Atlantis (in Greek, Ἀτλαντὶς νῆσος, "island of Atlas") is a legendary island first mentioned in Plato's dialogues Timaeus and Critias, written about 360 BC.
In Plato's account, Atlantis was a naval power lying "in front of the Pillars of Hercules" that conquered many parts of Western Europe and Africa 9,000 years before the time of Solon, or approximately 9600 BC. After a failed attempt to invade Athens, Atlantis sank into the ocean "in a single day and night of misfortune".
Scholars dispute whether and how much Plato's story or account was inspired by older traditions. Some scholars argue Plato drew upon memories of past events such as the Thera eruption or the Trojan War, while others insist that he took inspiration from contemporary events like the destruction of Helike in 373 BC or the failed Athenian invasion of Sicily in 415 - 413 BC.
The possible existence of a genuine Atlantis was discussed throughout classical antiquity, but it was usually rejected and occasionally parodied by later authors. As Alan Cameron states: "It is only in modern times that people have taken the Atlantis story seriously; no one did so in antiquity". The Timaeus remained known in a Latin rendition by Calcidius through the Middle Ages, and the allegorical aspect of Atlantis was taken up by Humanists in utopian works of several Renaissance writers, like Francis Bacon's "New Atlantis". Atlantis inspires today's literature, from science fiction to comic books to films. Its name has become a byword for any and all supposed advanced prehistoric lost civilizations.
Plato's dialogues Timaeus and Critias, written in 360 BC, contain the earliest references to Atlantis. For unknown reasons, Plato never completed Critias. Plato introduced Atlantis in Timaeus:
For it is related in our records how once upon a time your State stayed the course of a mighty host, which, starting from a distant point in the Atlantic ocean, was insolently advancing to attack the whole of Europe, and Asia to boot. For the ocean there was at that time navigable; for in front of the mouth which you Greeks call, as you say, 'the pillars of Heracles,' there lay an island which was larger than Libya and Asia together; and it was possible for the travelers of that time to cross from it to the other islands, and from the islands to the whole of the continent over against them which encompasses that veritable ocean. For all that we have here, lying within the mouth of which we speak, is evidently a haven having a narrow entrance; but that yonder is a real ocean, and the land surrounding it may most rightly be called, in the fullest and truest sense, a continent. Now in this island of Atlantis there existed a confederation of kings, of great and marvelous power, which held sway over all the island, and over many other islands also and parts of the continent.
The four persons appearing in those two dialogues are the politicians Critias and Hermocrates as well as the philosophers Socrates and Timaeus of Locri, although only Critias speaks of Atlantis. While most likely all of these people actually lived, these dialogues, written as if recorded, may have been the invention of Plato. In his works Plato makes extensive use of the Socratic dialogues in order to discuss contrary positions within the context of a supposition.
The Timaeus begins with an introduction, followed by an account of the creations and structure of the universe and ancient civilizations. In the introduction, Socrates muses about the perfect society, described in Plato's Republic (c. 380 BC), and wonders if he and his guests might recollect a story which exemplifies such a society. Critias mentions an allegedly historical tale that would make the perfect example, and follows by describing Atlantis as is recorded in the Critias. In his account, ancient Athens seems to represent the "perfect society" and Atlantis its opponent, representing the very antithesis of the "perfect" traits described in the Republic. Critias claims that his accounts of ancient Athens and Atlantis stem from a visit to Egypt by the legendary Athenian lawgiver Solon in the 6th century BC. In Egypt, Solon met a priest of Sais, who translated the history of ancient Athens and Atlantis, recorded on papyri in Egyptian hieroglyphs, into Greek. According to Plutarch, Solon met with "Psenophis of Heliopolis, and Sonchis of Sais, the most learned of all the priests"; Plutarch refers here to events that would have happened seven centuries before he wrote of them.
According to Critias, the Hellenic gods of old divided the land so that each god might own a lot; Poseidon was appropriately, and to his liking, bequeathed the island of Atlantis. The island was larger than Ancient Libya and Asia Minor combined, but it afterwards was sunk by an earthquake and became an impassable mud shoal, inhibiting travel to any part of the ocean. The Egyptians, Plato asserted, described Atlantis as an island comprising mostly mountains in the northern portions and along the shore, and encompassing a great plain of an oblong shape in the south "extending in one direction three thousand stadia [about 555 km; 345 mi], but across the center inland it was two thousand stadia [about 370 km; 230 mi]." Fifty stadia [9 km; 6 mi] from the coast was a mountain that was low on all sides...broke it off all round about... the central island itself was five stades in diameter [about 0.92 km; 0.57 mi].
In Plato's myth, Poseidon fell in love with Cleito, the daughter of Evenor and Leucippe, who bore him five pairs of male twins. The eldest of these, Atlas, was made rightful king of the entire island and the ocean (called the Atlantic Ocean in his honor), and was given the mountain of his birth and the surrounding area as his fiefdom. Atlas's twin Gadeirus, or Eumelus in Greek, was given the extremity of the island towards the pillars of Hercules. The other four pairs of twins - Ampheres and Evaemon, Mneseus and Autochthon, Elasippus and Mestor, and Azaes and Diaprepes - were also given "rule over many men, and a large territory."
Poseidon carved the mountain where his love dwelt into a palace and enclosed it with three circular moats of increasing width, varying from one to three stadia and separated by rings of land proportional in size. The Atlanteans then built bridges northward from the mountain, making a route to the rest of the island. They dug a great canal to the sea, and alongside the bridges carved tunnels into the rings of rock so that ships could pass into the city around the mountain; they carved docks from the rock walls of the moats. Every passage to the city was guarded by gates and towers, and a wall surrounded each of the city's rings. The walls were constructed of red, white and black rock quarried from the moats, and were covered with brass, tin and the precious metal orichalcum, respectively.
According to Critias, 9,000 years before his lifetime a war took place between those outside the Pillars of Hercules at the Strait of Gibraltar and those who dwelt within them. The Atlanteans had conquered the parts of Libya within the Pillars of Hercules as far as Egypt and the European continent as far as Tyrrhenia, and subjected its people to slavery. The Athenians led an alliance of resistors against the Atlantean empire, and as the alliance disintegrated, prevailed alone against the empire, liberating the occupied lands.
But at a later time there occurred portentous earthquakes and floods, and one grievous day and night befell them, when the whole body of your warriors was swallowed up by the earth, and the island of Atlantis in like manner was swallowed up by the sea and vanished; wherefore also the ocean at that spot has now become impassable and unsearchable, being blocked up by the shoal mud which the island created as it settled down.
The logographer Hellanicus of Lesbos wrote an earlier work titled Atlantis, of which only a few fragments survive. Hellanicus' work appears to have been a genealogical one concerning the daughters of Atlas (Ἀτλαντὶς in Greek means "of Atlas"), but some authors have suggested a possible connection with Plato's island. John V. Luce notes that when he writes about the genealogy of Atlantis's kings Plato writes in the same style as Hellanicus and suggests a similarity between a fragment of Hellanicus's work and an account in the Critias. Robert Castleden suggests Plato may have borrowed his title from Hellanicus, and that Hellanicus may have based his work on an earlier work on Atlantis.
