Deriv; Bust of Plato, map of Santorini, 1703, underwater ruin.

Atlantis: Examining the Legendary Tale of Plato

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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

Plato’s Tale

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.

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.

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”.)

“....an island comprising mostly of mountains in the northern portions and along the shore, and encompassing a great plain of an oblong shape in the south extending in one direction three thousand stadia (about 555km2), but across the center island it was two thousand stadia (about 370km2). Fifty stadia (9km) from the coast was a mountain that was low on all sides…broke it off all round about…the central island itself was five stades in diameter (about 0.92km)”. - Plato

(Image courtesy author)

Interestingly, and just as Plato mentioned, this super-island drowned by the sea at around 8000 BC during the rapid rise of the Mediterranean and just prior to the flooding of the Black Sea (see 2005 UNESCO study). So, in light of this latest discovery, having a site that finally matches Plato's description of Atlantis, is it possible to accept that Plato's story was based on a real setting and a prehistoric civilization known to ancient Greeks? Of course it is, especially since disproving a perfectly matching site may be even more difficult than finding such a site to begin with.

Consequently, earlier this year, the same image was sent to a popular blog site (one that prides itself to contain the most comprehensive data on Atlantis) with the following comments:

" ....if we remain true to Plato’s account and look for a setting at around 9600 BC, the place on the image must have been the prehistoric site Plato was talking about, whether ‘Atlantis’ as we know it was real or not. As you see, the geography is perfectly identical, the volcanic geology is there, and the flora and fauna (including elephants) chronologically match the topography. Furthermore, a pre-Bronze Age civilization in the immediate area further reinforces this likelihood. If Plato’s Atlantis was ever real, this site offers the perfect match! As you also know, before any geographical area qualifies to be considered the site of Plato’s Atlantis, the 2005 conference of Milos established two dozen criteria. This site meets most of these criteria while the remaining few, especially past suppositions ‘hinting’ to its possible location being somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, are also explained when properly interpreting Plato from ancient Greek to English.… Obviously, it is no longer considered a farfetched hypothesis to accept that, 10,000 years ago, humans were more advanced and just as Plato asserted. Along with the ancient city of Jericho in Palestine, which long ago was determined that some of its structures date back to the 10th millennium BC, the mega-site of Gobekli Tepe in Turkey (12000BC), as well as the submerged city off the coast of West India in the Gulf of Cambay (8000BC), prove conclusively that prehistoric humans had progressed earlier than anthropologists previously thought.” - Christos A. Djonis

Regardless of the many archaeological discoveries though, which clearly point to past advanced civilizations, it seems that most skeptics continue to argue, as this blogger did, that “Plato’s 9,000-year-old Atlantis conflicts with common sense and archaeology.” In fact, he also indicated that “since several details in Plato’s story are not compatible with the 10th millennium BC (horse races, triremes, the city of Athens, Egypt, etc.), that leaves no doubt in his mind that Atlantis was a myth.”

Subsequently, in order to demonstrate how important supportive details are to a true story, and to show how Plato's story suffers from verifiable details, a few days later he posted an article in his regular blog in which he outlined the military and the ‘population of Atlantis,’ (which he based on three different past theories) and pointed out that those theoretical numbers cannot be right.

While, of course, this can be explained in a couple of ways, one being the so-called ‘expert’ opinions in the three conflicting examples are wrong, conversely, he never discussed or explained away the ancient island on the image proposed. Apparently, as other skeptics often do, he formed an opinion he based either on modern interpretations of the story, or on oddities from Plato’s own account, as if every “true story” we are ever told always turn out to be real down to the last detail.

Fictions Turned Reality

So, were the Atlantians truly a prehistoric civilization as Plato claimed, or was that a myth? Was the story of Atlantis entirely a product of Plato’s imagination, or is it possible he created a fable around a real setting and an ancient civilization known to ancient Greeks, which in order to successfully communicate some of his philosophical ideas, (divine vs. human, ideal societies vs. corrupt) he filled with familiar matter and details from later times. Could this ideological story otherwise appeal to his audience if they could not connect or relay to it?

A parallel example, of Plato’s legend of Atlantis, is Homer’s Iliad. Just as in the case of Atlantis, for several centuries we thought that the city of Troy—the centerpiece in Homer’s epic saga—was a myth. All that changed obviously when Heinrich Schliemann, an amateur archaeologist, found Troy in 1868 while following location tips from Homer’s book.

In the case of Troy, after discarding all the details regarding beauty queens, demigods, Trojan horses and scaling back the armies to more rational levels, it was ultimately acknowledged the setting, as well as the bulk of this story, were real. Essentially, Homer’s entirely fictional story, which he filled with principles and common elements from his own time, apparently revolved around a true setting and a real incident which took place nearly six centuries before his time.

The walls of the acropolis belong to Troy VII, which is identified as the site of the Trojan War (c. 1200 BC).

The walls of the acropolis belong to Troy VII, which is identified as the site of the Trojan War (c. 1200 BC). (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Another example that proves the “true part” of a story does not always rest in the details, is the account that surrounds the historic Battle of Thermopylae. In this case, we have ancient reports of a famous battle which in order to reasonably authenticate, we had to know the factions involved as well as their military force. Do we have such a legitimate testimony? Not exactly! What we have is far from real. More specifically, Herodotus wrote that King Leonidas, with 300 Spartans, along with few thousand Greeks, fought against 2.6 million Persians, followed by two million support personnel. The poet Simonides reported that the Persian army reached four million. Ctesias, a Greek physician and historian downscaled the Persian forces to 800,000.

Greek phalanx formation based on sources from the Perseus Project.

Greek phalanx formation based on sources from the Perseus Project. (Public Domain)

Just as in the case of Atlantis, once more, we are presented with conflicting and grossly exaggerated figures. If these guys were the ‘credible’ sources we got this true story from, why then did we discard their details and create our own? After brushing aside the troop count as quoted in all ancient accounts, modern calculations indicate that the Persian force could not have been higher than 300,000 troops.

In the case of Thermopylae, amongst other debatable details, did the ancient Greek historians inflate the size of the Persian army? Of course they did, as the story undoubtedly sounds better that way. Ultimately though, and regardless of the enormous inconsistencies in the facts, we accept this story as real. Interestingly, Troy and Thermopylae are not isolated cases in our recorded history, which is full of stories with serious discrepancies and circumstances where mythological places, or “fairy-tales,” eventually turned out to be true. Such, among others, was the Palace of Knossos in Crete, which it was associated with the Minotaur (a mythical beast of half man and half bull.)

Fundamental Questions

So, a fundamental question remains. Was Atlantis simply a cautionary tale or is it possible that Plato crafted a tale based on a real setting and a prehistoric civilization known to ancient Greeks, while he supplemented all the ‘modern’ details (including the familiar Minoan aspects) as Homer similarly did few hundred years before him? If true, the ‘true-part’ of this story, as in the case of Troy, should not rest in the details, but in the detection and authentication of Plato’s “lost island.” Identifying a perfectly matching site, one that preferably exhibits signs of an advanced civilization in the area, should be the first step in solving this mystery.

Is it possible then that the “mighty host” who “stayed the course” (inhabited the path) to mainland Greece be that of the prehistoric island of the Cyclades Plateau? Certainly every element of this site seems to match Plato’s given chronology as well as physical description. If so, can the signs of an early Neolithic presence in the immediate area be the remnants of an even older civilization that was able to recover on the surrounding islands after the Great Flood at the end of the last Ice Age? And finally, was that lost civilization capable of navigating to the Americas via island hopping as Plato claimed?

According to the same study, and as best demonstrated in the book “Uchronia Atlantis Revealed”, the enormous island/continent Plato mentioned on the opposite side of the Atlantic, “across from the Pillars of Hercules" (Strait of Gibraltar,) one that “encompasses that veritable ocean” and is “larger than Libya and Asia combined," was that of America and not of Atlantis, as many had speculated in the past (see also Ancient Origins article titled, The Legendary Hyperborea and the Ancient Greeks: Who Really Discovered America?)

