A New Atlantis Theory


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I have developed a new theory of Atlantis and since it is about early European civilization I thought some on this forum might find it interesting, or amusing, to read a short summary of it. I should start off by saying that I think that it is quite likely that Plato invented the story of Atlantis and I favor that theory marginally over the idea it may have really existed, nevertheless I think there are some plausible theories for a real Atlantis and I believe mine is one of those. I assume that there was an original story that the Greek politician Solon was told by the Egyptian priests of Sais, but that it got badly muddled as it was passed on by word of mouth. I argue that there are three obvious flaws in the story:
1) There was never any large island in front of the Straits of Gibraltar.
2) Large islands don’t sink beneath the waves.
3) The events couldn’t have taken place 9000 years before Solons time and was most likely set in the Copper, or Bronze Ages.
I contend that there are other errors in the story that are not so obvious. One of these is that the fabulous seaport was not even on the large island. Plato said that Atlantis was in front of the Straits of Gibraltar so I think that at least means there must have been an important settlement nearby, which I conjecture was the seaport. However, there is no large island near the straits so the seaport couldn’t have been on a large island. The most likely place for the seaport I think is southwest Spain, which fits the description of the surrounding terrain in Plato’s account reasonably well. This has also been suggested to be the location of Atlantis by many others, but the problem is that there is no large island in these alternative theories. The large island is important since this is where the empire of Atlantis is supposed to have begun and where the kings of Atlantis directed a war against the eastern Mediterranean civilizations. Southwest Spain has a history of being struck by tsunami’s so I assume it was the seaport that was destroyed, which is the origin of the story that Atlantis was destroyed. The large island is where it always was, the nearest large island to the Straits of Gibraltar. So my theory is that mainland Britain was the large island of Atlantis. I conjecture that the apparent myth of the sea god Poseidon falling for a mortal woman who lived in a small mountain on a large island in the Atlantic is about a real person who led an expedition from the settlement in southwest Spain northwards to open trade relations around 2400 BC. They went in sewn-plank boats a new technology that they had learnt from the eastern Mediterranean civilizations. I theorize the leader was the son of a king and his arrival in Britain was the beginning of the Bell Beaker culture in Britain. I suggest that he went to Avebury and married the chieftain’s daughter who lived on Silbury mound and had two twin sons. He couldn’t stay in Britain for the rest of his life though. He had to go back to southwest Spain to report to his father. He turned Silbury mound into an island fortress to keep his wife safe while he was away. So this is I theorize how the empire gets started. It’s a merging of two dynasties, the most prominent Late Neolithic tribe in Britain with a Bell Beaker dynasty in southwest Spain. This merged dynasty needed to gain control over the territories between them, and this was the impetus for the forming of the empire. The prince became a very powerful king and married his sons to chieftain’s daughters throughout the British Isles. He sent his second son to rule over the seaport when his father died. When he himself died he became deified because he was such a powerful ruler, and known as the sea god because he came from across the sea. The Greeks confused the Atlantean sea god with their own god of the sea Poseidon, which I contend is the reason for much of the errors in the Atlantis story.
This Bell Beaker dynasty starts to expand into the western Mediterranean and bumps heads with the eastern Mediterranean civilizations that have established colonies in the central Mediterranean and trading partners in the western Mediterranean. The Bell Beaker dynasty ends up sending a large army to attack Greece. This army is defeated and the Greeks then send there own army westwards freeing those subjugated by the Atlanteans. Eventually they besiege the seaport only to suffer the same fate as the Atlanteans when it is struck by a high energy event, possibly a tsunami. There is evidence of a high energy event in southwest Spain between 2500-2000 BC. In this same time frame there existed formidable fortresses in Iberia, such as Zambujal, Los Millares and La Bastida. So there are signs of warfare.
My main reservations with the theory, other than it is extremely imaginative, is that it is difficult to see how such large errors could have been made to have muddled the original story so badly and I find it hard to believe that with the limited means of travel in those times that the Bell beakers could have maintained such a widespread empire. Nevertheless, the revised story I suggest does still contain many elements of Plato’s story, more so than any other theory of a real Atlantis I believe, and which fits within our current knowledge of science and archaeology.
I have written a short ebook, but I do not wish to infringe any forum rules on spamming. If you want a free copy prior to the end of the year, please pm me. I would be interested in any comments on this theory, particularly on whether you think there could have been a Bell Beaker empire, or any information you might have on genetics, which might have some bearing on the theory. I will try and do my best to defend what I know is a rather far-fetched sounding theory.
-Mel Nicholls
Personally, I'd go with the "Plato invented the story of Atlantis" school of thought. But if you get any insight into the history of ancient Lemuria, please let me know. I recently visited a New Age shop that was selling Lemurian crystals, but they couldn't tell me how they sourced such crystals.
Hi Aberdeen,
I cannot help you with Lemuria I am afraid, but I expect those crystals were very rare and maybe you should have grabbed them while you had the chance. I am skeptical that very large islands suddenly become submerged. The approach I have taken is to assume that there are significant errors in the Atlantis story and if you can guess what they are and then remove them you end up with a revised story. Then you can see how well a particular era fits with this revised story. One of the errors I suggest may have been made is that the seaport wasn’t on the large island. In some translations, like Benjamin Jowett’s, the small mountain when it is first introduced is near the center of the large island. Then later when the seaport is being described it is at the coast and is obviously meant to be the seaport. However, the small mountain cannot be both inland and at the coast so I consider this an indication that an error has been made and the small mountain was not at the same location as the seaport. I take it a step further and say that the seaport wasn’t even on the large island. The revised story with what I claim may be errors removed looks like this:
1) There is a large island in the Atlantic that wasn’t submerged, that wasn’t in front of the Straits of Gibraltar, but wouldn’t have been so far away it couldn’t have been reached by Bronze Age boats.
2) A powerful dynasty formed on this large island and there was a small mountain, or hill, inland that was sacred to them, which was turned into an island.
3) There was a wealthy seaport near the Straits of Gibraltar on the Atlantic coast that was decimated by some high energy event such as a tsunami.
4) There was an empire ruled by a merged dynasty with a northern center of power on the large island and a southern center of power in the region of the seaport.
5) That this empire gained control of the Mediterranean coastal areas as far as Italy on the northern coast and Egypt on the southern coast.
6) There were chariots in this era.
This revised story still contains many elements of Plato’s Atlantis. The best fit seems to me to be the era between 2400-2100 BC when the Bell Beaker people appear to have arrived in Britain and spread throughout much of western Europe, even though there were no chariots in this time period. The theory is not without its difficulties, but I think it is plausible. I would have to see more evidence though, and at present I marginally favor the idea that Plato invented the story. I think that the Bell Beaker arrival in Britain, when a powerful dynasty seems to have arisen at Avebury, where there is a sacred hill that was mainly constructed after their arrival, and moreover their culture extended to northern Italy and at least northwest Africa are significant similarities to the revised story.
Thanks for your interest in this very speculative theory.
Mel Nicholls
Thanks for the discussion, Melstrom. I do find the concept of Atlantis to be fascinating, but we'll never know for sure. My favorite theory, apart from Plato just having a lively imagination, is that it all happened about 1000 years before Plato, not 9000, and the fact part has to do with the giant volcanic eruption that blew apart the island of Santorini and caused a giant tsunami that destroyed the civilization that existed on Crete at that time. So Atlantis could be either Crete or Santorini, but Plato moved the location to somewhere more remote in his version. But your ideas seem to me to be just as plausible (or implausible) as mine.

