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The Legend of Atlantis Part II: The Antediluvian World
Part III: Edgar Cayce's Atlantis | Part IV: Atlantis Rising

Atlantis in Greek History | The Great Flood | Atlantis: The Lost Continent
Atlantis Links | Atlantis Books



Plato, the greatest of Greek philosophers, 427-347 b.c.
Solon, Solon, you Hellenes are never anything but children, and there is not an old man among you." Thus began the speech by an unnamed Egyptian priest in the Timeaus1, one of only two known dialogues of Plato that mention Atlantis. Together, along with the Criteas2, these works comprise the only records of Atlantis handed down to us from antiquity.

In his ensuing speech on Atlantis and ancient Athens, the priest was to rebuke Solon, and all of the Greeks, for having forgotten their own history, particularly the epic story of how valiant Athens had once defeated mighty Atlantis in ancient times and saved the world from slavery. In the Timeaus, Solon was to learn how little he truly knew, not only of the history of his own people, but of the history of Egypt, and of the world.


Plato's Timaeus relates the true story of how one Solon (638-559 b.c.), a famous "Athenian traveler, poet, and lawgiver"3 was visiting the Temple of Neithe, in the district of Sais, near the Nile Delta in lower Egypt. He had gone there as a cultural ambassador to converse with the leaders of the Egyptians about Greek history and culture, seeking to impress them with the accomplishments of the Greeks, as well as to gain similar knowledge from them about the history of Egypt, and of the world.

To this city came Solon, and was received there with great honour; he asked the priests who were most skilful in such matters, about antiquity, and made the discovery that neither he nor any other Hellene knew anything worth mentioning about the times of old. On one occasion, wishing to draw them on to speak of antiquity, he began to tell about the most ancient things in our part of the world — about Phoroneus, who is called "the first man," and about Niobe; and after the Deluge, of the survival of Deucalion and Pyrrha; and he traced the genealogy of their descendants, and reckoning up the dates, tried to compute how many years ago the events of which he was speaking happened. Thereupon one of the priests, who was of a very great age, said: "O Solon, Solon, you Hellenes are never anything but children, and there is not an old man among you." Solon in return asked him what he meant. "I mean to say," he replied, "that in mind you are all young; there is no old opinion handed down among you by ancient tradition, nor any science which is hoary with age."4


An Egyptian priest. For more on ancient Egyptian priests and their beliefs, check out The Riddle of the Sphinx Part II: The Astronomical Religion of Ancient Egypt
To the Egyptians, the Greeks were relative newcomers to the world stage, Greece in any form having been in existence for only a few centuries by the time Solon visited Egypt (around 600 b.c.). Moreover, the Greek confederation was fairly unstable and subject to sudden change, a situation not conducive to the growth of such luxuries as philosophy and learning. Egypt, on the other hand, had by that time been in existence as a coherent political entity for roughly 2,500 years (as reckoned from the uniting of Upper and Lower Egypt by Narmer, more commonly known as "King Scorpion," and had only experienced three significant political upheavals during that whole time — the ending of:

The Old Kingdom (2700-2200 b.c.),
The Middle Kingdom (2050-1786 b.c.), and
The New Kingdom (1560-1087 b.c.).

Moreover, none of these upheavals had disrupted the recordkeeping of the various priesthoods significantly, as they were rarely if ever directly involved in the fighting. The ever-reliable Nile also provided the Egyptians with an extremely stable economic environment that afforded them the sort of long-term prosperity and social stability necessary for the evolution of advanced scientific and philosophical disciplines. Thus, though the Egyptian priest was to admit later in his speech that the Athenians as a distinct race were actually 1,000 years older than the Egyptians, the Egyptians had retained their ancient knowledge much more faithfully than had the Greeks. As a result Solon — the would-be teacher of history — found himself reduced to the level of student as the priest continued his soliloquy:

