Poseidon's Paradise: Atlantis
Atlantis was always imagined as place of deep mystery, buried in the oceanic depths of the waves that claimed them. Yet, the story of Atlantis appears to have been initially written by Plato in two related texts Timaeus and Critias in which he describes in heavy detail every aspect of Atlantean life and its origins.
Atlantis, as described by Plato, was situated in what was known in antiquity as the “Pillars of Hercules”. In our modern day, this equates to the Straits of Gibraltar which connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea, situated between Spain and Morocco. The foundation of Atlantis was created by Poseidon, a deity of Greek mythology known to rule over the oceanic domain. Poseidon fell in love with a daughter of men living on those islands named Clieto, and when her parents passed away, they wed and had five sets of male twins. The eldest of the first set was named Atlas and became the first Atlantean King.
Poseidon created Atlantis to have alternate zones of land and sea, two of land and three of water, in a rotund shape around the heart of Atlantis. Then he brought forth two different springs of water, one of cold and the other of heat from the hill in the center. This allowed all sorts of animals and plants to thrive in Atlantis, providing a wide variety of food sources for the Atlanteans. The emphasis of the wild abundance of Atlantis points out the wealth of the people, for they could derive almost all that they needed from the earth and sea.
The Atlanteans built a citadel that was situated in the center of Atlantis, with a holy temple was dedicated to Poseidon and Clieto, bedecked in silver and gold. The streams of tepid and cold water were turned into fountains for use by the upper hierarchy. The citizens properly worshipped their deity and the descendants of Atlas, but it is implicated in Critias that is virtue became “diluted” over time.
In Timaeus, Athens was comparatively described as a virtuous state in their worship of their goddess Athena who prevailed over reason, intelligence, art, and literature. The Atlanteans at the time were seeking new territory to conquer, after expanding their empire to continents near their islands. Eventually, they crossed paths with the Athenians, war was raged, and the Athenians repelled the Atlantean invaders and triumphed. The Athenians put those Atlanteans who resisted into slavery and liberated those who cooperated. Yet, over night, a series of terrible storms and earthquakes flooded the land, covering Atlantis in mud and water. Atlantis was then lost to the sea.
At the end of CritIas it is mentioned that Atlantis was being punished by Zeus and the other Olympian gods in the hope that they would improve, but the rest of the dialogue of Critias text Plato wrote had been lost.
So one might wonder that if Atlantis is simply a story written by Plato in these two scriptures; why are so many in the scientific field in a fervent temper to discover a lost city that shouldn’t theoretically exist? Some argue that Atlantis was a fictitious utopia created by Plato to keep citizens faithful to the virtues of the gods and appreciate the blessings bestowed upon them. Some believed he wrote them for mere entertainment. The entanglement occurs because the concept of lost civilizations due to natural disasters is not a far-reaching thought. Consider the eruption of Mount Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and buried it under thick layers of ash.
Other civilizations have been found in the sea, and some claim to be Atlantean, but are from far reaching locations such as Brazil which is nowhere near Plato or where the texts surmised Atlantis would be.
However, one location of interest was discovered in southern Spain, where satellite photographs discovered a submerged city the Dona Ana National Park. The German scientist who found the site was using Google Earth satellite imagery to look at the area when he found it. Archaeologists explored the city and found a series of artifacts that appear to be Atlantean, as well as “memorial cities” that archeologist Richard Freund believed that the survivors of Atlantis created after their home was destroyed. These memorials were found all the way in central Spain, over 100 miles away.
From his Freund surmised that the Atlanteans were the ancestors of the later Phoenician civilization, known for prospering trade with their superior boats and ships. Unfortunately, the swamp the site is located in is covered in water 11 months of the year and is dredged in silt and mud. This makes it difficult to research, and news about the site has been largely silent.
Perhaps it’s just another civilization lost to the sea.