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Atlantis Destroyed Hardcover – May 6, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-0415165396 ISBN-10: 0415165393 Edition: 1St Edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 1St Edition edition (May 6, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415165393
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415165396
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,874,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Castleden, who has written ten other books on historical topics (e.g., Minoans: Life in Bronze Age Crete, LJ 1/91), examines various events in ancient history and then attempts to prove that Plato used them to form the Atlantis tale for the purpose of creating a model world that Athenians could contemplate and learn from. He argues persuasively, offering much evidence, for instance, of similarities between Minoan civilization and the Atlantis legend. Ellis (Deep Atlantic, LJ 10/1/96) also reviews sources from Plato to the present that have contributed to the story of Atlantis, revealing what mystics, scientists, film writers, and others have added to the legend. His most interesting revelation is that Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a novel featuring an underwater Atlantis. Ellis also discusses archaeological evidence that some have used to "prove" that Atlantis existed. Castleden and Ellis write in styles suitable for adult readers, and their works are comparable to Marjorie Braymer's Atlantis: The Biography of a Legend (1983). Recommended for academic and large public libraries.ANorman Malwitz, Queens Borough P.L., Jamaica, NY
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

Castleden (The Making of Stonehenge, not reviewed), working with Plato's Critias, historical and contemporary scholarly works, and his own speculation, seeks to identify the fabled island of Atlantis and set it within a greater political-literary context. As Castleden explains, the story of Atlantis dates from before Plato, back to the priests of Sais in Egypt and then into the mists. But it is a close reading of Plato's rendering on which Castleden bases his conclusions. Yes, Plato uses the island as a parable, as political satire to improve his fellow Athenians and tempt Syracusans with an ideal for the city-state, but there are so many identifiable elements in the storygeographically, geologically, in references to commercethat if these elements are put into historical perspective, if certain misreadings of ancient Minoan texts are accounted for, a stab can be taken at the island's identity. Castleden understands the pillars of Heracles to be situated at the Gulf of Laconia, and not the western end of the Mediterranean, and Atlantis to be an archipelago of Aegean islands, Crete and Thera (a.k.a. Santorini) most prominent among them. Plato, Castleden argues, conflated the two islands for his own allegorical convenience, and thus the confusion. The islands particular geographical features bear out his description. Castleden buttresses his theory with a detailed examination of Cretan and Theran histories and cultures, drawing parallels to Plato. The theory is certainly plausible: His familiarity with the material is intelligently nuanced, and when he takes a leap in the darksuggesting understandable mistranslations by the Egyptians, sayit is never far-fetched. Castleden's pseudoscholarly tonethe book often reads like a script for Robert Stack's Unsolved Mysteriescan be a put-off, but the material is too fascinating for that to be much of an impediment, and the subject has survived far worse treatment. (For another view of Atlantis, see Richard Ellis, Imagining Atlantis, p. 630.) A fine synthesis of Atlantis-related research, with a good number of intelligent, provoking speculations and an insightful consideration of Plato's myth-making talents. (b&w photos, line drawings, not seen) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Douglas Weller on April 13, 2001
Format: Paperback
Of all the books I've read on Atlantis, the most impressive (and the one with the most archaeological evidence) is Rodney Castleden's Atlantis Destroyed. Castleden also wrote The Making of Stonehenge, The Knossos Labyrinth, The Stonehenge People, Neolithic Britain, and Minoans: Life in Bronze Age Crete.
His basic argument is that Plato took a number of what he calls "pieces of identifiable proto-history" and wove them together into a contemporary commentary on the world. Castleden suggests that the basis of this is a faint memory of Minoan civilization. He points out what is often forgotten by those who take the Atlantis story literally, that for Plato it is Athens that is written about as a utopia, not Atlantis, Athens that is the "excellent land with well-tempered seasons."
He illuminates several puzzles that have misled many people, eg. Plato's comments about the Pillars of Hercules. This is often assumed to refer to the modern day features by that name, but in ancient Greece the term could have other meanings, eg it could refer to the two southward-pointing headlands on each side of the Gulf of Laconia. Thus the large island outside the pillars of Heracles would be Crete.
Castleden follows this with a very detailed discussion of the archaeology and geography of Minoan Crete and Thera and how that compares with Plato's tale. He goes into detail about how the story might have been transmitted to Plato and Plato's possible motives in writing the two essays. (He also mentions that there was a century older text by Hellanicus, of which only a small fragment survives, called 'Atlantis'!).
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Atheen on April 8, 2000
Format: Hardcover
For most of us the very word "Atlantis" conjures up the image of an ultra futuristic civilization fated to destroy itself and sink into the ocean. Sort of the Hollywood version. Certainly it is this version that inspires so many New Age thinkers to look for its remains throughout the world. A geologist would tell them that continents can't sink; they can be transgressed (by elevated sea levels) or depressed (by glaciers) but the density gradients among continental granites, oceanic basalts and the materials of the mantal prevent continents from sinking. For the historian working with Plato's tale, it represents a mystery. Mr. Castleden has followed the leads in this mystery and ultimately identified the island of Thera, modern Santorini, as the most likely candidate for the original inspiration for Plato's tale. Sometime during the 1500s BC (or according to others the 1700s BC) the volcano on this island is known to have collapsed causing an eruption that has been estimated by some to have been 100 times more violent than that on Krakatoa during the 19th Century AD. The civilization that was buried when much of the island was destroyed was quite advanced for the time. Although much of the data Castleden has amassed supports this identification, his ultimate thesis is that the story was reworked by Plato for his own purposes. Though it may have been a tale known to him from other sources, it became in Plato's hands, a parable. Castleden believes that Atlantis became a paradigm for the cities of Sicily and Athens during Plato's time. The book is an interesting and thorough treatment of the subject but can be tough going at times. I put it down several times before I really got into it enough to finish it--and kept checking to see how many pages were left to go!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John D. Croft on November 11, 2008
Format: Kindle Edition
Rodney Castleden's book is one of the best on the market. Unlike so many others which take Platoe's account at face value, Castleden analyses Plato's motives for writing the story. He places its authorship in Sicily, at the time of the Sicilian-Carthaginian wars, and shows how the legendary story of Atlantis versus Athens is paralleled by the contemporary story of Carthage versus Syracuse. He further shows how a number of elements came together in the tale, including the loss of an Athenian garrison as a result of tidal waves just prior to his period during the Peloponnesian War. Finally he shows how the possibility of mistranscription of hieratic Egyptian number systems could have inflated the numbers used by Plato by a factor of 10.

My critique is that he does not go far enough at looking at the Egyptian point of view. The world encircling ocean, thought by the Greeks to the Oceanus (and equated with the Atlantic), was for the Egyptians the Mediterranean "Great Green". For them, an island bigger than Asia and Lybia would have been the European continent, of whom the ancient Egyptians were ignorant, as they believed Europe was really a chain of islands stretching from Asia to Africa (Cyprus, Crete, the Peloponnese, Southern Italy, Sicily, Corsica and Sardinia), who were the area from which came the "Peoples of the Sea", who did attack Egypt, unifying all of the peoples from the Etruscans and Libyans, and who were repelled from Athens of the Late Mycenaean time. This view would suggest that the Atlantis story was based upon an Egyptian original, possibly a version of the Harris Manuscript preserved in Sais. Pity that Castleden did not take this next step.

Otherwise well done.
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