After watching the National Geographic “Finding Atlantis” documentary on Tuesday evening, I’ve got some initial thoughts. First of all, I thought the show was well done if, perhaps, a little over the top. They did a great job of giving the historical evidence for Atlantis as well as touching on the archeologists who have taken the quest seriously. I know it’s a bit odd for me to say this considering the nature of this blog but I was very happy to see not one single New Age reference in the whole episode! It was just good to see the subject being taken academically for once.
The reference they made to Troia, or the city of Troy, was fantastic. Take a city that was deemed “only myth”, add years of academic ridicule, then throw in one archaeologist who was driven to follow the information and the clues and what do you get? You get to find a mythical city that “never existed!” A great way to offset much of the ridicule out there concerning Atlantis that’s out there.
My thoughts throughout the entire show kept returning to something I mentioned in the previous post. What if what they were finding was just one city of a larger naval nation? If Plato is correct and we’re going to lean so heavily on the thoughts concerning “ringed cities” and the temple of Poseidon which he mentions in his accounts then we have to also pay attention to the fact that he mentions that Atlantis was a LARGE ISLAND, not a single port city. Unfortunately, the documentary seemed very focused on avoiding this topic for the most part.
“This power came forth out of the Atlantic Ocean, for in those days the Atlantic was navigable; and there was an island situated in front of the straits which are by you called the Pillars of Heracles; the island was larger than Libya and Asia put together, and was the way to other islands, and from these you might pass to the whole of the opposite continent which surrounded the true ocean; for this sea which is within the Straits of Heracles is only a harbour, having a narrow entrance, but that other is a real sea, and the surrounding land may be most truly called a boundless continent. Now in this island of Atlantis there was a great and wonderful empire which had rule over the whole island and several others, and over parts of the continent, and, furthermore, the men of Atlantis had subjected the parts of Libya within the columns of Heracles as far as Egypt, and of Europe as far as Tyrrhenia.” -Plato’s Timaeus
If the team on the Finding Atlantis have found a ringed port city from ancient times, which I believe they have, then it’s quite possible they have found a port city of a larger nation built to export valuable metals found mined just to the north; not the entire culture of Atlantis. Much like someone, 4,000 years from now, finding a large port town like Boston and saying, “We found the United States!”
Well, yes and, uh, no.
Based on what I saw in the documentary, which I highly recommend, I want to play out a scenario. It would appear whatever they have found underneath southern Spanish wetlands is an ancient city that was destroyed by a tsunami-earthquake combination. It also appears that survivors of that disaster migrated inland and build a form of “ritual city” models to commemorate their lost civilization. Fair enough.
However, if Atlantis was a larger island in the Atlantic, just west of the Gibraltar Straits and a cataclysmic event destroyed that island where do you think a massive tsunami would hit? It would, of course, strike the southwestern coast of Spain, west coast of Africa and quite possibly roll into the Mediterranean. We would be talking about a destruction of not only a single port city but an entire civilization, a way of life. We’ve seen, presently, what can happen with a single massive earthquake in Japan. What if what happened was a series of earthquakes, a truly massive Earth event? Survivors would be scattered in all directions, driven inland and carrying a deep longing of what they once possessed.
To all of this I just have to say it’s a damn shame we lost the Library of Alexandria because it’s there, if anywhere, such things would have been recorded and archived.
We are talking about a culture and a civilization which might have influenced the Egyptians as well as give a reason for pyramidal architecture on both sides of the Atlantic. A culture which would have been beyond ancient and if it should ever be found, would cause ancient human history to get placed on it’s ear. In a conspiratorial bent here’s something else to think about – there could be larger powers who do not wish that information to come out for what it would do to their own beliefs and foundations.
They mentioned the Minoans on Crete as a possible Atlantean angle. Given the architecture and the culture of the Minoans I think it’s quite possible. They were an advanced naval culture which started around 2600 BC. For good measure, let’s throw in there that the first protodynastic Egypt was taking shape around 3100 BC. It’s rumored that the Atlantean nation and it’s survivors influenced Egyptian culture. Well, if so then we are talking about a nation and a culture that was around well before then. When are we talking then? 4000BC? 5000? Pre-Bronze age? Further back? The mind can get a little woogy thinking about it all! What if what has been found of the Minoans, as well as other cultures in the Mediterranean is only one part of a surviving Atlantean culture that was shifted and transformed through time?
As for an island to the west of the Straits of Gibraltar, all I have to offer is this humble image from Google Maps. After adding a small highlight, I’m going to let it speak for itself…
If an ancient island had existed AND been populated with an advanced and complicated culture then it would have been very influential up until it’s demise. The survivors of that culture, both those that would have fled as well as those living in coastal cities or abroad on vessels, would most likely feel a need to continue, to gather together again and to rebuild. Where else but the land they dealt with the most, the Mediterranean?
It saddened me that this angle was not taken with the documentary but I can understand it. The cost alone of such an investigation would be staggering let alone the loving jaunt into the fanciful that it takes! Who would ever want to finance such an expedition on something as ludicrous as a “mythical civilization?” Regardless, the show was one of the better takes on the subject of Atlantis and I was very happy to see them sticking to inquiries based in healthy questioning and archaeological practices. I’ll be following what I can of their work and am curious to see what is discovered. Whether it’s an actual Atlantean city or not, it’s a fascinating story and, quite possibly, a historical find.
Of course, to offset all this imagination and rambling about silly old Atlantis, let’s also just consider the theory, for a moment, that Plato might have made it all up. Let’s not remember that he might not have known about the Azore Islands or been able to pull up Google Earth and see interesting things outside the Gates of Heracles.
What if Atlantis was nothing more than an ancient version of Middle Earth?
Yeah, that would be a kick in the pants wouldn’t it?