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Where was Atlantis?

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Where was Atlantis?


Often in "paranormal" circles, Atlantis is mentioned as a mysterious, ancient continent that ruled the world many millennia ago. It has been spoken of as an ancient base for other worlds, a prehistory world power, or an undiscovered continent that will arise in the future. The purpose of this paper is to provide the reader with indisputable facts about Atlantis, to show that it did in fact exist, but how it existed.


The sources for this paper are mainly the sources of the story (the ONLY real source of the story): the works of the Greek Plato. It is found in two of Plato's dialogues, the Timaeus and the Critias. Originally these were planned as a trilogy, immediately following his work called The Republic. These are the first two; the second one barely incomplete, the third never written. Since the sole sources of the history are from these articles, all knowledge and explanation MUST be drawn from these alone.


The story of Atlantis was brought to Greece by Solon, a Greek traveler and historian, from Egypt. (Note: many references will be made to the works of Plato. Due to lack of space and the interest of the reader, these works will not included, but the reader is welcome to find a copy of them anyway and compare to this paper.) In the Timaeus, it is said that Solon stayed and communicated with Egyptian priests. He took the story home, and gave his notes and recordings to his son, who in turn gave them to Critias. These were related to Plato from the original notes of Solon. The writings by Plato are not fiction, but historical fact. Yes, it is true that he himself believed the figures were impossible, but the impossible figures will be discussed later.


I. Basic Ideas

Now some basic, realistic conclusions can be drawn from the works. In the first place, the destruction of Atlantis took place when it was contemplating a war of aggression with Athens and Egypt simultaneously, and also an aggressive Athenian army was destroyed by natural calamity during the operations. Therefore Atlantis must have been an organized military state, capable of mounting large scale seaborne operations contemporary with an Athens and an Egypt which were equally organized.


They were agricultural nation, and capable of drawing medicinal liquids and gums from plants. They created many canals to irrigate their plains. It had a monarchial and class system, and specialized status for women. They knew hydraulic engineering and bridge building. Many reservoirs and buildings were built, but most of all, it was a very easy and leisured society.


They were a literate and intelligent society. They had written works and laws, and often covered their materials with copper, bronze or gold, but not iron. Finally, they had grand architecture. The metropolis was surrounded by 50 stadia in radius, or about 10,000 yards. The stone quarried was black, red and white. This formation sound like ancient Stonehenge-like formations.


From all of this, we can establish that Atlantis sounds like a Bronze-Age civilization (2000- 1000 BC). (The anomaly that makes Atlantis odd is that it is dated as 9000 years before Plato, which is 9600 BC.) From this we have already dispelled theories of great interplanetary nations or extremely technological and enlightened people.


II. Geography of Atlantis

The major anomalies in Plato's writings were the extreme size of Atlantis, and whether it were many islands or just one. There are three references to communities. Plato says that Atlantis was divided among 10 priest-kings, who were in turn ruled by one high priest-king, who ruled from the Royal City. There is also mentioned, usually associated with the Royal City, the Ancient Metropolis. We will look at both cities separately, first the metropolis.


It is said in the Critias:

"Bordering on the sea and extending through the center of the whole island was a plain, which is said to have been the fairest of all plains and highly fertile; and moreover, near the plain, over against its center, at a distance of about 50 stades [i.e. 10,000 yards] there stood a mountain that was low on all sides... and to {make the hill,} broke it off all round about; and he made circular belts of sea and land enclosing one another alternately, some greater, some smaller, two being of land and three being of sea, which he carved as if it were out of the midst of the island; and the belts were at even distances at all sides so as to be impassable by man."


The rest of the story describes the canals that surrounded the temple to Poseidon in the center. There was a canal " large enough to allow the largest ships of the time" to come in one way. The city is described as being completely surrounded by water (it was an island) and had a radius of about six miles.


The next passage (which is too long to be put here) describes THE REST OF THE COUNTRY, indicating that the Ancient Metropolis and the rest of the country were two separate islands. Although it is not crystal clear, an Plato himself is not quite satisfied with it (he says "it seems incredible that it should be so large at [Solon's] account states"). Nevertheless, some points are clear. The plain surrounding the Royal City is approx. rectangular with a trench dug around enclosing the plain, being 10,000 stades (1,136 miles) in length, and the greater side of the plain 3,000 stades (340 miles) long. Therefore the 2,000 stades mentioned by Plato refer to the distance from the center of the plain to the sea, as some writers maintain.


