According to Solon, when he was in Egypt, he met priests who said the Egyptians had records showing that 9,000 years earlier, Athens, the strongest nation on Earth was near an island called Atlantis. Atlantis was located outside the Pillars of Hercules (the Straits of Gibraltar). This was a large island, bigger than North Africa and western Asia combined. Solon said that the king of Atlantis attacked and tried to enslave all of Greece and Egypt. But Athens continued to fight against the king of Atlantis. Before the battle was over, earthquakes and floods swallowed Atlantis along with the Athenian army that was fighting on Atlantis.
Plato’s Description of Atlantis:
According to Plato, the island was circular, divided into concentric circles of land and water. It was a fertile and self-sufficient land. The first king was named Atlas. He named the land Atlantis and the ocean Atlantic. Rulers were honorable and government was fair.
There were bridges linking the land circles together, and a straight road to the royal palace. The cities were laid out in an organized way. There were ports and harbors. And every entrance from the sea had gates and pillars.
The outermost zone was surrounded with a wall covered with brass. The next wall in, toward the center was covered with tin, the third (containing the citadel), was covered with orichalcum—although no one knows, some people believe it refers to a form of copper.
The palaces and the temples at the center of the island were surrounded by a gold enclosure. Poseidon’s temple was covered with silver and orichalcum. The pinnacles were covered in gold, and the ceiling was ivory.
The Temple of Poseidon contained a golden statue of him standing in a chariot pulled by six, winged horses. This statue was so large, it touched the ceiling. There were a hundred Nereids riding on dolphins and statues of the ten original kings and their wives.
Atlantis was full of fountains, running both hot and cold water. There were cisterns and baths for royalty and baths for private citizens. Men's and women’s baths were separate. There were also bathing houses for horses and cattle.
Along the bridges to the outer circles, were aqueducts. The island was beautiful with rivers, lakes, gardens, temples, bridges, farms, and animals. There was even a racecourse for horse races. The cities were well-populated and noisy from merchants, and daily life.
Atlantis had high hills covered with soil and thick woods. The plains were full of rich soil. There were tall, cultivated trees that produced an abundance of food for cattle. The annual rainfall kept the land fertile and full of fountains and rivers.
Expert farmers worked the land and loved their work. The Acropolis, or citadel, was surrounded by the homes of artisans and farmers. The warrior class lived around the temples of Athena and Hephaestus.
They had all the buildings they needed for a rich, full, everyday life, including dining halls for winter. In Summer they left their personal gardens and dining halls, and gymnasia and moved to live on the southern side of the hill.
Only the temples were adorned with gold and silver. Personal homes were plain.
There were artisans, farmers, warriors, spiritual teachers and priests (divine men). All property was held in common and shared freely.
The island had a a large population of elephants along with a variety of other animals. The people ate legumes, fruits (dried, fresh, and juiced), meats, chestnuts, seafood, fish.
The people quarried white, black, and red stones for building and roofs. They decorated with colors.
Every 5th and 6th year, alternately, the rulers gathered at the temple, bringing produce and discussing laws and government. A town or city leader was required to supply the military with war chariots, horses and riders, chariot-horseman who could fight from horseback and on foot carrying a small shield, a charioteer who stood behind the man at arms to guide the horses, heavy armed soldiers, slingers, stone-shooters, sailors, and javelin men.
The rulers had absolute control of the citizens and could punish or kill whoever they wished. The laws were inscribed on a pillar of orichalcum at the temple of Poseidon.
There were bulls who roamed freely at these meetings of rulers. One of the kings had the job of capturing a bull without weapons, only a pole and noose. The captured bull was led up to the pillar and its throat was cut so the blood fell upon the sacred inscription.
On the pillar, besides the laws, there was inscribed an oath invoking “mighty curses” on the disobedient. After slaying the bull, they burnt its limbs, then filled a bowl of wine and cast a clot of blood for each of them. The rest of the bull they put in the fire, after having purified the column. They then drew from the bowl of wine and blood and poured a little on the fire. They swore to judge according to the laws on the pillar and to punish any transgressor. Then, each drank from the cup.
At dark, they changed their clothes and wore azure robes to receive and hold court where they pronounced judgement on those who broke the law. At dawn they recorded their judgements on a golden tablet.
A Summary of Plato’s Story:
Poseidon (Neptune to the Romans) owned the land and divided it into ten sections, each ruled by one of his sons.
For hundreds of years, the Atlanteans lived simple, prosperous lives. Then, things began to crumble. Greed and power corrupted them. There were wars and crime.
When Zeus looked out and saw the Atlanteans, he called a meeting of the other gods to determine a suitable punishment.
Destruction was decided and in a violent surge of earthquakes and fire, the island and its people were swallowed by the sea.
* * *
Not much was thought about Atlantis until around 2,000 years later when people started looking for it. So many people claim to have found Atlantis or have a connection with it that whole libraries could be filled with nothing but books about the place.