Some ancient writers viewed Atlantis as fiction while others believed it was real. The philosopher Crantor, a student of Plato's student Xenocrates, is often cited as an example of a writer who thought the story to be historical fact. His work, a commentary on Plato's Timaeus, is lost, but Proclus, a Neoplatonist of the fifth century AD, reports on it. The passage in question has been represented in the modern literature either as claiming that Crantor actually visited Egypt, had conversations with priests, and saw hieroglyphs confirming the story or as claiming that he learned about them from other visitors to Egypt. Proclus wrote
As for the whole of this account of the Atlanteans, some say that it is unadorned history, such as Crantor, the first commentator on Plato. Crantor also says that Plato's contemporaries used to criticize him jokingly for not being the inventor of his Republic but copying the institutions of the Egyptians. Plato took these critics seriously enough to assign to the Egyptians this story about the Athenians and Atlanteans, so as to make them say that the Athenians really once lived according to that system.
The next sentence is often translated "Crantor adds, that this is testified by the prophets of the Egyptians, who assert that these particulars [which are narrated by Plato] are written on pillars which are still preserved." But in the original, the sentence starts not with the name Crantor but with the ambiguous He, and whether this referred to Crantor or to Plato is the subject of considerable debate. Proponents of both Atlantis as a myth and Atlantis as history have argued that the word refers to Crantor. Alan Cameron, however, argues that it should be interpreted as referring to Plato, and that when Proclus writes that "we must bear in mind concerning this whole feat of the Athenians, that it is neither a mere myth nor unadorned history, although some take it as history and others as myth", he is treating "Crantor's view as mere personal opinion, nothing more; in fact he first quotes and then dismisses it as representing one of the two unacceptable extremes". Cameron also points out that whether he refers to Plato or to Crantor, the statement does not support conclusions such as Otto Muck's "Crantor came to Sais and saw there in the temple of Neith the column, completely covered with hieroglyphs, on which the history of Atlantis was recorded. Scholars translated it for him, and he testified that their account fully agreed with Plato's account of Atlantis" or J. V. Luce's suggestion that Crantor sent "a special enquiry to Egypt" and that he may simply be referring to Plato's own claims.
Another passage from Proclus' commentary on the Timaeus gives a description of the geography of Atlantis:
That an island of such nature and size once existed is evident from what is said by certain authors who investigated the things around the outer sea. For according to them, there were seven islands in that sea in their time, sacred to Persephone, and also three others of enormous size, one of which was sacred to Pluto, another to Ammon, and another one between them to Poseidon, the extent of which was a thousand stadia [200 km]; and the inhabitants of it - they add - preserved the remembrance from their ancestors of the immeasurably large island of Atlantis which had really existed there and which for many ages had reigned over all islands in the Atlantic sea and which itself had like-wise been sacred to Poseidon. Now these things Marcellus has written in his Aethiopica".
Marcellus remains unidentified.
Other ancient historians and philosophers believing in the existence of Atlantis were Strabo and Posidonius.
Plato's account of Atlantis may have also inspired parodic imitation: writing only a few decades after the Timaeus and Critias, the historian Theopompus of Chios wrote of a land beyond the ocean known as Meropis. This description was included in Book 8 of his voluminous Philippica, which contains a dialogue between King Midas and Silenus, a companion of Dionysus. Silenus describes the Meropids, a race of men who grow to twice normal size, and inhabit two cities on the island of Meropis (Cos?): Eusebes (Εὐσεβής, "Pious-town") and Machimos (Μάχιμος, "Fighting-town"). He also reports that an army of ten million soldiers crossed the ocean to conquer Hyperborea, but abandoned this proposal when they realized that the Hyperboreans were the luckiest people on earth. Heinz-Günther Nesselrath has argued that these and other details of Silenus' story are meant as imitation and exaggeration of the Atlantis story, for the purpose of exposing Plato's ideas to ridicule.
Zoticus, a Neoplatonist philosopher of the 3rd century AD, wrote an epic poem based on Plato's account of Atlantis.
The 4th century historian Ammianus Marcellinus, relying on a lost work by Timagenes, a historian writing in the 1st century BC, writes that the Druids of Gaul said that part of the inhabitants of Gaul had migrated there from distant islands. Some have understood Ammianus's testimony as a claim that at the time of Atlantis's actual sinking into the sea, its inhabitants fled to western Europe; but Ammianus in fact says that “the Drasidae (Druids) recall that a part of the population is indigenous but others also migrated in from islands and lands beyond the Rhine" (Res Gestae 15.9), an indication that the immigrants came to Gaul from the north (Britain, the Netherlands or Germany), not from a theorized location in the Atlantic Ocean to the south-west. Instead, the Celts that dwelled along the ocean were reported to venerate twin gods (Dioscori) that appeared to them coming from that ocean.
Jewish and Christian
The Hellenistic Jewish philosopher Philo in the early 1st century AD wrote about the destruction of Atlantis in his On the Eternity of the World, xxvi. 141:
...And the island of Atalantes which was greater than Africa and Asia, as Plato says in the Timaeus, in one day and night was overwhelmed beneath the sea in consequence of an extraordinary earthquake and inundation and suddenly disappeared, becoming sea, not indeed navigable, but full of gulfs and eddies.
Some scholars believe Clement of Rome cryptically referenced Atlantis in his First Epistle of Clement, 20: 8:
...The ocean which is impassable for men, and the worlds beyond it, are
directed by the same ordinances of the Master.
On this passage the theologian Joseph Barber Lightfoot (Apostolic Fathers, 1885, II, p. 84) noted: "Clement may possibly be referring to some known, but hardly accessible land, lying without the pillars of Hercules. But more probably he contemplated some unknown land in the far west beyond the ocean, like the fabled Atlantis of Plato..."}}
Other early Christian writers wrote about Atlantis, though they had mixed views on whether it once existed or was an untrustworthy myth of pagan origin. Tertullian believed Atlantis was once real and wrote that in the Atlantic Ocean once existed "(the isle) that was equal in size to Libya or Asia" referring to Plato's geographical description of Atlantis. The early Christian apologist writer Arnobius also believed Atlantis once existed but blamed its destruction on pagans.
Cosmas Indicopleustes in the 6th century AD wrote of Atlantis in his Christian Topography in attempt to prove his theory the world was flat and surrounded by water:
...In like manner the philosopher Timaeus also describes this Earth as surrounded by the Ocean, and the Ocean as surrounded by the more remote earth. For he supposes that there is to westward an island, Atlantis, lying out in the Ocean, in the direction of Gadeira (Cadiz), of an enormous magnitude, and relates that the ten kings having procured mercenaries from the nations in this island came from the earth far away, and conquered Europe and Asia, but were afterwards conquered by the Athenians, while that island itself was submerged by God under the sea. Both Plato and Aristotle praise this philosopher, and Proclus has written a commentary on him. He himself expresses views similar to our own with some modifications, transferring the scene of the events from the east to the west. Moreover he mentions those ten generations as well as that earth which lies beyond the Ocean. And in a word it is evident that all of them borrow from Moses, and publish his statements as their own.
A Hebrew treatise on computational astronomy dated to AD 1378/79, alludes to the Atlantis myth in a discussion concerning the determination of zero points for the calculation of longitude:
Some say that they [the inhabited regions] begin at the beginning of the western ocean [the Atlantic] and beyond. For in the earliest times [literally: the first days] there was an island in the middle of the ocean. There were scholars there, who isolated themselves in [the pursuit of] philosophy. In their day, that was the [beginning for measuring] the longitude[s] of the inhabited world. Today, it has become [covered by the?] sea, and it is ten degrees into the sea; and they reckon the beginning of longitude from the beginning of the western sea.
