Home » Atlantis: the debrief » Where exactly is Atlantis?


Written by Graham | Created: Sunday 27th September 2020 @ 2343hrs

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Requesting information on the whereabouts of Atlantis.

Present: Interrogator (Third Class) Ветка, interrogating, and Agent Г.


Hey, where's the usual guy?
He's... upstairs.
So he got his promotion then?
Not exactly.
He's being... asked to clarify one or two things from your last session.
Okay. So I'm now on childminding duty?
What? No! I'm twenty-six!
And I'm the tooth fairy.
Really? You're... not what I expected you to look like.
How about you ask me a question, so I know what that is exactly.
Oh, yeah. Silly me.
Where did you lot find this clown?
Wait. There's a note here from Comrade Корень. It says...
"In the circus. Literally."
Explains a lot. You could fit twenty-six of you in a Trabi.
Right, back to work. Umm... where is Atlantis?
Good question. You could ask twenty-six "independent Atlantologists" and come up with... about twenty-six different answers. If you're lucky, one of them will be the same as Plato's.
"Independent Atlantologists?"
Yeah, they're a strange lot. Very hit-and-miss. Some of them do fine research and come up with... spectacularly wrong answers. In the shallow end of the pool, they seem to be the sort of people who point at the sun and say "look! A shiny UFO!"
Ah, but can you prove it's not?
What I mean to say is, a lot of this star nonsense, that seems pretty much like a capitalist fudge to put off genuine scholarly inquiry into the nature and origins of the sun.
Well, I would call it a shiny nuclear fusion reactor providing free energy to everyone on earth without discrimination (well, more if you live in a sunny place, less if you happen to be a penguin...
I knew it! The sun is a good socialist!
... and anyone who has read this far down the page deserves an apology for me taking this long to tell them that Atlantis 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].
And the alternatives?
Er, there are none. Any attempt to locate Atlantis in some far-flung locale, despite whatever other evidence is brought to bear or how much the owner of the theory may feel his or her work on the subject is definitive, is hamstrung by the simple fact that Plato tells the reader quite plainly where Atlantis was supposed to have been.
Any proposed Atlantis which is not where Plato makes it clear he imagines it was, and without any mechanism, plausible or otherwise, for how Atlantis came to be elsewhere, I think it's fair to say, is probably not Atlantis.
Ah, that's where you're wrong. I've read Plato and he never mentions Spain, Morocco or the Strait of Gibraltar.
Actually, he does. He just gives them different names, the names they had back when he was alive, well and living in Athens (or wherever).
You see, my friend, 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 being 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.
You're very confident, aren't you? What if I told you that there were other Pillars of Heracles?
Then I would ask you to provide solid references for the use of the term for anywhere other than what is now the Strait of Gibraltar at or in the century or so before the time Plato was writing.
Oh... I'll get back to you on that.