Still hoping to find the source of that Lemurian crystal, though. I suggested to the owner of that New Age shop that maybe the crystals came from the Big Sur on the coast of California in the U.S., since I'm sure that place must have been part of Lemuria before continental drift moved it to California, just the same way that continental drift moved Florida from Africa to the south east coast of the U.S. I thought that was a plausible scenario, but the shop owner wasn't convinced (or amused) by my theory.
Thanks for the interesting views on this subject. Atlantis has been dismissed as being a myth in the same manner as Englands King Arthur has. Because no remains have been found that can be identified as those of Arthur Pendragon he remains a myth. I'd love to see some Archaeology which would prove once and forever that Atlantis did exist.
I once met a woman who told me that she had inherited a gold ring from an ancestor of hers who was a High Priestess in Atlantis (which was somewhere near Bermuda before it sank into the sea). However, since the ring contained a modern manufacturer's mark, I'm not sure it was the kind of artifact that would provide the sort of proof you'll looking for.
Hi Aberdeen,
Unfortunately, I cannot claim to have such flamboyant and interesting friends as you do, with first hand experience of Lemurian healing crystals, priestess’ of Atlantis, and golden energy rings. I am very envious since I only have circumstantial evidence on which to base my humble efforts.
I agree entirely that the theory Plato may have based the Atlantis story on the Thera volcanic eruption as very credible and arguably the best theory there is. However, while an excellent theory I am not totally convinced by any means. Many who are familiar with Plato’s works state as if it is a fact that the Atlantis story is a myth, or possibly based loosely on events near Greece such as the Thera eruption. They believe that it is obvious that he made up the story of Atlantis in order to convey some of his philosophical ideas about an ideal state, and as a cautionary moral message to the Athenians of his day. The elaborate explanation he gave for how the story came to Greece from Egypt they believe was purely a fabrication, just a literary device that he used. However, there is something unique about the Atlantis story compared to some of his other works that are obviously myths. In fact a good case has been made that it is the first fictional story in Western Literature (Gill C., 1979: Plato’s Atlantis story and the birth of fiction). If there were other fictional stories that he wrote that used this literary device, or other writers during the same period that wrote fictional stories using this literary device it would be evidence in favor of the idea that he invented the story. However, if it is the first fictional story then it is also the first to use this literary device, at least in Western Literature. I find it unusual that what is supposed to be the first fictional story in Western literature is also the first that uses the device of claiming that it is indeed historical fact. Moreover, I don’t think that you can rationalize away the possibility that he knew of an existing story that suited his purpose, and decided to use it to make his philosophical points.

