Plato is alleged to have embodied the Athens as part of the story of Atlantis to show their greatest and noblest action. This allegation is supported by the expressions contained in the Timaeus and Critias as shown below.
From the Timaeus Section 24e: “… your state stayed the course of a mighty host, which, starting from a distant point in the Atlantic ocean …”
From the Critias Section 108e: “… the war which was said to have taken place between those who dwelt outside the Pillars of Heracles and all who dwelt within them …”
From the Timaeus Section 25a: “… for this sea which is within the Straits of Heracles is only a harbor, having a narrow entrance, but that other is a real sea, and the surrounding land may be most truly called a boundless continent.”
The positions of Atlantis and the Athens are geographically described as follows.
The state of Atlantis is located at a distant point in the Atlantic Ocean. As discussed previously, the ancient Greek understanding on the Atlantic Ocean was the ocean surrounding the whole Earth, which are now arbitrarily divided into the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans.
The Atlantis and the Athens were bordered by Pillars of Heracles which among others were placed in a strait called the Strait of Heracles.
The city of Atlantis was within the Strait of Heracles, where there was a harbor with a narrow entrance and in a sea surrounded by a boundless continent. This means that the city of the Athens was at the outside of the strait and the sea.
These geographic descriptions are not applicable to the existence of Atlantis around the Mediterranean due to the fact that the city of the Athens in Greece is located on the side of the Mediterranean Sea and inside both the Strait of Sicily and the Strait of Gibraltar. Placing Atlantis at the opposite side of one of these straits is not consistent with the statement that the city of Atlantis was located inside a strait and in a sea surrounded by a boundless continent. The statement that the state of Atlantis was located at a distant point in the Atlantic Ocean by itself put the city of the Athens at a distant location as well since both regions were close together as told in the story, therefore they were not located around the Mediterranean.
The allegation that Plato had embodied the Athens as part of the story is further supported by the following expressions.
From the Timaeus Section 23e: “She founded your city [of the Athens] a thousand years before ours [Egypt] …”
From the Critias Sections 111b and 111c: “… but the earth [of the Athens] has fallen away all round and sunk out of sight … there are remaining only the bones of the wasted body, as they may be called, as in the case of small islands, all the richer and softer parts of the soil having fallen away, and the mere skeleton of the land being left.”
From the Critias Section 111d: “… not as now losing the water which flows off the bare earth into the sea …”
It is said that the Athens which formerly had a vast and fertile land, at the time of Solon had sunk all around and all that remains were small rocky parts, they may call the bones of the wasted body. What was meant by the land subsidence is due to the sea level rise during the Last Glacial period, so as if the land was fallen away. Only a few trees growing on the remains of the land and consists almost entirely of bare land so that rain water flows only just on it and then lost to the sea. These statements do not describe the conditions of the city of the Athens at the time of Solon and to this day is not so much different.
The statement that the city of the Athens had been established a thousand years before Egypt is also incompatible. Archaeological evidence suggests that Egyptian civilization is older than Greece. In addition, the city of the Athens is not proven to exist in 9,000 years before Solon, but only about 3,400 years ago.
Those Plato’s statements indicate that he had embodied the Athens as part of the story of Atlantis. The same thing he did to Egypt, Libya and Tyrrhenia. This is in order to support his ideology of an ideal state as in The Republic, related to the greatest and noblest action of the Ancient Athens and the defeat of aggressive Atlantis. The Atlantis in the story as told by Egyptian priests is probably ever really existed. However, the Athens, as well as the Egyptians, the Libyans and the Tyrrhenians, were probably primordial ethnic groups as their ancestors among the refugees and survivors prior the sea level rise, deluges and other catastrophes, then resettled on the present lands.
From the Timaeus Sections 23e and 24a: “She founded your city a thousand years before ours, receiving from the Earth and Hephaestus the seed of your race, and afterwards she founded ours, of which the constitution is recorded in our sacred registers to be eight thousand years old. As touching your citizens of nine thousand years ago, I will briefly inform you of their laws and of their most famous action …”
From the Critias Section 108e: “… nine thousand was the sum of years which had elapsed since the war which was said to have taken place between those who dwelt outside the Pillars of Heracles and all who dwelt within them …”
From the Critias Sections 111b and 111c: “Many great deluges have taken place during the nine thousand years, for that is the number of years which have elapsed since the time of which I am speaking; and during all this time and through so many changes, there has never been any considerable accumulation of the soil coming down from the mountains, as in other places, but the earth has fallen away all round and sunk out of sight.”
Based on the above narratives, the timeline of Atlantis story is made as below.
Sometimes before 10,000 years before Solon – the “Athens” was founded
Sometimes before 9,000 years before Solon – the “Egyptians” was founded
Shortly before 9,000 years before Solon – the regions from “Libya” as far as “Egypt” and “Europe” as far as “Tyrrhenia” were conquered by Atlantis
9,000 years before Solon – a war between Atlantis and the “Athens” took place
8,000 years before Solon – the Egyptians recorded their sacred registers
Between 9,000 years before Solon and Solon’s time – many great deluges and land subsidence took place
About 600 BC – the Egyptian priests told story about Atlantis to Solon
In Timaeus Section 24e Plato describes that the country of Atlantis was larger than Libya and Asia Minor put together, and was the way to other islands, and from these you might pass to the whole of the opposite continent which encompasses the true ocean.
Plato describes the Atlantis Plain plain was level, surrounded by mountains which descended towards the sea, smooth and even, rectangular and oblong shaped, three thousand stadia (about 555 kilometers) long, two thousand stadia (about 370 kilometers) wide, looked towards the south, sheltered from the north, surrounded by mountains celebrated for their number, size and beauty; and had wealthy villages of country folk, rivers, lakes, and meadows.
There were four kinds of channels: the circular (perimeter) ditch, the inland channels, the transverse passages and the irrigation streams. The perimeter ditch was artificial, 100 feet (about 30 meters) deep, 1 stadium (about 185 meters) wide, 10,000 stadia (about 1,850 kilometers) long, carried round the whole plain, received streams from the mountains, winding around the plain, meeting at the city and let off into the sea. The inland canals were straight, 100 feet (about 30 meters) wide, 100 stadia (about 18.5 kilometers) intervals, let off into the perimeter ditch and as means for transporting wood and products in ships. The transverse passages were cut from one inland canal into another. The irrigation streams tapping from the canals were meant to irrigate the land in the summer (dry season) while in the winter (rainy season) had the benefit of the rains.
Coral reefs are diverse underwater ecosystems held together by calcium carbonate structures secreted by corals. Coral reefs are built by colonies of tiny animals found in marine waters that contain few nutrients. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, which in turn consist of polyps that cluster in groups. The polyps belong to a group of animals known as Cnidaria, which also includes sea anemones and jellyfish. Unlike sea anemones, corals secrete hard carbonate exoskeletons which support and protect the coral polyps. Reefs grow best in warm, shallow, clear, sunny and agitated waters.
Coral reefs begin to form when free-swimming coral larvae attach to submerged hard surfaces. As the corals grow and expand, reefs take on one of three major characteristic structures – fringing, barrier or atoll. Fringing reefs, which are the most common, project directly from the hard surfaces, forming reefs and expand in horizontal and vertical directions. Barrier reefs also project, but at a greater distance. If a fringing reef forms around a rocky island that subsides completely below sea level while the coral continues to grow upward, an atoll forms.
The Sunda shelf was exposed during the Ice Age, the most recent glacial period occurring during the last years of the Pleistocene, from approximately 110,000 to 12,000 years ago. It was in the Sundaland that man first found the ideal climatic conditions for development, and it was there that he invented farming, structure building, seafaring and civilization from 70,000 years ago. People of these civilizations were dependent on water for their mobilizations, so coastal areas were the most suitable places to live and then communities were formed there. They used stones and woods to build houses and other buildings since these materials were abundant in the region.
The Ice Age waned during the period 14,000 – 7,000 years ago that accompanied by sea level rise – as much as 130 m. The costal communities then moved to adjust the changing coastlines and remnants of their buildings were left sank under the sea. Finding the most suitable places to grow, coral reefs were formed on these buildings.
