Atlantis is a legendary island that has plagued the minds of many for thousands of years. However, a group of archeologists have recently made some huge breakthroughs that may have solved the mystery once and for all…
Origins Of Atlantis
In order to understand just how long Atlantis has been the subject of intense speculation, we need to go back to what we believe is the very start of this ancient civilization. The original concept of Atlantis can be traced back to Ancient Greece and the first mention of the city can be found in Plato’s writings Timaeus and Critias (360 BC), where it eventually loses its deities and sinks into the Atlantic Ocean. But are these ancient texts reliable?
In these texts, Plato described Atlantis as a civilization full of great architects and engineers. The island was rife with temples and palace, with its main city perched on a hill. There were hot and cold fountains and Atlanteans would dine in huge elaborate halls. “Now in this island of Atlantis there existed a confederation of kings, of great and marvelous power, which held sway over all the island,” Plato wrote. Amazingly, these texts were considered some of Plato’s least significant pieces of work.
For the next couple of millenniums, any information surrounding Atlantis was incredibly speculative. However, cartographer Abraham Ortelius was considered to be one of the first to believe that the continents had originally been completely connected before separating. Moreover, he had some interesting things to say about Atlantis in 1596: “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 (as Plato reports in the Timaeus).”
An American Theory
The story of Atlantis, like the island itself, sunk into the depths of social and cultural understanding. But nearly two thousand years later, an American by the name of Ignatius Donnelly developed a fervent interest in the subject and eventually, wrote a book about it, detailing his extensive research. In his 1882 book, Atlantis, the Antediluvian World, Donnelly believed that Plato was actually documenting a natural disaster. But did Donnelly have evidence to back up his theory?
Pillars Of Hercules
Donnelly’s findings were mainly speculative. He based his theory on the belief that the Atlantic Ocean was just a couple hundred feet deep. He thought that a continent had been flooded by colliding ocean waters in the location once written by Plato – just by the “Pillars of Hercules,” which are nowadays known as the two rocks at the entry of the Straits of Gibraltar. But is Donnelly’s theory still considered reliable after over a century of scientific developments?
Donnelly’s theory is still popular amongst some of today’s theorists. This is because it shares the same location with where Plato described Atlantis to be. It has since been debunked by modern oceanographers. Scientists have a much better understanding of how plate tectonics work. Therefore, the idea that the waters shifted, sinking Atlantis in the process, had too many holes for people to continue taking Donnelly’s work seriously. But this didn’t stop future theorists from expanding on his work…
One person who was directly influenced by Donnelly’s work was Russian mystic Helene Blavatsky, who founded the Theosophical Society. Unlike Plato, who believed that the Atlanteans were purely a military entity, she considered them to be more sophisticated and a culturally rich civilization. She believed that her own race had evolved from the Atlanteans, who she called the “Root Race.” However, the people of Atlantis were the cause of their own downfall after many internal battles influenced by supernatural powers.
Shockingly, Blavatsky’s theories would have more damaging repercussions than she could ever have anticipated. After articulating her beliefs in her book The Secret Doctrine, this manuscript eventually became a piece of inspiration for the Nazis. The myths of Hyperborea, a land that was home to a godlike race only added fuel to the fire of Nazism and added a new mythological layer to their ideology. It was a dark chapter in the pseudo-history of Atlantis, until more impartial theorists came into play…
The next crop of theorists started to add their own ideas of where they thought Atlantis may have been located. One of the most notable of these new researchers was a man by the name of Charles Berlitz, the grandson of the world-renowned linguist Maximilian Berlitz. He wrote many books about paranormal activity and eventually developed a huge interest in the topic of Atlantis. But Berlitz’s theory relied on information that could be only be found on the other side of the Atlantic…
In the 70s, Berlitz theorized that Atlantis had originally been situated close to the Bahamas and eventually fell into the clutches of “Bermuda Triangle.” This is an area in the Atlantic where many ships and people have mysteriously gone missing. What made people latch onto this particular theory were the ancient looking man-made walls and structures close to the Bimini coast. However, scientists have since confirmed that these structures are in fact natural rock formations. Was all hope lost?
Atlantis Is Antartica?
Another theory that was gathering much speed at a similar time to Berlitz’s ideas was one constructed by American professor Charles Hapgood. His original findings focus more on the belief that a pole shift at the time led to severe catastrophes. He wrote about this in his 1958 book Earth’s Shifting Crust. Within the book though, Hapgood actually suggested that Atlantis may have been a temperate version of what we now know as Antartica. How could this be?
Hapgood claimed that the Earth’s crust shifted over 12,000 years ago. As a result, a huge mass of land that would eventually become Antartica was displaced over time. This temperate region became home to an advanced civilization, who he believes could have been the Atlanteans. However, ice eventually covered the continent, and the people were forced to flee “Atlantis.” Once again, scientific advances rendered the theory nothing more than a myth and the theorists went back to the drawing board…
Stranger Than Fiction
One theory sought to, from the get-go, disprove that Atlantis ever existed in the first place. Instead, some believe that the myth was actually inspired by a real-life event – The Black Sea Flood. This took place in 5600 BC, when the Bosporus Strait was breached and eventually flooded into the Black Sea. Within a short space of time, the catastrophe ruined the lives of many who lived in the region. What’s amazing about this theory is that it came thousands of years before Plato…
Check The History Books
If we want to get our facts straight regarding Atlantis, surely we don’t need to look any further than the history surrounding Ancient Greece? According to historians, the story of Atlantis unequivocally revolves around the Minoans, a group of people who existed between 2500-1600 B.C. in the Greek Islands. Seeing that the Minoans built extravagant structures and many consider them to be the first true European civilization, it’s hard to ignore the Atlantis connection. However, something strange happened to them…
Seemingly, in the blink of an eye, the Minoans disappeared off the face of the earth. As a result, many speculators have often seen a correlation between this civilization’s strange disappearance and the enigmatic nature of Plato’s story. However, recent theories claim that an earthquake struck the island of Thera (now known as Santorini) over 3500 years ago. Researchers believe that the quake caused huge waves that destroyed everything in their sight. But who came up with this popular theory? And how true is it exactly?
Is It True?
Greek archeologist Angelos Galanopoulos came up with the idea towards the end of the 60s. Although many believe that he must be wrong simply because the dates don’t line up, he has an explanation for this. Apparently, when the story was first being deciphered, the faulty Egyptian translation made it seem like the event happened 9000 years ago when, in reality, it was probably more like 900. Nevertheless, Angelos’ theory was faulty since Plato wrote that Atlantis was close to ancient Gibraltar…
Another Thera Theory
One historian who shares a similar theory is Bettany Hughes. The specialist in classical history believes that there are simply too many similarities between Plato’s account and the disaster that occurred on Thera. “Plato describes the Atlantean buildings as being red, black and white – as indeed the masonry at Akrotiri strikingly was (and still is);” she wrote for The Telegraph. The account “also talks about the city encircled by rings of land – the formation of the collapsed volcano.”
Location Location Location
One of the key details about Atlantis that has been the subject of intense debate is where exactly the ancient city could have been. One photograph interpreter by the name of J.M. Allen believes that Atlantis could be in South America – specifically, Altiplano an area close to the Bolivian Andes. However, it was the famous psychic Edgar Cayce who believed that Atlantis could be found close to the Bimini coast. Other potential locations include Southern Spain, the Azores and even Morocco…
Edgar Cayce not only claimed to be able to heal people, he was also believed to have the incredible ability to “connect” to people who had actually lived in Atlantis. Through his psychic powers, he was reportedly able to write down detailed accounts of his “experiences” in the ancient city. Other wild claims he made included the bizarre notion that Atlantis would “rise” again in the 60s and that there were archives of information about Atlantis stored underneath the Sphinx in Egypt.
Missing The Point
After continental drift became an undisputed fact, scholars have repeatedly questioned Plato’s work and whether Atlantis truly exists or not. One scholar by the name of Julia Annas had the following to say: “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.” This wake-up call has shaken up the Atlantis theorists to reevaluate their research techniques.
In the modern era, the enigmatic quality of Atlantis has captured the imagination of millions, with the concept of an underwater city being presented in a variety of mediums. Many movies have revolved around the myth, such as Disney’s animated movie Atlantis: The Lost Empire and Luc Besson’s documentary Atlantis. The myth has also been used in both Marvel and DC comic storylines. But of course, it’s the real-life search for the ancient city that has sparked the most interest…
Original Or Not?