Francis Bacon's 1627 essay The New Atlantis describes a utopian society that he called Bensalem, located off the western coast of America. A character in the narrative gives a history of Atlantis that is similar to Plato's and places Atlantis in America. It is not clear whether Bacon means North or South America. The Swedish scholar Olaus Rudbeck published Atland in several volumes, starting in 1679. This attempted to prove that Sweden was Atlantis, the cradle of civilization, and Swedish the original language of Adam from which Latin and Hebrew had evolved. The Latin parallel title is Atlantica and the subtitle of both is Manheim, that is, home of mankind. According to Rudbeck, Atland means fatherland, and it was the original name of Atlantis. Isaac Newton's 1728 The Chronology of the Ancient Kingdoms Amended studies a variety of mythological links to Atlantis. In the middle and late 19th century, several renowned Mesoamerican scholars, starting with Charles Etienne Brasseur de Bourbourg, and including Edward Herbert Thompson and Augustus Le Plongeon proposed that Atlantis was somehow related to Mayan and Aztec culture. The 1882 publication of Atlantis: the Antediluvian World by Ignatius L. Donnelly stimulated much popular interest in Atlantis. Donnelly attempted to establish that all known ancient civilizations were descended from Atlantis, which he saw as a technologically sophisticated culture, saying that Atlanteans invented gunpowder and the compass thousands of years before the rest of the world invented written language.
During the late 19th century, ideas about the legendary nature of Atlantis were combined with stories of other lost continents such as Mu and Lemuria. The esoteric text Oera Linda, published in 1872, mentions it under the name Atland (the name used by Olaus Rudbeck). The book claims that it was submerged in 2193 BC, the same year that 19th century almanacs, following traditional Biblical chronology, gave for Noah's flood. Helena Blavatsky wrote in The Secret Doctrine (1888) that the Atlanteans were cultural heroes (contrary to Plato who describes them mainly as a military threat), and are the fourth "Root Race", succeeded by the "Aryan race". Furthermore, she expressed the belief that it was Homer before Plato who first wrote of Atlantis. Theosophists believe the civilization of Atlantis reached its peak between 1,000,000 and 900,000 years ago but destroyed itself through internal warfare brought about by the inhabitants' dangerous use of magical powers. William Scott-Elliot in The Story of Atlantis (1896) elaborated on Blavatsky's account, claiming that Atlantis eventually split into two linked islands, one called Daitya, and the other Ruta, which was later reduced to a final remnant called Poseidonis. Scott-Elliot's information came from the clairvoyant Charles Webster Leadbeater. Rudolf Steiner wrote of the cultural evolution of Atlantis in much the same vein. Edgar Cayce first mentioned Atlantis in 1923, and later suggested that it was originally a continent-sized region extending from the Azores to the Bahamas, holding an ancient, highly evolved civilization which had ships and aircraft powered by a mysterious form of energy crystal. He also predicted that parts of Atlantis would rise in 1968 or 1969. The Bimini Road, a submerged rock formation of large rectangular stones just off North Bimini Island in the Bahamas, was claimed by Robert Ferro and Michael Grumley to be evidence of the lost civilization. Edgar Cayce and others have often described Atlantis using techniques associated with Psychic archaeology.
According to Herodotus (c. 430 BC), a Phoenician expedition had circumnavigated Africa at the behest of Pharaoh Necho, sailing south down the Red Sea and Indian Ocean and northwards in the Atlantic, re-entering the Mediterranean Sea through the Pillars of Hercules. His description of northwest Africa makes it very clear that he located the Pillars of Hercules precisely where they are located today. Nevertheless, a supposed belief that they had been placed at the Strait of Sicily prior to Eratosthenes has been cited in some Atlantis theories.
In Nazi mysticism
The concept of Atlantis attracted Nazi theorists. In 1938, Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler organized a German expedition to Tibet in 1939 to search for Aryan Atlanteans, although this suggestion has been criticised as inaccurate and that the expedition was looking for the origins of the 'Europid' race or that it was a more general biological expedition. According to Julius Evola, writing in 1934, the Atlanteans were Hyperboreans - Nordic supermen who originated on the North pole (see Thule). Similarly, Alfred Rosenberg (The Myth of the Twentieth Century, 1930) spoke of a "Nordic-Atlantean" or "Aryan-Nordic" master race.
As continental drift became more widely accepted during the 1960s, and the increased understanding of plate tectonics demonstrated the impossibility of a lost continent in the geologically recent past, most “Lost Continent” theories of Atlantis began to wane in popularity.
Plato scholar Dr. Julia Annas, Regents Professor of Philosophy at the University of Arizona, had this to say on the matter:
The continuing industry of discovering Atlantis illustrates the dangers of reading Plato. For he is clearly using what has become a standard device of fiction - stressing the historicity of an event (and the discovery of hitherto unknown authorities) as an indication that what follows is fiction. The idea is that we should use the story to examine our ideas of government and power. We have missed the point if instead of thinking about these issues we go off exploring the sea bed. The continuing misunderstanding of Plato as historian here enables us to see why his distrust of imaginative writing is sometimes justified.
Kenneth Feder points out that Critias's story in the Timaeus provides a major clue. In the dialogue, Critias says, referring to Socrates' hypothetical society:
And when you were speaking yesterday about your city and citizens, the tale which I have just been repeating to you came into my mind, and I remarked with astonishment how, by some mysterious coincidence, you agreed in almost every particular with the narrative of Solon. ...
Feder quotes A. E. Taylor, who wrote, "We could not be told much more plainly that the whole narrative of Solon's conversation with the priests and his intention of writing the poem about Atlantis are an invention of Plato's fancy."
Location hypotheses of Atlantis
Location hypotheses of Atlantis are various proposed real-world settings for the island of Atlantis, (Ἀτλαντὶς νῆσος) a lost civilization mentioned in Plato's dialogues Timaeus and Critias, written about 360 B.C. In these dialogues, a character named Critias claims that an island called Atlantis was swallowed by the sea about 9,200 years previously. This story was passed down to him through his grandfather, Dropides who in turn got it from Solon, the famous Athenian lawmaker who translated it from the Egyptian language. Plato's dialogues locate the island in the Atlantic Pelagos “Atlantic Sea”, "in front of" the Pillars of Hercules (Ηράκλειες Στήλες) and facing a district called modern Gades or Gadira (Gadiron), a location that many modern scholars associate with modern Gibraltar; however various locations have been proposed.
In the Mediterranean
Most theories of the placement of Atlantis center on the Mediterranean, influenced largely by the geographical location of Greece from which the story is derived.
Andalusia is a region in modern day southern Spain which once included the "lost" city of Tartessos, which disappeared in the 6th century BC. The Tartessians were traders known to the Ancient Greeks who knew of their legendary king Arganthonios. The Andalusian hypothesis was originally developed by the Spanish author Juan de Mariana and the Hollandish author Johannes van Gorp (Goropius Becanus), both of the 16th century, later by Jose Pellicer de Ossau y Tovar in 1673, who suggested that the metropolis of Atlantis was between the islands Mayor and Menor, located almost in the center of the Doñana Marshes, and expanded upon by Juan Fernández Amador y de los Ríos in 1919, who suggested that the metropolis of Atlantis was located precisely where today are the 'Marismas de Hinojo'. These claims were made again in 1922 by the German author Adolf Schulten, and further propagated by Otto Jessen, Richard Hennig, Victor Berard, and Elena Wishaw in the 1920s.
