Atlantis (in Greek, Ἀτλαντὶς νῆσος), "island of Atlas" is a legendary island first mentioned in Plato's dialogues ''Timaeus'' and ''Critias'', written about 360 BC. According to Plato, Atlantis was a naval power lying "in front of the Pillars of Hercules" that conquered many parts of Western Europe and Africa 9,000 years before the time of Solon, or approximately 9600 BC. After a failed attempt to invade Athens, Atlantis sank into the ocean "in a single day and night of misfortune".

Scholars dispute whether and how much Plato's story or account was inspired by older traditions. In ''Critias'', Plato claims that his accounts of ancient Athens and Atlantis stem from a visit to Egypt by the legendary Athenian lawgiver Solon in the 6th century BC. In Egypt, Solon met a priest of Sais, who translated the history of ancient Athens and Atlantis, recorded on papyri in Egyptian hieroglyphs, into Greek. Some scholars argue Plato drew upon memories of past events such as the Thera eruption or the Trojan War, while others insist that he took inspiration from contemporary events like the destruction of Helike in 373 BC[1] or the failed Athenian invasion of Sicily in 415–413 BC.

The possible existence of a genuine Atlantis was discussed throughout classical antiquity, but it was usually rejected and occasionally parodied by later authors. Alan Cameron states: "It is only in modern times that people have taken the Atlantis story seriously; no one did so in antiquity".[2] The ''Timaeus'' remained known in a Latin rendition by Calcidius through the Middle Ages, and the allegorical aspect of Atlantis was taken up by Humanists in utopian works of several Renaissance writers, such as Francis Bacon's ''New Atlantis'' and Thomas More's ''Utopia''. Atlantis inspires today's literature, from science fiction to comic books to films. Its name has become a byword for any and all supposed advanced prehistoric lost civilizations.


Plato's account

Plato's dialogues ''Timaeus'' and ''Critias'', written in 360 BC, contain the earliest references to Atlantis. For unknown reasons, Plato never completed ''Critias''. Plato introduced Atlantis in ''Timaeus'':
’’For it is related in our records how once upon a time your State stayed the course of a mighty host, which, starting from a distant point in the Atlantic ocean, was insolently advancing to attack the whole of Europe, and Asia to boot. For the ocean there was at that time navigable; for in front of the mouth which you Greeks call, as you say, 'the pillars of Heracles', there lay an island which was larger than Libya and Asia together; and it was possible for the travelers of that time to cross from it to the other islands, and from the islands to the whole of the continent over against them which encompasses that veritable ocean. For all that we have here, lying within the mouth of which we speak, is evidently a haven having a narrow entrance; but that yonder is a real ocean, and the land surrounding it may most rightly be called, in the fullest and truest sense, a continent. Now in this island of Atlantis there existed a confederation of kings, of great and marvelous power, which held sway over all the island, and over many other islands also and parts of the continent.’’[3]

The four persons appearing in those two dialogues are the politicians Critias and Hermocrates as well as the philosophers Socrates and Timaeus of Locri, although only Critias speaks of Atlantis. In his works Plato makes extensive use of the Socratic dialogues in order to discuss contrary positions within the context of a supposition.

The ''Timaeus'' begins with an introduction, followed by an account of the creations and structure of the universe and ancient civilizations. In the introduction, Socrates muses about the perfect society, described in Plato's ''Republic'' (c. 380 BC), and wonders if he and his guests might recollect a story which exemplifies such a society. Critias mentions an allegedly historical tale that would make the perfect example, and follows by describing Atlantis as is recorded in the ''Critias''. In his account, ancient Athens seems to represent the "perfect society" and Atlantis its opponent, representing the very antithesis of the "perfect" traits described in the ''Republic''.


According to Critias, the Hellenic gods of old divided the land so that each god might own a lot; Poseidon was appropriately, and to his liking, bequeathed the island of Atlantis. The island was larger than Ancient Libya and Asia Minor combined,[4][5] but it afterwards was sunk by an earthquake and became an impassable mud shoal, inhibiting travel to any part of the ocean. The Egyptians, Plato asserted, described Atlantis as an island comprising mostly mountains in the northern portions and along the shore, and encompassing a great plain of an oblong shape in the south "extending in one direction three thousand ''stadia'' [about 555 km (345mi)], but across the center inland it was two thousand stadia [about 370 km (230 mi)]". Fifty stadia [9 km; 6 mi] from the coast was a mountain that was low on all sides… broke it off all round about[6]… the central island itself was five stades in diameter [about 0.92 km; 0.57 mi].[7]

In Plato's myth, Poseidon fell in love with Cleito, the daughter of Evenor and Leucippe, who bore him five pairs of male twins. The eldest of these, Atlas, was made rightful king of the entire island and the ocean (called the Atlantic Ocean in his honor), and was given the mountain of his birth and the surrounding area as his fiefdom. Atlas's twin Gadeirus, or Eumelus in Greek, was given the extremity of the island towards the pillars of Hercules.[8] The other four pairs of twins - Ampheres and Evaemon, Mneseus and Autochthon, Elasippus and Mestor, and Azaes and Diaprepes - were also given "rule over many men, and a large territory."

Poseidon carved the mountain where his love dwelt into a palace and enclosed it with three circular moats of increasing width, varying from one to three stadia and separated by rings of land proportional in size. The Atlanteans then built bridges northward from the mountain, making a route to the rest of the island. They dug a great canal to the sea, and alongside the bridges carved tunnels into the rings of rock so that ships could pass into the city around the mountain; they carved docks from the rock walls of the moats. Every passage to the city was guarded by gates and towers, and a wall surrounded each of the city's rings. The walls were constructed of red, white and black rock quarried from the moats, and were covered with brass, tin and the precious metal orichalcum, respectively.[9]

According to Critias, 9,000 years before his lifetime a war took place between those outside the Pillars of Hercules at the Strait of Gibraltar and those who dwelt within them. The Atlanteans had conquered the parts of Libya within the Pillars of Hercules as far as Egypt and the European continent as far as Tyrrhenia, and subjected its people to slavery. The Athenians led an alliance of resistors against the Atlantean empire, and as the alliance disintegrated, prevailed alone against the empire, liberating the occupied lands.
’’But at a later time there occurred portentous earthquakes and floods, and one grievous day and night befell them, when the whole body of your warriors was swallowed up by the earth, and the island of Atlantis in like manner was swallowed up by the sea and vanished; wherefore also the ocean at that spot has now become impassable and unsearchable, being blocked up by the shoal mud which the island created as it settled down.’’[10]

The logographer Hellanicus of Lesbos wrote an earlier work titled ''Atlantis'', of which only a few fragments survive. Hellanicus' work appears to have been a genealogical one concerning the daughters of Atlas[11] (Ἀτλαντὶς in Greek means "of Atlas"), but some authors have suggested a possible connection with Plato's island. John V. Luce notes that when he writes about the genealogy of Atlantis's kings, Plato writes in the same style as Hellanicus and suggests a similarity between a fragment of Hellanicus's work and an account in the ''Critias''.[11] Robert Castleden suggests Plato may have borrowed his title from Hellanicus, and that Hellanicus may have based his work on an earlier work on Atlantis.[12]

Gunnar Rudberg suggested that Plato's try to realize his political ideas in the city of Syracuse, Sicily could have heavily inspired the Atlantis account.[13]



Some ancient writers viewed Atlantis as fiction while others believed it was real.[14] The philosopher Crantor, a student of Plato's student Xenocrates, is often cited as an example of a writer who thought the story to be historical fact. His work, a commentary on Plato's ''Timaeus'', is lost, but Proclus, a Neoplatonist of the 5th century AD, reports on it.[15] The passage in question has been represented in the modern literature either as claiming that Crantor actually visited Egypt, had conversations with priests, and saw hieroglyphs confirming the story or as claiming that he learned about them from other visitors to Egypt.[16] Proclus wrote:
’’As for the whole of this account of the Atlanteans, some say that it is unadorned history, such as Crantor, the first commentator on Plato. Crantor also says that Plato's contemporaries used to criticize him jokingly for not being the inventor of his Republic but copying the institutions of the Egyptians. Plato took these critics seriously enough to assign to the Egyptians this story about the Athenians and Atlanteans, so as to make them say that the Athenians really once lived according to that system.’’

The next sentence is often translated "Crantor adds, that this is testified by the prophets of the Egyptians, who assert that these particulars which are narrated by Plato are written on pillars which are still preserved". But in the original, the sentence starts not with the name Crantor but with the ambiguous ''He'', and whether this referred to Crantor or to Plato is the subject of considerable debate. Proponents of both Atlantis as a myth and Atlantis as history have argued that the word refers to Crantor.[17]

Alan Cameron argues that it should be interpreted as referring to Plato, and that when Proclus writes that "we must bear in mind concerning this whole feat of the Athenians, that it is neither a mere myth nor unadorned history, although some take it as history and others as myth", he is treating "Crantor's view as mere personal opinion, nothing more; in fact he first quotes and then dismisses it as representing one of the two unacceptable extremes".[18]

Cameron also points out that whether ''he'' refers to Plato or to Crantor, the statement does not support conclusions such as Otto Muck's "Crantor came to Sais and saw there in the temple of Neith the column, completely covered with hieroglyphs, on which the history of Atlantis was recorded. Scholars translated it for him, and he testified that their account fully agreed with Plato's account of Atlantis" or J. V. Luce's suggestion that Crantor sent "a special enquiry to Egypt" and that he may simply be referring to Plato's own claims.[18]

Another passage from Proclus' commentary on the ''Timaeus'' gives a description of the geography of Atlantis:
’’That an island of such nature and size once existed is evident from what is said by certain authors who investigated the things around the outer sea. For according to them, there were seven islands in that sea in their time, sacred to Persephone, and also three others of enormous size, one of which was sacred to Hades, another to Ammon, and another one between them to Poseidon, the extent of which was a thousand stadia [200 km]; and the inhabitants of it - they add - preserved the remembrance from their ancestors of the immeasurably large island of Atlantis which had really existed there and which for many ages had reigned over all islands in the Atlantic sea and which itself had like-wise been sacred to Poseidon. Now these things Marcellus has written in his ''Aethiopica''.’’[19]
Marcellus remains unidentified.