Based on the data of coral reefs and bathymetric maps, the author identifies the probable sites and ages of the ancient civilizations, as shown on the attached map. Note that not all of the coral reef sites were ancient civilizations because coral reefs could form on natural hard surfaces as well.
According to Plato’s narrative, Atlantis ended at around 11,600 years ago. Based on the above study, the location of the capital city of Atlantis is expected at one of the very ancient civilization sites shown on the map. Plato also wrote that the capital city of Atlantis at Solon’s time had been covered by a coral reef so it was not navigable.
The author conjectures the origins of post-deluge civilizations of Atlantis as shown on the figure below. What did they bring?
Conjecture of origins of post-deluge civilizations
1. Civilization – As written by many authors, humanity was first flourished in Sundaland where ideal climatic conditions for development were found, and it was there that they invented farming, agriculture, trading and civilization.
2. Language – Scholastic belief by etymologists and linguists are positive that all world languages sprang from a common source. Paleo-Sanskrit is one of the theories that it is the ancestor of Sanskrit, Indo-Iranian, Indo-European, Mesoamerican, Sino-Tibetan, Austronesian and all other languages of the world.
3. Myths and doctrines – All the gods and goddesses of various world religions are parallel. Similar myths of great floods, creation and heaven are found all over the world. Brahma, Abram, Avram, Abraham and Ibrahim are believed by some as the same person.
4. Pyramid building – There are hundreds of pyramids still standing all over the world. Cultures separated by oceans, who supposedly never discovered each other’s existence, built these giant triangular structures, aligned them to cardinal directions, encoded within them sacred geometry/math, and used them as sepultures. The Gunung Padang pyramid in West Java, Indonesia dated 23,000 BC or earlier is claimed to be the earliest one.
5. Boat and ship building – Boat and ship have been the instrumental in the development of civilization, affording humanity greater mobility than travel over land, whether for trade, transport or warfare, and the capacity for fishing. Similarities among boat and ship building technology in the Austronesian and other parts of the world were observed. The earliest seaworthy boats may have been developed as early as 40,000 years ago, according to one hypothesis explaining the habitation of Melanesia and Australia.
From Plato’s Timaeus Sections 25c and 25d: “But afterwards there occurred violent earthquakes and floods; and in a single day and night of misfortune all your warlike men in a body sank into the earth, and the island of Atlantis in like manner disappeared in the depths of the sea.”
From Plato’s Critias Section 108e: “and when afterwards sunk by an earthquake, became an impassable barrier of mud to voyagers sailing from hence to any part of the ocean.”
In Timaeus, Plato mentioned that the island of Atlantis was beset by an earthquake and a flood, and sank into a muddy sea. Plato did not recognize “tsunami” so he equated it to “flood”. The Greek historian Thucydides suggested in his late-5th century BC History of the Peloponnesian War, that tsunamis were related to submarine earthquakes, but the understanding of a tsunami’s nature remained slim until the 20th century and much remains unknown.
A tsunami, also known as a seismic sea wave, is a series of water waves caused by the displacement of a large volume of a body of water, generally an ocean or a large lake. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and other underwater explosions, landslides, glacier calvings, meteorite impacts and other disturbances above or below water all have the potential to generate a tsunami. Tsunami waves do not resemble normal sea waves, because their wavelength is far longer. Rather than appearing as breaking waves, tsunamis may instead initially resemble rapidly rising tides, and for this reason they are often referred to as tidal waves.
The Banda Arc, a west facing horse-shoe shaped arc in eastern Indonesia situated west of Papua and in the easternmost extension of the Sunda subduction zone system, defines the locus of three converging and colliding major plates, the Indo-Australian Plate, the Pacific Plate and the Eurasian Plate, and reveals a characteristic bowl-shaped geometry in seismic tomographic images. Splinters of the Mesozoic southern Tethyan crust now form the base of the Banda Sea. On the surrounding islands, dismembered ophiolites can be found in high mountains. Recent studies in the metamorphic aureoles at the base of these ophiolites have revealed a new alternative for the explanation of the complex tectonic development of the arc, ie by invoking obduction as being the major mechanism in the emplacement of southern Tethyan crust onto the passive Australian continental margin.
The Banda Sea encircled by the Banda Arc occupies the main portion of the Banda Sea Plate. Frequent and significant earthquakes, tsunamis and volcano eruptions took place in one of the most complex tectonic regions on Earth, in the general framework of the triple collision of continental Australia plate, oceanic Pacific plates and the southernmost tip of the Eurasian plate, called ‘Sundaland’. The region is composed of a large number of geological provinces. In particular, the eastern termination of the Banda Sea features a number of strongly curved, concentric tectonic provinces.
The USGS records of the largest earthquakes in the world since 1900 show that the earthquake in Banda Sea on February 1, 1938 with a magnitude of 8.5 is among them. Another at least 10 occurrences of large earthquakes in this region between 17th and 20th centuries are also known (Wichmann, 1918, 1923; Harris and Major, 2012). The NOAA records of the world’s deadliest tsunamis from 1650 BC to 2010 AD cited from the National Geophysical Data Center show that 3 occurrences of deadliest tsunamis in the region are among them: in 1674, 1899 and 1992. Unfortunately, no investigation of deposits of ancient tsunamis is carried out in the region. Mount Tambora eruption in 1815 was the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history, caused global climate anomalies that included the phenomenon known as “volcanic winter”: 1816 became known as the “year without a summer” because of the effect on North American and European weather. Crops failed and livestock died in much of the Northern Hemisphere, resulting in the worst famine of the 19th century.
Locations for recorded historical tsunamis. Year of occurrence is indicated for some events. Yellow markers indicate non-seismic or unknown sources, red markers indicate seismic sources. Large stars display magnitudes M ≥ 8.5, small stars 8.5 > M ≥ 8.0, squares 8.0 > M ≥ 7.5, circles M < 7.5, an asterisk means that no magnitude is reported. Upward-pointing triangles indicate volcanoes or combinations of volcanoes and other sources, and downward-pointing triangles indicate landslides or combined landslides/earthquakes. Diamonds indicate unknown sources.
Dynamics of Tsunami
Tsunamis, like the ordinary wind waves, can undergo shoaling, refraction, reflection and diffraction. Most tsunami generated by large earthquakes travel in wave trains containing several large waves. In some cases, the waves in a tsunami wave train consist of an initial peak that then tapers off in height exponentially over 4 to 6 times. In other cases, the tsunami wave train consists of a maximum wave peak well back in the wave sequence.
The time it takes for a pair of wave crests to pass by a point is termed the wave period. This is a crucial parameter in defining the nature of any wave. Tsunamis typically have periods of 100 – 2,000 seconds (1.6 – 33 minutes), referred to as the tsunami window. Waves with this period travel at speeds of 600 – 900 km/hr (166 – 250 m/s) in the deepest part of the ocean, 100 – 300 km/hr (28 – 83 m/s) across the continental shelf, and 36 km/hr (10 m/s) at shore (Iida and Iwasaki, 1983). Because of the finite depth of the ocean and the mechanics of wave generation by earthquakes, a tsunami’s wavelength – the distance between successive wave crests – lies between 10 and 500 kilometers. These long wavelengths make tsunami profoundly different from swell or storm waves.
The simplest form of ocean waves is sinusoidal in shape and oscillatory. Oscillatory waves are described for convenience by three parameters: their height (H), their wavelength (L), and their water depth (d). In deep water, the most significant factor is the ratio H/L, or wave steepness. In shallow water it is the ratio H/d, or relative height. For local tsunamis propagation in water depths greater than 50 meters, these ratios are much less than one. This implies that wave height relative to wavelength is very low – a feature characterizing tsunami in the open ocean.
