lost city of
The Lost City of Atlantis
" When the great gods divided the Cosmos between them, Poseidon the Lord of the Ocean took possession of a chain of islands stretching from Spain to central America. The largest of these islands was as big as the whole of Asia Minor.
When Poseidon inspected his new domain he found the islands to be more beautiful than anywhere else in the world. Every leaf on every tree glistened as brilliantly as an emerald, and the rolling pasturelands were as sleek and green as the waves of a summer sea. The flowers were so richly scented that they made the warm air as intoxicating as wine. Great herds of tame cattle grazed the pastures, the water in the streams was as clear as crystal and as fragrant as clover, while the hillsides shone with veins of white, black, and red marble and with deposits of every kind of precious metal.
The great god discovered that the people of the islands were singularly handsome and intelligent, but so newly created that they had no leaders or social organisation. They had not even given a name to their island home.
As Poseidon explored the land he came to a hill rising from the very center of the largest island, and he climbed through its flowering forests until, close to summit, he found the abode of the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. She told him her name was Cleito. The dazzling glance of her sea-blue eyes, and the sumptuous beauty of her face and form, aroused such lust in the potent deity that he conquered her without delay. She responded ardently to his power and splendour and in due course bore him ten fine sons. They named the firstborn Atlas, and Poseidon named the islands and the surrounding ocean in honour of his son. They became Atlantis while the oceanis the Atlantic.
Poseidon is the most violent and most jealous of the gods, distrustful of all mortals including Cleito, and so he isolated her upon her hill by digging three great moats around it. Each was about a kilometre wide, and separated from the others by a circle of land of the same width. Thus the Hill of Cleito was surrounded by great concentric circles of land and water. When Poseidon's ten sons grew to maturity he made them all into kings, each with responsibility for one-tenth of Atlantis. Under his orders they formed themselves into a council, led by Atlas, to rule the nation for the benefit of all its people. The Atlanteans were so vigorous and intelligent, so adept at developing their arts and technology and so industrious in exploiting the resources of the islands, that they soon established the world's first and finest civilisation.
permission, and under the guidance of the ten kings, they built
a magnificent city upon the circles of earth surrounding the Hill
of Cleito. Atlantean architects used the red, black and white marble
of their county to design buildings of dazzling splendour, with
the three colours artfully blended or contrasted to attract and
please the eye.
The scientists and technocrats of Atlantis were not jealous of their skills and learning. They acted as industrial missionaries who spread their knowledge all over the known world. They taught the Egyptians and the Mayans how to build pyramids and the Greeks how to construct Atlantes, the sculptured figures of males which support the architraves of temples and other buildings. They spread their knowledge of metallurgy, astronomy, medicine, magnetism, and many other arts and sciences, wherever the ships of Atlantis could sail. They invented reading and writing, mathematics, agriculture, architecture, and all the concepts of human civilisation.
It was rumoured
also that Atlantean scientists expected to discover the mystic force
which powers the Cosmos, and that when they had harnessed this force
there would be no limit to human achievements.
In about 9500
BC, a great Atlantean invasion fleet sailed into the bat of Athens,
where a vastly outmubered force of Athenians waited to resist them.
When the two armies clashed the arrows flew in such clouds that
they darkened the sky, the hooves of the chariot horses were like
thunder upon Olympus, the brazen armour of the Atlanteans dazzled
the eye and their spearheads seemed as multitudinous as wheat growing
in a field.
fleet was about to set sail when the whole sky turned the colour
of dry blood, and a mass of black clouds swept across it with such
a dreadful sound as had never been heard before. The seas rose in
gigantic waves which swallowed the entire fleet, while the whole
world reverberated with earthquakes and the ocean roared and rushed
from one sea to another like water swilling around in an immense
For days on end it seemed the whole Cosmos would fly apart. The
skies deluged the earth with water, the mountains shuddered and
cracked apart, the oceans were a torment of monstrous waves.
Ever since those days, historians have debated the reason why Atlantis was obliterated. Some say that Poseidon was angered by the Athenian victory, and punished his people with total destruction. Others say that an Atlantean scientist had discovered the forbidden secrets of the Cosmos, and released the forces which may eventually destroy the whole of mankind." ---
--- Encyclopedia of things that never were.
lost city of
shadows lengthen as night comes. Then a strange choking heat engulfs
came a choking plume of dark smoke. Then a terrible rain of blazing
pumice stone, followed by ash, poured down in between explosions blasting
up from the cone. At the height if the cataclysm, the volcano itself
exploded under enormous internal pressures.
These were the giant tsunamis, tidal waves which are set off by earthquakes or volcanic eruptions and are perhaps the most terrifying forces in nature. Waves as high as 200 metres radiated from the island to strike nearby coasts with a force that has never been equalled. This is how scientists today see the sequence of events that the island 3,500 years ago. An explosion that they estimate produced a destructive force equivalent to 500-1000 atomic bombs.
A terrible darkness, caused by the thick fall of ash, descended on the Aegean, plunging the whole area into a night that was to last for weeks. The ash itself continued to fall for some time and today deposits of it, called tephra, lie more than 60 metres deep on what remains of the island which the Greeks call Kalliste.
now believe that what happened to Kalliste might be the solution to
a riddle that has perplexed historians and geographers since the days
of the Greek philosipher Plato (427-347 BC). Plato, one of the fathers
of western thought, is our sole direst source for the legend of Atlantis.
fragmentary account of the continent that was swallowed up by the
sea still excites the modern mind. Plato's Atlantis was as kind of
paradise - a vast island 'larger than Libya and Asia put together'
- with magnificant mountain ranges, lush plains which teemed with
every variety of animal, including elephants, and luxuriant gardens
where the fruit was 'fair and wondrous and in infinite abundance'.
the heart of the city were the great palace and the temple, which
was in more sumptuous: 'All the outside, 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 orichalc; and all the other parts,
the walls and pillars and floor, they coated with orichalc.
The ten kings of Atlantis were immensely rich and powerful but ruled wisely over the enormous colonial empire they built. Numberless generations of Atlanteans lived in peace under a system of laws which had been handed down to them by Poseidon and whose justness comanded universal admiration. These laws were 'inscribed by the first kings on a pillar of orichalc, which was situated in the middle of the island, at the temple of Poseidon'.
But in the end, Atlantean society began to decay. The people started to worship the false gods of wealth, idleness and luxury. Plato, ever a pessimist about human nature, write: 'When the divine portion began to fade away, and became diluted too often and too much with the mortal admixture, and the human nature gained the upper hand, they then, being unable to bear their fortune, behaved in an unseemly manner, and to him who had an eye to see, grew visibly debased, for they were losing the fairest to 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.'
was during this era of corruption that the Atlanteans embarked on
a war of world conquest, launching huge fleets against other islands
and enslaving the inhabitants of the coastal settlements of the Mediteranean.
The only power that could stand against them was Athens, the city
dedicated to Athena, goddess of wisdom, industry and war. The Atlantean
hoplites, or heavy infantry, succeeded in stemming the tide of invasion
and won a brilliant victory. But this setback was not enough. The
gods had perpared a terrible retribution for the men who betrayed
the ancient faith of Atlantis.
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