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Plato's Atlantis -- Made Up or Based on Fact?


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#1    MissionAtlantis

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 02:37 AM

In another thread on the subject of the source of the Sumerians, I brought up the subject of Atlantis as one possibility. I should have started this thread before bringing up the subject there.

Was Atlantis a real place?

Though there is some dispute over the meaning of Crantor's involvement in the Atlantis story, there remains the possibility that he saw evidence in Egypt to support the story of Plato's Atlantis.

Many of the things we know of those ancient, historical times come to us second or even third hand, because the original works were lost. And what of the works that were lost for which no one bothered to write commentaries? Could alternate, corroborative sources of the Atlantis story still exist to be dug up? Could some corroborative sources have disappeared, destroyed as so many ancient documents have been? So many skeptics speculate about the lack of evidence, but it is only that speculation.

One reference I read, years ago, of Egyptian myth mentioned an island "moving" West. I wish I had taken better note of the article, because now I can't find it. (If anyone knows of this, and its source, please let me know.) Yet, what strange wording! Could the directions West (of the setting sun) and East (of the rising sun) be symbols for "down" and "up," respectively? The Cherubims "east" of the Garden of Eden, mentioned in Genesis, might merely have been symbolically "up" (heaven). Could "West" then mean "subsidence?" Could the island mentioned in that obscure Egyptian myth have subsided instead of having moved laterally?

I've also read that Egyptian "god," Thoth, and some of his buddies came from an island far to the West, before settling in Egypt. Later, an Egyptian pharaoh sent an expedition to see if they could find traces of the original homeland.

A fellow researcher told me recently that there is an Indian (Asian) myth of an island sinking far to the West. Could this refer to Atlantis?

Did Plato Make Up the Story?

This is certainly one possibility. Many skeptics, however, fall into the trap of being unskeptical about this unproven hypothesis. The usefulness of the "good kind" of skepticism is that of restraint from jumping to an unfounded conclusion and restraint from assuming that a conclusion is true without rigorous proof, first.

It is entirely possible that Atlantis is a complete fiction. It is also possible that it was a very real place. Right now, we simply do not know for certain.

One researcher on a video about Atlantis, narrated by Ted Danson, claimed that Atlantis was merely made up by Plato because there are no other versions of the story in Greek myth as there are for other myths. Well, there are three flaws in his logic. For one, the story had not been in Greece long enough to have evolved multiple versions, as with the other Greek myths. The Atlantis myth was originally Egyptian, and only 200 years in Greece before Plato wrote about it.

Another flaw involves the fact that "Atlantis" was merely a local, family tale brought back by Solon and shared with friends and family and not widely distributed, like other myths. Thus it did not have the same opportunities for such metamorphosis.

The third flaw involves the fact that there is another myth that bears a number of similarities with the Atlantis myth, though it never uses the name "Atlantis." This is the myth of Athena's birth. And this myth entered the Greek culture long before Solon's tale.

How is this myth similar?

First of all, Athena's mother, Metis (the wisest individual of all time), was swallowed whole by her boyfriend, Zeus (the god of all nature). Atlantis (the most advanced civilization of all time), was swallowed whole by the sea (part of nature). Athena was born full-grown from her father's head, wearing armor. Any refugees of Atlantis (perhaps leaving the "head" or capital city) would likely have carried with them a fully mature (full grown) society and the ability to protect itself (fully armored) in the wilderness of Europe.

The idea of someone swallowing their girlfriend whole is pretty radical and completely unreal. But looking at the myth as symbolic for something else as seen through the mind of someone who likely did not have the proper vocabulary, the Atlantis story makes far more sense. To the hunter-gatherer primitive who might hear such a story, "island empire" has no meaning, but powerful goddess might be something they could understand.

Children of Atlantis

If Metis was Atlantis in its final days, and Athena was the refugees of Atlantis, then the culture of Atlantis may have been matriarchal ruled by women. In one hypothesis, the possible "children of Atlantis" mostly spoke/speak agglutinative languages (Basques, Suomi [Finns], Magyar [Hungarians], Rasna [Etruscans], Georgian [Colchis?], Sumerian, Dravidian, and possibly Mon-Khmer), most had matriarchal, matrilineal or moderately egalitarian societies, many created civilizations that were unique or innovative, and some share genetic ties.

