One probably can’t remember the first time that they heard of the lost city of Atlantis. It’s been a subject of discussion and wonder for generations upon generations. The mystery and secret of this ancient city has been talked about in magazines, movies and even TV shows. It’s a place that always offers a bout of “what if” questions and possibilities we can’t even imagine. Some people have even went as far as to link UFOs to the ancient city. Lives have been dedicated to solving its mystery. Today, at last that long sunken mystery might finally be cracked.
Throughout the years we have made few large discoveries concerning the lost city of Atlantis. For centuries it was all myth until the city was finally discovered beneath the sea. Atlantis was discovered and a myth was turned reality. With the discovery a treasure chest of questions was opened. Questions that couldn’t be so easily answered. That is until now. Recent discoveries has brought a lot of light to the mystery that was looming in the dark for so many centuries.
The mystery of Atlantis and the significance of the recent finds can best be understood when looking into the cities birth. This takes us back to the start of ancient civilization. The origins of Atlantis take us back to a land of Gods and progression, a land we better know as ancient Greece. It was first written about by the great philosopher, Plato. That was in Timaeus and Critias, which was written back in 360 BC. It is in those writing that Plato speaks of a city that lost all its deities and sinks into the Atlantic Ocean.
Plato doesn’t write about any regular city of the ancient world. The philosopher paints a picture of a place alive with the most skilled architects and engineers. He takes us on a journey through a land alive with temples and palaces. It’s main city was perched on a beautiful hill. He further spoke of fountains that’d release both hot and cold water and dining halls where the locals would feast. Plato went as far as to say, “Now in this island of Atlantis there existed a confederation of kings, of great and marvelous power, which held sway over all the island,”
For millenniums after Plato writings many would see Atlantis as nothing more than a myth and any talks about it were looked upon with great speculation. That was until 1596. It was that year that cartographer, Abraham Ortelius was quoted saying, “Unless it be a fable, the island of Gadir or Gades [Cadiz] will be the remaining part of the island of Atlantis or America, which was not sunk.” He was one of the first people to believe that the continents used to be connected at one time.
For a couple decades nothing was said about Atlantis. It sunk into the depths of a world that was constantly changing culturally and socially. That’s when an American by the name of Ignatius Donnelly was taken by the mystery of the ancient island. He began researching the island with everything the 19th century could offer him and in 1882 released a book, Atlantis, the Antediluvian World. In this book he details how he suspect Plato was covering a natural disaster that he witnessed first-hand. Sadly, he had no concrete proof to support his theories.
During this scientific revolution, one must question if any of Donnelly’s theories hold up in modern times. What he said was speculative and is very odd sounding by today’s standard. He lived with the belief that the ocean was only a couple hundred feet deep and that the lost city of Atlantis was flooded by separate ocean waters that had collided in the area where Plato was at the Straits of Gibraltar.
Sadly, Donnelly’s theories aren’t looked upon by serious eyes today. Everything worked against them. Our advanced knowledge on plate tectonics and research dug up by oceanographers have resulted in Donnelly’s words being deemed irrelevant. There is simply know way that the waters could have shifted and sunken Atlantis. Despite this, many today still love his take on the sinking, if not just for its relation to Plato’s original account.
Someone who particularly was taken by Donnelly’s word was Russian mystic, Helene Blavatsky. She was the founder of the Theosophical Society and a firm believer that Russians had evolved from the Atlanteans. She even referred to them as the “root race”. Furthermore, Helene stated that they had a rich and enlightened culture amongst most. Sadly, they would cause their own downfall when supernatural powers would turn against them.
All her beliefs can be found in her book, The Secret Doctrine. As fascinating as the book was, it would cause a lot of terror and cast a dark shadow over Atlantis. Almost half a decade after her death, the Nazis would get their hands on her book. The book talks about Hyperborea, a land that homed a godlike race. This of course added another mythological chapter to the Nazi ideology.