Next, the plain surrounding the city does not appear to be the same one close to the Ancient Metropolis since this lay in the center of the island 50 stade (six miles) from the sea. Whereas the plain surrounding the Royal City was 3,000 stades (340) long and 2,000 stades (227 miles) wide. Finally the plain surrounding the City was enclosed by mountains whose slopes reached the sea. These mountains were famous, large, and many rich villages among them, and in consequence, the dimensions given by Plato refer only to the plain surrounding the City, and not the whole island.


The next passage in the Critias describes the manpower and division of the land. There were nine other towns on the main island, each being responsible for 10x10 stades (20,000 sq. yds.), and each a manpower allotment of 60,000 soldiers. The Royal City, as described by Plato in the above passages, was the capital of an area of 3000x2000 stades (340x227 miles). If the other nine cities were about the same size, the whole of Atlantis would be about 30,000x20,000 stades (3,400x2,300 miles). This is bigger than the Mediterranean Basin!


The last major anomaly in location is... where? Critias' accounts noted the Egyptian priests as saying Atlantis was beyond the Pillars of Hercules (which are presently identified as the Strait of Gibraltar, where the Med. meets the Atlantic). Because of the sheer size of the island, it could only be in the unknown ocean to the west. That meant to Plato that the Pillars were at the Straits, and the ocean was of ATLANTIC origin. That is why we call it the Atlantic.


Now the timing. Atlantis was said to have been destroyed 9,000 years before Solon, who lived in 600 BC (that means Atlantis would have been in 9600 BC). Later, the priests are quoted as saying, "But at a later time there occurred portentous earthquakes and floods, and one grievous day and night befell them, and the whole body of your warriors (Athenians) were swallowed up by the earth and the island of Atlantis was in like manner swallowed up by the sea and vanished; wherefore now the ocean at that spot became impassable and unsearchable, being blocked up by the shoal mud which the island created as it settled down.


Summary: Atlantis consisted of TWO islands and possible more, and that one of these was quite small and circular, and the other rectangular and extremely large; Atlantis ended in 9600 BC; it sank into the sea in a day and night.


III. The Date (9600 BC)

So far, the above has argued that Atlantis was a Bronze Age nation, slightly more advanced and cultured than other Bronze age nations, and that it was at war with Egypt and Athens simultaneously.


The Bronze age started roughly in 2000 BC, 7600 years after Atlantis. Also, Athens and Egypt were not simultaneously "Bronzed" until the middle of the 2nd millennium BC. In 9600 BC, there were no nations to fight, unless Atlantis was not as ancient or advanced as supposed. Occasionally a second ancient nation, MU, is mentioned, but there is no historical, geological, natural or physical evidence to back it up. So, the only conclusion that can be drawn is that Atlantis did not exist at that time, and must have existed between 2000 and 1000 BC, in order to war with Athens and Egypt. The reason for this mistake in chronology will be discussed later.


IV. Possible Locations

In this section we will look at geophysical possibilities and theories involving Atlantis.



Some contend that Atlantis did not just control an island, but all of the ancient world, including the Americas. They base this theory on the similarities in speech, architecture, mythology and beliefs of people on both sides of the Ocean. This is easily defunct. #1, all speech and thought originated on one side of the Atlantic, and when Man first migrated east and crossed to America, he carried his brains with him. #2, beliefs, such as great floods and powerful gods, can be explained as... all Man (because they are all equal) think close to the same way. I.G., how do you explain a disease? Angry god has come to punish us. #3, Architecture, such as the pyramids of Egypt and Mexico are oddly similar in design and latitude on Earth. No, they aren't machines or bases. They are possibly calendaric temples, placed to be aligned with the stars (yes, even ancient people looked up and saw stars). Again man thinks alike. Also, the Indians of America are distinctly Mongolian descendents. They are not of lost or misplaced origin. And the pyramids are two designs thought up in two places... Its happened before.



The Caribbean is a set of islands of different shape and could possibly be Atlantis. Some evidence has been shown, such as the underwater walls and roads. Note these primitive "roads" are 10,000 miles away from Egypt, and had no connection whatsoever. How and why would a Bronze civilization travel that far? Besides these "roads", there is no evidence toward an ancient nation. A possible explanation is these rocks are a layer of strata (rock) that was originally volcanic, but has eroded away. Nevertheless, whether explained or unexplained, these road aren't Atlantis.



This is a Johnny West cartoon theory. Remember and keep in mind, the known source is through Plato, and there was nothing ever said about underwater bases or cities.



