Atlantis: Examining the Legendary Tale of Plato
Around 360 BC, in his dialogues of Timaeus and Critias, the Greek philosopher Plato introduced an incredible story, a tale of an enigmatic island civilization which has since captivated the imagination of every generation that followed. This was the story of Atlantis, thought to be one of the most advanced societies of the ancient world, an idyllic island paradise of skillful navigators capable of crossing the Atlantic Ocean to conquer and explore!
"For it is related in our records how once upon a time your State stayed the course of a mighty host, .....and it was possible for travelers of that time to cross from it (from Atlantis) to the other islands and from the islands to the whole of the continent over against them which encompasses the veritable (Atlantic) ocean ..." – Plato
Today, popular theories place Atlantis in locations like off the coast of Cyprus in the eastern Mediterranean, around the Azores islands in the middle of the Atlantic, somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle off the coast of the United States, or even in more exotic locations such as Antarctica and Indonesia. Of course more mainstream studies point to the tiny island of Santorini, the island of Crete, Malta, Spain, and other archaeological sites around the Mediterranean. Overall, there are countless theories on the location of Atlantis, while more seem to surface every year.
Artist’s representation of Atlantis. Source: BigStockPhoto
Despite all the scientific and nonscientific speculation though, and due to the lack of tangible evidence in the past, the vast majority of modern historians believe that Plato’s tale of Atlantis is either a myth, or they assume Plato crafted a story around a fictional place while using a mix of real elements from later times.
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Is it possible then that the story of Atlantis was entirely a figment of Plato’s imagination? It is certainly possible, although if the story is not real, how otherwise can we explain the tangible evidence that supports Plato's story, including a recently discovered site that perfectly matches Atlantis' description.
Essentially, and contrary to a common belief that Plato’s Atlantis may have been somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, a recent study shows that Plato's island of Atlantis was in the Mediterranean Sea and just few kilometers north of the island of Santorini. This now-underwater primary island, along with the island of Santorini, fits Plato's entire description of Atlantis.
Lost in Translation
To successfully decode Plato’s puzzle, and to ensure that the meaning from the original Greek story was not lost during translation, the English version was compared to the Greek format which has entirely different syntactic structure. (Actually, when it comes to Greek, sometimes even a single comma can cause a short sentence to have two different meanings. A good example is a famous quote from the oracle of Delphi. "Go, return not die in war" can have two entirely opposite meanings, depending on where a missing comma is supposed to be - before or after - the word "not.") This recent evaluation of Plato's text revealed that simple errors and flawed interpretations by early translators led many researchers in the past to look for Atlantis in all the wrong places. Consequently, unlike all past “discoveries,” including recent ones that led to more speculation rather than real evidence, for the first time, there is a tangible site where all the physical characteristics perfectly match Plato’s account.
Lost Island Found
It seems that 11,000 years ago, according to Plato the story of Atlantis took place, many of the Cyclades Islands were connected by a flat terrain, today called the “Cyclades Plateau.” This now-400 feet (122 meters) underwater plateau formed the body of a large island, while the modern islands of the Cyclades fashioned rows of mountains that emerged in all the “right places,” when those are compared to Plato’s story!
Just as Plato described Atlantis, the northern portion of this island was entirely comprised of mountains which reached the shores. There was an oblong valley directly below this mountainous region, and a second valley closer to the center of the island that was encircled by low rise mountains. This central valley was two thirds in size of the oblong valley. Moreover, Santorini itself, a setting of an island within an island, and a place where many mainstream archaeologists in the past had placed the crown-city of Atlantis, falls precisely within 5.6 miles (nine km) from the grand island, and as Plato depicted (See image below, from the book “ Uchronia Atlantis Revealed ”.)