30. Plato’s Account of Atlantis (§§482-588)

The Six Days of Creation     www.christianhospitality.org     Online Index     Feedback/Discussion

30. Plato’s Account of Atlantis (§§482-588)

482. The names of the kings descended from Poseidon in Plato’s account of Atlantis parallel those of Cain and his sons, as elucidated here. The relevant passage reads as follows:

(This is an extract from the complete account given later, Critias 113c ff., in which the Greek word nesos is translated “[now] sunken land” not “island,” as in the “island” of Atlantis, for the reasons stated infra.)

483. “And Poseidon, receiving for his lot the now sunken land [not “island”] of Atlantis, begat children by a mortal woman, and settled them in a part of the now sunken land, which I will describe.

484. “Looking towards the sea, but in the center of the whole sunken land, there was a plain which is said to have been the fairest of all plains and very fertile. Near the plain again, and also in the center of the sunken land at a distance of about fifty stadia, there was a mountain not very high on any side. In this mountain there dwelt one of the earth born primeval men of that country, whose name was Evenor, and he had a wife named Leucippe, and they had an only daughter who was called Cleito.

485. “The maiden had already reached womanhood, when her father and mother came to the end of their days; Poseidon fell in love with her and had intercourse with her, and breaking the ground, inclosed the hill in which she dwelt all round, making alternate zones of sea and land larger and smaller, encircling one another; there were two of land and three of water, which he turned as with a lathe, each having its circumference equidistant every way from the center, so that no man could get to the now sunken land, for ships and voyages were not as yet.

486. “He himself, being a god, found no difficulty in making special arrangements for the central now sunken land, bringing up two springs of water from beneath the earth, one of warm water and the other of cold, and making every variety of food to spring up abundantly from the soil. He also begat and brought up five pairs of twin male children; and dividing the now sunken land of Atlantis into ten portions, he gave to the first-born of the eldest pair his mother’s dwelling and the surrounding allotment, which was the largest and best, and made him king over the rest; the others he made princes, and gave them rule over many men, and a large territory.

487. “And he named them all; the eldest, who was the first king, he named Atlas, and after him the whole now sunken land and the ocean were called Atlantic. To his twin brother, who was born after him, and obtained as his lot the extremity of the now sunken land towards the Pillars of Heracles, facing the country which is now called the region of Gades in that part of the world, he gave the name which in the Hellenic language is Eumelus, in the language of the country which is named after him, Gadeirus. Of the second pair of twins he called one Ampheres, and the other Evaemon. To the elder of the third pair of twins he gave the name Mneseus, and Autochthon to the one who followed him. Of the fourth pair of twins he called the elder Elasippus, and the younger Mestor. And of the fifth pair he gave to the elder the name of Azaes, and to the younger that of Diaprepes.

488. “All these and their descendants for many generations were the inhabitants and rulers of divers now sunken lands in the open sea; and also, as has been already said, they held sway in our direction over the country within the Pillars as far as Egypt and Tyrrhenia.”

488.1. Note the Greek word nesos, commonly translated “island,” as in the “island of Atlantis,” also means “sunken land.” (Liddell-Scott-Jones, Greek Lexicon, s.v.) That the latter is the correct translation here is proven by Plato’s assertion that, following the great catastrophe which terminated the civilization of Atlantis, the nesos comprised in his day shoals of mud, which made the Ocean (the Atlantic) impassible in those areas. This shows the nesos is what is now the shallow “sunken land” around the edges of the land-mass bordering the Ocean, which subsided into the sea as a result of the catastrophe and formed shoals. That catastrophe was the melting of the ice-sheets at the end of the last Ice Age. Sea-levels rose worldwide, and left the ancient shoreline submerged in shoals and the greater continental shelf bordering land-masses, divided by oceans and seas, as we know them today. In the days of Atlantis, on account of the lower sea-levels, there was only one huge continent, mainland or land-mass (Gk. epeiros), as illustrated on the map infra. The “sunken land” called Atlantis bordered that part of the single continent (found, as Plato describes it, to the west of the Straits of Gibraltar across the Atlantic Ocean) which did not include the Libya (North Africa), Europe and Asia known to the Greeks, and therefore comprised the American and Australian continents and the lands adjoining. One consequence of that geographical situation was that there existed only one Ocean, the primeval Atlantic, flowing around the single land-mass, continuing westwards beyond the Americas, and including the current Pacific and Indian Oceans. The “sunken land of Atlantis,” according to Plato, was larger than Libya and Asia put together.

488.2. The map infra shows the single land-mass that existed before c. 9500 BC, and the extended Atlantic Ocean, with the Americas joined to Asia at the Bering Straits. It illustrates the extent of the sunken land (roughly described by the dark blue dots): the distance from Libya across Asia can be measured along the red dotted line, and the greater distance of the “sunken land” of Atlantis along the green dotted line. (On the location of the city Enoch-Atlantis, see further infra.)

489. The genealogy of the kings of Atlantis is as follows:

Poseidon marries Cleito daughter of Evenor and Leucippe

Five sets of “twins” are born:

1) Atlas and 2) Eumelus (= Gadeirus)

3) Ampheres and 4) Evaemon

5) Mneseus and 6) Autochthon

7) Elasippus and 8) Mestor

9) Azaes and 10) Diaprepes

490. The following passage occurs in Book XII of Cosmas Indicopleustes’ Christian Topography (c. AD 550, Laurentian MS): “In the Chaldaean books of Bêrôsus and certain others it is thus written: that ten kings reigned over the Chaldaeans 2242 myriads of years, but, under their tenth king Xisuthrus, as they called him, there was a great flood, and that Xisuthrus being warned by God embarked in a ship

The world 18,000 years before present, with the location of Nod (Ku’ara) at the head
of the present-day Persian Gulf, of the pre-diluvian city Enoch (Atlantis) in a now-submerged area off
the coast of Sri Lanka (Ceylon), and of its extended territories in the now-submerged areas
of the greater Atlantic Ocean. The red line indicates the size of the Atlantis zone as compared to the yellow line marking the extent of Europe and Asia together. The former is larger than the latter. For the location of the continent of India in the “Atlantic Ocean” in Megasthenes, writing in the time of Alexander of Macedon, see §494, below, >>, and more generally on the Atlantis tradition, §482ff., above, >>.)

with his wife and kindred and cattle, and that having been brought over in safety, as their story goes, to the mountains of Armenia, he offered sacrifices of thanksgiving to the gods after the flood. These writers have thus presented in a new form nearly all the account given by Moses; for men continued to live in the earth beyond [the Ocean] {i.e. the American continent as we now know it} {p. 376} 2242 years for a course of ten generations, and, under Noah who was the tenth the flood having occurred, they passed over to this earth by means of the Ark. For Noah is he whom they call Xisuthrus. But by having changed the days into years, they asserted that those ten kings had lived 2242 myriads of years, since the number of years reckoned by Moses to have elapsed from Adam to the deluge of Noah was 2242. In like manner the philosopher Timaeus also describes this earth as surrounded by the Ocean, and the Ocean as surrounded by the more remote earth {viz. the American continent}. For he supposes that there is to westward a sunken land, Atlantis, lying out in the Ocean, in the direction of Gadeira (Cadiz), of an enormous magnitude, and relates that the ten kings having procured mercenaries from the nations in this sunken land came from the earth far away {viz. the American continent}, and conquered Europe and Asia, but were afterwards conquered by the Athenians, while that sunken land itself was submerged by God under the sea. Both Plato and Aristotle praise this philosopher, and Proclus has written a commentary on him. He himself expresses views similar to our own with some modifications, transferring the scene of the events from the east to the west. Moreover he mentions those ten generations as well as that earth which lies beyond the Ocean. And in a word it is evident that all of them borrow from Moses, and publish his statements as their own. {p. 377} For the writers of Chaldaean history as being more ancient, and living farther east, have mentioned in their works both the deluge and the building of the Tower, since they saw that Tower with their own eyes under the process of construction, being no doubt well aware that the men of that time, in fear of another flood, erected it for themselves as a place of refuge and safety. But the men of later times, when they had read Moses also, and found that Noah, in whose time the deluge occurred, was the tenth from Adam, they feigned that they also had ten kings, who had reigned 2242 myriads of years, as has already been said. Of these the first was Alorus, that is, Adam; the second Alaaprus, Seth; the third, Almêdôn, Enoch; the fourth, Ammeôn, Cainân: the fifth, Ammegalaros, Mahalaleel; the sixth, Daonus, a keeper of sheep, Jared; the seventh, Euedôrachos, Enoch; the eighth, Amempsinachus, Methuselah; the ninth, Otiortes, Lamech; the tenth, Xisuthrus, Noah. In his time they say the great flood recorded by Moses occurred.”

