Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Atlantis - Part 2

Ok, just to recap on what was mentioned in the last part.

It was noted that the earliest documentation we have of Atlantis is by Plato written in 355BC but that it supposedly existed 9000 years prior to that date.

We noted that Plato’s legend had Egyptian origin, because Solon visited Sais, where he “was very honourably received” by the priests of the goddess Neith and the story was related to him. We, also, noted that in mythology Poseidon divided the continent up into 10 regions, each to be ruled by a son, so, theoretically Atlantis was much bigger than described by Plato … BUT …..

…..the narrative continues:

“That sea (the Atlantic) was then navigable, and had an island fronting that mouth which you in your tongue call the Pillars of Hercules; and this island was larger than Libya and Asia put together; and there was a passage hence for travellers of that day to the rest of the islands, as well as from those islands to the whole opposite continent that surrounds that the real sea. . . . In this Atlantic island, then, was formed a powerful league of Kings, who subdued the entire island, together with many others, and parts also of the Continent; besides which they subjected to their rule the inland parts of Libya, as far as Egypt, and Europe also, as far as Tyrrhenia. The whole of this force, then, being collected in a powerful league, undertook at one blow to enslave both your country and ours, and all the land besides that lies within the mouth. This was the period, Solon, when the power of your state (Athens) was universally celebrated for its virtue and strength; for surpassing all others in magnanimity and military skill, sometimes taking the lead of the Greek nation, at others left to itself by the defection of the rest, and brought into the most extreme danger, it still prevailed, raised the trophy over its assailants, kept from slavery those not as yet enslaved, insured likewise the most ample liberty for all of us without exception who dwell within the Pillars of Hercules. (Bibliography: Timaeus & Critias – Plato)

In 1909, in response to an ever emerging interest in the lost Continent, an anonymous contributor to the Times, pointed out that there was resemblance between Plato’s Atlantis and the island of Crete. This anonymous contributor based his whole theory on the argument that the Egyptian priest’s legend reflected the geographical make-up of the island of Crete, Cretan sea-power and the pirate attacks that had occurred along the Egyptian coast during the Nineteenth and Twentieth Dynasties. His theory spread rapidly. It was very liked and adopted by many archaeologists, for many centuries.

In fact, in 1912 Paul Schliemann, grandson of Heinrich Schliemann, the famous archeologist, who excavated Mycenae and the legendary city of Troy, revealed that his grandfather, on his deathbed, produced a mysterious bequest for any of his heirs willing to devote their life to proving the existence of Atlantis. He claimed that he had spent years following up on this and he left secret letters behind, locked away in a bank safety deposit box.

Schliemann Jr claimed he had found Phoenician hieroglyphics to support his grandfather’s theories but the truth is the Phoenicians used a phoenetic writing system. He claimed he had found artefacts in the ruins of ancient Egypt but the truth is nothing was ever produced, as evidence and given modern science an technology, the whole theory was called a hoax and people continued to prefer the theory of the Crete being Atlantis.

Lets see why …

Crete is the fourth largest island in the Mediterranean after Sicily, Sardegna and Cyprus. It is about 160 miles long, and varies in breadth from about 35 miles in the middle to 10 between Retimo and Sphakia, and only 6 miles in one place between the Gulf of Mirabello and the coast of Hierapetra. The northern coast is characterised by deep gulfs whilst the southern coast is very mountainous and rocky. Mount Psiloriti, (8159 feet), reknowned for it’s dense forestry and, also known as the ancient Mount Ida, can be found almost in the middle of a ridge of hills that go from east to west of the island.

“sea above two thousand. And this district of the whole island was turned towards the south, and in an opposite direction from the north. The mountains around it, too, were at that time celebrated, as exceeding in number, size, and beauty all those of the present time, having in them many hamlets enriched with villages.” (quote)

The ancient capital of Crete was situated at Knossos, near Candia, on the north. In ancient days the island was four days’ sail from Egypt and two from Cyrenaica. It may well be said of Crete, as of Atlantis, that “there was a passage hence for travellers of that day to the rest of the islands, as well as from those islands to the whole opposite continent", which we saw in the narrative quoted above and the prosperity of the island kingdom, of Crete, depended on its sea trade, until after bad relations with the Egyptians, Crete was overrun with raids and the Cretan sea traders eventually vanished to give way to the PhÅ“nicians.

However, during its prime time, Crete held supremacy in sea fairing and commerce. It was the prime-trading link between the Middle East, Asia and Europe. This, of course, is all in a nutshell, as there is far too much more history which time and space does allow me to go into here.

Crete was, also, famous for its sacrificial bullfights; as was Atlantis; and the method by which both civilisations caught the bull, (i.e. without weapons), was another similarity used to support the Cretan / Atlantis theory.

“As there were bulls grazing at liberty in the temple of Poseidon, ten men only of the whole number, after invoking the god to receive their sacrifice propitiously, went out to hunt swordless, with staves and chains, and whichever of the bulls they took, they brought it to the column and slaughtered it.” (quote)

Archaeological evidence does suggest that the island has been inhabited since the 6th or 7th millennium BC, there’s still a little dispute among scientists, about the accuracy of these dates. Evans, a renowned archaeologist who excavated Knossos discovered hand made ceramics dating back to the 5th millennium BC, which, (for him), marked the beginning of Cretan civilisation. He named this period, in history, the “Minoan Era” after King Minos, who in Greek mythology was a semi-legendary king of Crete, son of Zeus and Europa.

There is, also, a theory which claims that when the Greek island of Minoan Santorini erupted it sent out a huge tidal wave which hit the north coast of Crete, mainly Elounda, where artefacts are still hidden under the sea but can’t be retrieved due to a ban on diving in Eloundan waters. Rumour has it that the volcanic ash buried remnants of the old continent.

Ok, it’s time for me to just point out a few things here:

1) Even if artefacts, described and documented, as having been from Atlantis, were, supposedly, found in this region, given our knowledge of Cretans as leaders in sea fairing and commerce … could it not be possible that the artefacts found were, in fact, something like a stock inventory for ancient day import-export or even goods purchased from the continent of Atlantis, for European, or global, distribution. Could it be, at that time, that Crete was used as the first, and original, free trade zone? … Remember they were the trade supremacy between Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

2) Solon visited Egypt over a thousand years after Crete had been stripped of its ancient supremacy as a maritime power, and the aged priest of Sais evidently repeated to him traditions regarding it. Umm…. I’m thinking time frames and calendars do not coincide here, just as Kenneth, quite rightfully pointed out in the last forum, please read his comment if you have not done so already, it will help to clarify a few points.

3) Plato told us that Poseidon founded the continent of Atlantis and divided it up amongst his sons for ruling. King Minos was not one of Poseidon’s sons; he was the son of Zeus.

4) Crete is too small in dimensional size, even if we only refer back to Plato’s account. In actual fact he told us the island was 300 miles by 200 miles.

5) Crete is in the Mediterranean Sea and not the Atlantic Ocean, which is where we discovered the continent, derived its name from.

There is no doubt about Crete’s supremacy, ancient history, glory and pitfalls but that Crete is Atlantis … I do not believe so …

No comments: