Twelve thousand years ago, the city of Atlantis was thriving. It was filled with riches and held great power in northern Africa and Eastern Europe. However, it magically disappeared without a trace after failing to invade Athens. Nine thousand years later, Plato wrote about the Atlantean civilization in his books Timaeus and Critais. His books were taken as fact by some of its readers and were believed to the point that his described location was added to maps. The disappearance of an entire civilization has allowed for many different ideas as to what happened to be formed.
Over 2,300 years ago, Plato wrote of an island as “a power that insolently advanced against Europe and Asia together, mounting its attack from outside-from the Atlantic Ocean.” Soon after Plato’s book Timaeus was written, the Greeks and Romans added Atlantis to their map to the east of present-day Spain and Morocco .
Plato had intended to write a trilogy where Atlantis would play an important role. Unfortunately, he only finished the first book, Timaeus, and part of the second, Critias. In Timaeus, Critias recalls that Solon visited Egypt around 570 B.C. Solon claims that, while in Egypt, a group of priests told him the story of Atlantis. This story was passed on to four people before reaching Critias. According to the story, Atlantis controlled North Africa up to Egypt and Southern Europe up to the Greek borders. The Atlanteans then set their eyes upon Athens. With what has been stated has the greatest army ever produced at the time, the Atlanteans begin their conquest for Atlantis. The Athenians, however, rose up and drove back the Atlanteans in what has been described as the most epic battle Athenian times. They took over Atlantis, but then violent earthquakes and floods caused Atlantis to sink along with the bulk of the Athenian army.
Plato uses a dialogue in his book Critias to describe the creation of Atlantis. He says that the land was given to Poseidon when the Earth was divided amongst the gods. Poseidon then divided the island among his ten children. The eldest received the largest, most fertile piece of land and took the name Atlas, after the island and the ocean. Plato writes that the city of Atlantis became the wealthiest city ever known. The layout consisted of the king’s central island surrounded by alternating rings: three of water and two of land, which were all surrounded by the rest of the island. Each ring of land was surrounded with a defense system consisting of gates, walls, and towers. On the surrounding land, there were levies for war and a number of horses and chariots, hoplites, archers, slingers, javelin-throwers, and sailors. On the rings around the island, the residents of Atlantis had access to gymnasium, gardens, temples, and racetrack. According to Plato, Zeus became angry with the Atlantean’s behavior of ugliness and unhappiness and he meets with the other gods to decide the punishment of the citizens, but the narrative breaks off before the gods arrive at a conclusion, leaving the fate of the city unknown . An alternative to the traditional Atlantis ending is the speculation that an alien race inhabiting Atlantis destroyed their own civilization with nuclear bombs (Atlantis).
Timaeus was a dialogue written by Plato, in which Socrates, Timaeus, Critias, and Hermocrates take part in a discussion of ideal government. Timaeus was intended to be a sequel to The Republic. Even so, this book does make a reference which describes how the tale of Atlantis came into play and the disaster which struck both the Athenian army and the civilization of Atlantis.
The second book of what was intended to be a trilogy. This dialogue includes a much deeper description of the Atlantis, including the founding and advancements of this civilization. Critias goes into great detail about the buildings and other structures within Atlantis.
Many theorists and interested individuals take avid roles in debating an afterword to the works, and sift through archived documents of argued sequels.
Plato was the father of the idea of Atlantis in 355 B.C. He wrote two books on the subject, Timaeus and Critais, each with fictional conversations between real people. Critais, the sequel to Timaeus, breaks off in the middle of the dialogue, creating the assumption that Atlantis disappeared. Plato's claims were based on ancient Egyptian records, records that have never been found. Even as far back Plato's time was, Atlantis had already vanished for thousands of years with no proof of existence besides the Egyptian records Plato claimed to have found. [from Kevin Zhou, no source attached to support "Atlantis had already vanished for thousands of years] Even though Plato is credited with creating the foundation for many aspects of modern science, Carl Sagan criticized Plato because of Plato’s firm stance on thinking rather than observation and experimentation. 
Lewis Spence was a Scottish mythologist who is credited with having one of the best pro-Atlantis books. Spence took a scientific approach to Atlantis. He improved greatly on Donnelly’s own ideas of the existence of Atlantis. [from Giusto Atlantis article, no further information included]
Dr. Paul Schliemann
The grandson of Heinrich Schliemann (who discovered Troy), who wrote an article for the New York American which announced that he had an inscribed metal plate and coins from the ancient civilization of Atlantis. He claimed that these artifacts were sealed in an envelope by his grandfather, only to be opened by one who would devote his life to the exploration.