Shallow water begins when the depth of water (d) is less than half the wavelength (L). As oceans are rarely more than 5 kilometers deep, the majority of tsunamis travel as shallow-water waves. In this case, the velocity of the wave is C = (gd)0.5 and the wave length is L = CT; where g = gravitational acceleration (~9.8 m/s2) and T = wave period. The latter equation holds for linear, sinusoidal waves and is not appropriate for calculating the wavelength of a tsunami as it moves into shallow water. Linear theory can be used as a first approximation to calculate changes in tsunami wave height as the wave moves across an ocean and undergoes wave shoaling and refraction. The following formulae apply: Hi = KrKsHo, Kr = (bo/bi)0.5 and Ks = (do/di)0.25; where Kr = refraction coefficient, Ks = shoaling coefficient, b = distance between wave orthogonals and d = water depth. Subscripts o and i denote at a source point and at any shoreward point, respectively. For a tsunami wave traveling from a distant source, the wave path or ray must also be corrected for geometrical spreading.
Tsunami are known for their dramatic run-up heights, which commonly are greater than the height of the tsunami approaching shore by a factor of 2 or more times. Tsunamis, having long periods of 100 – 2,000 seconds, can also be excited or amplified in height within harbors and bays if their period approximates some harmonic of the natural frequency of the basin – termed resonance. Here tsunami can oscillate back and forth for 24 hours or more. The oscillations are termed seiches. Seiches are independent of the forcing mechanism and are related simply to the 3-dimensional form of the bay. For a closed basin, Ts = 2Lb(gd)-0.5 and for an open basin, Ts = 4Lb(gd)-0.5; where Lb = length of a basin and Ts = wave period of seiching in a bay.
Say, there was an earthquake in the Flores Sea or Makassar Strait in Atlantis era causing an initial wave of 10 meter high. The sea depth was about 1,000 meters. The wave velocity was then C = (9.8 × 1,000)0.5 ≈ 100 m/s (360 km/hr). With an average Java Sea depth of 10 meters (in the era of Atlantis), assuming Kr = (1/4)0.5 ≈ 0.5 and Ks = (1,000/10)0.25 ≈ 3.2, by a simple calculation, the wave height was Hi = 0.5 × 3.2 × 10 ≈ 16 meters in the ancient Java Sea. Approaching the shoreline with a depth of 2 meters (assuming Kr = 1 and Ks = (10/2)0.25 ≈ 1.5), the wave height was Hi = 1 × 1.5 × 16 ≈ 24 meters and the run-up could be twice. It was really a destructive wave and penetrated inland on a very flat plain. In fact, the recorded run-up of 1674 AD Banda Sea tsunami was much larger, 80 – 100 meters high on Ambon Island. Thus, we could speculate that the destruction of Atlantis was among others caused by a tsunami. It was due to the tsunami waves traveling in shallow water (ancient Java Sea) and penetrated inland on a very flat plain. The Meltwater Pulse 1A was probably also contributed the occurrence of earthquakes and tsunamis due to speedy increase of water burden on the Banda Sea Plate.
In Atlantis era, the Java Sea was forming a gulf with a rather narrow entrance and due to the many islands in it resonances and seiches might also occur, causing the wave became much higher and prolonged, and then aggravated its destructive nature.
The following list shows a summary of the converging evidence of the existence of Atlantis in Sundaland made by the author. Some other less important evidence are not included. The quoted terms, wherever possible, are the English translation of the terms taken from the Plato’s account, either in Greek or terms not found in Greek. Phrases in parenthesis are interpretations by the author.
There are at least 60 evidence in consilience. Consilience or convergence of evidence or concordance of evidence in science and history is the principle that evidence from independent, unrelated sources can “converge” on strong conclusions. That is, when multiple sources of evidence are in agreement, the conclusion can be very strong even when none of the individual sources of evidence is significantly so on its own.
These evidence are the “potsherds” in the verification of a theory using a Potsherd Model, where, the more “sherds” collected, reassembling them can give clearer representation of the “pot”. In this case, the reassembled “pot” from the “sherds” (evidence) is then compared to the descriptions by Plato (the “reference pot”) to prove the theory. It now appears from the list that the “pot” is almost fully reassembled and representative to the “reference pot”.
1. At a distant point in the “Atlantic Ocean” (ancient Greek understanding) (Timaeus: 24e)
What we call now by the name of “Atlantic Ocean” is not the same as that of the ancients. Herodotus, Aristotle, Plato, Strabo and several other ancient authors are very specific on the fact that the “Atlantic Ocean” was the whole of the coterminous “earth-encircling ocean”, which we now arbitrarily divide into Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans.
The phrase “at a distant point in the Atlantic Ocean” implies that Atlantis was far away in the ocean in what we know today the eastern Indian Ocean or the Pacific Ocean.
The state of Atlantis is located at a distant point in the Atlantic Ocean, by itself put the city of the Athens at a distant location as well since both regions were close together as told in the story.
The Atlantis and the “Athens” were bordered by Monuments of Heracles which among others were placed in a strait called the Strait of Heracles. The city of Atlantis was within the strait, meaning that the city of the “Athens” was outside of the strait and the sea. These geographic descriptions are not compatible to the existence of Atlantis around the Mediterranean Sea.
The statements that “the ‘Athens’ which formerly had a vast and fertile land, at the time of Solon had sunk all around and all that remains were small rocky parts, and only a few trees growing and consists almost entirely of bare land so that rain water flows only just on it and then lost to the sea”, do not describe the conditions of the city of Athen at the time of Solon.
The statement that “the city of the Athens’ had been established a thousand years before Egypt” is also incompatible.
4. Larger than “Libya” and “Asia” (Asia Minor) combined (ancient Greek understanding) (Timaeus: 24e – Critias: 108e)
5. The landscape of the whole country, at the region on the side of the ocean, was very lofty and precipitous. (Critias: 118a)
The sea level at the time of Atlantis, about 11,600 years ago, was approximately 60 meters below the present-day sea level.
The Plato’s expression that “Atlantis was the way to other islands, and from there might pass to the opposite continent which encompasses the true ocean” precisely points to Sundaland. Traveling further from there, one may reach some islands like Nusatenggara, Sulawesi, Maluku, Mindanao and Luzon, and may pass the opposite continent, ie the large “Sahul Continent” combining Australia, Papua and the land connecting them.
“The land of Atlantis is larger than Libya and Asia Minor” also precisely affirms its size. The expression that “the region on the side of the ocean was said to be very lofty and precipitous” further confirms the Sundaland location of Atlantis. The expression “inside a strait and in a sea encircled by a boundless continent” confirms its capital location.
It is said that Atlantis had “sun in the above”, “benefit of the annual rainfall”, “abundance of water”, “excellently attempered climate” and “summer and winter seasons”. These are strongly characterize a tropical climate. “Summer” and “winter” refer to the “dry” and “wet” seasons, which were non existence words in the ancient Greece.
9. Fertile, best soil for carpenter, agriculture and farming
(Critias: 111e, 113c)
10. Abundant of food supply for every animal, wild or tame, to sustain a civilization and to create an army (about 20 million people)
(Critias: 111e, 118b, 118e, 119a)
11. Vast diversity of flora and fauna
(Critias: 114e, 115a, 115b)
Atlantis had “full of rich earth”, “abundance of wood”, “cultivation by true farmers”, “noble nature”, “best soil in the world”, “abundance of animals”, “coconuts”, “spice products” and “two harvests each year”. These are the true natural characteristics of the region in Sundaland. The abundance of food and wood was needed to sustain more than twenty million population, to create more than a million soldiers and to build more than two hundred ships, which was not possible in the other parts of the world during the era.
Plato also mentions that “there was provision for all other sorts of animals, both for those which live in lakes and marshes and rivers, and also for those which live in mountains and on plains, so there was for the animal which is the largest and most voracious of all.” Large species such as tiger, rhinoceros, orangutan, elephant and leopard exist in the region, which are among almost a thousand mammal species inhabiting this region. Besides those, there are almost a thousand of bird species and more than a thousand of fish species.
12. Elephant, horse, “bull” and dolphin
(Critias: 114e, 116e, 117c to 117e, 119b, 119d to 120a)
Two of the four sub species of Asian elephants are found in Indonesia and Malaysia. The Sumatran elephant is found on the island of Sumatra, and the Kalimantan elephant on the island of Kalimantan. The now extinct Javan elephant those once inhabited Java are identical to the Kalimantan elephant.
