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Atlantis Destroyed

Atlantis Destroyed

Hardback

By (author) Rodney Castleden

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  • Publisher: ROUTLEDGE
  • Format: Hardback | 240 pages
  • Dimensions: 162mm x 234mm x 24mm | 599g
  • Publication date: 1 June 1998
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0415165393
  • ISBN 13: 9780415165396
  • Edition statement: New.
  • Illustrations note: 19 maps, 50 line figures, 30 b&w photographs

Product description

Plato's legend of Atlantis has become notorious among scholars as the absurdest lie in literature. Atlantis Destroyed explores the possibility that the account given by Plato is historically true. Rodney Castleden first considers the location of Atlantis re-examining two suggestions put forward in the early twentieth century; Minoan Crete and Minoan Thera. He outlines the latest research findings on Knossos and Bronze Age Thera, discussing the material culture, trade empire and agricultural system, writing and wall paintings, art, religion and society of the Minoan civilization. Castleden demonstrates the many parallels between Plato's narrative and the Minoan Civilization in the Aegean. Fired by the imagination a new vision of Atlantis has arisen over the last one hundred and fifty years as a lost utopia. Rodney Castleden discusses why this picture arose and xplains how it has become confused with Plato's genuine account.

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Author information

Rodney Castleden has been actively involved in research on landscape processes and prehistory for the last twenty-five years. He is the author of The Making of Stonehenge, The Knossos Labyrinth and Minoans.

Review quote

"Castleden's book offers a thorough and attractively illustrated discussion of Thera in particular and Minoan culture in general...."-Religious Studies Review, April 2001 "A fine synthesis of Atlantis-related research, with a good number of intelligent, provoking speculations and an insightful consider of Plato's myth-making talents.."-Kirkus Reviews

Editorial 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 story - geographically, geologically, in references to commerce - that 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 Them (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 dark - suggesting understandable mistranslations by the Egyptians, say - it is never far-fetched. Castleden's pseudoscholarly tone - the book often reads like a script for Robert Stack's Unsolved Mysteries - can 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. (Kirkus Reviews)