In 2005, based upon the work of Adolf Schulten, the German teacher Werner Wickboldt also claimed this to be the location of Atlantis. Wickboldt suggested that the war of the Atlanteans refers to the war of the Sea Peoples who attacked the Eastern Mediterranean countries around 1200 BC and that the Iron Age city of Tartessos may have been built at the site of the ruined Atlantis. In 2000, Georgeos Diaz-Montexano published an article explaining his belief that Atlantis was located somewhere between Andalusia and Morocco. An Andalusian location was also supported by Rainer W. Kühne in his article that appeared in the journal Antiquity. Kühne's theory says: "Good fiction imitates facts. Plato declared that his Atlantis tale is philosophical fiction invented to describe his fictitious ideal state in the case of war. Kühne suggests that Plato has used three historical elements for this tale. (i) Greek tradition on Mycenaean Athens for the description of ancient Athens, (ii) Egyptian records on the wars of the Sea Peoples for the description of the war of the Atlanteans, and (iii) oral tradition from Syracuse about Tartessos for the description of the city and geography of Atlantis." According to Wickboldt, Satellite images show two rectangular shapes on the tops of two small elevations inside the marsh of Doñana which he hypothesizes are the "temple of Poseidon" and "the temple of Cleito and Poseidon". On satellite images parts of several "rings" are recognizable, similar in their proportion with the ring system by Plato. It is not known if any of these shapes are natural or manmade and archaeological excavations are planned. Geologists have shown that the Doñana National Park experienced intense erosion from 4000 BC until 9th century AD, where it became a marine environment. For thousands of years until the Medieval Age, all that occupied the area of the modern Marshes Doñana was a gulf or inland sea-arm, but there was not even a small island with sufficient space to house a small village.
In 2011, a team led by Richard Freund claimed to have found strong evidence for the location in Doñana National Park based on underground and underwater surveys, and the existence of what they characterized as "memorial cities" rebuilt in Atlantis's image. Spanish scientists have dismissed Freund's claims claiming that he was sensationalising their work. The anthropologist Juan Villarías-Robles, who works with the Spanish National Research Council, said "Richard Freund was a newcomer to our project and appeared to be involved in his own very controversial issue concerning King Solomon's search for ivory and gold in Tartessos, the well documented settlement in the Donaña area established in the first millennium BC" and described his claims as 'fanciful'.
Simcha Jacobovici, involved in the production of a documentary on Freund's work for the National Geographic Channel, stated that the biblical Tarshish (which he believes is the same as Tartessos) was Atlantis, and that "Atlantis was hiding in the Tanach". Aren Maeir, a professor of archeology at Bar-Ilan University said “a lot of people have made many crazy claims about Atlantis – it’s one of those classic places where you have a lunatic fringe looking for all types of things. And Richard Freund is known as someone who makes ‘sensational’ finds. I would say that I am exceptionally skeptical about the thing, but I wouldn’t discount it 100% until I see the details, which haven’t been published as far as I know...every few years we hear something like this from him... And the fact that it’s on National Geographic doesn’t mean much. Unfortunately, over the past years they’ve had many questionable programs.".
German researchers Siegfried and Christian Schoppe locate Atlantis in the Black Sea. Before 5500 BC, a great plain lay in the northwest at a former freshwater-lake. In 5510 BC, rising sea level topped the barrier at today's Bosporus. They identify the Pillars of Hercules with the Strait of Bosporus. They gave no explanation how the ships of the merchants coming from all over the world had arrived at the harbour of Atlantis when it was 350 feet below global sea-level.
They claim Oreichalcos means the obsidian stone that used to be a cash-equivalent at that time and was replaced by the spondylus shell around 5500 BC, which would suit the red, white, black motif. The geocatastrophic event led to the neolithic diaspora in Europe, also beginning 5500 BC.
In 2000, the Guardian reported that Robert Ballard, in a small submarine, found remains of human habitation around 300 feet underwater in the Black Sea off the north coast of Turkey. The area flooded around 5000 BC. This flood is also believed to have inspired the Biblical story of Noah's Ark known as the Black Sea deluge theory.
Another candidate bordering the Black Sea, suggested by Hasan Umur in the 1940s, would be Ancomah, a legendary place near Trabzon.
The theory that Thera has been the site of the capital of Atlantis has been suggested by Angelos Galanopoulos in 1960.
Soon after the discovery of the Minoan civilization at Knossos on Crete by Sir Arthur Evans in 1900, theories linking the disappearance of this advanced empire with the destruction of Atlantis were proposed by K. T. Frost in 1913 and E. S. Balch in 1917. This theory was revived by Spyridon Marinatos in 1950 and P. B. S. Andrews in 1967. More recent archaeological, seismological, and vulcanological evidence (Recent arguments for Akrotiri being Atlantis have been popularized on television in shows such as The History Channel show Lost Worlds episode "Atlantis") has expanded the asserted connection of Crete, the island of Santorini, and the Minoan civilization with Plato's description of Atlantis. Evidence said to advance this idea includes:
The Minoan palace and buildings discovered at the digs at Knossos on Crete and at Akrotiri on the island of Thera have revealed that the Minoans possessed advanced engineering knowledge enabling the construction of three- and four-story buildings with intricate water piping systems, advanced air-flow management, and earthquake-resistant wood and masonry walls. This level of technology was, it is said, far ahead of that found on mainland Greece at the time.
- Thera (also called Santorini) is the site of a massive volcanic caldera with an island at its center. Vulcanologists have determined that the island was engulfed by a volcanic eruption, the Thera eruption, around 1600 BC. The event, referred to as the Minoan eruption, was among the most powerful eruptions occurring in the history of civilization, ejecting approximately 60 km³ of material, leaving a layer of pumice and ash 10 to 80 meters thick for 20 to 30 km in all directions and having widespread effects across the eastern Mediterranean region. Volcanic events of this magnitude are known to generate tsunamis and archaeological evidence suggests that such a tsunami may have devastated the coastal Minoan settlements on Crete. Plato did not describe a volcanic eruption, although the events he described as "sunk by an earthquake" or "violent earthquakes, and only a flood (in singular)", could perhaps be intrepreted as consistent with such an eruption and the resulting tsunami.
- Plato described quarries on Atlantis where "one kind of stone was white, another black, and a third red", writing that these stones were quarried from the island and used in the construction. Rocks like this are found on Santorini.
- Atlantis was described as being laid out in circular manner, surrounded by three circular concentric pits of seawater and two earth-rings, each connected to the sea by a deep canal. Docks for a large number of ships, with a causeway, were also mentioned. Scientists reconstructing the shape of the island prior to the eruption have concluded that the there was a ring configuration with only one narrow entrance to a larger lagoon with islands inside, much as Plato described. One fresco in the ruins of Akrotiri is believed to be a landscape of the city. It shows a large city in an island in the center of the caldera lagoon.
- The ancient greek for "between" and "larger" are easily confused in transcription and translation, so "larger than Europe and Libya," might have originally read "between Europe and Libya," which is how Classical Greeks would have described Thera and Crete.
A. Giovannini has argued that the submergence of the Greek city of Helike in 373 BC, i.e. while Plato was alive, may have been the inspiration for a totally fictional story about Atlantis. The claim that Helike is the inspiration for Plato's Atlantis is also supported by Dora Katsonopoulou and Steven Soter.
