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A problem with the Atlantis myth

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posted on Nov, 4 2005 @ 01:37 AM
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Before even trying to discredit the theory of Atlantis, you must clearly establish what was supposed to happen, and I highly doubt that has yet been done.




posted on Nov, 4 2005 @ 06:27 AM
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All the discussion here has been about the Mycenean and Minoan pre-Greeks, but there was another contender even earlier as well as contemporary with them, namely the Semitic Phoenicians who were powerful in the Mediterranean. Of course, Semites were not mentioned by Plato as part of the force that repelled the Atlantean invasion, that's true.



posted on Nov, 4 2005 @ 12:42 PM
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personally i do not think atlantis was just one island. and just to get it out the way i dont buy in to the advanced tech with death rasys and anti grav etc i call bs on that, that said the very existence of it would be amazing in its own right. for me and probably im not alone the reason i am interested in this stuff is because ive been on planet for some years and ive herd most peoples views on why we are here and what it is all about and i ent satisfied and the book is still open. just to hear another point of view from someone othercivilisation would be incitefull and to me another piece of the puzzle. ok finding there words probably impossible but just there existance is just as good , it means that the bible is wrong for a start. i think that atlantis is just the civilisation that existed befor the ice age and not just one island. how could a civilaization advance to a stage described with all the social and ecconomic aspects that come allong with that form on one small island. atlantis isnt one island its a civilization , i think most probably that existed n south america or antarctica be for it froze. personally i think antarctic is a huge untapped resource for our advancement of human history , you want to find atlantis start digging under that ice.



posted on Nov, 4 2005 @ 11:08 PM
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As I understand it, and believe me understanding is not my strong point, there are an number of problem's with Plato's story of Atlantis, mostly based on the numbers he uses to describe Atlantis. It was too long ago for an advanced society (Bronze Age described), 9000 years from his time, to have developed in the current accepted frame of reference that we have of archeology. Maybe sometime in the future evidence will come to light of advanced cultures existing farther in the past but currently we don't have it. The other number problems reside with the size of the island of Atlantis. If current popular theories are correct and it was inside the Mediterranean Sea, then his numbers make the island too large to fit inside the sea and are usually reduced by a factor of 10. In the process of myth, exaggeration often plays a big part in emphasizing the points that the storyteller wants to make. The numbers could have been exaggerated to make the story, older, more important to have lasted so long. The island could have been exaggerated to emphasize the past achievement of the Atlanteans and the greatness of his Athenians who defeated them. There could be a grain of truth, but without other accounts to specifically identify to his Atlantis, we can't really idenify fact from fiction without a great deal of effort. I see that effort being made here on this board. Keep up the good thoughts.



posted on Nov, 18 2005 @ 02:41 PM
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I think everyone should be open to the idea that the Greeks were aware that some previous civilizations had been destroyed, by whatever means. This awareness on their part would form sort of a background of possible previous civilizations in the mind of the educated Greeks of Plato's era. The idea of the existence of now-vanished prior civilizations lends drama to Plato's dialogues, but has no real impact regarding the point he is making.

Plato contrasts the Athens of his day with his heroic Athens of the past to make a point about how far Athens has fallen. To make this point, he invented the Atlantean civilization, which had enslaved basically the entire Mediterreanean basin. The heroic Athenians defeated the evil Atlanteans, driving them out and freeing the known world. As a consequence of the Atlanteans wickedness, they were destroyed - presumably by Poiseidon.

Plato never posited that the Atlanteans were advanced, only that they were powerful.


Originally posted by Cicada

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.


Cicada,

The sourcing of the story to Critias the Elder, him having heard it from Solon, and Solon from the Egyptians, prefaces the telling of the story and places it in a timeline that erases the entire thing from any conceivable memory. The context of the telling of the story to Solon is the Egyptian's basically bragging about how old their civilization is, and the Egyptian's contention is that the Greeks have forgotten where they come from.

This last was precisely the point Plato (who witnessed the execution of his mentor Socrates by the Athenian state) was trying to make. The Athenians had forgotten themselves. Plato was bitter about Socrates death, and rightly so. Similar criticisms of the Athens of his day can be found throughout his writings.

As I said, I'm not averse to the idea that the explosion of Thera, for example, could be some part of the inspiration for Atlantis, but the fact remains that even this does not in itself provide any support at all for the actual existence of Atlantis, it only provides some interesting background for a fictional story that makes up part of a dialogue written by Plato that was intended to criticize the Athens of his day.

Atlantis itself never, ever existed.

Harte



posted on Nov, 18 2005 @ 05:07 PM
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Harte,

Never ever? How about as a species of a larger allegorical concept utilized in the initiatory rituals of ancient mystery cults as I've been saying?

