Did Atlantis ever exist?

Atlantis myth's origin is a dialog of Platon, in the Timée. According to the philosopher, his master Socrate would have received fromTimée, who himself got it from Dropidas, the narrative told to his grand-father Solon by the preasts of Saïs about the overnight immersion by the ocean of a whole continent, with a very high civilisation. The catastrophe would have happen 9000 years ago which is to say 11400 years from today.

How could such a story stay burried under silence during 9000 years, to appear in the middle of a book devoted to unrelated subjects? It's like if Julius Ceasar name and the very existence of roman empire would never have been mentioned, anywhere by anybody, since the roman empire fall and that one would talk about it, today and for the very first time, in some book on Indianapolis races. Platon's name prestige should not make us forget his contemporaries words. According to Socrate "It's incredible, all the silly things this young man makes me say in his books." According to Aristote: "Platon made Atlantidecomes out of the waters. He alone made it get back under them."

BUT people also mocked Heterodote,when he evocated lost civilisations of Nil or Chaldée. And the city of Pompéi, swallowed not by the ocean, but by a volcano, was taken for conte de boonne femme. All was ridiculous before to be confirmed.

Platon talk again about Atlantis in the Critias. Problem, both texts contradict each other. In the Timée, Platon repeats Timée oral narrative to Socrate; in the Critias, he transcripts a manuscript of Solon's, which, of course,he alone knows. It involves golden statues, gold covered buildings and other preposterous things that no good fairy tale could omit. Contrasting with this fantasy, Platon gives us a technical description of the city: a temple that measures 1 stade long and 3 plethreswidth, a canal with same width and 50 stades length etc. All this is supposed to come from egyptians narrative. Unfortunately, egyptians never made so accurate and quantitative speechs, all the most speaking about other people busyness. Beside, the so accurate description of Atlantis matches exactly the Pirée, architectural marvel well known by Platon.
Yet other details, such as the hot spring and the cold spring of Atlantis' city, may not be found in the Pirée but Açores, where Platon located Atlantis.

In antiquity as well as during the middle ages nobody believes in it. But, all at once, in XIXth century Atlantis comes back to surface.At this time, the world is for the first time uterly explored and they wonder about deconcerting analogies between the old world and America. In Egypt like in Mexico, they find hyérogliphs, pyramids and mummies. For the XIXth century learned man, Atlantis existence is a scientific fact.
Unfortunatelyt, XXth century archaeologists will deny those pretty convictions. Looking closer, they notice that those analogies are superficial and, above all, that on Atlantic both sides one may follow, by going across times, the groping evolution of technics, what which contradict the idea that they were imported. For the XXth century scientist, it's Atlantis unexistance which is a fact.

Yet, if atlantiansdid maybe not exist, Atlantis did. This is a fact. We know today that at the last climatic change, polar ices melting elevated ocean level 150 meter higher in a realy short time. That happened 11500years ago, just when Platon situates his tale. And according to today's undersea relief, before this water elevation, THERE WAS A CONTINENT midway between Europa and America, exactly where Platon locates Atlantis.

Since Atlantis is now regarded as a myth, let's look at mythology. At all peoples' , on Atlantic both sides, babylonians, les assyrians, les Aztecs, American Indians, persians, you find the same legends about what the bible, for instance, calls the Deluge: flowing of waters and disapearance of an ancient world.

But such analogies are found for all myths. (I'll make a site one of those days about this subject.) And if Atlantis' one is credible, others are full with giants who creates the world by spiting and things of that ilk. Claude Levy Strauss explains the analogybetween myths by the analogy of their function in primitive sociéties. According to structuralism, myths are made difering details, obvious but not significant, put on a common structure wich only is essential.

Yet structuralismdoesn't explain everything. Babylonins located Paradise the Atlantic oceanand called it Aralu. For the egyptians, Aalu the land of souls, therefor of ancestors, was far western, in the middle of the ocean. North Africa tribesevocated in Antiquity, a dried sea called Attala, located on the other side of Atlantique ocean and peopled by Atlantios. Arabians believed that Ads people were chased from Atlantic by the deluge. Gauls said that their ancestors came from the middle of Atlantic ocean, after their mother country being submerged by waters. Spanish celts and basques too claimed that they descended from another people came from Atlantic ocean. Aztèques called "their former country " Aztlan. In XVIth century, when spanishes came to Venezuela, they found Atalans, a tribe of white indians who said that they descended from a submerged land rescapés.

Two centuries before, when spanishes discovered what which have been lost continent mountains tops before the flowin of waters, wich is to say Canaries islands, indigenous people were astonished by this arrival. They strongly believed that they were the only survivors in the world, of the big overflow which -did they say- had drownedthe rest of the earth. They called a part of their islands Atalaya. They had the same political system than Platon's atlanteans: a elective monarchy with ten kings, that you won't find anywhere else. And they had an amazing civilisation for such a small community: alphabétic writing, literature, poetry, momificationof the deads.

So, myth or reality?
All the facts and arguments sketched in this page are developed in detail In my novel Le onzième manuscrit , (french site since for a french book). It stars an expedition whose members intend to answer this question and maybe find the mysterious place. Strangely their way to it seems to pass by many other riddles without apparent connexion with Atlantis and to wich are devoted the pages bellow.
Even if we had in our hands the complete History of Atlantis would we understand a single word. In other terms, is it mathematicaly possible to translate a text in an absolutely unknown langage?
Why did they burn Giordano Bruno?
Did Christophe Colombus realy discover america? Yes it's an earnest question. Click, you'll see.
Did realy the alchimist Nicolas Flamel change lead into gold?

If you like images and comic books you may also take a look at my sites about comics.

Page et texte © G. Courtial, no reproduction allowed. Illustration Platon museum of thr Louvre, Levy Strauss photo Lauros.