491. The “feigned” tradition, as it is correctly described by Cosmas, which was modified in an attempt to incorporate Biblical traditions, erred in assuming all Berossus’ pre-diluvian kings represented Adam’s line through Seth, when in fact all but two of them (Euedoranchos = Jared, wrongly identified with Enoch in the “feigned” tradition, and Xisouthros = Noah) were Cainites; but Cosmas’ own view that the ten pre-diluvian generations in Genesis matched Plato’s ten kings of Atlantis is borne out by a comparison of the names in the two lists. The name Atlas in antiquity was equated with the Hebrew Enoch. Here is a king “Atlas,” whose name was given to a city before the greatest of the ancient floods. The Biblical Enoch son of Cain (= Alalgar son of Alulim) was likewise a king and the eponymus of a pre-diluvian city. Confirming the equation Atlas = Enoch = Alalgar, we find that Atlas had a son whose name Eumelus means “Good herder.” This is precisely the meaning of the name of Enoch’s son Irad, corresponding to the Sumerian En-sipa-zi-ana. The name Gadeirus given by Plato as its equivalent is described as the native name of Cadiz (Gades) in Spain, and this is derived from the Punic gdd = gdr, meaning to provide a protective walled shelter for a flock (Gesenius-Tregelles s.v. gederah [2]. According to Roman authors, Gadir meant in the Punic language saepes, which is Latin for protective enclosure, fold, cf. the verb saepio, protect, enclose, fence in, Pliny Hist. Nat. lib. IV. 36, and Avienus, Descriptio orbis, v. 614-615. The name Gadeira, however, Eratosthenes, “ta Gadeira,” Stephanus Byzantinus, s.n., did not belong to the Phoenician idiom from Libya, Etym. M. p. 219, 32). Gadeirus, therefore, can be interpreted as “provider of protection for domestic animals,” like the Biblical and Sumerian names.

492. These equations suggest Atlas’ father, Poseidon, should be identified with Enoch’s father, Cain. In the context of an ancient Mesopotamian king-list (Alulim etc.), Poseidon would be the interpretatio Graeca of the Sumerian Enki. (See §337, above, >>.) The element lulim in the name A-lulim is an epithet attached to divinities (“mighty one, leader” lit. “stag”) and is formed from the word alim, “ox, buffalo,” which is specifically a title of the god Enki. Lulim is translated Ajalu, “stag, mighty one, leader” and the latter is used to represent the whole name Alulim. (See §414, above, >>.) When employed as a divine epithet (“mighty one, leader”) lulim (ajalu) is the precise equivalent of the Hebrew and Canaanite el (“mighty one, leader”). El is formed from the same Semitic root as ajalu, and is the common West Semitic word for god and/or God. El was equated in antiquity with Poseidon as well as with Ea/Enki. Thus 1) Alulim = Ajalu (lulim), 2) lulim is a formation from the word alim, a title of Enki, 3) lulim (ajalu) = el (“mighty one”) and 4) El (the “mighty one” par excellence) = Enki and Poseidon. Ergo Alulim (Ajalu, Cain) = Poseidon.

492.1. Cain married a daughter of Adam (ishshah, Gen. 4. 17 [Heb.], that is, a “woman” derived from ish, man, Gen. 2. 23, in this case, from the man Adam). The denominative verb formed from the word ish (whence the term ishshah) means literally “to show oneself a man,” §450, above, >>, that is, “to manifest qualities characteristic of good men, to be a model human, etc.” Poseidon is said to have married a woman called Cleito, “excellent, splendid.” Cleito is an appropriate translation of ishshah, if understood as a derivative of the verb. Cleito’s father is called “Evenor” (Gk. Euenor) which means literally, when used as an adjective to describe wine or bronze, “what men commonly (drink, use),” or, when used of a sailing vessel, “well-manned, containing many men,” and which therefore, when functioning as a proper noun, means “Common man, or Man who comprises many men in one.” Evenor is described as being one of those formed from the earth. The Greek name translates the Hebrew Adam and the Sumerian Uana: it echoes exactly the meaning of the Hebrew (Heb. Adam = “Man and/or Men”), and even the sound of the Sumerian, name. Adam was formed from the ground, adamah, as Evenor was formed from the earth. Evenor’s wife is called Leucippe, and this means “frantic/passionate strumpet,” lit. “pale/wan mare” (see Liddell-Scott-Jones s.vv. leukos and ippos), comparing her to a beast in terms of her sexual activity, in a manner similar to the use of the word “filly” in modern English. It translates the name Eve, Heb. Havvah, in the sense “reproductive beast/serpent.” Leucippe was the “mare” who bore Cleito, the consort of Poseidon. The horses associated with Poseidon were mythological creatures called hippocamps, which had the foreparts of a horse and the convoluted tail of a sea-serpent ending in a dolphin’s tail. Leucippe and her daughter, therefore, were sexually active serpent-like beasts, not horses of the normal type.

492.2. Plato describes the location of the city of Atlantis quite precisely. It was in a large plain at the base of a moderate-sized mountain at the center of that now sunken district, facing south. As Evenor and Leucippe, that is, Adam and Eve, lived on the mountain, there can be little doubt that Atlantis was located on a submerged coastal shelf offshore of the island of Sri Lanka (Ceylon), whose central mountain, Adam’s Peak, in Mandaean and Arabic tradition, is said to have been the dwelling-place of the first couple. South of Adam’s Peak is found a south-facing plain. To this day elephants abound in the plain, as they are said to have done in the days of Atlantis. The local Tamil name for the island is Ilankai (of unknown significance) and this reproduces very nicely the sound of the Sumerian name Alalgar (Enoch, the eponymus of Enoch-Atlantis), which was pronounced something like “Alangar.” (Sumerian was the most primitive Japhethite, “Indo-Aryan,” or “Scythian” language, and the precursor of Sanskrit.) The Lanka location is confirmed by the unanimous testimony of the ancient sources considered supra that Uana (Adam) arrived in Mesopotamia from the southern clime and from the Indian Ocean. Early medieval ecclesiastical tradition, likewise, reflected in the Etymologiae of Isidorus of Seville, held that the city of Enoch was located in India: “Cain first founded a city before the Flood in India, calling it Enoch after his son, which city he filled solely with his own progeny.” (Isidorus, Etymologiae, XV.1.3, according to all the unamended codices and mss., “… in India…,” but altered to read “… in Naid …,” “… in Nod …,” in modern editions.)

492.3. In medieval times it was believed Kotte (Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, Colombo) in Sri Lanka was Cain’s city of Enoch, and the indigenous Vedda people the “sons of Cain.” See Yule, Cathay and the Way Thither, vol. 2, 1866, p. 369, from John de’ Marignolli, mid-14th century AD: “If we suppose that he built his city after the murder of Abel there is nothing in this opposed to Scripture, unless so far that it seems to be implied that he never did settle down, but was always a vagabond and a fugitive. This city of his is thought to have been where now is that called Kota {Kotte} in Seyllan, a place where I have been. {Seyllan = Ceylon, Sri Lanka, and see note 4 ibid. on Kota: ‘The author curiously overlooks Gen. iv, 17. Kotta, or (Buddhisto-classically) Jayawardanapura, near Columbo, is first mentioned as a royal residence about 1314, but it again became the capital of the island in 1410, and continued about a century and a half. It appears to be represented as such in the great Map of Fra Mauro, under the name of Cotte Civitas.’} After he had begotten many sons there he fled towards Damascus, where he was shot by the arrow of Lamech his descendant in the seventh generation; and there, hard by Damascus, his sepulchre is shown to this day.” And p. 370f. on the delightful indigenous people known as the Vedda, who are demeaned and demonized because they inhabited the environs of Adam’s Peak, and were denominated the “children of Cain,” Cain himself being traditionally the ancestor of monsters and deformed creatures: “…. And the sons of Adam in Seyllan {Ceylon, Sri Lanka} adduce many proofs that the flood reached not to them. And this is one of the chief, that in the eastern part of the country there are a number of roaming vagabond people whom I have seen myself, and who call themselves the sons of Cain. Their faces are huge, hideous, and frightful enough to terrify anybody. They never can stay more than two days in one place, and if they did they would stink so that nobody could endure them. They seldom show themselves, but yet they are given to trade. Their wives and children, as frightful goblins as themselves, they carry about upon donkeys. {See note 1 p. 371: ‘Here he speaks of the Veddahs, or Aborigines of Ceylon. Compare Tennent’s description : “Miserable objects, active but timid, and athletic though deformed, with large heads and misshapen limbs. Their long black hair and beards fell down to the middle in uncombed lumps, they stood with their faces bent towards the ground, and their restless eyes twinkled upwards with an expression of uneasiness and apprehension…. The children were unsightly objects, entirely naked, with misshapen joints, huge heads and protuberant stomachs; the women, who were reluctant to appear, were the most repulsive specimens of humanity I have ever seen in any country” (ii, 450).’} Yet St. Augustine and the mass of theologians deem it absurd to suppose that any should have escaped the Deluge unless in the ark….”’ The Vedda traditionally derive from an Indian prince Vijaya (6th-5th century BC) who married a native Sri Lankan woman Kuveni of the “Yakkha” (= Yaksha) people. Yaksha were nature-spirits, sometimes of a malevolent type, which shows the indigenous people were already demonized by the new-comers from India.

