A city considered to be the utopia of its time, rich in resources and wealth, might have existed more than 11,000 years ago. Inhibited by a noble and powerful race, it had its influence even over the islands of England and Africa. At least, that is the description often given to the beautiful city of Atlantis.
According to Greek literature, when the land was divided by the gods and distributed among them, Atlantis was given to Poseidon (God of the sea, earthquakes, storms, and horses). After some time, the god fell in love with a mortal woman, Cleito. The couple gave birth to five pairs of twins, and all were boys. The eldest of these, Atlas was the rightful King of the entire island and the oceans. His brothers were then given parts of the lands to govern.
After some time, a great war broke out between the Atlanteans and the Athenians. The Atlanteans were defeated, and their control over the areas of Europe was broken. The Athenians also managed to liberate some of the occupied islands. However, before the war could continue, the entire landmass of Atlantis sank to the bottom of the sea. The island of Atlantis, its people, and even its memory were swallowed by the sea.
How did it look?
There is a vivid description of this City written by Plato (a Greek Philosopher) in which Atlantis was described as an island consisting mostly of mountains in the northern portions. A great plain, in an oblong shape in the South that encompassed the island was spread 555 km long and 370 km wide. The city of Atlantis sat just outside the outer ring of water and spread across the plain, covering a circle of 17 km. This was a densely populated area where the majority of the population lived.
Is there any proof of its existence?
Now, here’s the twist. There is no written record of the existence of Atlantis in the world, except for its mention in the works of the great philosopher, Plato. Even the location of this utopia is a mystery. People have worked through various hypotheses, giving the location they believed it should be. Surprisingly, many of the proposed sites were not in the Atlantic Ocean at all (as you would have guessed from its name, as though the “Atlantic” ocean was derived from this ancient culture). Many of the proposed sites corroborate some of the characteristics of the Atlantis story (water, catastrophic end, and a relevant time period). Most of the historically proposed locations are in or near the Mediterranean Sea. Now, this story is getting good… let’s look at various locations that are claimed to be the most likely sites of Atlantis:
Plato quoted Egyptian Priests, who believed that Atlantis fought a war with the ancient Mediterraneans, and then sank in 9,400 B.C. Because Atlantis was said to be a large island in the Atlantic Ocean that surrounds the continents, it was thought to be in the mid-Atlantic. Atlantis was said to have colonized much of the world and fought a war with Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean. The sinking of Atlantis left only a few scattered islands… islands such as the Azores, some believe.
The Sahara Desert, and more specifically, the Tassili and Ahaggar Mountains in southern Algeria, Tunisia or both, has been proposed as the actual site of Atlantis. When the French colonized North Africa, they soon discovered that a lost world existed in southern Algeria and that the ancient harbor of Carthage was an exact miniature of the capital of Atlantis described by the Egyptian priests.
Malta has huge ancient structures that are now dated at 9,000 years old or older, and are said by Orthodox archaeologists to be the oldest stone ruins in the world. Malta is now a small rocky island, but it once had elephants and shows evidence of having been destroyed in a huge cataclysmic wave. The island is far too small to have been Atlantis, but it shows that the Mediterranean was a very different place 12,000 years ago.
Due to the gigantic ruins in Peru and Bolivia, and the evidence that Tiahuanaco was destroyed in a cataclysm, South America has been proposed as the site of Atlantis by a number of early writers. South America does have huge ruins and is across the Atlantic, but it seems to have risen from sea level, rather than sinking into the ocean.
Recently, researcher Paul Dunbavin proposed that the citadel of Atlantis was located underwater between Wales and Ireland, this area being the “Plain of Atlantis”, as described by Plato. Major Dutch cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam are 40 feet or more below sea level already. They may very well be the sunken cities of the near future.
The location of Atlantis has remained a tantalizing mystery for thousands of years, but very recently (2011), a U.S.-led research team has claimed to have found the legendary lost city of Atlantis. Scientists claim to have pinpointed the exact location of the metropolis under the mud flats in southern Spain. The team of archaeologists and geologists are convinced that Atlantis – swamped by a tsunami – is submerged just north of Cadiz.
How has Atlantis been incorporated into popular culture?
There were many ‘celebrities’ who have been made into citizens of Atlantis. Poseidon, for one, was a god. His son, Atlas, is also known around the world as the gloomy guy holding the earth on his shoulders. Many fictional characters were also created with Atlantis as their birthplace, such as the famous Aquaman of our beloved DC universe. Atlantis was considered the most powerful and technologically advanced city of its time.
Where is this city really? As of now we don’t know for sure. We’re not sure if this utopia even existed or if it was the dream of a really old man who wanted to believe that paradise existed. However, if it exists, it sounds like it would have been the most beautiful place to live, with the added advantage of Aquaman being its tourism ambassador!