Traveling Genetics

If so, can this very early knowledge of the American continent best explain how haplogroup X, a Middle Eastern gene, found itself in the region of the Great Lakes 10,000 years ago? If an advanced Mediterranean culture did not travel to North America via island hopping as Plato claimed, how else then can we justify that elevated concentrations of haplogroup X also ‘strangely’ exist in Scotland, Orkney Islands, Faroe Islands, and Iceland, essentially all the island stops on the way to North America from Europe. Finally, how do we otherwise explain that official mtDNA maps show that the highest concentration of haplogroup X away from the eastern Mediterranean exists on the east coast of North America, around the Great Lakes, and not in Alaska or alongside the west coast of the United States, where mainstream scientists maintain haplogroup X infiltrated the American continent. The fact that there is no conclusive scientific explanation to justify the lack of haplogroup X in the enormous void between Altai Republic in southern Russia and the greater region of the Great Lakes, unquestionably raises legitimate doubts on the Bering Strait hypothesis.

mtDNA Map: Spread of Haplogroup X

mtDNA Map: Spread of Haplogroup X (Courtesy author)

As for the Solutrean/Clovis theory (Europeans simply made it to America on a partial ice sheet via the Atlantic), how can the supporters of this hypothesis rationalize that out of a dozen distinct haplogroups in Europe at the time (H,V,J,HV,U,T,UK,X,W, and I), only haplogroup X conveniently made it to North America?

If we ignore Plato's claim that a particular race of prehistoric Mediterranean navigators (in a contained environment) crossed the Atlantic via island hopping 10,000 years ago, and simply assume that 10 millennia ago the path to North America was open from both directions (the north Atlantic as well as the Bering Strait), how do we explain that only a single European/Mediterranean gene managed the journey to the New World via the Atlantic, while on the opposite side, every one of the four Asian haplogroups (A,B,C and D) sequentially followed each other to America through the Bering Strait?

Finally, as for the general notion that Atlantis “was swallowed by the sea and vanished” this is simply another misconception.

"But at a later time there occurred portentous earth quakes and floods, and one grievous day and night .... And the island of Atlantis in like manner was swallowed up by the sea and vanished." - Plato

We must not ignore that in the same paragraph Plato points out that Atlantis' demise came after several “portentous earthquakes and floods.” The mention of earthquakes and floods in the plural not only confirms that the island’s destruction was gradual but this statement further corroborates that the periodic floods were most likely associated with the rise of the oceans as earlier indicated. Furthermore, the remark “one grievous day and night”, more of a stock phrase among Greeks, does not necessarily imply that the island was lost within 24 hours, but that the end event occurred at some unknown point in time.

Not speaking in literal terms but poetically, Plato said the island on that very day was “swallowed” (claimed) by the sea, and it “vanished.” In another paragraph though, he accurately describes the particular region and explains that once the flood cycle finally ended, the mountain tops of Atlantis remained above water and formed small islands (just as in the case of the modern Cyclades). Poetically once more, he compared these small islets to the “bones of the wasted body” of the "country" that once was there.

"The consequence is, that in comparison of what then was, there are remaining in small islets only the bones of the wasted body, as they may be called, all the richer and softer parts of the soil having fallen away, and the mere skeleton of the country being left." - Plato

Extracted from the book, "Uchronia? - Atlantis Revealed" by Christos A. Djonis. For more on Atlantis and other topics, look for the book on Amazon.

Featured image: Deriv; Bust of Plato (CC BY 2.5), Map of Santorini, 1703 (Public Domain), underwater ruins (Saramarielin/CC BY 2.0)

By Christos A. Djonis

Comments

So.. when are they sending a sub down there to do some (re)searching? :D

There is some wealthy man who wants/can put some funding in an underwater expedition?

This could rewrite our acknowledged history.

Just to put that in the face of the mainstream historian, i would do this if i had the money lol.

 

Who is they? and who did you suppose might pay?

I am under the impression that since i put the question mark ( ? ) this is the same question in a way.

I just cant imagine there is no one willing to go check this out.

Atlantis was not an island, it was a global civilization and its evidence is clear by the remains of megalithic structures found all around the world, from Peru to Egypt to Japan and Turkey and many many other sites. This Global 'Atlantian' Civilization seems to have been wiped of the planet by a huge cataclysm about 12-13000 years ago, the same event that made the saber tooth tiger and mammoth elephant extinct. It seems that this civilization could have thrived for thousands of years before this cataclysmic.

Atlantis as a Global civilization is a interesting premise! But doesn't really fit though.
Fun thought nevertheless! :)

It fits perfectly actually. Pluto learned about Atlantis from his grandfather which in turned learned about it from the Mystery Schools of Egypt. There he learned that Egyptian King list goes back like 100 thousand years. One doesn't have to look to far....Just look at the ruins of Balbek in Lebanon or Peru or Pyramids in China or Bosnia, or underwater ruins all around the world, newly discovered megaliths in Turkey dating back to 10000 years as well as ruins found in Russia and south America....these ruins show Structures that we can barley build today spread across the planet with the same building techniques....which shows a Pr-Cataclysmic Atalantian Civilization with Advanced Building techniques in some cases evidence of Electrical Saws to Cut Granite.....Unfortunately this article about Atlantis just SUCKS and would be good for a super beginner in this field.

I get that you would point out Gobleki Tepe, Baalbek, Gizeh, etc :)
Although I don't think it was one and the same civilization.

It's like today. We all (Americans, Europeans, Asians, etc) have more or less the same technology at our disposal, but we are not all and the same civilization. (Maybe we have a different interpretation of label 'civilization' here I just realized, but bare with me..)

So is it too far fetched that ~12.000 BC the then ruling civilizationS were at their pinnacle (or close to) of development? Making it so that all the different civilizations had the same technological background (like we have today) which resulted in the same kind of building techniques used in different area's of the world? I mean, like today we all build skyscrapers. Although they look different from the outside, the way we build these structures is more or less the same.
This could also go for the structures made all that time ago.
Raises the question how those people actually managed to relay their knowledge to eachother, but that's a story for a different time ;)

I DO believe though that at least the great Pyramid of Gizeh pre-dates the Egyptians quite a while, as well as the Sphinx. Both being a remnant of the advanced civilizations the Atlanteans were a example of.
I could it be that the Atlanteans (in this case the civilization that lived on the now-submerged island) were even the ones who put both there! *mindboggling*

Now, the 1st thing to do imho is to get a submersible to that 'sunken' island and start digging!
Who know's what we'll find :D

Yes I agree we got the def of Civilization a little mixed up. I am sure they weren't all the same 'Nation' but had the same understanding of technology, whatever that technology happened to be.

And thats where the mystery begins. What was their technology? It sure wasn't electricity as we understand it today? Seems like things were different then.

Many of the structures are based on things like Golden Ratio and Sacred Geometry, which makes one think that maybe their technology was of the Earth. They worshiped the earth, they used the energy of the earth. They harnessed nature to do their biding. THEY WERE TRULY ADVANCED...and intuned with the nature around them. How exactly they accomplished some of the feats (Pyramids etc) remains mystery. But definite seems like pyramid was somehow harnessing the energy of the earth. For what? whooooo knowwwss

The Sphinx is thought to predate the Great Pyramid by 3000 to 4000 years. The Sphinx shows signs that it went through a massive Flood.
The peoples we consider as being Ancient Egyptians (about the time of construction of the Great Pyramid) have references in their records to the "First Time" or a civilization more advanced than they.