493. Poseidon, and the first two of his “twins,” 1) Atlas and 2) Eumelus, are directly associated in Plato’s account with the sunken land of Atlantis, the last in the area of the present coast of Spain. According to Cosmas the Atlantis tradition preserved by the Greeks identified the earth which was the scene of pre-diluvian history as the “earth” (continent) on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, viz. the American continent, and its dependent territories, including Atlantis. The Flood was believed to have destroyed that world, and Noah then crossed over from it to the Near East. Here, similarly, kings identifiable with the pre-diluvian descendants of Cain are located in the Atlantic zone. The successors of Atlas and Eumelus are not associated with the sunken land of Atlantis itself, but are described as ruling unnamed sunken lands or areas within the dominion of Atlantis. It is at this point in the genealogy of the Cainites that the disjunction referred to occurs, separating Cain’s immediate progeny from the later generations contemporary with the patriarchs in Mesopotamia. It would appear that the first three kings only were held to have ruled in what is now termed the Atlantic zone. This explains the assertion in an anonymous Greek chronographer that the pre-diluvian king Aloros (= Alulim, Cain), though by derivation a Chaldaean “from Babylon” (= Ku’ara in the Sumerian King List, which was in the vicinity of Eridu, the original Babel, and hence translated “Babylon” in Berossus) nevertheless exercised dominion “in the northern zone of the world (en tôi boreiôi klimati), the so called Nether Land (tôi kaloumenôi katô chôrai).” (Migne PG XIX 108, footnote “ex chronographo inedito Barberiniorum” to the Latin rendering of the Armenian translation of Eusebius’ Chronicle, Eusebii Caesariensis, Opera Pars I, Historica, Chronicorum Lib. I, Caput II. 1, nota. This is from the Ekloge Historion, ed. Wirth, Aus Orientalischen Chroniken, Frankfurt, 1894, p. 7: “First in the northern zone of the world, the so called Nether Land, the Chaldaeans, the descendants of Seth, set up a king for themselves, Aloros, a Chaldaean from Babylon, who ruled for 10 saroi.” {The “feigned” tradition drawn on here represented the fallen “sons of God,” that is Shemyaza et al., as having established the first earthly kingdom, and the Sethites as having imitated them, see infra.} After him ruled another 9 kings till the flood, making 10 kings in all ….”) The word “zone” (klima) designates the sloping side of the earth leading up to the pole. The words “Nether Land” imply a contrast with some higher region. The Mediterranean region was not “in the northern zone of the world.” That precludes the idea which might otherwise be entertained (in view of the descent of the angels in the Enoch literature on Mount Hermon), that the lower land was at the foot of Hermon or the Lebanon ranges. In Giovanni Nanni’s Defloratio Berosi the city “Enos” (= Enosh), the center of pre-diluvian “giant” civilization, is located at the foot of Mount Lebanon (§885, below, >>), though it is also said to have controlled a much wider territory. As explained in the note to the passage of the Defloratio referenced, this is most probably an allusion to the supposed migration of Cain from the city of Enoch to the Lebanon area. It was believed (§492.3, above, >>) that Cain fled after the murder of Abel to the vicinity of Damascus, viz. around Hermon, Lebanon and Hamath, and that he perished at the hands of Lamech and Tubal-cain there. Similarly in the Samaritan chronicle Asatir (ed. trans. Gaster, II. 1), the city Enoch itself is identified with Antioch (“Antokia”), which means Hamath in Levantine literature relating to the pre-Hellenistic period. That location is precluded here, as well as one in the southern ocean, e.g. the Persian Gulf. The only seaboard in the northern zone familiar to Greeks was the Atlantic. The geography implies a migration of the earliest pre-diluvians from their place of origin at the head of the Persian Gulf to these

Sri Lanka (Ceylon). Adam’s Peak (A), with plain to the south, the habitat of elephants, and
traditional location of submerged city.

The now sunken land around the coast of India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia etc.

regions of the North. No geographical location is given in the chronographer, however, for the pre-diluvian successors of Aloros. This note tends to confirm the tradition preserved by Cosmas that the pre-diluvian kings of Berossus were Plato’s kings of Atlantis and its dependent territories. Cosmas himself did not accept the relocation of the kings, according to the “feigned” tradition, from the east to the far west. Whatever the historical facts underlying that tradition, it is clear the pre-diluvian civilization in its final phase was believed to have been centered on the American continent (see infra) and the sunken land of Atlantis in the Atlantic Ocean, and to have been dependent ultimately on the pre-diluvian Babylonian civilization described in Sumerian tradition and in the Bible.

493.1. The tradition examined elsewhere (§677.13.2, below, >>) which substitutes “Samiros” (Shemyaza) for Aloros suggests an identification of the Cainite kings with the Nephilim (fallen spirits) of Genesis 6. Isaiah 14 identifies the king of Babylon explicitly with a fallen astral spirit, Heilel ben Shahar, “Shining One son of Dawn,” Eosphoros (LXX) or Lucifer (Latin), who aspires to take God’s throne above the “stars of God” in the “Mount of the Congregation” in the “remote North,” but fails in his attempt and is cast down to the Pit. In context, the reference is to the polar position in the sky, as a type of God’s central authority in the Universe. In the chronicle of Michael of Syria (ed. trans. Chabot, Book I. ch. iv) the fallen sons of Adam in the line of Seth are said to have imitated on earth the fallen angelic beings led by Shemyaza, and to have accepted Aloros as their first king “in imitation of Shemyaza.” Here likewise reference is made to the first king of “Babylon” (Eridu-Ku’ara) and his dominion in the “northern zone” in the “nether/lower land.” If the upper zone is the heaven of the stars, then the “lower land” is earth: in other words, the fallen spirit in Cain-Aloros (Heilel ben Shahar or Shemyaza) aspired to duplicate on earth, in the polar regions, the never-ending dominion exercised by God in the heavenly realms represented by the pole-star position and that of the other circumpolar stars which never set. This dominion, extended to include the whole of Europe and Asia in the Atlantis tradition, was thwarted by the catastrophe which swallowed up the city and its civilization.

494. The Atlantian dynasty thus originated in the shores surrounding the Indian Ocean and in Mesopotamia: Ku’ara, the land of Nod, so named from a small place at the head of the Persian Gulf, was the original abode of Cain himself and of his son, Enoch. The civilization founded by them was believed subsequently to have spread to the Atlantic zone, presumably eastwards from the Persian Gulf via the American continent. Hence the appearance of Alulim (Cain) and Alalgar (Enoch) as kings of Ku’ara in the Sumerian King List, but as kings of Atlantis in the “feigned” tradition of Cosmas, as preserved in part by Plato. The name “land of Nod” (Sumerian Ku’ara) may likewise have been extended to cover the whole of the eastern hemisphere, from the Persian Gulf eastwards to the Atlantic, as the name “Eden” (Sumerian Edin) actually covered a large segment of the western hemisphere, from the Persian Gulf westwards to the Atlantic. Irad (En-sipa-zi-ana, Eumelus), though a king of Larak in the Sumerian tradition, was associated in the “feigned” tradition of Cosmas with Cadiz in Spain, which was likewise in the Atlantic zone. The subsequent kings may have been believed to have ruled in Mesopotamia, as in the Sumerian tradition, and perhaps over other areas also which were dependencies of Atlantis. It is specifically stated that the dominion of Atlantis before the destruction reached from Spain as far as Egypt, and it was a comparatively small migratory step from Egypt to Mesopotamia. The location under the foot of the Lebanon range in the sources referred to supra may thus have been included within what was held to be the territory of the “city” (city-state) in its wider sense. In fact, as in the case of the Arabic Mount Muqattam (Maqrizi, Description topographique et historique de l’Égypte, tr. Bouriant, Pte 1, Paris 1895, p. 356ff.), the Lebanon range may have been considered merely a part, or extension, of one vast range of mountains, stretching from the Himalayas in the east, via the Elborz range, and the mountains of Ararat, Taurus and Lebanon, to the mountains bordering Egypt in the west; and the land of “Cham” (Siam), which was the homeland of Adam, was located at the foot of the Himalayas, in its most easterly flanks. Thus also Atlantis might be said to be located “at the foot of Mount Lebanon,” meaning at the foot of that single more extensive range of mountains of which Lebanon formed a part. Plato’s picture of one vast continent in the pre-diluvian era, surrounded by a single Ocean (the “Atlantic”), supposes also there might have been one great mountain-chain at its center, around and at the foot of which the single great continent spread out to the ocean. The otherwise inexplicable assertion of Megasthenes, writing in the time of Alexander of Macedon, that India was located “in the Atlantic Ocean” is a result of the belief that the world was surrounded by this single vast Ocean of the Atlantis tradition: (Megasthenes apud Strabo XV. I. 11) “India is bounded on the north by the extremities of Tauros, and from Ariana to the Eastern Sea by the mountains which are variously called by the natives of these regions Parapamisos, and Hemodos, and Himaos {the Himalayas}, and other names, but by the Macedonians Kaukasos. The boundary on the west is the river Indus, but the southern and eastern sides, which are both much greater than the others, run out into the Atlantic Ocean. {My emphasis: note “d” in the English translation of McCrindle reads here: “The world was anciently regarded as an island surrounded by the Atlantic Sea.”} The shape of the country is thus rhomboidal ….” As the city of Enoch itself seems actually to have been situated in Sri Lanka, the specified location in the Atlantic west of the Straits of Gibraltar is most credibly explained by the tradition incorporated as a significant component of Plato’s account which locates it there, that the earth has been subject in the meantime to catastrophes by the collision of celestial bodies, like that described in the Greek myth of Phaethon. Precisely such an event features in the Chinese flood-myth of Nu-wa (= Noah, §813.3, below, >>), according to which the monster Kong Kong struck his head against the Kun-lun mountains (the Himalayas), and shifted the earth to the south-east, thus bringing about Nu-wa’s devastating flood. This event could have relocated the whole of the Indian continent, including Sri Lanka and the city of Enoch, from the Atlantic zone to its present southerly clime. (See the image infra.) The ancients cannot be expected to have understood the mechanism exactly, and the