There have been Atlantis seekers saying they found it around the Bimini Islands (between Florida and Cuba), in Switzerland, New Zealand, Crete, Santorini, and even the Eastern Coast of the United States.
One man, K.T. Frost, a professor of history at Queen’s University in Belfast believes that because of a translation error, Atlantis was destroyed not 9000 years before Plato, but 900 years. This, he says puts Atlantis as the Island of Crete.
He and many others believe that the Atlantis story was taken from the destruction of the Minoan Empire who dominated the eastern Mediterranean for centuries. Much of the Minoan culture fits Plato’s explanation of Atlantis. It was technologically advanced for its time and enjoyed a prosperous peace when the rest of the world was at war. Women had legal rights equal to men, agriculture was highly developed through their invention of extensive irrigation systems. And, they enjoyed a ritualistic bull-jumping sport.
The Minoan Empire was destroyed almost over night when, around 1500BC, the island of Santorini (Thera), 10 miles north of Crete nearly disappeared in a violent volcanic eruption. The tidal wave inundated Crete and destroyed the palace, sank all their ships, and created an era of economic depression and exodus.
Today, Santorini is a beautiful Mediterranean island complex consisting of several islands in a ring/crescent shape. The eruption was so violent that it is estimated at 4 times stronger than the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883. There, a giant tsunami, 120 feet high killed 36,000 people on neighboring islands. The sound was heard 3,000 miles away and the sky was black for 3 days.
Santorini itself, is believed by many to be Atlantis. It is an elongated group of islands that, before the eruption in 1650 BCE, was a nearly round island. Now it is crescent-shaped. It was a major Minoan outpost. The explosion from the eruption swept away the Minoan Palace of Knossos.
Other theories have Atlantis in the Eastern Indies, and the Azores. These theories point to synchronistic events that ended the Pleistocene age about 11,600 BCE.
Strabo tells of the Tartessians (believed to be Atlanteans) who navigated across the Pillars of Hercules.
The Curious 11,600 BC
Plato said that the destruction of Atlantis was "9,000 years before the times of Solon." Solon was in Egypt around 600 BC, which means that Atlantis sank 11,600 BCE. This is approximate the date of the end of the last Pleistocene Ice Age.
A Christian Bishop of the 4th Century AD preached about a catastrophe that destroyed a civilization around 11,600 BC
Manetho, an Egyptian historian places a dynasty called “Spirits of the Dead” at about 11,600 BC
The Mayans speak of a civilization called Aztlan that suddenly ended by sinking into the sea around 11,600 BC.
Arthur Posnansky, archeologist, claims that Tiahuanaco, the original site of the Incans of Peru and Bolivia, was a former seaport and experienced a cataclysmic event that happened around 11,600 BC.
Around 11,60BC, according to the Lamont Geological Observatory, the sea-level rose about 100-150 meters worldwide. This was the result of melt waters of the Ice Age glaciers. Plato said that Atlantis was inundated after an earthquake. He did not mention a volcanic eruption.
In Egypt, the famous zodiac of Dendera, which is believed to have been copied from a much older version shows that Leo is at the vernal point of a new epoch. This happened around 11,720 BC.
An ancient Coptic papyrus talks of a flood that takes place when the heart of the Lion (the star Aldeberan) enters the start of the head of Cancer.” This happened around 11,600 BC
Even More Theories
In the Oera Linda Book, a Frisian collection of writings, there was a place called Atland that sank after “the mountains opened up to vomit forth fire and flames.” It was inundated and sank into the sea.
The Mayans tell myths of a mysterious island called Aztlan that was destroyed in the same way Plato describes for Atlantis.
The Phoenicians claimed to have come from an “island of fire” located beyond the Indian Ocean.
Many people believe that Atlantis was the mythical Avalon of the pre-Christian British pagans and was never really a physical location at all.
The Etruscans, predecessors of the Romans, and the Greeks, the Indians of the Brazilian Amazon jungle, the Indians of Venezuela, and the predecessors of the Hindus, all have origin myths that talk of coming from a land submerged under the seas in a cataclysm.
The Venezuelan Indians of the Paria Peninsula, lived in a region called Atlan. They were white-skinned and had an origin myth of their homeland as a huge island beyond the ocean. It was populated by an advanced, peaceful race.
The Mayans and Aztecs spoke of White Heroes who came from this sunken region. They named them Quetzalcoatl, Kukulkan, Gucumatz, and Bohica.
Dr. David Zink, in Stones of Atlantis, March, 1978 writes of his theory that the vast stone formations in the water of the Bimini are the remains of Atlantis. The now famous “Bimini Road” seems to show jointed, rectangular blocks that joint in contradiction to natural stress lines. After research and study, Zink is convinced that this is a remnant of Atlantis. Oddly enough, he made his discovery in 1968.
Scientific research on the Bimini Road, including an extensive study sponsored by National Geographic has concluded that the road is natural beach rock. Not a man made structure, but the faithful are undaunted.