"Civilization One" and "Before the Pyramids". - Christopher Knight and Alan Butler. There is some overlap in the content, but I recommend reading both books in that order. "Before the Pyramids" has the authors claiming the architect who created the pattern for the Great Pyramid and the 2 lesser pyramids had to have visited Northern England to learn about that pattern. The pattern is the same as the 3 stars in the Belt of Orion, where the Pharaohs spent their afterlife. The pattern could not be determined in Egypt. {I need to check the title of the first book}

Erosion of sand blowing in the fluid of the wind is indistinguishable from erosion caused by sand carried by fluid water. Tales of flooding seem unnecessary to me, in order to describe erosion of the sphinx. Air is fluid and so is water but neither causes the wear you are referring to but wind-blown sand or water-borne sand will do it. The action comes from the abrading action of the moving sand. The law of parsimony or Occam's razor tells us to choose the least speculative choice and that would be that sand blowing in the wind, which occurs to this day, is the better choice to explain said erosion.

Keep in mind that this cataclysm between 13000-1200 years ago (younger Dryus) was basically caused by meteor impacts followed by one thousand years of nuclear winter followed by huge global floods due to rapid warming after the nuclear winter, being that earth was already at the end of an ice age. Therefor what or whomever humans survived the initial impact and than the floods went into pure survival mode and history was reset and forgotten and than civilization resettled itself in the plains of Mesopotamia some 5-6000 years later (4000BC) in what we think is the cradle of civilization

Isn't it already proven that the rapid rise of the world's sealevels was because two extremely huge lakes in the what's now called North America's broke through their basis borders? Dumping most of their water into the seas?

I dont think so. Meteor impacts 13000 years ago started the initial wave of disasters along with a 1000 years in huge drops in global temperature than followed by rapid warming causing huge global floods. Basically a 1000 years of Ash, earthquakes and disaster followed by HUGE HUGE FLOODS (NOHAS FLOOD).

But the intial meteor impacts were in North America from what I have found and read.

Also, remember that Plato is recounting events from 9000 years before his own time, so his stories cant be taken as literal as they are History Passed Down through Word unlike written history. Pluto just happened to write what he heard. But one has to think in bigger context to understand what happened on earth 12-13000 years ago. Thanks to new discoveries in science evidence of GLOBAL cataclysmic 12-13000 years is becoming reality and not only did it wipe of many animals it also wiped out a past advanced civilization that spread across the planet.

I'm completely convinced some global disaster hit life on earth big time. In my head that's a given certainty.

The author of this article has completely misunderstood Plato, or has intentionally twisted his words.

Explain yourself more, what have been misunderstood exactly ?

What do you think you know thats others dont ?

 

Djonis says: "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 is rubbish. Plato, in Timaeus, explicitly says that Atlantis was a power that "came forth out of the Atlantic Ocean." He distinguishes the Atlantic Ocean, which he refers to as "the real sea," and "the true ocean," from the Mediterranean Sea, which he describes as "the sea which is within the Straits of Heracles," and as being "only a harbor, having a narrow entrance."

So the only way that someone can claim that the "island of Atlantis" was inside the Mediterranean Sea is to claim that "The Straits of Heracles" was not what referring to what we now call the Straits of Gibraltar, but some other strait within the Mediterranean Sea. There is absolutely no evidence in support of such a notion.

Also, the plain of Atlantis, as described by Plato, was much bigger than the Cyclades Plateau ever was. Its dimensions were said to be 2000 by 3000 stadia, or 230 miles by 340 miles (No, it is not controversial that 1 mile = 8.8 Greek stadia). Other scholars have tried to argue that all of the numbers in Plato's dialogues were off by a factor of 10. The problem with this hypothesis is that if the measurements of length were off by a factor of 10, so should all of the other numbers, including how long ago Atlantis supposedly existed. But Djonis maintains that his "Atlantis" sank when Plato said it did - about 9000 years before his time. To suggest that Plato got the time measurements right but the length measurements wrong is absurd.

Djonis also makes the egregious error of conflating Athens with Atlantis at the end of his article. He says: "Poetically once more, he compared these small islets to the 'bones of the wasted body' of the 'country' that once was there," with a quote that follows. But this quote is actually referring to not Atlantis, but the ancient Athens that existed contemporaneously with Atlantis and was supposedly destroyed in the same cataclysm.

Here is the context of the quote: "Even the remnant of Attica which now exists may compare with any region in the world for the variety and excellence of its fruits and the suitableness of its pastures to every sort of animal, which proves what I am saying; but in those days the country was fair as now and yielded far more abundant produce. How shall I establish my words? and what part of it can be truly called a remnant of the land that then was? The whole country is only a long promontory extending far into the sea away from the rest of the continent, while the surrounding basin of the sea is everywhere deep in the neighbourhood of the shore. Many great deluges have taken place during the nine thousand years, for that is the number of years which have elapsed since the time of which I am speaking; and during all this time and through so many changes, there has never been any considerable accumulation of the soil coming down from the mountains, as in other places, but the earth has fallen away all round and sunk out of sight. The consequence is, that in comparison of what then was, there are remaining only the bones of the wasted body, as they may be called, as in the case of small islands, all the richer and softer parts of the soil having fallen away, and the mere skeleton of the land being left."

Clearly, Plato is referring to ancient Athens, which he calls Attica, in this passage, and not Atlantis.

While this is just a single mistake, it is one that demonstrates that the author has a superficial understanding of Plato's dialogues, whether in English or the original Greek.

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.

This is so stupid it beggars belief. Here is a person who cannot understand the basic facts about the text he is reading, making the amateurish mistake of conflating Athens and Atlantis...and he is bold enough to suggest that there have been translation errors? No, no. The errors are in the author's interpretation and understanding of the dialogues, not in the translations. The scholars who translated these works from Greek to English were first class scholars. This is just a rhetorical trick that the author of the article is using to make his point. Shameful.

Djonis' article and book have done a tremendous disservice to Atlantis research.

Christos Djonis's picture

As we all have the right to our own opinion, I don't usually find myself replying to article comments, especially to those who choose to hide their true identity behind fake names. In this particular case though, I felt I should make an exception. Not so much because your comments are downright personal (I wonder if you could equally communicate your points across without all the slinging mud?) but because I felt the readers of Ancient Origins in this case deserve a reply.

While I also agree that the linguists who originally translated Plato's text from ancient Greek to English may be fine scholars, we must always remember that they are primarily translators. While they translate a document from one language to another, they often leave the true meaning of the text to be interpreted by the reader, as in the original Greek format. When it comes to Greek, we must not ignore that it has a very different syntactic structure than the English language that we use to translate it. What often seems strange to those who first try to learn Greek is the inversion of the possessive adjective in respect to the noun.  Similarly, inversions like these may also exist in the sequence of entire sentences. For example, in an independent clause, an item which is stressed, i.e. which is uttered with emphasis or is contrastive, in Greek generally goes at the beginning of the clause, rarely at the end. The middle position is occupied by an item receiving no particular emphasis. In a series of clauses in a sentence, as in the translated text below, a prominent item goes at the beginning of its clause if it relates to the previous context, and at the end if it relates to the following one (the emphasis in the example below should be placed on the first sentence of the first paragraph, as well as on the last sentence of the second one.)

 

<em>For it is related in our records how once upon a time your State stayed the course of a mighty host, which, starting from a distant point in the Atlantic ocean, was insolently advancing to attack the whole of Europe, and Asia to boot.

 

(For) the Ocean that was at that time navigable; for in front of the mouth which you Greeks call, as you say “the Pillars of Hercules” [Strait of Gibraltar] there lay an island which was larger than Libya and Asia together; and it was possible for travelers of that time to cross from it to the other islands and from the islands to the whole of the continent over against them which encompasses the veritable ocean ...</em>

 

When seen this way, a different meaning emerges out of the two paragraphs. In this case, and contrary to past assumptions, Plato does not point to the direction of Atlantis across the ocean. The phrase “your state stayed the course of a mighty host”, at the beginning of the clause, is where the emphasis first should be placed. While in this sentence, Plato clearly reveals the very close proximity of Atlantis to Greece, in the rest of the sentence he poetically describes the might of Atlantis and its capacity that stretched around the world to a “distant point” and another continent across the ocean. Of course, once he illustrates their incredible capability, he then describes their audacious and warlike character and their plans to “advance against the whole of Europe and Asia.”