A pole-shift would have resulted in the relocation of Sri Lanka (Atlantis) from a position (in our terms) outside the straits of Gibraltar (marked A in the image) to its present location (marked B in the image). The ancient continental positions are colored green and the modern positions brown.

conflicting, rather confused traditions about the geography of the pre-diluvian world are the natural and expected result of their scientific ignorance.

494.1. The invasion of the Mediterranean coastal regions by the Atlantians occurred at roughly the same time as the diluvian destruction, and was aimed at incorporating within the empire of Atlantis all of Europe east of Tyrrhenia (Etruria in Italy), and the “whole” of Asia (which included the Levantine territories east of the Nile, Mesopotamia, and lands east of the latter to the Ocean). According to Cosmas, the invasion actually originated in what Plato describes as the “continent” on the other side of the Atlantic beyond the sunken land of Atlantis, which can only be the prehistoric American continent. This detail is not found in the present truncated account of Plato and depends either on the lost portion

x = Pre-catastrophe Near East in location where North America is now
y = Pre-catastrophe Atlantis (Sri Lanka) in location outside present Straits of Gibraltar
(Present geographical locations in red, ancient, pre-catastrophe locations in green)

of Critias or on related writings of the philosopher Timaeus, who is referred to as an authority by Cosmas. The invaders picked up “mercenaries” from Atlantis and then proceeded to invade Europe and Asia. Evidently by that time the center of the Atlantian civilization was on the American side of the Atlantic. The European adventure was stopped by the Athenians and their allies, according to Plato, but he says nothing of the success or otherwise of the Atlantian incursion in Asia east of the Nile, including Mesopotamia. Considering the likelihood that a pole-shift was responsible for the relocation of the Atlantis tradition from geographical east (its historical location in the Indian Ocean and westwards as far as Mesopotamia and Syria) to the west (“outside the straits of Gibraltar”), it is remarkable that the Mesopotamian region and Syria would have been located in the pre-pole-shift era where the American continent is now. Thus the historical scenario may have been as follows: 1) Cain lived at first in the vicinity of Columbo Sri Lanka, which is where he built the city of Enoch (Alalgar, Atlantis); 2) having been cursed to wander the earth, he migrated westwards to Mesopotamia and named the land of his wandering Nod (Ku’ara), which name became attached to the region around the head of the Persian Gulf; 3) from thence he migrated to Syria around the Lebanon range, where he perished; 4) the “Enoch (Atlantis) civilization” spread with Cain’s people over these same areas; in the pre-pole-shift world Syria, Cain’s ultimate destination, and the latter-day political center of his civilization, was located where the American continent is located now; 5) the Atlantians of a later date inaugurated a campaign to incorporate the whole world within their sphere of authority, starting out from Syria (the “American continent”) and picking up mercenaries in “Atlantis outside the straits of Gibraltar” (Sri Lanka); they were opposed in that enterprise by the inhabitants of the geographical region of Indonesia, to the east of Sri Lanka, which was located in the pre-pole-shift world where Greece is now (see the image supra); this was the “land of Cham” where Adam was living at the time he undertook his missionary journey to Mesopotamia; perhaps Cham lands had remained in the meantime faithful to the revelation of Adam, and rejected the corruption introduced into the west by Cain and his descendants; 6) it was at this point in history that the effects of the pole-shift brought about the catastrophic earthquakes and tsunamis which overwhelmed the Cainite (Atlantis) civilization.

495. The name following Eumelus is 3) Ampheres. This means “Joined on both sides, well-secured.” It corresponds to the Hebrew Jared, and the Sumerian Enmen-dur-ana (“Joined”), the successor of En-sipa-zi-ana in the native Mesopotamian tradition. The remaining Atlantian kings correspond to the other kings who feature in the chart above, in a slightly different order — but then the order of the pre-diluvian kings differs in the various recensions of the Sumerian King List as well as in Berossus and Abydenus. Sometimes the succession follows the Biblical order, sometimes that of the Mesopotamian king-lists and the Hellenistic writers. 4) Evaemon (Euaimon) means “Faring well [eu] in bloody [aimon] (battle)” = Methuselah, Ubara-Tutu, “one under the divine protection of (the god of) weapons.” Methuselah follows Jared in Genesis and Ubara-Tutu follows Enme-dur-ana in the king-lists. 5) Mneseus, meaning “One characterized by mindfulness, watchfulness, or mindful prayer,” corresponding to Kidunnu-sha-kin-kin, Methushael, “(One under or seeking the) divine protection of the Watching god.” He is the immediate predecessor of the Cainite Lamech, as Methuselah is the immediate predecessor of the Sethite Lamech in Genesis, and the Greek equivalent of Lamech is paired with him in the next position. 6) Autochthon (Autokhthon), meaning “One of the ground/land itself,” corresponding to Lamech or “Shuruppak,” the eponymus of that city: the signs composing his name mean something like “Sinking of the heavy-laden to the ground,” and the sign LAM with which the significant element of the name is written denotes the city Shuruppak and the land Aratta, so the person bearing it might be considered the eponymous “autochthon” of that city/land.

496. The last four names correspond to those of the kings of Bad-tibira, who are the ultimate generation in Genesis, and the kings immediately following Kidunnu-sha-kin-kin and his successor in the king-list (WB 62): 7) Elasippus (Elasippos) = lit. “striking (elas-) horse (-ippos)” = Enme-ushumgal-ana = Mehujael, “striking/combat of God/great striking;” the horse in this Atlantian tradition is a monstrous serpentine horse (cf. ushumgal, “monster serpent” and “raging”), the “hippocamp” of Poseidon. Also elasippos means “knightly” (lit. “horse driver”) and ushumgal similarly means an “important person,” a “great one.” 8) Mestor means “Counselor, skilled assistant,” and corresponds to Tubal-cain, or Dumuzi, “Supportive one” (literally “son of a reed, or staff,” or [since the word zi also means “right hand”] “son of the right hand,” i.e. “right-hand man”). 9) Azaes means “Dirty one” (if from Gk. aza, dirt, mould) = Enmen-lu-ana, Jabal, “smeared.” 10) Diaprepes means “Very reputable or distinguished” = Enmen-gal-ana, Jubal, “great one, lord.”

497. The references in Plato’s account to the superiority of the people of Athens over the Atlantians, and to the dilution of a more divine stock by a lower strain, is dependent on the origin ascribed to the Athenians, viz. to the “gods” Hephaestus, Athena (Athene) and Ge (Earth). These are the pre-diluvian Tubal-cain (Hephaestus, Vulcanus), Naamah (Athena, Minerva) and Eve (Earth), of the Biblical account, the two former corresponding to the pre-diluvian Dumu-zi (Nagar) and Geshtin-ana of Sumerian tradition. (See further §177, above, >>, §422, above, >>.) The mingling of the (Cainite) family of the two former with that of (the Sethite) Noah, by the marriage of Noah and Naamah themselves, as well as by the marriage of (the originally Sethite) Adah and Zillah to the Cainite Lamech, ennobled the family of Tubal-cain. (See §458ff., above, >>.) Hence, the superiority of the offspring of Hephaestus and Athena in the Atlantis tradition and the implication, as in the Biblical account, that the intermingling of the two lines brought destruction on the whole world by the waters of the Inundation.