Peter James, in his book The Sunken Kingdom, identifies Atlantis with the kingdom of Zippasla. He argues that Solon did indeed gather the story on his travels, but in Lydia, not Egypt as Plato states; that Atlantis is identical with Tantalis, the city of Tantalus in Asia Minor, which was (in a similar tradition known to the Greeks) said to have been destroyed by an earthquake; that the legend of Atlantis' conquests in the Mediterranean is based on the revolt by King Madduwattas of Zippasla against Hittite rule; that Zippasla is identical with Sipylus, where Greek tradition placed Tantalis; and that the now vanished lake to the north of Mount Sipylus was the site of the city.
It has been argued by Robert Sarmast, an American architect, that the lost city of Atlantis lies at the bottom of the eastern Mediterranean Sea within the Cyprus Basin. In his book and on his web site, he argues that images prepared from sonar data of the sea bottom of the Cyprus Basin southeast of Cyprus show features resembling man-made structures on it at depths of 1,500 meters. He interprets these features as being artificial structures that are part of the lost city of Atlantis as described by Plato. According to his ideas, several characteristics of Cyprus, including the presence of copper and extinct Cyprus Dwarf Elephants and local place names and festivals (Kataklysmos), support his identification of Cyprus as once being part of Atlantis. As with many other theories concerning the location of Atlantis, Sarmast speculates that its destruction by catastrophic flooding is reflected in the story of Noah's Flood in Genesis.
In part, Sarmast bases his claim that Atlantis can be found offshore of Cyprus beneath 0.9 mile (1.5 km) of water on an abundance of evidence that the Mediterranean Sea dried up during the Messinian Salinity Crisis when its level dropped by 2 to 3 miles (3.2 to 4.9 km) below the level of the Atlantic Ocean as the result of tectonic uplift blocking the inflow of water through Strait of Gibraltar. Separated from the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea either partly or completely dried up as the result of evaporation. As a result, its formerly submerged bottom turned into a desert with large saline and brackish lakes. This area all was flooded when a ridge collapsed allowing the catastrophic flooding of through the Straits of Gibraltar. However, Sarmast disagrees with mainstream geologists, oceanographers, and paleontologists in arguing that the closing of the Straits of Gibraltar; the desiccation and subaerial exposure of the floor of the Mediterranean Sea; and its catatstrophic flooding has occurred "forty times or more times in its long and turbulent existence" and that "the age of each of these events is unknown." In the same interview, he also contradicts what mainstream geologists, oceanographers, and paleontologists argue in claiming that "Scientists know that roughly 18,000 years ago, there was not just one Mediterranean Sea, but three." However, he does not specify who these scientists are; nor does he cite peer-reviewed scientific literature that supports this claim.
Marine and other geologists, who have also studied the bottom of the Cyprus basin, and professional archaeologists completely disagree with his interpretations. Investigations by Dr. C. Hübscher of the Institut für Geophysik, Universität Hamburg, Germany, and others of the salt tectonics and mud volcanism within the Cyprus Basin, eastern Mediterranean Sea, demonstrated that the features which Sarmast interprets to be Atlantis consist only of a natural compressional fold caused by local salt tectonics and a slide scar with surficial compressional folds at the downslope end and sides of the slide. This research collaborates seismic data shown and discussed in the Atlantis: New Revelations 2-hour Special episode of Digging for the Truth, a History Channel documentary television series. Using reflection seismology, this documentary demonstrated techniques that what Sarmast interpreted to be artificial walls are natural tectonic landforms.
Furthermore, the interpretation of the age and stratigraphy of sediments blanketing the bottom of the Cyprus Basin from sea bottom cores containing Pleistocene and older marine sediments and thousands of kilometers of seismic lines from the Cyprus and adjacent basins clearly demonstrates that the Mediterranean Sea last dried up during the Messinian Salinity Crisis between 5.59 and 5.33 million years ago. For example, research conducted south of Cyprus as part of Leg 160 of the Ocean Drilling Project recovered from Sites 963, 965, and 966 cores of sediments underlying the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea at depths as shallow as 470, 1506, and 1044 meters (1540, 4940, and 3420 ft) below sea level. Thus, these cores came from parts of sea bottom of the eastern Mediterranean Sea that either lie above or at the depth of Sarmast's Atlantis, which lies at depths between 1460 and 1510 meters (4820 and 4950 ft) below mean sea level. These cores provide a detailed and continuous record of sea level that demonstrates that for millions of years at least during the entire Pliocene, Pleistocene, and Holocene epochs that the feature that Sarmast interprets to be Atlantis and its adjacent sea bottom were always submerged below sea level. Therefore, the entire Cyprus Basin, including the ridge where Sarmast claims that Atlantis is located, has been submerged beneath the Mediterranean Sea for millions of years. Since its formation, the sea bottom feature identified by Sarmast as “Atlantis” has always been submerged beneath over a kilometer of water.
Jaime Manuschevich argues that the real place of the mythical civilization is the territory that today corresponds to Israel and Sinai, and that this region was an island in the Great Rift Valley, surrounded by the Jezreel Valley on the north, the Dead Sea and Red Sea on the east and the Gulf of Suez and the Mediterranean Sea on the west until 5600 BC. In addition, Manuschevich proposes that Atlantean civilization corresponds to the Natufian peoples, the first food-producing people, whose main political and harbor center was Jericho. These people lived in the region in the dates established by Plato (11,600 BC).
Malta, being situated in the dividing line between the western and eastern Mediterranean sea, and being the home to the oldest man-made structures in the world, is considered a possible location of Atlantis both by some current researchers and by Maltese amateur enthusiasts.
In Malta: Echoes of Plato’s Island (2000), Anton Mifsud, Simon Mifsud, Chris Agius Sultana and Charles Savona Ventura catalogues the many archaeological sites and ancient remains in Malta that could be related to Atlantis.
In Malta fdal Atlantis (Maltese remains of Atlantis) (2002), Francis Galea writes about several older studies and hypotheses, particularly that of Maltese architect Giorgio Grongnet, who in 1854 claimed that the Maltese Islands are the remnants of Atlantis.
The concept of the identification of Atlantis with the island of Sicily is the idea that the Italians were involved in the Sea Peoples movement (a similar story to Plato's account), that the name "Atlas" may have been derived from "Italos" via the Middle Egyptian language, and Plato's descriptions of the city of Atlantis share several unlikely traits with the sanctuary of the Palici (Twin brothers, similar procreation myth, low mountain near to plain, two fountains etc.).
In 2002 the Italian journalist Sergio Frau published a book, Le colonne d'Ercole ("Pillars of Hercules"), in which he states that before Eratosthenes, all the ancient Greek writers located the Pillars of Hercules on the Strait of Sicily between Sicily and Tunisia, while only Alexander the Great's conquest of the east obliged Eratosthenes to move the pillars at Gibraltar in his description of the world.
According to his thesis, the Atlantis described by Plato could be identified with Sardinia. He argues that a tsunami once hit Sardinia which destroyed the enigmatic Nuragic civilization and that the survivors migrated to the nearby Italian peninsula, founding the Etruscan civilization (which is now thought to have come from the Eastern Mediterranean).
In April 2005, the theories of the Sergio Frau were debated at a conference organized by UNESCO in Paris. At the same time, an exposition of his findings was on display in the UNESCO building.