Many believe that Atlantis occupied the Atlantic, obviously drawing this conclusion from the name. Atlantis was possibly on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, an underground mountain range. But this is impossible, because this ridge is spreading apart, and would have created a volcanic island, especially not near the size of Atlantis.


It is also proposed that Atlantis in the east Atlantic, and the Azores and Canary islands are the peaks of the mountains, the only remains. Further evidence submitted says that the Basques, the original inhabitants of Spain and France, are the only survivors to escape Atlantis, and that is why they have such a distinct tongue. This also is impossible, because according to the geological evidence of Atlantic strata, the ocean bottom has remained pretty close to the same for at least a million years. No new mass has appeared or changed in millions of years, save the isle of Surtsey, created off the coast of Iceland. But these lands could be it either, because they lack the great plains spoken of by Plato.



It has been proposed that England could possibly be one of the Atlantic islands. No, because England is not volcanic, and civilization could not have [been] removed by earthquakes there (For the extremists, no, there was no ancient atomic war, because there would be geophysical evidence, or natural growth evidence.)



India could not be Atlantis, because it again has been close to the same geologically for a very long time. Also, no planetoids could have removed Atlantis because it would have done the same to us as it did to the dinosaurs.


Summary - So far all arguments for a lost continent of Atlantis have failed the test. There are no realistic locations for an island of Atlantis' caliber. This must mean there was a flaw in the size consideration. But we'll get to that later. For right now:


There Was no Atlantic continent; the Atlantic Ocean has been in its present form for over a million years; it is geophysically impossible for this island to have existed in the Atlantic; Mankind in all locations are not related to ancient Atlanteans. Keep in mind the disappearance of Atlantis was a geologic one, not unnatural or irregular.



The next anomaly to be discussed in Plato's writings is the speed of the Atlantean destruction. It was written that Atlantis was sucked into the sea and destroyed in a day and night. It is also said that the Athenian army on Atlantis was sucked into the earth. All of this was done by a horrible geologic event. Now think to yourself of geological disaster. What destroys? Well, it was said there were great earthquakes, and the island collapsed into the sea. How does land fall into the sea? Land can erode or collapse by force of water, but that is slow and could not have taken out an island in a day. The only possibility is a volcano. Volcanoes create earthquakes, floods, unusual weather, and intense destruction. And they also collapse. This would explain how at least one island of Atlantis was destroyed: that it was on top of a volcano that collapsed. Now in order for a volcano to cause great earthquakes on a separate island that must be quite close (try 400 miles as a round number), but it must be a powerful volcano. This has been demonstrated in the past by volcanoes such as Krakatoa an in Alaska. Also, this volcano's explosion would have to effect Athens' water supply and create tsunamis (these were mentioned in Timaeus).



There is one theory yet unmentioned. In the Mediterranean Sea, there is a small collection of islands called Santorin: Thera, Therasia, and Nea Kameni. These Greek islands are just a couple hundred miles north of Crete and a little more from the Greek mainland. Santorin is the remanance of a volcanic island like Hawaii. This ancient island known as Stronghyle, was an active volcano for thousands of years, until it stopped in about 2500 BC. It then erupted again between 1500 and 1100 BC, becoming one of the most notable and destructive volcanic earthquakes in history. The eruption, being three times the size of Krakatoa, shook the whole Mediterranean, affect weather patterns for years, sent tsunamis to destroy all coastal towns, and caused red, white and black pumice to fall everywhere, especially around the cone, causing the sea to become impassable.


The relevance? On what is left of the island, archaeologists have found the remains of a Bronze Age civilization, actually showing traits such as boring and other things that were slightly ahead of its time. This civilization had a city on the island, and had colonized Crete. The people on Stronghyle were killed immediately when the volcano erupted and collapsed in from the lack of underground support. The rest of their civilization was devastated by this loss, PLUS the loss of all of their coastal towns. All of their towns (numbering 10) on Crete were destroyed by earthquake. Being surrounded by enemies on all sides, they left their island and tried to invade Egypt, but were defeated at sea by Pharaoh Ramses III. They became known as the Sea Peoples, but today we know them as the Minoans.


Now look at the Minoan position carefully. They were a Bronze Age race, with a rich and laid back culture. They were at the height of their power between 1500 and 1200 BC, but were suddenly and immediate stopped dead, when one of their islands blew up, becoming the strongest earthquake in human history. One island, Crete, was rectangular. On Crete their "Royal City" was at the marveled Knossos, where they built great palaces. This city was surrounded by a great, fertile plain (volcanic soil is the most fertile), and that surround by mountains. They had nine other towns on the island, that were also rich trading ports. Their main island, being twelve miles in diameter, had a system of canals and harbors in the interior, with a appears to have been a hollowed place in the center. They were originally a peaceful nation, but then took up aggression against the Mycean Greeks in Attica (Athens) and their old trading partners, the Egyptians. Right before the eruption, a Mycean army had landed on Crete, but they died by the earthquake destructive power.



