An illustration by Sir Gerald Hargreaves shows a utopian scene on a cove of the mythical land of Atlantis. Many scholars think Plato invented the story of Atlantis as a way to present his philosophical theories.
Photograph by Mary Evans Picture Library/Everett Collection
By Willie Drye
If the writing of the ancient Greek philosopher Plato had not contained so much truth about the human condition, his name would have been forgotten centuries ago.
But one of his most famous stories—the cataclysmic destruction of the ancient civilization of Atlantis—is almost certainly false. So why is this story still repeated more than 2,300 years after Plato’s death?
“It’s a story that captures the imagination,” says James Romm, a professor of classics at Bard College in Annandale, New York. “It’s a great myth. It has a lot of elements that people love to fantasize about.”
Plato told the story of Atlantis around 360 B.C. The founders of Atlantis, he said, were half god and half human. They created a utopian civilization and became a great naval power. Their home was made up of concentric islands separated by wide moats and linked by a canal that penetrated to the center. The lush islands contained gold, silver, and other precious metals and supported an abundance of rare, exotic wildlife. There was a great capital city on the central island.
There are many theories about where Atlantis was—in the Mediterranean, off the coast of Spain, even under what is now Antarctica. “Pick a spot on the map, and someone has said that Atlantis was there,” says Charles Orser, curator of history at the New York State Museum in Albany. “Every place you can imagine.”
Plato said Atlantis existed about 9,000 years before his own time, and that its story had been passed down by poets, priests, and others. But Plato’s writings about Atlantis are the only known records of its existence.
Benjamin Radford, Life’s Little Mysteries Contributor
Date: 29 July 2011 Time
Peter Lindberg’s team found what appears to be a crashed flying saucer on the ocean floor.
An ocean exploration team led by Swedish researcher Peter Lindberg has found what some are suggesting is a crashed flying saucer. Lindberg’s team, which has had success in the past recovering sunken ships and cargo, was using sonar to look for the century-old wreck of a ship that went down carrying several cases of a super-rare champagne. Instead, the team discovered what it claims is a mysterious round object that might (or might not) be extraterrestrial.
Lindberg explained to local media that his crew discovered, on the 300-foot-deep ocean floor between Finland and Sweden, “a large circle, about 60 feet in diameter. You see a lot of weird stuff in this job, but during my 18 years as a professional I have never seen anything like this. The shape is completely round.”
Adding to the mystery at the bottom of the Gulf of Bothnia, Lindberg said he saw evidence of scars or marks disturbing the environment nearby, suggesting the object somehow moved across the ocean floor to where his team found it.
Welcome to the Bermuda TriangleCredit: doctorjools | dreamstimeThe Bermuda Triangle is infamous for making everything from cargo ships to airplanes disappear. The mysterious body of water is clouded with rumors of suspicions — if not supernatural — activity. Over the past century, the Bermuda Triangle has been “swallowing” vessels and is blamed for the loss of hundreds of lives. Here, we recap its strangest disappearances. Explore if you dare…
Nestled atop a mountain ridge in Peru, the 15th-century Inca city of Machu Picchu had sat largely forgotten for centuries—until archaeologist Hiram Bingham began excavations of the ruins a hundred years ago this week.
Now one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, Machu Picchu’s original purpose is still unknown—though many archaeologists think they are closer to finding an answer. (Take a Machu Picchu quiz.)
Here are some of the top theories about Machu Picchu proposed—and in some cases disproven—in the century since its “rediscovery.”
With a culture that stretched from western India to Afghanistan and a population numbering over five million, the ancient Indus Valley people—India’s oldest known civilization—were an impressive and apparently sanitary bronze-age bunch. The scale of their baffling and abrupt collapse rivals that of the great Mayan decline. But it wasn’t until 1922 that excavations revealed a hygienically-advanced culture which maintained a sophisticated sewage drainage system and immaculate bathrooms. Strangely, there is no archaeological evidence of armies, slaves, social conflicts or other vices prevalent in ancient societies. Even to the very end, it seems, they kept it clean.
Buried deep beneath the sediment of the North Atlantic Ocean lies an ancient, lost landscape with furrows cut by rivers and peaks that once belonged to mountains. Geologists recently discovered this roughly 56-million-year-old landscape using data gathered for oil companies.
“It looks for all the world like a map of a bit of a country onshore,” said Nicky White, the senior researcher. “It is like an ancient fossil landscape preserved 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) beneath the seabed.”
So far, the data have revealed a landscape about 3,861 square miles (10,000 square km) west of the Orkney-Shetland Islands that stretched above sea level by almost as much as 0.6 miles (1 km). White and colleagues suspect it is part of a larger region that merged with what is now Scotland and may have extended toward Norway in a hot, prehuman world.
Kubaba is the Hurrian Goddess of the city of Carchemish, Turkey,
on the Euphrates River, at the Syrian border. She was usually depicted
as a regal woman wearing a long robe, either standing or seated on a throne.
She holds a mirror in her left hand and a pomegranate in her right hand,
symbols respectively of magic and fertility. She was adopted by the Hittites
after the fall of the Hurrians, and eventually evolved into the Phrygian Goddess
Cybebe, later known as Cybele to the Romans. Source:
Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, Ankara, Turkey.
The following emails are from Earthfiles viewers joining the book search with valuable insights of their own about the once-great, ancient Greek civilization on this planet lasting from the the 8th to 6th centuries B.C. through the beginning of the Early Middle Ages with the rise of the Byzantine era following Justinian I.
In the hill and river confluences of western New England, a ring of ‘peace’ communities spontaneously emerges around the Trees of Peace grove in MohawkTrail S.F.. Poised between pagodas of peace this grove of old growth White Pines give symbol and meaning to the word and intent of PEACE, as hub of this peace wheel.
‘Trees of Peace’, is a self organizing circle of people, place and purpose, a sacred space conjointly created for the joy and contemplation of all.
For a set of craggy rocks in an English field, Stonehenge’s ability to capture the imagination is impressive. The ancient monument — composed of massive stones arranged into concentric circles by unknown builders — is referenced almost as far back the Norman Conquest, when an English historian remarked in 1130 A.D. that “no one can conceive how such great stones have been so raised aloft, or why they were built here.” That certainly hasn’t kept many from trying. It seems like everyone has a theory for why the ruins were constructed. Some are more plausible than others.