In this post we present and analyze an excerpt from Plato‘s “Timaeus“.
Ancient Greek: [21e] ‘ἔστιν τις κατ᾽ Αἴγυπτον,’ ἦ δ᾽ ὅς, ‘ἐν τῷ Δέλτα, περὶ ὃν κατὰ κορυφὴν σχίζεται τὸ τοῦ Νείλου ῥεῦμα Σαϊτικὸς ἐπικαλούμενος νομός, τούτου δὲ τοῦ νομοῦ μεγίστη πόλις Σάις—ὅθεν δὴ καὶ Ἄμασις ἦν ὁ βασιλεύς—οἷς τῆς πόλεως θεὸς ἀρχηγός τίς ἐστιν, Αἰγυπτιστὶ μὲν τοὔνομα Νηίθ, Ἑλληνιστὶ δέ, ὡς ὁ ἐκείνων λόγος, Ἀθηνᾶ: μάλα δὲ φιλαθήναιοι καί τινα τρόπον οἰκεῖοι τῶνδ᾽ εἶναί φασιν. οἷ δὴ Σόλων ἔφη πορευθεὶς σφόδρα τε γενέσθαι παρ᾽ αὐτοῖς ἔντιμος, ’
English: [21e] “In the Delta of Egypt,” said Critias, “where, at its head, the stream of the Nile parts in two, there is a certain district called the Saitic. The chief city in this district is Sais — the home of King Amasis — the founder of which, they say, is a goddess whose Egyptian name is Neith, and in Greek, as they assert, Athena. These people profess to be great lovers of Athens and in a measure akin to our people here. And Solon said that when he travelled there he was held in great esteem amongst them; moreover, when he was questioning such of their priests
[NovoScriptorium: It is claimed here that there had been a close relationship between Greeks and Egyptians since very deep Antiquity. The symbol of ‘goddess Athena’ is utilized as an indirect way to denote that the era he is referring to belongs to the ‘epoch of the gods’, which, as we have explained in previous articles, is an undefined point deep in Time. The only thing we know for certain is that the ‘epoch of the gods’ dates before the Cataclysm of Ogygos. The blood and cultural relations between Greeks and Egyptians, rooted in ‘Mythological times’, are described by more than just one ancient Greek author]
Ancient Greek: ‘ [22a] καὶ δὴ καὶ τὰ παλαιὰ ἀνερωτῶν ποτε τοὺς μάλιστα περὶ ταῦτα τῶν ἱερέων ἐμπείρους, σχεδὸν οὔτε αὑτὸν οὔτε ἄλλον Ἕλληνα οὐδένα οὐδὲν ὡς ἔπος εἰπεῖν εἰδότα περὶ τῶν τοιούτων ἀνευρεῖν. καί ποτε προαγαγεῖν βουληθεὶς αὐτοὺς περὶ τῶν ἀρχαίων εἰς λόγους, τῶν τῇδε τὰ ἀρχαιότατα λέγειν ἐπιχειρεῖν, περὶ Φορωνέως τε τοῦ πρώτου λεχθέντος καὶ Νιόβης, καὶ μετὰ τὸν κατακλυσμὸν αὖ περὶ Δευκαλίωνος ’
‘ [22b] καὶ Πύρρας ὡς διεγένοντο μυθολογεῖν, καὶ τοὺς ἐξ αὐτῶν γενεαλογεῖν, καὶ τὰ τῶν ἐτῶν ὅσα ἦν οἷς ἔλεγεν πειρᾶσθαι διαμνημονεύων τοὺς χρόνους ἀριθμεῖν: καί τινα εἰπεῖν τῶν ἱερέων εὖ μάλα παλαιόν: ‘ὦ Σόλων, Σόλων, Ἕλληνες ἀεὶ παῖδές ἐστε, γέρων δὲ Ἕλλην οὐκ ἔστιν.’ ἀκούσας οὖν, ‘πῶς τί τοῦτο λέγεις;’ φάναι.’ ‘νέοι ἐστέ,’ εἰπεῖν, ‘τὰς ψυχὰς πάντες: οὐδεμίαν γὰρ ἐν αὐταῖς ἔχετε δι᾽ ἀρχαίαν ἀκοὴν παλαιὰν δόξαν οὐδὲ μάθημα χρόνῳ πολιὸν οὐδέν. τὸ ’
English: [22a] as were most versed in ancient lore about their early history, he discovered that neither he himself nor any other Greek knew anything at all, one might say, about such matters. And on one occasion, when he wished to draw them on to discourse on ancient history, he attempted to tell them the most ancient of our traditions, concerning Phoroneus, who was said to be the first man, and Niobe; and he went on to tell the legend about Deucalion and Pyrrha after the Flood, and how they survived it, and to give the geneology of their descendants;
