Atlantis Online
November 17, 2019, 09:57:13 am
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Comet theory collides with Clovis research, may explain disappearance of ancient people
http://uscnews.sc.edu/ARCH190.html
 
  Home Help Arcade Gallery Links Staff List Calendar Login Register  

Ancient Interpretations of Atlantis

Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Ancient Interpretations of Atlantis  (Read 332 times)
Gwen Parker
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 4515



« on: March 18, 2014, 04:28:37 pm »

Some ancient writers viewed Atlantis as fiction while others believed it was real. The philosopher Crantor, a student of Plato's student Xenocrates, is often cited as an example of a writer who thought the story to be historical fact. His work, a commentary on Plato's Timaeus, is lost, but Proclus, a Neoplatonist of the 5th century AD, reports on it.[27] The passage in question has been represented in the modern literature either as claiming that Crantor actually visited Egypt, had conversations with priests, and saw hieroglyphs confirming the story or as claiming that he learned about them from other visitors to Egypt.[28] Proclus wrote:

    As for the whole of this account of the Atlanteans, some say that it is unadorned history, such as Crantor, the first commentator on Plato. Crantor also says that Plato's contemporaries used to criticize him jokingly for not being the inventor of his Republic but copying the institutions of the Egyptians. Plato took these critics seriously enough to assign to the Egyptians this story about the Athenians and Atlanteans, so as to make them say that the Athenians really once lived according to that system.


The next sentence is often translated "Crantor adds, that this is testified by the prophets of the Egyptians, who assert that these particulars [which are narrated by Plato] are written on pillars which are still preserved." But in the original, the sentence starts not with the name Crantor but with the ambiguous He, and whether this referred to Crantor or to Plato is the subject of considerable debate. Proponents of both Atlantis as a myth and Atlantis as history have argued that the word refers to Crantor.[29]

Alan Cameron argues that it should be interpreted as referring to Plato, and that when Proclus writes that "we must bear in mind concerning this whole feat of the Athenians, that it is neither a mere myth nor unadorned history, although some take it as history and others as myth", he is treating "Crantor's view as mere personal opinion, nothing more; in fact he first quotes and then dismisses it as representing one of the two unacceptable extremes".[30]

Cameron also points out that whether he refers to Plato or to Crantor, the statement does not support conclusions such as Otto Muck's "Crantor came to Sais and saw there in the temple of Neith the column, completely covered with hieroglyphs, on which the history of Atlantis was recorded. Scholars translated it for him, and he testified that their account fully agreed with Plato's account of Atlantis"[31] or J. V. Luce's suggestion that Crantor sent "a special enquiry to Egypt" and that he may simply be referring to Plato's own claims.[30]

Another passage from Proclus' commentary on the Timaeus gives a description of the geography of Atlantis:

    That an island of such nature and size once existed is evident from what is said by certain authors who investigated the things around the outer sea. For according to them, there were seven islands in that sea in their time, sacred to Persephone, and also three others of enormous size, one of which was sacred to Hades, another to Ammon, and another one between them to Poseidon, the extent of which was a thousand stadia [200 km]; and the inhabitants of it—they add—preserved the remembrance from their ancestors of the immeasurably large island of Atlantis which had really existed there and which for many ages had reigned over all islands in the Atlantic sea and which itself had like-wise been sacred to Poseidon. Now these things Marcellus has written in his Aethiopica".[32]

Marcellus remains unidentified.
Report Spam   Logged

Gwen Parker
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 4515



« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2014, 04:30:34 pm »

Other ancient historians and philosophers believing in the existence of Atlantis were Strabo and Posidonius.[33]

Plato's account of Atlantis may have also inspired parodic imitation: writing only a few decades after the Timaeus and Critias, the historian Theopompus of Chios wrote of a land beyond the ocean known as Meropis. This description was included in Book 8 of his voluminous Philippica, which contains a dialogue between King Midas and Silenus, a companion of Dionysus. Silenus describes the Meropids, a race of men who grow to twice normal size, and inhabit two cities on the island of Meropis (Cos?): Eusebes (Εὐσεβής, "Pious-town") and Machimos (Μάχιμος, "Fighting-town"). He also reports that an army of ten million soldiers crossed the ocean to conquer Hyperborea, but abandoned this proposal when they realized that the Hyperboreans were the luckiest people on earth. Heinz-Günther Nesselrath has argued that these and other details of Silenus' story are meant as imitation and exaggeration of the Atlantis story, for the purpose of exposing Plato's ideas to ridicule.[34]

