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PlatoMeditation 280
The "Lost" City of Atlantis

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It has been widely reported that American archeologist Robert Sarmast has claimed to have discovered the lost city of Atlantis, based on sonar readings of the seabed off the south east coast of Cyprus.

Yet I recall Atlantis has supposedly been discovered before, not just the monthly discoveries reported in the tabloids, but claims in the real press. For example the Russians made a claim for discovering Atlantis about 900 Km. off the coast of Portugal back in 1979. And earlier this year, Ulf Erlingassen from Sweden claimed that Atlantis was actually Ireland.

People have been looking for Atlantis, and some of them actually claiming to have discovered it ever since Plato wrote about it in Timaeus in 360 BC.

Atlantis has been placed by its discoverers at numerous sites around the Mediterranean, and as far away as Ceylon (Sri Lanka). It has been suggested that it is now in southern Spain, Brazil, the island of Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic,) the Azores, and (as determined by the charlatan psychic Edgar Cayce) off the coast of Bimini.

Plato clearly placed Atlantis beyond the Pillars of Hercules and off the coast of Africa. This would point to the Azores as a possibility, if Atlantis was real.

But, we must remember there is no other ancient source for the existence of Atlantis other than Plato. Was Plato reporting an actual historical event, handed down through oral tradition, a story which no-one else documented? Or did Plato make the whole tale up to make a philosophical point, as discussed at the philosophy site, Plato and his dialogues? In my view, the case for Atlantis as a fictional device is strong, and there is no reason to assume Atlantis was ever real. It is possible, however, the fiction might have been inspired by a real event, such as a coastal city or town being submerged (permanently or temporarily by an earthquake or tidal wave.)

Has Robert Sarmast (or anyone else) actually discovered Atlantis?

Almost certainly not!

Has he actually discovered the underwater remains of an ancient city?

It is possible, but far from certain. He only has sonar data. And it is less likely, but still remotely possible, that what he has found might have inspired Plato.

Will anyone else discover Atlantis in the future?

Certainly. It will continue to be discovered several times a year until people lose their infinite capacity for gullibility. (And as Edgar Cayce's nonsense continues to sell, that is quite unlikely.)