What is Atlantis?
Atlantis or Atlantis is a legendary subcontinental "lost" island, often idealized as an advanced utopian society where wisdom reigned, and which could bring peace to the entire world. The idea of Atlantis has fascinated dreamers, occultists and New Age enthusiasts for generations. Unlike many other legends, whose origins are lost in time, we know exactly where and when the story of Atlantis first appeared: the legend was told in Plato's dialogues, in the Timaeus and the Critias, written around 330 BC.
- The legend of the lost continent
- Did Atlantis really exist or not? Here is the evidence!
- Where was Atlantis located? Here are the 4 main theories
- Myth and mystery: Why did it disappear?
- Curiosity: Did you find the submerged city?
- Atlantis in literature: books, movies and TV series
- Questions and comments from users
The legend of the lost continent
Although many think that the story of Atlantis is a myth created by Plato to illustrate his political theories, others insist that the legend is based on a historical fact that really happened, a catastrophe that really happened.
According to the Greek philosopher, Atlantis was a powerful kingdom located in the Atlantic Ocean, larger than ancient Libya and Turkey combined. Plato also accurately describes the island's geography, with its mountains located to the north and along the coast towards the southern plains. Its rulers were direct descendants of Poseidon, the king of the sea, even if the purity of the lineage was gradually diluted due to continuous racial mixing.
By around 9600 BC, the island empire had conquered most of Western Europe and Africa, enslaving its enemies. This date places the story in a historical period that coincides with the end of the last ice age and the birth of the first city-states, discovered in present-day Iraq.
After a failed attempt to conquer Athens, the entire island sank into the sea "in a single day and night of misfortune".
Did Atlantis really exist or not? Here is the evidence!
Is Atlantis a myth or did it really exist? This is a question that many have asked themselves, to which they have also tried to answer. First of all, it should be remembered that Atlantis is not the only legend that speaks of a sunken continent, island or city. Similar stories are told all over the world and some of them seem to be true. For more than two millennia, no one has thoroughly investigated the veracity of Plato's accounts of Atlantis.
The idea that it was a place that actually existed is very recent. It was originally proposed by a writer named Ignatius Donnelly in 1881. He even believed that many human achievements (such as metallurgy, agriculture, religion and language) originated in Atlantis. According to his assumptions, no ancient people would have had the necessary knowledge to independently develop these achievements, which must have been spread by some ancient and unknown civilization. His theory is similar to that of the "ancient astronauts", extraterrestrial civilizations that would have intervened in the knowledge of advanced peoples such as the Egyptians.
Other writers and scientists, some building on Donnelly's own hypotheses, also developed their own opinions and speculations. There are those who argue strongly that Atlantis really did exist such as ocean explorer Robert Ballard, the same man who discovered the wreckage of the Titanic in 1985. Despite these more or less authoritative opinions, there is no concrete evidence of the actual existence of the missing continent, at least there is no place where Plato indicated the location of Atlantis.
Where was Atlantis located? Here are the 4 main theories
Numerous hypotheses have been proposed about the location of Atlantis. Some are more serious as theorized by researchers and archaeologists, others have been advanced by mediums or as a result of pseudoscientific research. Many of the proposed locations share some characteristics of the island's history (water, catastrophic end, historical period) but for none of them is there overwhelming evidence that can identify them with historical Atlantis.
- Most of the proposed locations are in the Mediterranean Sea, such as Crete and Santorini, Cyprus, Malta or Ponza, or some cities such as Troy, Turkey and the latest theory about Israel.
- Other locations have been proposed, such as Antarctica, Indonesia and the Caribbean, or else the Spartel Islands near the Strait of Gibraltar would have elements that would coincide with Plato's story.
- In the Black Sea area there are also three other proposed locations: Bosporus, Sinop and Ancomah. The nearby Sea of Azov was proposed as another site in 2003, as were several island groups in the Atlantic Ocean, most notably the Azores (which are a territory of Portugal).
- In northern Europe, Sweden, Ireland and the North Sea have been proposed, as well as areas in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, Cuba, Canary Islands.
Curiosity: Atlantis in Sardinia? The Nuraghi say so ...