[22b] and by recounting the number of years occupied by the events mentioned he tried to calculate the periods of time. Whereupon one of the priests, a prodigiously old man, said, “O Solon, Solon, you Greeks are always children: there is not such a thing as an old Greek.” And on hearing this he asked, “What mean you by this saying?” And the priest replied, “You are young in soul, every one of you. For therein you possess not a single belief that is ancient and derived from old tradition, nor yet one science that is hoary with age.
[NovoScriptorium: The Egyptian priest claims here two things simultaneously; first, that the spirit of renewal and innovation prevails among the Greeks in general, and second, that the Greeks of his time have lost accurate knowledge of their own past. Well, we can recall here the reference from Apollodorus that Greeks from Rhodes (Heliadae) moved to Egypt to avoid the consequences of the -then- coming Cataclysm, which they have predicted somehow. We can also recall our discussion about the Muses and the Museums. We can recall modern scientific information which agrees that the Aegean region has faced multiple ‘cataclysmic events’ over Time (e.g. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5). Finally, we can recall quite a few ancient Greek texts which not only refer to these multiple ‘cataclysms’, but also provide us with details on how the survivors managed to live on. Concluding, these words of the Egyptian priest do not surprise us at all, as they are very likely (if not certainly) describing actual events. And we cannot at all exclude the possibility -on the contrary- that a ‘Museum’, a place were Knowledge of the Past was preserved, still existed in Egypt at the time when Solon lived]
Ancient Greek: ‘[22c] δὲ τούτων αἴτιον τόδε. πολλαὶ κατὰ πολλὰ φθοραὶ γεγόνασιν ἀνθρώπων καὶ ἔσονται, πυρὶ μὲν καὶ ὕδατι μέγισται, μυρίοις δὲ ἄλλοις ἕτεραι βραχύτεραι. τὸ γὰρ οὖν καὶ παρ᾽ ὑμῖν λεγόμενον, ὥς ποτε Φαέθων Ἡλίου παῖς τὸ τοῦ πατρὸς ἅρμα ζεύξας διὰ τὸ μὴ δυνατὸς εἶναι κατὰ τὴν τοῦ πατρὸς ὁδὸν ἐλαύνειν τά τ᾽ ἐπὶ γῆς συνέκαυσεν καὶ αὐτὸς κεραυνωθεὶς διεφθάρη, τοῦτο μύθου μὲν σχῆμα ἔχον λέγεται, τὸ δὲ’
‘ [22d] ἀληθές ἐστι τῶν περὶ γῆν κατ᾽ οὐρανὸν ἰόντων παράλλαξις καὶ διὰ μακρῶν χρόνων γιγνομένη τῶν ἐπὶ γῆς πυρὶ πολλῷ φθορά. τότε οὖν ὅσοι κατ᾽ ὄρη καὶ ἐν ὑψηλοῖς τόποις καὶ ἐν ξηροῖς οἰκοῦσιν μᾶλλον διόλλυνται τῶν ποταμοῖς καὶ θαλάττῃ προσοικούντων: ἡμῖν δὲ ὁ Νεῖλος εἴς τε τἆλλα σωτὴρ καὶ τότε ἐκ ταύτης τῆς ἀπορίας σῴζει λυόμενος. ὅταν δ᾽ αὖ θεοὶ τὴν γῆν ὕδασιν καθαίροντες κατακλύζωσιν, οἱ μὲν ἐν τοῖς ὄρεσιν διασῴζονται βουκόλοι νομῆς τε, οἱ δ᾽ ἐν ταῖς ’
