Three Scientific Mysteries of Plato’s Atlantis
In the early years of researching my 5-volume Gods of Atlantos Saga , I read and re-read Plato’s accounts of Atlantis – his dialogues Timaeus and Critias – and was brought up short by three of his statements that posed head-scratching, science-based mysteries. They were especially intriguing in that they were posed 2,500 years ago when Plato and his ancestor, Solon the Lawgiver, lived, and relate to the period 12,000 years in the past, when the civilizations of Atlantis and pre-historical Athens were thriving city-states. Solon was the original source of the story, supposedly based on priests reading from stone columns at the Nile Delta Temple at Neith.
The most frequently and most widely explored mystery of Plato’s Atlantis is the geographical location of the lost continent. The second enigma is the date of the cataclysmic event which saw Athens swallowed by an earthquake, and Atlantis drowned in a great flood.
The final, and most fascinating question to me, more than any of the quandaries that led me to write the Gods of Atlantos Saga in the first place, was how the so-called god Poseidon and his mortal, earthly wife Cleito were able to produce five sets of twin sons, as Plato so matter of factly states. That the philosopher flings the fact out so casually is curious as well, posing a further question: how and why would a man living 2,500 years in the past conceive of such a notion? If, as Plato continually insists, the story is “the true history of the world… not mere legend but an actual fact”, how could such a genomic oddity physically occur?
- Atlantis: Examining the Legendary Tale of Plato
- The Search for a Legendary Land: Does the Truth of Plato’s Atlantis Rest on a Shifting Sea Floor?
The Location of Plato’s Atlantis
During my early study of Plato’s dialogues, I’d been content to believe the geographical location of Atlantis to be somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, perhaps along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, possibly the Azores or Canary Islands off the coast of Spain or Africa. It seemed less likely to be found in the Bahamas near the underwater ‘Bimini Road’.
The theory that the Mediterranean volcano Thera and what remained of it after a massive eruption (Santorini Island), and Minoan Crete 200 miles south of them, which suffered a large tsunami after the eruption, are the true location of Atlantis, never rang true to me. It supposes that Plato was befuddled and didn’t know the difference between 9,000 years before his time, and 900 years (the date at which the eruption and tsunami was known to have happened), even though Plato states the number 9,000 twice in two different places in the dialogues. Further, there is no evidence of remains of the famous city described in the most stunning detail by Plato, with its three concentric rings of land and three of water, on either Santorini Island or on Crete.
For a time, I considered the research of Charles Hapgood and Rose and Rand Flem-Ath, suggesting that the continent in its entirety lay beneath the Antarctic ice sheet. According to that theory, the continent migrated there from a more temperate place near the equator after a violent shift in the Earth’s lithosphere. Finally, in 2015, I became aware of the archaeological site Gunung Padang , and its enormous basalt pyramid over 22,000 years old, in the southern portion of the island of Java, just northwest of Australia.
It was at the precise moment in the twenty-plus year evolution of the writing of The Gods of Atlantos Saga when I had to decide once and for all where the Atlan continent was located. I admit to the influence of Graham Hancock, the author Arysio Santos and researcher Dhani Irwanto who brought Gunung Padang to the attention of myself and many other seekers. A continent south of what is now Southeast Asia worked perfectly for my story, and there it has stayed.
I discovered other thoroughly intriguing possibilities too late for my books, like what appears like the ruins of a circular city in the mudflats on the southern coast of Spain. The discovery of the the “Eye of the Sahara”, also known as the “Richat Structure” , is another fascinating prospect.
Of course I, like so many others, would love to know the true location of the lost continent, and I hope and expect that explorers will continue searching for it. But for me, now, in my fictional adaptation of Plato’s Atlantis, it will remain where today the Indonesian islands are all that are left of it.
