Wednesday, October 11, 2017

NPR mocks discovery of Plato's Atlantis (audio)

Andy Bowers (Day to Day); Pat Macpherson, Dhr. Seven (eds.), Wisdom Quarterly; DailyMail

An illustration of Atlantis, circa 1600  (Fox Photos/Getty Images via NPR)
We've found the lost city of Atlantis...again
We have the great Greek philosopher Plato to thank for the ongoing obsession with the lost city [actually a continent] of Atlantis. Around 360 BCE, Plato wrote that Atlantis was a great and wonderful empire destroyed some 11,000 years before by earthquakes and floods during a 24-hour period. Here are just some of the many theories advanced over the years about where and what Atlantis was:

Mayans, Mexico, or Egypt

Aztecs, Mayans in pre-Mexico, Tlatelolco
In the 19th century, several researchers suggested that ancient Mayan hieroglyphs spoke of a lost continent, and therefore, the site may have been near Mexico. The theory went that the Mayans had interacted with the ancient Egyptians who, in turn, passed the tale of Atlantis down to the ancient Greeks, which is where Plato got it. [But Plato said he had detailed memories of a past life or lives in Atlantis.] But that theory lost steam when it became clear that early Mayanologists didn't fully understand the culture's complex hieroglyphs.

Mexico City when it was Tenochtitlan
In 1912, the public caught Atlantis fever, thanks to an article titled How I Found the Lost Atlantis in William Randolph Hearst's New York American. It was written by a man claiming to be the grandson of Heinrich Schliemann, the archaeologist who excavated Troy [Ancient Greece]. He'd alleged that Trojan artifacts revealed Atlantis' true location, submerged in the Atlantic Ocean between Europe and the United States.

The Azores
Is it an underwater city like Mexico?
The Azores were supposedly the tips of Atlantean mountains. But the author disappeared [or was silenced] soon after the article was published, and it's now widely viewed as one of the great yellow journalism hoaxes [because to admit he was neutralized would suggest the truth of Atlantis].
Greek, Portugal, or Brazil
The 9 Azores Islands, mountain tops of the continent of Atlantis, Portugal's A├žores
Volcanic cliffs of the mysterious Azores Islands
Other 20th century accounts placed Atlantis off the coast of Portugal, on a Greek island and even in the Brazilian rain forest, although the British explorer who went to prove that theory was never heard from again. [Was he silenced or lost in the perilous jungle?] Not to be outdone, the early 21st century has seen a flurry of Atlantis-itis.

Spain, Mediterranean, or Ireland
Irish-Atlantis, submerged North Sea shoal
In June, a German physicist claimed the lost city was actually a region in southern Spain. Also this year, a Swedish geographer proposed that Atlantis wasn't near the Mediterranean at all but was, in fact, Ireland. He says the size of the Emerald Isle syncs up nicely with Plato's estimate and that the destruction myth was inspired by the submerging of a North Sea shoal around 6100 BC.

Ireland: Land of the Pharaohs by Andrew Power (Egypt linked to Atlantis)

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