Persona (19)

Still alive ?
Who was the famous playwright poet ?
A murderous plot disguised as suicide ?
Her Disappearance
Poisoned ?
The mysteries of the Third Reich
The prince of darkness
The engineer of the future
The discovery of America
The assassination of John F Kennedy
The Sinner Denigrated by the Church
The Predictions of Michel de Nostredame
Who is Behind The Murders ?
Has She Risen ?
Eustache Dauger
The Eternal Saga
Ogre or Bluebeard ?
The Child Who Came From None
Premonitorial Signs Announced His Death ?
Has He Existed ?

Science (10)

The Disappearance
Are we alone ?
Who are our ancestors ?
Fiction or Reality ?
The Practitioner of Yoga
Are Black Holes Time Breaches?
Origins
Where is the Cemetery ?
Do Stars Dictate Our Destiny ?
500 KM of Geoglyphs

Ufology (3)

UFO crash in New Mexico
The Most Secret Military Zone In The World
Extraterrestrials Live Among Us

Parapsychology (6)

The Sixth Sense of People
The Gift of Foreseeing the Future
Emotional Forcefields
The Meaning of Dreams
A Premonition 14 Years in Advance

Mysterious Place (8)

The Moai of Rapa Nui
The Lost City
City of the Cosmos
A City Dug In The Rock
A Celestial And Sacred Place
Magical City
The Secret Fortune of the Abbé Saunière
Ayers Rock

Egypt (6)

What killed the young pharaoh ?
What Secret Hides the Legendary Monument ?
A Monument That Defies Time
What Has Become Of The Beautiful Queen Of Egypt ?
Assassinated By His Womens ?
The Books Written By The Gods

Cryptozoology (10)

Mythology and Symbolism
Is It Real ?
The Abominable Snowman
The Goat Sucker
Lycanthropy
The Deadly Song of the Fish Woman
The Legend of Sasquatch
Are They Simply Tales ?
Voodoo and Golems - Myth ?
Serial Killer of the Eighteenth Century ?

Strange Phenomenon (9)

Mysterious disappearances
The Ghost Ship
Spiritism and Ghosts
The Feeling of Already Seen
Ghosts and Haunted Houses
Exorcism of the Demons by a Shaman Priest
Mysterious Explosion in Siberia
The Route Without Gravity ?
Apparitions Or Hallucinations ?

Bible and Religion (11)

Who Wrote It ?
A Matter of Faith ?
Guardians of the Secret
Fallen Angels
The Marks of the Christ
Universal Deluge
The Dead Sea Scrolls
And The Star of Bethlehem
Where Is It ?
The Sources Of The Arcanes

Magic (4)

Grimoire and Rituals
The Book Of Laws Of The Dead
Mediator Between the Spiritual and Material World
Origin of Misfortunes

Monument (5)

Monoliths
Did They Really Exist ?
What Did It Look Like ?
Has It Existed ?
The Fury of Building

Legend and Myth (7)

The Lost Continent
A Site of Legend
Just a Myth ?
The Lost City
The Fabulous Land Of Gold
And The Legend of Sherwood
The Modern Prometheus

History (4)

The Book That Lit The Pyres
Historic Reality ?
The Greatest Political Scandal of the United States
The Lost Colony

Relic (2)

An Endless Quest

People and Civilization (5)

The Oldest Civilization of Meso America
The Decline of the Mayan Civilization
The People of Amma
The Celtic's Spiritual Elite
A Kingdom Without Men

Conspiracy Theory (1)

The Conspiracy Theory
ADVERTISEMENT

Atlantis

The Lost City

Atlantis - The Lost City

The myth of Atlantis, which has come down to us thanks to the works of Plato, has all of a fable: the Atlanteans, valorous and prosperous people, would have become corrupt, quarrelsome and greedy, attracting the wrath of the gods. History, however, has fueled the most diverse speculations.

In his dialogue the Timaeus, Plato evokes in 358 BC. J-C. a story he says he learned from Egyptian priests: "At that time, you could cross this Atlantic sea. It had an island, in front of this passage which you call, you say, the columns of Hercules. This island was larger than Libya and Asia combined. [...] Now, in this island Atlantis, kings had formed a great and wonderful empire. Plato points out in his dialogues "the fact that it is not a fiction, but a true story and a capital interest", because the city of Atlantis would have been fought by a coalition of Greeks led by Athens: "In the space of a single day and a terrible night, all your Athenian army was swallowed up at once under the ground and, likewise, Atlantis Island fell into the sea and disappeared. That is why, even today, this ocean of there is difficult and inexplorable, by the obstacle of the very low muddy bottoms that the island, by swallowing, deposited. The event as evoked by the philosopher is 9,000 years before his time, which places him around 9,600 BC. In a second work, the Critias, Plato describes a rich island divided into ten kingdoms ruled by the descendants of Atlas, son of Poseidon, and his nine brothers. Atlantis would have expanded strongly, conquering by force Mediterranean Africa and the European coast to Italy, thus clashing with the Athenian imperialism. Subsequently, Greek authors, including Herodotus, Thucydides, Diodorus Siculus, took over the story. Two postulates have since guided research: one considers that it is a fiction, a metaphorical narrative without foundation; the other considers that the text refers to real facts distorted by Greek literary usages.

