ABOUT THE BOOK
At around 360 BC, in his dialogues of Timaeus and Critias, the Greek philosopher Plato introduced an incredible story, a tale of an enigmatic island civilization which since captivated the imagination of every generation that followed. This was the story of Atlantis, one of the most advanced societies of the ancient world, a prehistoric civilization capable of crossing the Atlantic Ocean more than 10,000 years ago.
Today, regardless of the many archaeological discoveries which support Plato's claim of such advanced culture (like that of Gobekli Tepe in Turkey, the Lost city of Ubar in the Arabian Peninsula, the submerged city off the coast of west India in the Gulf of Cambay, and others), many skeptics choose to point to the several inconsistencies in Plato's story (like Athens or Egypt did not exist ten millennia ago, when according to Plato the story took place) and quickly label Atlantis as a myth. Are the skeptics correct though?
Just as in the case of Atlantis, for several centuries we thought that the city of Troy, the centerpiece in Homer’s epic saga, was also a myth. All that changed obviously when Heinrich Schliemann, an amateur archaeologist, found Troy in 1868 while following location tips from Homer’s book Iliad. In the case of Troy, after ditching all the details regarding beauty queens, demigods, Trojan horses and scaled back the armies to more rational levels, it was ultimately acknowledged by the scientific community that the setting as well as the bulk of this story was real. Essentially, Homer’s entirely fictional story, which he filled with principles and common elements from his own time, apparently revolved around a tangible setting and a real incident which took place nearly six centuries before his time. Of course, Troy is not an isolated example. Our recorded history is full of stories that contain serious discrepancies and circumstances where once mythological places, or "fairy tales", in the end turned out to be true.
So, a fundamental question remains. Was Atlantis simply a cautionary tale or is it possible Plato crafted a tale based on a real setting and a prehistoric civilization known to ancient Greeks, while he supplemented all the “modern” details as Homer did few hundred years before him? If true, as in the case of Troy, the true-part of this story should not rest in the story plot, but in the detection and authentication of Plato’s “lost island.” Locating a matching site, along with signs of an advanced civilization in the immediate area, should be the first step in solving this mystery.
Indeed, a recent discovery of a sunken island that perfectly matches Plato's Atlantis, found in the right period as well as the right location (more on the location later), if anything, it further suggests that Plato based his story on real a prehistoric civilization, which in order to successfully communicate some of his philosophical ideas (divine vs. human, ideal societies vs. corrupt,) he filled with familiar matter and details from later times.
So, unlike earlier theories and faulty interpretations of the story which place Atlantis all over the Atlantic Ocean, in Spain, off the coast of Cyprus, at the Azores Islands, in Antarctica and other places (without ever offering a matching site), the recent discovery shows that Plato's Atlantis was a prehistoric super-island in the Aegean Sea at the doorstep of Greece, and not in some far-away location. Even when setting aside all the other clues that lead to the same conclusion, Plato's own words “your State (Greece) stayed the course of a mighty host,” clearly suggests that Atlantis, as a “host” of mainland Greece, stood at Greece's doorstep and ultimately controlled the path, or better yet, the waters leading into the Aegean Sea. True enough! As it turns out, ten millennia ago, with sea levels lower by 400 feet, the modern day Cyclades Islands were connected by a flat terrain, today known as the "Cyclades Plateau". This massive plateau formed a super-island that when comparing to Atlantis, in every way it matches Plato's description (see Plato's quotation and image below). If Atlantis was ever real, this must have been the place Plato was talking about. Not only the geography is identical, the volcanic geology is there, but when further comparing to Plato's account, the flora and fauna, including elephants, chronologically match the topography. How is this possible? To be able to locate a place that slightly resembles Plato’s Atlantis is extremely difficult, to produce one where all the physical aspects perfectly match, is virtually impossible, unless of course the proposed site is the real thing. When up until today, to prove Atlantis real, the most difficult task was to find a place that matched Plato's description, now that we have such a place, how can skeptics explain this find away? Not only we now have a matching site but relics from an unknown pre-Bronze civilization in the immediate area further reinforce this discovery.
An island comprising mostly of 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 square kilometers), but across the center island it was two thousand stadia (about 370 square kilometers). Fifty stadia (9km) from the coast was a mountain that was low on all sides…broke it off all round about . . . the central island itself was five stades in diameter (about 0.92 km).
From the book "Uchronia? Atlantis Revealed" by Christos A. Djonis
Of course, as skeptics often do, without ever attempting to properly explain away the matching site, many will quickly point that according to the story (see Plato's text below) Atlantis was somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean and not in the Mediterranean. Was it though? Can this be true, or is it possible that the real meaning of the story could have been lost during the original translation from ancient Greek to English?
Before analyzing the text below, those not familiar with Greek, must be reminded that the syntactic structure of the language that Plato used has a very different structure than the English language we often use to translate it. What often seems strange to those who first try to learn Greek is the inversion of the possessive adjective in respect to the noun. Similarly, text inversions like these may also exist in the sequence of entire sentences. For example, in an independent clause, an item which is stressed, i.e. which is uttered with emphasis or is contrastive, in ancient Greek it generally goes at the beginning of the clause, rarely at the end. Middle position is occupied by an item receiving no particular emphasis. In a series of clauses in a sentence, though, as in the translated passage below, a prominent item goes at the beginning of its clause if it relates to the previous context, and at the end if it relates to the following one (look at first sentence of the first paragraph, and the last sentence of the second one).
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 that was at that time navigable; for in front of the mouth which you Greeks call, as you say “the Pillars of Heracles” [Strait of Gibraltar] there lay an island which was larger than Libya and Asia together; and it was possible for 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 the veritable ocean ...