The 20th century welcomed a handful of new minds to ponder and theorize about the lost city of Atlantis and its exact location. Charles Berlitz is probably the most well known amongst these thinkers. He first focused mainly on paranormal activity, but soon Atlantis caught his attention and became his obsession. He came up with some interesting theories, but couldn’t find the exact answers he wanted unless he traveled to the other side of the Atlantic.
He envision Atlantis in a completely different location from anyone before him. He believed it to be in Bahamas. According to Berlitz, the island was the victim of the Bermuda Triangle. An area in the Atlantic well known for causing the disappearance of a number of ships and even planes. People clung to his words, especially when they were told to heed the ancient walls on the Bimini Coast. Science would go on to prove that those walls were actually natural and not man made at all.
Charles H. Hapgood saw things differently. He believed that the ancient city of Atlantis could be found thousands of miles away, beneath the freezing waters of Antartica. He blames the sinking of the city on a pole shift that caused many disasters across the world. You could read his theories in his 1958 book, Earth’s Shifting Crust. He states in the book that Antartica can very well be modern day Atlantis.
Charles Hapgood believed that 12,000 years ago there was a shift within the earth’s crust. Because of this shift, the land mass we currently know at Antartica was displaced for a time being. He had no doubt that the beings who lived there were extremely advanced and enlightened individuals. Sadly, they were forced to flee when ice started covering up their land. This spin on the tale was quickly debunked by scientist.
Another huge theory is that Atlantis never existed at all. Many believe the lost city was merely a myth based off true events. For instance, some consider it a spin on The Black Sea Flood from 5600 BC. It was on that year that the Bosporus Strait was over ran by the sea and completely swallowed by it. For many within the region, life was completely ruined. That said, this happened thousands of years before Plato wrote what he wrote.
A lot of information about the ancient city of Atlantis can be found in ancient Greece. Historians reckon that the story of Atlantis is really about the Minoans. Existing between 2500BC and 1600BC, these Greek Island natives were the builders of some of the extravagant structures known to man. You can even consider them the first piece of European civilization. Sadly, something happened to this astound people.
Within the course of one night, the amazing Minoans quietly and completely vanished. One minute here and gone the next. Many people of course made a connection between the Minoans and Plato’s story. Then we must consider recent theories which claim that 3500 years ago a massive earthquake struck Thera. The damage caused by the quake was so bad that it cause tidal waves that wiped out everything.
It was Angelos Galanopoulos, a greek archeologist who came up with this earthquake theory came about in the 1960’s. People who quick to shoot his take on things down. His dates didn’t match up at all with the events. He had an excuse ready for everyone and that was that it was faulty Egyptian translation. They took something and made it 9,000 years older than it really was. It still isn’t a respect theory as it doesn’t even match what Plato was talking about.
Not everyone is so quick to shoot down this man theory though, in fact historian, Bettany Hughes believes some aspects of it. According to her, there are just too many similarities between the Plato’s writings and the disaster of Thera. Plato wrote that all the architecture in Atlantis was red, black and white. That said, the Akroiri’s masonry still is till this day.
One the biggest questions that concern is Atlantis is the location and people have jumped to some crazy conclusions. It can literally be anywhere. J.M. Allen, a photograph interpreter points to South America as locations. Edgar Cayce believed it to be off the Bimini Coast. Other places that have been pointed to on the map was Spain and Morocco. In the end they were all wrong.
People from all around the world have been taken by the mystery of Atlantis. It shouldn’t be surprising that it has attracted a number characters. One of them was named Edgar Cayce. This man claimed a lot of strange things throughout his lifetime. He even claimed to have healing abilities on the sick and dying. One of his more interesting claims was his ability to speak to the people who had once lived in Atlantis. He wrote down his personal explorations of the city. Time would prove him wrong as he claimed that the ancient city would rise in the 1960’s and that information about the city was buried beneath the Sphinx in Egypt.
“The idea is that we should use the story to examine our ideas of government and power. We have missed the point if instead of thinking about these issues we go off exploring the seabed.” These were the words that really pushed people to focus of the real point it. It was the reality check everyone need. These words were spoken by renowned scholar, Julia Annas. This caused a lot of people to take a second look at their research.
