What do we know about Atlantis these days
Atlantis: The Mystery of the Sunken City
The legend of Atlantis
If a drunken captain had told the legend of Atlantis in a Greek harbor bar, over 2,400 years ago, nobody would have taken him seriously. A city of silver and gold? On a fabulous island? Submerged after an earthquake? Whisked nonsense! But it is not a captain who created this fantasy story. But Plato, one of the greatest philosophers of all time!
The wise man lives in Athens around 2,400 years ago. Nowhere else is the state so modern. Citizens vote for their politicians in democratic votes, almost like today. At the same time, culture is flourishing in Athens, and poets are enjoying great success in open-air theaters. And philosophers rack their brains over the meaning of life and the way people should treat one another.
Plato mostly wraps his thoughts in made up stories and conversations so that people find them more interesting and understand them better. In two of his texts he reports about Atlantis - and that sounds really fantastic ...
Plato on the vanished paradise
Plato writes of a sunlit island full of flowers, fruits and forests, crossed by rivers and ponds. Atlantis offers space and food for "wild and tame animals". There is even enough food available for the “largest and most voracious” of them, the elephants. The people also lived in high spirits.
Three round moats surround the city, two bubbling springs supply it with cold and warm water. The temples and royal houses gleamed silver, the battlements even gold, the ceilings were carved from ivory. And in the ports it was teeming with merchants who did brisk trade and thus ensured the prosperity of everyone.
Plato's Atlantis is a land of milk and honey, a paradise - after an earthquake around 9000 years before Plato's time it was swallowed up by the water "during a bad day and a bad night". End of the story.
About searching and not finding anything
The only question is: How can Plato know of Atlantis if the island is supposed to have sunk thousands of years before his lifetime? Atlantis doubters express precisely these concerns. Nevertheless, since then scholars have bowed over the texts of Plato and tried to prove that this paradise really existed. For them, the myth is just too good not to be true. Some are bold enough to claim that they know where Atlantis was once located.
One track, for example, leads into the Atlantic Ocean from the Strait of Gibraltar. After all, Plato says that the island is "at the gates of Heracles". In ancient times, this usually meant the narrow gap between Europe and Africa. Adventurers have already searched the seabed there with submarines. They didn't discover anything.
Atlantis in the Black Sea?
Some researchers also suspect Atlantis in the Black Sea - after all, that is not that far from Greece - and in the Azores, around 1000 kilometers off Portugal's coast. Or is the Caribbean island of Cuba the Atlantis that Plato describes? Even the only German offshore island of Helgoland is an option for some.
Other archaeologists claim that Atlantis was found around 140 years ago: it was the city of Troy, which was destroyed in antiquity and excavated by the German researcher Heinrich Schliemann. But because Troy is on the mainland, the theory silts up again.
The fact is that no one has ever found a piece of pottery, a piece of silver, coins or ivory, in short: anything that points to Atlantis. With his story about the rise and fall of the island kingdom, Plato probably just wanted to get rid of a warning to his contemporaries in prosperous Athens: Stay vigilant - even the most powerful states can perish at any time. Plato is and remains a great philosopher. And a pretty good fantasy writer too ...#Subjects
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