Two hypotheses have put Spartel Bank, a submerged former island in the Strait of Gibraltar, as the location of Atlantis. The more well-known hypothesis was proposed in a September 2001 issue of Comptes Rendus de l'academie des Sciences by French geologist Jacques Collina-Girard. The lesser-known hypothesis was first published by Spanish-Cuban investigator Georgeos Díaz-Montexano in an April 2000 issue of Spanish magazine Más Allá de la Ciencia (Beyond Science), and later in August 2001 issues of Spanish magazines El Museo (The Museum) and Año Cero (Year Zero). The origin of Collina-Girard's hypothesis is disputed, with Díaz-Montexano claiming it as plagiarism of his own earlier hypothesis, and Collina-Girard denying any plagiarism. Both individuals claim the other's hypothesis is pseudoscience.
Collina-Girard's hypothesis states that during the most recent Glacial Maximum of the Ice Age sea level was 135 m below its current level, narrowing the Gibraltar Strait and creating a small half-enclosed sea measuring 70 km by 20 km between the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean. The Spartel Bank formed an archipelago in this small sea with the largest island measuring about 10 to 12 kilometers across. With rising ocean levels the island began to slowly shrink, but then at around 9400 BC (11,400 years ago) there was an accelerated sea level rise of 4 meters per century known as Meltwater Pulse 1A, which drowned the top of the main island. A possible magnitude 9 earthquake proposed by marine geographer Marc-Andrè Gutscher as occurring in this region at about this time may have contributed to this relatively sudden disappearance by generating tsunamis. Collina-Girard proposes that the disappearance of this island was recorded in prehistoric Egyptian tradition for 5,000 years until it was written down by the first Egyptian scribes around 4000-3000 BC, and the story then subsequently inspired Plato to write a fictionalized version interpreted to illustrate his own principles.
A detailed review in the Bryn Mawr Classical Review comments on the discrepancies in Collina-Girard's dates and use of coincidences, concluding that he "has certainly succeeded in throwing some light upon some momentous developments in human prehistory in the area west of Gibraltar. Just as certainly, however, he has not found Plato's Atlantis."
The geoarchaeologist Eberhard Zangger has proposed the hypothesis that Atlantis was in fact the city state of Troy. He both agrees and disagrees with Rainer W. Kühne: He too believes that the Trojans-Atlanteans were the sea peoples, but only a minor part of them. He proposes that all Greek speaking city states of the Aegean civilization or Mycenae constituted the sea peoples and that they destroyed each other's economies in a series of semi-fratricidal wars lasting several decades.
According to Michael Hübner, Atlantis core region was located in South-West Morocco at the Atlantic Ocean. In his papers an approach to the analysis of Plato's dialogues Timaeus and Critias is described. By means of a hierarchical constraint satisfaction procedure, a variety of geographically relevant indications from Plato's accounts are used to infer the most probable location of Plato's Atlantis Nesos. The outcome of this is the Souss-Massa plain in today's South-West Morocco. This plain is surrounded by the High Atlas, the Anti-Atlas, the Sea of Atlas (Atlantis Thalassa, today's Atlantic Ocean). Because of this isolated position, Hübner argued, this plain was called Atlantis Nesos, the Island of Atlas by ancient Greeks before the Greek Dark Ages. The Amazigh (Berber) People actually call the Souss-Massa plain island. Of major archaeological interest is the fact that in the North-West of the Souss-Massa plain a large annular caldera-like geomorphologic structure was discovered. This structure has almost the dimensions of Plato's capital of Atlantis and is covered with hundreds of large and small prehistoric ruins of different types. These ruins were made out of rocks coloured red, white and black. Hübner also shows possible harbour remains, a unusually geomorphological structure, which applies to Plato's description of roofed over docks, which were cut into red, white and black bedrock. These 'docks' are located close to the annular geomorphological structure and close to Cape Ghir, which was named Cape Heracles in antiquity. Hübner also argued, that Agadir is etymologically related to the semitic g-d-r and probably to Plato’s Gadir. The semitic g-d-r means enclosure, fortification and sheep fold. The meaning of enclosure, sheep fold corresponds to the Greek translation of the name Gadeiros (Crit. 114b) which is Eumelos = Rich in Sheep.
In the Atlantic Ocean
It has been claimed that when Plato wrote of the Ocean of Atlantis, he may have been speaking of the area now called the Atlantic Ocean. The ocean's name, derived from Greek mythology, means the "Sea of Atlas". Plato remarked that, in describing the origins of Atlantis, this area was allotted to Poseidon. In Ancient Greek times the terms "Ocean" and "Atlas" both referred to the 'Giant Water' which surrounded the main landmass known at that time by the Greeks, which could be described as Eurafrasia (although this whole supercontinent was far from completely known to the Ancient Greeks), and thus this water mass was considered to be the 'end of the (known) world', for the same reason the name "Atlas" was given to the mountains near the Ocean, the Atlas Mountains, as they also denoted the 'end of the (known) world'.
One of the suggested places for Atlantis is around the Azores Islands, a group of islands belonging to Portugal located about 900 miles (1500 km) west of the Portuguese coast. Some people believe the islands could be the mountain tops of Atlantis. Ignatius L. Donnelly, an American congressman, was perhaps the first one to talk about this possible location in his book "Atlantis: The Antediluvian World".
The Azores are steep-sided volcanic seamounts that drop rapidly 1000 meters (about 3300 feet) to a plateau. Cores taken from the plateau and other evidence shows that this area has been an undersea plateau for millions of years. Ancient indicators, i.e. relict beaches, marine deposits, and wave cut-terraces, of Pleistocene shorelines and sea level show that the Azores Islands have not subsided to any significant degree. Instead, they demonstrate that some of these islands have actually risen during the Late and Middle Pleistocene. This is evidenced by relict, Pleistocene wave-cut platforms and beach sediments that now lie well above current sea level. For example, they have been found on Flores Island at elevations of 15-20, 35-45, ~100, and ~250 meters above current sea level.
Ignatius L. Donnelly also makes a connection to the mythical Aztlán.
Canary Islands, Madeira and Cape Verde
The Canary Islands have been identified as remnants of Atlantis by numerous authors. For example in 1803, Bory de Saint-Vincent in his Essai sur les îles fortunées et l'antique Atlantide proposed that the Canary Islands, along with the Madeira, and Azores, are what remained after Atlantis broke up. Many later authors, i.e. Lewis Spence in his The Problem of Atlantis, also identified the Canary Islands as part of Atlantis leftover from when it catastrophically sank.
Detailed geomorphic and geologic studies of the Canary Islands clearly demonstrate that over the last 4 million years, they have been steadily uplifted, without any significant periods of subsidence, by geologic processes such as erosional unloading, gravitational unloading, lithospheric flexure induced by adjacent islands, and volcanic underplating. For example, Pliocene pillow lavas, which solidified underwater and now exposed on the northeast flanks of Gran Canaria, have been uplifted between 46 and 143 meters above sea level. Also, marine deposits associated with lavas dated as being 4.1 and 9.3 million years old in Gran Canaria, ca. 4.8 million years old in Fuerteventura, and ca. 9.8 million years old in Lanzarote demonstrate that the Canary Islands have for millions of years undergone long term uplift without any significant, much less catastrophic, subsidence. A series of raised, Pleistocene marine terraces, which become progressively older with age, on Fuerteventura indicate that it has risen in elevation at about 1.7 cm per thousand years for the past one million years. The elevation of the marine terrace for the highstand of sea level for the last interglacial period shows that this island has experienced neither subsidence nor significant uplift for the past 125,000 years. Within the Cape Verde Islands, the detailed mapping and dating of 16 Pleistocene marine terraces and Pliocene marine conglomerate found that they have been uplifted through out most of the Pleistocene and remained relatively stable without any significant subsidence since the last interglacial period. Finally, detailed studies of the sedimentary deposits surrounding the Canary Islands have demonstrated, except for a narrow rim around each island exposed during glacial lowstands of sea level, a complete lack of any evidence for the ocean floor surrounding the Canary Islands having ever been above water.
