Atlantis Essay, Research Paper
Atlantis: The Lost ContinentRel/304Dr. ClementsByKelly Soares AbstractAtlantis, a mystery for thousands of years is synonyms with UFO s, Bigfoot, and Stonehedge. It has boggled the minds of many atlantologists. I believe the question isn t did it exist, but where? I intend to review many of the ideas that have been suggested for the existence and location. The ideology ranges from Plato who lived some two thousands five hundred years ago to writers who have published their theories within the past and present years. What is so fascinating about Atlantis? Certainly it is not a rare place. We have many places on this earth that I would consider a Garden of Eden. It s not the mystery that drives scientist to find Atlantis, but the reward of being the one, who does, is the motivation. The world has been fully discovered and fully mapped. Popular media has effectively minimized the legend and the fantastic rumor, though to make up for this it has generated fallacies not as lavish but just as interesting. Satellites have mapped and studied the earth, leaving only a space frontier that is as yet unreachable. But standing out is a charming fantasy the modern world has yet to verify or condemn the lost continent of Atlantis. The father of the modern world s perception of Atlantis is Plato (circa 428-circa 347 BC). The Greek philosopher spoke in his works Timaeus and Critias of a continent in the Atlantic ocean larger than Africa and Asia Minor combined which rivaled Athens as the most advanced in the world. Atlantis first came about through the writings of Plato, the Greek philosopher. Plato, from the insistence of his friend Critias, revealed to friends one night he was in possession of an ancient text that formerly belonged to his grandfather. This text which held the only real account of Atlantis was said by Plato to have been written in part by the ancient Egyptians. The text has never been found (McMahon 1).Plato described Atlantis as a continent that had sunk beneath the sea some 9000 years before his birth. He described an unusual land formation that was made up of a large ring of land on the outside, with ocean inside it, and another inner ring inside the first, with ocean inside the ring also, and, inside the inner ring, was a large island in the center. He told of the outer ring being reserved for great farmlands and also the houses of the working class. The inner ring consisted of gardens and structures. It is in this inner ring where the upper class resided. Also inside the inner ring there was a temple, home to the many priests, kings, people in the kings court and holy men (McMahon).Jim Allen, excartographic draftsman and aerial intelligence interpreter believes a section of the high Andean Plateau in the Department of Oruro is where the Atlantis Empire once thrived. In 1995, Allen sighted an unusually straight body of water located near Lake Poopo in Oruro. The feature measured the same width as a canal Plato said existed in the city (Becht1). A canal was excavated to the nearby sea to allow the rings of water to be used as harbors by this great commercial society. Atlantis ditch measured 100 feet in depth, the width of a stade, as well as the length. This works out to be 344 miles in length and 229 miles in width (Ellis, 14). How is it then, if Atlantis suffered from volcanic destruction, the canal would still be the same in size, and what about erosion? Another reason Allen feels this could be the lost city is contributed to the existences of orichalcum in the area. The walls of the city were plated in gold, silver; bronze, tin and an exotic alloy called orichalcum (Allen 4). Atlantis has been discovered many times, but most notably in the fall of 1912 by Dr. Paul Schliemann. Schliemann introduced himself as the grandson of the famous Heinrich Svchliemann, the archeologist who discovered the ruins of ancient Troy in 1873. His discovery made front-page news (The New York American, October 1912) and boasted of an advanced civilization with aircraft power-driven boats and the like. Schliemann said his grandfather told him on his deathbed of the family s secret: the location of Atlantis. Schliemann s claims made waves, but didn t hold water; when pressed for details, Schliemann was unresponsive and eventually disappeared from public view (Atlantis 1). Unfortunately, the falsities concerning Atlantis frequently overshadow the possibilities. The subject has gathered its share of honest journalists as well. Ignatius Donnelly wrote the first extensive study of the possibility of existence in 1882, and his views have not been found to be false with twentieth century technology. Donnelly believed in Atlantis, but believed it to be worldly his reasons for Atlantis s existence are unable to be proven, but make sense. Some examples: there is noting improbable in Plato s narrative; it describes rich, cultured and educated people but doesn t mention things of fantasy like giants, hobgoblins etc. Plato speaks of hot and cold springs in the center of Atlantis, a feature common to islands with volcanic activity. Chances are Plato didn t know this. Responding partly to Donnelley s theories and partly to the urge to discover, some 20th century archeologists have used twentieth century technology to look for Atlantis. But many have dismissed Atlantis as glorified myths of volcanic eruptions in the island of Thera in 1450 BC. The eruption may have destroyed that island and caused a small earthquake and tsunamis that ruined the civilization of Crete, but didn t sink a continent. Therefore none of Donnelley s theories can be proved without the actual discovery of the continent.
Many Atlantologist have different theories as to where it exists. Plato himself said, opposite the Pillars of Heracles, beyond the Straits of Gibraltar , was another way of saying in the Greek language, some far off place in the Atlantic Ocean (Ellis 224). It was just a descriptive way of speaking. In reality, Plato didn t know.This writer believes that Atlantis did in fact exist. By using theories of modern day scientist, I can connect Atlantis to the present. Physical scientist Nigel Bunce and Jim Hunt did a study on the Bristlecone pine. This study was call, Three Rings and Volcanoes . In Canpito Mountain in the White Mountains of California, living trees and deadwood pieces provide and accurate year-by-year tree ring sequence back to 3435 BC, a continuous record for five and one-half thousand years (Bunce 1). V.C. LaMarche and Katherine Hirsckboeck have recently reported, in the magazine Nature, on a study of the frost damage in the rings of the Bristlecone pine. They found a correlation between frost damage rings and the known date of large eruptions. In each case, a ring of frost damage was found and always in the same year, if the eruption was early in the year or, otherwise, the next year. The frost ring never preceded the volcanic event, which seems to prove that the frost rings are the result of the eruption (Bunce 1). Plato states Atlantis suffered destruction in 1450n BC, the tree ring frost tells us that Santorini explo9ded in 1626 BC or, at most, one or two years earlier. I believe, like all things that are translated, for instances, Plato s works, some things could get lost in translation. Even dates. The legend of Atlantis is only a huge collection of theories and guesses, but theories and guesses also led to the discovery of the lost Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum, discovered after being buried and preserved by the volcanic ash of nearby Mt. Vesuvius. In 1996, the European Institute for Underwater Archaeology, headed by Frank Giddo, discovered Cleopatra s palace built on the island of Antirhodos, fewer than 18 feet of water. Its end caused by earthquakes and tidal waves. This is not questioned, so why should Atlantis existence be. Because of this, the mystery of Atlantis s existence will tantalize the world until the continent is either proven or disproved. BibliographyAllen, Jim. Looking for Atlantis. Geographical Magazine, March 1997. V69 n3 P44(2) http://web2.searchbank.com.Atlantis: http://www.coshe.comBunce, Nigel. & Jim Hunt. The Science Corner.http://www.physics.uoguelph.ca/ summer/scor/articles/scor23.htm.Ellis, Richard. Imagining Atlantis. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc: New York, 1998.