Monday, October 09, 2006

Locating Atlantis

Atlantis: myth or reality?

There are actually scholars on both sides of the debate. The origin of information about Atlantis is in the works of Plato. Some think he created the idea of Atlantis (a thriving culture that was destroyed through the wrath of the gods) merely as a literary device to prove a point, but others scholar contend that the way Plato writes of Atlantis indicates fact not fiction. This is because his writing incorporates far more detail than would be necessary for a mere literary device and also because he has the characters in his writings (called Dialogues) refer to the story of Atlantis as "genuine history."

Well, whether fact or fiction, where would this "lost continent" have been? There is much speculation. The Mediterranean Island of Crete has been mentioned as a possibility because of the sudden disappearance of the Minoan culture there. The Mediterranean Island of Santorini, which was destroyed by a catastrophic volcano has also been suggested - as have the Bahamas, at whose surrounding ocean floor massive stone walls have been found.

The Bahamas just seem too far from the ancient world to be a possibility, and Crete and Santorini don't seem to make sense according to Plato's writings. Plato writes that Atlantis was beyond the "Pillars of Hercules" (what we know as the Straits of Gibraltar - the entrance to the Mediterranean). From Plato's geographical perspective, it makes sense that something "beyond" the Straits of Gibraltar would have been in the Atlantic Ocean ( . . . hmm, check out the name), not inside the Mediterranean. If you sail away from the Mediterannean and head west, you encounter the archipelago of the Azore Islands. This is another site that has been the focus of speculation, and, of course I have personal reasons for leaning towards this location. Could these islands (one of which is pictured here) be the mountain peaks that remain of Atlantis?

Literary device or history? You decide.


Paula said...

The Bahamas of course...I stayed at the Atlantis Hotel there in March. Can't miss it...big pink towers with the world's larges underwater exhibit of marine life.

You're just to deep a thinker for my small mind....but you knew that already.

Heidi said...

You must be much smarter than I am if you actually found Atlantis!! How could you have kept that a secret from me?! :-)