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

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    Atlantipedia will be wound down in 2023. After nearly twenty years compiling Atlantipedia on my own, and as I am now approaching my 80th birthday, I have decided to cut back on the time I dedicate to developing this website. An orderly conclusion rather than an enforced one is always preferable before the Grim Reaper […]Read More »
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Timaeus (Dialogue)

Timaeus is the title of one of the two Atlantis Dialogues of Plato, named after one of the participants. In it we encounter the first clear reference to Atlantis. The dialogue is usually seen as a continuation of The Republic.  The first Latin translation of Timaeus comes from Cicero in the first century BC(b), but unfortunately from the point of view of Atlantology, he only translated 27d-47b, just missing the Atlantis passages. One of the most influential Latin translations came from Chalcidius in the 4th century AD. However, it fell to the 15th-century Marsilio Ficino to produce the first translation of Plato’s complete works(c).

Some claim that Timaeus is the only character used by Plato that does not appear to have actually existed in ancient Greece. However, it is more generally accepted that the Timaeus in the Dialogues was based on a real astronomer and mathematician known as Timaeus of Locri, who was a Pythagorean philosopher who formed his own Pythagorean School in Locri in Southern Italy when the School in Croton was forced to close. Timaeus is said to have been around 70 at the time that the Dialogues were written.

What is at issue is the actual authorship of Plato’s Timaeus, such as by Hermippus of Smyrna (3rd cent. BC) who claimed that Plato copied his text from the philosopher Philolaus. This suggestion has been debated until modern times(a).

>Nikolai Zhirov‘s [458.55] comments on the authorship question have been published by Atlantisforschung “With regard to the Timaeus, a rumor was already circulating in antiquity, namely that it was not written by Plato. The first to question Plato’s authorship was Timon the Pyrrhonist, who claimed that Plato based his Timaeus on a book someone had given him. Timon lived in the century after Plato, and it is therefore quite likely that he knew some details of the philosopher’s life that were later forgotten.

Many ancient scholars offer diverse views on the origin of Timaeus: some attributed him to Orcellus Lucanus, others to Timaeus of Locri, while others wrote that Plato was a member of a Pythagorean brotherhood but was later expelled from it, for claiming as his own knowledge he had acquired there.”(d)<

George G. M. James claimed [0858.109] that both Republic and Timaeus were stolen by Plato and quotes the 3rd century AD biographer, Diogenes Laërtius (8.85), in support of his contention. Although he touches on the authorship of Timaeus he does not specifically refer to the Atlantis passages.

(a) https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/philolaus/

(b) See: https://atlantipedia.ie/samples/archive-2559/

(c) See: https://atlantipedia.ie/samples/archive-2560/

(d) War Platon tatsächlich der Autor des Timaios? – Atlantisforschung.de (atlantisforschung-de.translate.goog) *