The same rule applies when analyzing the remaining text. In this case, the revelation of a continent across the ocean is not where the emphasis should be placed. As explained earlier, in a series of clauses in a sentence, prominent items usually are either placed at the beginning or at the end of their clause. The middle part of a sentence is occupied by items that should receive less emphasis. According to this rule, and in this particular case, the explanation of how Atlantians were able to reach the continent across the ocean, at the end of the clause, is where the emphasis should be placed and not on the continent itself that is mentioned earlier (the part that many automatically are drawn to when they first read the text). Not knowing where the emphasis on a clause should be placed, can cause a great deal of confusion as often, and depending where the emphasis or a comma goes, two separate meanings can emerge out of the same paragraph.

In short, when a story from ancient Greek is translated to English, the translated sentences may require proper "repositioning" in order for an English reader to make better sense of it. For instance, when understanding the syntactic structure of the Greek language and how to properly "read it", Plato’s second paragraph above, to an English reader should read as follows:

 

<em>... and it was possible for travelers of that time to cross from it (the island of Atlantis) to the other islands, and from the islands to the whole of the continent over against them which encompasses the veritable ocean.... (For) the (Atlantic) Ocean that was at that time navigable; for in front of the mouth which you Greeks call, as you say “the Pillars of Hercules,” there lay a continent which was larger than Libya and Asia together.</em>

 

When seen in this context, the continent across the ocean outside the Pillars of Hercules (one that the Atlantians were able to reach by island hopping) is no longer the place of origin, but the destination. In this paragraph, Plato simply describes the might of Atlantis by depicting their incredible capability to travel half way around the world by island hopping,  (via Orkney islands, Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland.) Incidentally, the existence of Haplogroup X in North America not only confirms that a Mediterranean gene migrated there 10,000+ years ago (as Plato suggested in the properly interpreted text) but heavy concentrations of haplogroup X in Orkney islands, Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland) also show that it made it there by island hopping. Is this some strange coincidence? Conversely, we have no genetic evidence to show a possible migration of genes from west to east. In other words, no proof whatsoever that Atlantians arrived into the Mediterranean from the west, or any other place outside the Strait of Gibraltar, as you argue.

As for the island's dimensions, I believe this is a subject for interpretation. For example, while ancient Greeks used different words to describe length (distance) and other words to describe land coverage (surface area), we know one of the words they used, the word "pous" (it means foot) was used not only to describe length (as in linear feet) but also to describe total coverage (as in square feet).

Just as in the case of the word "pous," I believe in the case of Atlantis, Plato used the word "stadia" (in Greek it means stadiums) to imply ground surface and not length. When he said the oblong valley was 3000 stadia, I don't think he meant 3000 stadia long (as in 555 kilometers long) but the oblong valley covered an area of 3000 stadia (roughly 555 square kilometers). If he wanted to imply length, why did he use stadia instead of any other measuring unit available to him one that best describes a great length. For example, instead of 3000 stadia he could have said the oblong valley was 18 "Stages" long, as this also equals to 555 kilometers in length. (By the way, "250 dolichos" or "75 schoinos" also equal to 555 kilometers in length). My point is this. Just like today when we measure long distance we don't say "I run for 8,800 yards" but instead we say "I run for 5 miles". To relay long distance we always use the highest unit available to us, in our case we use miles and not yards or anything else. On the other hand, when describing land coverage we also sometimes use football fields (in Greek stadia or stadiums) as a unit of measurement to indicate land coverage ("the small lake is about 5 football fields in size".)

While of course anyone can argue with this point, the truth is, when using "stadia" to suggest ground surface rather than length, by some "strange coincidence" we actually have a site that for the first time perfectly matches with Plato's description. Region by region, all the physical aspects are in the right order, the right shape and in the right proportion, including the island of Santorini (a setting of concentric rings of earth and water) which falls exactly within 9 kilometers from the primary island). What are the chances for that to happen? Considering that when insisting on the traditional ways of reading and understanding Plato that always led us to a dead end, we must not ignore the possibility that the prehistoric island of the Cyclades Plateau (now under 400 feet of water) must have been the place Plato was referring to (regardless if, and just as in the case of Troy, the rest of Plato's story was real or not).

Finally, after the destruction of Atlantis there is the case where I suggested Plato compares some small remaining islets to the bones of the wasted body of Atlantis.

First and foremost, in the example you used you misquoted Critias. The accurate quote in regards to the remaining small islets reads exactly as below and not as you quoted (while it sounds almost the same, word by word is very different and it clearly leads to a different meaning. (I hope the misquote was not intentional just to help your point).

 

<em>The consequence is, that in comparison of what then was, there are remaining in small islets only the bones of the wasted body, as they may be called; all the richer and softer parts of the soil having fallen away, and the mere skeleton of the country being left.- (Republic. Timaeus. Critias, page 597).</em>

 

Although, in this paragraph Plato may have initially started to talk about Attica, he ultimately compares Attica's transformation to another body of land off of Attica's coast, one that ultimately sank and in its place only small islets remained. Although, we all know that Attica was transformed to some extent by the sudden rise of the Mediterranean, I must point that it never turned into small islets as Plato clearly implies in this sentence (Plato said "there are remaining in small islets only the bones of the wasted body". In your example you said "as in the case of small islands".)

In the end, I must say that is very easy to criticize others work and/or to attack them on a personal level while hiding behind a fake name. In the future though, should you feel the need to carry yourself in that manner, it would be more appropriate if you used your real name as well as list your credentials on the general subject. Most importantly though, if you choose to rely on a quote to help you make a point, be absolutely sure you are using the quote in its original format (word by word) and not how you "remember" it. As I pointed out earlier, in Greek, a single comma or a few extra words, or reading the text in the wrong way leads to a whole different understanding of things.

 

 

 

 

 

Your argument that Plato was referring to surface area instead of length when using the unit "stadia" is definitively repudiated in the specific case of the plain of Atlantis. In one passage, he describes the plain as follows: "As to the population, each of the lots in the plain had to find a leader for the men who were fit for military service, and the size of a lot was a square of ten stadia each way, and the total number of all the lots was sixty thousand." If the size of a single lot was ten stadia each way, then each lot would have an area of 100 square stadia, and there being 60,000 of them, the total area of the plain would come out to be 6,000,000 square stadia.

Earlier in Critias, Plato describes the dimensions of the plain as follows: "it was smooth and even, and of an oblong shape, extending in one direction three thousand stadia, but across the centre inland it was two thousand stadia." The word "oblong" is defined as follows: "having an elongated shape, as a rectangle or an oval." Given that the area of a rectangular area can be calculated by multiplying its length and width, this plain would have an area of 3,000 x 2,000 stadia = 6,000,000 stadia squared.

If Plato did not mean units of length but rather units of area when using the unit of measure of stadia, how can you explain the fact that area of the plain comes out to be identical - namely 6 million stadia squared, in both cases? Clearly, you must concede the argument in the specific case of the unit stadia being used to measure the plain's dimensions. And if a stadia was referring to a unit of length in the particular case of the plain, why would it be used as a unit of area anywhere else in the dialogue?

By the way, I don't have to even have to address your convoluted argument that Atlantis was supposedly anywhere in the Aegean Sea because I have repudiated the premise on which it stands - that Plato used the unit of measure of stadia as units of area rather than length. If this is wrong, as I have demonstrated above, then there is no way a roughly 80,000 square mile plain can be squeezed into the Aegean Sea, as you have argued.

____________

As for your claim that the "small islets" could have been referring to Atlantis, and not Athens, I have the following to say.