Zoticus, a Neoplatonist philosopher of the 3rd century AD, wrote an epic poem based on Plato's account of Atlantis.[35]

The 4th-century historian Ammianus Marcellinus, relying on a lost work by Timagenes, a historian writing in the 1st century BC, writes that the Druids of Gaul said that part of the inhabitants of Gaul had migrated there from distant islands. Some have understood Ammianus's testimony as a claim that at the time of Atlantis's actual sinking into the sea, its inhabitants fled to western Europe; but Ammianus in fact says that "the Drasidae (Druids) recall that a part of the population is indigenous but others also migrated in from islands and lands beyond the Rhine" (Res Gestae 15.9), an indication that the immigrants came to Gaul from the north (Britain, the Netherlands or Germany), not from a theorized location in the Atlantic Ocean to the south-west.[36] Instead, the Celts that dwelled along the ocean were reported to venerate twin gods (Dioscori) that appeared to them coming from that ocean.[37]
Report Spam   Logged
Gwen Parker
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 4515



« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2014, 04:31:21 pm »

Jewish and Christian

The Hellenistic Jewish philosopher Philo in the early 1st century AD wrote about the destruction of Atlantis in his On the Eternity of the World, xxvi. 141, in a longer passage allegedly citing Aristotle's successor Theophrastus:[38]

    ... And the island of Atalantes [translator's spelling; original: Ἀτλαντὶς] which was greater than Africa and Asia, as Plato says in the Timaeus, in one day and night was overwhelmed beneath the sea in consequence of an extraordinary earthquake and inundation and suddenly disappeared, becoming sea, not indeed navigable, but full of gulfs and eddies.[39]


Some scholars believe[who?] Clement of Rome cryptically referred to Atlantis in his First Epistle of Clement, 20: 8:

    ... The ocean which is impassable for men, and the worlds beyond it, are directed by the same ordinances of the Master.[40]

On this passage the theologian Joseph Barber Lightfoot (Apostolic Fathers, 1885, II, p. 84) noted: "Clement may possibly be referring to some known, but hardly accessible land, lying without the pillars of Hercules. But more probably he contemplated some unknown land in the far west beyond the ocean, like the fabled Atlantis of Plato ..."[41]

Other early Christian writers wrote about Atlantis, though they had mixed views on whether it once existed or was an untrustworthy myth of pagan origin.[42] Tertullian believed Atlantis was once real and wrote that in the Atlantic Ocean once existed "[the isle] that was equal in size to Libya or Asia"[43] referring to Plato's geographical description of Atlantis. The early Christian apologist writer Arnobius also believed Atlantis once existed but blamed its destruction on pagans.[44]

Cosmas Indicopleustes in the 6th century wrote of Atlantis in his Christian Topography in an attempt to prove his theory that the world was flat and surrounded by water:

    ... 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. For he supposes that there is to westward an island, 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 island came from the earth far away, and conquered Europe and Asia, but were afterwards conquered by the Athenians, while that island 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.[45]
Report Spam   Logged
Gwen Parker
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 4515



« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2014, 04:33:27 pm »

A Hebrew treatise on computational astronomy dated to AD 1378/79, alludes to the Atlantis myth in a discussion concerning the determination of zero points for the calculation of longitude:

    Some say that they [the inhabited regions] begin at the beginning of the western ocean [the Atlantic] and beyond. For in the earliest times [literally: the first days] there was an island in the middle of the ocean. There were scholars there, who isolated themselves in [the pursuit of] philosophy. In their day, that was the [beginning for measuring] the longitude of the inhabited world. Today, it has become [covered by the?] sea, and it is ten degrees into the sea; and they reckon the beginning of longitude from the beginning of the western sea.[46]
« Last Edit: March 18, 2014, 04:35:15 pm by Gwen Parker » Report Spam   Logged
Gwen Parker
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 4515



« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2014, 04:36:03 pm »



Busto de Posidonio, (Posidonius, Posidonios, Poseidonius, Poseidonios), Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Napoli, Collezione Farnese, (inv. n° 6142).

Fotografia propia, modificada con Adobe Photoshop 6.0
Report Spam   Logged
Gwen Parker
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 4515



« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2014, 04:48:19 pm »

http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/flwp/index.htm
Report Spam   Logged
Gwen Parker
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 4515



« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2014, 04:49:48 pm »

Fragments that Remain of the Lost Writings of Proclus, by Thomas Taylor, [1825], at sacred-texts.com

In Defence of the Timæus of Plato, against the Objections made to it by Aristotle.

Aristotle objects to the very name of paradigm, asserting that it is metaphorical; and he is much more hostile to the dogma which introduces ideas, and particularly to that of animal itself, as is evident from what he says in his Metaphysics. And it appears, that this man is not so averse to any of the dogmas of Plato as he is to the hypothesis of ideas; not only in his Logical Treatises calling ideas sonorous trifles, but also in his Ethics contending against the existence of the good itself. In his Physics, likewise, he does not think it proper to refer the generations of things to ideas: for he says this in his Treatise on

p. 3

[paragraph continues] Generation and Corruption. And this his hostility to the doctrine of ideas * is much more apparent in his Metaphysics; because the discussion there is concerning principles: for there he adduces numerous arguments against ideas, in the beginning, middle, and end of that treatise. In his Dialogues, also, he most manifestly exclaims, that he cannot assent to this dogma, though some one may think that he speaks against it for the purpose of contention.

___________________

The maker always existing, that which is generated by him likewise always exists. For either God does not always make; or, he indeed always makes, but the universe is not always generated; † for, he always makes, and the universe is always generated. But if God does not always make, he will evidently be [at a certain time] an efficient in capacity, and again an efficient in energy, and he will be an imperfect Demiurgus, and indigent of time. I f, however, he always makes, but the

p. 4

universe is generated at a certain time, an impossibility will take place. For when that which makes is in energy, that which is generated will also be generated in energy. Both, therefore, exist always; the one being generated, and the other producing perpetually.

The world is always fabricated; and as the Demiurgus fabricated always, and still fabricates, so likewise the world is always fabricated, and now rising into existence, was generated, and, having been made, is always generated [or becoming to be]; so that the world is always fabricated. And as the Demiurgus always did fabricate, and still fabricates, so the world was always and is fabricated; and while it is becoming to be, was generated, and having been generated, is always generated.

Proclus assents to what is said by Aristotle concerning the perpetuity of the world; but he says it was not just in him to accuse Plato. For to be generated, does not signify, with Plato, the beginning of existence, but a subsistence in perpetually becoming to be. For the natures which are established above time, and which are eternal, have the whole of their essence and power, and the perfection of their energy, simultaneously present. But every thing which is in time has not its proper life collectively and at once present. For whatever is in time, though it should be

p. 5

extended to an infinite time, has an existence at a certain time. For that portion of being which it possesses exists in a certain time. For time is not [wholly] present at once; but is generated infinitely, and was not produced at a certain period in the past time. The universe, therefore, was thus generated, as not having a subsistence such as that of eternal beings, but as that which is generated, or becoming to be, through the whole of time, and always subsisting at a certain time, according to that part of time which is present. And again, the universe was generated, as not being the cause to itself of its existence, but deriving its subsistence from some other nature, which is the fourth signification of a generated essence; I mean that which has a cause of its generation.

But if Timæus [in Plato] calls the world a God which will be at a certain time (for perhaps this may give disturbance to some), and induce them to ask whether he gives to the world a generation in a part of time? For the once, or at a certain time, must be admitted by us to be a certain part of time. To this we reply, that every thing which is in time, whether in an infinite or in a finite time, will always exist at a certain time. For whatever portion of it may be assumed, this portion is in a certain time. For the whole of time

p. 6

does not subsist at once, but according to a part. If, therefore, any thing is in tine, though it should be extended to an infinite time, it has indeed an existence at a certain time. But it is generated, or becoming to be, to infinity, and is always passing froth an existence at one time * to an existence at another. And it was at a certain time, and is at a certain time, and will be at a certain time. † This existence too, at a certain time, is always different. The world, however, when it exists at a certain time, has a no less [continued] existence. Hence that which has its hypostasis in a part of time, at a certain time is becoming to be, and at a certain time is, and at a certain time will be. But that which exists in every time [or for ever] is

p. 7

indeed at a certain time, but is always generated, or becoming to be; and in perpetually becoming to be, imitates that which always is.

