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The Lost Land of Atlantis & The Reason For Its Downfall – According To Plato
Advanced ancient civilizations are a big topic of interest among researchers, historians, archaeologists, and scientists. Every single year we are gifted with a mysterious find that has us questioning the origins of the human race and imagining the cultures which roamed our planet before us. Many have argued that there is sufficient evidence to suggest that there may have been civilizations in existence before us which were intellectually and even technologically superior. How much do we really know about our past?
The ancient city of Atlantis has been studied for hundreds of years. For example, we can see that it was a subject of significant importance for researchers at the Smithsonian Institution, as emphasized by their Annual Report of the Board of Regents of The Smithsonian Institution for the year ending June 30th, 1915.
In the report, starting on page 219 author M. Pierre Termier, a member of the Academy of Sciences and Director of Service of the Geologic Chart of France, gives a lecture regarding the Atlantean civilization. He makes a compelling case for further study of this lost city:
"After a long period of disdainful indifference, observe how in the last few years science is returning to the study of Atlantis. How many naturalists, geologists, zoologists, or botanists are asking one another today whether Plato has not transmitted to us, with slight amplification, a page from the actual history of mankind. No affirmation is yet permissible; but it seems more and more evident that a vast region, continental or made up of great islands, has collapsed west of the Pillars of Hercules, otherwise called the Strait of Gibraltar, and that its collapse occurred in the not far distant past.
In any event, the question of Atlantis is placed anew before men of science; and science I do not believe that it can ever be solved without the aid of oceanography. I have thought it natural to discuss it here, in this temple of maritime science, and to call such a problem, long scorned but not being revived, the attention of oceanographers, as well as the attention of those who, though immersed in the tumult of cities, lend an ear to the distant murmur of the sea."
In his lecture, M. Termier goes on to present zoologic, geographic, and geologic data to support the existence of the lost Atlantean civilization. Not only that, modern archaeological discoveries on the ocean floor have also raised some questions. Searching for such ruins is not an easy task at all given the sheer size of our oceans. Much of what lies under the sea is unknown, more than 80 percent of our oceans are unmapped and unexplored.
Perhaps when ancient philosophers made reference to Atlantis, they weren't making things up and their knowledge was somehow acquired by those who passed it on before them.
The lost 'city' was said to exist hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of years ago.
Plato's Description of Atlantis
Plato, the ancient Greek philosopher, provides a description of Atlantis in his dialogue Critias, which was never completed. The following is a summary of his depiction. Below are a few of many points taken from the founder of the Philosophical Research Society and scholar Manly P. Hall, via his work, The Secret Teachings of All Ages
Atlantis was inhabited by ‘earth-born’ and ‘primitive’ human beings. One of them was wooed by the god Poseidon, who interbred with the human beings, and they eventually bore five children. This interbreeding between gods and humans is a common theme in many historical texts found throughout the world. They thus became half god, half human and created a utopian civilization.
The land was divided into concentric zones of land and water. Two zones of land and three zones of water surrounded the central island, which had warm springs of water and cold springs of water.
Atlantis became an established country, with a wise government and an industry that sprung them to advanced technological heights — beyond even what we have reached today.
Atlantis had limitless resources, wild animals, and precious metals, and was heavily populated.
Atlantis was full of large and beautiful palaces, temples, docks, and a network of various bridges and canals that united different sections of the kingdom.
White, black and red stones were used in the construction of public buildings. “They circumscribed each of the land zones with a wall, the outer wall being covered with brass, the middle with tin, and the inner, which encompassed the citadel, with orichalch. The citadel, on the central island, contained the palaces, temples, and other public buildings. In its center, surrounded by a wall of gold, was a sanctuary dedicated to Cleito and Poseidon.”
Atlantis had a number of gardens, full of hot and cold springs. There were countless temples, public baths, and exercise facilities for both man and animal.