Other ancient historians and philosophers believing in the existence of Atlantis were Strabo and Posidonius.[20]

Plato's account of Atlantis may have also inspired parodic imitation: writing only a few decades after the ''Timaeus'' and ''Critias'', the historian Theopompus of Chios wrote of a land beyond the ocean known as Meropis. This description was included in Book 8 of his voluminous ''Philippica'', which contains a dialogue between King Midas and Silenus, a companion of Dionysus. Silenus describes the Meropids, a race of men who grow to twice normal size, and inhabit two cities on the island of Meropis: ''Eusebes'' (Εὐσεβής, "Pious-town") and ''Machimos'' (Μάχιμος, "Fighting-town"). He also reports that an army of ten million soldiers crossed the ocean to conquer Hyperborea, but abandoned this proposal when they realized that the Hyperboreans were the luckiest people on earth. Heinz-Günther Nesselrath has argued that these and other details of Silenus' story are meant as imitation and exaggeration of the Atlantis story, for the purpose of exposing Plato's ideas to ridicule.[21]

Zoticus, a Neoplatonist philosopher of the 3rd century AD, wrote an epic poem based on Plato's account of Atlantis.[22]

The 4th century historian Ammianus Marcellinus, relying on a lost work by Timagenes, a historian writing in the 1st century BC, writes that the Druids of Gaul said that part of the inhabitants of Gaul had migrated there from distant islands. Some have understood Ammianus's testimony as a claim that at the time of Atlantis's actual sinking into the sea, its inhabitants fled to western Europe; but Ammianus in fact says that "the Drasidae (Druids) recall that a part of the population is indigenous but others also migrated in from islands and lands beyond the Rhine" (''Res Gestae'' 15.9), an indication that the immigrants came to Gaul from the north (Britain, the Netherlands or Germany), not from a theorized location in the Atlantic Ocean to the south-west.[23] Instead, the Celts that dwelled along the ocean were reported to venerate twin gods (Dioscori) that appeared to them coming from that ocean.[24]

Jewish and Christian

The Hellenistic Jewish philosopher Philo in the early 1st century AD wrote about the destruction of Atlantis in his ''On the Eternity of the World'', xxvi. 141:
’’…And the island of Atalantes which was greater than Africa and Asia, as Plato says in the Timaeus, in one day and night was overwhelmed beneath the sea in consequence of an extraordinary earthquake and inundation and suddenly disappeared, becoming sea, not indeed navigable, but full of gulfs and eddies.’’[25]

Some scholars believe Clement of Rome cryptically referred to Atlantis in his First Epistle of Clement, 20: 8:
’’…The ocean which is impassable for men, and the worlds beyond it, are
directed by the same ordinances of the Master.

On this passage the theologian Joseph Barber Lightfoot (''Apostolic Fathers'', 1885, II, page 84) noted: "Clement may possibly be referring to some known, but hardly accessible land, lying without the pillars of Hercules. But more probably he contemplated some unknown land in the far west beyond the ocean, like the fabled Atlantis of Plato…"[27]

Other early Christian writers wrote about Atlantis, though they had mixed views on whether it once existed or was an untrustworthy myth of pagan origin.[28] Tertullian believed Atlantis was once real and wrote that in the Atlantic Ocean once existed "(the isle) that was equal in size to Libya or Asia"[29] referring to Plato's geographical description of Atlantis. The early Christian apologist writer Arnobius also believed Atlantis once existed but blamed its destruction on pagans.[30]

Cosmas Indicopleustes in the 6th century wrote of Atlantis in his ''Christian Topography'' in an attempt to prove his theory that the world was flat and surrounded by water:
’’…In like manner the philosopher Timaeus also describes this Earth as surrounded by the Ocean, and the Ocean as surrounded by the more remote earth. For he supposes that there is to westward an island, Atlantis, lying out in the Ocean, in the direction of Gadeira (Cadiz), of an enormous magnitude, and relates that the ten kings having procured mercenaries from the nations in this island came from the earth far away, and conquered Europe and Asia, but were afterwards conquered by the Athenians, while that island itself was submerged by God under the sea. Both Plato and Aristotle praise this philosopher, and Proclus has written a commentary on him. He himself expresses views similar to our own with some modifications, transferring the scene of the events from the east to the west. Moreover he mentions those ten generations as well as that earth which lies beyond the Ocean. And in a word it is evident that all of them borrow from Moses, and publish his statements as their own.’’[31]

