Timaeus begins with an introduction, followed by an account of the creations and structure of the universe and ancient civilizations. In the introduction, Socrates muses on the perfect society (as described in Plato's Republic) and wonders if he and his guests could come up with a story which puts this society into action. Critias mentions an allegedly historical tale that he would make the perfect example, and follows up by describing Atlantis in the Critias. In his account, ancient Athens represents the "perfect society," and Atlantis, its opponent, represents the opposite of the "perfect" traits described in the Republic. Critias claims that his account of ancient Athens and Atlantis stems from a visit to Egypt by the Athenian lawgiver Solon in the 6th century BC. In Egypt, Solon met Sonchis, a priest of Thebes, who translated the history of ancient Athens and Atlantis, recorded on pillars in Egyptian hieroglyphs, into Greek.
According to Critias, the Hellenic gods of old divided the land so that each god might own a lot; Poseidon was appropriately, and to his liking, bequeathed the island of Atlantis. The island was larger than Libya and Asia Minor combined, but has since been sunk by an earthquake and became an impassable mud shoal, inhibiting travel between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. The Egyptians described Atlantis as an island approximately 700 km across, comprising mostly mountains in the northern portions and along the shore, and encompassing a great plain of an oblong shape in the south "extending in one direction three thousand stadia [about 600 km], but across the center inland it was two thousand stadia [about 400 km]."
Fifty stadia inland from the middle of the southern coast was a "mountain not very high on any side." Here lived a native woman with whom Poseidon fell in love and who bore him five pairs of male twins.
The eldest of these, Atlas, was made rightful king of the entire island and the ocean (now the Atlantic Ocean), and was given the mountain of his birth and the surrounding area as his fiefdom. Atlas's twin Gadeirus or Eumelus in Greek, was given the easternmost portion of the island which also lay at its northern extreme facing Gades, a town in southern Spain.
The other four pairs of twins - Ampheres and Evaemon, Mneseus and Autochthon, Elasippus and Mestor, and Azaes (possibly the Azores) and Diaprepes - "were the inhabitants and rulers of divers islands in the open sea."
Poseidon carved the inland mountain where his love dwelt into a palace and enclosed it with three circular moats of increasing width, varying from one to three stadia and separated by rings of land proportional in size. The Atlanteans then built bridges northward from the mountain, making a route to the rest of the island. They dug a great canal to the sea, and alongside the bridges carved tunnels into the rings of rock so that ships could pass into the city around the mountain; they carved docks from the rock walls of the moats. Every passage to the city was guarded by gates and towers, and a wall surrounded each of the city's rings. The walls were constructed of red, white and black rock quarried from the moats, and were covered with brass, tin and orichalcum, respectively.
According to Critias, 9,000 years before his lifetime, a war took place between those outside the Pillars of Hercules and those who dwelt within them.
The Atlanteans had conquered the Mediterranean as far east as Egypt and the continent into Tyrrhenia, and subjected its people to slavery. The Athenians led an alliance of resistors against the Atlantean empire and as the alliance disintegrated, prevailed alone against the empire, liberating the occupied lands. "But afterwards there occurred violent earthquakes and floods; and in a single day and night of misfortune all your warlike men in a body sank into the earth, and the island of Atlantis in like manner disappeared in the depths of the sea." Plato claimed it was somewhere outside the Pillars of Hercules, now known as the Strait of Gibraltar.
Modern scholars generally regard Plato's description of Atlantis as an invention, though its kernel may have been formed from hazy memories of historical events such as the Thera eruption. However, in antiquity, there were a few philosophers, geographers, and historians who believed that Atlantis was real.
For instance, the philosopher Crantor, a student of Plato's student Xenocrates, tried to find proof of Atlantis' existence. For his opinions we are dependent on Proclus' commentary on the Timaeus, written in the 5th century AD. Proclus reports that Crantor said he had travelled to Egypt and seen the same columns on which Plato had seen the history of Atlantis, written in hieroglyphic characters.
Plato's account of Atlantis may have also inspired parodic imitation: writing only a few decades after the Timaeus and Critias, the historian Theopompus of Chios wrote of a land beyond the ocean known as "Meropis." This description was included in Book 8 of his voluminous Philippica, which contains a dialogue between King Midas and Silenus, a companion of Dionysus. Silenus describes the Meropids, a race of men who grow to twice normal size, and inhabit two cities on the island of Meropis: Eusebes ("Pious-town") and "Machimos" ("Fighting-town"). Hans-Gknther Nesselrath has argued that these and other details of Silenus' story are meant as imitation and exaggeration of the Atlantis story, for the purpose of exposing Plato's ideas to ridicule.
Zoticus, a Neoplatonist philosopher of the 3rd century AD, wrote an epic poem based on Plato's account of Atlantis.
The 4th century AD historian Ammianus Marcellinus, relying on a lost work by Timagenes, a historian writing in the 1st century BC, writes that the Druids of Gaul said that part of the inhabitants of Gaul had migrated there from distant islands. Ammianus' testimony has been understood by some as a claim that when Atlantis sunk into the sea, its inhabitants fled to western Europe; but Ammianus in fact says that the Drasidae (Druids) recall that a part of the population is indigenous but others also migrated in from islands and lands beyond the Rhine" (Res Gestae 15.9), an indication that the immigrants came to Gaul from the north and east, not from the Atlantic Ocean.
