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A problem with the Atlantis myth

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posted on Oct, 22 2005 @ 08:55 AM
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Something has always bothered me about the legend of Atlantis, specifically in regards to timeframe as laid out in Critias...

There is not one great civilization mentioned in Timaeus and described in Critias, there are in fact two: the Atlantians and the Athenians. The Timaeus states in fact the it was the Athenians who shone forth in repelling the attempted invasion of the Atlantians, and further more "preserved from slavery those who were not yet subjugated, and generously liberated all the rest of us who dwell within the pillars."

Why is all the attention focused solely on Atlantis? If there is any truth to the story as presented by Plato there must ALSO have been a comperable civilization existing in that same period in Greece. Greece, a land that is still above water... in fact we know EXACTLY where it is, I can look at a map and point it out without having to rely on a couple lines of vauge descriptions refering to 10000+ year old landmarks. Where are the ruins of this civilization in Greece? Further, one would think this to be a pretty significant event to the Greeks.. yet there is no mention or record of it in any Greek records or histories? True, histories are sometimes lost, costlines do change over thousands of years, and ruins get buried/built over. But for those who take the story at face value, the best chance for finding any corroberating evidence would be in Greece, and considering the amount of known ruins there, known history, and excavations that have been done, I would have to put the odds at the Atlantis story goign the way of Troy ( fable to fiction ) at slim to none.

One other note regarding the supposed level of technology of the Atlantians... Simply reading the Critias itself pretty much quashes the fantasy civilization of advanced technology, death rays, etc that the legend of Atlantis has grown into in modern times. This exerpt below from the Critias outlines what an Atlantian lord would be expected to provide for his countries military...



and having a charioteer who stood behind the man-at-arms to guide the two horses; also, he was bound to furnish two heavy armed soldiers, two slingers, three stone-shooters and three javelin-men, who were light-armed, and four sailors to make up the complement of twelve hundred ships


classics.mit.edu...




posted on Oct, 22 2005 @ 09:17 AM
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Only too true. We know the history of the greeks, we know that they were nothing mroe than a few villages in the timeframe given by Plato.

Another nail in the coffin of the rubbish.

Great post.



posted on Oct, 22 2005 @ 09:18 AM
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As I have somewhat sarcastically commented a few times: the mighty Atlantian army was deafeated by two cavemen and a goat - that being all that lived in Athens in 9600BC or whatever.......



posted on Oct, 22 2005 @ 11:54 AM
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Yeah, way to stick it to that rubbishy Plato. What a load that guy served up, eh?


No offense, but it never ceases to amaze me how obtuse some individuals can be when it comes to comprehending allegories and poetry. Believe it or not, it is more than possible for a text to contain elements that are both fictional and nonfictional, you only have to look at the works of Homer to figure that out. The Atlantis myth operates mostly on a symbolic level and was likely a component of initiation in a mystery cult, perhaps the Eleusian rites. You can't take Plato's account purely at face value but that doesn't mean that every aspect of it automatically becomes fiction. Aristotle thought Plato's account was a fable. He also stated, in Book Lambda of "Metaphysics":


Our forefathers in the most remote ages have handed down to their posterity a tradition, in the schema of a myth, that these bodies are gods and that the divine encloses the whole of nature. The rest of the tradition has been added later in mythical form… they say that these gods are in the forms of men or like some of the other animals…But if one were to separate the first point from these additions and take it alone- that they thought the first substances to be gods, one must regard this as an inspired utterance, and reflect that, while probably each art and each science has often been developed as far as possible and has again perished, these opinions, with others, have been preserved until the present like relics of the ancient treasure.


Which to me reads as a belief in at least one prehistoric advanced civilization. This is a viable line of reasoning as long as everyone on both sides of the issue can keep their modern, science fiction concepts out of it.



posted on Oct, 22 2005 @ 10:11 PM
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Originally posted by Essan
As I have somewhat sarcastically commented a few times: the mighty Atlantian army was deafeated by two cavemen and a goat - that being all that lived in Athens in 9600BC or whatever.......


Agree.
Athens was founded circa 3,000 bc, well after the mythical Atlantis was reputed to fall. The timeline does not fit.

Even allowing for translation error (900 rather than 9,000, as speculated by some) the timeline still does not fit, as in 900 bc Athens was not a large or powerful enough city to defeat a large army by itself.

