Get ready for this one! Grab a cup or glass of the beverage of your choice, take a deep breath, and settle down for today’s “fact,” that is, in fact, not a fact, except that it was at least for some people understood as fact. Confused? Read on:
“Atlantis is the name of an island first mentioned and described by the classical Greek philosopher Plato in the dialogues Timaeus and Critias. Over 11000 years back (in 9000BC) there existed an island nation located in the middle of the Atlantic ocean populated by a noble and powerful race. The people of this land possessed great wealth thanks to the natural resources found throughout their island. The island was a center for trade and commerce. The rulers of this land held sway over the people and land of their own island and well into Europe and Africa. This was the island of Atlantis. Plato, in his dialogues the Timaeus and the Critias, tells of the high civilization that flourished there before the island was destroyed by an earthquake. The legend persists, and societies for the discovery of Atlantis remain active. Plato described Atlantis as an ideal state, and the name is considered synonymous with Utopia. According to Plato, the walls of Atlantis were constructed of red, white and black rock quarried from the moats, and were covered with brass, tin and orichalcum, respectively. Every passage to the city was guarded by gates and towers, and a wall surrounded each of the city's rings. The island of Atlantis was the domain of Poseidon, god of the sea. When Poseidon fell in love with a mortal woman, Cleito, he created a dwelling at the top of a hill near the middle of the island and surrounded the dwelling with rings of water and land to protect her. Greek myths tell us that Cleito gave birth to five sets of twin boys who became the first rulers of Atlantis. The island was divided among the brothers with the eldest, Atlas, first King of Atlantis, being given control over the central hill and surrounding areas. At the top of the central hill, a temple was built to honor Poseidon which housed a giant gold statue of Poseidon riding a chariot pulled by winged horses. It was here that the rulers of Atlantis would come to discuss laws, pass judgments, and pay tribute to Poseidon.. To facilitate travel and trade, a water canal was cut through of the rings of land and water running south for 5.5 miles (~9 km) to the sea. The city of Atlantis sat just outside the outer ring of water and spread across the plain covering a circle of 11 miles (1.7 km). This was a densely populated area where the majority of the population lived. Beyond the city lay a very fertile plain 330 miles (530 km) long and 110 miles (190 km) wide surrounded by another canal used to collect water from the rivers and streams of the mountains. The climate was such that two harvests were possible each year. One in the winter fed by the rains and one in the summer fed by irrigation from the canal water. Surrounding the plain to the north were mountains which soared to the skies. Villages, lakes, rivers, and meadows dotted the mountains. Besides the harvests, the island provided all kinds of herbs, fruits, and nuts. An abundance of animals, including elephants, roamed the island. For many generations the Atlanteans lived simple, virtuous lives. But slowly they began to change. Greed and power began to corrupt the Atlanteans. When Zeus saw the immorality of the Atlanteans he gathered the other gods to determine a suitable punishment. Soon, in one violent surge it was gone(most probably a deadly earthquake but the reason of its destruction could be a volcanic eruption or a tsunami). The island of Atlantis, its people, and its memory were swallowed by the sea.”
The above article was reprinted from an on-line site called, FactsnFacts.com.
I brought this interesting article to your attention, because it has occurred to me, more than once, when did this myth become a fact? Yes, it is a fact that Plato described this island upti-ump years ago. But, tell me, did he describe this place as a Utopian ideal, or did he really describe a place he knew, for a fact, had existed? The article waves one very red flag that contradicts the possibility of the existence of genuine real estate known as Atlantis. Note the last line of the article:
“The island of Atlantis, its people, and its memory were swallowed by the sea.”
A lovely, poetic line. But if the island, its people, and its memory were swallowed by the sea, how would anybody know of or about it after it was “swallowed?”
An entire vocabulary grew up around Plato’s description of Atlantis – orichalcum, for instance. It’s the name of a semi-precious metal that only existed on Atlantis, but the word later came to be used in the wonderful art and science of alchemy. (By the way, can you imagine the checkerboard wall that surrounded Atlantis? Red, Black, and White. . .sounds rather tacky to me – for city walls, anyway. Give me good old granite or limestone or marble. Much more tasteful. I assume that taste wasn’t invented until after Atlantis was swallowed by the sea.)
So there you have your fabulous fact for this Friday. Is it, in fact, a fact? You tell me. For now, I’ve told you all, my Gentle Readers, enough. . .
(Photo by vaag, via Stock.XCHNG)
Was it just his imagination, or was he in reality much older than anyone believed? Perhaps he was the sole survivor of the “swallowing sea” incident, and had lived to tell the tale. . .