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Plato's Map of Atlantis

The Long Lost Land of Atlantis

Atlantis, the city under the waves, destroyed by a disaster, but remembered as a legend. Atlantis is mentioned in cultures all over the world and has sparked the imagination of people for thousands of years.

The first known account of Atlantis was given to us by Plato, the Greek philosopher. Plato lived from about 428 to 348 B.C. and was a student of Socrates.  After studying philosophy with Socrates for years, he started his own philosophy school after Socrates was executed and began to write his philosophies in a play-type form. These dialogues always featured Socrates as the main character.  In the dialogues Timaeus and Critias, he wrote about an amazing place called Atlantis. In Critias, Plato wrote of Atlantis' architecture, engineering, and ceremonies in great detail.  Many people, even Plato's own students, thought this place was Plato's own creation, but he argued that Atlantis was real, and filled with more splendours than anyone could imagine. But he was not the only one.  

Almost all races share the story of a great flood that destroyed a powerful civilization. The name Atlantis appears in various forms throughout the world.  The Canary Islands have a legend involving Atalaya.  The Basques of Northern Spain have Atlaintica.  The Vikings told the tale of Atli.  Northern Africa called it Attala.  The Aztecs have Aztlán, and the North American Indians called theirs Azatlán. 

     Plato said Atlantis was a large island in the Atlantic Ocean, somewhere west of the Pillars of Hercules or the Rock of Gibraltar.  This description has lead to many people believing that Atlantis could have been the Aegean Island of Thera (Santorini) which suddenly blew up. Atlantis was also identified as part of an ancient series of land bridges that stretched across the Atlantic and even out into the Pacific as far as New Zealand. Others say that the Canary Islands are the tops of Atlantis' tallest mountains.  Some say that the Bermuda Triangle is the result of Atlantis sinking.  The discovery of blue eyes and blondness among some of Africa's Berbers soon led some people to place Atlantis in the Atlas Mountains of modern Morocco and Tunisia. Finally, others believe that Atlantis doesn’t even exist on our planet, but on another which left this solar system.

      According to the continental drift theory, all the continents fit together, like a jigsaw puzzle.  If you look at a map, you will see that the continents really do fit together- with the exception of the USA in North America and Western Europe.  Could Atlantis be the missing piece? 

     According to Plato, one of the best splendours of Atlantis was the palace compound located in the heart of its capital. It was ringed by three canals. Plato remarked, "As each king received it [the palace] from his predecessor, he added to its adornment and did all he could to surpass the king before him, until finally they made of it an abode amazing to behold for the magnitude and beauty of its workmanship.  The visitors passed through a wall of brass, a wall of tin, and a wall of copper.  White and black and red stone quarried from the native rock."  He also wrote that the wealth they possessed was so immense that the like had never been seen before in any royal house, nor will ever easily be seen again.  This, of course, lead to Atlantis' destruction. 

     He stated that the Atlanteans appeared to be superlatively fair and blessed, yet they were filled with lawless ambition and power. The Atlanteans started valuing material wealth above goodness-that's where they went wrong.  Plato said, "The portion of divinity within them was now becoming faint and weak through being oftentimes blended with a large measure of mortality."  The Atlanteans were unable to bear the burden of their possessions. So, "There occurred portentous earthquakes and floods, and one grievous day and night befell them, when...the island of Atlantis...was swallowed up by the sea and vanished."  Plato doubted that any sign of the lost land would ever be found. "The ocean at that spot, has now become impassable and unsearchable." This contributes to the Bermuda Triangle theory above. 

      Even though it seems that no one could survive such a tragedy, it is believed that many Atlanteans escaped. One example of this is Edgar Cayce.  In April of 1939, he fell into a trance and spoke about Atlantis. "In Atlantis, when there was the breaking up of the land came to what was called the Mayan Land or what is now Yucatan-entity was the first to cross the water in the plane or air machine of that period." In support of the escape, Atlantis has been hailed for spawning civilizations such as Hellenic Greece, the Mayas & Incas of the New World, and ancient Egypt

     Atlantis has had an impact on every culture. In 1675, Olof Rudbeck, a Swedish scholar, used Homeric sailing directions to Ogygia and located Atlantis in Sweden!  English poet William Blake, believed that the Atlantean King, Albion lead the last of his subjects to Britain, where they became Druids. Charles-Etienne Brasseur de Bourbourg, a French scholar, translated a Mayan manuscript in 1864 that described the story of an ancient land that had sunk into the ocean after a great catastrophe. Could this be Atlantis?  In 1882, Philadelphian politician and avid reader, Ignatius Loyola Donnelly, published his book “Atlantis: The Antedefuvian World”.  The world's reception of his writings was so great that Donnelly was elected to membership in the American Association for the Advancement of Science. 

     Yet the most important thing on all people’s minds is not where, when, and how Atlantis disappeared if it ever existed; but rather will. Will Atlantis ever resurface?


Picture of Atlantis's location according to Donnely's Book