What you present is all well and good. It's one interpretation of what Plato might have been implying but it doesn't really address the why of it. Why does he employ this mechanism you describe to make the statement he does rather than just stating it outright. Was Plato, one of the fundamental foundation points of Western philosophy, involved in just political commentary or was the scope of his study and expression broader and deeper than that? Was such an individual capable of saying one thing and meaning two or three or many things? Would this figure living at that time in Hellenic Greece have studied all that he was able of the world and its history? Is it not likely he studied in Egypt and was initiated into their mystery traditions as was the practice of the intellectual class at that time to seek initiation into several mysteries?

My point is that you're simplifying and reducing things in broad strokes through your use of absolute statements. Even the most mainstream of presentations and discussions on the subject will own up to the fact that it is a big mystery that defies easy explanations in either direction.



posted on Nov, 19 2005 @ 01:45 AM
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Plato's account has little bearring on the belief that Atlantis was advanced. The school of thought that Atlantis was advanced and possessed of high technology comes mostly from non- and pre-Platonic texts. There is much contention of the mainstream idea that Plato is the first to speak of Atlantis and that his account is literal. So there is no need to keep saying Critias doesn't speak of high technology. Critias is incomplete and not what it's based on to begin with.



posted on Nov, 19 2005 @ 05:13 PM
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Originally posted by Loungerist
Plato's account has little bearring on the belief that Atlantis was advanced. The school of thought that Atlantis was advanced and possessed of high technology comes mostly from non- and pre-Platonic texts. There is much contention of the mainstream idea that Plato is the first to speak of Atlantis and that his account is literal. So there is no need to keep saying Critias doesn't speak of high technology. Critias is incomplete and not what it's based on to begin with.


There are no "pre-platonic" texts in existence that mention the Atlantean civilization. There are in fact no "pre-platonic" references to Atlantis at all, save one. There is one ancient text entitled "Atlantis." I learned that fact here at ATS, at THIS THREAD. If you go there, you'll see that that text does not pertain to this discussion.

The idea of an advanced Atlantean civilization originated with the Theosophy movement of the late 1800's. All information concerning the advanced Atlanteans is known through the "channeling" of ancient spirit guides through mediums in this movement. Google "Madame Blavatsky" for more, if I spelled it correctly. Better yet, look her up at THIS SITE.



Originally posted by Cicada
Harte,
Never ever? How about as a species of a larger allegorical concept utilized in the initiatory rituals of ancient mystery cults as I've been saying?


Sorry Cicada, but there are no references to Atlantis in the ancient world, other than in Timaeus or Critias. Your placing Atlantean myths into allegorical status among secret schools and mystery cults would hold more water if you could provide any evidence of this. Of course, when the story of Atlantis, as told by Plato (there is no other story of Atlantis) is looked at allegorically, it's safe to say that there may have been several allegorical uses of destroyed civilization stories (Sodom and Gommorah come to mind). It's just that the name of the particular destroyed civilization discussed in this thread (Atlantis) appears to have originated with Plato. Any cult or school using that name post-Plato would have merely appropriated it from Plato, probably because of the aura of mystery surrounding the idea. There was no use of the term before Plato, other than it's original meaning "the world."

But regarding the use of the word "Atlantis" in reference to an idea as opposed to a place, I can go along with it. I therefore should have said "There was never, ever an Atlantean continent, island, city or civilization." But that would also be wrong. There is an Atlantis today in the Carribean.


Originally posted by Cicada Even the most mainstream of presentations and discussions on the subject will own up to the fact that it is a big mystery that defies easy explanations in either direction.


This is not true at all. The only people that maintain that this is a "big mystery" are outside the mainstream completely, and most are not even members of academia nor are they scientists. They are for the most part pseudohistorians trying to make a buck.

There are real archaeologists maintaining that there may have been civilizations in existence at a time prior to what we know of today. That this is possible is an obvious and basic truth. But let's not forget that the only ancient reference to the Atlantean civilization in existence (Plato's Dialogues) places the end of the Atlantean civilization in a time frame of around 10,000 BC. The beginning of this civilization is discussed, but not dated, in the Dialogues. Presumably, the Atlanteans were around for a good long time though. No serious, educated researcher alive maintains that Plato's Atlantis is more than mere fantasy.

Harte

[edit on 11/19/2005 by Harte]



posted on Nov, 19 2005 @ 05:28 PM
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Originally posted by Harte

There are no "pre-platonic" texts in existence that mention the Atlantean civilization. There are in fact no "pre-platonic" references to Atlantis at all, save one.