Why can't people accept that the Atlantis fable is a morality tale, with facts and details altered and embellished to further to point of the story?



posted on Oct, 22 2005 @ 11:53 PM
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So the argument is that it must be all or nothing, with no gray area in between? We must take everything written by Plato in his account of Atlantis as literal or as complete fable spun out of whole cloth? I'm sorry, I'm not satisfied with those choices. It's not the way that writing works. Obviously Plato is allegorizing. From where do we derive the symbols we utilize for our metaphors? Myths contain elements of history in them, at the very least embedded within the language and cultural context of the time and place where they developed. If we must take everything as either true or false then there's no point in studying history to begin with.



posted on Oct, 23 2005 @ 11:46 AM
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Originally posted by dave_54
Even allowing for translation error (900 rather than 9,000, as speculated by some) the timeline still does not fit, as in 900 bc Athens was not a large or powerful enough city to defeat a large army by itself.

On the contrary!

Unless my history is all screwed up, we are talking about the time where Mycenea waged war on Troy (ca 1200BC). But a little earlier than that, ca 1400-1700BC another civ dominated the Greek area: The Minoans (they existed before too). Up until 1400BC, the Minoans mingled with the Greek people which led to this Mycenean state, a hybrid of the two. Then the Myceneans came into conflict with the Minoans which was the stronger of the two.

But guess what happened 1400BC? One of the largest volcano eruptions ever recorded in history wiped the Minoan powerbase, Crete, clear. They dissapeared. Poof, one of the migthiest civilisations in the med was gone.

Consider it carefully and then think on the odd coincidences between the Myceneans, Minoans and this "Atlantis"... If I'm not mistaken, something interesting is that the Minoans did NOT share language with its Greek surroundings, thus would have been considered very "foreign".

So I still think its a myth based on a real time period ca 1500BC (a little earlier than 900, but not an unreasonable 9000)... But the story is a little "beautified", heh. No doubt he mixed current and past history to form his pretty description.

[edit on 23-10-2005 by merka]



posted on Oct, 23 2005 @ 12:03 PM
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I thought that the Minoan powerbase was on Thera, because that island was blown off the face of the Earth, while Crete has no histroy of volcanic activity.

Beyond that you make a good point regarding early Greek wars, but would that be connected to Athens? Since the city really would have been just a few huts in 1400bc. Also why would Plato refer to this in what is basically a philiosophical text on the nature of good government?

The Atlantis myth is just a fictional example from Plato, it was not real.



posted on Oct, 23 2005 @ 12:42 PM
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Originally posted by Uncle Joe
I thought that the Minoan powerbase was on Thera, because that island was blown off the face of the Earth, while Crete has no histroy of volcanic activity.

Beyond that you make a good point regarding early Greek wars, but would that be connected to Athens? Since the city really would have been just a few huts in 1400bc. Also why would Plato refer to this in what is basically a philiosophical text on the nature of good government?

The Atlantis myth is just a fictional example from Plato, it was not real.

Thera was indeed the island that blew up, but Crete suffered a massive tsunami probably as bad as the one that hit SE Asia. That is where the "sinking into the sea" comes in


The philosophical ideals about the goverment makes sense, as the Minoans where VERY advanced and relativly peacefull in comparison... They where "old" compared to the warmongering Greek people. Athens is probably just something Plato throws in to make a current reference to the "greek" side, sort of like an american saying that America won WWII (when we all know it was much more complicated than that).

[edit on 23-10-2005 by merka]



posted on Oct, 24 2005 @ 05:22 AM
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But Thera itself was home to a rival civilisation to Crete, a powerful trading Empire. The Therans and Cretians were rivals, but the obliteration of Thera allowed Crete to reign supreme.



posted on Oct, 24 2005 @ 10:10 AM
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Originally posted by Uncle Joe
But Thera itself was home to a rival civilisation to Crete, a powerful trading Empire. The Therans and Cretians were rivals, but the obliteration of Thera allowed Crete to reign supreme.

The Minoans dominated the area BEFORE the blast... So I think you confuse them with later civs.