There have been, and will be again, many destructions of mankind arising out of many causes; the greatest have been brought about by the agencies of fire and water, and other lesser ones by innumerable other causes. There is a story, which even you have preserved, that once upon a time Phaeton ... having yoked the steeds in his father's chariot, because he was not able to drive them in the path of his father, burnt up all that was upon the earth, and was himself destroyed by a thunderbolt. Now this has the form of a myth, but really signifies a declination of the bodies moving in the heavens around the earth, and a great conflagration of things upon the earth, which recurs after long intervals; at such times those who live upon the mountains and in dry and lofty places are more liable to destruction than those who dwell by rivers or on the seashore. And from this calamity the Nile, who is our never-failing saviour, delivers and preserves us.5


Phaeton in Apollo's sun chariot. From Bulfinch's Mythology: The Age of Fable - Phaeton
Interestingly, the priest actually explained in plain terms that the Phaeton myth was meant to symbolize actual astronomical events that took place in Earth's ancient past. At some time in the common heritage of both peoples, Earth had endured a fiery disaster from heaven. More important to this story, however, as the priest was about to explain, there have been destructions not only by fire, but by water as well:

When, on the other hand, the gods purge the earth with a deluge of water, the survivors in your country are herdsmen and shepherds who dwell on the mountains, but those who, like you, live in cities are carried by the rivers into the sea. Whereas in this land, neither then nor at any other time, does the water come down from above on the fields, having always a tendency to come up from below; for which reason the traditions preserved here are the most ancient. The fact is, that wherever the extremity of winter frost or of summer does not prevent, mankind exists, sometimes in greater, sometimes in lesser numbers. And whatever happened either in your country or in ours, or in any other region of which we are informed — if there were any actions noble or great or in any other way remarkable, they have all been written down by us of old, and are preserved in our temples.6


In either case, through fire or through water, when the destruction comes, the priests of Egypt were consistently saved by the ever-reliable Nile, keeping them stable when the rest of the world was in chaos. However, it was one deluge in particular that was an integral part of the story that was about to unfold, a destruction by water that was awesome in its scope and effect upon the ancient world.

Whereas just when you and other nations are beginning to be provided with letters and the other requisites of civilized life, after the usual interval, the stream from heaven, like a pestilence, comes pouring down, and leaves only those of you who are destitute of letters and education; and so you have to begin all over again like children, and know nothing of what happened in ancient times, either among us or among yourselves. As for those genealogies of yours which you just now recounted to us, Solon, they are no better than the tales of children. In the first place you remember a single deluge only, but there were many previous ones; in the next place, you do not know that there formerly dwelt in your land the fairest and noblest race of men which ever lived, and that you and your whole city are descended from a small seed or remnant of them which survived. And this was unknown to you, because, for many generations, the survivors of that destruction died, leaving no written word. For there was a time, Solon, before the great deluge of all, when the city which now is Athens was first in war and in every way the best governed of all cities, is said to have performed the noblest deeds and to have had the fairest constitution of any of which tradition tells, under the face of heaven. (emphasis added)7


"Everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died." (Gen. 7:22, KJV)
Unlike the lesser floods mentioned by the priest, which apparently came at regular, possibly predictable intervals, "the great deluge of all" destroyed most life on Earth. The story of the Great Flood, as it is commonly called, has been found in the literature of almost every major cultural tradition, and most minor ones. In the Bible, the Great Flood was said to have destroyed all land-based life on earth, save Noah and his family, and the animals that were saved on the ark:

17The flood continued forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. 18The waters prevailed and increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark floated on the face of the waters. 19And the waters prevailed so mightily upon the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered; 20the waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep. 21And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, birds, cattle, beasts, all swarming creatures that swarm upon the earth, and every man; 22everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. 23He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the ground, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the air; they were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those that were with him in the ark. 24And the waters prevailed upon the earth a hundred and fifty days. (Gen. 7:17-24, KJV)

The story of the Great Flood is not just from the Bible (Gen 7 – 9) — variations of that ancient tradition can be found on every continent in one form or another. It was this Great Flood, which the priest referred to as "the great deluge", which accompanied — if not outright caused — the destruction of both Atlantis and the ancient Athenians. Interestingly, the priest actually said that this sort of thing happens at predictable intervals: "after the usual interval, the stream from heaven, like a pestilence, comes pouring down." Earlier in the discourse, he had also pointed out that the myth of Phaeton was not just a story, but an explanation of actual astronomical events that had occurred in the past: "a declination of the bodies moving in the heavens around the earth, and a great conflagration of things upon the earth, which recurs after long intervals." Apparently, there is something in the heavens that goes and returns at regular intervals, causing destruction upon Earth in the form of either fire or water in a regular, even predictable fashion.