I don't really care to argue for or against this belief other than to say I've seen some reasonably good cases for it being incorrect. I'm only making the point that the advanced tech idea is not borne from Critias to begin with so there's no reason for people to keep trying to present Critias as proof against it.



posted on Nov, 20 2005 @ 02:57 PM
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Originally posted by Loungerist

Originally posted by Harte

There are no "pre-platonic" texts in existence that mention the Atlantean civilization. There are in fact no "pre-platonic" references to Atlantis at all, save one.


I don't really care to argue for or against this belief other than to say I've seen some reasonably good cases for it being incorrect. I'm only making the point that the advanced tech idea is not borne from Critias to begin with so there's no reason for people to keep trying to present Critias as proof against it.


Loungerist,
Care to provide us with a reference at least? Is it acceptable to make such a statement without some kind of reference? I think not.

I would be immensely interested in any information you can provide in this "pre-platonic" Atlantis regard, since you are the only person on Earth that I've ever heard of that believes such a thing.

Care to fill the rest of us in?

Harte



posted on Nov, 20 2005 @ 09:12 PM
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Harte,

The fact that we have the Atlantis myth to speak of at all is likely due to the fact that it was a parcel of Mystery Cult initiation rites of the Hellenic Greek culture. It isn't so much a matter of what I'm saying holding or not holding water but a matter of you getting or not getting what I'm talking about which unfortunately I have no control over. You're the one speaking in absolutes here; I have never said a single thing to suggest I am doing anything other then speculating. Asking for evidence to back up what I'm saying misses the point entirely. There are areas in any field of study in which the student is going to need to be able to hold a supposition in order to gain any ground. Many or most people are not able to perform this function of reasoning and they get caught at a certain level, often the ground floor. It's just one of many pitfalls, we all have our biases.

The insistence on restricting ourselves to the term "Atlantis" is yours and at that level it's just a matter of semantics. The fall of a Golden Age civilization as an allegory is not only common it is for all intents and purposes universal. Asking people to believe that Plato, even an individual as profoundly ingenious as Plato, generated his notion of Atlantis absent from the influences of his history and culture is a request for a suspension of disbelief too vast for me to partake in.

Where you are fundamentally wrong is in your insistence in using the words never, there was no, et al. You don't know, you suppose. It's your opinion. You are presenting a hypothesis just like everyone else. I am correct when I state that no one legitimate speaks in absolutes regarding what did and didn't happen prehistory. No one should be speaking in this manner about things that they cannot know. It's more than a matter of physical evidence. If we rely wholly upon ephemera we might as well cut out half our brain.

I'm glad you responded to my post but I was disappointed that you didn't deal with any of what I felt were the most salient points. Isn't the question why Plato utilized the mechanism of presenting a detailed lineage for the story if his intention was only to make political statements about his contemporaries? Do you have evidence to conclusively prove that this was his sole intention?



posted on Nov, 20 2005 @ 09:20 PM
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Originally posted by Harte

Loungerist,
Care to provide us with a reference at least? Is it acceptable to make such a statement without some kind of reference? I think not.



I'd say so since I didn't have any specific referrences in mind when I made it and I said that I didn't wish to argue it one way or the other. Going into referrences generally implies one is making an argument. But I can give you some,sure.




I would be immensely interested in any information you can provide in this "pre-platonic" Atlantis regard, since you are the only person on Earth that I've ever heard of that believes such a thing.



The Earth is a very big place and we can only hear of very few people on it in our lives. And I didn't say I believed or disbelieved it,only that I've seen some respectable cases made. But since you ask here are a few links to some who challenge Plato as the first to write of Atlantis.

www.atlantisquest.com...

www.bibleandscience.com...

www.lost-civilizations.net...

The first link being the most significant since it addresses the point of semantics playing a role in the belief that Atlantis started with Plato.



[edit on 20-11-2005 by Loungerist]



posted on Nov, 26 2005 @ 07:10 PM
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Originally posted by Loungerist

Originally posted by Harte

Loungerist,
Care to provide us with a reference at least? Is it acceptable to make such a statement without some kind of reference? I think not.



I'd say so since I didn't have any specific referrences in mind when I made it and I said that I didn't wish to argue it one way or the other. Going into referrences generally implies one is making an argument. But I can give you some,sure.




I would be immensely interested in any information you can provide in this "pre-platonic" Atlantis regard, since you are the only person on Earth that I've ever heard of that believes such a thing.



The Earth is a very big place and we can only hear of very few people on it in our lives. And I didn't say I believed or disbelieved it,only that I've seen some respectable cases made. But since you ask here are a few links to some who challenge Plato as the first to write of Atlantis.

www.atlantisquest.com...

www.bibleandscience.com...

www.lost-civilizations.net...

