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How did Plato know what Atlantis looked like?

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posted on Apr, 20 2008 @ 06:54 PM
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Plato wasn't a historian or cartographer so you can forgive him poetic license in his description of Atlantis.

however seeing as he was a philosopher and philosophers invent stories to impart morals it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see where the description came from. the same place that every single other one of his dialogues comes from. His mind

none of his other texts are considered as historical fact.




posted on Apr, 21 2008 @ 07:11 AM
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reply to post by Hanslune
 

You forgot: propaganda.

It's fun to speculate that Zeus was a mothership and Athena was some other kind of vehicle, etc., but we lend real credence to such ideas at our peril.

It's not true that myths were history to ancient people; ancient people had no concept of history. To them, all time antecedent to living memory was myth-time. That is why real and fictitious events are hopelessly conflated in prehistorical tales and documents.

I'll explain with the help of an example familiar to me. The Mahavamsa (literally 'big book') of the Sinhalese people contains an unbroken regnal chronology that extends from Vijaya (said to be the first Sinhalese settler and king of Lanka) to Moggalana I, the fifth-century monarch during whose reign it was written. Wherever it is possible to verify the dates given in this chronology, it is accurate. Using it, we can put an exact date on the arrival of the Sinhalese in Lanka: 550BCE. This date originally entered western culture in the nineteenth century with the help of Madame Blavatsky and her chum Henry Steel Olcott; the latter was a great patron and benefactor of Sri Lankan Buddhism.

The Mahavamsa also makes some other claims. It says the Buddha had a special affection for the island of Lanka; that he visited it thrice in prehistoric times, when it was inhabited only by nonhuman beings; and that he died at the exact moment Prince Vijaya set foot on the shores of Lanka for the very first time (as you will have gathered, Sinhalese are mostly Buddhists).

Now we come to the interesting part: Wilhelm Geiger, a German scholar who translated the Mahavamsa in the early 1900s, was so impressed by the accuracy of its chronology that he decided it must be right about the date of the Buddha's death as well. There was at the time much controversy about when the Buddha actually 'attained Parinibbana' (died). Influenced by the Mahavamsa, Geiger endorsed the 550BCE date. For some decades it was accepted as accurate by many Western scholars. Among Sri Lankan Buddhists, it is an article of faith to this day.

However, it is now generally agreed by historians that the Buddha actually died some 150 years later than this.

Geiger was led to his erroneous conclusion by the mixture of fact and falsehood, typical of mythohistorical accounts, in the Mahavamsa. Its chronology may have been accurate with regard to historical times -- but how could this respectable European scholar possibly have thought it could be accurate when it describes the Buddha levitating back and forth between India and Lanka (where his arrival and doings were witnessed by -- who, exactly, if the island was uninhabited?), or describes the gods surrounding the dying Teacher and solemnly swearing to carry out his last wishes?

That's what happens when you get history and myth confused.

History is a specific study, for whose invention we have two men to thank: Herodotus and Thucydides. It involves neither accepting what is told us as true nor reinterpreting it as we please, but checking its accuracy, weighing its importance in that light and deciding what role it plays in the greater narrative. Myth is simply the best humanity could do to describe the past before it invented history, just as religion is the best it could do to explain the world before it invented science. In both cases, it was a very poor best. We can do much better now.

[edit on 21-4-2008 by Astyanax]



posted on Jun, 8 2008 @ 07:44 PM
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Originally posted by Skyfloating
Descriptions...handed down from generation to generation among those initiated into the mysteries and secrets of the world.

Not for commoners though, sorry
as well it continues to this day. That shifty Hawass!! What is he hiding in all those caves?



posted on Jun, 8 2008 @ 07:49 PM
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Originally posted by cormac mac airt
From an Egyptian priest to Solon to Dropides to Critias to Critias to Plato, how much would be the original story and how much would be embellishment? And all of this from an alleged original Egyptian account that conveniently no longer exists.

cormac
Just blame it on the Romans who burned the Library at Alexandria. It's ancient book burning. terrible, just terrible.



posted on Jun, 8 2008 @ 07:59 PM
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Originally posted by merka

Originally posted by C.C.Benjamin
I think an important thing to remember is how seriously these people took mythology. These people were the serious historians of their day, and I think we do them an injustice if we imply they did not record what they were told accurately.