498. [From Timaeus 21a ff., with the word nesos translated as “now sunken land,” not “island:”]

499. Socrates: Very good. And what is this ancient famous action of the Athenians, which Critias declared, on the authority of Solon, to be not a mere legend, but an actual fact?

500. Critias: I will tell an old-world story which I heard from an aged man; for Critias, at the time of telling it, was as he said, nearly ninety years of age, and I was about ten. Now the day was that day of the Apaturia which is called the Registration of Youth, at which, according to custom, our parents gave prizes for recitations, and the poems of several poets were recited by us boys, and many of us sang the poems of Solon, which at that time had not gone out of fashion.

501. One of our tribe, either because he thought so or to please Critias, said that in his judgment Solon was not only the wisest of men, but also the noblest of poets. The old man, as I very well remember, brightened up at hearing this and said, smiling: Yes, Amynander, if Solon had only, like other poets, made poetry the business of his life, and had completed the tale which he brought with him from Egypt, and had not been compelled, by reason of the factions and troubles which he found stirring in his own country when he came home, to attend to other matters, in my opinion he would have been as famous as Homer or Hesiod, or any poet.

502. And what was the tale about, Critias? said Amynander.

503. About the greatest action which the Athenians ever did, and which ought to have been the most famous, but, through the lapse of time and the destruction of the actors, it has not come down to us.

504. Tell us, said the other, the whole story, and how and from whom Solon heard this veritable tradition. He replied:

505. In the Egyptian Delta, at the head of which the river Nile divides, there is a certain district which is called the district of Sais, and the great city of the district is also called Sais, and is the city from which King Amasis came. The citizens have a deity for their foundress; she is called in the Egyptian tongue Neith, and is asserted by them to be the same whom the Hellenes call Athene; they are great lovers of the Athenians, and say that they are in some way related to them.

506. To this city came Solon, and was received there with great honor; he asked the priests who were most skillful in such matters, about antiquity, and made the discovery that neither he nor any other Hellene knew anything worth mentioning about the times of old. On one occasion, wishing to draw them on to speak of antiquity, he began to tell about the most ancient things in our part of the world — about Phoroneus, who is called “the first man,” and about Niobe; and after the Deluge, of the survival of Deukalion and Pyrrha; and he traced the genealogy of their descendants, and reckoning up the dates, tried to compute how many years ago the events of which he was speaking happened.

507. Thereupon one of the priests, who was of a very great age, said:

508. “O Solon, Solon, you Hellenes are never anything but children, and there is not an old man among you.” Solon in return asked him what he meant. “I mean to say,” he replied, “that in mind you are all young; there is no old opinion handed down among you by ancient tradition, nor any science which is hoary with age. And I will tell you why.

509. “There have been, and will be again, many destructions of mankind arising out of many causes; the greatest have been brought about by the agencies of fire and water, and other lesser ones by innumerable other causes. There is a story, which even you have preserved, that once upon a time Phaethon, the son of Helios, having yoked the steeds in his father’s chariot, because he was not able to drive them in the path of his father, burnt up all that was upon the earth, and was himself destroyed by a thunderbolt. Now this has the form of a myth, but really signifies a declination of the bodies moving in the heavens around the earth, and a great conflagration of things upon the earth, which recurs after long intervals; at such times those who live upon the mountains and in dry and lofty places are more liable to destruction than those who dwell by rivers or on the seashore. And from this calamity the Nile, who is our never-failing savior, delivers and preserves us. (See further on the myth of Phaethon, §626.48.2, below, >>.)

510. “When, on the other hand, the gods purge the earth with a deluge of water, the survivors in your country are herdsmen and shepherds who dwell on the mountains, but those who, like you, live in cities are carried by the rivers into the sea. Whereas in this land, neither then nor at any other time, does the water come down from above on the fields, having always a tendency to come up from below; for which reason the traditions preserved here are the most ancient. The fact is, that wherever the extremity of winter frost or of summer does not prevent, mankind exist, sometimes in greater, sometimes in lesser numbers. And whatever happened either in your country or in ours, or in any other region of which we are informed — if there were any actions noble or great or in any other way remarkable, they have all been written down by us of old, and are preserved in our temples.

511. “Whereas just when you and other nations are beginning to be provided with letters and the other requisites of civilized life, after the usual interval, the stream from heaven, like a pestilence, comes pouring down, and leaves only those of you who are destitute of letters and education; and so you have to begin all over again like children, and know nothing of what happened in ancient times, either among us or among yourselves. As for those genealogies of yours which you just now recounted to us, Solon, they are no better than the tales of children.

512. “In the first place you remember a single deluge only, but there were many previous ones; in the next place, you do not know that there formerly dwelt in your land the fairest and noblest race of men which ever lived, and that you and your whole city are descended from a small seed or remnant of them which survived. And this was unknown to you, because, for many generations, the survivors of that destruction died, leaving no written word. For there was a time, Solon, before the great deluge of all, when the city which now is Athens was first in war and in every way the best governed of all cities, is said to have performed the noblest deeds and to have had the fairest constitution of any of which tradition tells, under the face of heaven.”

513. Solon marveled at his words, and earnestly requested the priests to inform him exactly and in order about these former citizens.

514. “You are welcome to hear about them, Solon,” said the priest, “both for your own sake and for that of your city, and above all, for the sake of the goddess who is the common patron and parent and educator of both our cities. She founded your city a thousand years before ours, receiving from the Earth and Hephaestus the seed of your race, and afterwards she founded ours, of which the constitution is recorded in our sacred registers to be eight thousand years old.

515. “As touching your citizens of nine thousand years ago, I will briefly inform you of their laws and of their most famous action; the exact particulars of the whole we will hereafter go through at our leisure in the sacred registers themselves. If you compare these very laws with ours you will find that many of ours are the counterpart of yours as they were in the olden time.

516. “In the first place, there is the caste of priests, which is separated from all the others; next, there are the artificers, who ply their several crafts by themselves and do not intermix; and also there is the class of shepherds and of hunters, as well as that of husbandmen; and you will observe, too, that the warriors in Egypt are distinct from all the other classes, and are commanded by the law to devote themselves solely to military pursuits; moreover, the weapons which they carry are shields and spears, a style of equipment which the goddess taught of Asiatics first to us, as in your part of the world first to you.

517. “Then as to wisdom, do you observe how our law from the very first made a study of the whole order of things, extending even to prophecy and medicine which gives health, out of these divine elements deriving what was needful for human life, and adding every sort of knowledge which was akin to them. All this order and arrangement the goddess first imparted to you when establishing your city; and she chose the spot of earth in which you were born, because she saw that the happy temperament of the seasons in that land would produce the wisest of men. Wherefore the goddess, who was a lover both of war and of wisdom, selected and first of all settled that spot which was the most likely to produce men likest herself. And there you dwelt, having such laws as these and still better ones, and excelled all mankind in all virtue, as became the children and disciples of the gods.

518. “Many great and wonderful deeds are recorded of your state in our histories. But one of them exceeds all the rest in greatness and valor. For these histories tell of a mighty power which unprovoked made an expedition against the whole of Europe and Asia, and to which your city put an end. This power came forth out of the Atlantic Ocean, for in those days the Atlantic was navigable; and there was a now sunken land situated in front of the straits which are by you called the Pillars of Heracles; the now sunken land was larger than Libya and Asia put together, and was the way to other islands, and from these you might pass to the whole of the opposite continent which surrounded the true ocean; for this sea which is within the Straits of Heracles is only a harbor, having a narrow entrance, but that other is a real sea, and the surrounding land may be most truly called a boundless continent.

519. “Now in this now sunken land of Atlantis there was a great and wonderful empire which had rule over the whole now sunken land and several others, and over parts of the continent, and, furthermore, the men of Atlantis had subjected the parts of Libya within the columns of Heracles as far as Egypt, and of Europe as far as Tyrrhenia. This vast power, gathered into one, endeavored to subdue at a blow our country and yours and the whole of the region within the straits; and then, Solon, your country shone forth, in the excellence of her virtue and strength, among all mankind. She was preeminent in courage and military skill, and was the leader of the Hellenes. And when the rest fell off from her, being compelled to stand alone, after having undergone the very extremity of danger, she defeated and triumphed over the invaders, and preserved from slavery those who were not yet subjugated, and generously liberated all the rest of us who dwell within the pillars.

520. “But afterwards there occurred violent earthquakes and floods; and in a single day and night of misfortune all your warlike men in a body sank into the earth, and the now sunken land of Atlantis in like manner disappeared in the depths of the sea. For which reason the sea in those parts is impassable and impenetrable, because there is a shoal of mud in the way; and this was caused by the subsidence of the now sunken land.”