If you read the passage where Plato describes the transformation of Attica with more care, you will notice that he did not actually say that the "small islets" were a remnant of either Attica or what you think Atlantis was: "And, just as happens in small islands, what now remains compared with what then existed is like the skeleton of a sick man, all the fat and soft earth having wasted away, and only the bare framework of the land being left." When he uses the words "just as" to begin the phrase that mentions the small islands, he is COMPARING what has happened in Attica (which was a general erosive process that converted a fertile, hilly land to a bare and rocky promontory) to an analogous erosive process that he claims happens in small islands. He speaks of "small islands" in a general sense, and does not identify them as either Atlantis or Athens. Now this is a subtle point - I expect that you will fail to grasp it even when it is pointed out to you. For your information, the specific translation and page of Critias that I am referencing is this one: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.01...

It is absolutely irrelevant whether I use my real name or a pseudonym. Your arguments and theory will not stand up to the scrutiny of anyone who has actually read and understood Plato's dialogues.

The location of Atlantis has kept scholars busy for decades and they are no closer now than they began their search.
Civilization has not been one of progress. Between centuries of progress have been numerous dark ages. Everyone knows about the Dark Ages that engulfed Europe following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. A dark age engulfed the Greece and the Aegean world following the Trojan War in which the Greeks forgot how to read and write. Mesopotamia underwent a dark age between 2200 and 2500BC when it languished through a 300 year drought. Greece's loss of literacy presents one of the problems with understanding Atlantis.
There were several Pillar's of Hercules, the most misleading is the Strait of Gibraltar, a relative newcomer to the list. By misleading, I mean that forced researchers to head into the Atlantic Ocean. Another one is on an island west of Santorini. The Hellespont was another P of H. There was another P of H situated that Malta could have been Atlantis. A Mediterranean Sea with substantially less water would have enlarged Malta and allowed other near by areas to become islands.

An often overlooked part of the story is the war between Atlantis and Athens. Would there be a pretext for war if Atlantis was located for example in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean? I think not. The Atlanteans were supposed to have fielded a massive fleet and army of a combined strength of 1.2 million men. To me, the logistics moves the location into the Mediterranean Sea area. Malta, the surrounding islands and part of Libya becomes a likely candidate. Malta has some submerged large structures, another plus.

Most of my information comes from the book below.
"Meet Me In Atlantis: My Obsessive Quest To Find The Sunken City". - Mark Adams. In his book, Adams interviews several scientists, each having a different prospective location for Atlantis. Adams does not actually search for the city.

I am going to make a couple other comments as replies to other posters to end my comments here.

has anyone heard about the connection of atlantas to jason and the argonauts, where the golden fleece area of 'colchis' in next to atlantis? this places atlantis between crimea and donbass.

I have hard of Colchis and I know it had bee considered.

Djonis says: "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 is rubbish. Plato, in Timaeus, explicitly says that Atlantis was a power that "came forth out of the Atlantic Ocean." He distinguishes the Atlantic Ocean, which he refers to as "the real sea," and "the true ocean," from the Mediterranean Sea, which he describes as "the sea which is within the Straits of Heracles," and as being "only a harbor, having a narrow entrance."
So the only way that someone can claim that the "island of Atlantis" was inside the Mediterranean Sea is to claim that "The Straits of Heracles" was not what referring to what we now call the Straits of Gibraltar, but some other strait within the Mediterranean Sea. There is absolutely no evidence in support of such a notion.

Also, the plain of Atlantis, as described by Plato, was much bigger than the Cyclades Plateau ever was. Its dimensions were said to be 2000 by 3000 stadia, or 230 miles by 340 miles (No, it is not controversial that 1 mile = 8.8 Greek stadia). Other scholars have tried to argue that all of the numbers in Plato's dialogues were off by a factor of 10. The problem with this hypothesis is that if the measurements of length were off by a factor of 10, so should all of the other numbers, including how long ago Atlantis supposedly existed. But Djonis maintains that his "Atlantis" sank when Plato said it did - about 9000 years before his time. To suggest that Plato got the time measurements right but the length measurements wrong is absurd.

Djonis also makes the egregious error of conflating Athens with Atlantis at the end of his article. He says: "Poetically once more, he compared these small islets to the 'bones of the wasted body' of the 'country' that once was there," with a quote that follows. But this quote is actually referring to not Atlantis, but the ancient Athens that existed contemporaneously with Atlantis and was supposedly destroyed in the same cataclysm.

Here is the context of the quote: "Even the remnant of Attica which now exists may compare with any region in the world for the variety and excellence of its fruits and the suitableness of its pastures to every sort of animal, which proves what I am saying; but in those days the country was fair as now and yielded far more abundant produce. How shall I establish my words? and what part of it can be truly called a remnant of the land that then was? The whole country is only a long promontory extending far into the sea away from the rest of the continent, while the surrounding basin of the sea is everywhere deep in the neighbourhood of the shore. Many great deluges have taken place during the nine thousand years, for that is the number of years which have elapsed since the time of which I am speaking; and during all this time and through so many changes, there has never been any considerable accumulation of the soil coming down from the mountains, as in other places, but the earth has fallen away all round and sunk out of sight. The consequence is, that in comparison of what then was, there are remaining only the bones of the wasted body, as they may be called, as in the case of small islands, all the richer and softer parts of the soil having fallen away, and the mere skeleton of the land being left."
Clearly, Plato is referring to ancient Athens, which he calls Attica, in this passage, and not Atlantis.

While this is just a single mistake, it is one that demonstrates that the author has a superficial understanding of Plato's dialogues, whether in English or the original Greek.

Djonis also says: "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."

This is so stupid it beggars belief. Here is a person who cannot understand the basic facts about the text he is reading, making the amateurish mistake of conflating Athens and Atlantis...and he is bold enough to suggest that there have been translation errors? No, no. The errors are in the author's interpretation and understanding of the dialogues, not in the translations. The scholars who translated these works from Greek to English were first class scholars. This is just a rhetorical trick that the author of the article is using to make his point. Shameful.

Djonis' article and book have done a tremendous disservice to Atlantis research.

lizleafloor's picture

Thank you for your input. You have quite an opinion on the work here, but I’m not certain personal attacks, such as calling the author ‘stupid’ or ‘shameful’ are in order. Surely you can make a point without slinging mud. Mr. Djonis has been (and all our guest authors and writers are)  kind enough to put their work out there, and we encourage and appreciate disagreement, but most of all intelligent and respectful discourse. 

Egregious errors like the one Djonis made need to be called out with the strongest language possible. The dialogues of Plato are not very lengthy compared to most classical texts. Is it too much to ask that an author who has actually published work on the subject to actually check his own facts? If he won't, then others will do it for him.

I apologize for the personal attack, but if were to claim expertise in a subject and yet know so little about it, I would expect others to attack me just as I attacked the author.

Christos Djonis's picture

As we all have the right to our own opinion, I don't usually find myself replying to article comments, especially to those who choose to hide their true identity behind fake names. In this particular case though, I felt I should make an exception. Not so much because your comments are downright personal (I wonder if you could equally communicate your points across without all the slinging mud?) but because I felt the readers of Ancient Origins in this case deserve a reply.

While I also agree that the linguists who originally translated Plato's text from ancient Greek to English may be fine scholars, we must always remember that they are primarily translators. While they translate a document from one language to another, they often leave the true meaning of the text to be interpreted by the reader, as in the original Greek format. When it comes to Greek, we must not ignore that it has a very different syntactic structure than the English language that we use to translate it. What often seems strange to those who first try to learn Greek is the inversion of the possessive adjective in respect to the noun.  Similarly, inversions like these may also exist in the sequence of entire sentences. For example, in an independent clause, an item which is stressed, i.e. which is uttered with emphasis or is contrastive, in Greek generally goes at the beginning of the clause, rarely at the end. The middle position is occupied by an item receiving no particular emphasis. In a series of clauses in a sentence, as in the translated text below, a prominent item goes at the beginning of its clause if it relates to the previous context, and at the end if it relates to the following one (the emphasis in the example below should be placed on the first sentence of the first paragraph, as well as on the last sentence of the second one.)