The different breeds of native Indonesian horses are slender, but still strong and sturdy, so they deserve to be called ponies than horses. The ponies have continually been infused with additional bloods, mostly Arabian to improve their quality, so that it can be expected that the indigenous breeds were slenderer and shorter than what we can see now.
Indigenous Southeast Asian bulls are known as “banteng”. They have been domesticated in several places, used as working animals and for their meat.
What is meant by Plato for “bulls” could probably the water buffaloes, native to Southeast Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. Common people generally could not distinguish between “bull” and “water buffalo”. Plato does not recognize “water buffalo” but beast resembling the “bull” because the animals were not found in the ancient Greece and its surroundings.
Most species of dolphins live in shallow areas of tropical and warmer waters, thus constitute the ideal conditions for the seas after the drowning of Sundaland, such as the Java and South China Seas.
13. “Fruits” having a hard rind, affording drinks and meats and ointments
14. “Fruits” which spoil with keeping, consoled after dinner
15. Roots, herbage, woods and essences distilled from “fruit” and flower
16. Cultivated “fruit”, dried, for nourishment and any other, used for food – common name ‘pulse’ (grain)
17. “Chestnuts and the like, which furnish pleasure and amusement
18. All of them were wondrous and in infinite abundance.
Plato mentions that there were “fruits having a hard rind, affording drinks, meats and ointments” in Atlantis. Those fruits are no other than coconuts.
Coconut has a long and respected history among cultures in the regions of Southeast Asia, South Asia and the Pacific. DNA analysis reveals that coconuts were first cultivated in island Southeast Asia, meaning the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia, and perhaps the continent as well.
Coconuts were introduced to the Indian Ocean a couple of thousand years ago by ancient Austronesians establishing trade routes connecting Southeast Asia to Madagascar and coastal east Africa. Coconut genetics also preserve a record of prehistoric trade routes and of the colonization of the Americas.
Plato mentions that there were “fruits which spoil with keeping, with which we console ourselves after dinner” in Atlantis. This could be a traditional fermented food eaten as a dessert, locally known as “tapai”.
“Tapai” is indigenous and popular throughout Southeast Asia. It is a sweet or sour alcoholic paste and can be used directly as a food or in traditional recipes.
“Tapai” can be made from a variety of carbohydrate sources, but typically from cassava, white rice or glutinous rice. Fermentation is performed by a variety of moulds by inoculating a carbohydrate source with the required microorganisms in a starter culture, locally known as “ragi”, and yeasts, along with bacteria. “Tapai” is also used to make alcoholic beverages locally known as “arak” or “brem”.
Plato mentions that “there were roots, or herbage, or woods, or essences which distil from fruit and flower.” This could be the herbal medicine made from natural materials, locally known as “jamu”, or mixtures of spices or seasoning, known as “bumbu”.
“There was ‘fruit’ which admits of cultivation, both the dry sort, which is given us for nourishment and any other which we use for food – we call them all by the common name ‘pulse’.” This could be the paddy or rice, which is the staple food of the region.
“There were chestnuts and the like, which furnish pleasure and amusement.” This could be coffee, which grows well in this region.
(Critias: 114e, 116c, 116d)
(Critias: 114e, 116c, 116d, 116e)
(Critias: 116b, 116c)
22. “Brass”/“bronze” (copper, tin and zinc)
(Critias: 116b, 116c)
23. “Orichalcum”, more precious mineral than anything except gold, flashing, red color
(Critias: 114e, 116c, 116d)
24. “Orichalcum” was dug out of the earth in many parts of the land.
Atlantis had abundance of minerals: gold, silver, copper, tin and “orichalcum”. These are also true natural characteristics of the region.
What is “orichalcum”? “Orichalcum” was unknown to Greek, being more precious in those days than anything except gold and “flashed” with the “red light”, or like fire.
The author identified “orichalcum” as the zircon as they have the same characteristics as the descriptions. The zircon products are really valuable second to gold; they have gemstone quality and are popular as diamond simulant. Zircon can be processed to bring out different colors, the red one is known as the “hyacinth”. When finished, its nature is sparkling like diamond that metals do not possess, which why Plato describes it with the words “flashed” and “light”, in particular. No known metal shines and flashed with the red color, or like fire, thus “orichalcum” is not a metal.
The expression that it was “dug out of the earth in many parts of the land” is true as it is abundant in the region of Kalimantan.
25. Immediately about and surrounding the city was a level plain.
26. The plain was smooth and even.
27. The plain was surrounded by mountains which descended towards the sea.
28. The plain looked towards the south, sheltered from the north.
29. The mountains surrounding the plain celebrated their number, size and beauty, with many wealthy villages of country folk, rivers, lakes and meadows.
30. Plenty of wood of various sorts on the plain – abundant for each and every kind of work.
Plato describes that there was “a level plain, smooth and even, descended towards the sea”, “surrounded by mountains celebrated for their number, size and beauty”, “looked towards the south and sheltered from the north” and “with wealthy villages of country folk, rivers, lakes, and meadows”.
There was a plain near the capital city of Atlantis matching the characteristics of the region in southern Kalimantan in which a part is now submerged under the Java Sea. The plain has slopes mostly less than 1% declining southward to the Java Sea and no visible mound on the whole plain. It is open on the south and sheltered by the Muller-Schwaner and Meratus Mountains at the north, mostly covered by primary forest, inhabited by enormous kinds of animals and as the home of tens of native Dayak tribes. It has high rainfall and warm temperature over the year, many large rivers and tributaries so that it is very fertile and rich of food and daily necessity resources.
31. The general shape of the plain was rectangular and oblong.
(Critias: 118a, 118c)
32. The plain was extending in one direction 3,000 stadia (± 555 km), across the center inland 2,000 stadia (± 370 km).
Plato explains that the plain was “rectangular and oblong in shape, 3,000 stadia or about 555 kilometers long and 2,000 stadia or about 370 kilometers wide”. The shape of the plain in the region of southern Kalimantan and the adjacent Java Sea is rectangular at the south and oblong at the north, almost exactly 555 kilometers long and 370 kilometers wide.
33. The perimeter ditch was incredible in size, unexpected that they were artificial.
34. The perimeter ditch was 100 ft (± 30 m) deep, 1 stadium (± 185 m) wide, 10,000 stadia (± 1,850 km) long.
35. The perimeter ditch received streams from the mountains.
36. The inland canals were straight, about 100 ft (± 30 m) wide, 100 stadia (± 18.5 km) intervals and let off into the perimeter ditch.
Concerning the waterways on the plain, Plato describes that “the perimeter canal was 100 feet or about 30 meters deep, 1 stadium or about 185 meters wide, 10,000 stadia or about 1,850 kilometers long, carried round the whole plain, received streams from the mountains, winding around the plain, meeting at the city and let off into the sea.” and “the inland canals were straight, 100 feet or about 30 meters wide, 100 stadia or about 18.5 kilometers intervals and let off into the perimeter canal.”
There were waterways on the plain matching the characteristics of the region. The rivers of Barito, Kapuas-Murung, Kahayan and Sebangau found in the region are identified as those canals. They are originated from the Muller-Schwaner and Meratus mountains. These rivers are about 600 to 800 meters wide and 8 meters deep in average.
Flooding and sedimentation of the rivers on a very flat plain over the past 11,600 years have changed their regimes. Interchanges of flows and orders among them might also occur. However, in general view their straightness and elongation are preserved until today, that are parallel to each other and in the north-south direction.
Calculating the conveying capacity, that is the area × the velocity, and assuming the same flow velocity because of the same gravitational energy slope, the cross section area of the flow, that is the width × the depth, as described by Plato is about 185 × 30 = 5,550 square meters. While the area today is amazingly almost precise, 700 in average × 8 = 5,600 square meters.
The average distance of these rivers is approximately 20 kilometers, also considered in close agreement to the figure of 18.5 kilometers by Plato.
37. Transverse passages were cut from one inland canal into another.
Looking at the maps we can see numerous existing transverse passages in the region, some of them were built or rehabilitated in recent times. The passage is known locally as “anjir”, a canal linking two rivers as part of the transportation network.