This, therefore, alone ought to be considered, whether it is necessary to denominate a celestial body, and in a similar manner the whole world, a thing of a generated nature. But how is it possible not to assert this from the very arguments which Aristotle himself affords us? For he says that no finite body has an infinite power; and this he demonstrates in the eighth book of his Physics. If, therefore, the world is finite (for this he demonstrates), it is necessary that it should not possess an infinite power. But in the former part of this treatise we have shewn that eternity is infinite power. The world, therefore, has not an eternal subsistence, since it does not possess infinite power. If, however, it has not an eternal hypostasis, (for a thing of this kind participates of eternity, but that which participates of eternity participates of infinite power,) it is necessary that the world should not always be. * For to exist always, is, according to Aristotle himself, the peculiarity of eternity, since, as he says, eternity

p. 8

from this derives its appellation. For that which is true of eternal being, is not true of that which is always generated [or becoming to be], viz. the possession of infinite power, through being perpetually generated, but this pertains to the maker of it. Hence, too, it is always generated, acquiring perpetuity of existence through that which, according to essence, is eternally being; but it does not possess perpetuity, so far as pertains to itself. So that the definition of that which is generated may also be adapted to the world. Every thing, therefore, which is generated, is indeed itself essentially entirely destructible; but being bound by true being, it remains in becoming to be, and the whole of it is a generated nature. Hence [though naturally destructible] it is not destroyed, in consequence of the participation of existence which it derives from true being. For, since the universe is finite, but that which is finite has not an infinite power, as Aristotle demonstrates; and as that which moves with an infinite motion moves with an infinite power, it is evident that the immovable cause of infinite motion to the universe, possesses itself an infinite power; so that, if you conceive the universe to be separated from its immovable cause, it will not be moved to infinity, nor will it possess an infinite power, but will have a cessation of its motion. It; however,

p. 9

you again conjoin this cause with the universe, it will be moved to infinity through it. Nor is there any absurdity in separating by conception things which are conjoined, in order that we may perceive what will happen to the one from the other; and, in consequence of perceiving this, may understand what the inferior nature possesses from itself, and what it derives, from its co-arrangement, from that which is superior to it. For, in short, since, in terrestrial natures, we see that they are partly corrupted through imbecility, and are partly preserved through power, much more will perpetuity and immortality * be inherent in things incorruptible, through infinite power: for every finite power is corrupted.

_____________

For the celestial fire is not caustic, but, as I should say, is vivific, in the same manner as the heat which is naturally inherent in us. And Aristotle himself, in his Treatise on the Generation of Animals, says, that there is a certain illumination from which, being present, every mortal

p. 10

nature lives. All heaven, therefore, consists of a fire of this kind; but the stars have, for the most part, this element, yet they have also the summits of the other elements. * Moreover, if we likewise consider, that earth darkens all illuminative natures, and produces shadow, but that the elements which are situated between earth and fire being naturally diaphanous, are the recipients of both darkness and light, and yet are not the causes of either of these to bodies, but that fire alone is the supplier of light, in the same manner as earth is of darkness, and that these are at the greatest distance from each other,—if we consider this, we may understand how the celestial bodies are naturally of a fiery characteristic. For it is evident that they illuminate in the same manner as our sublunary fire. If, however this is common to both, it is manifest that the fire which is here, is allied to the fire of the celestial bodies. It is not proper, therefore, to introduce to the universe a celestial nature, as something foreign to it, but placing there the summits of sublunary natures, we should admit that the elements which are here, derive their generation through an alliance to the nature of the celestial orbs.

Footnotes

3:* See my Dissertation on the Philosophy of Aristotle, in which the opposition of Aristotle to Plato's doctrine of ideas is shewn to have been employed for the purpose of guarding from misapprehension, arid not of subverting that doctrine.

3:† Proclus here uses the word γινεται, generated, because the universe, on account of the flowing condition of its nature, is always rising into existence, or becoming to be.

6:* In the original, αλλ᾽ ουποτε εις αλλο αει μεθισταμενον. But the sense requires (and this is confirmed by the version of Mahotius,) that we should read, conformably to the above translation, αϖο του ϖοτε εις αλλο, κ.τ.λ..

6:† The corporeal world is continually rising into existence, or becoming to be, but never possesses real being. Hence, like the image of a tree in a rapid torrent, it has the appearance of a tree without the reality, and seems to endure perpetually the same, yet is continually renewed by the continual renovation of the stream. The world therefore was, and is, and will be at a certain time, in the same manner as it may be said of the image of a tree in a torrent, that it was yesterday, is to-day, and will be to-morrow, without any interruption of the continuity of its flux. Philoponus, not perceiving this, has, with his usual stupidity, opposed what is here said by Proclus.

7:* In the original, αναγκη μη ειναι τον κοσμον αει. For the world is not always, αλλα γιγνεται αει, i.e. but is always becoming to be, or, rising into existence; since it has not an eternal sameness of being, but a perpetually flowing subsistence.