 

<em>For it is related in our records how once upon a time your State stayed the course of a mighty host, which, starting from a distant point in the Atlantic ocean, was insolently advancing to attack the whole of Europe, and Asia to boot.

 

(For) the Ocean that was at that time navigable; for in front of the mouth which you Greeks call, as you say “the Pillars of Hercules” [Strait of Gibraltar] there lay an island which was larger than Libya and Asia together; and it was possible for travelers of that time to cross from it to the other islands and from the islands to the whole of the continent over against them which encompasses the veritable ocean ...</em>

 

When seen this way, a different meaning emerges out of the two paragraphs. In this case, and contrary to past assumptions, Plato does not point to the direction of Atlantis across the ocean. The phrase “your state stayed the course of a mighty host”, at the beginning of the clause, is where the emphasis first should be placed. While in this sentence, Plato clearly reveals the very close proximity of Atlantis to Greece, in the rest of the sentence he poetically describes the might of Atlantis and its capacity that stretched around the world to a “distant point” and another continent across the ocean. Of course, once he illustrates their incredible capability, he then describes their audacious and warlike character and their plans to “advance against the whole of Europe and Asia.”

The same rule applies when analyzing the remaining text. In this case, the revelation of a continent across the ocean is not where the emphasis should be placed. As explained earlier, in a series of clauses in a sentence, prominent items usually are either placed at the beginning or at the end of their clause. The middle part of a sentence is occupied by items that should receive less emphasis. According to this rule, and in this particular case, the explanation of how Atlantians were able to reach the continent across the ocean, at the end of the clause, is where the emphasis should be placed and not on the continent itself that is mentioned earlier (the part that many automatically are drawn to when they first read the text). Not knowing where the emphasis on a clause should be placed, can cause a great deal of confusion as often, and depending where the emphasis or a comma goes, two separate meanings can emerge out of the same paragraph.

In short, when a story from ancient Greek is translated to English, the translated sentences may require proper "repositioning" in order for an English reader to make better sense of it. For instance, when understanding the syntactic structure of the Greek language and how to properly "read it", Plato’s second paragraph above, to an English reader should read as follows:

 

<em>... and it was possible for travelers of that time to cross from it (the island of Atlantis) to the other islands, and from the islands to the whole of the continent over against them which encompasses the veritable ocean.... (For) the (Atlantic) Ocean that was at that time navigable; for in front of the mouth which you Greeks call, as you say “the Pillars of Hercules,” there lay a continent which was larger than Libya and Asia together.</em>

 

When seen in this context, the continent across the ocean outside the Pillars of Hercules (one that the Atlantians were able to reach by island hopping) is no longer the place of origin, but the destination. In this paragraph, Plato simply describes the might of Atlantis by depicting their incredible capability to travel half way around the world by island hopping,  (via Orkney islands, Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland.) Incidentally, the existence of Haplogroup X in North America not only confirms that a Mediterranean gene migrated there 10,000+ years ago (as Plato suggested in the properly interpreted text) but heavy concentrations of haplogroup X in Orkney islands, Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland) also show that it made it there by island hopping. Is this some strange coincidence? Conversely, we have no genetic evidence to show a possible migration of genes from west to east. In other words, no proof whatsoever that Atlantians arrived into the Mediterranean from the west, or any other place outside the Strait of Gibraltar, as you argue.

As for the island's dimensions, I believe this is a subject for interpretation. For example, while ancient Greeks used different words to describe length (distance) and other words to describe land coverage (surface area), we know one of the words they used, the word "pous" (it means foot) was used not only to describe length (as in linear feet) but also to describe total coverage (as in square feet).

Just as in the case of the word "pous," I believe in the case of Atlantis, Plato used the word "stadia" (in Greek it means stadiums) to imply ground surface and not length. When he said the oblong valley was 3000 stadia, I don't think he meant 3000 stadia long (as in 555 kilometers long) but the oblong valley covered an area of 3000 stadia (roughly 555 square kilometers). If he wanted to imply length, why did he use stadia instead of any other measuring unit available to him one that best describes a great length. For example, instead of 3000 stadia he could have said the oblong valley was 18 "Stages" long, as this also equals to 555 kilometers in length. (By the way, "250 dolichos" or "75 schoinos" also equal to 555 kilometers in length). My point is this. Just like today when we measure long distance we don't say "I run for 8,800 yards" but instead we say "I run for 5 miles". To relay long distance we always use the highest unit available to us, in our case we use miles and not yards or anything else. On the other hand, when describing land coverage we also sometimes use football fields (in Greek stadia or stadiums) as a unit of measurement to indicate land coverage ("the small lake is about 5 football fields in size".)

While of course anyone can argue with this point, the truth is, when using "stadia" to suggest ground surface rather than length, by some "strange coincidence" we actually have a site that for the first time perfectly matches with Plato's description. Region by region, all the physical aspects are in the right order, the right shape and in the right proportion, including the island of Santorini (a setting of concentric rings of earth and water) which falls exactly within 9 kilometers from the primary island). What are the chances for that to happen? Considering that when insisting on the traditional ways of reading and understanding Plato that always led us to a dead end, we must not ignore the possibility that the prehistoric island of the Cyclades Plateau (now under 400 feet of water) must have been the place Plato was referring to (regardless if, and just as in the case of Troy, the rest of Plato's story was real or not).

Finally, after the destruction of Atlantis there is the case where I suggested Plato compares some small remaining islets to the bones of the wasted body of Atlantis.

First and foremost, in the example you used you misquoted Critias. The accurate quote in regards to the remaining small islets reads exactly as below and not as you quoted (while it sounds almost the same, word by word is very different and it clearly leads to a different meaning. (I hope the misquote was not intentional just to help your point).

 

<em>The consequence is, that in comparison of what then was, there are remaining in small islets only the bones of the wasted body, as they may be called; all the richer and softer parts of the soil having fallen away, and the mere skeleton of the country being left.- (Republic. Timaeus. Critias, page 597).</em>

 

Although, in this paragraph Plato may have initially started to talk about Attica, he ultimately compares Attica's transformation to another body of land off of Attica's coast, one that ultimately sank and in its place only small islets remained. Although, we all know that Attica was transformed to some extent by the sudden rise of the Mediterranean, I must point that it never turned into small islets as Plato clearly implies in this sentence (Plato said "there are remaining in small islets only the bones of the wasted body". In your example you said "as in the case of small islands".)

In the end, I must say that is very easy to criticize others work and/or to attack them on a personal level while hiding behind a fake name. In the future though, should you feel the need to carry yourself in that manner, it would be more appropriate if you used your real name as well as list your credentials on the general subject. Most importantly though, if you choose to rely on a quote to help you make a point, be absolutely sure you are using the quote in its original format (word by word) and not how you "remember" it. As I pointed out earlier, in Greek, a single comma or a few extra words, or reading the text in the wrong way leads to a whole different understanding of things.

As we all have the right to our own opinion, I don't usually find myself replying to article comments, especially to those who choose to hide their true identity behind fake names. In this particular case though, I felt I should make an exception. Not so much because your comments are downright personal (I wonder if you could equally communicate your points across without all the slinging mud?) but because I felt the readers of Ancient Origins in this case deserve a reply.

While I also agree that the linguists who originally translated Plato's text from ancient Greek to English may be fine scholars, we must always remember that they are primarily translators. While they translate a document from one language to another, they often leave the true meaning of the text to be interpreted by the reader, as in the original Greek format. When it comes to Greek, we must not ignore that it has a very different syntactic structure than the English language that we use to translate it. What often seems strange to those who first try to learn Greek is the inversion of the possessive adjective in respect to the noun.  Similarly, inversions like these may also exist in the sequence of entire sentences. For example, in an independent clause, an item which is stressed, i.e. which is uttered with emphasis or is contrastive, in Greek generally goes at the beginning of the clause, rarely at the end. The middle position is occupied by an item receiving no particular emphasis. In a series of clauses in a sentence, as in the translated text below, a prominent item goes at the beginning of its clause if it relates to the previous context, and at the end if it relates to the following one (the emphasis in the example below should be placed on the first sentence of the first paragraph, as well as on the last sentence of the second one.)

