Home » Atlantis » Where exactly is Atlantis?


Written by Graham | Created: Sunday 27th September 2020 @ 2343hrs | Tuesday 20th October 2020 @ 1118hrs

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This section asks the question of Atlantis' location. If you ask twenty "independent Atlantologists," you will likely get twenty different answers. If you're in luck, one may be the same as Plato's.

You see, "independent Atlantologists" (such as myself according to some definitions, I suppose) are likely to invest so much effort into proving a preferred thesis that those portions of Plato's work which fail to deliver evidence will be lost sight of.

Crucially, this will often include the fact that Plato is quite specific in locating Atlantis: -

Atlantis, according to Plato, was located in the Atlantic Ocean, with its presumably easternmost point not too far from the coasts of Spain and Morocco, approaching the Strait of Gibraltar [Crit. 114b].

These locations are easily gleaned by reference to the pre-existing corpus of Greek literature and mythology from prior to Plato: -

The Atlantic Ocean takes its name from Atlas, the titan who held up the sky, and who was located in the far west, in a place which became known as Mount Atlas. This is the modern Atlas range in north-western Africa.

The easternmost part of Atlantis was known as Gadira after Atlas' twin brother Gadeirus or Eumelus. The adjacent coastline and islands took the name, hence the name of the Tyrian colony at Gades (modern Cádiz), according to the Critias [114b]. Cádiz is located on a former island in south-western Iberia.

As for the Strait of Gibraltar, this was known in antiquity as the Pillars of Heracles, after the hero who was in this region during the latter stages of his legendary labours, rustling cattle on Erytheia (often associated with Gades) and meeting Atlas on the quest for the Apples of the Hesperides.

As we go on through this subsection of the website, various themes which are contested by a number of "independent Atlantologists" will be covered, and evidence for Greek knowledge of these regions throughout the period before, during and shortly after the life of Plato will be investigated.