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Santorini Island
... according to what facts Santorini is Atlantis? PDF Print E-mail

The classical Atlantis story, the one where for first time the name Atlantis is used, is the one told by the Ancient Greek philosopher Plato in two of his dialogues, Kritias and Timaeus (427-347 BC).
He tells us in great detail the story of a high-standing, flourishing civilization with divine origins that lived on an island or a small continent outside the columns of  Hercules (mostly interpreted as the Straits of Gibraltar). The race of the Atlantians was strong and healthy, had all the virtues and lived in peace as long the portion of their divine nature still was strong. But with time it faded and was more and more diluted. "When the human nature got the upper hand" (Plato, Critias 121b), they became sinful and invaded by crimes. As a consequence, they were bound to loose their paradise. Towards the outer world, they started to fight wars and subjected other races to their cruel power. Only the Athenians, by virtue of their own military and moral power, were able to stop and defeat Atlantis from subduing the world. By then, the Gods' anger against Atlantis was so strong, that they destroyed it in a single day and night, by earthquakes, and sunk it into the sea, leaving only a mass of mud behind. As to the support the authenticy of his account, Plato - through the words of Kritias - sustains that he used an old Egyptian report that he had obtained from his grandfather, who had got it from a friend who in turn got it from the Great Solon who lived around 640-560 BC. Solon was told the story during one of his travels by Egyptian priests at Sais, but also got a copy of it with written in old Egyptian, that he later translated.

Could the disaster at Santorini have been the source of the Atlantis myth? The Santorini blast was one of the largest volcanic explosions known. The earthquakes, destructive waves, extensive ash fall, darkened skies, crop failure and resulting starvation must have been terrifying. It is possible that some memory of this event survived a thousand years of retelling until Plato?s time.

1. Land disappeared in an earthquake and was replaced by sea (just like Plato's descriptions).
Some details of Platon's story are clearly describing volcanic phenomena. Such are the colours Platos describes of being typical of the rocks of Atlantis: black (lava), white (pumice and ash) and red (lava). These are the colours of Santorini. The warm and cold springs are typical of volcanic places and still found on Santorini today. Most obvious, the way the gods, i.e. nature for us, destroyed Atlantis: by earthquake, fire and lightning. Lightning is always accomanying huge eruption columns and probably the most impressive sign of a terrible event if observed from far. From close rage, nobody could have survived. Another hint is the mentioned mud that remained at the site of Atlantis. It is enough to translate mud with the enormous masses of pumice and ash from the eruption that floated on the sea.

2. The exiting archaeological findings on Thera (near Akrotiri) clearly demonstrate that before the Minoan eruption there was a developed, rich, and probably oligarchic marine community whose flourishing economy was provided by intensive trade, shipping, and probably vine, too, - like at present.  Both Minoans (the people who had settled Santorini)  and Atlanteans were sea going traders.
We do not know what happened to these people. So far, no human body has been found killed by the eruption. It seems that they had been warned in time to evacuate the island. That means even if Platos completely invented the story, it is still true. Something like he describes has happened on Santorini 1640 BC.

3. Both civilizations used rituals involving bulls in their religion.

4. The disaster destroyed an enemy of Athens. Atlanteans had attacked Athens; and Greek myths told of war between Minoans, the people who had settled Santorini, and the Greeks. 

5. The Minoan island of Crete in particular had a sophisticated culture with large palaces, just like Atlantis.

6. Island's shapes1. Plato tells about a circular island with concentric structures. Santorini today does have an impressive concentric geographic setting and had it also before the Minoan eruption. This has come out as a result of detailed geologic studies during the past 20 years, see the chapter of the reconstruction of the ring-shaped pre-Minoan island with a central shield. Furthermore Heiken and McCoy (1990) indicated that the famous picture in the West House from the Akrotiri excavations most likely represents a relatively naturalistic portrait of Thera. It shows an inhabited and flowering island landscape and the departing Therean fleet, and actually some concentric water-land ring structures are visible, too.


7. Plato writes that Atlantis was situated in the ocean, beyond the "Pillars of Hercules". The "Pillars of Hercules" were at Platon's time the Straigts of Gibraltar and this would put Atlantis into the Atlantic Ocean. Further, Plato tells that Atlantis was bigger than Libya and Asia together. If one believes Plato literally, Atlantis was then outside of the Mediterranean region. But it is also possible that Solon or Plato either were misinterpreting their old sources or that Plato put it willingly far beyond the Greek-influenced world.
- The first possibility could be explained by the fact that the original text was much older and the Pillars of Hercules had not necessarily always been associated with the Straigts of Gibraltar; it could very well have meant a place within the Aegean Sea.
- Putting Atlantis and its civilisation far away from the ancient world would also suit Plato's intention of providing a antitheses to the Greek society and its values that he defends. This is clearly Plato's major purpose in his account. - The same is true for Plato's words, "bigger than Libya and Asia together". Also it has been interpreted that Plato or someone before him in the chain of the oral or written tradition of the report accidentially changed the very similar Greek words for "bigger than" ("meson") and "between" ("mezon"). If this was the case, Atlantis could be identical with Santorin (Luce, 1969). Besides, it is geologically not possible that a large continent could disappear in a dramatic event, i.e. in a very short time span. There is nowhere on earth such evidence.

8. Galanopoulos and Bacon (1969) argue that the date for the destruction of Atlantis Plato gives as 9000 years before his time should be read as 900 years and that there was an erroneous translation by Solon from the old Egyptian number system. Plato lived ca. 300 BC and Solon's journey to Egypt had taken place about 300 years earlier. Adding the figures, the Atlantis event should have taken place around 1500 BC, in good agreement to the recent datings of the Minoa eruption 1640 BC. It is also imaginable, that 900 years looked not far enough in time for Platon (or Solon etc.). Putting it far into the past adds weight to the historic self-conception of the Athenians. Also, as far as Archeologists know (and they know a lot about the past of Athens...), there is no trace of a highly advanced Athenian culture at around 9000 BC. According the theory, 9000 years must be wrong, or invented. Almost certainly.


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    During the 7th Thessaloniki International Wine Competition (5-7 March 2007) in the framework of DETROP-OINOS exhibition, Santorini Wines received 13 awards.


    Among 683 samples from Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Cyprus, France, Austria, Brasil, Mexico, and Canada wine experts have given:

    Grand Gold Award to
    Vinsanto 4 years aged,1999 vintage by Santowines


  • Magazine "Archaeometry", and BioEd Online articles are reporting that the roof paintings of a 2-level building in prehistoric Akrotiri site, have an extreem interest about the mathematical knowledge during the Bronze Age.