by Anita Burns
Countless books, articles and lectures have given theories of the mysterious lost continent of Atlantis. It seems that in “new age” literature everything originated in Atlantis. However the source of the Atlantis story goes back centuries to a handful of pages in “Plato’s Dialogues.” Plato, an inveterate poet and philosopher, wrote a poem called “Critias.” In the story, the main character, Critias, relates a story he heard form his 90 year old grandfather, Solon was said to have learned it from an Egyptian priest. According to Solon, when he was in Egypt, he met priests who said they had records showing that 9,000 years earlier, Athens, the strongest nation on earth was near an island called Atlantis.
Atlantis was located outside the Pillars of Hercules (the Strait of Gibraltar). This was a large island, bigger than North Africa and western Asia combined. Solon said that the king of Atlantis attacked and tried to enslave all of Greece and Egypt. But Athens continued to fight against the king of Atlantis. Before the battle was over, earthquakes and floods swallowed Atlantis and the whole Athenian army fighting on Atlantis.
Not much was thought about Atlantis until around 2,000 years later when people started looking for it. So many people claim to have found Atlantis or have a connection with it that whole libraries could be filled with nothing but books about the place. A Swedish author wrote three volumes claiming that Atlantis was in Scandinavia. Some theorists write that Atlantis was the Aegean island of Santorini, formerly called Thera, which sank from a volcanic explosion around 1600 BC. There are other theories that Atlantis is off the coast of Florida, or in the Pacific Ocean where a part of it still exists on the California coast. Some people claim that a phenomenon on the ocean floor near Bimini islands is a remnant of Atlantis.
Edgar Cayce, a famous 20th century prophet, would go into a trance state and dictate information about people, their past lives, health, and future. There are massive amounts of readings from him relating to Atlantis. Cayce described Atlantis as a civilization based on virtue and spiritual values that declined into a society of strife, greed, and chaos, then was destroyed by natural cataclysm. He predicted that in 1968-9, a remnant of an Atlantian temple would be discovered under the sea near Bimini island. Dr. David Zink, in “Stones of Atlantis,” writes of his theory that the vast stone formations in the water of the Bimini are the remains of Atlantis. The now famous “Bimini Road” seems to show jointed, rectangular blocks that joint in contradiction to natural stress lines. After research and study, Zink is convinced that this is a remnant of Atlantis. Oddly enough, he made his discovery in 1968.
There are stories about Atlantis that have the populace using airplanes, electronic technology, and crystal power. These stories are as varied as their sources. There is no mention of any of this in Plato’s original story. However, he does mention a lighted column that was used for energy.
James Mavor and others claim the Aegean island of Santorini is Atlantis. Mavor said the Plato was really describing the fall of the Minoan culture and its degeneration into the Mycenean. John Learn’ Saturday Review article The Volcano that Shaped the Western World, talked about the destruction of the Minoan culture through the volcanic explosion on Santorini. He claimed this allowed the more warlike civilization of the Mycenaeans to rise in its place. Mavor believes that this allowed the more warlike civilization of the Mycenaeans to rise in the place of the peaceful Minoans. The Minoan spread art and the alphabet to Greece and started the “Golden Age” spoken of by Plato in his Atlantis story. This is also the theory of J. V. Luce’s The End of Atlantis: New Light on an Old Legend.
About 75 kilometers north of Crete, the island of Santorini erupted and most of it sank into the sea somewhere around 1450 BC. Palaces and towns all over the island were destroyed or abandoned. Then, in 1400 BC, the island was struck again. There is now a blanket of ash almost 100 feet thick covering what is left of Santorini. Most of the people must have had fair warning about the eruption, for archaeological digs have found little in the way of personal effects, and no bodies in the ruins of the pre-eruption towns.
What of the people of Santorini? Are they descendants of the Minoan Atlantians? These were intelligent, prosperous people. They lived in relative peace, even in an age of violent warfare throughout the rest of the world. Even though they were a wealthy civilization, no one tried to attack them until the Mycenaeans. Theirs is a writing that cannot, or has not been deciphered. Their hobbies are depicted in beautiful frescos. They enjoyed bull jumping, boxing, and racing, among other recreations.
Professor Angelos Galanopoulos, director of the Seismic laboratory, at the University of Athens also believes that Santorini is Atlantis. He says that Plato used a popular literary license and exaggerated the explosion date by a factor of ten. This puts it at 1490 BC, the same as the explosion date on Santorini. He also claims that Plato exaggerated the size of the island. Galanopoulos kept the metropolis the same size and superimposed a drawing from Plato’s description of a map of Santorini. It fit. Even though now underwater, the concentric circles described by Plato can still be seen.
Many archaeological findings about Santorini match what Edgar Cayce said about Atlantis. In 1967, Mavor’s expedition to Santorini led to an article in the New York Times Minoan City Found After 3,400 Years, is Linked to Atlantis. Edgar Cayce also predicted that in the 1960’s an attempt would be made to find Atlantis by changing its location and date.
Atlantis was supposed to be ruled by ten priest-kings. This matches the history of the civilizations on Santorini. Atlantis, like the Minoan civilization, was said to be a golden society, without war, poverty, crime, or hunger. Until, that is, visitors form outside came and corrupted society. Then the Atlantians set out to conquer the greatest military nation on earth. This was probably Greece. Unfortunately for them, they failed. But before they had given up the fight entirely, the island was destroyed by a volcanic eruption. Then, another came and sank it almost entirely, except for a crescent shaped fragment. What is now left of Santorini is a crescent shaped fragment.
Before the disaster came, all those who were forewarned, fled to other parts of the world to teach their mysteries and technology. Some believe Atlantian rites were the forerunners of the Dionysian mysteries. The remains of this mystery school can be seen in the secret caves of Malta, used for underground initiations.
There is no geological evidence of a large sunken continent or island off the coast of California, or in the northern Atlantic. If there were, however, plate tectonics would probably have recycled much of it by now. However, an island blown up by a volcano around the end of the last ice age would still show. Reputations grow, and it is perhaps safe to say that what is said, channeled, and written about Atlantis today far exceeds what was really there.
However, much is still to be discovered about the mysterious island of Atlantis, and new books are being written everyday. In his book Phoenix Solution, Alan Alford makes a good case for Atlantis being another planet referred to in the Egyptian Pyramid Texts. In an interesting web site, www.atlan.org, Arysio Nunes dos Santos is sure that Atlantis is under the China Sea. Whatever you’re leanings on Atlantis might be, it makes for very good reading to learn of the vast variety of theories that are attached to this elusive land.