“The part of Atlantis facing the sea was described as lofty and precipitous, but about the central city was a plain sheltered by mountains renowned for their size, number, and beauty. The plain yielded two crops each year, in the winter being watered by rains and in the summer by immense irrigation canals, which were also used for transportation. The plain was divided into sections and in time of war each section supplied its quota of fighting men and chariots.”
Atlantis was massive, ruled by multiple kings who all had control over their land. Their relationships with the other kings were governed by an original code of ethics that was engraved by the first ten kings. “The chief laws of the Atlantean kings were that they should not take up arms against each other and that they should come to the assistance of any of their number who was attacked.”
The Downfall of Atlantis
Above are the essential points Plato makes about Atlantis. He described it as a great and powerful empire, almost magical, and said that this was the same empire which attacked the Hellenic states. He attributes the power and glory they tasted after this venture to their eventual demise, writing that the love for these ego-driven desires that soon developed among Atlantean kings “lured” them from “the pathway of wisdom and virtue.”
"Filled with false ambition, the rulers of Atlantis determined to conquer the gods into his holy habitation and addressed them. Here Plato's narrative comes to an abrupt end, for the Critias was never finished"
Manly P Hall via "The Secret Teachings of All Ages."
Plato also tackles the subject of Atlantis in his Timaeus, writing of a story told by Solon — who himself is said to have heard the story in Egypt, passed on to him by a priest via hieroglyphic inscriptions in a temple in Sais — in which a violent cataclysm sank the continent. Thus, the Island of Atlantis completely disappeared.
Ken Feder, professor of archaeology, explains his book “Frauds, Myths and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology,"
"A technologically sophisticated but morally bankrupt evil empire - Atlantis - attempts world domination by force. The only thing standing in its way is a relatively small group of spiritually pure, morally principled and incorruptible people - the ancient Athenians. Overcoming overwhelming odds...the Athenians are able to defeat their far more powerful adversary simply through the force of their spirit. Sound familiar? Plato's Atlantean dialogues are essentially an ancient greek version of 'Star Wars.'"
The Egyptian connection is also interesting to bring up here because Crantor, another ancient Greek philosopher, asserted that the Egyptian priests declared the story of Atlantis to be written upon pillars which were still preserved circa 300 B.C.
Manly P. Hall has noted that, before this cataclysm, a portion of the population left and did not succumb to the egoistic tendencies which apparently led to the downfall of Atlantis. Was the philosophic, religious, and scientific knowledge of Atlantis passed on? There are many similarities between the reported teachings of Atlantis and those of other cultures, such as the Mayas of Central America.
According to Manly P. Hall, from the Atlanteans,
"the world received not only the heritage of arts and crafts, philosophies, and sciences, ethics and religions, but also the heritage of hate, strife, and perversion. The Atlanteans instigated the first war; and it has been said that all subsequent wars were fought in a fruitless effort to justify the first one and right the wrong which it caused."
"Before Atlantis sank, its spiritually illuminated initiates, who realized that their land was doomed because it had departed from the Path of Light, withdrew from the ill fated continent. Carrying with them the sacred and secret doctrine, these Atlanteans established themselves in Egypt, where they became its first divine rulers. Nearly all the great cosmological myths forming the foundation of the various sacred books of the world are based upon the Atlantean Mystery Rituals."
Manly P. Hall via "The Secret Teachings of All Ages."
One of the most interesting parts of this story, to me, is the fact that this place is often remembered as a place of glory, light, and abundance, which it was. But they were not immune to the dangers of extreme greed, ego, and the desire for material wealth, power and control.
The ancient Atlantean civilization, if it was indeed real, has some concerning similarities to what we are seeing in the world today. Ironically, our civilization has become one that desires power, control and material wealth. We sacrifice the health of our planet and all life on it for the sake of economic gain and 'globalization.' Perhaps we are failing to focus on the most important things like service to others, ethics, morality and our potential to create a world where everybody can thrive together as one.