Much debate has surrounded the originality behind Plato’s works. Many believe that the philosopher borrowed allegories and ideas from the Story of Gyges. However, others theorize that he actually took inspiration from a variety of sources such as the Sea Peoples’ invasion and the war of Troy. Then there are those who insist that his work was completely original. The only inspiration that Plato could have sought from were real life events such as the destruction of Helike in fourth century BC.
Was It The Mayans?
Eventually, many scholars proposed a theory that was frowned upon by the masses. Mesoamerican theorists such as Charles Etienne Brasseur de Bourbourg and August Le Plongeon devised thoroughly detailed theories to suggest that somehow, either the Mayan or the Aztec civilizations had something to do with the construction of Atlantis. The former traveled to the region during the 1800s and after translating Mayan texts such as Popol Vuh, he had what he believed was sufficient evidence…
A Huge Risk
As a result of his unconventional theories, Brasseur De Bourbourg’s reputation was tarnished considerably. This is mainly after suggesting that the Mayans were actually descendants of a people called the Toltecs. He claimed that these were the superior race who had originally created Atlantis. Although his depictions were exciting and provoking towards the general consensus, scholars found his work to be purely speculative and rooted in fantasy. In stark contrast, one individual has recently come up with some more believable findings…
Over the last few years, concrete claims to the city of Atlantis have been few and far between. One exception though came in 2015 when German computer expert Michael Hubner theorized that Morocco was potentially home to the ancient ruins. After gathering clues from Plato’s accounts and highlighting all the areas within a 3000-mile radius of Athens, his search eventually led him to the North African country. You may be wondering, what could have led Hubner to such a random country?
What made Hubner’s work so unique was this: unlike others who would usually choose their location first and then build evidence around it, Hubner used computer technology to calculate where Atlantis could be. He took 51 attributes about Plato’s depiction of Atlantis, such as being near the sea, being outside the “Pillars of Hercules” and having elephants. Morocco ticked all 51 boxes. However, it was just two years later when archeologists came up with the most serious discovery to date…
In an amazing breakthrough, Archeologists have recently discovered an ancient city that many theorists believe could, in fact, be Atlantis. However, one detail about it is completely unexpected – it’s located in the Pacific Ocean. New aerial images clearly show Nad Madol, located on the island of Pohnpei. The team of researchers, who have since traveled to the location, discovered that the ruins had originally been built over a lagoon. But what makes this archeological site so different from all the others?
Could It Be Atlantis?
What is intriguing Atlantis theorists the most about this newly found site are the tidal canals and walls that surround the site, similar to that which was written by Plato all those years ago. The structures of Nan Madol are believed to be built out of 750,000 tons of black rock. Interestingly, the name Nan Madol translates into “spaces between,” which is a direct reference to the canals that flow through the ruins. Atlantis or not, it’s an amazing discovery…
The leader of the research team is a man who goes by the name of Mark McCoy. According to the proud archeologist, he believes that the discovery, whether it turns out to be Atlantis or not, is an absolute game changer. “It now looks like Nan Madol represents a first in Pacific Island history,” he said. “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.”
Raiders Of The Lost Tomb
McCoy and the team closely investigated one of the tombs that chiefs were buried in. This way, they were able to determine a clearer date as to when the ancient city was originally built. “With the results described in our new paper, [it] can now be compared to other islands in the Pacific and societies around the world,” McCoy said. This only spells good things for further research about Atlantis. But who lived in Nan Madol?
As it turns out, McCoy was right. Nan Madol was originally a capital city, specifically, of the Saudeleur Dynasty. This kingdom, which was home to the Saudeleur people until 1628, was responsible for the structures closely looked at by McCoy’s team and were responsible for similar structures in nearly 100 artificial islands close to Pohnpei. The ruins are considered well ahead of their time by the archeological community.
Although Nan Madol might not be Atlantis, there is still no confirmation that it isn’t. And even if it isn’t, this shouldn’t take anything away from the amazing feat of this team of archeologists, who have unearthed something truly special. It’s discoveries like these that spur researchers onwards to double their efforts in finally finding the ruins of one of the most mysterious wonders of the ancient civilization – the ancient city of Atlantis. Who knows, maybe it has already been found and we just don’t realize it…