According to Jorge Maria Ribero-Meneses, Atlantis was in northern Spain. He specifically argues that Atlantis is the underwater plateau, known internationally as "Le Danois Bank" and locally as "The Cachucho". It is located located about 25 kilometers from the continental shelf and about 60 km off the coast of Asturias, and Lastres between Ribadesella. Its top is now 425 meters below the sea. It is 50 kilometers from east to west and 18 km from north to south. Ribero-Meneses hypothesized that is part of the continental margin that broke off at least 12000 years ago as the result of tectonic processes that occurred at the end of the last ice age. He argues that they created a tsunami with waves with heights of hundreds of meters and that the few survivors had to start virtually from scratch.
Detailed studies of the geology of the Le Danois Bank region have refuted the hypothesis proposed by Jorge Maria Ribero-Meneses that the Le Danois Bank was created by the collapse of the northern Cantabrian continental margin about 12,000 years ago. The Le Danois Bank represents part of the continental margin that have been uplifted by thrust faulting when the continental margin overrode oceanic crust during the Paleogene and Neogene periods. Along the northern edge of the Le Danois Bank, Precambrian granulite and Mesozoic sedimentary rocks have been thrust northward over Miocene and Oligocene marine sediments. The basin separating the Le Danois Bank from the Cantabrian continental margin to the south is a graben that simultaneously formed as a result of normal faulting associated with the thrust faulting. In addition, marine sediments that range in age from lower Pliocene to Pleistocene, cover large parts of Le Danois Bank, and fill the basin separating it from the Cantabrian continental margin demonstrate that this bank has been submerged beneath the Bay of Biscay for millions of years.
In his book Atlantis of the West: The Case For Britain's Drowned Megalithic Civilization, Paul Dunbavin argues that a large island once existed in the Irish Sea and that this island was Atlantis. He argues that this Neolithic civilization in Europe was partially drowned by rising sea levels caused by a comet impact that caused a pole shift and changed the earth's axis around 3100 BC.
On December 29, 1997, the BBC reported that a team of Russian scientists believed they found Atlantis in the ocean 100 miles off of Land's End, Cornwall, Britain. The BBC stated that Little Sole Bank, a relatively shallow area, was believed by the team to be the capital of Atlantis. This may have been based on the myth of Lyonesse.
The idea of Atlantis being located in Ireland was presented in the book Atlantis from a Geographer's Perspective: Mapping the Fairy Land (2004) by Swedish geographer Dr. Ulf Erlingsson from Uppsala University. It hypothesized that the empire of Atlantis refers to the Neolithic Megalithic tomb culture, based on their similar geographic extent, and deduced that the island of Atlantis then must correspond to Ireland. Erlingsson found the similarities of size and landscape to be statistically significant, while he rejected his null hypothesis that Plato invented Atlantis as fiction.
Based on this result, the speculation was made that the capital of Atlantis could be connected with Newgrange, Knowth, and Tara, Ireland. As regards the sinking of Atlantis, it was suggested that it is a memory from another time and place, notably the Dogger Bank area. It was an island that sank in the North Sea about 6100 BC. While the world sea level rose gradually as the Ice Age ice sheets melted, there was a sudden sea level rise at this time due to the final drainage of Lake Agassiz. At about the same time a tsunami from the Storegga Slide is believed to have devastated the island in the manner described by Plato.
Other hypotheses place the location of Atlantis between Britain and France on the Celtic Shelf. This hypothesis was first developed by Lewis Spence and has been recently revived by some oceanographers.
The North Sea is known to contain lands that were once above water; the medieval town of Dunwich in East Anglia, for example, crumbled into the sea. The land area known as "Doggerland", between England and Denmark, was inundated by a tsunami around 8200BP (6200BC), caused by a submarine landslide off the coast of Norway known as the Storegga Slide, and prehistoric human remains have been dredged up from the Dogger Bank. Atlantis itself has been identified with the island of Heligoland off the north-west German coast by the author Jürgen Spanuth, who postulates that it was destroyed during the Bronze Age around 1200 BC, only to partially re-emerge during the Iron Age. Ulf Erlingsson hypothesized that the island that sank referred to Dogger Bank, and the city itself referred to the Silverpit crater at the base of Dogger Bank. A book allegedly by Oera Linda claims that a land called Atland once existed in the North Sea, but was destroyed in 2194 BC.
In his book The Celts, author Gerald Herm links the origins of the Atlanteans to end of the ice age and the flooding of eastern coastal Denmark.
Finnish eccentric Ior Bock locates Atlantis in the Baltic sea, at southern part of Finland where he claims a small community of people lived during the Ice Age. According to Bock, this was possible due to Gulf Stream which brought warm water to the Finnish coast. This is a small part of a large saga that he claims has been told in his family through the ages, dating back to the development of language itself. The family saga tells the name Atlantis comes from Swedish words allt-land-is ("all-land-ice") and refers to the last Ice-Age. Thus in the Bock family saga it's more a time period than an exact geographical place. According to this the Atlantis disappeared in 8016 BC when the Ice-Age ended in Finland and the ice melted away.
Olaus Rudbeck wrote Atland (Atlantica), where he argues that Scandinavia, specifically Sweden, is identical with Atlantis.
When Columbus returned from his voyage to the west, many historians of the period such as Francisco López de Gómara , writing in 1552 thought that what Columbus had discovered was the Atlantic Island of Plato.
In 1556 Agustín de Zárate stated that the Americas was Atlantis which at one time began from the straits of Gibraltar and extended westwards to include North and South America and that it was as a result of Plato that the new continent was discovered. He also said it had all the attributes of the continent described by Plato yet at the same time mentioned that the ancient peoples crossed over by a route from the island of Atlantis. Zarate also mentions that the 9,000 “years” of Plato were 9,000 “months”.
This was also repeated and clarified by historian Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa in 1572 in his “History of the Incas”, who by calculation of longitude stated that Atlantis must have stretched from within two leagues of the strait of Gibraltar westwards to include “all the rest of the land from the mouth of the Marañon (Amazon River) and Brazil to the South Sea, which is what they now call America.” He thought the sunken part to be now in the Atlantic Ocean but that it was from this sunken part that the original Indians had come to populate Peru via one continuous land mass. He says that South America was also known by the name of the Isla Atlanticus.
It first appeared as the Atlantic Island (Insula Atlantica) on a map of the New World by cartographer Sebastian Münster in 1540 and again on the map titled Atlantis Insula by Nicolas Sanson and son (1669) which identified both North and South America as “Atlantis Insula”, the eastern part of the Atlantic Ocean as “Oceanus Atlanticus” and the western part of the Atlantic Ocean plus the Pacific Ocean as ”Atlanticum Pelagus”. This edition was further embellished with features from the Atlantis legend by his son Guillaume Sanson including the names of the ten kings of Atlantis with Atlas’ portion being in Mexico. Sanson's map supposedly showed what the earth looked like 200,000 years before there were any humans on it.