521. I have told you briefly, Socrates, what the aged Critias heard from Solon and related to us. And when you were speaking yesterday about your city and citizens, the tale which I have just been repeating to you came into my mind, and I remarked with astonishment how, by some mysterious coincidence, you agreed in almost every particular with the narrative of Solon; but I did not like to speak at the moment. For a long time had elapsed, and I had forgotten too much; I thought that I must first of all run over the narrative in my own mind, and then I would speak.

522. And so I readily assented to your request yesterday, considering that in all such cases the chief difficulty is to find a tale suitable to our purpose, and that with such a tale we should be fairly well provided. And therefore, as Hermocrates has told you, on my way home yesterday I at once communicated the tale to my companions as I remembered it; and after I left them, during the night by thinking I recovered nearly the whole it. Truly, as is often said, the lessons of our childhood make wonderful impression on our memories; for I am not sure that I could remember all the discourse of yesterday, but I should be much surprised if I forgot any of these things which I have heard very long ago. I listened at the time with childlike interest to the old man’s narrative; he was very ready to teach me, and I asked him again and again to repeat his words, so that like an indelible picture they were branded into my mind.

523. As soon as the day broke, I rehearsed them as he spoke them to my companions, that they, as well as myself, might have something to say. And now, Socrates, to make an end my preface, I am ready to tell you the whole tale. I will give you not only the general heads, but the particulars, as they were told to me.

524. The city and citizens, which you yesterday described to us in fiction, we will now transfer to the world of reality. It shall be the ancient city of Athens, and we will suppose that the citizens whom you imagined, were our veritable ancestors, of whom the priest spoke; they will perfectly harmonize, and there will be no inconsistency in saying that the citizens of your republic are these ancient Athenians. Let us divide the subject among us, and all endeavor according to our ability gracefully to execute the task which you have imposed upon us. Consider then, Socrates, if this narrative is suited to the purpose, or whether we should seek for some other instead.

[From Critias 108c ff.:]

525. Critias: Friend Hermocrates, you, who are stationed last and have another in front of you, have not lost heart as yet; the gravity of the situation will soon be revealed to you; meanwhile I accept your exhortations and encouragements. But besides the gods and goddesses whom you have mentioned, I would specially invoke Mnemosyne; for all the important part of my discourse is dependent on her favor, and if I can recollect and recite enough of what was said by the priests and brought hither by Solon, I doubt not that I shall satisfy the requirements of this theater.

526. And now, making no more excuses, I will proceed.

527. Let me begin by observing first of all, that nine thousand was the sum of years which had elapsed since the war which was said to have taken place between those who dwelt outside the Pillars of Heracles and all who dwelt within them; this war I am going to describe. Of the combatants on the one side, the city of Athens was reported to have been the leader and to have fought out the war; the combatants on the other side were commanded by the kings of Atlantis, which, as I was saying, was a now sunken land greater in extent than Libya and Asia, and when afterwards sunk by an earthquake, became an impassable barrier of mud to voyagers sailing from hence to any part of the ocean.

528. The progress of the history will unfold the various nations of barbarians and families of Hellenes which then existed, as they successively appear on the scene; but I must describe first of all Athenians of that day, and their enemies who fought with them, and then the respective powers and governments of the two kingdoms. Let us give the precedence to Athens.

529. In the days of old the gods had the whole earth distributed among them by allotment. There was no quarreling; for you cannot rightly suppose that the gods did not know what was proper for each of them to have, or, knowing this, that they would seek to procure for themselves by contention that which more properly belonged to others. They all of them by just apportionment obtained what they wanted, and peopled their own districts; and when they had peopled them they tended us, their nurselings and possessions, as shepherds tend their flocks, excepting only that they did not use blows or bodily force, as shepherds do, but governed us like pilots from the stern of the vessel, which is an easy way of guiding animals, holding our souls by the rudder of persuasion according to their own pleasure; — thus did they guide all mortal creatures.

530. Now different gods had their allotments in different places which they set in order. Hephaestus and Athene, who were brother and sister, and sprang from the same father, having a common nature, and being united also in the love of philosophy and art, both obtained as their common portion this land, which was naturally adapted for wisdom and virtue; and there they implanted brave children of the soil, and put into their minds the order of government; their names are preserved, but their actions have disappeared by reason of the destruction of those who received the tradition, and the lapse of ages.

531. For when there were any survivors, as I have already said, they were men who dwelt in the mountains; and they were ignorant of the art of writing, and had heard only the names of the chiefs of the land, but very little about their actions. The names they were willing enough to give to their children; but the virtues and the laws of their predecessors, they knew only by obscure traditions; and as they themselves and their children lacked for many generations the necessaries of life, they directed their attention to the supply of their wants, and of them they conversed, to the neglect of events that had happened in times long past; for mythology and the enquiry into antiquity are first introduced into cities when they begin to have leisure, and when they see that the necessaries of life have already been provided, but not before. And this is reason why the names of the ancients have been preserved to us and not their actions.

532. This I infer because Solon said that the priests in their narrative of that war mentioned most of the names which are recorded prior to the time of Theseus, such as Cecrops, and Erechtheus, and Erichthonius, and Erysichthon, and the names of the women in like manner. Moreover, since military pursuits were then common to men and women, the men of those days in accordance with the custom of the time set up a figure and image of the goddess in full armor, to be a testimony that all animals which associate together, male as well as female, may, if they please, practice in common the virtue which belongs to them without distinction of sex.

533. Now the country was inhabited in those days by various classes of citizens; — there were artisans, and there were husbandmen, and there was also a warrior class originally set apart by divine men. The latter dwelt by themselves, and had all things suitable for nurture and education; neither had any of them anything of their own, but they regarded all that they had as common property; nor did they claim to receive of the other citizens anything more than their necessary food. And they practiced all the pursuits which we yesterday described as those of our imaginary guardians.

534. Concerning the country the Egyptian priests said what is not only probable but manifestly true, that the boundaries were in those days fixed by the Isthmus, and that in the direction of the continent they extended as far as the heights of Cithaeron and Parnes; the boundary line came down in the direction of the sea, having the district of Oropus on the right, and with the river Asopus as the limit on the left. The land was the best in the world, and was therefore able in those days to support a vast army, raised from the surrounding people. Even the remnant of Attica which now exists may compare with any region in the world for the variety and excellence of its fruits and the suitableness of its pastures to every sort of animal, which proves what I am saying; but in those days the country was fair as now and yielded far more abundant produce.

535. How shall I establish my words? and what part of it can be truly called a remnant of the land that then was? The whole country is only a long promontory extending far into the sea away from the rest of the continent, while the surrounding basin of the sea is everywhere deep in the neighborhood of the shore. Many great deluges have taken place during the nine thousand years, for that is the number of years which have elapsed since the time of which I am speaking; and during all this time and through so many changes, there has never been any considerable accumulation of the soil coming down from the mountains, as in other places, but the earth has fallen away all round and sunk out of sight.

536. The consequence is, that in comparison of what then was, there are remaining only the bones of the wasted body, as they may be called, as in the case of small islands, all the richer and softer parts of the soil having fallen away, and the mere skeleton of the land being left. But in the primitive state of the country, its mountains were high hills covered with soil, and the plains, as they are termed by us, of Phelleus were full of rich earth, and there was abundance of wood in the mountains. Of this last the traces still remain, for although some of the mountains now only afford sustenance to bees, not so very long ago there were still to be seen roofs of timber cut from trees growing there, which were of a size sufficient to cover the largest houses; and there were many other high trees, cultivated by man and bearing abundance of food for cattle. Moreover, the land reaped the benefit of the annual rainfall, not as now losing the water which flows off the bare earth into the sea, but, having an abundant supply in all places, and receiving it into herself and treasuring it up in the close clay soil, it let off into the hollows the streams which it absorbed from the heights, providing everywhere abundant fountains and rivers, of which there may still be observed sacred memorials in places where fountains once existed; and this proves the truth of what I am saying.

537. Such was the natural state of the country, which was cultivated, as we may well believe, by true husbandmen, who made husbandry their business, and were lovers of honor, and of a noble nature, and had a soil the best in the world, and abundance of water, and in the heaven above an excellently attempered climate.

538. Now the city in those days was arranged on this wise. In the first place the Acropolis was not as now. For the fact is that a single night of excessive rain washed away the earth and laid bare the rock; at the same time there were earthquakes, and then occurred the extraordinary inundation, which was the third before the great destruction of Deukalion. But in primitive times the hill of the Acropolis extended to the Eridanus and Ilissus, and included the Pnyx on one side, and the Lycabettus as a boundary on the opposite side to the Pnyx, and was all well covered with soil, and level at the top, except in one or two places.

539. Outside the Acropolis and under the sides of the hill there dwelt artisans, and such of the husbandmen as were tilling the ground near; the warrior class dwelt by themselves around the temples of Athene and Hephaestus at the summit, which moreover they had enclosed with a single fence like the garden of a single house. On the north side they had dwellings in common and had erected halls for dining in winter, and had all the buildings which they needed for their common life, besides temples, but there was no adorning of them with gold and silver, for they made no use of these for any purpose; they took a middle course between meanness and ostentation, and built modest houses in which they and their children’s children grew old, and they handed them down to others who were like themselves, always the same. But in summer-time they left their gardens and gymnasia and dining halls, and then the southern side of the hill was made use of by them for the same purpose.