38. The inland canals and transverse passages were means for transporting wood and products in ships.
Most of the rivers in southern Kalimantan are navigable. These rivers and all their tributaries are a network of transportation system, become very important means for the people and has been the economic lifeblood because most of their economic activities are carried out through and in the rivers since the ancient time. Various types of forest, mining and agricultural products are transported to collection points or ports through the river network.
39. Irrigation streams were tapping from the canals.
40. The irrigation streams supplied water to the land in “summer” (dry) but rainfall in the “winter” (rainy) yielding two crops in a year.
Today’s practices of tidal swamp irrigation system in southern Kalimantan is traditionally known as the “anjir system” where primary canals called “anjir” or “antasan” were constructed connecting two tidal rivers, also used as navigation purposes. Inland canals were built to irrigate and drain the fields from and to the anjir: secondary canals called “handil” or “tatah” and tertiary canals called “saka”. During low tides, the canals drain the toxic water while during high tides fresh water enters the canals and conveyed to the fields. The system yields two rice crops in a year.
41. The island city was in a sea surrounded by a boundless continent, the other is a real ocean.
42. The city was in front of a strait.
(Timaeus: 24e, 25a)
43. There were some islands in the sea.
(Timaeus: 24e – Critias: 114c)
Plato says that “the capital island where there was a city with a citadel and rings of water was in a real sea inside a strait surrounded by a boundless continent.” The boundless continent is the Sundaland attached to the Asian Continent, and the only sea surrounded by it in those days was the ancient Java Sea, suggesting that the capital island and city are located in the Java Sea.
44. Immediately about and surrounding the city was a level plain and all the canals met at the city and drained into the sea.
(Critias: 118a, 118d)
45. A small hill (the central island) and a vast level plain near the sea were accessible by ships, vessels and boats from the sea.
(Critias: 113c, 113e)
The statement that “the island was located near the plain and all the canals met at the city and drained into the sea”, suggesting that the island is located south of the plain, in a place now under the Java Sea.
The site is identified by the sailors as Gosong Gia or Annie Florence Reef, a coral reef described as small in extent and dries at low water.
The city of Atlantis was an island with a small hill near its center. The city and the island existed long enough for many kings to develop it. It had rings of water and a passage from the sea to the inner ring. They bridged over the zones of sea which surrounded the ancient metropolis. A stone wall began at the sea and went all round. They used orichalcum, tin and brass or bronze to cover the outer walls of their cities.
There was a hill, not too high, near the middle of the center island. At the top of the central hill, a temple was built to honor Poseidon, which housed a giant gold statue of him. They built the palace in the habitation of the god and of their ancestors, which they continued to ornament in successive generations.
The later docks had triremes and many naval supplies.
46. The sea at the Atlantis city “is now” (Solon’s time) impassable and impenetrable because of a “reef of clay/mud” (coral reef), caused by “subsidence” of the island (sea level rise).
47. The ruin of the city is now under the sea.
The phrase “for which reason the sea in those parts is impassable and impenetrable, because there is a reef of mud, or clay, in the way” confirms the location. Coral reef is scarce in the Mediterranean so that the Greeks and the Egyptians did not own the term, then Plato wrote it as “a reef of mud, or clay”.
Coral reefs grow best in warm, shallow, clear, sunny and agitated waters, and on hard, underwater surfaces, thus constitute the ideal conditions for the Java Sea. It is confirmed further by the phrase “caused by the subsidence of the island”, as the growth of the coral reef was caused by the sea level rise during the last glacial period.
The sea level kept rising until about 6,000 years ago. Corals grew on the solid structures. Along with sedimentation and other processes.
Today, there is an existing coral reef named Gosong Gia or Annie Florence Reef in the Java Sea. The top of the reef is about 10 meters below the average sea level, and the surrounding sea bed is about 55 meters below the average sea level. The city structures are still apparent from the patterns of the reefs. The depth of the sea here exactly coincides the land level about 11,600 years ago. However, further investigations are required to find out what are inside the coral reef.
48. The city was beyond bordering monuments, the (ancient) Greek called them “the Monuments of Heracles”.
(Timaeus: 24e, 25c – Critias: 108e, 114b)
Plato mentions that “the war was said to have taken place between those who dwelt outside the Monuments of Heracles and all who dwelt within them.” Heracles is a name borrowed from the Greek mythology.
What does the “Monuments of Heracles” really mean? The Egyptian priest told Solon about the territorial boundary between Atlantis and its opponent as “which are by you called the Monuments of Heracles” to describe a state entrance or boundary markers which were situated in a strait. The words “by you” could mean that the markers were commonly known by the Athenian but not necessarily what they referred to, or in other words “like the Monuments of Heracles”. As mentioned before, the Atlantean boundary is not compatible with the Mediterranean region. Moreover, Solon borrows Greek mythological terms in the story.
Classical Greek writers frequently refer to the monuments without being in anyway specific regarding their location. The poet Pindar would appear to have treated the monuments as a metaphor for the limit of established Greek geographical knowledge, a boundary that was never static. The monuments were, in earlier times, identified with the Strait of Sicily, but from the time of Erastosthenes, circa 250 BC, the metaphor was moved to refer to the Strait of Gibraltar, reflecting the expansion of the Greek maritime knowledge.
The author hypothesizes that the monuments are monuments built at places on state entrances or boundary line and could be anywhere at certain places along the boundary. The monument is locally known as “tugu”, which has been the tradition in Indonesia until now to mark the boundary or entrances of a region. The monuments are often decorated with gargoyle-like faces of the god Kala, which are ubiquitous in Java and Bali.
It will be discussed later that the god Kala is analogous with the Greek Heracles.
49. Hot and cold springs
(Critias: 113e, 117a)
50. White, black and red stones
(Critias: 116a, 116b)
51. Hollowed out rock for roofs of double docks
(Critias: 116a, 116b)
Bawean Island off in the Java Sea is a prototype of the island of Atlantis as it has the same environment, geological formation and tectonic processes, as well as they are closely situated. Bawean and Atlantis islands are both located on a geological arc identified by the geologists as Bawean Arc.
It is described that “they had springs, one of cold and another of hot water”. There are several hot and cold springs in the Bawean Island resulted from the tectonic activities in the region.
The descriptions “the stones were quarried from the center island and the zones, with white, black and red colors” and “they hollowed out double docks, having roofs formed out of the native rock” are also noticeable. The stones are apparently similar to the igneous rock deposited in the Bawean Island having the acidic white, alkaline black-grey and ferro-oxide red rocks. This igneous rock is hard and strong having enough natural strength to stand as roofs of the hollowed out double docks.
52. “Poseidon” (sea or water god, law founder, driving sea creatures, supreme god in earlier time)
(Critias: 113c to 113e, 116c, 116d, 117b, 119c, 119d)
The kingdom of Atlantis was founded by a god named Poseidon, borrowed from the Greek myth. The land was divided into ten portions given to his children. There was a holy temple dedicated to Poseidon and his wife, Cleito in the center of the citadel.
Poseidon is one of the twelve Olympian deities of the pantheon in the Greek mythology. His main domain is the ocean, so that he is called the “God of the Sea”, who rides on sea creatures that resemble horses. In the earliest works of the ancient Greek literature, Poseidon is more widely known than Zeus and was regarded as the supreme god, as mentioned in Linear B tablets from the pre-Olympians Greek Bronze Age. Homer in the Iliad calls him as the protector of the Hellenic cities.
Poseidon is analogous to Nethune in the Etruscan civilization, around the 1st century BC, which is also called the “God of the Sea”. In Latin language, the name was transformed into Neptune in the Roman mythology. Neptune is depicted as a god who drive sea creatures resembling dragon-tailed horses and armed with a trident, like Poseidon. This shows the strong influence of Greek mythology.
Plato explains that the ten kings were said to have the absolute control of the citizens, by the enforcement of the law regulated by the command of Poseidon which had handed it down.
The Greek Poseidon is analogous to god Baruna or Waruna in the Nusantara archipelago which given the title of the “Water God”, the ruler of the seas and oceans. In pre-dharmic mythology, Baruna was considered as the supreme god against the others and the first law founder of the world.
