Atlantis I

Years ago I ordered an interesting book called Atlantis: the Truth Behind the Legend by Galanopoulus and Bacon. The large coffee table book arrived and I opened to the first page and was thrilled the authors had reproduced the quote from Plato’s Critias where the legend began. The quote spoke of the large plain surrounded by mountains on which lay the circular capital city.

They were going to use the original quote as a guide, they said. Wow! I thought, this was going to be something good!

Ah, yes, but first a few alterations… The time was judged to be too great by a factor of ten (why? No evidence. It just “sounded about right”), so they reduced the time from 9,000 years ago to 900 years ago. And then they removed the portion of the description about the capital being on a plain surrounded on three sides by mountains extending to the sea, and were left with a round island for the capital. Nothing more about the “continent” of Atlantis, just the round island for the capital.

As much as they had utilized Plato’s original information, they could simply have discarded it. Like many “scientists” today, they start with the answer and warp the information to fit their hypothesis.

By similar exegesis I could show Hitler was an elephant. How? His uniform was typically gray in color, like an elephant… he had a small tuft of hair under his nose, like an elephant… and his raised arm in salute looks much like an elephant’s raised trunk. Ludicrous, you say? But it is as close as those “scientists” came in their interpretation of Plato’s text.

The legendary Island of Atlantis was supposed by Plato to lie “beyond the pillars of Hercules”. Many modern theorists who claim Thera/Santorini is really the lost continent, say the term “pillars of Hercules” is really an unknown identifier and probably referred to some islands nearer Greece than the Straits of Gibralter. They hypothesize some islands near to Thera/Santorini were the original “pillars of Hercules”.

Again they completely ignore Plato who very specifically states the pillars of Hercules are west of Libya. And the only viable contender in that area is the Pillars of Hercules we are most familiar with: the Straits of Gibraltar. That would put Atlantis in the Atlantic where it has usually been placed, and NOT in the eastern Mediterranean.

Many historians claim that the Egyptian priests related the tale of Atlantis to demean the antiquity of the Greeks, to show that there was a greater culture long before the upstart Greeks came along with their supposed “golden culture”. Unfortunately, the Priests mentioned that the Greeks were the only ones who stood up to the invasion of the Atlanteans. Doesn’t sound like much of a ‘put-down’ to me.

It seems to just be a way for the managers of the site to get publicity and funding. The archaeological work being done at Thera/Santorini is marvelous, and it does seem to relate to the death of the Minoan culture. But, come on now, Atlantis? It is an insult to Platoists, Atlantis scholars, and historians as well!

In the Mayan Prophecies by Adrian Gilbert and Maurice Cotterell, their theory ends with a priest leading survivors from the shattered Atlantis near Bimini to the Yucatan peninsula. Their descendants, they surmised, were the Mayans. It is possible, I suppose, as the survivors of Atlantis had to go somewhere and the Maya had to have had ancestors. And it could explain their technical expertise in mathematics.

But it is an unnecessary touch, I believe. People without such ancestry are capable of inventing math. It has happened all over the world without the aid of Atlanteans, aliens, or other outside groups. Necessity made it possible and the human mind is generally able to rise to such needs no matter their parentage.

For the readers interested in the fringe or New Age subjects, it might be a nice additive, but Atlantis itself is not pertinent to the study of the Maya Calendar.

But it does cause one to wonder at the scale of chronology.

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