540. Where the Acropolis now is there was a fountain, which was choked by the earthquake, and has left only the few small streams which still exist in the vicinity, but in those days the fountain gave an abundant supply of water for all and of suitable temperature in summer and in winter. This is how they dwelt, being the guardians of their own citizens and the leaders of the Hellenes, who were their willing followers. And they took care to preserve the same number of men and women through all time, being so many as were required for warlike purposes, then as now — that is to say, about twenty thousand.

541. Such were the ancient Athenians, and after this manner they righteously administered their own land and the rest of Hellas; they were renowned all over Europe and Asia for the beauty of their persons and for the many virtues of their souls, and of all men who lived in those days they were the most illustrious. And next, if I have not forgotten what I heard when I was a child, I will impart to you the character and origin of their adversaries. For friends should not keep their stories to themselves, but have them in common.

542. Yet, before proceeding further in the narrative, I ought to warn you, that you must not be surprised if you should perhaps hear Hellenic names given to foreigners. I will tell you the reason of this: Solon, who was intending to use the tale for his poem, enquired into the meaning of the names, and found that the early Egyptians in writing them down had translated them into their own language, and he recovered the meaning of the several names and when copying them out again translated them into our language. My great-grandfather, Dropides, had the original writing, which is still in my possession, and was carefully studied by me when I was a child. Therefore if you hear names such as are used in this country, you must not be surprised, for I have told how they came to be introduced. The tale, which was of great length, began as follows:

543. I have before remarked in speaking of the allotments of the gods, that they distributed the whole earth into portions differing in extent, and made for themselves temples and instituted sacrifices. And Poseidon, receiving for his lot the now sunken land of Atlantis, begat children by a mortal woman, and settled them in a part of the now sunken land, which I will describe.

544. Looking towards the sea, but in the center of the whole now sunken land, there was a plain which is said to have been the fairest of all plains and very fertile. Near the plain again, and also in the center of the now sunken land at a distance of about fifty stadia, there was a mountain not very high on any side. In this mountain there dwelt one of the earth born primeval men of that country, whose name was Evenor, and he had a wife named Leucippe, and they had an only daughter who was called Cleito.

545. The maiden had already reached womanhood, when her father and mother came to the end of their days; Poseidon fell in love with her and had intercourse with her, and breaking the ground, inclosed the hill in which she dwelt all round, making alternate zones of sea and land larger and smaller, encircling one another; there were two of land and three of water, which he turned as with a lathe, each having its circumference equidistant every way from the center, so that no man could get to the now sunken land, for ships and voyages were not as yet.

546. He himself, being a god, found no difficulty in making special arrangements for the central now sunken land, bringing up two springs of water from beneath the earth, one of warm water and the other of cold, and making every variety of food to spring up abundantly from the soil. He also begat and brought up five pairs of twin male children; and dividing the now sunken land of Atlantis into ten portions, he gave to the first-born of the eldest pair his mother’s dwelling and the surrounding allotment, which was the largest and best, and made him king over the rest; the others he made princes, and gave them rule over many men, and a large territory.

547. And he named them all; the eldest, who was the first king, he named Atlas, and after him the whole now sunken land and the ocean were called Atlantic. To his twin brother, who was born after him, and obtained as his lot the extremity of the now sunken land towards the Pillars of Heracles, facing the country which is now called the region of Gades in that part of the world, he gave the name which in the Hellenic language is Eumelus, in the language of the country which is named after him, Gadeirus. Of the second pair of twins he called one Ampheres, and the other Evaemon. To the elder of the third pair of twins he gave the name Mneseus, and Autochthon to the one who followed him. Of the fourth pair of twins he called the elder Elasippus, and the younger Mestor. And of the fifth pair he gave to the elder the name of Azaes, and to the younger that of Diaprepes.

548. All these and their descendants for many generations were the inhabitants and rulers of divers islands in the open sea; and also, as has been already said, they held sway in our direction over the country within the Pillars as far as Egypt and Tyrrhenia.

549. Now Atlas had a numerous and honorable family, and they retained the kingdom, the eldest son handing it on to his eldest for many generations; and they had such an amount of wealth as was never before possessed by kings and potentates, and is not likely ever to be again, and they were furnished with everything which they needed, both in the city and country. For because of the greatness of their empire many things were brought to them from foreign countries, and the now sunken land itself provided most of what was required by them for the uses of life.

550. In the first place, they dug out of the earth whatever was to be found there, solid as well as fusile, and that which is now only a name and was then something more than a name, orichalcum, was dug out of the earth in many parts of the now sunken land, being more precious in those days than anything except gold.

551. There was an abundance of wood for carpenter’s work, and sufficient maintenance for tame and wild animals.

552. Moreover, there were a great number of elephants in the now sunken land; for as there was provision for all other sorts of animals, both for those which live in lakes and marshes and rivers, and also for those which live in mountains and on plains, so there was for the animal which is the largest and most voracious of all.

553. Also whatever fragrant things there now are in the earth, whether roots, or herbage, or woods, or essences which distill from fruit and flower, grew and thrived in that land; also the fruit which admits of cultivation, both the dry sort, which is given us for nourishment and any other which we use for food — we call them all by the common name pulse, and the fruits having a hard rind, affording drinks and meats and ointments, and good store of chestnuts and the like, which furnish pleasure and amusement, and are fruits which spoil with keeping, and the pleasant kinds of dessert, with which we console ourselves after dinner, when we are tired of eating — all these that sacred now sunken land which then beheld the light of the sun, brought forth fair and wondrous and in infinite abundance.

554. With such blessings the earth freely furnished them; meanwhile they went on constructing their temples and palaces and harbors and docks. And they arranged the whole country in the following manner:

555. First of all they bridged over the zones of sea which surrounded the ancient metropolis, making a road to and from the royal palace. And at the very beginning they built the palace in the habitation of the god and of their ancestors, which they continued to ornament in successive generations, every king surpassing the one who went before him to the utmost of his power, until they made the building a marvel to behold for size and for beauty.

556. And beginning from the sea they bored a canal of three hundred feet in width and one hundred feet in depth and fifty stadia in length, which they carried through to the outermost zone, making a passage from the sea up to this, which became a harbor, and leaving an opening sufficient to enable the largest vessels to find ingress.

557. Moreover, they divided at the bridges the zones of land which parted the zones of sea, leaving room for a single trireme to pass out of one zone into another, and they covered over the channels so as to leave a way underneath for the ships; for the banks were raised considerably above the water.

558. Now the largest of the zones into which a passage was cut from the sea was three stadia in breadth, and the zone of land which came next of equal breadth; but the next two zones, the one of water, the other of land, were two stadia, and the one which surrounded the central now sunken land was a stadium only in width. The now sunken land in which the palace was situated had a diameter of five stadia.

559. All this including the zones and the bridge, which was the sixth part of a stadium in width, they surrounded by a stone wall on every side, placing towers and gates on the bridges where the sea passed in.

560. The stone which was used in the work they quarried from underneath the central now sunken land, and from underneath the zones, on the outer as well as the inner side. One kind was white, another black, and a third red, and as they quarried, they at the same time hollowed out double docks, having roofs formed out of the native rock. Some of their buildings were simple, but in others they put together different stones, varying the color to please the eye, and to be a natural source of delight.

561. The entire circuit of the wall, which went round the outermost zone, they covered with a coating of brass, and the circuit of the next wall they coated with tin, and the third, which encompassed the citadel, flashed with the red light of orichalcum.

562. The palaces in the interior of the citadel were constructed on this wise: — in the center was a holy temple dedicated to Cleito and Poseidon, which remained inaccessible, and was surrounded by an enclosure of gold; this was the spot where the family of the ten princes first saw the light, and thither the people annually brought the fruits of the earth in their season from all the ten portions, to be an offering to each of the ten.

563. Here was Poseidon’s own temple which was a stadium in length, and half a stadium in width, and of a proportionate height, having a strange barbaric appearance. All the outside of the temple, with the exception of the pinnacles, they covered with silver, and the pinnacles with gold. In the interior of the temple the roof was of ivory, curiously wrought everywhere with gold and silver and orichalcum; and all the other parts, the walls and pillars and floor, they coated with orichalcum.

564. In the temple they placed statues of gold: there was the god himself standing in a chariot — the charioteer of six winged horses — and of such a size that he touched the roof of the building with his head; around him there were a hundred Nereids riding on dolphins, for such was thought to be the number of them by the men of those days. There were also in the interior of the temple other images which had been dedicated by private persons.