Another point I think is worth mentioning is that it is often stated as a fact, that Aristotle who was Plato’s student didn’t believe the Atlantis tale was true. If his own student Aristotle thought the tale of Atlantis was fictitious, this would certainly put its veracity in serious doubt. A statement that goes something like this is often attributed to him: “That he who invented the island of Atlantis also sunk it”. However, there is no good evidence that Aristotle ever made such a statement and there is no good evidence that he disbelieved Plato’s tale and this has been clearly shown in a very thorough analysis of the original literature by Thorwald Franke (2012: Aristotle and Atlantis – What did the philosopher really think about Plato’s island empire?).

Those who believe that Plato invented the Atlantis tale appear to be on pretty safe ground though since after all there is no credible theory for the existence of a real Atlantic Empire that can be pointed to as the source of the story; no large submerged island in the Atlantic near the straits that oceanographers have discovered. The theory I am proposing is very convoluted from Plato’s story and quite complicated, but I think is worth considering as a possibility. What strikes me is some of the similarities between the account of Poseidon having a family with a mortal woman on a large island in the Atlantic and the arrival of the Bell Beaker culture in Britain. According to Plato’s story the young woman lived on a small mountain, which some translations put inland at the centre of the island and near a fertile plain. Then Poseidon turned the small mountain into an island. He parceled out the large island to his many sons and this is how the empire of Atlantis starts. Eventually the empire gained control in the Mediterranean all the way to western Italy on the northern coast and all the way to Egypt on the southern coast. Compare this to the arrival of the Bell Beaker culture in Britain. At Avebury there seems to have been a peaceful transition with the arrival of new Bell Beaker technology, such as metallurgy, beer making, and possibly sewn-plank boats. Avebury is just to the north of Salisbury plain. Silbury mound, which was already important to the inhabitants of Late Neolithic Britain, became even more important with the arrival of this new culture. The main construction takes place over possibly as much as a hundred years, and the hill may have been turned into an island. The Bell Beaker culture spread rapidly throughout the British Isles and one could make the case that this is a sign of an elite dynasty taking control. Furthermore this same culture extended all the way to northern Italy and at least as far as Algeria on the southern coast of the Mediterranean. This could just be coincidence, but it seems to me like it would have to be a big coincidence. For instance, there can’t have been many sacred hills in the ancient world that may have been turned into islands. To make this possible connection between the Atlantis story and the Bell Beaker arrival in Britain though you have to assume that an error was made in the story and the sacred small mountain was not at the same location as the seaport.

So I don’t know Aberdeen. There appear to be similarities to me, but what do you think? -Mel Nicholls
Thanks for your interest in this theory toyomotor. I also think the legend of King Arthur could have been based on a real person. The Welsh monk Gildas considered Ambrosius Aurelianus as being the person who organized the defense of the Britons against the invading Saxons, but maybe there was a younger man who took a leadership role in the battles, who could have been the basis for the legendary Arthur. This is what I lean towards.
I think your theory is interesting, Melstrom. However, I don't think we're ever going to get the kind of evidence about Atlantis that toyomotor is looking for. The artifacts may be there but we have no way to connect them definitely to Plato's story of Atlantis. And there is certainly something about that myth that catches people's imaginations, both people like yourself who genuinely want to solve the problem and people who make crazy claims because they know that it's difficult to discover the truth. The thing I like about your theory is that it fits in with my idea of R1b being the haplotype of the Beaker Bell people who I think may have migrated along the Mediterranean and the Atlantic during the Neolithic, which would explain the distribution of R1b. However, people who know about DNA insist that it's not possible because R1b supposedly expanded out of the Balkans across land into western Europe as part of the IE expansion. I think we will need more ancient DNA in order to solve that one, as far as R1b is concerned, but I suppose that your Atlantis theory could still work with a different haplotype, such as G.

