Atlantis is one of the most fascinating and mysterious topics in human history. It is a legendary island that was said to be the home of an advanced civilization that vanished after a cataclysmic event. But did Atlantis really exist? And if so, where was it located and what happened to it?
In this blog post, we will explore the myths, legends, and scientific research surrounding Atlantis and try to answer some of these questions.
The first mention of Atlantis comes from the ancient Greek philosopher Plato, who wrote about it in his dialogues Timaeus and Critias.
According to Plato, Atlantis was a powerful and prosperous island that ruled over many other lands. It had a splendid culture, a rich natural environment, and remarkable architecture.
Plato described Atlantis as being larger than Libya and Asia combined and situated beyond the Pillars of Hercules (the Strait of Gibraltar).
Plato also claimed that Atlantis was destroyed by a series of earthquakes and floods around 9,600 BC as a punishment from the gods for its arrogance and corruption.
He said that Atlantis sank into the ocean and became an impassable barrier of mud. Plato presented his story of Atlantis as a true historical account based on the oral tradition of his ancestor Solon, who learned about it from an Egyptian priest.
Debates Around Atlantis
Many scholars have doubted the veracity of Plato’s story and have considered it a fictional allegory or a political satire.
Some have argued that Plato invented Atlantis to criticise the Athenian democracy or the Persian empire. Others have suggested that Plato borrowed elements from other cultures and myths, such as Crete’s Minoan civilisation, Thera’s volcanic eruption, or the biblical flood.
Despite these doubts, many people have been fascinated by the idea of Atlantis and have tried to find its location and evidence of its existence.
Over the centuries, hundreds of theories have been proposed, placing Atlantis in various regions of the world, such as the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, the Caribbean Sea, Antarctica, or even outer space.
Some of these theories are based on ancient texts, legends, or folklore, while others are based on geological, archaeological, or historical data.
One of the most popular theories is that Atlantis was located in the Atlantic Ocean, near the Azores islands.
This theory was proposed by Ignatius Donnelly in his 1882 book Atlantis: The Antediluvian World. Donnelly argued that Atlantis was the original homeland of all ancient civilizations and that its destruction caused a global flood and a cultural decline.
He also claimed that there were traces of Atlantis in various places around the world, such as the pyramids of Egypt, the megaliths of Stonehenge, and the statues of Easter Island.
Another popular theory is that Atlantis was located in the Mediterranean Sea, near Santorini (also known as Thera).
This theory was proposed by Spyridon Marinatos in his 1939 article The Volcanic Destruction of Minoan Crete. Marinatos suggested that Atlantis was identical to the Minoan civilization of Crete, which was one of the most advanced cultures in ancient times.
He also suggested that the volcanic eruption of Santorini around 1600 BC caused a massive tsunami that destroyed Crete and other nearby islands.
A more recent theory is that Atlantis was located in Indonesia, near Java. This theory was proposed by Arysio Santos in his 2005 book Atlantis: The Lost Continent Finally Found. Santos argued that Atlantis was part of a large island called Sundaland, which was submerged by rising sea levels at the end of the last ice age.
He also argued that Atlantis was the source of many Eastern and Western myths and religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam.
Another theory is that Atlantis was part of a larger landmass that broke apart millions of years ago and formed different continents and islands around the world.
This theory is based on the concept of continental drift, which explains how Earth’s crust moves over time due to tectonic forces. Some researchers have proposed that Atlantis was part of a lost continent called Greater Adria, which collided with Europe about 140 million years ago and mostly sank beneath it.
Some remnants of Greater Adria can still be seen in the Alps, where its rocks were scraped off and incorporated into the mountains, or in southern Italy and Croatia, where its chunks got embedded. Some of its limestone rocks also turned into marble under high pressure and temperature and were later mined by ancient civilizations like the Romans and Greeks.
Another lost continent that has been linked to Atlantis is Zealandia, which lies mostly submerged in the Pacific Ocean. Zealandia broke away from Australia and Antarctica about 85 million years ago and gradually sank due to changes in sea level and crustal thinning. Only a few islands, such as New Zealand and New Caledonia, remain above water today. Some researchers have speculated that Zealandia could have been inhabited by humans or other animals before it sank, and that its legends could have reached other cultures through migration or trade.
However, these theories also face many problems, such as the huge time gap between the formation and sinking of these continents and Plato’s account of Atlantis, which he dated to around 9600 BCE. Moreover, there is no archaeological or genetic evidence of any human presence or activity on these continents before they were submerged, and no clear connection between their cultures and those of Plato’s Atlantis.
These are just some examples of the many theories that have been proposed about Atlantis. However, none of them has been conclusively proven or widely accepted by mainstream scholars.
Atlantis remains a fascinating but elusive topic for scientific research. Despite many attempts to locate or explain it, no conclusive proof has been found.
Perhaps Atlantis will always be more of a myth than a reality, but that does not mean we should stop exploring its possibilities and implications for our understanding of ourselves and our world.
Atlantis is more than just a legend or a myth. It is a symbol of human curiosity and imagination. It is a challenge for our scientific and historical knowledge.
It is a reflection of our hopes and fears. Whether it existed or not, Atlantis will continue to inspire us for generations to come.