ADVERTISEMENT

In Search of the Sunken City

Since the Renaissance, modern writers have only been concerned with locating Atlantis without questioning the veracity of Plato's narrative. In the seventeenth century, Olof Rudbeck, in the direct line of hyperborean patriotism, locates Atlantis in Sweden. Later, during the Age of Enlightenment, the French astronomer Bailly places it in Spitsbergen, archipelago of the Arctic Sea. His contemporary, the theosophist Fabre d'Olivet, imagines it in America. At the end of the 19th century, the immediate west of the "columns of Hercules", that is to say the Strait of Gibraltar, garners all the favors of scientists. For the purposes of his novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne establishes Atlantis on a land now submerged, of which only the Azores and Cape Verde are still visible. In the twentieth century, it is reported off Portugal, near Morocco, in the Bay of Biscay, in North America, in Central America, in the Indian Ocean ... In addition to the landscapes described by Plato, the abundance of a unknown metal, the "orichalcum", constituted a very thin research base. In ancient times, the most abundant minerals were found in Sardinia, southern Spain, in the Isles of Scilly and Great Britain; but archeology has shown no correspondence with any remains. Some authors have advanced - but not proven - the installation of the Phoenicians on the American continent and in the Caribbean. Others have thought possible a displacement of the Earth's crust (Hapgood's theory) towards Antarctica, probable place of the ruins of the Atlantean civilization. None of the locations proposed by the partisans of a real Atlantis corresponds, either in place or date, to the Egyptian priests tales reported to Plato.

A political fiction for the Athenians

The Italian scholar Giuseppe Bartoli is the first, in 1779, to challenge the existence of Atlantis. He rightly points out that Plato is neither a historian nor a geologist but a philosopher and that his work should be considered accordingly. The intention of the author of Timaeus and Critias would have been to stage an ideal Republic, a kind of remote and virtuous Athens opposed to a decadent and hegemonic Atlantic invader. This enemy, the city of Atlantis, would be an allegory offering a chronological framework and a place for ideas formulated in The Republic, an earlier work of the philosopher. By this story, Plato would have wanted to give a lesson of civility and good conduct to his fellow citizens and warn them against the risks of decadence and corruption related to their indiscipline, their excessive mercantilism, quarrels and the demagogic spirit of their political mores. To make his approach more credible and his warnings more striking, he needed to create a very colorful narrative context. In his description of Atlantean landscapes, he was thus inspired by Sicily, a region he frequented. This version was supported by the historian Pierre Vidal-Naquet, who sees in Plato a customary of this kind of process consisting in "saying the fictitious by presenting it as the real". The reference to the Atlanteans does not appear in any text before his, which tends to confirm that he himself created this story from scratch. Is the myth of Atlantis a modern invention? The best proof would be its journey through history: readers have taken the history of the swallowed up city seriously only from the modern era, whereas no one had cared for it during Antiquity and the Middle Ages.

The Santorini Hypothesis and the Avalon Myth

For some historians and scientists, the philosopher's narrative is partly true. This is the opinion of the Greek archaeologist Spyridon Marinatos, who sees similarities between the engulfment of Atlantis and the collapse of the Minoan civilization (Crete) after the eruption of Santorini, an island near Crete. Atlantis is described as a maritime power whose influence extended as far as Tyrrhenia (Western Italy) and Egypt. Its ports are frequented by raw materials and goods of all kinds. The Cretan thalassocracy of the legendary King Minos is the only one to match this description in the history of the Greek world: it dominated the Aegean from 2,700 BC before experiencing a sharp decline in the seventeenth century BC. Between 1627 and 1600 BC, the island of Santorini, near Crete, is the victim of a violent volcanic eruption. The phenomenon would have produced a huge tidal wave, with an estimated wave height of 50 m, which would have devastated the northern coast of Crete. This story, transmitted orally by the Egyptian priests, could reach Plato's ears a millennium later. However, neither the place nor the date correspond to his story. Another trail leads into the Atlantic Ocean, where the geological phenomena of marine transgressions and the melting of the polar ice cap have changed the topology of the Atlantic Ocean bottoms at the end of the Ice Age. The Rockall Plateau, in the north-west of Ireland and now immersed, would correspond to Plato's description of the rectangular plain of 600 km by 400 km. This place is present only in the ancient Greek tradition and is widely evoked in Celtic tradition and Arthurian legend as the mythical island of Avalon.

ADVERTISEMENT

The missing island of Cape Spartel

Cap Spartel, possible location of the lost city of Atlantis

Due to the lack of a precise location for the site, the Czech geologist Kukal concluded after a serious inventory of existing data that no sunken earth was habitable between 10,000 and 600 BC outside the Madeira area, the Canary Islands and the Azores. However, everything indicates that these archipelagos were only discovered at the time of the Roman expansion of the first century BC. In addition, these volcanic islands with steep sides are narrow and not very hospitable. Remains the area of ​​Gibraltar, these "columns of Hercules" which, although clearly named in the ancient texts, have been previously neglected in the absence of tangible archaeological and geological data. The latest studies on the geological history of the Strait give credit to Plato's history; prehistorians have a new interest in the submerged sites of the Moroccan and Iberian coasts and their geophysical connections, although still poorly known, between the two continents during the Upper Paleolithic. It appears that the pass between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic was then narrower compared to the current strait. The habitable lands extended westward on the emerged plateaus of both continents, and a large number of islands emerged. Today, the best candidate for Atlantis is the missing island of Cape Spartel, located less than 10 km from the Spanish coast, which was part of an archipelago complete with two islets. Sheltered from the wrath of the ocean, it was occupied by a Paleolithic population whose presence is abundantly attested on the Moroccan, Spanish and Portuguese coasts, and which was submerged by the melting ice at the end of the Ice Age. It is at present the only realistic track linking Atlantis to a possible scientific truth.

ADVERTISEMENT