The Paranormal Source
There is no lack of mediums, psychics, and trance channels who have fueled interest in Atlantis. Perhaps the most famous one, Edgar Cayce, a 20th century prophet, would go into a trance state and dictate information about people, their past lives, health, and future. There are massive amounts of readings from him relating to Atlantis.
Cayce described Atlantis as a civilization based on virtue and spiritual values that declined into a society of strife, greed, and chaos, then was destroyed by natural cataclysm. He predicted that in 1968-9, a remnant of an Atlantian temple would be discovered under the sea near Bimini island.
There are stories about Atlantis that have the populace using airplanes, electronic technology, and crystal power. These stories are as varied as their sources. There is no mention of any of this in Plato’s original story. However, he does mention a lighted column that was used for energy.
The Minoan Theory
James Mavor, who wrote Voyage to Atlantis, 1973 and others claim the Aegean island of Santorini is Atlantis. Mavor, an oceanographic engineer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, said the Plato was really describing the fall of the Minoan culture and its degeneration into the Mycenean.
John Learn's 1966 Saturday Review article The Volcano that Shaped the Western World, talked about the destruction of the Minoan culture through the volcanic explosion on Santorini. He and James Mavor claimed this allowed the more warlike civilization of the Mycenaeans to rise in its place.
The Minoans spread art and the alphabet to Greece and started the “Golden Age” spoken of by Plato in his Atlantis story. This is also the theory of J. V. Luce’s The End of Atlantis: New Light on an Old Legend, 1978.
About 75 kilometers north of Crete, the island of Santorini erupted and most of it sank into the sea somewhere around 1450 BC. Palaces and towns all over the island were destroyed or abandoned. Then, in 1400 BC, the island was struck again. There is now a blanket of ash almost 100 feet thick covering what is left of Santorini. Most of the people must have had fair warning about the eruption, for archaeological digs have found little in the way of personal effects, and no bodies in the ruins of the pre-eruption towns.
What of the people of Santorini? Are they descendants of the Minoan Atlantians? These were intelligent, prosperous people. They lived in relative peace, even in an age of violent warfare throughout the rest of the world. Even though they were a wealthy civilization, no one tried to attack them until the Mycenaeans. Their written language does not seem to be related to an Indo-European language and has not been deciphered, so we know only a little about them. Their lifestyle and hobbies, though are depicted in beautiful frescos that include bull jumping, boxing, and racing.
Professor Angelos Galanopoulos, director of the Seismic laboratory, at the University of Athens also believes that Santorini is Atlantis. He says that Plato used a popular literary license and exaggerated the explosion date by a factor of ten. This puts it at 1490 BC, the same as the explosion date on Santorini. He also claims that Plato exaggerated the size of the island. Galanopoulos kept the metropolis the same size and superimposed a drawing from Plato’s description of a map of Santorini. It fit. Even though now underwater, the concentric circles described by Plato can still be seen.
Many archaeological findings about Santorini match what Edgar Cayce said about Atlantis. In 1967, Mavor’s expedition to Santorini led to an article in the New York Times Minoan City Found After 3,400 Years, is Linked to Atlantis. Edgar Cayce also predicted that in the 1960’s an attempt would be made to find Atlantis by changing its location and date.
Atlantis was supposed to be ruled by ten priest-kings. This matches the history of the civilizations on Santorini. Atlantis, like the Minoan civilization, was said to be a golden society, without war, poverty, crime, or hunger. Until, that is, visitors form outside came and corrupted society. Then the Atlantians set out to conquer the greatest military nation on earth. This was probably Greece. Unfortunately for them, they failed. But before they had given up the fight entirely, the island was destroyed by a volcanic eruption. Then, another came and sank it almost entirely, except for a crescent shaped fragment. What is now left of Santorini is a crescent shaped fragment.
Before the disaster came, all those who were forewarned, fled to other parts of the world to teach their mysteries and technology. Some believe Atlantian rites were the forerunners of the Dionysian mysteries. The remains of this mystery school can be seen in the secret caves of Malta, used for underground initiations.
There is no geological evidence of a large sunken continent or island off the coast of California, or in the northern Atlantic. If there were, however, plate tectonics might have recycled much of it by now. However, an island blown up by a volcano around the end of the last ice age would still show. Reputations grow, and it is perhaps safe to say that what is said, channeled, and written about Atlantis today far exceeds what was really there.
However, much is still to be discovered about the mysterious island of Atlantis, and new books are being written everyday. For example, in his book Phoenix Solution, 1996, Alan Alford makes his case for Atlantis being another planet referred to in the Egyptian Pyramid Texts. In an interesting web site, www.atlan.org, Arysio Nunes dos Santos is sure that Atlantis is under the China Sea. Whatever you’re leanings on Atlantis might be, it makes for fascinating reading to learn of the vast variety of theories that are attached to this elusive land.