References about the lost city of Atlantis go back to 360 BC when Plato “published” two of his finest dialogues, the Critias and the Timaeus. Ever since this mentioning, scholars could not stop but wonder if the legend of this tremendous naval power was real or if Atlantis represented a figment of Plato’s imagination. Not only is the world still puzzled with the very existence of Atlantis, but even today scientists go to great lengths in order to discover the exact location of the city.
Considering that Plato described it to be as big as North Africa and Asia combined, it would seem natural to find at least some traces of the great Atlantis civilization. Let’s review the most popular theories about Atlantis.
1. Ignatius Donnelly’s hypothesis
Considering that in the 19th century the Atlantic Ocean was perceived as few hundred feet deep, it is perfectly understandable why so many people considered Ignatius Donnelly’s theory of Atlantis true. To summarize, since Plato mentioned that Atlantis was located just outside the Pillars of Hercules or the Strait of Gibraltar (as it is known today) Donnelly’s theory suggests that the lost continent could not be located elsewhere than the center of the Atlantic Ocean.
2. Atlantis is a metaphor for the Minoan civilization
The newest and progressively more popular theory about the lost city of Atlantis hints that Plato was referring to a catastrophic event that occurred thousands of years before his time in the Mediterranean Sea, namely the devastating eruption of the Santorini (of Thera as it was known in the days) volcano. According to geologists, the eruption created huge destruction in the Mediterranean basin, including a gigantic tsunami that brought the Minoan civilization from the Crete Island to an end.
3. Atlantis’ destruction is a reference for the Black Sea flood
The Black Sea was not always the mysteriously quiet sea of today. Its formation takes us back 7,000 years when the Mediterranean Sea breached through the Bosporus and flooded a freshwater lake over a rather short period. Because it has been proven that there were several flourishing civilizations living around the freshwater lake and the flooding was rapid, some scholars suggest that Plato was referring to this terrible event.
4. Nowadays Atlantis is an ice-free Antarctica
Charles Hapgood’s theory on the sudden shift of the Earth’s crust thousands of years ago sparked the imagination of various Atlantis theorists. Consequentially, they claim that since the shift also determined the relocation of the continents as we know them today. Since it is highly possible that Antarctica was once located in a moderate climate, its transfer to the icy South Pole represents a devastating event similar to the story of Atlantis. On a side note, this hypothesis gradually lost its supporters once the tectonic plate movement was better understood.
5. Atlantis and the old continent of Lemuria
Interestingly enough, ancient Greece was not the only civilization mentioning of a great island-bound culture that suddenly and tragically disappeared. In fact, stories and myths of such a civilization are also presents in India and the South-Eastern parts of Asia, cultures that tell the story of a great empire on the continent of Lemuria that supposedly existed somewhere in the Indian Ocean. However, considering that no evidence of geological formations has been found in the Indian Ocean, it is understandable why this hypothesis does not have many supporters.
6. Atlantis and the Bermuda Triangle
Numerous conspiracy theorists out there associate the bizarre and enigmatic events occurring in the Bermuda Triangle with the sunken continent of Atlantis. It is important to note that the recent discovery of what appear to be manmade ruins off the coast of the Bimini Island have conferred this theory more credibility, so don’t be so quick to dismiss it.
7. Atlantis was the nickname for the Indonesian Archipelago
The idea that Atlantis could have been what we nowadays know as the Indonesian Archipelago is a valid possibility. First off, during the last Ice Age the ocean levels were approximately two hundred feet lower, a fact that would imply a significantly larger Indonesia than the archipelago known today. Secondly, its geographical location and climate make it an ideal place for an emerging civilization with a rich and advanced culture. In addition, let’s face the fact the theory stating that the melting of the ice could have covered the land and create the Indonesian Archipelago of today seems plausible.
8. The mythological land of Mu
Perhaps one of the most exciting hypotheses regarding Atlantis is that it is a metaphor for the early continent of Mu. While there are some myths about the existence of the great continent of Mu in ancient texts, there is no archeological evidence to support this theory. Besides, the claim that the survivors of the great cataclysm of Mu escaped and founded numerous ancient civilizations can easily be contradicted by the diversity and disparity of these cultures.
9. The story of Atlantis is purely fictional
There is no denying the fact that the idea of great flood which almost wiped the entire globe’s population is present in all ancient cultures. In fact, many modern scientists believe that the great massive flood represents a reminiscence of the last Ice Age, when the ocean levels rose and engulfed immense landmasses in the process. However, this event has nothing to do with Atlantis according to skeptics. In fact, they are more inclined to think that when Plato was trying to tell this story he also felt the need to spice things up and add an interesting element to the equation.
10. The city did not sink, but rather flew off the surface of the planet
As with any great mystery of this planet, the story of Atlantis is also associated with the existence of aliens. Some of the modern conspiracy theorists claim that this vast land did not sink and was not really a continent to begin with. According to them, Atlantis was in fact an alien ship that simply took to the skies and left the planet for good after their mission here was completed.