A classical portrayal of the island of Atlantis, based upon Plato's dialogues. From Mundus Subterraneus by Athanasius Kircher. (1665)
The priest then revealed the nature of the heroic deed that the Athenian Greeks had accomplished so many thousands of years ago, before their race was nearly wiped out by The Great Flood. There was, 9,000 years before the time even of Solon (600 b.c.), a great continent situated in the great sea west of the "Pillars of Hercules." This great continent was as large as Libya and Asia Minor combined and was known as "Atlantis," from which the Atlantic Ocean took its name. The inhabitants of this great continent, the Atlanteans, had become arrogant with power, and sought to subjugate all of Europe and Asia and assimilate it into their domain. And they would have succeeded, were it not for the heroic deeds of the ancient Athenians, whom the priest described as "pre-eminent in courage and military skill," winning against all odds and driving the Atlanteans back into the sea:

The pillars of Hercules at the Atlantic gate of the Mediterranean. The "pillars" are actually The Rock of Gibraltar in the north, and Jebel Musa in the south.
The northernmost of the pillars of Hercules is the rock of Gibraltar located on the southern tip of Spain which has been held by the British for centuries. It is an interesting tourist destination with a rich history. Take a tour with Gibraltar Rock Tours, or shop at 1 Gibraltar Plaza.
The southernmost of the pillars of Hercules, Jebel Musa, part of the Atlas mountain range, in Morocco, another interesting travel destination. For more information, check out Choosing Cruising and Travel Notes.


Hercules

Many great and wonderful deeds are recorded of your state in our histories. But one of them exceeds all the rest in greatness and valour. For these histories tell of a mighty power which unprovoked made an expedition against the whole of Europe and Asia, and to which your city put an end. This power came forth out of the Atlantic Ocean, for in those days the Atlantic was navigable; and there was an island situated in front of the straits which are by you called the Pillars of Heracles the island was larger than Libya and Asia put together, and was the way to other islands, and from these you might pass to the whole of the opposite continent which surrounded the true ocean; for this sea which is within the Straits of Heracles is only a harbour, having a narrow entrance, but that other is a real sea, and the surrounding land may be most truly called a boundless continent. Now in this island of Atlantis there was a great and wonderful empire which had rule over the whole island and several others, and over parts of the continent, and, furthermore, the men of Atlantis had subjected the parts of Libya within the columns of Heracles as far as Egypt, and of Europe as far as Tyrrhenia. This vast power, gathered into one, endeavoured to subdue at a blow our country and yours and the whole of the region within the straits; and then, Solon, your country shone forth, in the excellence of her virtue and strength, among all mankind. She was pre-eminent in courage and military skill, and was the leader of the Hellenes. And when the rest fell off from her, being compelled to stand alone, after having undergone the very extremity of danger, she defeated and triumphed over the invaders, and preserved from slavery those who were not yet subjugated, and generously liberated all the rest of us who dwell within the pillars. But afterwards there occurred violent earthquakes and floods; and in a single day and night of misfortune all your warlike men in a body sank into the earth, and the island of Atlantis in like manner disappeared in the depths of the sea. For which reason the sea in those parts is impassable and impenetrable, because there is a shoal of mud in the way; and this was caused by the subsidence of the island.8

And that was the end of mighty Atlantis, defeated in war by the Athenians, and destroyed by unknown heavenly forces that had also brought about The Great Flood. Tune in next quarter for our second installment of The Legend of Atlantis, when we will study the myth (or is it history?) of Atlantis in detail.