A Hebrew treatise on computational astronomy dated to AD 1378/79, alludes to the Atlantis myth in a discussion concerning the determination of zero points for the calculation of longitude:
’’Some say that they [the inhabited regions] begin at the beginning of the western ocean [the Atlantic] and beyond. For in the earliest times [literally: the first days] there was an island in the middle of the ocean. There were scholars there, who isolated themselves in [the pursuit of] philosophy. In their day, that was the [beginning for measuring] the longitude[s] of the inhabited world. Today, it has become [covered by the] sea, and it is ten degrees into the sea; and they reckon the beginning of longitude from the beginning of the western sea.''[32]


Aside from Plato’s original account, modern interpretations regarding Atlantis are an amalgamation of diverse, speculative movements that began in the 16th century.[34] Contemporary perceptions of Atlantis share roots with Mayanism, which can be traced to the beginning of the Modern Age, when European imaginations were fueled by their initial encounters with the indigenous peoples of the New World.[35] From this era sprang apocalyptic and utopian visions that would inspire many subsequent generations of theorists.[35]

Most of these interpretations are considered pseudohistory, pseudoscience, or pseudoarchaeology, as they have presented their works as academic or scientific, but lack the standards and/or criteria.

Atlantis Pseudohistory

Early Influential Literature

The term ”utopia” (from "no place") was coined by Sir Thomas More in ''Utopia'', his 16th Century work of fiction.[36] Inspired by Plato’s Atlantis and travelers’ accounts of the Americas, More described an imaginary land set in the New World.[37] His idealistic vision established a connection between the Americas and Utopian societies, a theme which was further solidified by Sir Francis Bacon in ''The New Atlantis'' (c. 1623).[35] Bacon describes a utopian society that he called "Bensalem," located off the western coast of America. A character in the narrative gives a history of Atlantis that is similar to Plato's and places Atlantis in America. People had begun believing that the Mayan and Aztec ruins could possibly be the remnants of Atlantis.[36]

Impact of Mayanism

Much speculation began as to the origins of the Mayans, which lead to a variety of narratives and publications which tried to rationalize the discoveries within the context of the Bible and which had undertones of racism in their connections between the Old and New World. The Europeans believed the indigenous people to be inferior and incapable of building that which was now in ruins and by sharing a common history they insinuate that another race must have been responsible.

In the middle and late 19th century, several renowned Mesoamerican scholars, starting with Charles Etienne Brasseur de Bourbourg, and including Edward Herbert Thompson and Augustus Le Plongeon, formally proposed that Atlantis was somehow related to Mayan and Aztec culture.

French scholar Brasseur de Bourbourg traveled extensively through Mesoamerica in the mid-1800s, and was renowned for his translations of Mayan texts, most notably the sacred book Popol Vuh, as well as a comprehensive history of the region. However, soon after these publications, Brasseur de Bourbourg lost his academic credibility, due to his claim that the Maya peoples had descended from the Toltecs, who he believed were the surviving population of the racially superior civilization of Atlantis.[38] His work combined with the skillful, romantic illustrations of Jean Frederic Waldeck, which visually alluded to Egypt and other aspects of the Old World, creating an authoritative fantasy and exciting much interest in the connections between worlds.

Inspired by Brasseur de Bourbourg’s diffusion theories, pseudoarchaeologist Augustus Le Plongeon traveled to Mesoamerica and performed some of the first excavations of many famous Mayan ruins. Le Plongeon invented narratives, such as the kingdom of Moo saga, which romantically drew connections between himself, his wife Alice, and Egyptian deities Osiris and Isis, as well as with Heinrich Schliemann, who had just discovered the ancient city of Troy from Homer’s epics.[39] He also believed that he had found connections between the Greek and Mayan languages, which produced a narrative of the destruction of Atlantis.[40]

Ignatius Donnelly

The 1882 publication of ''Atlantis: the Antediluvian World'' by Ignatius L. Donnelly stimulated much popular interest in Atlantis. He was greatly inspired by early works in Mayanism, and like them attempted to establish that all known ancient civilizations were descended from Atlantis, which he saw as a technologically sophisticated, more advanced culture. Donnelly drew parallels between creation stories in the Old and New Worlds, attributing the connections to Atlantis, where he believed existed the Biblical Garden of Eden.[41] As implied by the title of his book, he also believed that Atlantis was destroyed by the Great Flood mentioned in the Bible.