Another important thing to remember is how unrealistically imaginative these people told said mythology

"Mythology" is just another word for "ancient fiction". That's what made it so interesting.
Maybe from our perspective it looks like fiction, but perhaps there were some truths to it. Say someday they dig up one of our video stores in the distant future. Our movies would be fiction all right, but based on some pretty real truths as well.



posted on Jun, 8 2008 @ 08:39 PM
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reply to post by seagrass
 





Just blame it on the Romans who burned the Library at Alexandria. It's ancient book burning. terrible, just terrible.


Can't really do that as there is no account of the story of Atlantis ever being in the Library of Alexandria.

Also interesting is that the story supposedly is passed from Solon through several lines to Plato, yet there is absolutely nothing directly from Solon himself. One would think that such an important story would be well known in his time. Also, the story is said to have originated in Sais, Egypt however there is no evidence it was ever there.

cormac



posted on Jun, 8 2008 @ 09:20 PM
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To Essan's original post:




Did an Atlantean visit Egypt and leave them a travel guide (unlikely since Atlatis and Egypt were, according to Plato's account, at war).


And being at war, the only subject of Atlantis' interest would be defensive capabilities: manpower, weaponry, availability of food, city and defensive layouts, etc.




Did someone from Egypt visit Atlantis (similarly unlikely for the same reasons).


Also unlikely as there is little evidence of anything other than nomadic peoples in prehistoric Egypt and no evidence of seafaring that far back in time.

cormac



posted on Jun, 8 2008 @ 11:25 PM
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Originally posted by cormac mac airt
reply to post by seagrass
 





Just blame it on the Romans who burned the Library at Alexandria. It's ancient book burning. terrible, just terrible.


Can't really do that as there is no account of the story of Atlantis ever being in the Library of Alexandria.

Also interesting is that the story supposedly is passed from Solon through several lines to Plato, yet there is absolutely nothing directly from Solon himself. One would think that such an important story would be well known in his time. Also, the story is said to have originated in Sais, Egypt however there is no evidence it was ever there.

cormac
I know, but there is no evidence it wasn't. If it existed, it was probably there.
It's not like they had the Dewey Decimal system.



posted on Jun, 9 2008 @ 12:15 AM
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reply to post by seagrass
 





If it existed, it was probably there.


Without there being an ancient inventory of the Library's contents or a contemporary reference to the story being at the Library, it's just a matter of opinion.

Still doesn't answer why such an allegedly important story is not mentioned by Solon or any of his comtemporaries. Nor why there is no evidence in Sais, Egypt of the stories origins.

cormac



posted on Jun, 9 2008 @ 12:53 AM
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Maybe they need to dig a little deeper than they are willing to.



posted on Jun, 9 2008 @ 01:32 AM
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Or maybe people need to stop taking a Greek morality story as told by Plato to his contemporaries as 100% historical fact.

To answer the OP's question, "How did Plato know what Atlantis looked like?", it's called IMAGINATION.

cormac



posted on Jun, 9 2008 @ 02:09 AM
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Originally posted by cormac mac airt
Or maybe people need to stop taking a Greek morality story as told by Plato to his contemporaries as 100% historical fact.

To answer the OP's question, "How did Plato know what Atlantis looked like?", it's called IMAGINATION.

cormac
Who did that? Not me. Why would Plato say someone told him a story if they didn't. Obviously he was quoting someone to avoid plagiarism. Is that a greek word?

edited to dot my i

[edit on 9-6-2008 by seagrass]



posted on Jun, 9 2008 @ 02:31 AM
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Is it not possible that Atlantis itself was a city sized space faring vessel?

It would explain several things, the advanced tech, the different locals, the subordinance of the Egyptians.




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