The Legend of Atlantis Part II: The Antediluvian World
Part III: Edgar Cayce's Atlantis | Part IV: Atlantis Rising

Editorial | Fragments | Shasta I | Sea Serpents I | Atlantis I
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1 Plato, Timaeus: Page 2 (The Active Mind: http://www.activemind.com).
2 Plato, Critias: Page 1 (The Active Mind: http://www.activemind.com).
3 Plato, Atlantis: Timaeus and Critias (The Active Mind: http://www.activemind.com).
4 Plato, Timaeus: Page 2.
5 Ibid..
6 Ibid..
7 Ibid..
8 Ibid..


           



Plato: Timaeus & Critias
Atlantis - The Lost Continent Finally Found
Atlantis Discovered
Atlantis History: Descendants of the Legendary Lost Continent of Atlantis
The Skeptic's Dictionary: Atlantis
Atlantis in the Caribbean
Atlantis' Lost City and the Lost Continent Finally Found!
Atlantis: Vital Statistics
Atlantis, Lost City Found Off Cuba
Atlantis.....Thira?
Brian Taylor: Atlantis
Atlantis Rising: Forums
ATLANTIS: Ice Age Civilization
Atlantide Home
Atlantis Revealed


Narmer
The Old Kingdom
The Middle Kingdom
The New Kingdom


Calvin College: Hercules
Bulfinch's Mythology: Hercules
Bulfinch's Mythology: Phaeton
Pantheon.org: Atlas


Atlantis Resort
BlueAegean.com: Atlantis
TourEgypt.net
The Rock of Gibraltar
Gibraltar Rock Tours
1 Gibraltar Plaza
Choosing Cruising: Morocco
Travel Notes: Morocco









Timaeus and Critias (Penguin Classics)
Plato, H.D. Lee (Editor)
The complete text of Plato's Timaeus and Critias dialogues. Always the best place to start for any would-be Atlantean researcher.
Click here to buy this book.



The Atlantis Dialogue : The Original Story of the Lost Empire
Plato, B. Jowett (Editor), Aaron Shepard
Atlantis was first introduced to world literature by the Greek philosopher Plato in two "dialogues" he wrote in the fourth century B.C. His tale of a great empire that sank beneath the waves has sparked thousands of years of debate over whether Atlantis really existed. But did Plato mean his tale as history, or just as a parable to help illustrate his philosophy? In this book, you'll find everything Plato said about Atlantis, in the context he intended. Now you can read and judge for yourself! (Review by Amazon.com)
Click here to buy this book.


Atlantis: The Antediluvian World
Ignatius Donnelly, Everett F. Bleiler (Editor)
Rating:
This is the book that started it all, written a century ago by a man as strange and dynamic as his story. Every fantastical image of a sunken paradise, or heated dispute about it's existence and location, all started with these pages. The origin of all Atlantis-hype, this book similarly starts with the origin of the concept itself. Donnely includes a translation of Plato's story that all Atlantean research goes back too. This was the most interesting part of the book, just hearing the first account all discussion and contemplation aside. It is also the most integral part of the book, since out of it comes all of Donnely's extrapolation. (Review by Amazon.com)
Click here to buy this book.


Gateway to Atlantis: The Search for the Source of a Lost Civilization
Andrew Collins, David Rohl (Introduction)
Rating:
Proceeding from the adage that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, Collins navigates through the ancient and medieval references to Atlantis, of which not an iota of indisputable archaeological evidence has ever surfaced. He restrains credulousness in the text with conditional constructions and never imperatively claims that any particular detail proves Atlantis existed. Read the book on Collins' terms, and he proves an engaging conductor of an exegetical tour of Plato's writings about a civilization on an island in the Western Ocean that colonized bits of Europe but vanished when a natural catastrophe befell its homeland. Collins discounts the proposition that the 1500 B.C. eruption of Thera, which coincided with the decline of Minoan civilization, underlies the Atlantis story. Instead, he fields a blizzard of propositions; these, in a nutshell, propose that a Phoenician colony in Iberia might have had transoceanic contact with the Olmec and other Meso-American civilizations. Accept the what-if-ness of Collins' views, and his book may enamor imaginations sparked by the legend of lost Atlantis. (Review by Amazon.com)
Click here to buy this book.


