I recently watched a brief documentary entitled, “The Search for the Lost City of Atlantis”, in where they discussed the lost city as if it possibly could have been a once thriving civilization. Now as I have mentioned in the past, the history of Atlantis itself can easily be traced back to Plato, who first wrote about the lost city over two thousand years ago in his dialogue Timaeus and Critias. Most people had believed his story to be a work of fiction, a trilogy that was never completed.
The mention of this once great nation may have been erased from the minds of the world if not for the theory of one, Ignatius Donnelly, a populist writer and amateur scientist, who in 1882 came out with his theory arguing that Atlantis really did exist. Not only did he believe that Atlantis existed, he also believed that the Atlanteans alone were responsible for bringing civilization to the great nations of the world.
While both Plato and Donnelly agree that Atlantis was indeed a great civilization that existed thousands of years ago, their impression of the continent appeared to differ. Plato said the Atlanteans were a naval power to be feared. They were beloved by Poseidon and conquered many parts of Western Europe and Africa. His comment on their demise was that the nation was lost in ‘a single day and night of misfortune’.
Donnelly too believed that the city was indeed overcome by a flood – some twelve thousand years ago, but it was his belief that many Atlanteans escaped this disaster by boat and went on to live in the surrounding nations. It wasn’t so much that they conquered these nations, but migrated into such places as Egypt, Mesopotamia, Mexico, and South America. He believed that the Atlanteans brought with them their knowledge of farming, writing, building, art, and religion, and with this knowledge they helped to transform these once considered barbaric nations into the thriving nations they became.
Ask any archeologist what they might believe and they would tell you this theory is rubbish. Why … carbon dating. The use of carbon dating allows you the ability to test the age of any sight by chemically testing the samples in that specific area. What most archeologists have found is that the dates of the greatest civilizations around the world were shockingly built thousands of years apart from one another. This certainly throws a monkey wrench in Donnelley’s theory of just one single source of civilization.
So what was it? Was Atlantis once a thriving nation that dominated the world with both their militaristic and cultural ways, or was is it an imaginative thought from a once great philosopher? I tend to lean on the side of the latter, but that’s just one man’s opinion. What do you think?