9:* In the original, πολλῳ μαλλον εν τοις αφθαρτοις η αφθαρσια δια δυναμιν δηλονοτι απειρον. But from the version of Mahotius,—which is, "Multo magis his, quæ non intereunt, conveniat perpetuitas, atque immortalitas, propter vires, easque infinitas,"—it appears that, for η αφθαρσια, it is requisite to read η αϊδιοτης και αθανασια, agreeably to the above translation.

10:* Viz. the sublunary elements have, in the stars and in the heavens, a causal subsistence. See more on this subject in the third book of my translation of Proclus on the Timæus of Plato.
http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/flwp/flwp03.htm
Report Spam   Logged
Gwen Parker
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 4515



« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2014, 04:52:54 pm »

[p.64]

With respect to the whole of this narration about the Atlantics, some say, that it is a mere history, which was the opinion of Crantor, the first interpreter of Plato, who says, that Plato was derided by those of his time, as not being the inventor of the Republic, but transcribing what the Egyptians had written on this subject; and that he so far regards what is said by these deriders as to refer to the Egyptians this history about the Athenians and Atlantics, and to believe that the Athenians once lived conformably to this polity. Crantor adds, that this is testified by the prophets of the Egyptians, who assert that these particulars [which are narrated by Plato] are written on pillars which are still preserved. Others again, say, that this narration is a fable, and a fictitious account of things, which by no means had an existence, but which bring with them an indication of natures which are perpetual, or are generated in the world; not attending to Plato, who exclaims, "that the narration is surprising in the extreme, yet is in every respect true." For that which is in every respect true, is not partly true, and partly not true, nor is it false according to the apparent, but true according to the inward meaning; since a thing of this kind would not be perfectly true. Others do not deny that these transactions took place after this manner, but think that they are now assumed as images of the contrarieties that pre-exist in the universe. For war, say they, is the father of all things, as Heraclitus also asserted.155 And of these, some refer the analysis to the fixed stars and planets: so that they assume the Athenians as analogous to the fixed stars, but the Atlantics to the planets. They likewise say, that these stars fight on account of the opposition in their circulation, but that the fixed stars vanquish the planets on account of the one convolution of the world. Of this opinion, therefore, is the illustrious Amelius, who vehemently contends that this must be the case, because it is clearly said in the Critias, that the Atlantic island was divided into seven circles.156 But I do not know of any other who is of the same opinion. Others, again, as Origen, refer the analysis to the opposition of certain daemons, some of them being more, but others less, excellent. And some of them being superior in multitude, but others in power: some of them vanquishing, but others being vanquished. But others refer it to the discord of souls, the more excellent being the pupils of Minerva,157 but the inferior kind being subservient to generation; who also pertain to the God that presides over generation [i.e. to Neptune]. And this is the interpretation of Numenius. Others, mingling, as they fancy, the opinions of Origen and Numenius together, say, that the narration refers to the opposition of souls to daemons, the latter drawing down, but the former being drawn down. And [p.65] with these men, daemon has a triple subsistence. For they say, that one kind is that of divine daemons; another, of daemons according to habitude, to which partial souls give completion, when they obtain a daemoniacal allotment; and another is that of depraved daemons, who are also noxious to souls.158 Daemons, therefore, of this last kind, wage this war against souls, in their descent into generation. And that, say they, which ancient theologists159 refer to Osiris and Typhon, or to Bacchus and the Titans, this, Plato, from motives of piety, refers to the Athenians and Atlantics. Before, however, souls descend into solid bodies, those theologists and Plato, deliver the war of them with material daemons who are adapted to the west; since the west, as the Egyptians say, is the place of the noxious daemons. Of this opinion is the philosopher Porphyry, respecting whom, it would be wonderful, if he asserted any thing different from the doctrine of Numenius. These [philosophers] however, are in my opinion, very excellently corrected by the most divine Iamblichus.

http://www.masseiana.org/proclus_timaeus.htm
Report Spam   Logged
Gwen Parker
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 4515



« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2014, 04:54:20 pm »

Solon, therefore, being most ingenuous, and imitating exempt causes, did not deliver through poetry the Atlantic war. But Critias, and those posterior to him, transmit the account of this war to others, imitating second and third causes, who produce the variety of [p.77] effective principles, and the orderly distribution of things, which is harmonized from contraries into a visible subsistence.

http://www.masseiana.org/proclus_timaeus.htm
Report Spam   Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by EzPortal
Bookmark this site! | Upgrade This Forum
SMF For Free - Create your own Forum
Powered by SMF | SMF © 2016, Simple Machines
Privacy Policy