Lost Cities of Atlantis Ancient Europe & the Mediterranean (Lost Cities Series)
David Hatcher Childress
Rating:
Another installment in Childress' classic "Lost Cities and Ancient Mysteries" series. Covers Europe, the Mediterranean and, of course, Atlantis, tracing the interplay between the cultures of these areas from very ancient to modern times. A cracking good read and a must for any would-be maverick archaeologist.
Click here to buy this book.


The Atlantis Blueprint: Unlocking the Ancient Mysteries of a Long-Lost Civilization
Colin Wilson, Rand Flem-Ath
Rating:
Veteran chronicler of history's mysteries Wilson and his cowriter Flem-Ath have come up with a new theory on Atlantis, or at least an expanded version of an old one. An intelligent society (but probably not from outer space), commonly known as Atlanteans, lived in snow-free Antarctica and left a connection of sacred sites that spans the globe. Whether the authors' theory could possibly be true is hard to divine because their evidence is so convoluted, so filled with measurements and math, geometry and geography, that it would take an Atlantean to work it all out. It doesn't help that the authors feel compelled to throw into their discourse everything but the kitchen sink: the Knights Templars, pyramids, even the Shroud of Turin make an appearance. Still, these sorts of books always generate hype and never fail to attract a solid audience. Pair it with James and Thorpe's Ancient Mysteries (1999), which debunks just this kind of treatment.
Click here to buy this book.


The Destruction of Atlantis: Compelling Evidence of the Sudden Fall of the Legendary Civilization
Frank Joseph, Zecharia Sitchin
All human cultures, from classical and biblical to native North and South American, share the myth of an ancient deluge, often coinciding with a rain of fire from the heavens. What accounts for this shared myth of environmental catastrophe? Now, in The Destruction of Atlantis, author Frank Joseph links this worldwide cultural phenomenon to the story of the lost civilization of Atlantis, which in a single day and night disappeared into the sea in a violent cataclysm. In the most comprehensive account of this legendary island, Joseph provides compelling evidence that Atlantis was at the root of all subsequent human civilizations. Brilliantly refuting years of modern skepticism, Joseph combines evidence from archaeology, geology, astronomy, and ancient lore to locate Atlantis in the context of Near Eastern Bronze Age society at the end of the 13th century B.C. The author seamlessly combines hard scientific evidence with a stunning imaginative re-creation of what it must have been like to walk the streets of Atlantis in its last days. The resulting portrait of a mighty empire corrupted by an overreaching lust for wealth and power offers an important lesson to our own materialistic civilization poised on the brink of ecological disaster.
Click here to buy this book.


Unearthing Atlantis : An Archaeological Odyssey to the Fabled Lost Civilization
Charles R. Pellegrino
In the year 347 B.C., Plato wrote of a miraculous island with hot and cold flowing waters, terraced multi-storied buildings, and "the fairest of all plains." For thousands, of years, the legend of the mysterious vanished "continent" of Atlantis has captivated writers, poets, artists, philosophers, and dreamers. But now Atlantis has been found -- and the truth about its vibrant life and horrific destruction is even more remarkable than the myth. Based on artifacts and evidence uncovered in an ancient buried Minoan city, noted scientist and New York Times-bestselling author bestselling author Charles Pellegrino reanimates an astounding lost civilization and re-creates with explosive power the apocalyptic cataclysm that destroyed their remarkable island metropolis. A brilliant synthesis of historical, literary, archaeological, and geological detective work, here is both the story of the astounding discovery that transformed tale into fact -- and a breathtakinq vision of Atlantis reborn.
Click here to buy this book.


When the Sky Fell: In Search of Atlantis
Rand Flem-Ath, Rose Flem-Ath
The fascinating truth about Atlantis leads to a chilling conclusion about the environmental catastrophe that destroyed it. Now you can find out how the forces that shattered the first great civilization on Earth can happen again, bringing the end of the world to us all! With an Introduction by Colin Wilson.
Click here to buy this book.





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Editorial | Fragments | Shasta I | Sea Serpents I | Atlantis I
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