Did Atlantis exist?
The question of the existence of the lost continent of Atlantis is one that has perplexed historians for centuries. The tale of Atlantis was first brought to light by the great philosopher, Plato, which begs one pertinent question: Why would such a great and renowned philosopher and teacher put his credentials on the line by inserting a fairy tale in the middle of two of his great works?
The account of Atlantis was passed from an ancestor of Plato's, a lawgiver and wise sage named Solon. Solon went to Egypt in 590 B.C. and received the story of Atlantis from an Egyptian Priest.
Plato tells us that Atlantis was located beyond "the Pillars of Hercules" more commonly known as the Gibraltar Straits, and was destroyed in approximately 9,600 B.C. Near their end, the Atlanteans had grown greedy and began conquering and enslaving the countries inside the Pillars of Hercules. There was an alliance that had formed to stop the aggression of Atlantis, but in the end, Athens stood alone in the war against Atlantis. Eventually Athens beat the Atlanteans back to their island in the Atlantic ocean and shortly after the entire continent of Atlantis was destroyed by volcanoes, earthquakes, and floods, which sent the island sinking beneath the ocean.
Right away there are several flaws that, historian or not, one can point out as historically inaccurate, before they even bother getting out the scuba gear and investigating. The most obvious inaccuracy was that the alleged war took place nine thousand years before Athens was inhabited, at a time when man was still living in caves, or hardly developed into a hunter and gatherer society.
Even Plato's own pupil, Aristotle, is on record as denying the existence of Atlantis. But, one must also consider the amount of detail Plato put into describing the continent of Atlantis. Did Plato take the time to conjure up the details of the Royal City, the measurement of the canals and massive rings of land surrounding the city, or could this knowledge have been passed down to him from the Egyptians?
The Santorini Theory
There are more books written on the theories of Atlantis than any other subject in history, ranging from ancient aliens to human beings' first beginnings as ghost like entities, so we have composed some of the more plausible theories.
The Santorini Theory was proposed by Greek archaeologist professor Angelos Galanopoulos in the 1960's. Professor Galanopoulos insinuates that Atlantis may actually have been an island inside the Pillars of Hercules. Santorini is one of many smaller islands situated north of Crete that were decimated by a volcanic eruption around 1500 years B.C.
Galanopoulos' theory states that somewhere in the ancient Greeks recording of the story of Atlantis, they mistakenly multiplied all measurements and numbers by ten. This would place the destruction of Atlantis nine hundred years prior to Solon's writings around 1500 B.C., a more reasonable time frame than nine thousand years. Galanopoulos goes on to make a credible argument for his theory.
All of Plato's measurements seem to be inconceivably large, even for a powerful empire like Atlantis, but when taking the scale down to 1/10 of what Plato wrote of, the numbers seem much more accurate.
There was a ditch that wrapped around the plain of Atlantis that was supposedly 10,000 stadia (or 1,150 miles) this would wrap around London twenty times, but divide that number by ten and the ditch would be 115 miles, a much less outlandish number.
Plato tells of a canal that the Atlanteans built that was 300 feet wide and 100 feet deep. This seems more like a long lake than a canal, whereas 30 feet by 10 feet seems more plausible.
Galanopoulos backs his theory by stating how easy it would have been for a Greek cryptologist to mistake the Egyptian hieroglyph for 100 (a coiled rope) for the hieroglyph for 10 (a lotus flower). Santorini is much closer to Athens than the Atlantic Ocean making a large scale war more realistic. The capital of Atlantis would have been Crete, a large city in the ancient world.
What then of Plato's description of Atlantis being beyond the Pillars of Hercules? This is the biggest flaw in the Santorini Theory. Galanopoulos tries to argue that most of Hercules famous Labors took place in the Southern parts of Greece, but Plato clearly wrote that the island of Atlantis was in the Atlantic Ocean, and the Ocean was named after the island. He also states that ships could no longer cross the Atlantic as the sunken island was impassible.
In 1899 a young twenty-two year old named Edgar Cayce was suddenly struck with psychosomatic paralysis of the vocal cords, rendering him speechless. Edgar Cayce underwent hypnosis, and while under trance, he rambled off the cure to his speechlessness, as well as cures to other medical issues of his day.
His fame grew rather quickly, and Edgar Cayce began treating other patients while under trance. Unaware of his actions, Edgar Cayce began making prophecies and past life readings of his patients. Edgar Cayce was upset to learn that he was preaching reincarnation, as he was a devout Christian. To top it all off he then made numerous bold and detailed descriptions of the lost continent of Atlantis during his hypnotic trances.
Cayce stated that the continent of Atlantis stretched from the Sargasso Sea to the Azores and was about the size of Europe. According to Edgar Cayce, Atlantis had experienced two periods of major destruction, the first cataclysm broke the main continent into islands, and the last one sank the remnants. The final island to sink was near the Bahamas, and occurred in 10,000 B.C. Cayce also prophesized that an island of Atlantis called Poseidia would rise again, and this would happen in 1968 or 1969. Cayce's predication was made is 1940.