A hypothesis by author Jim Allen argues that Plato's description exactly fits South America with the island capital in what is now Bolivia because he describes a level rectangular-shaped plain which he said lay in the center of the continent, next to the sea and midway along the longest side of the continent. He also described the capital city of Atlantis which was built on a small volcanic island and also called Atlantis. The city lay on the level rectangular plain, five miles from the sea and according to Plato the whole region was high above the level of the ocean sea, rising sheer out of the ocean sea to a great height on that side of the continent. Allen contends that the Altiplano region of Bolivia meets these characteristics.
Author Gene Matlock claims that he found Atlantis in Mexico. He claims in his The last Atlantis Book You'll Ever Have to Read! that the Sanskrit language spoken in the Indian subcontinent is the progenitor of most world languages, that this explains the meaning of the name "Atlantis", and that this suggests a connection between Mexico and India and a Mexican location for Atlantis.
Author Andrew Collins has advocated a Cuban connection to Atlantis in his book Gateway to Atlantis: The Search for the Source of a Lost Civilization. Collins supports his hypothesis with indirect historical and geographical evidence. He suggests Isle of Youth and the shallow sea bottom that surrounds it as a possible location for Atlantis.
There have been suggestions for Atlantis to be placed outside of the Mediterranean Sea or the Atlantic Ocean. Such locations would tend to fall outside of the known world of the original sources of the legend.
The theory that Antarctica was Atlantis was particularly fashionable during the 1960s and 1970s, spurred on partly both by the isolation of the continent, and also the Piri Reis map, which purportedly shows Antarctica as it would be ice free, suggesting human knowledge of that period. Charles Berlitz, Erich Von Däniken and Peter Kolosimo are some of the popular authors who made this proposal.
More recently Rand and Rose Flem-Ath have proposed this in their book, When the Sky Fell; the theory was revised and made more specific in Rand's work with author Colin Wilson, in The Atlantis Blueprint (published in 2002). The second work theorized that Atlantis was to be found in Lesser Antarctica, near the coast of the Ross Ice Shelf. A geological theory known as "Earth Crust Displacement" forms the basis of their work. The Atlantis Blueprint uses both scientific and pseudoscientific (such as mere speculation and assumptions) means to back up the theory.
Charles Hapgood came up with the "Earth Crustal Displacement theory". Hapgood's theory suggests that Earth's outer crust is able to move upon the upper mantle layer rapidly up to a distance of 2,000 miles, placing Atlantis in Antarctica, when considering the movements of the crust in the past. It is to be noted that Albert Einstein was one of the few voices to answer Hapgood's theory. Einstein wrote a preface for Hapgood's book Earth's shifting crust, published in 1958. This theory is particularly popular with Hollow Earthers, and can be seen as a mirror of the Hyperborean identification. In his book "Fingerprints of the Gods", author Graham Hancock argues for the Earth Crustal Displacement theory in general, and the Atlantis/Antarctica connection specifically, then goes on to propose archaeological exploration of Antarctica in search of Atlantis.
What is now known about the Quaternary and Holocene history of Antarctica completely discredits any hypothesis about it being the location of Atlantis. Mapping and dating of the edges of the Antarctic ice sheet during the Last Glacial Maximum; mapping and dating of glacial erratics, tills, and striations within now ice-free areas; microfossils from post-glacial lake deposits; coring and analysis of glacial tills and marine sediments underlying the Ross and Wedell seas; coring and analysis of ice cores; and other research has accumulated an enormous amount of data that has disproved the various hypotheses that any sizable part of Antarctica was sufficiently ice-free and temperate in climate during the last 100,000 years and earlier to have supported any civilization. This research soundly refutes Flem-Ath’s proposal that lesser (West) Antarctica was ice-free and temperate prior to 9,600 B.C. (11,600 B.P.)
The South China Sea north of Indonesia and Java Sea have been advocated as a site for Atlantis. Key to this argument that Sundaland was the location of Atlantis is that the Ocean of Atlantis refers to the ocean which encircles Eurasia and Africa, which was the historical understanding until the time of Christopher Columbus. Proponents of this idea claim that natives of Sundaland who fled the rising waters or volcanic explosions eventually had contact with Ancient Egyptians, who later passed the story onto Plato who gets some but not all of the details correct, including location and time period. The main advocate of this theory is the Brazilian professor of nuclear physics Arysio Nunes dos Santos.
During the Last Glacial Maximum, what is now known as the Sunda Shelf was the location of a large subaerial coastal plain that was part of Sundaland. During the Last Glacial Maximum, Sundaland extended northward from Indonesia to Borneo and northwestward to the coast of Southeast Asia.Sundaland is quite tectonically stable lacking any known prehistory of any significant, much less cataclysmic, tectonic subsidence. Numerous studies by petroleum and Quaternary geologists have found a complete lack of any evidence for any Neogene and Quaternary volcanic activity within the Sunda Shelf despite its proximity to Indonesia.
Detailed studies of late glacial and postglacial sea level rise for this part of the Sunda Shelf demonstrates that the first significant submergence of Sundaland by rising sea level occurred between 14,000 and 15,000 years ago. Periods of abrupt rise in sea level submerged a significant part of Sundaland beneath the South China Sea between 13,000 and 14,000 years ago. Between 14,300 and 14,600 years ago, a period of 300 years, sea level rose 16m (62 feet). Between 12,000 and 13,000 years ago, the submergence of Sundaland by rising sea level was relatively minor. A final period of rapid flooding of Sundaland by the South China Sea occurred between 11,000 to 12,000 years ago. The submergence of Sundaland during this period was minor in extent relative to the area submerged between 13,000 and 14,000 years ago. Evidence for any significant or cataclysmic submergence of Sundaland as the result of tectonic processes is completely lacking.
The professor of systematic theology at Boston University William Fairfield Warren (1833 – 1929) wrote a book promoting his belief that the original centre of mankind once sat at the North Pole entitled Paradise Found: The Cradle of the Human Race at the North Pole (1885). In this work Warren placed Atlantis at the North Pole, as well as the Garden of Eden, Mount Meru, Avalon and Hyperborea. Warren believed all these mythical lands were folk memories of a former inhabited far northern seat where man was originally created.
Warren's identification of Atlantis with the North Pole was maintained by positioning Atlas in the far north by mapping out ancient Greek cosmology. Warren equated the primordial Titan Atlas of Greek mythology who supported the Heavens on his shoulders (or supported the earth on a pillar) to the Atlas described in Plato's dialogue Critias as the first ruler of Atlantis (Critias, 114a). In Warren's view, all the axis mundi or cosmic-axis of ancient legends (Yggdrasil, Irminsul and Atlas' pillar) had to be in the far north "at the top of the world":
...To locate these in right mutual relations, one must begin by representing to himself the earth as a sphere or spheroid, and as situated within, and concentric with, the starry sphere, each having its axis perpendicular, and its north pole at the top. The pole-star is thus in the true zenith, and the heavenly heights centring about it are the abode of the supreme god or gods.
Warren noted how Homer, Virgil and Hesiod all placed Atlas or his world pillar at the "ends of the earth", meaning in his view the far northern arctic regions, while Euripides related Atlas to the Pole Star, so as he concluded:
......in oldest Greek thought Atlas belongs at the North Pole, and it is only reasonable to locate the kingdom of Atlas in the same locality.
Therefore in Warren's view Atlantis sat in the far north, at the North Pole, since the Atlas in his ancient greek cosmological mapping stood in the far northern zenith, under the Pole Star.