantalising tale.

Some readers will feel that the astounding range of theories relating to all aspects of Atlantis is a reflection of internal weaknesses in Plato’s narrative and may be seen as evidence for its non-existence. However, some of those problems may lie with inadequacies in our vernacular translations, where the subtleties of the Greek spoken in Plato’s day are not fully conveyed. The same situation pertains concerning many other ancient tales whose origins are prehistoric and initially dependent on oral transmission. Take the biblical story of the Garden of Eden; its location is a matter of continual debate with at least a dozen leading contenders, including a possible link with Atlantis. A similar spectrum of opinion exists regarding the identity of the Sea Peoples who attacked Egypt and understandably has included a popular school of thought that is strongly in favour of identifying the Atlantean confederation with those Sea Peoples.

The Bible itself is awash with ambiguities, inconsistencies and downright contradictions without endangering its acceptance as a fundamentally correct history of the Jewish people and an inspiration for their religious faith and later a foundation for that of Christianity and Islam.

If the mystery of Atlantis is ever to be definitively solved, it will require a multi-disciplinary scientific approach along with a large dollop of common sense applied by imaginative open minds. While it is clear that the story by the Egyptian priests has been Hellenised to some extent by Solon and/or Plato, since by his own admission the names of the Atlantean kings have been altered, we must consider the possibility that the original account had already been subjected to similar modifications in Egypt. However, in isolation, Plato’s account must be seen as a Mediterranean story unless further evidence is forthcoming to add to the recent support for the idea that Homer’s epics had their origins along the North-Eastern Atlantic or Baltic and were brought into the Mediterranean by settlers/invaders from there. If this view were to gain widespread acceptance, the Atlantis story might require a renewed look at the radical proposals of writers such as Jürgen Spanuth, who, for many, convincingly argued over half a century ago that the Atlantean invaders were the Sea Peoples recorded on Egyptian monuments and that they had come from Scandinavia. The debate continues with several recent books supporting the concept of a Northern European origin for Homer’s epic tales.

It is critical that any student of the Atlantis mystery first addresses the question of the credibility of Plato’s story. This is not to say that Plato had not used at least some literary licence in structuring the story, which he has, but we should recognise that historical facts are underlying the narrative that needs to be identified and on them and them alone construct a convincing theory that definitively identifies Atlantis. This is easier said than done, due to the wide range of interpretations that can be legitimately applied to so many of the details in the relatively short sections of Plato’s text dealing with the lost civilisation.

The primary purpose of Atlantipedia is to inform its readers of the extensive literature on the subject of Atlantis and how, particularly over the last century, the many competing theories have arisen, evolved and frequently perished.

I have put the relevant Atlantis texts of Plato at the beginning of the site as they are the foundation of the entire subject. The main body of the site is arranged in a recognisable A-Z format. Superscript references in plain brackets(a)refer to hyperlinks at the end of the relevant entry that will bring you to a related website.

Superscript references in square brackets[0100] refer to bibliographical entries. Where there is a second number within the brackets[0100.72] it refers to the relevant page number. Less frequently, there will be in second place a third number[0100.2.72] which refers to the particular book in a multi-volume work.

I have included an Appendix listing a chronology of Atlantis theories and their proponents.

However, for anyone wishing to engage in a more intensive study of the topic, my website,, includes thousands of hyperlinks designed to facilitate rapid searching of the text.

I also recognise that Atlantis related discoveries, research and claims are continually being published, and consequently frequent updates, often daily, will be found on the website.