‘ [22e] παρ᾽ ὑμῖν πόλεσιν εἰς τὴν θάλατταν ὑπὸ τῶν ποταμῶν φέρονται: κατὰ δὲ τήνδε χώραν οὔτε τότε οὔτε ἄλλοτε ἄνωθεν ἐπὶ τὰς ἀρούρας ὕδωρ ἐπιρρεῖ, τὸ δ᾽ ἐναντίον κάτωθεν πᾶν ἐπανιέναι πέφυκεν. ὅθεν καὶ δι᾽ ἃς αἰτίας τἀνθάδε σῳζόμενα λέγεται παλαιότατα: τὸ δὲ ἀληθές, ἐν πᾶσιν τοῖς τόποις ὅπου μὴ χειμὼν ἐξαίσιος ἢ καῦμα ἀπείργει, πλέον, ’
‘ [23a] τοτὲ δὲ ἔλαττον ἀεὶ γένος ἐστὶν ἀνθρώπων. ὅσα δὲ ἢ παρ᾽ ὑμῖν ἢ τῇδε ἢ καὶ κατ᾽ ἄλλον τόπον ὧν ἀκοῇ ἴσμεν, εἴ πού τι καλὸν ἢ μέγα γέγονεν ἢ καί τινα διαφορὰν ἄλλην ἔχον, πάντα γεγραμμένα ἐκ παλαιοῦ τῇδ᾽ ἐστὶν ἐν τοῖς ἱεροῖς καὶ σεσωσμένα: τὰ δὲ παρ᾽ ὑμῖν καὶ τοῖς ἄλλοις ἄρτι κατεσκευασμένα ἑκάστοτε τυγχάνει γράμμασι καὶ ἅπασιν ὁπόσων πόλεις δέονται, καὶ πάλιν δι᾽ εἰωθότων ἐτῶν ὥσπερ νόσημα ἥκει φερόμενον αὐτοῖς ῥεῦμα οὐράνιον καὶ τοὺς ἀγραμμάτους ’
‘ [23b] τε καὶ ἀμούσους ἔλιπεν ὑμῶν, ὥστε πάλιν ἐξ ἀρχῆς οἷον νέοι γίγνεσθε, οὐδὲν εἰδότες οὔτε τῶν τῇδε οὔτε τῶν παρ᾽ ὑμῖν, ὅσα ἦν ἐν τοῖς παλαιοῖς χρόνοις. τὰ γοῦν νυνδὴ γενεαλογηθέντα, ὦ Σόλων, περὶ τῶν παρ᾽ ὑμῖν ἃ διῆλθες, παίδων βραχύ τι διαφέρει μύθων, οἳ πρῶτον μὲν ἕνα γῆς κατακλυσμὸν μέμνησθε πολλῶν ἔμπροσθεν γεγονότων, ἔτι δὲ τὸ κάλλιστον καὶ ἄριστον γένος ἐπ᾽ ἀνθρώπους ἐν τῇ χώρᾳ παρ᾽ ὑμῖν οὐκ ἴστε γεγονός, ἐξ ὧν σύ τε καὶ πᾶσα ἡ ’
English: [22c] And this is the cause thereof: There have been and there will be many and divers destructions of mankind, of which the greatest are by fire and water, and lesser ones by countless other means. For in truth the story that is told in your country as well as ours, how once upon a time Phaethon, son of Helios, yoked his father’s chariot, and, because he was unable to drive it along the course taken by his father, burnt up all that was upon the earth and himself perished by a thunderbolt — that story, as it is told, has the fashion of a legend, but the truth of it lies in
[22d] the occurrence of a shifting of the bodies in the heavens which move round the earth, and a destruction of the things on the earth by fierce fire, which recurs at long intervals. At such times all they that dwell on the mountains and in high and dry places suffer destruction more than those who dwell near to rivers or the sea; and in our case the Nile, our Saviour in other ways, saves us also at such times from this calamity by rising high. And when, on the other hand, the Gods purge the earth with a flood of waters, all the herdsmen and shepherds that are in the mountains are saved,
[22e] but those in the cities of your land are swept into the sea by the streams; whereas In our country neither then nor at any other time does the water pour down over our fields from above, on the contrary it all tends naturally to well up from below. Hence it is, for these reasons, that what is here preserved is reckoned to be most ancient; the truth being that in every place where there is no excessive heat or cold to prevent it there always exists some human stock, now more, now less in number.
[23a] And if any event has occurred that is noble or great or in any way conspicuous, whether it be in your country or in ours or in some other place of which we know by report, all such events are recorded from of old and preserved here in our temples; whereas your people and the others are but newly equipped, every time, with letters and all such arts as civilized States require and when, after the usual interval of years, like a plague, the flood from heaven comes sweeping down afresh upon your people,
[23b] it leaves none of you but the unlettered and uncultured, so that you become young as ever, with no knowledge of all that happened in old times in this land or in your own. Certainly the genealogies which you related just now, Solon, concerning the people of your country, are little better than children’s tales; for, in the first place, you remember but one deluge, though many had occurred previously; and next, you are ignorant of the fact that the noblest and most perfect race amongst men were born in the land where you now dwell, and from them both you yourself are sprung and the whole
[NovoScriptorium: We learn here that the Human race has suffered many different catastrophes, and that it will suffer similarly in the future, too. The most important of these were caused either by water or by fire. There have also been many other different, smaller disasters, because of other reasons. As you see, we are directly informed that the ancient Tradition knew very well about various ‘cataclysmic’ events; “water” disasters can directly be linked to the glacial/interglacial periods and the rising of sea levels due to ice-melting. Especially for the Aegean, the shores have changed many times during the past 500 thousand years, with sea level rising more than 300 m.
As for “fire”, the narration leaves us with no doubt that it relates it with celestial events and objects, comets or asteroids. Both types of catastrophes have been confirmed by modern Research. Hence, we believe that it is important for the Scientific community to take the Ancient Tradition a bit more seriously and accept the fact that the ancient peoples were indeed recording actual geological/climatic/evolutionary events in their various myths.
And as we are told by the Egyptian priest in this excerpt, there has been both an oral and a written Tradition. Obviously, the oral Tradition had its roots to a point in Time when Humans have not yet mastered the art of Writing – or as the priest claims, it could also be a product of ‘intermediate times’, i.e. between ‘cataclysms’, due to the loss of the majority of the educated people, many ignorant and uncaltivated generations passed without being able to write. The written Tradition of old has been preserved in various temples (this does not differ at all from the ‘Museums‘ we have already discussed – it is exactly the same concept). We are informed that this process has taken place in many different places around the World; it also happened in the Aegean region and the Greek peninsula.
The priest says that the Greeks of Solon’s time knew of only one Cataclysm. This is not accurate, though. Hesiod records more than one such events, Homer, too. And they surely predated Solon.
In this dialogue we read another crucial piece of information; “in every place where there is no excessive heat or cold to prevent it there always exists some human stock, now more, now less in number”. Archaeological evidence supports well the above. During the Glacial periods, many humans of e.g. Central Europe found refuge in the Southern parts of the continent. And of course, humans that were already living there, continued to do so, regardless of their numbers. In our opinion, we can consider the whole Mediterranean region as a place where Human presence is expected to be continuous for millions of years. Evidence so far certainly points to this direction – e.g. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]
Ancient Greek: ‘ [23c] πόλις ἔστιν τὰ νῦν ὑμῶν, περιλειφθέντος ποτὲ σπέρματος βραχέος, ἀλλ᾽ ὑμᾶς λέληθεν διὰ τὸ τοὺς περιγενομένους ἐπὶ πολλὰς γενεὰς γράμμασιν τελευτᾶν ἀφώνους. ἦν γὰρ δή ποτε, ὦ Σόλων, ὑπὲρ τὴν μεγίστην φθορὰν ὕδασιν ἡ νῦν Ἀθηναίων οὖσα πόλις ἀρίστη πρός τε τὸν πόλεμον καὶ κατὰ πάντα εὐνομωτάτη διαφερόντως: ᾗ κάλλιστα ἔργα καὶ πολιτεῖαι γενέσθαι λέγονται κάλλισται πασῶν ὁπόσων ὑπὸ ’
‘ [23d] τὸν οὐρανὸν ἡμεῖς ἀκοὴν παρεδεξάμεθα.’ ἀκούσας οὖν ὁ Σόλων ἔφη θαυμάσαι καὶ πᾶσαν προθυμίαν σχεῖν δεόμενος τῶν ἱερέων πάντα δι᾽ ἀκριβείας οἱ τὰ περὶ τῶν πάλαι πολιτῶν ἑξῆς διελθεῖν. τὸν οὖν ἱερέα φάναι: ‘φθόνος οὐδείς, ὦ Σόλων, ἀλλὰ σοῦ τε ἕνεκα ἐρῶ καὶ τῆς πόλεως ὑμῶν, μάλιστα δὲ τῆς θεοῦ χάριν, ἣ τήν τε ὑμετέραν καὶ τήνδε ἔλαχεν καὶ ἔθρεψεν καὶ ἐπαίδευσεν, προτέραν μὲν τὴν παρ᾽ ’
‘ [23e] ὑμῖν ἔτεσιν χιλίοις, ἐκ Γῆς τε καὶ Ἡφαίστου τὸ σπέρμα παραλαβοῦσα ὑμῶν, τήνδε δὲ ὑστέραν. τῆς δὲ ἐνθάδε διακοσμήσεως παρ᾽ ἡμῖν ἐν τοῖς ἱεροῖς γράμμασιν ὀκτακισχιλίων ἐτῶν ἀριθμὸς γέγραπται. περὶ δὴ τῶν ἐνακισχίλια γεγονότων ἔτη πολιτῶν σοι δηλώσω διὰ βραχέων νόμους, καὶ τῶν ἔργων αὐτοῖς ὃ κάλλιστον ἐπράχθη: τὸ δ᾽ ἀκριβὲς περὶ ’
English: [23c] of your existing city, out of some little seed that chanced to be left over; but this has escaped your notice because for many generations the survivors died with no power to express themselves in writing. For verily at one time, Solon, before the greatest destruction by water, what is now the Athenian State was the bravest in war and supremely well organized also in all other respects. It is said that it possessed the most splendid works of art and the noblest polity of any nation under heaven of which we have heard tell.”
[23d] Upon hearing this, Solon said that he marvelled, and with the utmost eagerness requested the priest to recount for him in order and exactly all the facts about those citizens of old. The priest then said: “I begrudge you not the story, Solon; nay, I will tell it, both for your own sake and that of your city, and most of all for the sake of the Goddess who has adopted for her own both your land and this of ours, and has nurtured and trained them — yours first by the space of a thousand years, when she had received the seed of you from Ge
[23e] and Hephaestus, and after that ours. And the duration of our civilization as set down in our sacred writings is 8000 years. Of the citizens, then, who lived 9000 years ago, I will declare to you briefly certain of their laws and the noblest of the deeds they performed:
[NovoScriptorium: The Egyptian priest says here that the Athenian civilization was older than the Saitic one by a thousand years. He repeats that the goddess Athena was ‘responsible’ for the generation of both civilizations. The idol of Athena represents, among other things, the Divine Wisdom. We could then interpret the above statement as: “both Athens and Sais were realized under the will of the Divine Providence”, clearly declaring that both cities were deeply associated with spirituality/wisdom/religion. Close relationship between Greeks and Egyptians since very deep Antiquity is again suggested here. As it is also suggested through the text, the Greek civilization of “9,000 years before the 7th century B.C., i.e. when Solon lived” -around 10,000 B.C. or 12,000 yBP- predates the corresponding Egyptian one by a thousand years. Archaeology names this period as ‘Mesolithic’ for the Aegean region. We are convinced that the ancients perceived the idea of ‘Civilization’ in a similar way that we do; i.e that ‘Organized Agriculture’ equals ‘Civilization’. If this is true, and if the myth has a historical core (as most myths alike had), then Agriculture could have started in Greece during the 10th millenium B.C. and not during the 7th millenium which is believed nowadays. Evidence from the Mesolithic (1, 2) in the Aegean indeed suggests that this cannot be excluded as a possibility (we cannot speak of ‘certainty’ until now). Analogous arguments can be made for the beginnings of Egyptian Agriculture (11,000yBP instead of 8,000yBP)]
Ancient Greek: ‘ [24a] πάντων ἐφεξῆς εἰς αὖθις κατὰ σχολὴν αὐτὰ τὰ γράμματα λαβόντες διέξιμεν. τοὺς μὲν οὖν νόμους σκόπει πρὸς τοὺς τῇδε: πολλὰ γὰρ παραδείγματα τῶν τότε παρ᾽ ὑμῖν ὄντων ἐνθάδε νῦν ἀνευρήσεις, πρῶτον μὲν τὸ τῶν ἱερέων γένος ἀπὸ τῶν ἄλλων χωρὶς ἀφωρισμένον, μετὰ δὲ τοῦτο τὸ τῶν δημιουργῶν, ὅτι καθ᾽ αὑτὸ ἕκαστον ἄλλῳ δὲ οὐκ ἐπιμειγνύμενον δημιουργεῖ, τό τε τῶν νομέων καὶ τὸ τῶν θηρευτῶν τό τε ’
‘ [24b] τῶν γεωργῶν. καὶ δὴ καὶ τὸ μάχιμον γένος ᾔσθησαί που τῇδε ἀπὸ πάντων τῶν γενῶν κεχωρισμένον, οἷς οὐδὲν ἄλλο πλὴν τὰ περὶ τὸν πόλεμον ὑπὸ τοῦ νόμου προσετάχθη μέλειν: ἔτι δὲ ἡ τῆς ὁπλίσεως αὐτῶν σχέσις ἀσπίδων καὶ δοράτων, οἷς ἡμεῖς πρῶτοι τῶν περὶ τὴν Ἀσίαν ὡπλίσμεθα, τῆς θεοῦ καθάπερ ἐν ἐκείνοις τοῖς τόποις παρ᾽ ὑμῖν πρώτοις ἐνδειξαμένης. τὸ δ᾽ αὖ περὶ τῆς φρονήσεως, ὁρᾷς που τὸν νόμον τῇδε ὅσην ἐπιμέλειαν ἐποιήσατο εὐθὺς κατ᾽ ἀρχὰς περί τε ’