Donnelly is credited as the "father of 19th century Atlantis revival" and is the reason the myth endures today.[42] He unintentionally promoted an alternative method of inquiry to history and science and the idea that myths contain hidden information that opens them to "ingenious" interpretation by people who believe they have new or special insight.[43]

Madame Blavatsky and the Theosophists

The Russian mystic Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and her partner Henry Steel Olcott founded their Theosophical Society in the 1870s with a philosophy that combined western romanticism and eastern religious concepts. Blavatsky and her followers in this group are often cited as the founders of New Age and other spiritual movements.[36]

Blavatsky took up Donnelly’s interpretations when she wrote ''The Secret Doctrine'' (1888), which she claimed was originally dictated in Atlantis itself. She maintained that the Atlanteans were cultural heroes (contrary to Plato, who describes them mainly as a military threat). She believed in a form of racial evolution (as opposed to primate evolution), in which the Atlanteans were the fourth "Root Race", succeeded by the fifth and most superior "Aryan race" (her own race).[36] The Theosophists believed that the civilization of Atlantis reached its peak between 1,000,000 and 900,000 years ago but destroyed itself through internal warfare brought about by the inhabitants' dangerous use of psychic and supernatural powers.

Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Anthroposophy and Waldorf Schools, along with other well known Theosophists, such as Annie Besant, also wrote of cultural evolution in much the same vein.

Nazism and occultism

Blavatsky had also been inspired by the work of the 18th-century astronomer Jean-Sylvain Bailly, who had "Orientalized" the Atlantis myth in his mythical continent of Hyperborea, a reference to Greek myths featuring a Northern European region of the same name, home to a giant, godlike race.[44] Her retooling of this theory in ''The Secret Doctrine'' provided the Nazis with a mythological precedent and pretense for their ideological platform and subsequent genocide.[45]

Julius Evola’s writing in 1934 also suggested that the Atlanteans were Hyperborean, Nordic supermen who originated at the North Pole (see Thule). Similarly, Alfred Rosenberg (in ''The Myth of the Twentieth Century'', 1930) spoke of a "Nordic-Atlantean" or "Aryan-Nordic" master race.

Edgar Cayce

Edgar Cayce was a man from humble upbringings in Kentucky who allegedly possessed psychic abilities, which were performed from a trance-like state. In addition to healing the sick from this state, he also spoke frequently on the topic of Atlantis. In his "life readings", he purportedly revealed that many of his subjects were reincarnations of people that had lived on Atlantis, and by tapping into their collective consciousness, the "Akashic Records” (a term borrowed from Theosophy), he was able to give detailed descriptions of the lost continent.[46] He also asserted that Atlantis would "rise" again in the 1960s (sparking much popularity of the myth in that decade), as well as that there is a "Hall of Records" beneath the Egyptian Sphinx that holds the historical texts of Atlantis. Although Cayce was an uneducated man, his schooling terminating after the eighth grade, his supernatural techniques for obtaining alternative knowledge bear a striking resemblance to the teachings of Theosophy.

Recent times

As continental drift became more widely accepted during the 1960s, and the increased understanding of plate tectonics demonstrated the impossibility of a lost continent in the geologically recent past,[47] most “Lost Continent” theories of Atlantis began to wane in popularity.

Plato scholar Dr. Julia Annas, Regents Professor of Philosophy at the University of Arizona, had this to say on the matter:
’’The continuing industry of discovering Atlantis illustrates the dangers of reading Plato. For he is clearly using what has become a standard device of fiction-stressing the historicity of an event (and the discovery of hitherto unknown authorities) as an indication that what follows is fiction. ''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 sea bed. The continuing misunderstanding of Plato as historian here enables us to see why his distrust of imaginative writing is sometimes justified.’’[48]

Kenneth Feder points out that Critias's story in the ''Timaeus'' provides a major clue. In the dialogue, Critias says, referring to Socrates' hypothetical society:
’’And when you were speaking yesterday about your city and citizens, the tale which I have just been repeating to you came into my mind, and I remarked with astonishment how, by some mysterious coincidence, you agreed in almost every particular with the narrative of Solon. …’’[49]

Feder quotes A. E. Taylor, who wrote, "We could not be told much more plainly that the whole narrative of Solon's conversation with the priests and his intention of writing the poem about Atlantis are an invention of Plato's fancy."[50]

Location hypotheses

Since Donnelly's day, there have been dozens of locations proposed for Atlantis, to the point where the name has become a generic concept, divorced from the specifics of Plato's account. This is reflected in the fact that many proposed sites are not within the Atlantic at all. Few today are scholarly or archaeological hypotheses, while others have been made by psychic or other pseudoscientific means. Many of the proposed sites share some of the characteristics of the Atlantis story (water, catastrophic end, relevant time period), but none has been demonstrated to be a true historical Atlantis.