Another passage from Proclus' 5th century AD commentary on the Timaeus gives a description of the geography of Atlantis: "That an island of such nature and size once existed is evident from what is said by certain authors who investigated the things around the outer sea. For according to them, there were seven islands in that sea in their time, sacred to Persephone, and also three others of enormous size, one of which was sacred to Pluto, another to Ammon, and another one between them to Poseidon, the extent of which was a thousand stadia; and the inhabitants of it they add preserved the remembrance from their ancestors of the immeasurably large island of Atlantis which had really existed there and which for many ages had reigned over all islands in the Atlantic sea and which itself had like-wise been sacred to Poseidon. Now these things Marcellus has written in his Aethiopica".
However, Heinz Gunther Nesselrath argues that this Marcellus, who is otherwise unknown, is probably not a historian but a novelist.
An important Greek festival of Pallas Athene, the Panathenaea was dated from the days of king Theseus. It consisted of a solemn procession to the Acropolis in which a peplos was carried to the goddess, for she had once saved the city, gaining victory over the nation of Poseidon, that is, the Atlanteans. As Lewis Spence comments, this cult was in existence already 125 years before Plato, which means that the story could not be invented by him.
The historian Ammianus Marcellinus wrote that "the intelligentsia of Alexandria considered the destruction of Atlantis a historical fact, described a class of earthquakes that suddenly, by a violent motion, opened up huge mouths and so swallowed up portions of the earth, as once in the Atlantic Ocean a large island was swallowed up. Diodorus Siculus recorded that the Atlanteans did not know the fruits of Ceres. In fact, Old World cereals were unknown to American Indians. Pausanias called this island "Satyrides," referring to the Atlantes and those who profess to know the measurements of the earth.
He states that far west of the Ocean there lies a group of islands whose inhabitants are red-skinned and whose hair is like that of the horse. (Christopher Columbus described the Indians similarly.) A fragmentary work of Theophrastus of Lesbos tells about the colonies of Atlantis in the sea. Hesiod wrote that the garden of the Hesperides was on an island in the sea where the sun sets.
Pliny the Elder recorded that this land was 12,000 km distant from Cadiz, and Uba, a Numidian king intended to establish a stock farm of purple Murex there. Diodorus Siculus declares that the ancient Phoenicians and Etruscans knew of an enormous island outside the Pillars of Heracles. He describes it as the climate is very mild, fruits and vegetables grow ripe throughout the year. There are huge mountains covered with large forests, and wide, irrigable plains with navigable rivers. Scylax of Caryanda gives similar account.
Marcellus claims that the survivors of the sinking Atlantis migrated to Western Europe. Timagenes tells almost the same, citing the Druids of Gaul as his sources. He tries to classify the Gallic tribes according to their origins and tells of one of these claiming that they were colonists who came there from a remote island.
Theopompus of Chios, a Greek historian called this land beyond the ocean as "Meropis". The dialogue between King Midas and the wise Silenus mentions the Meropids, the first men with huge cities of gold and silver. Silenus knows that besides the well-known portions of the world there is another, unknown, of incredible immensity, where immeasurably vast blooming meadows and pastures feed herds of various, huge and mighty beasts. Claudius Aelianus cites Theopompus, knowing of the existence of the huge island out in the Atlantic as a continuing tradition among the Phoenicians or Carthaginians of Cadiz.
Perhaps the Byzantine friar Cosmas Indicopleustes understood Plato better than the ancient and modern "Aristotelians", says Merezhkovsky.
In his Topographia Christiana he included a chart of the (flat) world: it showed an inner continent, a compact mainland surrounded by sea, and this was surrounded by an outer ring-shaped continent, with the inscription, "The earth beyond the Ocean, where men lived before the Flood." The Garden of Eden is placed in the eastern end of this continent.
During this time in Earth's history, the consciousness of humanity is much different than ours today. Where today our individual memories are built up in us from birth, such is not the case with At-el, for they are a group-memory race of people. Each member of each At-el clan is deeply connected to their specific soul group incarnate. The total memories of the clan are accessible to each individual in the clan, and is from birth. As each clan member experiences new things, these are added-- or remembered --within the collective consciousness of the clan.
Individual thought is also present in the At-el people, but only as it interacts with their share of memories. The group-memory of each clan flows and swells constantly - each experience is accessible to all, and owned by no one.
Now, the collective memories of one clan--or soul group-- of the At-el can not be felt or seen by those in other clans, except for the rare individual who has the gift of this unusual ability. The entity Om is such a person, and as such, he is considered to be a leader of the people. With his great knowledge and memory of all the clans, he may speak for the tribe to mother Earth, and to all the elements, which the At-el see as Gods.
The greek philosopher, Plato, brought to the world, the story of the lost continent of Atlantis. His story began to unfold for him around 355 B.C. He wrote about this land called Atlantis in two of his dialogues, Timaeusand Critias, around 370 B.C. Plato stated that the continent lay in the Atlantic Ocean near the Straits of Gibraltar until its destruction 10,000 years previous.
ARIZONA VOICE © 2013 | Earth Sky News