- Atlantis Revealed: Plato's Cautionary Tale Was Based On A Real Setting
- Plato’s Prehistoric Athens Destroyed In A Neolithic Landslide
One proposed location for Plato’s Atlantis is in the Mediterranean. Satellite image of Santorini caldera Greece - EOS photo NASA The large island to the east is Thera. ( Public Domain )
The Date of the Deluge That Sank Atlantis
I admit my thinking on this issue is volubly influenced by the statements of Plato, via Solon and the Egyptian priests, where Plato wrote the date when Atlantis and Athens were lost:
“Let me begin by observing first of all, that nine thousand was the sum of years which had elapsed since the war which was said to have taken place between those who dwelt outside the Pillars of Heracles and all who dwelt within them... Of the combatants on the one side, the city of Athens was reported to have been the leader and to have fought out the war; the combatants on the other side were commanded by the kings of Atlantis…
– Plato, Critias, 4th Century BC
Calculating Solon’s age and the Nile Delta priests’ reporting of the calamitous event, gives us a precise date of 11,600 years in the past.
From my reading of Graham Hancock’s classics of pre-history – Fingerprints of the Gods , Magicians of the Gods and America Before , I learned that the Younger Dryas geological period was brought about by a massive comet striking the two-mile-thick North American ice sheet, at the end of a long Ice Age 12,800 years ago. Physical evidence of this catastrophe includes a carbon-rich black layer with extinct Pleistocene megafauna and Clovis tools below it, but not within or above it.
What is evident above the impact layer are magnetic grains with iridium, magnetic micro-spherules, charcoal, soot, carbon spherules, and glass-like carbon containing nano-diamonds - all of which suggests a huge, exceedingly hot extraterrestrial impact event. If the comet had landed on the 10,000-foot-thick ice sheet, it would have caused a deluge as the ice melted in huge quantities, drowning coastlines around the world. The impact would have set off a great inferno of the forests covering the northern hemisphere, and the fires would have brought on something akin to a nuclear winter, blanketing the world in thick ash. The effect would have been a cooling of the planet so substantial it pushed back the end of the Ice Age.
Then 1,200 years later, another apocalyptic event took place, one whose cause is still a mystery. “Meltwater Pulse B,” as it is called, warmed the planet so quickly and severely that it brought about the end of the Earth’s last Ice Age, and was the endpoint of the Younger Dryas period (approximately 9600 BC). There are two interesting theories on what this event may have been. Graham Hancock and his colleague Randall Carlson postulate that it was a second comet slamming into what was left of the ice shelf. However, Dr. Robert Schoch believes the trigger was a massive solar flare, a plasma burst from the Sun that melted most of the remaining ice sheets and glaciers all over the northern hemisphere. Whatever the case, what we do know for certain is that the catastrophic flooding drowned coastlines around the globe, including any maritime civilizations then in existence, under as much as 400 feet of water.
While one may doubt whether Atlantis was among them, what is certainly not in question is the date of Meltwater Pulse B. The geological records show it happened, astonishingly, 11,600 years in the past – the very century that Plato, Solon and the Egyptian priests insist that Atlantis was “lost beneath the waves in a single day and night.”
How and why would the Egyptian priests offer this particular date to Solon, then passed down to Plato, as the date of Atlantis’s submergence? The two dates being coincidental strains credulity to the breaking point. We have the written words of one of the great minds of western civilization, the geological data etched in stone, the shorelines of the world, and receding glacial ice sheets. Logically, the end of the Ice Age would have brought about the drowning of Atlantis, and other seismic events that could have swallowed a prehistoric Athens .
Five Sets of Twin Sons in Plato’s Atlantis
The third and final question surrounding Plato’s Atlantis is the mystery of the five sets of twins. Five sets of twin sons may not be technically impossible, but its statistical probability is close to zero, and there are no instances of such an occurrence in written records or scientific data. In fact, mathematician Madeleine Gagné, Operations Research PhD student at North Carolina State University, crunched the numbers and found that the probability of a single man and woman giving birth to five sets of twins in a lifetime ranges from 0.0000000000024% chance of happening at the likeliest, to 0.000000000000759375% chance of happening at the rarest. This means that this will happen to 2 people in a hundred trillion to 7 in a quintillion people born. To my mind, the only feasible solution to the phenomenon is genomic intervention.