In his works, Plato described Atlantis as "an island larger than Libya and Asia beyond the Pillars of Hercules", whose inhabitants were "builders of towers dedicated to the god Poseidon", a land "rich in water and forests and with a temperate climate, to the point of making possible more crops per year", but also "rich in minerals and metals used to build concentric protective walls".
According to a recent theory, supported among other things by some data collected by aerial photogrammetry, Sardinia would have many features in common with Atlantis described by Plato:
- Sardinia was considered by the ancients to be even larger than Sicily;
- It lies beyond the Pillars of Hercules (if we consider the geography prior to the writings of Eratosthenes, who was responsible for moving the columns from Sicily to the Strait of Gibraltar);
- It enjoys an excellent climate, which allowed three harvests a year at that time;
- It was, and still is, rich in forests and water;
- It was rich in lead, zinc, silver mines and the company was metallurgical from the beginning;
- It was the homeland of the Tyrrhenians, i.e. the "tower builders", who would be none other than the famous Nuraghi.
The theory is based on this last point. It is clear from aerial photographs that most of the nuraghi located at low altitudes are almost completely covered with mud (among these also the great nuragic palace of Barumini, which was unearthed after 14 years of excavations). The reason for this goes back to a tragic tsunami of enormous proportions that would have hit Sardinia, destroying ports and cities, decimating the population and effectively leading to extinction; fate very similar to that of the Atlantean people.
Myth and mystery: Why did it disappear?
The myth says that Atlantis was sunk and destroyed by Poseidon because of the growing corruption that had now undermined and ruined a society defined as peaceful, rich and extremely wise. What could be the real causes of the disappearance of the continent?
The Minoan eruption of Thera (Santorini), dating back to the 17th or 15th century BC, triggered a huge tsunami that, experts speculate, devastated the Minoan civilization on the neighboring island of Crete. Some think that this is precisely the catastrophe that inspired the legend. To date, this is the most reputable hypothesis about the disappearance of the mythical island.
Curiosity: Did you find the submerged city?
Recently, the myth of the missing continent has come to the fore again thanks to the findings of a team of American researchers. While studying satellite photos depicting the area north of Cadiz, Spain, they noticed one particular site that had anomalies. They then organized dives in the waters of the Doña Ana Natural Park and claim to have found the ruins of a city structured in concentric rings, the same structure described by Plato.
But they are not the only ones who claim to have found Atlantis.
In 1999, French maritime archaeologist Franck Goddio and his team of researchers unearthed the ruins of an ancient temple near the Nile delta, with columns of red granite, remains of high walls, statues and other objects. testifying to the presence of an ancient civilization. However, the certainty of having finally found Atlantis is not yet there and, perhaps, will always remain a fascinating mystery.
Atlantis in literature: books, movies and TV series
The legend of Atlantis has been rediscovered by humanists in the modern era, ed. inspired several utopian works from the Renaissance onwards. It is enough to think that in 1926 J. Gattefossé and C. Rouxun compiled an incomplete bibliographic catalog of literature on Atlantis that included 1,700 titles. In Jules Verne's novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, for example, the occupants of Captain Nemo's submarine Nautilus paid a visit to the submerged ruins of Atlantis.
Also Tolkien, in "The Silmarillion", describes the fall of the island of Númenor with a term that in the Elvish language invented by Tolkien becomes "Atalantë" and the episode is very similar to the story of the lost island.
In the famous novel by Pierre Benoît, called "Atlantis", the descendants of the lost continent now settled in the Sahara desert are imagined. This literary work also inspired most of the extensive filmography dedicated to the legend. There are five adaptations of the novel:
- Atlantis (1921) by Jacques Feyder
- Atlantis (Die herrin von Atlantis, 1932) by Georg Wilhelm Pabst, The Atlantis (1932) by Georg Wilhelm Pabst
- Atlantis (Siren of Atlantis, 1949) by Gregg C. Tallas
- Antinea, the Lover of the Buried City (1961) by Edgar G. Ulmer and Giuseppe Masini
- The Atlantis, a 1992 film by Bob Swaim
also television series were inspired by the legend, in particular Stargate Atlantis, a spin-off of Stargate SG-1, where the city of Atlantis in the Pegasus galaxy is rediscovered, and Atlantis, a television series made by BBC One set in the legendary city.
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