The first link being the most significant since it addresses the point of semantics playing a role in the belief that Atlantis started with Plato.



[edit on 20-11-2005 by Loungerist]


Loungerist,
Very interesting links, but if you went to the ATS thread I linked to, you would have found that "Atlantis" is a Greek word that means "the world." Such usage is not (in my opinion) germane to the topic of some "lost continent."

Regarding your first link above, let me quote from it:



Atala is said to be inhabited by "white men who never have to sleep or eat". (Santi Parva, Section CCCXXXVII) The Greek historian Herodotus (450 B.C.) describes a tribe of Atlanteans who "never dream and eat no living thing". (History, Book IV) Can this be coincidence?


Now, I've read Herodotus. I didn't remember such a reference. So I went to look. Here is a link:
classics.mit.edu...

This link takes you to Book 4, which was referenced on the website you linked to and I quoted above. I'm not finding any phrase like the one that website's author attributes to Herodotus. Maybe he is confusing it with some other Book of Herodotus' History, I don't know. But to answer the author's question, I'd have to say, no it's not coincidence, it appears to be counterfeit.

I previously stated that the Greeks were likely aware of previous "vanished" civilizations. My argument lies with Plato's Atlantis, not the idea that there may have been civilizations predating the Sumerians about which we know nothing.


Originally posted by Cicada
The fact that we have the Atlantis myth to speak of at all is likely due to the fact that it was a parcel of Mystery Cult initiation rites of the Hellenic Greek culture.


Cicada,
Of course, I could be wrong. But I am relying on many years of looking and not finding. I would maintain that there is no "Atlantis myth." What myth are you referring to?


Originally posted by Cicada
It isn't so much a matter of what I'm saying holding or not holding water but a matter of you getting or not getting what I'm talking about which unfortunately I have no control over. You're the one speaking in absolutes here; I have never said a single thing to suggest I am doing anything other then speculating. Asking for evidence to back up what I'm saying misses the point entirely. There are areas in any field of study in which the student is going to need to be able to hold a supposition in order to gain any ground. Many or most people are not able to perform this function of reasoning and they get caught at a certain level, often the ground floor. It's just one of many pitfalls, we all have our biases.


What I'm saying is that there is no reason at all to believe in Plato's Atlantis as a real place. Allegorically speaking, one may believe pretty much anything. If you wish to posit the existence of Atlantis as a pure idea which was part of some initiation in one of the Mystery Cults, that is a different matter and of course it cannot be refuted, given the fact that little is known about such rites. Such considerations fall well within my belief system, as long as it is not claimed that the continent of Atlantis actually existed. There is no evidence at all for that. Anyone is free to believe anything they want, evidence or no, however. But that certainly includes a lot, such as hollow Earth, werewolves, unicorns, fairies, Santa Claus, etc. I have no problem with things such as these, but neither do I believe in them. I am open to anyone trying to convince me, though.


Originally posted by Cicada
The insistence on restricting ourselves to the term "Atlantis" is yours and at that level it's just a matter of semantics. The fall of a Golden Age civilization as an allegory is not only common it is for all intents and purposes universal. Asking people to believe that Plato, even an individual as profoundly ingenious as Plato, generated his notion of Atlantis absent from the influences of his history and culture is a request for a suspension of disbelief too vast for me to partake in.


I do not rule out the possible existence of older civilizations about which we know nothing. I just state that there is no reason to believe in them. I don't think it's too much to believe that Plato made the whole thing up. After all, why is it that there are no Greek references to such a place if Plato was influenced by "his history and culture" in telling Atlantis' story?


Originally posted by Cicada
Where you are fundamentally wrong is in your insistence in using the words never, there was no, et al. You don't know, you suppose. It's your opinion. You are presenting a hypothesis just like everyone else. I am correct when I state that no one legitimate speaks in absolutes regarding what did and didn't happen prehistory. No one should be speaking in this manner about things that they cannot know. It's more than a matter of physical evidence. If we rely wholly upon ephemera we might as well cut out half our brain.


You have a good point about my use of absolutes here. My wording is the result of my frustration at having to go over and over the same arguments approximately every month or two here on ATS. I probably should either leave these Atlantis threads alone, or just post links to my previous arguments. But I suspect no one would go to those linked threads.


Originally posted by Cicada
I'm glad you responded to my post but I was disappointed that you didn't deal with any of what I felt were the most salient points. Isn't the question why Plato utilized the mechanism of presenting a detailed lineage for the story if his intention was only to make political statements about his contemporaries? Do you have evidence to conclusively prove that this was his sole intention?