Ignatius T. T. Donnelly
Ignatius T. T. Donnelly was an American born politician who served as the Lieutenant-Governor of Minnesota for four years before serving in Congress for eight. Donnelly is often considered the father of modern Atlantology. He pioneered some of the most seemingly factual evidence to support the existence of Atlantis. His most famous book, Atlantis: the Antidiluvian World, which was published in 1882, survives even today.
As a historian from Sicily, Diodorus Siculus compiled the history of the known world up to the mid 400s B.C. He wrote that the Amazons attacked Atlantis and built their own city in its place, filled with captives and other Atlanteans. The charity of the Atlanteans won the heart of Merina, the Amazons’ queen, and they were in her favor, to the point that she invaded the land of the Gorgons at their request. Some of the captives had been taken to Africa, which Diodorus says is the way that the Atlantean race survived. Diodorus gives details of the Atlanteans’ riches and hospitality .
Anatoly Rubenis, a present day Russian astrophysicist, claimed that aliens vaporized Atlantis by way of nuclear attack in order to destroy the evidence of their existence on Earth. He wrote that “Atlantis had been an advanced culture, most likely because the aliens had selected it for a space outpost and had trained its human inhabitants in the sophisticated sciences and arts (Weekly World News)." Rubenis also claimed that levels of radiation rose alarmingly in one brief period at the time of a great change in the Earth's environment, which suggested the occurrence of a powerful nuclear event, which "literally smashed (the continent) to atoms" (Weekly World News).
Edgar Cayce predicted, in the early 1900s, that Atlantis would someday rise again, but could not give specific dates. He also described their technology such that it includes "gas balloons, planes, submarines, elevators, X-ray devices, 'photographing at a distance machines' and televisions powered by crystals." He claimed that many people currently alive are reincarnations of Atlanteans who must face their past lives' temptations (Atlantis).
In 2002, Michael Tsarion gave a different perspective on Atlantis. He claimed it was part of a continent, instead of its own island and was formed as an extraterrestrial race's base. These unearthly beings were on Earth hiding from another race of extraterrestrial. Tsarion claimed that "the extraterrestrials broke the code of what is allowed to other worldly races by interfering with the beings living on another planet." These interferences included breeding with humans in order to form a slave race .
In 1912, Hans Hörbinger claimed that the presence of the moon caused the destruction of Atlantis by creating higher ocean waters, much like the daily tides. It has been suggested that his solution for Atlantis's disappearance will occur again when fragment of Uranus flies past the Earth, reversing its poles, resulting in the appearance of new lands and the disappearance of old ones .
Ulf Erlinsson wrote in his book Atlantis from a Geographer’s Perspective: Mapping the Fairy Land, published in 2004, that Atlantis was a result of some combination of fact and fiction. The location existed and became what is now known as Ireland. However, the description is more of a description of a utopia of some sort .
Criticisms and Controversies
Aristotle, Plato’s pupil, rejected the existence of Atlantis almost immediately. Aristotle “thought that the story was invented by Plato and that the destruction of the island by earthquake and flood was simply the philosopher’s way of removing it form the stage” . Aristotle stated that there were contradictions about the lost continent, defending his statement that Plato invented the whole civilization .
Atlantis could have been destroyed by tsunami like the Minoan Civilization.
In favor of the sudden disappearance of Atlantis, Hans Hörbinger of Austria stated that the appearance of the Moon caused Atlantis to be drowned by causing “cataclysmic changes, tremendous volcanic activity and a rising of the level of tropical waters which ultimately led to the submergence of Atlantis” as a result of the Moon’s gravitational pull .
The current technology of satellites has revealed concentric circles off the coast of Spain like Plato described. Geographer Ulf Erlinsson believes that “Plato combined elements from different times and places in the background description for his Utopia.” He suggests that the geography of Ireland is very similar to what Plato described. Also, in 6,100 B.C., a nearby island named Dogger Bank was flooded .