Baruna is depicted as riding a sea monster called Makara, in which on the front resembling a beast, with large teeth and tusks, and on the back in the form of a giant dragon’s tail, occasionally legged. In Indian mythology, the Makara is described as an inland creature in the front half, such as deer, crocodile or elephant, and an aquatic creature in the back half, such as fish or seal, or occasionally peacock’s tail or flower.
Of these things, the author concludes that Poseidon and Baruna are analogous, evidenced that both of them are the gods of the seas or oceans, became the first law founders, constituted the supreme gods in the early time, and drive mythological sea creatures.
Besides some other names, Kalimantan bore the name of Warunapura, means the land of the god Baruna. The old Javanese chronicle Nagarakretagama mentions an ancient state that was within the Majapahit spheres of influence called Baruné, later identified as Barunai, a kingdom of the modern Brunei. European sources further in the 16th century showed the name of the island as Burné by Antonio Pigafetta or Bornei by Duarte Barbosa. Chinese chronicles in the Song and Ming dynasties showed the name Boni. The Dutch and British colonials named the island as Borneo.
This is another conclusion that Kalimantan, or Borneo, which was once the island of the god Baruna, is analogous to the island of Poseidon, and related to the existence of Atlantis in the region.
53. “Heracles” (son of the supreme god, outrageous birth, has insatiable appetites and being very rude, brutal and violent)
(Timaeus: 24e, 25c – Critias: 108e, 114b)
Heracles, or Romanized as Hercules, is the son of the affair Zeus had with the mortal woman Alcmene. Zeus seduced and made love to Alcmene after disguising himself as her husband, Amphitryon, the king of Thebes. Zeus swore that the next son born of the Perseid house should become ruler of Greece, but by a trick of Zeus’s jealous wife, Hera, another child, the sickly Eurystheus, was born first and became king. When Heracles grew up, he had to serve him and also suffer the vengeful persecution of Hera. Besides these Hera induced frenzies, Heracles was a very brutal character.
The Greek Heracles is analogous to god Kala in the Nusantara archipelago. Kala is a god of the underworld in the ancient Javanese and Balinese mythology.
According to the Javanese legend, Kala is the son of Guru. Guru has a very beautiful wife named Uma. One day Guru, in a fit of uncontrolled lust, forced himself on Uma. They had sexual intercourse on top of his Andini, a divine cow. This behavior was ashamed Uma who then cursed Guru but Guru cursed back Uma so she appeared as a fearsome and ugly ogre. This fierce form of Uma is also known in Javanese mythology as Durgha. From this relationship, Kala was born with the appearance of an ogre.
Kala is described as having an insatiable appetite and being very rude. He was sent by the deva to Earth to punish humans for their evil habits. However, Kala was interested only in devouring humans to satisfy his appetite. Alarmed, the deva then recalled Kala from the Earth. He later became ruler of the underworld.
The analogy of Kala and Heracles is that each of them is the son of a supreme god, either Guru or Zeus. Their births were outrageous; Kala was born from an uncontrolled lust of Guru on Uma while Heracles was from a seduction of Zeus on Alcmene. They are having insatiable appetites and being very rude, brutal, and violent in their whole lives.
From the ancient until present day, gargoyle-like faces of Kala are often found at temple entrances, boundary monuments, welcome monuments, gates, doorway, niches, furniture, wall hangings and traditional musical instruments; ubiquitous in Java and Bali. Similar figures are also found at the Dayak houses.
As previously discussed, the boundary monuments decorated with the Kala faces are analogous to the Monuments of Heracles.
Apart from those, Zeus, the father or Heracles, and Guru, the father of Kala, are also analogous. Both of them were then appointed to the supreme gods replacing either Poseidon or Baruna.
Note also the analogy and phonetic similarities between the names, Kala and Kleos, Guru and Zeu, Uma with Alkmene, and Durgha with Hera.
54. “Bull” sacrifices
(Critias: 119d to 120c)
Plato describes that in every five or six years alternately, the kings of Atlantis gathered to discuss and make arrangements, topped off with plenty of “bulls” sacrifice.
Common people generally could not distinguish between “bull” and “water buffalo”. Plato does not recognize “water buffalo” but beast resembling the “bull” because the animals were not found in the ancient Greece and its surroundings.
Water buffalo, also called Asian buffalo or Asiatic buffalo, is a large bovine native to Southeast Asia and the Indian Subcontinent. Water buffalo is one of the animals of greatest economic and religious value used as a sacrificial victim in Southeast Asia, Indian sub-continent and southern China. In these monsoon regions of Asia, buffalos are offered in sacrifice to divinities or divine spirits, as the carrier of dead souls to the world beyond or of zoomorphic symbol of the ancestors.
A characteristic of Southeast Asian houses is the forked horn on the roof, which is considered to be a symbol of the buffalo, regarded throughout the region as a link between heaven and this world.
55. Temple or pyramid
(Critias: 116c, 116d, 116e, 117c, 119c)
The construction of stone pyramids was based on native belief that mountains and other high places are the abode of the spirits of the ancestors, or the most ideal pilgrimage places to worship them.
The simplest form of pyramid is the earth-and-stone step pyramids in which it is normally built on natural or manmade mounds, hills or hillsides. Usually there is a shrine and/or an altar at the top.
Austronesian megalithic culture in Nusantara features an earth and stone step pyramid structure, referred to as “punden berundak”. “Punden berundak” is regarded as one of the characteristics of the original culture of the archipelago. Pyramid structures have been found and spread throughout Southeast Asia, most of them are found in the island of Java.
The huge Borobudur temple is the largest Buddhist temple in the world, which allegedly built on the previous step pyramid. The Sukuh and Cetho temples in Central Java, where the dates are still debated, show the Austronesian indigenous earth-and-stone step pyramids that somewhat resemble Mesoamerican pyramids. Gunung Padang is the biggest and the oldest megalithic site in Southeast Asia dated circa 23,000 BC or older.
As the civilizations were developing, they built larger pyramids so that more stones were required. The majority of the weight are closer to the ground and material higher up on the pyramid will be pushing down from above. The stones could pose problems on the strength of the earth to hold the weight. Therefore, pyramids with heavier stone weight pushing on the earth fill are observed to have less earth fill or even without it.
Pyramids have been built by civilizations in many parts of the world. For thousands of years, the largest structures on Earth were pyramids. They spread from Egypt to America, that emerged separately from one another by oceans who supposedly never discovered each other’s existence. There are no firmly established connections between the different civilizations that built them, but their similarities show that they sprang from a common origin.
As said by Plato, the temple of Poseidon was built in the center island which was a hill, encircled by rings of waters. To reach the temple from the innermost ring of water, steps on the hill slope were definitely required. This could mean that the temple is featuring an earth-and-stone step pyramid structure, characterizes the original culture of Nusantara that is referred to as “punden berundak”. The temple was also the place to worship their ancestors.
Plato describes that the canals were means for transporting wood and products in ships. They brought down the wood from the mountains to the city, and conveyed the products of the earth in ships. The canal and the largest of the harbors were full of vessels and merchants coming from all parts. The docks were full of triremes and naval stores. They had a fleet of as many as 1200 ships.
Maritime activity is a typical Austronesian culture since the ancient time. The earliest known evidences are found as cave paintings dated back to 10,000 years or older, those are fully decorated by sailboat paintings. Long distance sailing technology in the region must have appeared much earlier, with the peopling of Australia through Southeast Asia some 40,000 years ago. Archaeologists have revealed ample evidence of the active maritime networks in the Southeast Asia region, that spread throughout all of insular Southeast Asia and most of the Pacific.
57. Advanced civilization in the era
(Timaeus: 24e, 25a)
Plato describes that Atlantis was a great and magnificent kingdom that had vast powers. Atlantis can be said to be an advanced civilization of its time, and had a variety of superior technologies compared to other countries.
Gunungpadang pyramid in Java is the oldest known structure of any kind on Earth. Dated to as early as 25,000 years ago, the pyramid would be proof of an advanced ancient civilization. The majority of the stepped site is man-made, built by generations over a matter of millennia.