The Etruscans were constructing roads and buildings when their neighbors, the Romans, were still simple dirt farmers. The Sumerians gave us writing and a head start on civilization. The Mon-Khmer constructed one of the wonders of the world at Angkor a massive city in the middle of the Cambodian jungle. The people of Colchis (Georgians?) may have possessed two items of ancient technology the Golden Fleece and a Golden Dragon (which guarded the Fleece, and may later have been used by Medea when she flew away from Athens and her second husband).

Dragon Myths Worldwide

Dragons are to be found worldwide, in the myths of many ancient cultures. From China and India to Egypt and Greece. We also find dragons in Mesoamerica. Could the feathered serpents of the West have meant that the dragons there were like birds (feathered) because they flew? And the golden dragons of Cadmus and Medea also flew.

The dragon of the Egyptian merchant-prince rescue tale sometimes spoke to the recovering prince as a dragon and sometimes as a man. Metamorphosis? Or could it merely have been the pilot of a dragon ship speaking sometimes from the inside of his aircraft and sometimes from outside it? The myth of Cecrops and the naming of Athens describes the leader as half man, half snake. Could Cecrops merely have been the captain of a dragon ship popping the hatch in order to discuss with his men the naming of their new city? With only the upper half of him exposed, and the lower half appearing to be the body of the serpent ship, the legend of half-man, half-snake was born.

Some myths make a big deal out of the toughness of dragon scales. Plato mentions a mysterious substance for which Atlantis was abundantly rich orichalcum. In Plato's Critias, orichalcum was said to be reddish in color. Could orichalcum have been merely copper? Could it have been alloyed with other metals to create a gold-like color. It is interesting to note that one of the densest and toughest metals has a melting point right next to that of copper. This is the element uranium. This dense, tough metal is sometimes used in armor-piercing rounds because of its ability to slice right through other metals. Now, that's tough! Could "gold" dragon scales have been made out of a copper-uranium alloy?

Where could all of these dragon myths have originated? It is entirely possible that each culture merely had a separate fascination with snakes. It is also possible that an ancient culture possessed an advanced technology which inspired the myths worldwide. Could that source have been Atlantis?

Some skeptics make a big deal that so many Atlantis researchers point to Atlantis as a possible source for a great many mysteries. So what? They say this as if it proves something negative against Atlantis or the researchers, which it doesn't.

Look at it another way. Consider for a moment that one very advanced civilization had hundreds or even thousands of refugees entering the relative vacuum of a primitive, Eurasian wilderness. It would seem foolish to assume that such a presence would not create numerous myths amongst all their neighboring primitives.

Proof of an Atlantis-Like Event 9620 BCE

Three events mentioned in scientific, peer-reviewed literature each in a different discipline support the idea that Atlantis was a real place? How?

Admittedly, they don't prove Atlantis, directly. They do, however, prove that an Atlantis-like subsidence occurred 9620 BCE a veritable bulls-eye for Plato's date.

  • An abrupt, worldwide change in climate 9620 BCE (end of the Younger Dryas).
  • A moderately large volcanic event 9620.77 BCE (GISP2 survey).
  • A sudden, 2-meter drop in sea levels worldwide 9620 BCE (1989 Nature article on 17,000 years of sea level rise).

This last item sorely needs corroboration, but if proven to have been a proxy for a real event, then this 2-meter drop would prove that an Atlantis-sized body of land (or island) subsided approximately 1 kilometer down somewhere in the oceans of the world. Again, this doesn't prove Atlantis, directly. Yet, Atlantis remains the likeliest suspect because of the coinciding dates.

Geology of Atlantis

The most critical aspect of the Atlantis story, short of finding direct proof, is that of the geological feasibility of the Atlantis story. We need a plausible mechanism for the creation and later demise of such a large island.