I agree that the legend of Arthur could have originally had some basis in fact. Whether there was one person who was Arthur is of course another question. I think that in the past, most fiction was a romanticized version of facts that may originally have been about more than one person.
Interesting thoughts Aberdeen on the spread of R1b, which I am not very familiar with, but I know there is a lot of expertise on this forum. Since the Bell Beaker people seemed to have merged relatively peacefully with the megalithic peoples of western Europe, perhaps they were to a large part descended from them. An influx of new arrivals into Iberia may have kick started a new Bell Beaker culture, but I guess it is still an open question if this happened and if it did where they came from.
Atlantis was first mentioned in Plato's Critias, located in the west of the Strait of Gibraltar in the Atlantic Ocean. The rise of the mentioned civilization was around 10.000 years ago and it was really highly advanced one.

In many places in the earth, there are many archeological findings which could not be explained according to the today's technology. For some scientists there were global disasters which ended human civilization many times. Atlantis according to many of them is one of these civilizations. It was not only located in the Atlantic Ocean as Plato stated but also with its colonies it was sperad in South and North America, Asia, Anatolia and India.They were the starting point of the Mayan and Aztec civilizations in Mexico and South America.

"The Secret Doctrine" which was written by Helena Blavatsky mentioned the Atlanteans as Fourth Root race before the Aryan Race which was Fifth Rooth Race.

Aberdeen: I agree entirely, so much mythology has been handed down over the centuries, embellished along the way, that we now have little by way of actual "evidence" with which to sort out the fact from fiction. Of course there is obvious fiction, but the existence of Atlantis, or of King Arthur remain in that grey area of "possibly true". While writers such as Plato have mentioned Atlantis, there, more often than not, is a great deal of hearsay and speculation in ancient writing.
I think we are going to have to agree to disagree on this issue intorg. Although I find the idea that ancient civilizations may have developed much earlier than mainstream archaeology tells us a very interesting one, I do not see it as very likely, although I don’t discount it completely. Currently the archeological evidence suggests that the earliest civilization developed in the Fertile Crescent, probably in Mesopotamia, although it arose independently elsewhere.

Moreover, the idea that Atlantis was an advanced civilization that existed near the end of the last ice age in particular does not agree with mainstream archaeology. This is because Plato said that Egypt existed during the war with Atlantis. The latest research on the unification of Egypt puts it at 3100 BC when King Aha came to power (Dee et al. 2013: “An absolute chronology for early Egypt using radiocarbon dating and Bayesian statistical modeling”).

The advent of writing is an important factor since according to Plato’s Timaeus Dialogue the priests of Sais kept sacred registers on which the tale of Atlantis had been recorded. The Egyptians at the time of unification had a rudimentary script, but not one that could record a complex tale like Atlantis. The earliest evidence of Egyptian literature is dated to around 2500 BC.

Another important factor is the invention of sea going ships, which utilized new technological inventions, such as sewn-planks, oars, and sails, which in the eastern Mediterranean date to around 2500 BC. Since the Atlanteans were supposed to be seafarers this seems to me like an important date. We don’t have any evidence that sea-going ships with this kind of innovative technology existed in the Atlantic prior to 2500 BC. The first sewn-plank boats in western Europe that have been discovered are the Ferriby boats, in Yorkshire, England, the earliest of which may date to around 2000 BC.

So the invention of writing and sewn-plank boats, suggest to me that the events described in Plato’s tale probably occurred after 2500 BC, if there was a real Atlantean empire based in the Atlantic Ocean. There only seems to have been two or possibly three high energy events, such as tsunamis, that struck SW Spain in the third and second millennia BC. The first occurred between 2500-2100 BC, the second and possible third between 1900-1600 BC. For a number of reasons I think the first high energy event is the one most likely to have destroyed the hypothesized seaport in SW Spain. I am suggesting the dynasty formed about 2400 BC, the war started around 2200 BC and the high energy event that destroyed the seaport occurred around 2150 BC. It is quite a stringent time line, and if future more accurate carbon dating showed that the first high energy event occurred earlier around 2400 BC it would invalidate the theory.

I am sort of between a rock and a hard place: Those like yourself who believe that Atlantis was an ancient civilization that existed about eleven thousand years ago, and those that are certain that the Atlantis tale is a myth. We do have some common ground in that we both think that Plato may not have invented the Atlantis story. Even though the theory I am suggesting fits within current mainstream scientific and archaeological knowledge it is not an easy sell that the Bell beaker people may have had an empire, that Plato’s story might be telling us something about it and that Britain may have been the large island of Atlantis. I think the strongpoint of the theory is that in spite of it being changed considerably from his account it still contains many elements of the Atlantis story, more so than any other theory that fits within the boundaries of our current knowledge. In this respect I don’t think it will be superseded since there are limited alternatives. That doesn’t make it correct but I think it makes it a pretty good theory. I would have to see more evidence however before I would favor it over the theory that Plato invented the story, but I do think it is plausible. Having said that I think the only person I have really managed to convince so far that it is plausible is myself. -LOL

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