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How Atlantis changed history

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Author Topic: How Atlantis changed history  (Read 636 times)
Bianca
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« on: May 14, 2007, 02:30:18 pm »





FROM

THE MYSTERY OF ATLANTIS

Charles Berlitz



For a land that may or may not have existed, Atlantis has had a consider-
able impact on history, as well as on literature.

When classical culture, after the fall of Constantinople in 1453, started
flowing again into the west, Plato's account, as well as other ancient re-
ports of islands in the Atlantic, once again began to intrigue man's imagi-
nation.

Christopher Columbus, an avid reader of travel accounts and correnspon-
dent with cartographers, was not the only one to believe the world was
round.  Its actual circumference had been calculated in Alexandria in ancient
times, with an error of only five hundred miles.  But students of the Alexan-
rene School, although they could measure the earth, never, as far as we
know, sailed around it to prove that it was round.

Numerous "world" maps existed at the time of Columbus, although their diverse
information and the fact that the navigational lines were drawn by the stars,
would seem to indicate that Columbus' greatest feat of bravery was not in
facing the monsters of the sea, or sailing off the edge of the world, but in
being guided by the maps he had at his disposal.



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Bianca
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« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2007, 02:48:24 pm »




HOW ATLANTIS CHANGED HISTORY                                                     continued



Some of these world maps showed Antillia, Antilla, Antilha or Antiglia,
which may have been alternate names for Atlantis, the Fortunate Isles,
the Hesperides and other islands.

The Toscanelli map, which Columbus is thought to have had with him on
his voyage to the New World, shows Antillia.

Years before he made his voyage, Toscanelli wrote to him suggesting An-
tillia as a stopping place on his way to the Indies.  On Toscanelli's map
China and the Indies were shown on the western shore of the Atlantic,
with Antillia and other islands furnishing maritime stepping stones in bet-
ween.

It is fairly certain that Columbus had studied, or had with him, on his
voyage, the Becario map of 1435 and subsequent maps of Branco (1436),
Pareto (1455), Rosseli (1468) and Benincasa ((1482) and, perhaps, mate-
rial or suggestions from the Benheim map (1492), all of which showed
Antillia in its various spellings.

These maps generally place Antillia out in the Atlantic, on a level with
Portugal. In this regard its name in its Portuguese spelling, Antilha ( ante
hila) becomes logical - it means "the island in front of", "before" or "oppo-
site", referring to the large island in the middle of the ocean, that of the
"seven cities". 

Whether this is the real reason for its name, or whether it is another form
of Atlantis, really comes to the same thing - the large island that had been
recommended to Columbus and that was on all the leading maps, was loca-
ted at the position generally ascribed to Atlantis and, in disregard of Atlantis'
reported sinking, was still shaped like Plato's description  of it.
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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2007, 03:01:58 pm »





HOW ATLANTIS CHANGED HISTORY                                                       continued



It has also been suggested that Columbus was influenced by an unusual
passage from a play by the classical Roman writer, Seneca, written  cen-
turies before Columbus.  The quotation, from Medea, Act II, goes on as
follows: "There will come a time, in the late age of the world, when the
ocean will relax its bonds over what it (now) holds and land will appear
in its glory.  Thetis (the sea) will uncover new continents and Thule will
no longer be the end of the world......"

Did Seneca get the idea of continents under the ocean from his imagina-
tion or from Plato or other sources?  How generally was this belief held
in Classic Times?  At present we can only guess.

But there is a strong suggestion that Columbus was influenced by this in
his own speculations.

One source for this suggestion comes from one who personally was well
acquainted with Columbus and his ideas - his son, Fernando, who inscri-
bed in a copy of MEDEA - "This prophecy was fulfilled by my father, the
Admiral Christopher Columbus, in 1492."

Lopez de Gomara, author of the GENERAL HISTORY OF THE INDIES (1552)
specifically attributes Columbus exploits to having "read Plato's TIMAEUS
ana CRITIAS, where he read of the great Atlantean island and of a sunken
land greater than Asia and Africa."

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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2007, 03:23:41 pm »





HOW ATLANTIS CHANGED HISTORY                                                            continued



Lopez de Gomara, author of the GENERAL HISTORY OF THE INDIES (1552)
specifically attributes Columbus' exploits to having "read Plato's TIMAEUS
and CRITIAS, where he read of the great Atlantean island and of a sunken
land greater than Asia and Africa."

A claim was actually advanced by Fernandez de Oviedo that the Spanish
rulers owned the rights to the New American lands (GENERAL AND NATURAL
HISTORY OF THE INDIES - 1525) since, according to him, Hesperus, a pre-
historic Spanish king, was the brother of Atlas, ruler of the opposite land of
Morocco and Hesperus, as part of his domain, also ruled the Hesperides -
"The Islands of the West" - "at forty days sail, as they still are, more or less,
in our time....and as Columbus found them to be on the second voyage he
made....they therefore must be considered to be these Indies, lands of
Spain since the times of Hesperus......which reverted to Spain (through
Columbus)....

A contemporary writer who disagreed was Bartolome' de Las Casas, a
priest who had his own axe to gring.  His aim, a very laudable one, was
to protect the Indians of the New World whose treatment by the Spanish
conquerors at this time was assuming genocidal proportions.

De Las Casas took exception to this right of dominion based on the Hespe-
rides or Atlantis.  Nevertheless, in commenting on Columbus, he observed,
in his HISTORY OF THE INDIES - 1527:
"....Christopher Columbus could reasonably believe and hope that although
that great island (Atlantis) was lost and sunken, there would remain others,
or at least, dry land, which he could find by searching for it...."
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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2007, 03:45:45 pm »





HOW ATLANTIS CHANGED HISTORY                                                           continued



Among other authors at the time of the discovery of the New World, Pedro
Sarmiento de Gamboa wrote in 1572: "....The Indies of Spain were conti-
nents, along with the Atlantic Island, and therefore the Atlantic Island itself,
which was off Cadiz and extended over the sea which we travers when we
come to the Indies, the sea which all the map makers call the Atlantic
Ocean, since the Atlantic Island was in it. And thus we sail now over that
which formerly was land."

When the Spanish invaders of Mexico were told that the Aztecs came from
a land in the sea called Aztlan, they were convinced that the Aztecs this
reinforced the Spanish right to conquest; not that they ever felt they
needed much justification.  The very name "Aztec" means people of Az or
Atlan.  (The Aztecs usually called themselves Tenocha or Nahua.)

If the Spanish invaders of the New World were influenced, in some respects,
by the memory of Atlantis and/or the Hesperides, the Indian population of
middle and south America, for another reason, but connected with the same
historical or legendary mystique, were so convinced that the Spanish were
their civilizing gods or heroes returned from the eastern land that they be-
came psychologically incapable of resisting them until it was too late.
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« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2007, 10:23:14 pm »





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