Creation: Most mountains are formed near tectonic plate boundaries from the actions of subduction or convergent compression. Plato's Atlantis, if it existed at all, stood along the Africa-Eurasia tectonic plate boundary, from Gibraltar to the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. There is a great deal of evidence of plate damage which could have been from the effects of such creation and subsequent destruction.

Destruction: Currently, the Africa plate is rotating around the general vicinity of Plato's Atlantis. This would tend to weaken any landmass created there from subduction or convergent compression and would accelerate the extensional forces caused by gravity. Add to this weakening, the force of post-glacial isostatic adjustment. On both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, Europe and North America were "rebounding" from the melting of trillions of tons of ice. The last Ice Age was coming to an end. To compensate for the massive rebound, Atlantis (in between both regions) suffered the penalty of subsidence.

Want to know more? An Atlantis video gives a layman's overview of the subject. A downloadable article on the Geology of Atlantis gives a more in-depth look at the subject including pictures, maps, diagrams and sources.

Look at the facts presented here. What do you think of these specific points? Do you have anything to add to the original question was Plato's Atlantis made up or based on fact?


#2    Harte

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 02:57 AM

Made up.

Your claim that the "myth" wasn't in Greece long enough sidesteps the very real fact that the "myth" doesn't exist in the Egyptian culture either.

There is no Atlantis "myth."

Harte

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#3    Piney

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 03:11 AM

View PostMissionAtlantis, on 02 September 2010 - 02:37 AM, said:

We also find dragons in Mesoamerica.

Shades of D.C.  :sleepy:    Errrrrr....NO! They describe a very different creature.  :yes: A feathered snake and a horned snake is not a dragon. A dragon makes foiled baked hams out of knights. :tu:



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#4    Ostanes

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 03:18 AM

All myths are based in fact.

Antarctica matches Plato's description of an island continent in the world ocean.

The reason why Atlas holds the world on his shoulders is because Antarctica is at the south pole.


#5    cormac mac airt

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 03:24 AM

View PostHarte, on 02 September 2010 - 02:57 AM, said:

Made up.

Quote

Your claim that the "myth" wasn't in Greece long enough sidesteps the very real fact that the "myth" doesn't exist in the Egyptian culture either.

There is no Atlantis "myth."

Harte


Adding to that, this story isn't even second or third hand but allegedly what, fifth hand at best. And from someone who is conveniently silent on the subject, namely Solon himself. And with no Egyptian myth whatsoever to back it up.

cormac

The city and citizens, which you yesterday described to us in fiction, we will now transfer to the world of reality. It shall be the ancient city of Athens, and we will suppose that the citizens whom you imagined, were our veritable ancestors, of whom the priest spoke; they will perfectly harmonise, and there will be no inconsistency in saying that the citizens of your republic are these ancient Athenians. --  Plato's Timaeus

#6    Ostanes

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 03:55 AM

View Postcormac mac airt, on 02 September 2010 - 03:24 AM, said:

Adding to that, this story isn't even second or third hand but allegedly what, fifth hand at best.
It would still be true if it were a billionth hand account.

In the Critias, Critias claims to have seen and studied Solon's diary which was in his possession.

"Solon, who was intending to use the tale [of Antarctica] for his poem, enquired into the meaning of the names, and found that the early Egyptians in writing them down had translated them into their own language, and he recovered the meaning of the several names and when copying them out again translated them into our language. My great-grandfather, Dropides, had the original writing, which is still in my possession, and was carefully studied by me when I was a child." -- Plato, philosopher, Critias, 360 B.C.

Quote

And from someone who is conveniently silent on the subject, namely Solon himself.
What you call convenience, actual historians call reality.

"His [Solon's] first voyage was for Egypt, and he lived, as he himself says -- 'Near Nilus' mouth, by fair Canopus' shore,' and spent some time in study with Psenophis of Heliopolis, and Sonchis the Saite, the most learned of all the priests; from whom, as Plato says, getting knowledge of the Atlantic story, he put it into a poem, and proposed to bring it to the knowledge of the Greeks." -- Plutarch, historian, 75

"When Solon travelled into Egypt, he talked with the priests of Sais about their history. He wrote a poem of what he had learned but did not finish it. It eventually came into the hands of Plato." -- Isaac Newton, mathematician, 1727

Quote

And with no Egyptian myth whatsoever to back it up.

cormac
"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. ... He [Crantor] adds, that this is testified by the prophets of the Egyptians, who assert that these particulars are written on pillars which are still preserved." -- Proclus, philosopher, 5th century


#7    Sir Wearer of Hats

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 04:01 AM

I like to think that he based it on reality of a sort. He took various things he knew about, mixed them together, exaggerated some stuff and voila - Atlantis. Kind of like how Star Wars is "Nazis in space fighting wizards".