English: [24a] the full account in precise order and detail we shall go through later at our leisure, taking the actual writings. To get a view of their laws, look at the laws here; for you will find existing here at the present time many examples of the laws which then existed in your city. You see, first, how the priestly class is separated off from the rest; next, the class of craftsmen, of which each sort works by itself without mixing with any other; then the classes of shepherds, hunters, and farmers, each distinct and separate. Moreover, the military class here,
[24b] as no doubt you have noticed, is kept apart from all the other classes, being enjoined by the law to devote itself solely to the work of training for war. A further feature is the character of their equipment with shields and spears; for we were the first of the peoples of Asia to adopt these weapons, it being the Goddess who instructed us, even as she instructed you first of all the dwellers in yonder lands. Again, with regard to wisdom, you perceive, no doubt, the law here — how much attention
[NovoScriptorium: We will not attempt to discuss the political ideas and system which are suggested here, because this demands for a separate article. We will remain focused on other kinds of information instead. We learn here that the Egyptians were “the first of the peoples of Asia to adopt shields and spears”. And this was also done under the guidance of ‘the goddess Athena’ -whatever this means]
Ancient Greek: ‘ [24c] τὸν κόσμον, ἅπαντα μέχρι μαντικῆς καὶ ἰατρικῆς πρὸς ὑγίειαν ἐκ τούτων θείων ὄντων εἰς τὰ ἀνθρώπινα ἀνευρών, ὅσα τε ἄλλα τούτοις ἕπεται μαθήματα πάντα κτησάμενος. ταύτην οὖν δὴ τότε σύμπασαν τὴν διακόσμησιν καὶ σύνταξιν ἡ θεὸς προτέρους ὑμᾶς διακοσμήσασα κατῴκισεν, ἐκλεξαμένη τὸν τόπον ἐν ᾧ γεγένησθε, τὴν εὐκρασίαν τῶν ὡρῶν ἐν αὐτῷ κατιδοῦσα, ὅτι φρονιμωτάτους ἄνδρας οἴσοι: ἅτε οὖν φιλοπόλεμός ’
‘ [24d] τε καὶ φιλόσοφος ἡ θεὸς οὖσα τὸν προσφερεστάτους αὐτῇ μέλλοντα οἴσειν τόπον ἄνδρας, τοῦτον ἐκλεξαμένη πρῶτον κατῴκισεν. ᾠκεῖτε δὴ οὖν νόμοις τε τοιούτοις χρώμενοι καὶ ἔτι μᾶλλον εὐνομούμενοι πάσῃ τε παρὰ πάντας ἀνθρώπους ὑπερβεβληκότες ἀρετῇ, καθάπερ εἰκὸς γεννήματα καὶ παιδεύματα θεῶν ὄντας. πολλὰ μὲν οὖν ὑμῶν καὶ μεγάλα ἔργα τῆς πόλεως τῇδε γεγραμμένα θαυμάζεται, πάντων μὴν ’
English: [24c] it has devoted from the very beginning to the Cosmic Order, by discovering all the effects which the divine causes produce upon human life, down to divination and the art of medicine which aims at health, and by its mastery also of all the other subsidiary studies. So when, at that time, the Goddess had furnished you, before all others, with all this orderly and regular system, she established your State, choosing the spot wherein you were born since she perceived therein a climate duly blended, and how that it would bring forth men of supreme wisdom.
