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Top 10 Theories about the Lost City of Atlantis

10. Accounts of Atlantis



The traditional position maintained by most scientists and historians over the years is

that Platos account of a fabulously wealthy city as told in the Critias and Timaeus was

merely a fictional story designed to both entertain and enlighten his readers as to

the dangers of hubris and turning ones back on the gods, and was never intended to

be interpreted as an account of a real place or real events. Evidence for this is suggested

by the fact that Plato tells us the island was given to the Greek god Poseidon, who fell

in love with the beautiful daughter of Atlantisfirst kingnamed, not coincidentally I suspect,

Atlasand begat numerous children by her, to whom he promptly parceled out parts of

the island to. He also tells us the Atlanteans were defeated by an alliance of Greek and

Eastern Mediterranean peoples around 12,000 years agothousands of years before the

earliest civilizations even emerged in the regionmaking the entire story unlikely

to say the least. The question, then, is that if we are compelled to take any of the story

as true, arent we logically obligated to accept everythingincluding a procreating

god and a skewed timelineas true as well? Does give one pause to wonder.

9. Atlantis was fictional but the accounts of a world-wide Deluge were true

Plato makes numerous references to a great deluge occurring thousands of years before

his time that destroyed almost the whole world, leaving only a tiny fragment of humanity left

to repopulate the globe and start civilization anew. The story of Atlantis, then, while itself

a manifestation of Platos fertile imagination, may have been inspired by a real historical

eventin this case, a massive global floodthat may have taken place ten thousand years before

he was born. Could this be some distant memory of the end of the last Ice Age, when global

ocean levels rose by hundreds of feet in just a few centuries, submerging entire landmasses

in the process, embellished through each retelling, or could it have been something else (such

as a meteor strike in the ocean that produced enormous devastation throughout the world?)

8. Atlantis was a continent that existed in the mid-Atlantic as was destroyed by natural


For the purest, this remains the traditional understanding and the one originally postulated

by nineteenth century writer and Atlantisphile Ignatius Donnelly in his 1882 book, Atlantis,

the Antediluvian World, who imagined the Atlantic Ocean to be no more than a few hundred feet

deep and prone to occasional vertical shifting. Since so little was known about the ocean

in his day, his theory was considered plausible by many at the timeat least until the advent

of modern oceanography, when it was determined that the Atlantic was up to five miles deep

in spots and not prone towards creating massive continents. While this essentially torpedoed

poor Ignatiushypothesis as far as science was concerned, some continue to hold to it

with great tenacity largely because of Platos insistence that the place existed just outside

thePillars of Hercules” (an ancient term for the modern Straits of Gibraltar),

implying that it had to lie somewhere in the mid Atlantic.

7. Plato was referring to the ancient Minoans and the explosion of the volcanic island of


An increasingly popular theory concerning the true nature of Atlantisand one that

has some acceptance within the scientific communityis that Plato was referring to

a people native to the modern Greek island of Crete known as the Minoans, who were largely

wiped out when the nearby volcanic island of Thera (known today as Santorini) erupted

in 1600 BCE, producing tsunamis large enough to obliterate a number of Minoan coastal cities

and do considerable damage around the entire Mediterranean basin. Such a spectacular and

massive catastrophe, obviously at the hands of displeased Gods, would have been remembered

in the annals of Egyptian history to ultimately find its way into the mythology of Platos

day over a thousand years later. The hypothesis, then, is that Plato was referring to that

very catastrophe in a somewhat idealized form, the descriptions of Atlantisvast resources

and power unavoidably exaggerated or embellished with the retelling over the years and innocently

passed on by the Greek philosopher.

6. Atlantis was a mythical retelling of the Black Sea flood

Another theory that has been recently postulatedand again has some support among scientistsis

that Atlantis and thegreat Delugetold of by Plato was a mythologized account of

another historical event that took place thousands of years before Plato was born: the breaching

of the Bosporus by the Mediterranean Sea and the flooding of the Black Sea around 5,600

BCE. It has been demonstrated that a number of civilizations may have flourished on the

shore of the Black Sea (then a fresh water lake half its present size) at the time, only

to find it all immersed under hundreds of feet of sea water in a fairly short time (some

estimates placing it at less than a year). Such an event would have likely had a traumatic

effect on the people of the region, who would have been scattered by the event. As they

escaped the rising waters and emigrated to other regions, each would have carried with

them their own highly mythologized account of the flood that came upon them practically

overnight, creating the inspiration for Platos story.