The lineage Plato presented for the tale was part of the narrative. Critias was setting the stage by telling where he got the story from, nothing more. That mechanism is common throughout literature (fiction and non-fiction) even to this day.

And no, given that the Critias is incomplete (maybe the Timaeus is too, I don't recall), it's extremely unlikely that anyone can prove anything "conclusively" about Plato's intention. But much can be inferred by reading the other Dialogues, for example, why is it that no one ever claims to have discovered the "Republic" that Plato wrote of?


Harte



posted on Nov, 29 2005 @ 01:50 PM
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Originally posted by Harte
..."Atlantis" is a Greek word that means "the world." Such usage is not (in my opinion) germane to the topic of some "lost continent."

Regarding your first link above, let me quote from it:



Atala is said to be inhabited by "white men who never have to sleep or eat". (Santi Parva, Section CCCXXXVII) The Greek historian Herodotus (450 B.C.) describes a tribe of Atlanteans who "never dream and eat no living thing". (History, Book IV) Can this be coincidence?


Now, I've read Herodotus. I didn't remember such a reference. So I went to look. Here is a link:
classics.mit.edu...

This link takes you to Book 4, which was referenced on the website you linked to and I quoted above. I'm not finding any phrase like the one that website's author attributes to Herodotus. Maybe he is confusing it with some other Book of Herodotus' History, I don't know. But to answer the author's question, I'd have to say, no it's not coincidence, it appears to be counterfeit.


Look again. The link you've provided doesn't fully load (at least not on my browser) ending in mid-sentance somewhere around chapter 85. The quote about the Atlantes (spelling varies by different translators) is in chapter 184 and can easily be found in any complete version of the Histories such as the two provided below.

www.fordham.edu...

www.ancienthistory.about.com...

So what we have presented on that web page is not a counterfeit and there was no reason to call it such when easy research demonstrates that Herodotus did use the term. Counterfeit is a pretty strong word to throw around and using it gives your argument a sense of propaganda. This is why we should all be careful with our language.

The Atlantes are said to occupy Libya around the area of Mt. Atlas. The figure of Atlas is key to the discussion. Atlas was a Titan and the Titans, under Cronus, ruled over a Golden Age. Atlas is a grandchild of Uranus and Gaea and a nephew of Cronus. As punishment for his part in the Titan war against the Olympians Atlas is made to bear the heavens upon his shoulders for eternity. That the myth of Atlas, the pillar that supports the cosmos, is related to astronomy and time keeping is obvious, and his relation to a myth of a transmission of World Ages only reinforces this. A site that demonstrates just how greatly the figure of Atlas relates to astronomy can be seen here:

www.theoi.com...

Atlas was said to have lived far to the west in the country of the Hesperides (his daughters), near Mt. Atlas. Some traditions hold Mt. Atlas as the Titan himself petrified by Perseus with the Medusa's head. Herodotus describes Mt. Atlas as extremely high, the pillar upon which the heavens rest. Surely this is recognizable as a description of the Titan Atlas as well as the mountain. The Atlantes who live near Mt. Atlas, the tribe that doesn't eat or dream, are described as the last known people in the west before the Pillars of Herakles, thus the Atlantic Ocean is named after them. Plato names his lost civilization after the Atlantic Ocean quite naturally. He also presents a lineage of Atlantean kings, the first of which is named Atlas and is described as a son of Poseidon. While this figure is different from the Titan Atlas the chain of associations between the two figures is apparent.


originally posted by Harte
My argument lies with Plato's Atlantis, not the idea that there may have been civilizations predating the Sumerians about which we know nothing.


Which is why your and the original poster of this thread's point is just semantic. Plato presents a very clear picture of a lost civilization and the name he gave it became popularized. Much that is true and false has become aggregated with the concept but if you find the notion of pre-Sumerian civilizations acceptable then I don't quite see what the problem is. The sci-fi concepts that have become attached to the idea of Atlantis are an understandable phenomenon. Mysteries are fodder for fantasists and this is one of the biggest mysteries of all.


Originally posted by Harte
Of course, I could be wrong. But I am relying on many years of looking and not finding. I would maintain that there is no "Atlantis myth." What myth are you referring to?


Semantics. The myths I'm largely referring to are any of those from numerous cultures that reference the transition of World Ages.


Originally posted by Harte
I don't think it's too much to believe that Plato made the whole thing up. After all, why is it that there are no Greek references to such a place if Plato was influenced by "his history and culture" in telling Atlantis' story?