Or I do. As I said my history isnt all that good :p



posted on Oct, 24 2005 @ 10:23 AM
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I looked this up on Wikipedia after i posted last time (perhaps the wrong order!) and it looks like you were right and i was wrong, Thera was an outpost of Cretan civilisation and when it detonated it wiped out both Theran civilisation and the Cretan trading fleet.

So your theory does seem pretty good, though i still think that Plato made most of it up to serve as an example.



posted on Oct, 24 2005 @ 10:34 AM
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Originally posted by Uncle Joe
I thought that the Minoan powerbase was on Thera, because that island was blown off the face of the Earth, while Crete has no histroy of volcanic activity.

Knossis is the 'captial' of the minoan 'empire' (tho neither time really applies very well to this primitive stage), and when Thera blew its top and destroyed a portion of the island of thera, it must've effected Crete in a bad way.

Beyond that you make a good point regarding early Greek wars, but would that be connected to Athens? Since the city really would have been just a few huts in 1400bc.
Yes, but, if the cretans/minoans were influencing and at times conflicting with the mainland, then the athenians might have a story that merely figures their 'super cool ancestors' as the leaders (and the spartans one with their ancestors as the leaders, etc etc).
Tho, interstingly, Plato (and the older greek source) are the only two sources for the story of atlantis. The idea that the atlantis myth came about because of the struggles between the cretan and myceneans/mainlanders, is an attractive one tho. Perhaps there simply was no greek tradition of this story, and it was merely the Egyptians, who as outsiders, misunderstood the complex history as a simplified one. That would explain Plato citing the egyptians as the source.

But the egyptian source in Plato notes that the Atlantians(/cretans/minoans) ruled the world up to egypt, and excluding athens (for the most part), yet we find no Cretan colonies in, say, libya (that I am aware of anyway).



Also why would Plato refer to this in what is basically a philiosophical text on the nature of good government?

The Atlantis myth is just a fictional example from Plato, it was not real.



posted on Oct, 24 2005 @ 10:45 AM
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being a melange of "History" as well as allegory and fable.

I'm reading Herodotus, and am on the lookout for evidence of "vanished civilizations" as I go.

I'm only in book II (Egypt); but it will be interesting to see what a pro-Atlantean viewpoint could read into the Historian.



posted on Oct, 24 2005 @ 12:08 PM
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Hmmm, well I really don't see how I was trying to "stick it" to anyone, and it is kind of difficult NOT to take a little offense when someone comes right out and calls you obtuse, but I will try...


YES this is an allegorical story, YES fables such as this often do have a small kernel of truth upon which they are based. There may very well have been a story ancient to Plato about the destruction of an island that he borrowed from when writing this story. NO, the story does NOT have to be either 100% true or 100% false, and that is really not the argument that I was trying to make.

The point of the thread was about the people who DO take Plato's account purely at face value and there seem to be alot of them. I've seen TV shows about it and I've seen many threads in this forum as well, poeple taking the entire story as fact. There are many who believe there is a great lost continent out there somewhere in the atlantic, that there really existed the great gilded temple to Posiden and the orichalcum pillar at the center of the ringed city ruled by twins over 10k years ago. This is the version of atlantis that I was arguing against, I found it odd that people would be so ready to believe every word written about Atlantis in the Critias as fact, and use the descriptions of it given therein to begin their search for the 'lost continent', all the while ignoring the OTHER civilization that Plato described in some detail as well. How can one take the story as fact and search for proof in the oceans for the land and civilization that vanished, conviently ignoring the LACK of evidence in Greece of 10k+ year old Athenians.

Further, it was an argument against those who have not even read the Critias, those whose only knowledge od Atlantis is the hollywood version and SCIFI specials on Edgar Cayce. It pops up again and again here, and it was actually a discussion with a friend that prompted me to make the initial post. He was under the impression, as many ar, that Plato described a great and wonderful civilization with a technology that rivaled our own. I had to show him the section I quoted in my initial post about the Atlantian military and ask him if they used the horse drawn chariots to carry their death rays



posted on Oct, 24 2005 @ 03:17 PM
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Sorry. It was not my intention to insult anyone and I should have said what I did in a different manner. It was less the initial post then some of the comments that I was reacting to. I'm as offended as the next person at the incessant intrusion of modern, science fiction concepts into ancient myths, legends, texts, etc.