565. And around the temple on the outside were placed statues of gold of all the descendants of the ten kings and of their wives, and there were many other great offerings of kings and of private persons, coming both from the city itself and from the foreign cities over which they held sway. There was an altar too, which in size and workmanship corresponded to this magnificence, and the palaces, in like manner, answered to the greatness of the kingdom and the glory of the temple.

566. In the next place, they had fountains, one of cold and another of hot water, in gracious plenty flowing; and they were wonderfully adapted for use by reason of the pleasantness and excellence of their waters. They constructed buildings about them and planted suitable trees, also they made cisterns, some open to the heavens, others roofed over, to be used in winter as warm baths; there were the kings’ baths, and the baths of private persons, which were kept apart; and there were separate baths for women, and for horses and cattle, and to each of them they gave as much adornment as was suitable.

567. Of the water which ran off they carried some to the grove of Poseidon, where were growing all manner of trees of wonderful height and beauty, owing to the excellence of the soil, while the remainder was conveyed by aqueducts along the bridges to the outer circles; and there were many temples built and dedicated to many gods; also gardens and places of exercise, some for men, and others for horses in both of the two islands formed by the zones; and in the center of the larger of the two there was set apart a race-course of a stadium in width, and in length allowed to extend all round the now sunken land, for horses to race in.

568. Also there were guardhouses at intervals for the guards, the more trusted of whom were appointed — to keep watch in the lesser zone, which was nearer the Acropolis while the most trusted of all had houses given them within the citadel, near the persons of the kings. The docks were full of triremes and naval stores, and all things were quite ready for use.

569. Enough of the plan of the royal palace. Leaving the palace and passing out across the three you came to a wall which began at the sea and went all round: this was everywhere distant fifty stadia from the largest zone or harbor, and enclosed the whole, the ends meeting at the mouth of the channel which led to the sea.

570. The entire area was densely crowded with habitations; and the canal and the largest of the harbors were full of vessels and merchants coming from all parts, who, from their numbers, kept up a multitudinous sound of human voices, and din and clatter of all sorts night and day.

571. I have described the city and the environs of the ancient palace nearly in the words of Solon, and now I must endeavor to represent the nature and arrangement of the rest of the land.

572. The whole country was said by him to be very lofty and precipitous on the side of the sea, but the country immediately about and surrounding the city was a level plain, itself surrounded by mountains which descended towards the sea; it was smooth and even, and of an oblong shape, extending in one direction three thousand stadia, but across the center inland it was two thousand stadia. This part of the now sunken land looked towards the south, and was sheltered from the north.

573. The surrounding mountains were celebrated for their number and size and beauty, far beyond any which still exist, having in them also many wealthy villages of country folk, and rivers, and lakes, and meadows supplying food enough for every animal, wild or tame, and much wood of various sorts, abundant for each and every kind of work.

574. I will now describe the plain, as it was fashioned by nature and by the labors of many generations of kings through long ages. It was for the most part rectangular and oblong, and where falling out of the straight line followed the circular ditch. The depth, and width, and length of this ditch were incredible, and gave the impression that a work of such extent, in addition to so many others, could never have been artificial. Nevertheless I must say what I was told.

575. It was excavated to the depth of a hundred feet, and its breadth was a stadium everywhere; it was carried round the whole of the plain, and was ten thousand stadia in length. It received the streams which came down from the mountains, and winding round the plain and meeting at the city, was there let off into the sea.

576. Further inland, likewise, straight canals of a hundred feet in width were cut from it through the plain, and again let off into the ditch leading to the sea: these canals were at intervals of a hundred stadia, and by them they brought down the wood from the mountains to the city, and conveyed the fruits of the earth in ships, cutting transverse passages from one canal into another, and to the city.

577. Twice in the year they gathered the fruits of the earth — in winter having the benefit of the rains of heaven, and in summer the water which the land supplied by introducing streams from the canals.

578. As to the population, each of the lots in the plain had to find a leader for the men who were fit for military service, and the size of a lot was a square of ten stadia each way, and the total number of all the lots was sixty thousand. And of the inhabitants of the mountains and of the rest of the country there was also a vast multitude, which was distributed among the lots and had leaders assigned to them according to their districts and villages. The leader was required to furnish for the war the sixth portion of a war-chariot, so as to make up a total of ten thousand chariots; also two horses and riders for them, and a pair of chariot-horses without a seat, accompanied by a horseman who could fight on foot carrying a small shield, and having a charioteer who stood behind the man-at-arms to guide the two horses; also, he was bound to furnish two heavy armed soldiers, two slingers, three stone-shooters and three javelin-men, who were light-armed, and four sailors to make up the complement of twelve hundred ships.

579. Such was the military order of the royal city — the order of the other nine governments varied, and it would be wearisome to recount their several differences.

580. As to offices and honors, the following was the arrangement from the first. Each of the ten kings in his own division and in his own city had the absolute control of the citizens, and, in most cases, of the laws, punishing and slaying whomsoever he would. Now the order of precedence among them and their mutual relations were regulated by the commands of Poseidon which the law had handed down. These were inscribed by the first kings on a pillar of orichalcum, which was situated in the middle of the now sunken land, at the temple of Poseidon, whither the kings were gathered together every fifth and every sixth year alternately, thus giving equal honor to the odd and to the even number.

581. And when they were gathered together they consulted about their common interests, and enquired if any one had transgressed in anything and passed judgment and before they passed judgment they gave their pledges to one another on this wise: — There were bulls who had the range of the temple of Poseidon; and the ten kings, being left alone in the temple, after they had offered prayers to the god that they might capture the victim which was acceptable to him, hunted the bulls, without weapons but with staves and nooses; and the bull which they caught they led up to the pillar and cut its throat over the top of it so that the blood fell upon the sacred inscription.

582. Now on the pillar, besides the laws, there was inscribed an oath invoking mighty curses on the disobedient. When therefore, after slaying the bull in the accustomed manner, they had burnt its limbs, they filled a bowl of wine and cast in a clot of blood for each of them; the rest of the victim they put in the fire, after having purified the column all round. Then they drew from the bowl in golden cups and pouring a libation on the fire, they swore that they would judge according to the laws on the pillar, and would punish him who in any point had already transgressed them, and that for the future they would not, if they could help, offend against the writing on the pillar, and would neither command others, nor obey any ruler who commanded them, to act otherwise than according to the laws of their father Poseidon.

583. This was the prayer which each of them offered up for himself and for his descendants, at the same time drinking and dedicating the cup out of which he drank in the temple of the god; and after they had supped and satisfied their needs, when darkness came on, and the fire about the sacrifice was cool, all of them put on most beautiful azure robes, and, sitting on the ground, at night, over the embers of the sacrifices by which they had sworn, and extinguishing all the fire about the temple, they received and gave judgment, if any of them had an accusation to bring against any one; and when they given judgment, at daybreak they wrote down their sentences on a golden tablet, and dedicated it together with their robes to be a memorial.

584. There were many special laws affecting the several kings inscribed about the temples, but the most important was the following: They were not to take up arms against one another, and they were all to come to the rescue if any one in any of their cities attempted to overthrow the royal house; like their ancestors, they were to deliberate in common about war and other matters, giving the supremacy to the descendants of Atlas.

585. And the king was not to have the power of life and death over any of his kinsmen unless he had the assent of the majority of the ten. Such was the vast power which the god settled in the lost and now sunken land of Atlantis; and this he afterwards directed against our land for the following reasons, as tradition tells:

586. For many generations, as long as the divine nature lasted in them, they were obedient to the laws, and well-affectioned towards the god, whose seed they were; for they possessed true and in every way great spirits, uniting gentleness with wisdom in the various chances of life, and in their intercourse with one another. They despised everything but virtue, caring little for their present state of life, and thinking lightly of the possession of gold and other property, which seemed only a burden to them; neither were they intoxicated by luxury; nor did wealth deprive them of their self-control; but they were sober, and saw clearly that all these goods are increased by virtue and friendship with one another, whereas by too great regard and respect for them, they are lost and friendship with them.

587. By such reflections and by the continuance in them of a divine nature, the qualities which we have described grew and increased among them; but when the divine portion began to fade away, and became diluted too often and too much with the mortal admixture, and the human nature got the upper hand, they then, being unable to bear their fortune, behaved unseemly, and to him who had an eye to see grew visibly debased, for they were losing the fairest of their precious gifts; but to those who had no eye to see the true happiness, they appeared glorious and blessed at the very time when they were full of avarice and unrighteous power.

588. Zeus, the god of gods, who rules according to law, and is able to see into such things, perceiving that an honorable race was in a woeful plight, and wanting to inflict punishment on them, that they might be chastened and improve, collected all the gods into their most holy habitation, which, being placed in the center of the world, beholds all created things. And when he had called them together, he spake as follows: ……….*

    * The rest of the Dialogue of Critias has been lost or perhaps was never written.

Previous     Next