The reason why it is too much to believe that Plato made the whole thing up is because (and note my use of an absolute here) that never happens. No one creates concepts out of a cultural vacuum. Everyone is influenced by their culture's language, history, customs, folklore, superstitions and legends. As said and demonstrated over and over again there are numerous references to the story-type utilized by Plato in the Atlantis story if we don't insist on focusing upon the word "Atlantis" alone.


Originally posted by Harte
The lineage Plato presented for the tale was part of the narrative. Critias was setting the stage by telling where he got the story from, nothing more. That mechanism is common throughout literature (fiction and non-fiction) even to this day.

And no, given that the Critias is incomplete (maybe the Timaeus is too, I don't recall), it's extremely unlikely that anyone can prove anything "conclusively" about Plato's intention.


So you're saying that Plato includes the lineage "just because" which is not a satisfactory answer. Obviously presenting sources of information is a mechanism used in non-fiction. And yes, in fictional stories there can certainly be a fictional chain of information presented and there are situations when an author might do so. That doesn't answer why Plato would do so in a situation where he didn't have to. Plato insists several times that the story he is telling is true so I'm going to take his word for it. This doesn't mean Atlantis was real, it means the fable of Atlantis told to Plato is real. There's really nothing fantastic or controversial about that at all. We can't prove anything conclusive about Plato's intention but we can and should explore it through all our resources, including reason and especially imagination. Telling people to shut up and be quiet about Atlantis because they are likely wrong is criticizing people for exercising their imaginations. Investigate and explore Atlantis and you will discover many great things about the world that you never knew, which is a rewarding experience even if the lost continent is ultimately just an illusion.



posted on Dec, 3 2005 @ 06:17 PM
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I think all think too big in this timeline. We are all used to think a big city have a million or more people.

But in those days two huts where ten family lived with their animals was the Big City then. And an invading army was really just a really drunk man raving through the two huts destroying their whole 'civilization'.

Any one of us today would have felt insulted if we had been invited to live in such a dump. But think small! People then was used to sleep all alone and naked under a bush so when they vas invited into a hut they were real impressed. Archeology has revealed this.



posted on Dec, 5 2005 @ 02:52 PM
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Originally posted by Cicada

Look again. The link you've provided doesn't fully load (at least not on my browser) ending in mid-sentance somewhere around chapter 85. The quote about the Atlantes (spelling varies by different translators) is in chapter 184 and can easily be found in any complete version of the Histories such as the two provided below.

www.fordham.edu...

www.ancienthistory.about.com...
So what we have presented on that web page is not a counterfeit and there was no reason to call it such when easy research demonstrates that Herodotus did use the term. Counterfeit is a pretty strong word to throw around and using it gives your argument a sense of propaganda. This is why we should all be careful with our language.


Thank you for the better pages concerning Herodotus, and I accept your criticism of my use of the word counterfiet. I also understand your meaning about the sense of propaganda.
But regarding Herodotus as a pre-Platonic mention of the Atlantis Plato wrote of, or even as some kind of reference to a lost civilization by any name, I certainly don't see it. Herodotus makes no mention about these people or their land being lost. Also, while it's true that they are the westernmost in Herodotus knowledge, unless I've read it completely wrong, they lived along or near the northern coast of Africa, no?
As for using Herodotus as a reference:

and men dwell here who are called the Garmantians, a very great nation, who carry earth to lay over the salt and then sow crops. From this point is the shortest way to the Lotophagoi, for from these it is a journey of thirty days to the country of the Garmantians. Among them also are produced the cattle which feed backwards; and they feed backwards for this reason, because they have their horns bent down forwards, and therefore they walk backwards as they feed; for forwards they cannot go, because the horns run into the ground in front of them; but in nothing else do they differ from other cattle except in this and in the thickness and firmness to the touch [164] of their hide....
the Cave-dwelling Ethiopians are the swiftest of foot of all men about whom we hear report made: and the Cave-dwellers feed upon serpents and lizards and such creeping things, and they use a language which resembles no other, for in it they squeak just like bats.

Source - Histories book 4 - 183

Herodotus' account of these "Atlantians" is as believable to me as his account of the above cattle of the Garmantians or the bat-like language of the Ethiopians. I do not myself think that this account by Herodotus is the source of the naming of the Atlantic Ocean. That has to do with Atlas and the world, not some race that supposedly lived near Herodotus' Mt. Atlas.


Originally posted by Cicada

originally posted by Harte
My argument lies with Plato's Atlantis, not the idea that there may have been civilizations predating the Sumerians about which we know nothing.