The so many rock paintings depicting sailboats in Southeast Asia, dated to as early as 40,000 years ago, would also proof that such technology has been mastered from the early time. This technology had been inherited by the Austronesian people and the thalassocracies, or maritime kingdoms, such as Srivijaya and Majapahit. The Bugis and Makassar people from the island of Sulawesi are renowned for making a wooden sailing vessel called the “pinisi”.
The kingdoms in Southeast Asia developed an advanced stone mason architectural technology in building of temples. This includes the magnificent Borobudur, Prambanan, Angkor Wat and many other couple hundreds of temples.
In agriculture, the people in Southeast Asia are famous for paddy cultivation and techniques such as terracing. Local systems of complex irrigation and water management have been developed in the archipelago. An exceptional example is Subak, the irrigation system of Bali.
In food technology, due in part to the tropical climate teeming with various microbes, the people in Southeast Asia have developed traditional knowledge in fermentation techniques, which resulted in the development of fermented foods such as “tapai”, “tempeh”, “oncom”, and also beverages like “brem” and “tuak”.
58. Destructed 9,000 years before Solon (about 11,600 years ago)
(Timaeus: 23e – Critias: 108e, 111a)
Plato describes that Atlantis was a powerful and advanced kingdom that destructed, in a night and a day, 9,000 years before Solon, or about 11,600 years ago. This accurately coincided with the cataclysm at the end of the Younger Dryas period.
At the end of the Younger Dryas period, around 11,600 years ago, the weight of the ice shifted to the seas triggered cracks in the earth’s crust to move, that set off cataclysm. Earthquakes, volcano eruptions, super waves and floods engulfed the coastal cultures and all the flat continental shelves of Sundaland, and wiped out many populations. As the sea rolled in, there was a mass migration of the survivors from the sinking continent.
59. Earthquakes and “floods” from the sea (tsunami)
(Timaeus: 25c, 25d – Critias: 108e, 111a, 112a)
Plato mentioned that the island of Atlantis was beset, in a night and a day, by an earthquake and a flood. In some other his explanations, it is implied that the flood was coming from the sea, so the possibility is a tsunami. Plato did not recognize “tsunami” so he equated it to “flood”. Earthquakes and tsunamis are very often correlated.
Frequent and significant earthquakes, tsunamis and volcano eruptions took place in one of this most complex tectonic region on Earth. Tsunami are known for their dramatic run-up heights, can also be excited or amplified in height considerably in shallow waters and on flat plains, and can oscillate back and forth within harbors and bays.
We could speculate that the destruction of Atlantis was among others caused by a tsunami in this region. It was due to the tsunami waves traveling in shallow water, that was the ancient Java Sea, and penetrated inland on a very flat plain. The ancient Java Sea was forming a gulf, which could cause the wave became much higher and prolonged, and destructive.
Plato describes that the lands of Atlantis and “the Athens” were sunken ceaselessly afterwards. This is in line with the recent knowledge of post-glacial sea level rise. The sea level kept on rising until about 6,000 years ago, sinking the low lands as well as low plains in Sundaland.
The ruin of the Atlantis city and its story were buried forever under the sea. Then, it was remembered by the Egyptians who migrated from there, and wrote them on their sacred registers.
From Plato’s Timaeus Section 25d: “For which reason the sea in those parts is impassable and impenetrable, because there is a shoal of mud in the way; and this was caused by the subsidence of the island.”
“A shoal of mud” is the generally published translation of the Ancient Greek phrase “πηλοῦ κάρτα βραχέος” written by Plato. “κάρτα βραχέος” is not syntactically good and it is not found in any manuscript; “πηλός” is masculine and is the antecedent of the relative pronoun; “κατὰ βραχέος”, for its turn, is adverbial. The simple meanings of the words are: πηλοῦ for “clay” or “mud”, κάρτα for “very” and βραχέος for “shoal” or “reef”. Other alternative translation is “the clay that exists in large quantity there and of the small depth” (Lopes, 2011).
The author translated πηλοῦ κάρτα βραχέος into “coral reef” for the reason that this sea formation is scarce in the Mediterranean so that the Greeks and the Egyptians did not own the term. The Mediterranean no longer shelters the great coral reefs that thrived 60 million years ago. This is due to millennia of climactic and oceanographic changes. Today, there are only a few species of colonial anthozoans that have the capacity to create the coral reefs. In 2010, the exploration vessel Nautilus has discovered for the first time an area of reefs with deep-sea corals in the Mediterranean, offshore of Israel. This area apparently stretches over a few kilometers, 700 meters under the surface and some 30 – 40 km off the coast.
In the above Plato’s account, the citadel of Atlantis was impassable and impenetrable at the time of Solon (about 600 BC) because of the growth of a coral reef caused by sea level rise during the Ice Age (“subsidence of the island”). The present condition of the hypothesized site is that there is a coral reef identified by the sailors as Gosong Gia or Annie Florence Reef, a coral reef described as small in extent and dries at low water.
Coral reefs are diverse underwater ecosystems held together by calcium carbonate structures secreted by corals. Coral reefs are built by colonies of tiny animals found in marine waters that contain few nutrients. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, which in turn consist of polyps that cluster in groups. The polyps belong to a group of animals known as Cnidaria, which also includes sea anemones and jellyfish. Unlike sea anemones, corals secrete hard carbonate exoskeletons which support and protect the coral polyps. Reefs grow best in warm, shallow, clear, sunny and agitated waters.
Often called “rainforests of the sea”, shallow coral reefs form some of the most diverse ecosystems on Earth. They occupy less than 0.1% of the world’s ocean surface, about half the area of France, yet they provide a home for at least 25% of all marine species, including fish, molluscs, worms, crustaceans, echinoderms, sponges, tunicates and other cnidarians. Paradoxically, coral reefs flourish even though they are surrounded by ocean waters that provide few nutrients. They are most commonly found at shallow depths in tropical waters, but deep water and cold water corals also exist on smaller scales in other areas.
Coral reefs begin to form when free-swimming coral larvae attach to submerged rocks or other hard surfaces along the edges of islands or continents. As the corals grow and expand, reefs take on one of three major characteristic structures – fringing, barrier or atoll. Fringing reefs, which are the most common, project seaward directly from the shore, forming borders along the shoreline and surrounding islands. Barrier reefs also border shorelines, but at a greater distance. They are separated from their adjacent land mass by a lagoon of open, often deep water. If a fringing reef forms around a volcanic island that subsides completely below sea level while the coral continues to grow upward, an atoll forms. Atolls are usually circular or oval, with a central lagoon. Parts of the reef platform may emerge as one or more islands, and gaps in the reef provide access to the central lagoon (Lalli and Parsons, 1995; Levinton, 1995; Sumich, 1996 as cited by NOAA).
In addition to being some of the most beautiful and biologically diverse habitats in the ocean, barrier reefs and atolls also are some of the oldest. With growth rates of 0.3 to 2 centimeters per year for massive corals, and up to 10 centimeters per year for branching corals, it can take up to 10,000 years for a coral reef to form from a group of larvae (Barnes, 1987 as cited by NOAA). Depending on their size, barrier reefs and atolls can take from 100,000 to 30,000,000 years to fully form.
The citadel of Atlantis consisted of hard surfaces so that a coral reef began to form in a while after its submergence, grows and expands as commonly found at shallow depths in tropical waters. Any underwater explorations may not find the citadel unless they made investigations under the reef.
The rate of seawater rise in the Last Glacial Period is in average 0.6 centimeter per year. Because of the warm water at the hypothesized site, the growth rate of the coral reef is expectedly higher than the rate of seawater rise. Accordingly, the vertical growth rate of the coral reef at the site is parallel to the seawater rise.