Since the birth of film, Atlantis has meant more to the masses than ever. It’s popularity is skyrocketing higher than ever. Film after film has popped out covering the ancient city. One of the more popular film’s was Disney’s Atlantis: The Lost Empire. This film actually introduced the city to a lot of youngsters who would have previously never heard of the ancient city. DC and Marvel have also covered it in a lot of their comics.
Throughout the years most of the conversation and theories have revolved around the man who first spoke of the city, Plato. Many think Plato’s story was a work a mere fiction and that he was just basing his facts solely off real life events that were going on at the time. The one that seems the most sound is the destruction of Helike in the fourth century BC. This cancels out a lot of former theories.
One of the most hated theories has been that Atlantis is actually modern day Mexico and that they were the Mayans. Charles Etienne Brasseur de Bourbourg and August Le Plongeon have concocted very detailed theories that point to the Mayans or Aztec civilizations. They believe that the construction on Atlantis was done by these people. August traveled to the region in the 1800’s and was convinced that the Popol Vuh translated into genuine evidence linking them to Atlantis.
These theories didn’t hold and actually went on to tarnish Brasseur De Bourbourg’s name. All the respect he had garnered was flushed. This was especially true after he pointed out that the Mayans were the superior race who had built Atlantis. His theories were exciting for some, but absolutely had no possible grounds of being true. He was basing all his words off of pure fantasy.
In recent years not single modern theory has held up. Then the masses stood still as one man’s theory actually made a lot of sense. The man was German native, Michael Hubner. He believed that the lost city of Atlantis was actually part of Morocco. What he did was read Plato’s text and highlight all the land within a 3,000 mile radius from Athens. At the end of the day Morocco was the best suited location. Yet, many have to wonder how he came to this conclusion.
Michael Hubner did something that no one else ever dared to do. While many choose a favored location and study the heck out of it, Michael turned to computer technology to calculate where the city could have been. It added up. Atlantis was by the sea, outside the Pillars of Hercules and have a significant elephant population. It was groundbreak, yet more amazing things would be discovered.
What was discovered was an city beneath the sea. The city was far from Morocco and very far from the Atlantic Ocean. This city was Nan Madol which is located off the island of Pohnpei. It’s already becoming a huge tourist attraction and is being claimed as Atlantis. The only problem with this theory is that it is in the Pacific Ocean. Seems the city was built right over a lagoon. One needs to question what makes this archeological site so unique from the rest.
There are things that actually match up with Plato’s writing. All round the site are tidal canals and walls similar to those he described. The person who made this discovery is named Mark McCoy. For him, it doesn’t mean a whole lot of difference if it’s Atlantis or not. He expects that either way his discovery will be groundbreaking. Nan Madol is the first of its kind when it comes to the Pacific Islands. “It was the seat of political power, the center of the most important religious rituals, and the place where the former chiefs of the island were laid to rest.” He has said.
Mark and his team were able to see just how old their discovery was by exploring one of the tombs on the island. The tomb that they investigated was occupied by the chiefs of the once vibrant city. It turned out to be pretty old but far from the time of Atlantis should be, yet given the location many are left wonder who were the people of Nan Madol. Were they the advanced people Plato led us all to believe.
The people who once lived on the coastal city didn’t exactly claim the name of Atlantis, nope, these were of the Saudeleur Dynasty. Nan Madol was apparently their capital city until about 1628. The Saudeleur had spread across many islands during their time and are responsible for many amazing structures in and around Pohnpei. They are most note for being extremely ahead of their time.
There is no concrete evidence that Nan Madol is Atlantis, yet there is also no concrete evidence that it isn’t. Even if it turns out to be a stand-alone sunken ancient city, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t an amazing find. It is super amazing that we are still able to find lost cities in a world where most things seem found and figured out. That said, we can very well find the lost city of Atlantis at any moment.