We have come to the point where we can reasonable assume all but one of the theories are false and untrue. We have enough facts and will present more facts to support the remaining theory. Our case will follow:


We accept that Plato's story was fact, rather than fiction or parable. We show on internal evidence that the events of this story MUST have taken place in the Bronze Age (2100- 1200 BC). We have established that the ancient metropolis and the Royal City are two distinct places, the former being a small, round island about 5.75 miles in radius, the latter an oblong area, much larger, and possibly extremely large. We have shown that it is geophysically impossible for Atlantis to have been in the Atlantic Ocean; and proved that so far none of the theories so far advanced to account for the sudden submersion are tenable. Because in the writings Athenian water supply had been affected, and the range for an earthquake to affect the water table is 675 miles, we assume that Atlantis MUST be in the Eastern Mediterranean, and the identification with the Pillars of Hercules and Gibraltar are false (mind you that all of Hercules' quest took place in the Greek islands, and never was he said to have gone to Gibraltar). Finally, we have shown that volcanic activity on a really stupendous scale did take place in the Eastern Mediterranean in the middle of the Bronze Age, that this activity was centered on the island of Stronghyle/Santorin, and that it resulted in, among other things, the sudden disappearance of the whole center an inhabited, small, round island.


The case, therefore, for the identification of Santorin with the Ancient Metropolis of Atlantis is extremely strong, being of the exact or near exact dimensions, showing advanced bronze inhabitation, and having have been sucked into the sea. Also, note it was previously stated that Atlantean buildings were of black, red and white stone, and on Santorin, volcanic rock is in that same color combination.


So, we have found one outpost of Atlantis. But what of the continent, the great plains, and the Royal City? It has become obvious through the readings that the Royal City and the Ancient Metropolis are two different places.


Is there any area reasonably near Santorin which likewise suffered a disastrous cataclysm at the same time in history? Disregarding the enormous size of Plato's Atlantis, there is one answer: Crete. From the description of the features and the shape of the plane around the Royal City, it is evident that it possessed the geologic conditions that are of Central Crete. The mountains that surround this area match the description exactly of Plato's Atlantis, save the size. This problem is the main source of all other mysteries in Atlantean history.


The dimensions of the central basin of Crete don't tally with those of Plato's plain for the Royal City. The greatest length of the basin is 34 miles and breadth of 23 miles - in other words, almost exactly 300x200 stades. Plato's plain, however, was exactly 3,000x2,000 stades, adding that it was surrounded by a trench 10,000 stades in length. Plato went on to say that even he doubted these numbers, but would record them anyway, because the reliability of the source (Solon and Egyptian priests). When we compare the dimensions of the Royal City's plain and the central basin of Crete, we are immediately aware that the Atlantean dimensions are exactly 10 times too large. The same mistake happens in many extreme numbers, such as the length of the trench, the number of men and chariots given to each king, and the date.


Now understand that when Solon was traveling in Egypt, it was about 600 BC. The priests maintained that Atlantis sunk 9600 years before, or 9600 BC. But if you said it sunk 900 years instead, the date is now 1500 BC, smack dab in the middle of the Bronze Age, when Santorin blew its top. This leads us to the conclusion that all of these mistakes are systematic and not accidental.


The dimensions Plato gives for the Ancient Metropolis are, however, in agreement with the dimensions of Stronghyle- Santorin; but this shows that when dimensions are given in tens, they are quite correct. But when numbers are given in thousands, they are ten times too great. This seems to indicate that when Solon was transcribing the Egyptian writings the word or symbol representing 100 was mistaken for that of 1,000. This happens even today in English, where in America billion means a thousand millions but a million millions in Britain.


Even the cultures are similar. They both had the same pottery stiles, the same enemies, the same interests (bull riding), the same gods and statues ("the bull was held high among them") (Posiedon was the main god of the sea-going Minoans), and they both gave a great deal of power to women.


Thus we have concluded that Atlantis was not some supernatural nation, but is just the mistaken identity of the Minoan Empire of Crete. There aren't any aliens, ancient races, or underground beings. Just simple history.


The End


- Author unknown



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