Earlier this year, I forwarded a blogger the above image (from my book "Uchronia? - Atlantis Revealed",) and that led us into a brief discussion whether Plato's Atlantis was real or a myth.
Along with the image, I wrote, " … if we remain true to Plato’s account and look for a setting around 9600 BC, the place on the image must have been the site Plato was talking about, whether “Atlantis” as we know it was real or not. As you see, the geography is perfectly identical, the volcanic geology is there, and the flora and fauna (including elephants) chronologically match the topography. Furthermore, a pre-Bronze Age civilization in the immediate area further reinforces this likelihood. If Plato’s Atlantis was ever real, this site offers the perfect match! As you also know, before any geographical area qualifies to be considered the site of Plato’s Atlantis, the conference of Milos in 2005 established two dozen criteria. This site meets most of these criteria while the remaining few, especially past suppositions “hinting” to its possible location being somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean, are also explained when properly interpreting Plato from ancient Greek to English.… [I also wrote] obviously, it is no longer considered a farfetched hypothesis to accept that, 10,000 years ago, humans were more advanced and just as Plato asserted. Along with the ancient city of Jericho in Palestine, which long ago was determined that some of its structures date back to the 10th millennium BC, the mega-site of Gobekli Tepe in Turkey (12000BC), as well as the submerged city off the coast of West India in the Gulf of Cambay (8000BC), prove conclusively that prehistoric humans had progressed earlier than anthropologists previously thought.”
Regardless of the many archaeological discoveries though, which clearly point to such a notion, it seems that many critics continue to argue that Plato’s 9,000 year on Atlantis, conflicts with common sense and archaeology. In fact, the skeptic blogger also indicated that since several details in Plato’s story are not compatible with the 10th millennium BC (horse races, triremes, the city of Athens, etc.), that leaves no doubt in his mind that Atlantis was a myth. Furthermore, in order to illustrate that the truth about this story rests in the details, few days later he posted an article in his regular blog in which he outlined the military, as well as the "Population of Atlantis,” (which he based on three different theories) and pointed that those numbers cannot be right. While, of course, this can be explained in a couple of ways, one being the so-called “expert” opinions in the three conflicting examples are wrong, conversely, he never discussed or explained away the ancient island on the image I proposed, which truly was the reason of my communication. Apparently, as many skeptics often do, he formed an opinion he based either on modern interpretations of the story, or on oddities from Plato’s own account, as if, every “true story” we are ever told, always turned real down to the last detail.
So, were the Atlantians a truly prehistoric civilization as Plato claimed, or was that a myth? Was the story of Atlantis entirely a product of Plato’s imagination, or is it possible he created a fable around a real setting in 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 his own time. Could this ideological story otherwise appeal to his audience if they could not connect or relay to it?
A very good example, to Plato’s legend of Atlantis, is Homer’s Iliad. 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 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 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 true setting and a real incident which took place nearly six centuries before his time.
Another example, that proves the “true part” of a story does not always rest in the details, is the account that surrounds the historic Battle of Thermopylae. In this case, we have ancient reports of a famous battle which in order to reasonably authenticate, we had to know the factions involved as well as their military force. Do we have such a legitimate testimony? Not exactly! What we have is far from real. More specifically, Herodotus wrote that King Leonidas with 300 Spartans, along with few thousand Greeks fought against 2.6 million Persians, followed by 2 million support personnel. The poet Simonides reported that the Persian army reached 4 million. Ctesias, a Greek physician and historian downscaled the Persian forces to 800,000. Just as in the case of Atlantis, once more, we are presented with conflicting and grossly exaggerated figures. If these guys were the “credible” sources we gotten this true story from, why then we discarded the details they provided us and created our own? After brushing aside the troop count as quoted in all ancient accounts, modern calculations indicate that the Persian force could not have been higher than 300,000 troops.
In the case of Thermopylae, amongst other debatable details, did the Greek writers inflate the size of the Persian army? Of course, they did, as the story undoubtedly sounds much better that way. Ultimately though, and regardless of the enormous inconsistencies in the facts, we accept this story as real. Interestingly, this is not an isolated case in our recorded history, which is full of stories that contain serious discrepancies and circumstances where mythological places, or “fairy-tales,” eventually turned out to be true (this is the very reason I gave my recent book the primary title, “Uchronia?".)
So, a fundamental question remains. Was Atlantis a cautionary tale or did Plato crafted a tale based on a real setting and a prehistoric civilization known to ancient Greeks, while he supplemented all the “modern” details (including the familiar Minoan aspects) 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 details, 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.
Is it possible then that the “mighty host” who “stayed the course” (inhabited the path) to mainland Greece be that of the prehistoric island of the Cyclades Plateau? Certainly every element of this site matches Plato’s given chronology as well as physical description. Moreover, can the signs of an early Neolithic presence in this area be the remnants of an older civilization that was able to recover on the surrounding islands after the “Great Flood” at the end of the last Ice Age? And, was that lost civilization capable of navigating to the Americas via island hopping as Plato had asserted? Obviously, and as best explained in the book, the enormous island/continent he mentioned on the opposite side of the Atlantic, “across from the Pillars of Hercules," (Strait of Gibraltar) one which “encompasses that veritable ocean” and is “larger than Libya and Asia combined," was that of America and not of Atlantis, as many had speculated in the past. If so, can this early knowledge of the American continent also best explain how haplogroup X, a Middle Eastern gene, found itself in the region of the Great Lakes 10,000 years ago? If not, how else can we justify that elevated concentrations of haplogroup X also “strangely” exist in Scotland, Orkney Islands, Faroe Islands, and Iceland, essentially all the “island stops” on the way to North America from Europe. Finally, how do we otherwise explain that official mtDNA maps show that the highest concentration of haplogroup X away from the eastern Mediterranean exists on the east coast of North America, around the Great Lakes, and not in Alaska or alongside the west coast of the United States, where mainstream scientists maintain haplogroup X infiltrated the American continent. The fact that there is no conclusive scientific explanation to justify the lack of haplogroup X in the enormous void between Altai Republic in southern Russia and the greater region of the Great Lakes, unquestionably raise legitimate doubts on the Bering Strait hypothesis.
As for the Solutrean/Clovis theory (Europeans made it to America on a partial ice sheet via the Atlantic), how can the supporters of this hypothesis rationalize that out of a dozen distinct haplogroups in Europe at the time (H, V, J, HV, U, T, UK, X, W, and I), only haplogroup X conveniently made it to North America? If, 10,000 years ago, the path to the American continent was open in both directions (the north Atlantic as well as the Bering Strait), how do we explain that only a single European/Mediterranean gene managed the journey to the New World, while on the opposite side, every one of the 4 Asian haplogroups (A, B, C and D) sequentially followed each other to America through the Bering Strait?
Is it time perhaps to give Plato's story another look?