Atlantis is a fictional island mentioned in an allegory on the hubris of nations in Plato’s works Timaeus and Critias. Although explorers have claimed to have found the lost city for centuries, many philosophers, scholars, and historians consider Atlantis as one of Pluto’s parables, backed by the fact Pluto often told fictitious stories, tales, and legends. It is also believed Pluto was attempting to warn everyone about the dangers of political ambitions and promoting mobility for one’s gain.
THE STORY OF ATLANTIS
The story goes that a long time ago, spiritual people lived in a highly powerful and advanced utopian kingdom. The founders of Atlantis, as Pluto claimed, were half god and half-human. They created a utopian civilization and became a great naval power.
According to Pluto, the city was made up of concentric islands separated by wide moats and linked by a canal that penetrated to the center. However, at some point in time, they became greedy, petty, and “morally bankrupt”.” Consequently, the gods “became angry because the people have lost their way and turned to immoral pursuits”. Hence, the gods decided to punish the citizens of Atlantis by submerging the island into the Atlantic Ocean.
WHERE IS ATLANTIS?
Although hundreds of locations were proposed as the lost city of Atlantis, most, if not all, of the proposed locations are not located in the Atlantic Ocean. In fact, the majority of locations were proposed near Greece and the Mediterranean Sea. According to the World Atlas, the suggested sites in the Mediterranean include the islands of Sardinia, Malta, Crete, Cyprus, and Santorini.
According to a theory, first proposed by Professor Angelos Galanopoulos in 1960, it is widely believed by historians that a possible massive volcanic eruption on Santorini led to a massive tsunami that disrupted the Minoan Civilization on the island of Crete Island. - Some people believe that this might be where Atlantis was located and that this catastrophe caused the sinking of Atlantis although it is not certain. This theory was first proposed by Professor Angelos Galanopoulos in 1960.
Countless “experts” have claimed to have found the island based on the same set of facts all over the world including Antarctica, Bolivia, Turkey, and Germany, along with their own peculiar sets of evidence and arguments.
However, the fact remains by Pluto that Atlantis is: “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,' (i.e., Hercules) there lay an island which was larger than Libya and Asia together.”. In other words, it lies in the Atlantic Ocean beyond “The pillars of Hercules”.
FICTION OR NON-FICTION?
All the locations that were supposedly found by “experts” were mere speculations that did not perfectly fit Pluto's description. As I mentioned before, although Pluto described the island to be in the Atlantic Ocean, interestingly enough, none of the proposed locations were even near the Atlantic Ocean. As writer L. Sprague de Camp noted in his book ‘Lost Continents,’ ‘You cannot change all the details of Plato's story and still claim to have Plato's story.
According to experts in oceanography and ocean floor mapping, despite the technological advances, not a single trace has been ever found. It is nearly impossible that oceanographers, submariners, and deep-sea probes have missed a landmass “larger than Libya and Asia together” (which, in Plato’s time, would have referred to modern-day northern Africa and over half of Turkey).
Furthermore, according to “LiveScience”, plate tectonics demonstrate that Atlantis is impossible; as the continents have drifted, the seafloor has spread over time, not contracted. In other words, there would simply be no place for Atlantis to sink in planet earth.
Ignatius Donnelly was certain of his theory and the museums all over the world will soon be filled with artifacts of Atlantis, yet, even after a hundred and thirty years, we have still not found a single trace of Atlantis.
The search for Atlantis really gained popularity during the 20th and the 21st century where countless people have claimed to have found Atlantis. As I have mentioned, some researchers pointed to a volcanic eruption that destroyed parts of the island of Santorini wiping out Minoan settlements.
Later, in 2018, a team announced that they had found “CONCRETE proof that Atlantis existed” which included a series of circles in a national park in Spain. In the end, they turned out to be experimental ponds created in 2004 and 2005 for a study involving zooplankton which are organisms drifting in oceans, seas, and bodies of fresh water.
Kenneth Feder, a professor of anthropology at Central Connecticut State University, has dealt with claims of Atlantis for much of his professional career. While there is no direct evidence that Atlantis as described by Plato actually existed, says Feder, people who get hooked by that story can sometimes be drawn into real archaeology.
“As a discipline, we don’t do enough proactive work,” Feder says. Archaeologists really do know a lot about other mythologized locations such as Stonehenge, the Egyptian pyramids, and cities built by the Aztecs, he says. “But if what we’re stuck with is people seeing documentaries about Atlantis or ancient aliens, and that’s what gets them curious, then ... we need to be able to run with that.”
In conclusion, it is safe to assume that the island of Atlantis is indeed fictional due to the fact that the evidence and locations proposed do not perfectly match Pluto’s descriptions. In addition, as I have mentioned, due to plate tectonics, there is simply no place for a landmass comparable to Libya and Asia combined to submerge in our planet. Hence, proving once more that the island of Atlantis indeed does not exist.