The Never-ending Search for Atlantis


One of the mysteries of ancient history is the faith of Atlantis and its inevitable doom. A tell of this vanished island has been preserved only in two dialogues from the Greek philosopher Plato, “Critias” and “Timeus”.

Plato himself ascribed it to the ancient sage, Solon, who lived two centuries earlier. In turn, Solon heard of Atlantis when he was in the city of Sais, Egypt. There he asked the priests and found out about an island which “exceeded the size of Libya and Asia put together”. It was located on the other side of the Strait of Gibraltar.

This island could have been called “Heaven on Earth”. Its riches lured people from all over the world. The Atlanteas were also powerful warriors. No other humans could defeat them. But they were powerless against the Gods. A time of great earthquakes and floods began. At the end, the Earth split open and swallowed up Atlantis in just one day. The island disappeared, “plunging into the abyss”. This occurred around 9 600 BC.

Most ancient scientists (but not all) believed Plato. Famous Geographer, Strabo, while describing the popular lands, mentioned: The story of Atlantis, it’s possible, it’s not at all made-up.

Roman historian, Ammianus Marcellinus, mentioned that the Atlantic Ocean swallowed up “an island, larger than all of Europe”.

Centuries passed. In the 16th century, in the epoch of the Great geographical discoveries, the mystery of Atlantis once again came into the light, as people were trying to find its exact location. At first, they pinpointed it off the coasts of America, since Plato had said that from Atlantis one could easily “reach the opposite continent”. The search territories expanded quickly. See how:

  • Greenland? Wasn’t it the connecting land between America and Europe at one point? Perhaps, in ancient times, people of the North traveled by land from one part of the world to the other?
  • Sahara? Perhaps there was a large lake that was destroyed by an earthquake and ancient Atlanteans ran away after the disaster, being burned by the sun and chased away by thirst? Their progeny could appear to be the Berbers.
  • Lake Titicaca in the mountains of South America? The whole lake lies upon a high mountain plateau, resembling Atlantis in every way, as described by Plato: “The whole part was located very high and was surrounded by the sea, but the whole plateau appeared flat, surrounding the city and surrounded by mountains which disappeared into the sea.
  • The Azores Islands? Not far from them, at the bottom of the ocean, they found heaps of frozen lava. In this case, Atlantis, like Pompeii, could have been destroyed by a volcano.
  • Troy? During the 90’s, German archeologist, Eberhard Zangger, suggested that under the name of Atlantis, Plato was actually describing Troy, even though he could have used the image of Atlantis.
  • Spain? During May of 2011, archeologist, Richard Freund, from the University of Hartford, discovered traces of an ancient town in the marshlands north of Cádiz, which, according to his hypothesis, were destroyed by a tsunami: This city had the shape of a ring. But the capital of Atlantis, which was located about 10 kilometers from the ocean, was surrounded by a system of circular channels, as well.

More than 10 000 books exist that tell the story of Atlantis. Ten thousand books and almost every one points out a different location, as well as a different doomsday date of the legendary city. As a result, the events described by Plato could have happened anywhere between 80 000 and 1 200 BC.

But could it be that Atlantis never existed and there was no island that was swallowed by the ocean? Back in the middle of the 19th century, while exploring Thíra (Firá), or Santorini, located 120 kilometers north of Crete, French archeologists noted with astonishment that the site was covered with a thick layer of ash and pumice, under which lies an ancient village. It was obviously destroyed by a volcano. Actually this find did not spark a great interest.

Half a century later, English archeologist Arthur Evans, discovered traces of a great civilization on the island of Crete. Four thousand years ago there were immense castles with frescos on the walls, fine tableware was fashioned, jewels from gold and ivory. Hundreds of villages and town dotted the island. It was as thickly populated as the Platonian Atlantis. It was wealthy and marvelous. Ancient Greek culture owes a whole lot to the culture of Crete. But around 1 500 BC, the country of Crete suffered a downfall and was destroyed by unknown events. And it never rose up again.

The catastrophe of Santorini happened 900 years before Solon learned the story of Atlantis from the Egyptian priests.

In Plato’s dialogues, it is mentioned that Atlantis consisted of two islands – a medium sized island in the center of which “stood a mountain, not high on either side,” crowned with a temple of Poseidon, and an elongated island, partly flat and partly covered by a forest. After that, “fire and water” poured over the people. That is how Santorini was destroyed.

Is it possible that Atlantis was the same thing, and in the story of the Egyptian priests, its citizens transformed into “Atlanteans”?