The sea level kept rising until about 6,000 years ago. Corals grew on the solid structures, along with sedimentation and other processes. There is an existing coral reef named Gosong Gia or Annie Florence Reef at a site in the Java Sea believed to be the location of the capital city. From an unpublished sonar survey of the site by a sponsor team, the top of the reef and the surrounding sea bed are about 10 and 55 meters below the average sea level, respectively. The city structures such as the hill, the circular wall, the circular channel and the bridge are still apparent from the patterns of the corals with exactly the same dimensions as those described by Plato. The depth of the surrounding sea here exactly coincides the land level about 11,600 years ago before the sea level rise. However, further investigations are required to confirm.
Rodolfo Lopes, Platão, Timeu-Crítias. Tradução do grego, introdução e notas, Centro de Estudos Clássicos e Humanísticos, 2011
Plato said in Critias Section 115b: “… and the fruits having a hard rind, affording drinks and meats and ointments …”
Coconut (Cocos nucifera) provides a nutritious source of meat, juice, milk, and oil that has fed and nourished populations around the world for generations. On many islands coconut is a staple in the diet and provides the majority of the food eaten. Nearly one third of the world’s population depends on coconut to some degree for their food and their economy. Among these cultures the coconut has a long and respected history.
Coconut is highly nutritious and rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It is classified as a “functional food” because it provides many health benefits beyond its nutritional content. Coconut oil is of special interest because it possesses healing properties far beyond that of any other dietary oil and is extensively used in traditional medicine among Asian and Pacific populations. Pacific islanders consider coconut oil to be the cure for all illness. The coconut palm is so highly valued by them as both a source of food and medicine that it is called “the tree of life”. Only recently has modern medical science unlocked the secrets to coconut’s amazing healing powers.
Coconut oil is edible oil that has been consumed in tropical places for thousands of years. Studies done on native diets high in coconut oil consumption show that these populations are generally in good health, and don’t suffer as much from many of the modern diseases of western nations where coconut oil is seldom consumed anymore. Coconut oil is an excellent massage oil and smoothener for the skin. In the tropical parts of the world, natives commonly spread coconut oil on their skin, as they believe that it protects from the sun’s harmful rays. So this natural oil, without any chemical or additives, can protect the skin in some of the hottest and sunniest places on earth better than the processed and artificial sun creams.
The nutrient-rich coconut sap comes right out of the inflorescence of the tree is naturally abundant in 17 amino acids (the building blocks of protein), broad-spectrum B vitamins (especially rich in inositol, known for its effectiveness on depression, high cholesterol, inflammation, and diabetes), vitamin C, minerals (high in potassium, essential for electrolyte balance, regulating high blood pressure, and sugar metabolism), as well as FOS (fructooligosaccharide, a prebiotic that promotes digestive health). Coconut tree sap produces a multitude of delicious products, including coconut vinegar, coconut amino seasoning sauce, coconut nectar, coconut sugar and coconut alcoholic beverage, all made through raw methods of either aging the sap for up to 1 year, or evaporating it at low temperature after it is collected.
Coconut sugar is produced by tapping the sap from the tree and boiling it down to produce syrup, which is then sold as is, or allowed to crystallize into various shapes and sizes. Coconut sugar is known in different names, in Indonesia as gula merah or gula jawa (Javanese sugar), Myanmar as htanyet, Cambodia as skor tnot, the Philippines as pakaskas, Malaysia as gula anau, Laos and Thailand as nam tan pip and Vietnam as đường thốt nốt.
Coconut milk is a very popular food ingredient used in Southeast Asia, South Asia, Southern China and the Caribbean. Traditionally, coconut milk is acquired through the grating of a brown coconut, mixing the resulting substance with a small amount of water to dissolve the fat present in the grated meat. The squeezed coconut meat is then soaked in water and squeezed further to produce thin coconut milk. Thick milk is mainly used to make desserts as well as rich and dry sauces. Thin milk is used for soups and general cooking. Unlike cow’s milk, coconut milk is lactose free so can be used as a milk substitute by those with lactose intolerance. It is a popular choice with vegans and makes a great base for smoothies, milkshakes or as a dairy alternative in baking.
Coconut water is the watery liquid that usually comes from the young, still immature green coconut, although mature coconuts also have coconut water. Coconut water is high in many vitamins and minerals, especially potassium. Because it contains electrolytes, it is considered one of the best natural rehydrating drinks in the tropics. The still jelly-like coconut meat is often added to coconut water to make a tropical drink. Coconut water has received a great deal of attention for it’s perceived health benefits, and is an important treatment for acute diarrhoea in the developing world. Research suggests the clear liquid has the same electrolyte balance found in isotonic drinks, proving useful for rehydration or after long periods of intensive exercise.
Coconut vinegar is similar to other fermented vinegars such as apple cider and balsamic vinegars. It can either be made with coconut water or from the sap of the coconut tree, left in the open air to ferment, where it eventually turns into a vinegar. Coconut vinegar is a staple condiment in Southeast Asia, and is also used in some regions of India. Coconut vinegar is white and cloudy with a very pungent acidic taste and a hint of yeast. As with apple cider vinegar, coconut vinegar includes the “mother”, or culture of organisms that caused the fermentation. Coconut vinegar is a food appropriate for diabetic patients, as it is very low on the glycemic index, coming in at only 35 on the scale.
Indonesian and Malaysian tuak or lambanóg in the Philippines is a distilled alcoholic drink made from fermented sap of coconut flowers. The clear distillate may be blended, aged in wooden barrels, or repeatedly distilled and filtered depending upon the taste and color objectives of the manufacturer.
DNA analysis of more than 1,300 coconuts from around the world reveals that the coconut was brought under cultivation in two separate locations, one in the Pacific basin and the other in the Indian Ocean basin (Baudouin et al, 2008; Gunn et al, 2011). What’s more, coconut genetics also preserve a record of prehistoric trade routes and of the colonization of the Americas. In the Pacific, coconuts were likely first cultivated in island Southeast Asia, meaning the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, and perhaps the continent as well. In the Indian Ocean the likely center of cultivation was the southern periphery of India, including Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and the Laccadives. The Pacific coconuts were introduced to the Indian Ocean a couple of thousand years ago by ancient Austronesians establishing trade routes connecting Southeast Asia to Madagascar and coastal east Africa.
Luc Baudouin and Patricia Lebrun, Coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) DNA studies support the hypothesis of an ancient Austronesian migration from Southeast Asia to America, 2008. Springer Link, March 2009, Volume 56, Issue 2, pp 257-262.
Bee F. Gunn, Luc Baudouin and Kenneth M. Olsen, Independent Origins of Cultivated Coconut (Cocos nucifera L.) in the Old World Tropics, 2011. PLoS ONE 6(6): e21143. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0021143.
Jones TL, Storey AA, Matisoo-Smith EA and Ramirez-Aliaga JM, Polynesians in America: pre-Columbian contacts with the New World, 2011. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press.
Luc Baudouin, Bee F. Gunn and Kenneth M. Olsen, The presence of coconut in southern Panama in pre-Columbian times: clearing up the confusion, 2013. Annals of Botany: doi:10.1093/aob/mct244.
From Plato’s Critias Section 115b: “… and are fruits which spoil with keeping, with which we console ourselves after dinner …”
Tapai or tape made from cassava (left) and glutinous rice (right)
Tapai is a traditional fermented food as a dessert indigenous and popular throughout Southeast Asia. It is a sweet or sour alcoholic paste and can be used directly as a food or in traditional recipes. Tapai can be made from a variety of carbohydrate sources, but typically from cassava (Manihot esculenta), white rice (Oryza sativa) or glutinous rice (Oryza sativa glotinosa). Fermentation is performed by a variety of moulds by inoculating a carbohydrate source with the required microorganisms in a starter culture, locally known as ragi, including Aspergillus oryzae, Rhizopus oryzae, Amylomyces rouxii or Mucor species, and yeasts including Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Saccharomycopsis fibuliger, Endomycopsis burtonii and others, along with bacteria. Tapai is also used to make alcoholic beverages locally known as arak or brem.
Tapai is known in different names, in Indonesia as tape or tapai, Java as tapé, Sunda (western Java) as peuyeum, Malaysia and Brunei as tapai, Thailand as khao-mak, Cambodia as chao or tapai, and the Philippines as tapay or binuburang. Glutinous rice tapé ketan is a noted regale in Java during the idul fitri festival.