Which is why your and the original poster of this thread's point is just semantic. Plato presents a very clear picture of a lost civilization and the name he gave it became popularized. Much that is true and false has become aggregated with the concept but if you find the notion of pre-Sumerian civilizations acceptable then I don't quite see what the problem is. The sci-fi concepts that have become attached to the idea of Atlantis are an understandable phenomenon. Mysteries are fodder for fantasists and this is one of the biggest mysteries of all.


I would contend that the idea of a lost civilization, though not actually a part of any Greek tradition, would have been an acceptable idea to Plato and his contemporaries based solely on the catastrophies that the Greeks knew of (like volcanic disasters) or suspected (like any ruins they may have known of.) This makes it a convenient setting for his fictional account of an ancient super-powerful Athens, which he uses to attempt to villify the Athens of his day, which wrongly (in his mind) bereft him of his wonderful mentor Socrates. Socrates himself had much to say about the state of things in Athens, and we all know where his direct and open statements on the subject got him.


Originally posted by Cicada

Originally posted by Harte
The lineage Plato presented for the tale was part of the narrative. Critias was setting the stage by telling where he got the story from, nothing more. That mechanism is common throughout literature (fiction and non-fiction) even to this day.


So you're saying that Plato includes the lineage "just because" which is not a satisfactory answer. Obviously presenting sources of information is a mechanism used in non-fiction. And yes, in fictional stories there can certainly be a fictional chain of information presented and there are situations when an author might do so. That doesn't answer why Plato would do so in a situation where he didn't have to. Plato insists several times that the story he is telling is true so I'm going to take his word for it. This doesn't mean Atlantis was real, it means the fable of Atlantis told to Plato is real. There's really nothing fantastic or controversial about that at all.

The lineage of the story provided by Critias sets the stage, as I said. I am not in Plato's head enough to give reasons for "why" he did this in one fashion or another. I can say though that in the Republic, Plato espouses the use of fictional literature (presented to youths as truth) as a teaching method for the young. That is, fiction stories that are made to seem real, told to the young at an age when their mindsets are still malleable enough that such stories can help solidify their personalities into ethical citizens (like Aesop did.) Scholars of Plato refer to this as the "Noble Lie." It could be argued that using Critias"history" of the tale allowed for Plato's insistence that the story was true. Plato could have set this up using some other narrative, I suppose. But what he was getting at was setting the story up to be true, and letting Critias lay it out the way he did accomplished this. He did so in the spirit of the "noble lie," as mentioned above. In this line of reasoning, it is significant that the story was supposedly related to Critias by his Grandfather (Critias the Elder) at the feast of Apaturia, where infants, youths and wives are inducted into the clan of families (phratry.) It is in exactly this type of setting that one might expect to hear some fictional tales told as truths as an educational tool for the young, or the "noble lie" as mentioned above.

Regarding Plato's repeated claim of veracity for the story, if his insistence is good enough for you, then that's fine with me. But it's not good enough for me in the least. Plato does this sort of thing fairly often in his Dialogues. For example:



Listen, then, as story-tellers say, to a very pretty tale, which I dare say that you may be disposed to regard as a fable only, but which, as I believe, is a true tale, for I mean to speak the truth. Homer tells us, how Zeus and Poseidon and Pluto divided the empire which they inherited from their father.

(Source - Plato's Dialogue Gorgias
And



And thus, Glaucon, the tale has been saved and has not perished, and will save us if we are obedient to the word spoken; and we shall pass safely over the river of Forgetfulness and our soul will not be defiled.

From - Plato's Republic - the story of Er
Similar uses of the device can be found in the Meno and Laws.


Originally posted by CicadaWe can't prove anything conclusive about Plato's intention but we can and should explore it through all our resources, including reason and especially imagination. Telling people to shut up and be quiet about Atlantis because they are likely wrong is criticizing people for exercising their imaginations. Investigate and explore Atlantis and you will discover many great things about the world that you never knew, which is a rewarding experience even if the lost continent is ultimately just an illusion.

I would not tell anyone to shut up and be quiet about Atlantis, unless they insist that Plato's Atlantis was a real place, and even then I wouldn't word it quite that way! What I would like to see is some kind of evidence or at least reasoning behind such beliefs, when they are stated.
I encourage everyone to read the works of Plato thoroughly before they try to cherrypick information from scraps they have read in order to bolster some theory that the pseudohistorian of the month has put forward. And Plato's works, while important, are not the be all and end all of Greek writings. There is a great depth of knowledge to be gained from what remains of the Greek literary tradition from Homer forward, both in Greek mythology as well as in non-fictional works. Not to mention the very real fact that what we think of as western civilization is based mainly on ancient Greek ideas and ideals.



posted on Dec, 12 2005 @ 04:22 PM
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Originally posted by Harte

But regarding Herodotus as a pre-Platonic mention of the Atlantis Plato wrote of, or even as some kind of reference to a lost civilization by any name, I certainly don't see it. Herodotus makes no mention about these people or their land being lost. Also, while it's true that they are the westernmost in Herodotus knowledge, unless I've read it completely wrong, they lived along or near the northern coast of Africa, no?