In or near the Mediterranean Sea

Most of the historically proposed locations are in or near the Mediterranean Sea: islands such as Sardinia, Crete, Santorini, Sicily, Cyprus, and Malta; land-based cities or states such as Troy[51], Tartessos, and Tantalus (in the province of Manisa, Turkey); Israel, Sinai or Canaan; and northwestern Africa.[52][53] The Thera eruption, dated to the 17th or 16th century BC, caused a large tsunami that some experts hypothesize devastated the Minoan civilization on the nearby island of Crete, further leading some to believe that this may have been the catastrophe that inspired the story.[54]

A. G. Galanopoulos argued that Plato's dating of 9,000 years before Solon's time was the result of an error in translation, probably from Egyptian into Greek, which produced "thousands" instead of "hundreds". Such an error would also rescale Plato's Atlantis to the size of Crete, while leaving the city the size of the crater on Thera; 900 years before Solon would be the 15th century BC.[55] In the area of the Black Sea the following locations have been proposed: Bosporus and Ancomah[56][57] (a legendary place near Trabzon).

In the Atlantic Ocean and Europe

In 2011, a team, working on a documentary for the National Geographic Channel[58], led by Professor Richard Freund from the University of Hartford, claimed to have found evidence of Atlantis in southwestern Andalusia.[59] The team identified its possible location within the marshlands of the Doñana National Park, in the area that once was the Lacus Ligustinus,[60] between the Huelva, Cádiz and Seville provinces, and speculated that Atlantis had been destroyed by a tsunami[61], extrapolating results from a previous study by Spanish researchers, published four years earlier.[62]

Spanish scientists have dismissed Freund's speculations, claiming that he sensationalised their work. The anthropologist Juan Villarías-Robles, who works with the Spanish National Research Council, said: "Richard Freund was a newcomer to our project and appeared to be involved in his own very controversial issue concerning King Solomon's search for ivory and gold in Tartessos, the well documented settlement in the Doñana area established in the first millennium BC", and described Freund's claims as "fanciful".[63]

A similar theory had previously been put forward by a German researcher, Rainer W. Kühne, but based only on satellite imagery and placing Atlantis in the Marismas de Hinojos, north of the city of Cádiz.[64] Before that, the historian Adolf Schulten had stated in the 1920s that Plato had used Tartessos as the basis for his Atlantis myth.[65]

The location of Atlantis in the Atlantic Ocean has a certain appeal given the closely related names. Popular culture often places Atlantis there, perpetuating the original Platonic setting. Several hypotheses place the sunken island in northern Europe, including Doggerland in the North Sea, and Sweden (by Olof Rudbeck in ''Atland'', 1672–1702). Some have proposed the Celtic Shelf as a possible location, and that there is a link to Ireland.[66]

The Canary Islands and Madeira Islands have also been identified as a possible location[67][68][69][70] west of the Straits of Gibraltar but in relative proximity to the Mediterranean Sea. Various islands or island groups in the Atlantic were also identified as possible locations, notably the Azores.[69][70][71] However detailed geological studies of the Canary Islands, the Azores, Madeira, and the ocean bottom surrounding them found a complete lack of any evidence for the catastrophic subsidence of these islands at any time during their existence and a complete lack of any evidence that the ocean bottom surrounding them was ever dry land at any time in the recent past, with the exception of what appeared to be beaches. The submerged island of Spartel near the Strait of Gibraltar has also been suggested.[64]

Other locations

Several writers have speculated that Antarctica is the site of Atlantis,[72][73] while others have proposed Caribbean locations such the alleged Cuban sunken city off the Guanahacabibes peninsula in Cuba[74], the Bahamas, and the Bermuda Triangle.[75] Areas in the Pacific and Indian Oceans have also been proposed including Indonesia (i.e. Sundaland).[76] Likewise some have speculated that the continent of South America bears striking similarities to the description of Atlantis by Plato, particularly the Altiplano region of the Andes. The stories of a lost continent off the coast of India, named "Kumari Kandam," have inspired some to draw parallels to Atlantis.[77]

See also

  • Atlantis in popular culture

Underwater geography:

Ancient sites:


  • Doggerland
  • Lost lands
  • Kumari Kandam
  • Minoan eruption
  • Mauritia (microcontinent)
1. Plato's ''Timaeus'' is usually dated 360 BC; it was followed by his ''Critias''.
2. Alan Cameron, Greek Mythography in the Roman World, Oxford University Press (2004) page 124
3. ''Timaeus'' 24e–25a, R. G. Bury translation (Loeb Classical Library).
5. Also it has been interpreted that Plato or someone before him in the chain of the oral or written tradition of the report accidentally changed the very similar Greek words for "bigger than" ("meson") and "between" ("mezon") – Luce J.V. (1969) The End of Atlantis – New Light on an Old Legend. London: Thames and Hudson, page 224
6. ''Critias'' 113, Bury translation.
7. ''Critias'' 116a, Bury translation.
8. The name is a back-formation from ''Gades'', the Greek name for Cadiz.
9. Critias 116bc
10. ''Timaeus'' 25c–d, Bury translation.
11. John V Luce (1978). "The Literary Perspective" in Edwin S. Ramage. Atlantis, Fact or Fiction? Indiana University Press, page 72
12. Castleden 2001 page 164
13. Rudberg 1917/2012
14. Nesselrath (2005), page 161–171.
15. Timaeus 24a: τὰ γράμματα λαβόντες.
16. Cameron 2002
17. Castleden 2001, page168
18. Cameron 1983
19. Proclus, ''Commentary on Plato's Timaeus'', pages 117.10–30, trans. Taylor, Nesselrath.
20. Strabo 2.3.6
21. Nesselrath 1998, pages 1–8.
22. Porphyry, ''Life of Plotinus'', pages 7-35
23. Fitzpatrick-Matthews, Keith. ''Lost Continents: Atlantis''.
24. Bibliotheca historica – Diodorus Siculus 4.56.4: "And the writers even offer proofs of these things, pointing out that the Celts who dwell along the ocean venerate the Dioscori above any of the gods, since they have a tradition handed down from ancient times that these gods appeared among them coming from the ocean. Moreover, the country which skirts the ocean bears, they say, not a few names which are derived from the Argonauts and the Dioscori."
25. Philo: On the Eternity of the World. 2006-02-02, retrieved 2012-10-24
26. First Clement: Clement of Rome retrieved 2012-10-24
27. Lightfoot, translator, ''The Apostolic Fathers'', II, 1885, page 84, edited & revised by Michael W. Holmes, 1989.
28. L. Sprague de Camp, ''Lost Continents'', 1954, page 307
29. CHURCH FATHERS: On the Pallium (Tertullian)., retrieved 2012-10-24
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Further reading

