- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Gramercy; New edition edition (June 23, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0517181614
- ISBN-13: 978-0517181614
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,516,689 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The History of Atlantis Hardcover – June 23, 1996
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It's kind of like explaining what a person's life was like a hundred years ago after sifting through his leftover belongings. Sure, it's possible, but you're not going to get every detail right unless you're an amazing psychic--so take the information with a grain of salt.
What I like most about this book is that it led me to other sources I could access to learn more about the possibility of an Atlantis. For instance, before I read this book, I had no idea that corn and bananas could be used to support a former land mass in the Atlantic. Yes, the origin of corn is mysterious, and its use across the globe is best explained when one considers something like a seafaring race of Atlanteans in the Atlantic. Interesting, eh?
After Reading this book, the former reality of Atlantis becomes evidente.
Like Donnelly before him, Spence locates the "Lost Island" in the only place Plato's account permits - the Atlantic Ocean; and like his predecessor, he takes Plato's reference to an "opposite continent" which the Atlanteans visited, as a reference to the Americas. He therefore endeavours to identify cultural parallels on both sides of the Ocean that could be attributable to these ancient seafarers.
The problem for Spence, as for Donnelly, is that he takes seriously the statement of Plato that Atlantis had been destroyed 9,000 years prior to Solon. We know, of course, that no high civilizations existed at that remote time, nor were men practicing mummification of worshipping dragons on either side of the Atlantic. Spence identifies an "Atlantic cultural complex" with features common to both sides of the ocean, such as tattooing, the cult of the dead, mummification, witchcraft, and the cult of the thunder axe. Yet these, like pyramid-building, can scarcely be as old as eleven thousand years (with the possible exception of witchcraft). Sensing the problem, Spence moves part of the way to its solution, and argues that "part" of Atlantis - namely a landmass around the West Indies which he names Antillia - remained above the Ocean until the Bronze Age - ie until about 1500 BC.
This was a radical departure from Donnelly's position and an important step in the right direction. Yet he should have gone the whole way and realised that the entire Atlantis story and culture belonged to the Neolithic and Early Bronze Ages. Aside from the ridiculous date supplied by Plato, there is no reason whatsoever to date Atlantis to the tenth millennium BC. On the contrary, everything about the culture described in the Timaeus and Critias identifies it as a Bronze Age society. The Egyptian priests who mentioned nine thousand years to Solon were only displaying their complete ignorance of chronology. A hundred years after Solon another group of priests told Herodotus that Egyptian civilization was ten thousand years old!
The transatlantic links were real enough, as the discovery of Old World DNA - the X haplogroup - in Native American populations has now made perfectly clear: And this has been reinforced by the discovery of cocaine and tobacco - two American narcotics - in Egyptian mummies. But the link was terminated during the great natural catastrophes which struck the world at the end of the Early Bronze Age. These inundated settlements and monuments all around the shores of Europe. Neolithic and Early Bronze Age villages, as well as sunken forests, are still regularly located around the coasts of Britain, Spain, and Denmark. The lands around the Mid-Atlantic Ridge - especially around the Azores - were devastated by these events, and sunken beaches, many hundreds of meters down, are still regularly located off the Azores by Oceanographic surveys.
It was at the end of the Early Bronze Age - before the widespread use of the wheel, glass, stringed instruments, etc - that the transataltic connection was severed. The civilizations of the New World then remained, fossilized, in the Early Bronze Age, where they still were when the Spaniards arrived in the sixteenth century.
Yet the peoples of the Atlas region, who still called themselves "Atlanteans" in the time of Julius Caesar, still retained many New World customs, such as wearing feathered headdresses, tattooing, and the use of narcotic drugs for religious purposes, as I have shown in detail in various places.