#8    Qoais

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 04:07 AM

Have you read Plato Ostanes?  Do you know the story of Atlantis as told by him, it's creator?
http://www.activemin...nd_critias.html

If you think Antarctica was Atlantis, can you explain a few things?  Can you explain how a people living in Antarctica 11,500 years ago, sailed the Atlantic ocean and managed to attack Greece, Egypt and Asia all at once?  Since according to science and the people who do the hands on research, there were no ocean going vessels 11,500 years ago, what did these people cross the ocean in?

Can you explain who these Atlanteans were supposedly fighting against, when Athens or it's precursor didn't exist in that time frame?

Geographical setting


The site on which Athens stands was first inhabited in the Neolithic period, perhaps as a defensible settlement on top of the Acropolis ('high city'), around the end of the fourth millennium BC or a little later.[3] The Acropolis is a natural defensive position which commands the surrounding plains. The settlement was about 20 km (12 mi) inland from the Saronic Gulf, in the centre of the Cephisian Plain, a fertile valley surrounded by rivers. To the east lies Mount Hymettus, to the north Mount Pentelicus.
http://en.wikipedia....story_of_Athens

An open-minded view of the past allows for an unprejudiced glimpse into the future.

Intuitive knowledge is knowledge beyond intellectual reasoning.

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#9    Ostanes

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 04:09 AM

View PostQoais, on 02 September 2010 - 04:07 AM, said:

Have you read Plato Ostanes?
Yes.

Over and over.

Antarctica is an island continent located beyond the pillars of Herakles in the world ocean.

Therefore I think what Plato offers to us is fact.

Quote

If you think Antarctica was Atlantis, can you explain a few things? Can you explain how a people living in Antarctica 11,500 years ago, sailed the Atlantic ocean and managed to attack Greece, Egypt and Asia all at once?
The exact same way people living in America, Britain, and Australia managed to attack Europe, Africa, and Asia all at once in the 20th century.

Quote

Since according to science and the people who do the hands on research, there were no ocean going vessels 11,500 years ago, what did these people cross the ocean in?
Reality says otherwise.

http://www.nytimes.c...e/16archeo.html

Quote

Early humans, possibly even prehuman ancestors, appear to have been going to sea much longer than anyone had ever suspected.

That is the startling implication of discoveries made the last two summers on the Greek island of Crete. Stone tools found there, archaeologists say, are at least 130,000 years old, which is considered strong evidence for the earliest known seafaring in the Mediterranean and cause for rethinking the maritime capabilities of prehuman cultures.

Crete has been an island for more than five million years, meaning that the toolmakers must have arrived by boat. So this seems to push the history of Mediterranean voyaging back more than 100,000 years, specialists in Stone Age archaeology say.


Edited by Ostanes, 02 September 2010 - 04:25 AM.


#10    Qoais

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 04:11 AM

Ok - answer my questions then please.

An open-minded view of the past allows for an unprejudiced glimpse into the future.

Intuitive knowledge is knowledge beyond intellectual reasoning.

"Intellectual brilliance is no guarantee against being dead wrong."

#11    Ostanes

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 04:15 AM

View PostQoais, on 02 September 2010 - 04:11 AM, said:

Ok - answer my questions then please.
See above.


#12    The Puzzler

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 04:17 AM

Great to see this, even though I was taking a small UM break and don't want to hog the thread, I will make my own view on your post short and to the point to start.

Was Atlantis a real place?