You asked for pre-Platonic references to Atlanteans. You got pre-Platonic references to Atlanteans. You called one of the references a fake. You had the fact that it wasn't a fake demonstrated to you. There is a lot of interesting information on that web page that has nothing to do with the Greeks, let alone Herodotus. The quibble is still semantic.


originally posted by Harte
Herodotus' account of these "Atlantians" is as believable to me as his account of the above cattle of the Garmantians or the bat-like language of the Ethiopians. I do not myself think that this account by Herodotus is the source of the naming of the Atlantic Ocean. That has to do with Atlas and the world, not some race that supposedly lived near Herodotus' Mt. Atlas.


Herodotus writes in allegorical language. Plato writes in allegorical language. If you're stuck at the poetic level you're not bound to get very far. The Atlantic is named after Atlas, yes. Who do you think they named Mt. Atlas after? Atlas, the Titans, the Fall of Ages, all of these concepts are interrelated.


originally posted by Harte
I would contend that the idea of a lost civilization, though not actually a part of any Greek tradition, would have been an acceptable idea to Plato and his contemporaries based solely on the catastrophies that the Greeks knew of (like volcanic disasters) or suspected (like any ruins they may have known of.) This makes it a convenient setting for his fictional account of an ancient super-powerful Athens, which he uses to attempt to villify the Athens of his day, which wrongly (in his mind) bereft him of his wonderful mentor Socrates. Socrates himself had much to say about the state of things in Athens, and we all know where his direct and open statements on the subject got him.


You speak as if you have first hand knowledge of the sum of Greek tradition of c. 2,500 hundred years ago. They wrote about lost civilizations (Troy anybody?) so I don't see where the mystery lies here. See my Aristotle quote in my first post for another Hellenic Greek conceptualization of lost civilizations. By the time of Plato the Greeks had complex mathematics, philosophy (obviously), and astronomy. I think they were capable of far more complex ideas then what is suggested by saying they could accept the idea of lost civilizations based on natural disasters and ruins.


Originally posted by Harte
The lineage of the story provided by Critias sets the stage, as I said. I am not in Plato's head enough to give reasons for "why" he did this in one fashion or another. I can say though that in the Republic, Plato espouses the use of fictional literature (presented to youths as truth) as a teaching method for the young. That is, fiction stories that are made to seem real, told to the young at an age when their mindsets are still malleable enough that such stories can help solidify their personalities into ethical citizens (like Aesop did.) Scholars of Plato refer to this as the "Noble Lie." It could be argued that using Critias"history" of the tale allowed for Plato's insistence that the story was true. Plato could have set this up using some other narrative, I suppose. But what he was getting at was setting the story up to be true, and letting Critias lay it out the way he did accomplished this. He did so in the spirit of the "noble lie," as mentioned above. In this line of reasoning, it is significant that the story was supposedly related to Critias by his Grandfather (Critias the Elder) at the feast of Apaturia, where infants, youths and wives are inducted into the clan of families (phratry.) It is in exactly this type of setting that one might expect to hear some fictional tales told as truths as an educational tool for the young, or the "noble lie" as mentioned above.


You're in his head enough to declare his statements to be fictional or for dramatic license but not enough to explain why. Forgive me for not being compelled. Plato certainly wrote about the "Noble Lie", but it was discussed as a means for the ruling class to control lesser classes. Does writing about the noble lie mean one engages in it? If so, were the uneducated masses to whom it was necessary to lie the audience for the works of Plato at the time he was working? At best labeling Plato's sourcing as a noble lie is just another supposition and one that still fails to explain why it was necessary to utilize it in this case at all when it wasn't necessary if Plato's sole agenda is the one you describe.



posted on Jan, 15 2006 @ 09:02 PM
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Maybe There is Something Untold By History About all of the great civilizations of the past. Maybe Atlantis was real, but people kept exagerating the story to where it has gotten today.... Never really know... Atlantis by my standards is real... sure there is no real evidence, just texts that have gotten out of hand. people say they were advanced and what not, to the point of lasers and what not...maybe, maybe not. lets say they were real, maybe they were the most advanced out of all of the nations that were around at the time, but not advanced as we portray them to be. maybe they had something around what we have today... but no more. this is my input.




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