 

<em>For it is related in our records how once upon a time your State stayed the course of a mighty host, which, starting from a distant point in the Atlantic ocean, was insolently advancing to attack the whole of Europe, and Asia to boot.

(For) the Ocean that was at that time navigable; for in front of the mouth which you Greeks call, as you say “the Pillars of Hercules” [Strait of Gibraltar] there lay an island which was larger than Libya and Asia together; and it was possible for travelers of that time to cross from it to the other islands and from the islands to the whole of the continent over against them which encompasses the veritable ocean ...</em>

 

When seen this way, a different meaning emerges out of the two paragraphs. In this case, and contrary to past assumptions, Plato does not point to the direction of Atlantis across the ocean. The phrase “your state stayed the course of a mighty host”, at the beginning of the clause, is where the emphasis first should be placed. While in this sentence, Plato clearly reveals the very close proximity of Atlantis to Greece, in the rest of the sentence he poetically describes the might of Atlantis and its capacity that stretched around the world to a “distant point” and another continent across the ocean. Of course, once he illustrates their incredible capability, he then describes their audacious and warlike character and their plans to “advance against the whole of Europe and Asia.”

The same rule applies when analyzing the remaining text. In this case, the revelation of a continent across the ocean is not where the emphasis should be placed. As explained earlier, in a series of clauses in a sentence, prominent items usually are either placed at the beginning or at the end of their clause. The middle part of a sentence is occupied by items that should receive less emphasis. According to this rule, and in this particular case, the explanation of how Atlantians were able to reach the continent across the ocean, at the end of the clause, is where the emphasis should be placed and not on the continent itself that is mentioned earlier (the part that many automatically are drawn to when they first read the text). Not knowing where the emphasis on a clause should be placed, can cause a great deal of confusion as often, and depending where the emphasis or a comma goes, two separate meanings can emerge out of the same paragraph.

In short, when a story from ancient Greek is translated to English, the translated sentences may require proper "repositioning" in order for an English reader to make better sense of it. For instance, when understanding the syntactic structure of the Greek language and how to properly "read it", Plato’s second paragraph above, to an English reader should read as follows:

 

<em>... and it was possible for travelers of that time to cross from it (the island of Atlantis) to the other islands, and from the islands to the whole of the continent over against them which encompasses the veritable ocean.... (For) the (Atlantic) Ocean that was at that time navigable; for in front of the mouth which you Greeks call, as you say “the Pillars of Hercules,” there lay a continent which was larger than Libya and Asia together.</em>

 

When seen in this context, the continent across the ocean outside the Pillars of Hercules (one that the Atlantians were able to reach by island hopping) is no longer the place of origin, but the destination. In this paragraph, Plato simply describes the might of Atlantis by depicting their incredible capability to travel half way around the world by island hopping,  (via Orkney islands, Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland.) Incidentally, the existence of Haplogroup X in North America not only confirms that a Mediterranean gene migrated there 10,000+ years ago (as Plato suggested in the properly interpreted text) but heavy concentrations of haplogroup X in Orkney islands, Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland) also show that it made it there by island hopping. Is this some strange coincidence? Conversely, we have no genetic evidence to show a possible migration of genes from west to east. In other words, no proof whatsoever that Atlantians arrived into the Mediterranean from the west, or any other place outside the Strait of Gibraltar, as you argue.

As for the island's dimensions, I believe this is a subject for interpretation. For example, while ancient Greeks used different words to describe length (distance) and other words to describe land coverage (surface area), we know one of the words they used, the word "pous" (it means foot) was used not only to describe length (as in linear feet) but also to describe total coverage (as in square feet).

Just as in the case of the word "pous," I believe in the case of Atlantis, Plato used the word "stadia" (in Greek it means stadiums) to imply ground surface and not length. When he said the oblong valley was 3000 stadia, I don't think he meant 3000 stadia long (as in 555 kilometers long) but the oblong valley covered an area of 3000 stadia (roughly 555 square kilometers). If he wanted to imply length, why did he use stadia instead of any other measuring unit available to him one that best describes a great length. For example, instead of 3000 stadia he could have said the oblong valley was 18 "Stages" long, as this also equals to 555 kilometers in length. (By the way, "250 dolichos" or "75 schoinos" also equal to 555 kilometers in length). My point is this. Just like today when we measure long distance we don't say "I run for 8,800 yards" but instead we say "I run for 5 miles". To relay long distance we always use the highest unit available to us, in our case we use miles and not yards or anything else. On the other hand, when describing land coverage we also sometimes use football fields (in Greek stadia or stadiums) as a unit of measurement to indicate land coverage ("the small lake is about 5 football fields in size".)

While of course anyone can argue with this point, the truth is, when using "stadia" to suggest ground surface rather than length, by some "strange coincidence" we actually have a site that for the first time perfectly matches with Plato's description. Region by region, all the physical aspects are in the right order, the right shape and in the right proportion, including the island of Santorini (a setting of concentric rings of earth and water) which falls exactly within 9 kilometers from the primary island). What are the chances for that to happen? Considering that when insisting on the traditional ways of reading and understanding Plato that always led us to a dead end, we must not ignore the possibility that the prehistoric island of the Cyclades Plateau (now under 400 feet of water) must have been the place Plato was referring to (regardless if, and just as in the case of Troy, the rest of Plato's story was real or not).

Finally, after the destruction of Atlantis there is the case where I suggested Plato compares some small remaining islets to the bones of the wasted body of Atlantis.

First and foremost, in the example you used you misquoted Critias. The accurate quote in regards to the remaining small islets reads exactly as below and not as you quoted (while it sounds almost the same, word by word is very different and it clearly leads to a different meaning. (I hope the misquote was not intentional just to help your point).

 

<em>The consequence is, that in comparison of what then was, there are remaining in small islets only the bones of the wasted body, as they may be called; all the richer and softer parts of the soil having fallen away, and the mere skeleton of the country being left.- (Republic. Timaeus. Critias, page 597).</em>

 

Although, in this paragraph Plato may have initially started to talk about Attica, he ultimately compares Attica's transformation to another body of land off of Attica's coast, one that ultimately sank and in its place only small islets remained. Although, we all know that Attica was transformed to some extent by the sudden rise of the Mediterranean, I must point that it never turned into small islets as Plato clearly implies in this sentence (Plato said "there are remaining in small islets only the bones of the wasted body". In your example you said "as in the case of small islands".)

In the end, I must say that is very easy to criticize others work and/or to attack them on a personal level while hiding behind a fake name. In the future though, should you feel the need to carry yourself in that manner, it would be more appropriate if you used your real name as well as list your credentials on the general subject. Most importantly though, if you choose to rely on a quote to help you make a point, be absolutely sure you are using the quote in its original format (word by word) and not how you "remember" it. As I pointed out earlier, in Greek, a single comma or a few extra words, or reading the text in the wrong way leads to a whole different understanding of things.

Your argument that Plato was referring to surface area instead of length when using the unit "stadia" is definitively repudiated in the specific case of the plain of Atlantis. In one passage, he describes the plain as follows: "As to the population, each of the lots in the plain had to find a leader for the men who were fit for military service, and the size of a lot was a square of ten stadia each way, and the total number of all the lots was sixty thousand." If the size of a single lot was ten stadia each way, then each lot would have an area of 100 square stadia, and there being 60,000 of them, the total area of the plain would come out to be 6,000,000 square stadia.