I say it was real in the context of Plato's story. Meaning, the Egyptians saw themselves as very old, keeping a wooden effigy of 330 generational Kings in Herodotus' day they said, that adding up to exactly the age they said, approx 8,000 years. Before this Herodotus states they said they had Gods and no Kings which at least went back to a God called Heracles and mention of Pan being a goat God of the Mendesians. To the Egyptian priests of Sais themselves who related the story, their history according to them was over 15,000 years old inc both Gods and men kings. Zeus is Ammon, a God of the Libyans in the Siwa Desert, Palm Land, at one time a booming economic area exporting tonnes of olives to Crete, the ancient stories of Libyans and Poseidon all transferred through from that direction imo.

Evidence in the Sahara Desert to where I mainly place Atlantis (around the Richat Structure in Mauritania and over to the Canary Islands) shows that prior to Egypt they were mummifying bodies and using herbs and other medicinals to do this with sewing techniques not expected, the Black Mummy is the example of this, I have the DVD. To be able to do that shows some sort of medical skill at a very early timeframe that followed into Egypt becoming imo developed as the Osiris myth.

It was wetter and we know from genetics that possible contact was made with the Saami by the Berber c. 8000BC. To me this is a really important link: Additionally, recent studies have discovered a close mitochondrial link between Berbers and the Saami of Scandinavia which confirms that the Franco-Cantabrian refuge area of southwestern Europe was the source of late-glacial expansions of hunter-gatherers that repopulated northern Europe after the Last Glacial Maximum and reveals a direct maternal link between those European hunter-gatherer populations and the Berbers.
http://en.wikipedia....i/Berber_people

Poseidon was a Libyan God, Athena was said by Plato to have come into Greece via Crete at the earliest dawn of Greek civilisation. Reported mentions by ancient authors of a prior Athens being flooded while Sais remained. Heracles as the constellation that went around the North Celestial Pole at the time of 9600BC indicates this was the immortal Heracles God that Egypt spoke of.

The Canary Islands offer real clues as being part of Atlantis with the stories of the Volcano God being trapped under it and guarded by a dog like Cerberus, there were found remains of brick structures not built by the later Guanches. Hiding in the caves was most likely how many inhabitants were not discovered until later, reports confirm this could be true.

I don't think Plato made it up, I think it contains a philosophical message in a story he had been told as being true. It's probably so many layers and so deep, and the part of Timaeaus about the creation of the Universe and ourselves actually blends with the creation of Atlantis and I see number similiarities in patterns of numbers for the amount of men furnished for the war etc, and islands structure, it's like we are the island too. The fall of man. That is his philosophy and it would transfer into the story. Which gets to Metis, but I'll use Thetis, a Nereid, she is as ancient a Goddess as there is and can be compared to a racetrack and unending, which harks to his description of a racetrack on one of the earth rings of the island.

The story might be found in the founding myth of Athens and the contest between Poseidon and Athena and the people who followed them and instituted them in the manner they did. The one phrase I really don't like being used is Advanced Civilisation, which then heads everyone off onto this Disney fantasy land and undermines the real story, I call that Atlantis - Advantis.
There is nothing in Plato's story that indicated a very advanced civilisation, every thing is very basic really, just structured to maximise what they had. Trade is as old as the ages and brings advancements into cultures, like Sumeria too. Even Bible tells us boats were built before a giant flooding event, the ark is a boat.

Yes, I think Atlantis existed and it always will, if we look up in the sky we might even see it, always there, always looking down on us, reminding us, the Cosmic Sea filled with all the Greek heroes, reminding us of their names, and down on Earth, like Achilles, destined to be immortal by being remembered forever.

Edited by The Puzzler, 02 September 2010 - 04:18 AM.

In an mmm bop it's gone...

#13    cormac mac airt

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 04:29 AM

Quote

It would still be true if it were a billionth hand account.

No, it wouldn't. It's called hear-say.

Quote

In the Critias, Critias claims to have seen and studied Solon's diary which was in his possession.

Which happens to be Plato's writing. Of course in his own writing he would say someone else made that claim. Do you have evidence of an extant text from Critias, himself, making this claim?