5. Atlantis was referring to a more temperate Antarctica

The controversial suggestion by the late Charles Hapgood that the Earths crust may have

suddenly shifted some twelve thousand years ago (he maintained that the Earths crust

floats upon a magma of molten rock like the skin of an orange and periodically shifts

over the millennia due to subterranean and gravitational pressures) has caught the imagination

of many an Atlantis buff over the years. According to Hapgood, because of this shift, at one

time the continent of Antarctica was much further north than it is nowand temperate

and populated by an advanced civilization to bootand that this was what Plato was

referring to as Atlantis. Its sudden and catastrophic shift to its current icy position, then, destroyed

the Atlanteans and made Antarctica the uninhabitable ice box it is today. Though the idea has its

supporters, the premise that the Earths crust could shift so dramatically and suddenly

has no support within the scientific community. Further, Hapgood presented his theory before

science came to fully understand the nature of plate tectonics, which did much to exile

hissliding crusthypothesis to the realm offringe beliefswhere Platos

continent is concerned.

4. Atlantis was a reference to an ancient continent called Lemuria1

Interestingly, the Greeks were not the only ones to maintain a belief in an ancient, island-bound

civilization. India and the Asian continent have their own tradition, which they call

Lemuriaan island civilization that supposedly existed in the Indian Ocean. The idea that

such a place existed was first postulated by 19th century zoologist Philip Sclater as

a means of accounting for the discontinuities he found in the biogeography of the Indian

Ocean region at the time. His premise that Madagascar and India may have once been part

of a larger continent, which he named Lemuria, has been rendered obsolete by modern understanding

of plate tectonics, which consistently demonstrate that while sunken continents do existsuch

as the Kerguelen Plateau in the Indian Oceanthere is no known geological formation

under the Indian Ocean that corresponds to Sclaters hypothetical Lemuria. The name

did at least lend its name to the tiny primates native to Madagascar known as a Lemur (or

was it the other way around?) so it wasnt a complete loss.

3. Atlantis was actually the mythological land of Mu

Mu is the name of a hypothetical continent that allegedly existed in either the Atlantic

or Pacific Ocean, depending on who you listen to. In either case, it was thought to have

disappeared at the dawn of human history, its survivors emigrating to other continents

to serve as the foundation for a number of later civilizations throughout the world.

Today, scientists generally dismiss the concept of Mu and of other lost continents like Atlantis

or Lemuria (see above) as physically impossible, since a continent can neither sink nor be

destroyed by any conceivable catastrophe, especially not in a short time. Additionally,

the weight of archaeological, linguistic, and genetic evidence is contrary to the claim

that the ancient civilizations of the New and Old Worlds stemmed from a common ancestral


2. Atlantis was in Southeast Asia

If one looks at the geography of the planet at the height of the last Ice Age, they will

notice the ocean levels were over two hundred feet lower then as a result of so much water

being taken up in the massive ice sheets that covered most of North America and Europe.

As such, you can see that the island archipelago we know today as Indonesia was then a complete

continent nearly as large as western Europe that stretches from Australia to the Indian

subcontinent (which also extends hundreds of miles further out to sea). Temperate, sub

tropical, and massive, it would have made a perfect place for an emerging civilizationperhaps

even one as technologically advanced as our own todayto take root. Could such a global

civilization have emerged then, only to perhaps find itself destroyed by its own technology

and all evidence submerged by the expanding ocean as the ice caps melted? Certainly, this

would account for many of flood and advanced civilization mythologies maintained by many

diverse cultures around the globe and explain many of the similarities between parallel

structures (pyramids, obelisks, stone carvings) seen around the world today.

1. Atlantis was in the Bahamas, Bermuda, the Azores, Canary Islands, etc.

The idea that Plato was referring to a place in the Atlantic does not die easily, and so

nearly any island or land mass lying anywhere between east coast of the Americas and Europe/Africa

has been suggested as the locale for Platos fantastic continent. Unfortunately, none of

these islands are particularly impressive in scope or size, nor do any of them suggest

they once maintained anything approaching an advanced civilization in the distant past

(or even today, for that matter). The Bahamas, because of the discovery off the coast of

Bimini Island in 1968 of what appears to be a man-made harbor wall (generally dismissed

by scientists as a formation of beach rock containing artificial looking but purely natural

fracture lines suggestive of a pavedroad”) and due to interest in the unproven but popular

Bermuda Trianglelegend, remains the odds-on favorite among many Atlantis buffs,

though it is far from enjoying unanimous support.

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