In this case, and contrary to what many automatically assume, Plato does not point to the direction of Atlantis across the ocean. As explained earlier, the phrase “your state stayed the course of a mighty host”, at the beginning of the clause, is where the emphasis should be placed. While in this part Plato reveals the very close proximity of Atlantis to Greece, in the rest of the sentence he poetically describes the might of Atlantis and its capacity that stretched around the world to a “distant point” and another continent across the ocean. Of course, once he illustrates their incredible capability, he then describes their audacious and warlike character and their plans to “advance against the whole Europe and Asia”.
The same rule applies when analyzing the remaining text. In this case the revelation of a continent across the ocean is not where the emphasis should be placed. As explained earlier, in a series of clauses in a sentence, prominent items usually are either placed at the beginning or at the end of their clause. The middle part of a sentence is occupied by items that should receive less emphasis. According to this rule, and in this particular case, the explanation of how Atlantians were able to reach the continent across the ocean, at the end of the clause, is where the emphasis should be placed and not on the continent itself that is mentioned earlier (the part that many automatically are drawn to). Not knowing where the emphasis on a clause should be placed, can cause a great deal of confusion, as often and depending where the emphasis goes, two separate meanings can emerge out of a single paragraph. Actually, when it comes to ancient Greek, sometimes even a single comma can cause a short sentence to have two different meanings. Such example is a famous quote from the oracle of Delphi. "Go, return not die in war", can have two entirely opposite meanings, depending on where a missing comma is supposed to be - before or after - the word "not".
In short, when a story from ancient Greek is translated to English, the translated sentences may require proper "re-positioning" in order for an English reader to make better sense of it. For instance, when understanding the syntactic structure of the Greek language and how to "read it" correctly, Plato’s second paragraph above, to an English reader should appear as follows:
(For) the Ocean that was at that time navigable; and it was possible for travelers of that time to cross from it (from Atlantis) to the other islands, and from these islands to the whole of the continent over against them which encompasses the veritable ocean.... for in front of the mouth which you Greeks call, as you say “the Pillars of Hercules,” there lay a continent which was larger than Libya and Asia together.
When seen in this context, the continent across the ocean is no longer the place of origin for Atlantians, but a destination. Here, Plato simply describes the might of Atlantis by depicting their incredible capability to travel half way around the world. He explains that via island hopping (most likely from Scotland, to the Faroe Islands, to Iceland and then to Greenland), the Atlantians were able to reach another grand island/continent on the other side of the Atlantic, one across from the "Pillars of Hercules". Which other continent is on the opposite side of the Atlantic across from the Strait of Gibraltar? The American continent, of course! It was the American continent that Plato said was larger than Libya and Asia put together and not that of Atlantis, as many wrongly had interpreted and even to this day continue to interpret.
Those unconvinced that the ancient Greeks could have known of the American continent around the 4th century BC, must be reminded that unlike other European civilizations at the time, not only did the Greeks know of the continent across the ocean but they were also aware that the earth is round and not flat. The Antikythera mechanism is a technological testament of that advanced knowledge. Additional evidence though, point that more ancient cultures during that period may have been aware of the continent across the ocean. Piri Reis, a Turkish admiral and a famous cartographer (1465-1553) repeatedly claimed that his controversial maps which showed the American continent, and some say Antarctica (300 years before its discovery by the Europeans), were actually based on ancient maps dating from the 4th century BC. Additionally, a recent discovery of a Carthaginian coin which depicts a world map (circa 350 BC) also demonstrates that at around the 4th century BC not only Plato and the Greeks may have been aware of the American continent, but others did as well.
By the way, when altogether discarding Plato's claim, that 10 millennia ago a prehistoric civilization from the Mediterranean travelled to North America via island hopping, how do we otherwise explain the migration of haplogroup X in the region of the Great Lakes, 10,000 years ago? (For those not familiar with mtDNA studies, while all Native Indians in America were expected to carry the four Asian haplogroups, A,B,C & D, some tribes around the Great Lakes were found to also carry haplogroup X, a gene that originates from the eastern Mediterranean). And, without Plato's explanation in place, how else do we explain that high traces of haplogroup X also happen to exist in Scotland, Faroe Islands, and Iceland, essentially all the island stops to North America from Europe?
Those who support the Solutrean/ Clovis hypothesis (a migration via a partial ice sheet over the Atlantic), how do they explain that out of at least a dozen haplogroups present in northern Europe at the time (H, V, J, HV, U, T, UK, X, W, and I) only a single one managed the trip to North America, when on the opposite site, every one of the 4 Asian haplogroups sequentially followed each other over the Bering Strait?
As for those who support the hypothesis that haplogroup X migrated to the Great Lakes on foot via the Bering Strait, along with haplogroups A,B,C & D, how do they explain that there is no trace of haplogroup X to fill in the huge void between southern Russia and the Great Lakes of North America? Most importantly, though, if haplogroup X migrated to America via the Bering Strait, how do they explain that the heaviest concentration of haplogroup X, away from the eastern Mediterranean, exist on the east coast of the United States, around the Great Lakes, and not in Alaska or the west coast? Is it time perhaps to give Plato's story another closer look?
Finally, in regards to the critics who will remind us that Atlantis was entirely swallowed by the sea, while obviously in this case remnants of it were left behind, in the following paragraph Plato clarifies this flawed belief.
The consequence is, that in comparison of what then was, there are remaining in small islets only the bones of the wasted body, as they may be called, all the richer and softer parts of the soil having fallen away, and the mere skeleton of the country being left.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, LOOK FOR THE BOOK "UCHRONIA? ATLANTIS REVEALED".