In 1968 a local fisherman discovered something in the Bahamas that appeared to be a road twenty feet beneath the ocean. He took an archaeologist named Dr. J Manson Valentine to see the rectangular shaped stones that made two lines of stone parallel to each other about 2,000 feet long. The formations became known as Bimini Road.
This was the only part of Edgar Cayce’s Atlantis to rise again and some Archaeologists discredit the find as a natural formation, citing the stone shows no sign of workmanship. Debunkers point out that there are no other ruins remotely close to the site. Even though Edgar Cayce has had many prophecies that have come true, the Atlantis rising prophecy left the world a bit disappointed.
The Map of Piri Reis
In 1966, a cartographer named M.I. Walters stumbled upon a map that would defy everything we know about the development of civilization. While at work for the U.S. Navy Hydrographic office, Walters was presented a map created by Piri Ries, a Turkish Naval Officer, that was dated around 1513. It was a map covering the Atlantic Ocean, as well as a portion of North Africa, South America, and even part of Antarctica. Piri Reis' map was a startling find as Antarctica itself wasn’t even discovered until 1818.
Piri Reis' map also showed a mountain range in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, which is believed to be the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which is now completely buried under water and definitely would have been in 1513. Questions of the maps creator began to arise as an Admiral in the 16th century wouldn't have the technology to see the underwater mountains.
Further scrutiny of Piri Reis' map showed the atlas to be extremely accurate, which was a huge accomplishment in those days. Most medieval maps were grossly inaccurate and had errors such as the country of Italy being attached to Spain.
Piris Reis’ map also had an accurate depiction of the coast line of Antarctica as we know it today now that we have the sonar technology to read through the miles of ice that covers the continent.
Analysis of Piri Reis' map proved it either it was created before Antarctica was covered in ice and the mid-Atlantic ridge was visible above the ocean’s surface. This would mean that man was sailing the sea and mapping the world around 12,000 B.C. when our ancestors were believed to be crude hunters living in caves. Piri Re’is stated he inherited the map from his father had copied the maps from twenty old maps, one made by Christopher Columbus and the other were from the Great Library of Alexandria before it was burnt to the ground in 48 B.C
The maps don’t quite prove the existence of Atlantis, but maybe there was an ancient civilization that had been sailing the world and trading with different cultures, spreading their superior knowledge to the Egyptians and Mayans. Maybe Antarctica itself is the lost island of Atlantis.
In 1966, Professor Charles Hapgood wrote a book in which Albert Einstein himself penned the introduction, stating Hapgood's theories deserved careful attention. The book was entitled The Path of the Pole, and it was about the shifting of the earth's crust.
According to Hapgood, over time, ice begins to build up on the ice caps in uneven amounts. After extended layers of build-up, the earth to begins to swivel on its axis like an off balanced top. Eventually the entire outer crust shifts to compensate for the uneven weight distribution.
If this were to happen, volcanoes would erupt, earthquakes would strike spontaneously throughout the world, and there would be periods of endless tidal waves, causing utter chaos and destruction. Hapgood argues that maybe the Ice Ages didn't happen over long periods of time, but maybe continents were immediately thrust into the cold.
This would explain why wooly mammoths and saber toothed tigers have been found frozen in their tracks with undigested food in their stomachs, completely glaciated in piles of dirt and debris. Surely these animals didn't starve to death over a perid of time in search for food.
Hapgood goes on to hypothesize that Antarctica was once 2,500 mile north of its current location, in a tropical climate, stable to host an advanced civilization of seafarers, and it was suddenly thrust to the south pole in utter chaos and the entire civilization of Atlantis is still frozen beneath the ice, unable to share their secrets with the world.
The Atlantis Allegory
Though Aristotle denied the existence of Atlantis, some of Plato's other students agreed that it had historical and allegorical truths. Plato's students confer that Plato's Atlantis symbolizes the nature between the human body and the universe. The dialogue that Plato, Socrates, Critierias and Timeaus have in the Timeaus is discussion of the ultimate utopian society.
Plato most likely learned of Atlantis when he was initiated into the Egyptian Mystery School. Some of Plato's students think the Island of Atlantis represents the consciousness of man before enlightenment. Others feel it is an allegory for human ignorance and without enlightenment, man inevitably falls into chaos.
Plato tells us that the Atlanteans became greedy and many of the Atlanteans began practicing a dark magic. The continent lost favor with the gods, whom allowed the island to be destroyed by its own ignorant unconsciousness. Many of the righteous priests of Atlantis knew this to be the outcome and fled the island so those of enlightened conscious may keep man on a path of goodness and enlightenment.