Earlier in Critias, Plato describes the dimensions of the plain as follows: "it was smooth and even, and of an oblong shape, extending in one direction three thousand stadia, but across the centre inland it was two thousand stadia." The word "oblong" is defined as follows: "having an elongated shape, as a rectangle or an oval." Given that the area of a rectangular area can be calculated by multiplying its length and width, this plain would have an area of 3,000 x 2,000 stadia = 6,000,000 stadia squared. If Plato did not mean units of length but rather units of area when using the unit of measure of stadia, how can you explain the fact that area of the plain comes out to be identical - namely 6 million stadia squared, in both cases?

Clearly, you must concede the argument in the specific case of the unit stadia being used to measure the plain's dimensions. And if a stadia was referring to a unit of length in the particular case of the plain, why would it be used as a unit of area anywhere else in the dialogue? By the way, I don't have to even have to address your convoluted argument that Atlantis was supposedly anywhere in the Aegean Sea because I have repudiated the premise on which it stands - that Plato used the unit of measure of stadia as units of area rather than length. If this is wrong, as I have demonstrated above, then there is no way a roughly 80,000 square mile plain can be squeezed into the Aegean Sea, as you have argued. ____________

As for your claim that the "small islets" could have been referring to Atlantis, and not Athens, I have the following to say. If you read the passage where Plato describes the transformation of Attica with more care, you will notice that he did not actually say that the "small islets" were a remnant of either Attica or what you think Atlantis was: "And, just as happens in small islands, what now remains compared with what then existed is like the skeleton of a sick man, all the fat and soft earth having wasted away, and only the bare framework of the land being left." When he uses the words "just as" to begin the phrase that mentions the small islands, he is COMPARING what has happened in Attica (which was a general erosive process that converted a fertile, hilly land to a bare and rocky promontory) to an analogous erosive process that he claims happens in small islands. He speaks of "small islands" in a general sense, and does not identify them as either Atlantis or Athens. Now this is a subtle point - I expect that you will fail to grasp it even when it is pointed out to you. For your information, the specific translation and page of Critias that I am referencing is this one: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A1999.01.01... It is absolutely irrelevant whether I use my real name or a pseudonym. Your arguments and theory will not stand up to the scrutiny of anyone who has actually read and understood Plato's dialogues.

Christos Djonis's picture

I truly now understand why the Orthodox Christian Church prohibits the Bible to be translated from its original ancient Greek format. The Orthodox church believes, and understandably so, that translations of the Bible over the centuries can ultimately change the Bible's original meaning and/or even content. For example, the Rapture (also called "pre-tribulation"), a popular term used by some Protestant Evangelicals for the rising of the faithful from the dead, according to the Orthodox Church this is a new term that was added to the Bible in the 1830's which was introduced by Margaret McDonald. John Nelson Darby (1800-1882) next picked up the theory of the Rapture and made it popular. The so-called doctrine of the Rapture made its way into the footnotes of a translation of the Bible by Cyrus Ingerson Scofield and the Scofield Reference Bible. This version of the Bible was widely used in England and America and therefore it turned out as an accepted doctrine of belief.

Long story short, Plato's account and other ancient texts, which all have been repeatedly translated over the centuries, to a certain extent (and whether you realize it or not), are gone through similar transformations. For instance, the ultra-modern translation you are quoting Plato from ("Perseus Catalog, 2013 Edition") is quite different when you compare it to a classic one, one from the 1800's (like "The Dialogues of Plato, translated by B. Jowett, M.A., 1892 Edition") which I much rather use when it comes to Plato. For example, in regards to the remaining islands argument, the modern translation (page 111) states, "just as happens in small islands". This statement, as you also said yourself, clearly compares Attica's condition to that of small islands. The classic translation though, (page 597) says "there are remaining in small islets only the bones of the wasted body," which clearly implies of a landmass that got "wasted" and ultimately transformed into small islands (this landmass obviously could not have been Attica.) Which one is right? Obviously the modern version which came into place 120 years later is the one who decided to change the particular paragraph. You may want to ask Perseus why?

Personally, I find the modern translation you are using unacceptable. In my opinion is quite overdone with so much new content added to it (words, sentences, syntactic structure changes) that at times it allows for the original text to change (just as in the example of "the islands".) This brings me to my final point. As I also mentioned before, while all these translations (new and old) were done by "fine scholars" (as you called them,) at the end of the day (especially when you begin to compare them all) they are just merely translations (if not personal interpretations) and in most cases they are not capable to capture and relay the meaning from the original ancient Greek format. In my article, this is what I called "flawed interpretations" and your modern version is a prime example of that!

Okay, I'll concede that the Jowett translation says what you say it does. But it still doesn't mean that it could be Atlantis. I'm assuming that you lost the argument that "stadia" could have been referring to a unit of area instead of a unit of length, as you did not mention this in your reply. If that is the case, Atlantis cannot possibly fit into the Aegean Sea; hence your theory cannot be correct. I am not saying that your theory is entirely without value - there might have been an ancient civilization on the Cyclades plateau - perhaps the Ancient Greeks who supposedly lived at the same time as the Atlanteans.

http://www.ancient-origins.net/comment/17830#comment-17830
Bonusje wrote on 17 March, 2016 - 02:08
Permalink

Maby insula atlantis is Australia? ( Atlantis just was an early Japanese name for Australia アトランティス号 Atorantisu-gō – A Door to another Dimension)

This might be of interest &gt; Weapons of Gladiators &gt; Atlantis Memmilo http://www.sciencechannel.com/tv-shows/science-channel-presents/videos/u...

Listen carefully at what they say about the memmillo.

The Memillo a hybrid Humanoid which could breath underwater aswell as on land and lived in undersea cities at the Great Barrier reef at 2000 meter depth. Maby this is cause more cities were found at depths of multiple hundreds meters in Sea.

The last of these Atlanteans died 204 years ago and was murdered by an alien race that came from IO to Earth 254 years ago and hunted them for pleasure.

God wiped the alien race out and anihilated their underground cities of which huge traces are in Australia Somalia and midle south amerika. Two nuclear underground explosions in the Eyres region in Australia are mixed up with two huge asteroid impacts which were reported lately by geo survey. It is very likely the nuclear explosions in Australia also did set off the Tambora. The places in Somalia and mSA have same geo features. Might look for Lithium 6?

Plato lifed in roman times

When you look at the Memmilo which were present in the roman arenas..they were dressed with a net a trident and a peculiar fishlike helmet

This indicates at least one or some generations of the romans (who came from asia and were/are eurasians) knew Australia and knew about the Memmilos at the Great Barrier Reef

It might be the chinese the japanese do have more data concerning the myths around Atlantis and the Memmilo under other names like Atorantisu-gō ?

If you turn insula Atlantis 90° then you do have Australia

I am very sorry link above is broken I just found out just now .. this one works &gt;

http://www.sciencechannel.com/tv-shows/science-channel-presents/videos/u...

How can it be that this article (and the comments) fail to mention the Antikythera mechanism?
There most definitely WAS a technologically advanced civilization somewhere around the Mediteranean Sea, deep in the BC centuries. Because we have a piece of machinery they made.

The only question is, where were they located?

The Antikythera Mechanism
http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap110109.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikythera_mechanism

http://www.antikythera-mechanism.gr/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLPVCJjTNgk

Antikythera Mechanism - An Ancient Greek Computer?
http://www.world-mysteries.com/sar_4.htm Part 1
http://www.world-mysteries.com/sar_4_2.htm Part 2

That were the Ertrusks. And the Antikytera or Better Ancitapatus was a device to estimate the levels of the tides around Greece! That should be about 11.000 years ago

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Left side view of the Pyramid of the Sun, Teotihuacan.
Teotihuacan’s Lost Kings, a television special, took an hour long look at the great city, its inhabitants, and the excavation of the Temple of Quetzalcoatl, (also known as the Feathered Serpent Pyramid.) The program revealed evidence of advanced engineering built into a tunnel system, and placed directly underneath the Pyramid.

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