  • Plato, 'Timaeus'', translated by Benjamin Jowett at Project Gutenberg; alternative version with commentary.
  • Plato, ''Critias'', translated by Benjamin Jowett at Project Gutenberg; alternative version with commentary.
  • Brunhouse, Robert L. (1973). In Search of the Maya: The First Archaeologists. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.
  • Callahan, Tim, Friedhoffer, Bob, and Pat Linse (2001). "The Search for Atlantis!". Skeptic 8 (4): 96.
  • Cayce, Edgar Evans (1968). On Atlantis. New York and Boston: Grand Central Publishing.
  • Donnelly, Ignatius (1941). Atlantis: The Antediluvian World. New York: Harper.
  • Edelstein, Dan (2006). "Hyperborean Atlantis: Jean-Sylvain Bailly, Madame Blavatsky, and the Nazi Myth". Studies in eighteenth-century culture 35: 267–291.
  • Evans, R. Tripp (2004). Romancing the Maya: Mexican Antiquity in the American Imagination, 1820-1915. Austin: University of Texas Press.
  • Fagan, Garrett G. (2006). "Diagnosing Pseudoarchaeology". In Garrett G. Fagan. Archaeological Fantasies. London and New York: Routledge. pages 23–46.
  • Fagan, Garrett G., and Chris Hale (2001). "The New Atlantis". Skeptic 9 (1): 78.
  • Feder, Kenneth L. (1999). Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology. Mountain View: Mayfield.
  • Hoopes, John W. (2011). "Mayanism Comes of (New) Age". In Joseph Gelfer. 2012: Decoding the Counterculture Apocalypse. London: Equinox Publishing. pages 38–59.
  • Jordan, Paul (2006). "Esoteric Egypt". In Garrett G. Fagan. Archaeological Fantasies. London and New York: Routledge. pages 23–46.
  • Williams, Stephen (1991). Fantastic Archaeology: The Wild Side of North American Prehistory. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Bichler, R (1986). 'Athen besiegt Atlantis. Eine Studie über den Ursprung der Staatsutopie', ''Canopus'', vol.20, no.51, pages 71–88.
  • Cameron, Alan (1983). 'Crantor and Posidonius on Atlantis', ''The Classical Quarterly'', New Series, vol.33, no.1 (1983), pages 81–91.
  • Cayce, Edgar Evans (1968). ''Edgar Cayce's Atlantis''.
  • Christopher, Kevin Atlantis: No way, No how, No where
  • Crowley, Aleister. Lost Continent
  • L. Sprague de Camp (1954). ''Lost Continents: The Atlantis Theme in History, Science, and Literature'', New York: Gnome Press.
  • Castleden, Rodney (2001) ''Atlantis Destroyed', London:Routledge.
  • Collina-Girard, Jacques, ''L'Atlantide retrouvée: enquête scientifique autour d'un mythe'' (Paris: Belin – pour la science, 2009).
  • Donnelly, I (1882). ''Atlantis: The Antediluvian World'', New York: Harper & Bros. retrieved 6 November 2001, from Project Gutenberg.
  • Ellis, R (1998). ''Imaging Atlantis'', New York: Knopf.
  • Erlingsson, U (2004). ''Atlantis from a Geographer's Perspective: Mapping the Fairy Land'', Miami: Lindorm.
  • Flem-Ath R, Wilson C (2001). ''The Atlantis Blueprint: Unlocking the Ancient Mysteries of a Long-Lost Civilization,'' Delacorte Press
  • Frau, S (2002). ''Le Colonne d'Ercole: Un'inchiesta'', Rome: Nur neon.
  • Gill, C (1976). 'The origin of the Atlantis myth', ''Trivium'', vol.11, pages 8–9.
  • Gordon, J.S. (2008). 'The Rise and Fall of Atlantis: and the mysterious origins of human civilization', Watkins Publishing, London.
  • Görgemanns, H (2000). 'Wahrheit und Fiktion in Platons Atlantis-Erzählung', ''Hermes'', vol.128, pages 405–420.
  • Griffiths, JP (1985). 'Atlantis and Egypt', ''Historia'', vol.34, page 35f.
  • Heidel, WA (1933). 'A suggestion concerning Platon's Atlantis', ''Daedalus'', vol. 68, pages 189–228.
  • Jakovljevic, Ranko (2005) ''Gvozdena vrata Atlantide'', IK ''Beoknjiga'' Belgrade.
  • Jakovljevic, Ranko (2008) ''Atlantida u Srbiji'' IK ''Pesic i sinovi'' Belgrade.
  • Jordan, P (1994). ''The Atlantis Syndrome'', Stroud: Sutton Publishing.
  • King, D. (1970). ''Finding Atlantis: A true story of genius, madness, and an extraordinary quest for a lost world.'' Harmony Books, New York.
  • Luce, J V (1982). ''End of Atlantis: New Light on an Old Legend'', Efstathiadis Group: Greece
  • Martin, TH [1841] (1981). 'Dissertation sur l'Atlantide', in TH Martin, ''Études sur le Timée de Platon'', Paris: Librairie philosophique J. Vrin, pages 257–332.
  • Morgan, KA (1998). 'Designer history: Plato's Atlantis story and fourth-century ideology', ''Journal of Hellenic Studies'', vol.118, pages 101–118.
  • Muck, Otto Heinrich, ''The Secret of Atlantis'', translation by Fred Bradley of ''Alles über Atlantis'' (Econ Verlag GmbH, Düsseldorf-Wien, 1976), Times Books, a division of Quadrangle/The New York Times Book Co., Inc., Three Park Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10016, 1978
  • Nesselrath, HG (1998). 'Theopomps Meropis und Platon: Nachahmung und Parodie', ''Göttinger Forum für Altertumswissenschaft'', vol.1, pages 1–8.
  • Nesselrath, HG (2001a). 'Atlantes und Atlantioi: Von Platon zu Dionysios Skytobrachion', ''Philologus'', vol.145, pages 34–38.
  • Nesselrath, HG (2001b). 'Atlantis auf ägyptischen Stelen? Der Philosoph Krantor als Epigraphiker', ''Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik'', vol.135, pages 33–35.
  • Nesselrath, HG (2002). ''Platon und die Erfindung von Atlantis'', München/Leipzig: KG Saur Verlag.
  • Nesselrath, HG (2005). 'Where the Lord of the Sea Grants Passage to Sailors through the Deep-blue Mere no More: The Greeks and the Western Seas', ''Greece & Rome'', vol.52, pages 153–171.
  • Phillips, ED (1968). 'Historical Elements in the Myth of Atlantis', ''Euphrosyne'', vol.2, pages 3–38.
  • Ramage, ES (1978). ''Atlantis: Fact or Fiction?'', Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
  • Gunnar Rudberg (1917/2012). ''Atlantis och Syrakusai'', 1917; English: ''Atlantis and Syracuse'', 2012.
  • Mary Settegast (1987). ''Plato Prehistorian: 10,000 to 5000 B.C. in Myth and Archaeology,'' Cambridge, MA, Rotenberg Press.
  • Lewis Spence [1926] (2003). ''The History of Atlantis'', Mineola, NY: Dover Publications.
  • Stiebing, William H., Jr. (1984). Ancient Astronauts, Cosmic Collisions and Other Popular Theories about Man's Past. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books.
  • Szlezák, TA (1993). 'Atlantis und Troia, Platon und Homer: Bemerkungen zum Wahrheitsanspruch des Atlantis-Mythos', ''Studia Troica'', vol.3, pages 233–237.
  • Pierre Vidal-Naquet (1986). 'Athens and Atlantis: Structure and Meaning of a Platonic Myth', in P Vidal-Naquet, ''The Black Hunter'', Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, pages 263–284.
  • Whitshaw, Elena Maria (1928, Reprint 1994), ''Atlantis in Spain''
  • Colin Wilson (1996). ''From Atlantis to the Sphinx''
  • Eberhard Zangger (1993). ''The Flood from Heaven: Deciphering the Atlantis legend'', New York: William Morrow and Company.
  • Zhirov, Nikolai F., ''Atlantis – Atlantology: Basic Problems'', Translated from the Russian by David Skvirsky, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1970.

External links

Categories: lost civilizations

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