Modern in-vitro procedures can produce multiple births, although this outcome is not usually desired by the parents. Doctors have no control over the number of eggs fertilized by the introduced sperm. We are still in the infancy of this science. How, then, could Poseidon’s seed and Cleito’s ovum produce five sets of twins – all of them male?
He also begat and brought up five pairs of twin male children... And he named them all; the eldest, who was the first king, he named Atlas...
– Plato’s Critias, 4th Century BC
What is the point of Plato even suggesting such an anomaly? Most who read the brief reference skip over it. It is either unimportant or it doesn’t register. With my scientific background, particularly in anatomy and human physiology, this statement hit me squarely in the face. What was such a modern, futuristic factoid doing in the middle of an otherwise historical account? What was the significance of a ‘God’ and a mortal mate having that many sets of twin sons? Other than naming the boys, and the report that the eldest, Atlas, later became one of the kings of Atlantis, there is never again a mention of the ten twin sons.
In trying to unravel this puzzle, I came to a conclusion that changed the entire course of my “origins story,” on the rise, fall and destruction of the lost continent. I decided that the only sensible conclusion, if in fact I believed Plato’s story at all, was that advanced technology had to have been at play. During the Neolithic era, there was no such technology on Earth. This left me with the inescapable fact that it had to have come from an off-planet source.
I therefore determined that Poseidon, rather than being one of the Greek Olympian gods, had instead been a human astronaut who’d traveled to Earth from another planet in our own solar system, an astronaut who possessed not only the technology needed for space travel, but one with advanced genomics technology. The five sets of twin sons had to have been an intentional act.
While the corollary conundrum about extraterrestrial visitation in the distant past is clearly not directly suggested by Plato, within the last several years the U.S. government and military have publicly admitted to the existence of UFOs (UAPs). Additionally, both congressional and NASA scientific investigations of the phenomenon , as well as disclosure of a 70-year cover-up, are underway. If there was visitation to our planet in 1947, why not 12,000 years ago… or earlier?
Five sets of twins is so unlikely that the father would need to be a god - or is there another explanation? ( zwiebackesser / Adobe Stock)
Without giving too much of the Gods of Atlantos storyline away, I can say that Poseidon was not alone when he took over the governance of Atlantis, “given it as his portion,” as Timaeus tells us. In fact, Poseidon came to the planet with an elite team of scientists, each with his or her discipline, but one of them clandestinely and maliciously ensured that only twins were born to Poseidon and Cleito… and they were all male children.
There are two social contracts involved in this theory, both of which led me to believe it was not the couple’s wish or in their best interest to have ten twin sons. In most ancient cultures, twins were almost universally feared or despised, bringing upon the parents, or even the tribe, bad luck or dire tidings. Secondly, in that tribal era, female offspring were more than desirable; they were necessary to carry on the species. For a tribal woman like Cleito, surely a devotee of the Great Mother Goddess and herself the progenitor of the future population of Atlantis, this absence of girls would have been a shocking and disastrous blow. When she and Poseidon learn the identity of the culprit, all manner of consequences, plot twists, and relationship arcs rachet into overdrive.
The geographical location of Plato’s Atlantis is an intriguing puzzle. The ability to tie the date of the lost continent’s watery demise to the end of the last Ice Age increases the possibility of Plato’s Atlantis story being truth rather than fiction. Poseidon and Cleito’s five sets of twin sons is the most consequential scientific puzzle the story that Plato posits. We will never know the truth, but in my opinion, these ten sons are the best evidence that Neolithic people may have had ‘first contact’ with humans from another, more advanced civilization, and brings science squarely to the forefront of this fictional tale.
Top image: Was Plato’s Atlantis historical fact? And if so, where are its ruins? Source: fergregory / Adobe Stock
By Robin Maxwell
Please visit the author at her website: www.RobinMaxwell-GodsOfAtlantos.com. Join the Mailing List for Regular Giveaways
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