Many people, including both Donnelly and Spence claim that traces of Atlantis can be found in the Mayan and Egyptian civilizations. Donnelly claims that the Egyptian civilization was not built up, but, rather, emerged suddenly. This claim gives rise to the idea that some Atlanteans were able to flee from Atlantis before it was fully submerged. Donnelly continues supporting his claim by stating that this shows the Atlanteans who fled brought a ready-made civilization to the Egpytians. Both Spence and Donnelly also claim that the Mayans were of Atlantic origin. Spence brought more controversy to the table with more intuitive theories. Spence claimed that Atlantis did not simply fall to the ocean floor, but actually disintegrated over time. First, he claimed that Atlantis broke into two major islands with an archipelago in between the two islands. The island closest to Africa disintegrated first with the one closer to South America disintegrating much slower. This gives evidence for the claim that the Mayan civilization was formed by Atlanteans. His theory states that the 10,000 year gap between the submergence of Atlantis and the rise of the Mayan empire can be explained by the fact that some people fled the first island and stayed on the second island for thousands of years before fleeing to South America. Spence also claims that the habits of animals from Atlantis can be seen in more modern animals. One example explains that Norwegian lemmings, once their population overgrows their food source, will swim into the ocean until they eventually drown. He continues by stating that these animals are calling upon a distinct memory of a land that once existed across the ocean.
The entire concept of the island of Atlantis can be traced back to Plato. The man who worked the closest with Plato until his death, Aristotle, revealed its purely fictional basis. He said, "The story was invented by Plato and the destruction of the island by earthquake and flood was simply the philosopher's way of removing it from the stage" .
Also, Athens had a highly advanced civilization in 9600 B.C. Archaeologists have, based on their studies of Greek civilization, essentially ruled out the possibility of an empire such Plato’s Athens to have existed as early as 9600 B.C. If the story presented in Plato’s dialogues is thought of as fact, the event would have occurred when Plato was only nine, hardly an age to accurately interpret anything the four men may have stated. This alone makes Donnelly’s claims, which were largely based on Plato’s writings, hard to fathom. Even so, Donnelly claims much evidence to back up his claims. He argued that the resemblance of plants and animals in both America and Europe can be accounted for by their common origin in Atlantis. One major problem with both Donnelly and Spence’s views is the sudden emergence of the Egyptian and Mayan civilizations. Modern archaeology has shown the gradual evolution of these cultures from more primitive societies. As far as Spence’s lemming claim, lemmings will actually travel in any direction in search of food, often swimming in rivers to find food. Swedish lemmings, for instance, tend to travel across the Baltic in the opposite direction.
The general idea that aliens inhabited Atlantis has many flaws. With their supposed technology, they could have easily left Earth or defended themselves, rather than allowing their civilization to be ruined. If they did destroy their own civilization, why did they do it? They could have had any control they desired over the human's primitive race, especially if the extraterrestrials were forming their own slave race. Also, if these aliens did not die, where are they now? Why are they waiting to reappear?
The claim that an entire island could disappear overnight seems impossible. The debate over the existence of Atlantis has lasted over two thousand years, with very little increase in evidence. Although there have been claims of finding an ancient civilization under water, proof has yet to be delivered.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Ramage, E.S. (1978). Atlantis: Fact or Fiction? Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Stemman, R. (1977). Atlantis and the Lost Lands. New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc.
- ↑ Alford, A. (2004). Atlantis. Retrieved February 14, 2010 from Atlantis: http://www.eridu.co.uk/author/atlantis/
- ↑ Spence, L. (1968). The History of Atlantis. United States: University Books.
- ↑ Stone, C.J. Atlantis. HubPages. Retrieved from http://hubpages.com/hub/Atlantis
- ↑ Moore, P. (1972). Can You Speak Venusian: A Guide to the Independent Thinkers. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Lovgren, S. (2004). Atlantis "Evidence" Found in Spain and Ireland. National Geographic. Retrieved from http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/08/0819_040819_atlantis.html
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Layton, T. Atlantis: The Lost Continent. Retrieved February 17, 2010 from Tony Layton's website: http://www.lanzarote-guide.com/en/myths
- Atlantis. (2006). Retrieved February 14, 2010 from Atlantis: the skeptic's dictionary: http://www.skepdic.com/atlantis.html
- Datiken, E.V. (2009). Aliens Destroyed Atlantis. Weekly World News. Retrieved from http://weeklyworldnews.com/alien-alert/10581/aliens-destroyed-atlantis/
- Slemen, T. (2001). The Lost Continent of Atlantis. Retrieved February 17, 2010, from Tom Slemen's website: http://www.qsl.net/w5www/atlantis.html