The compelling aspect of Plato's account, to me, is not so much his description (although I still wouldn't consider just wholly dismissing it), but the pedigree he presents for the story. If it were just a fiction of his own devising then why bother with sourcing to begin with? Plato's story does have antecedents, it is part of a, for all intents and purposes, universal account of world ages, the notion of cyclical time based on astronomical observations.



posted on Oct, 24 2005 @ 04:18 PM
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Originally posted by Nygdan
But the egyptian source in Plato notes that the Atlantians(/cretans/minoans) ruled the world up to egypt, and excluding athens (for the most part), yet we find no Cretan colonies in, say, libya (that I am aware of anyway).

It could just have been artistic extravaganca to enhance a rather boring history lection on the minoans.

For example, I could write a text which includes "America rules the world". With a little bit of fantasy and a little bit of imagination its not really that far off, is it? We KNOW that America is just another nation, albeit a strong one... But imagine if we placed ourselves in the relativly small world of the ancient med and found ourself an equally "strong" nation. With such massive strength they would... rule the known world


None of my theories prove or deny anything of course. I just think that that history shouldnt be underestimated even if its exaggerated. After all, arent we talking about a text some dead guy wrote thousands of years ago?



posted on Nov, 3 2005 @ 08:53 PM
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I'm a definite advocate of Atlantis originating from the Minoans.

They've got the cataclysmic disaster as their downfall: the Santorini explosion probably agriculturally sterilized the island (ash blocks out sun), the resulting tsunami destroyed many harbors and ships, and there were probably earthquakes in addition to this as well (Crete is pretty active tectonically).

They've got the whole power thing, being navally based and mercantilistic. As to there not being any suredly known Minoan sites outside of Crete, I'd imagine there are some. One thing I've noticed was that the downfall of the Minoans corresponds pretty well to the rise of the Phoenicians, who enigmatically settled the Western Mediterranean as opposed to the Eastern part where they lived themselves. It's plausible that they might have inherited some of their cities from Minoans, and the fact that Santorini/Thera was settled as an outpost indicates that the Minoans weren't opposed to the idea of non-Crete settlements.

And then there's this business about the mainland Athenians rising up in rebellion to smite the evil islandic Atlanteans. Well that pretty aptly describes what happened between the Myceneans (1600 BC - 1100 BC) and the Minoans (3000 - 1450 BC). The myth of Theseus and the Minotaur also matches the Altantis myth pretty well in describing the situation of mainland Greece rebelling.

The fall of the Minoans also correlates decently with the end of the Bronze Age (which as far as I can tell actually seems superior to Iron in most uses). This may attribute to the Super-ification of the Atlanteans as advanced, since after them Bronze (copper + tin) became relatively rare (the Minoan were probably responsible for exporting Tin out of Cyprus). I've also read about the Atlanteans possessing some ancient cool metal (Ori-something) and this corresponds with end of Bronze--although I'm not sure how directly Ori-metal originates from Critias.

Regardless of whether they are the Atlanteans, the Minoans are nevertheless very interesting for a lot of unique qualities (economy, government, and especially the anachronistic art).

What's cool about all this is the convergence of the legends. The Egyptians explained this event through Atlantis (Keftui), the Greeks through Theseus, and maybe even the Hebrews through Exodus.

[edit on 3-11-2005 by Zaknafein]



posted on Nov, 3 2005 @ 09:00 PM
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Also Plato's description of atlantis somewhat resembles a labyrinth.

Also, vis a vis the trojan war, if the atlanteans are thus the myceneans, then Poseidon was on their side (tho that seems a bit of a stretch and there's no mention of a King Atlas, that I know of anyway).

The big god of the cretans is still zeus also, not poseidon. Indeed, zeus is raised in secret in a the dictyan cave on crete, rather than poseidon.

Still an attractive theory tho.



posted on Nov, 3 2005 @ 10:53 PM
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The myths of Atlantis and the Cretan Minotaur both represent initiation rites of mystery cults and so it is understandable that both would make use of labyrinth imagery. Both myths refer to the transmission of zodiacal ages. Atlantis is the fall of a Golden Age. The solar figure Theseus (a warrior like Ares/Mars) slays the Taurian Minotaur. The sun rises on the ecliptic in Ares, sacrificing the bull of Taurus. These connections are intriguing. Again and again the ur-myth is revealed to be a description of the processes of time.



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