Quote

"Solon, who was intending to use the tale [of Antarctica] for his poem, enquired into the meaning of the names, and found that the early Egyptians in writing them down had translated them into their own language, and he recovered the meaning of the several names and when copying them out again translated them into our language. My great-grandfather, Dropides, had the original writing, which is still in my possession, and was carefully studied by me when I was a child." -- Plato, philosopher, Critias, 360 B.C.

The part in brackets [] are someone elses interpretation and not Plato's words. Plato describes exactly where Atlantis is, in front of the Pillars of Hercules.

Quote

"His [Solon's] first voyage was for Egypt, and he lived, as he himself says -- 'Near Nilus' mouth, by fair Canopus' shore,' and spent some time in study with Psenophis of Heliopolis, and Sonchis the Saite, the most learned of all the priests; from whom, as Plato says, getting knowledge of the Atlantic story, he put it into a poem, and proposed to bring it to the knowledge of the Greeks." -- Plutarch, historian, 75

Interesting how Plutarch, who lived some 600 years AFTER Solon, gives the names of two Egyptian Priests which are never mentioned in the preceding 600 years, by anyone. And still, there is no evidence of an Atlantis story in Egypt. By that, or any other name.

Quote

He [Crantor] adds, that this is testified by the prophets of the Egyptians, who assert that these particulars are written on pillars which are still preserved." -- Proclus, philosopher, 5th century

Two things wrong with Crantors story:  1) Ancient Egyptians DID NOT have prophets. 2) There is no evidence that any such tale was ever written on pillars in Egypt.

From your take on things you should believe me, then, when I say that Harte said that kmt_sesh said that your great great grandchild will inherit 1 billion dollars from the Easter Bunny. After all, it was said, so it must be true, RIGHT?

cormac

Edited by cormac mac airt, 02 September 2010 - 04:30 AM.

The city and citizens, which you yesterday described to us in fiction, we will now transfer to the world of reality. It shall be the ancient city of Athens, and we will suppose that the citizens whom you imagined, were our veritable ancestors, of whom the priest spoke; they will perfectly harmonise, and there will be no inconsistency in saying that the citizens of your republic are these ancient Athenians. --  Plato's Timaeus

#14    The Puzzler

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 04:34 AM

View PostQoais, on 02 September 2010 - 04:07 AM, said:


The site on which Athens stands was first inhabited in the Neolithic period, perhaps as a defensible settlement on top of the Acropolis ('high city'), around the end of the fourth millennium BC or a little later.[3] The Acropolis is a natural defensive position which commands the surrounding plains. The settlement was about 20 km (12 mi) inland from the Saronic Gulf, in the centre of the Cephisian Plain, a fertile valley surrounded by rivers. To the east lies Mount Hymettus, to the north Mount Pentelicus.
http://en.wikipedia....story_of_Athens
Mate, I always wonder though, Plato does tell us that in this great flood that the Acropolis had soil all over it, more like a small mountain, right, and the flood eroded all this top soil with it going into the sea, so the people who would have been in Athens would not have been living on the rock or under the side of the Acropolis, which is where they date these oldest finds, they would be living on top of a small hill or mountain of which, none remains anymore, washed away, which could explain why we find no evidence in Athens of them.

In an mmm bop it's gone...

#15    booNyzarC

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Posted 02 September 2010 - 04:59 AM

View PostOstanes, on 02 September 2010 - 03:18 AM, said:

All myths are based in fact.
No they aren't.  Myths are based in belief.  And sometimes belief is based in fact.  Unfortunately though, that is far more rare than it should be.

View PostOstanes, on 02 September 2010 - 03:18 AM, said:

Antarctica matches Plato's description of an island continent in the world ocean.
So does Hawaii... Easter Island... Australia... the rock in my yard's water feature ( if you remove the 'ocean' part anyway)...

View PostOstanes, on 02 September 2010 - 03:18 AM, said:

The reason why Atlas holds the world on his shoulders is because Antarctica is at the south pole.
And that is related to Atlantis in what way?  Oh wait...  because Atlantis was swallowed by the ocean?  Oh wait... Antarctica is still above water...  huh?  I'm confused...  Maybe if you explained in more depth it would make more sense to me.





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