[24d] So it was that the Goddess, being herself both a lover of war and a lover of wisdom, chose the spot which was likely to bring forth men most like unto herself, and this first she established. Wherefore you lived under the rule of such laws as these — yea, and laws still better — and you surpassed all men in every virtue, as became those who were the offspring and nurslings of gods. Many, in truth, and great are the achievements of your State, which are a marvel to men as they are here recorded; but there is one which stands out above all
[NovoScriptorium: The goddess Athena established the Athenian polity before the Saitic polity. And she used the same system and values, says the priest. The goddess Athena chose Athens because of their exceptional climate, something which is presented as linked to the birth of noble and prudent people. Decoding the myth, assuming that it has a historical core, we can say that “because of climate, Agriculture and Civilization first flourished in Attica, and then in Sais”. Interestingly, the myth of Triptolemus narrates that Agriculture first appeared in Attica, too. We also receive the information that climate heavily influences the behaviour/mood of people, something that is absolutely valid]
Ancient Greek: ‘ [24e] ἓν ὑπερέχει μεγέθει καὶ ἀρετῇ: λέγει γὰρ τὰ γεγραμμένα ὅσην ἡ πόλις ὑμῶν ἔπαυσέν ποτε δύναμιν ὕβρει πορευομένην ἅμα ἐπὶ πᾶσαν Εὐρώπην καὶ Ἀσίαν, ἔξωθεν ὁρμηθεῖσαν ἐκ τοῦ Ἀτλαντικοῦ πελάγους. τότε γὰρ πορεύσιμον ἦν τὸ ἐκεῖ πέλαγος: νῆσον γὰρ πρὸ τοῦ στόματος εἶχεν ὃ καλεῖτε, ὥς φατε, ὑμεῖς Ἡρακλέους στήλας, ἡ δὲ νῆσος ἅμα Λιβύης ἦν καὶ Ἀσίας μείζων, ἐξ ἧς ἐπιβατὸν ἐπὶ τὰς ἄλλας νήσους τοῖς τότε ἐγίγνετο πορευομένοις, ἐκ δὲ τῶν νήσων ’
‘ [25a] ἐπὶ τὴν καταντικρὺ πᾶσαν ἤπειρον τὴν περὶ τὸν ἀληθινὸν ἐκεῖνον πόντον. τάδε μὲν γάρ, ὅσα ἐντὸς τοῦ στόματος οὗ λέγομεν, φαίνεται λιμὴν στενόν τινα ἔχων εἴσπλουν: ἐκεῖνο δὲ πέλαγος ὄντως ἥ τε περιέχουσα αὐτὸ γῆ παντελῶς ἀληθῶς ὀρθότατ᾽ ἂν λέγοιτο ἤπειρος. ἐν δὲ δὴ τῇ Ἀτλαντίδι νήσῳ ταύτῃ μεγάλη συνέστη καὶ θαυμαστὴ δύναμις βασιλέων, κρατοῦσα μὲν ἁπάσης τῆς νήσου, πολλῶν δὲ ἄλλων νήσων καὶ μερῶν τῆς ἠπείρου: πρὸς δὲ τούτοις ἔτι τῶν ἐντὸς τῇδε ’
‘ [25b] Λιβύης μὲν ἦρχον μέχρι πρὸς Αἴγυπτον, τῆς δὲ Εὐρώπης μέχρι Τυρρηνίας. αὕτη δὴ πᾶσα συναθροισθεῖσα εἰς ἓν ἡ δύναμις τόν τε παρ᾽ ὑμῖν καὶ τὸν παρ᾽ ἡμῖν καὶ τὸν ἐντὸς τοῦ στόματος πάντα τόπον μιᾷ ποτὲ ἐπεχείρησεν ὁρμῇ δουλοῦσθαι. τότε οὖν ὑμῶν, ὦ Σόλων, τῆς πόλεως ἡ δύναμις εἰς ἅπαντας ἀνθρώπους διαφανὴς ἀρετῇ τε καὶ ῥώμῃ ἐγένετο: πάντων γὰρ προστᾶσα εὐψυχίᾳ καὶ τέχναις ὅσαι κατὰ πόλεμον, ’
‘ [25c] τὰ μὲν τῶν Ἑλλήνων ἡγουμένη, τὰ δ᾽ αὐτὴ μονωθεῖσα ἐξ ἀνάγκης τῶν ἄλλων ἀποστάντων, ἐπὶ τοὺς ἐσχάτους ἀφικομένη κινδύνους, κρατήσασα μὲν τῶν ἐπιόντων τρόπαιον ἔστησεν, τοὺς δὲ μήπω δεδουλωμένους διεκώλυσεν δουλωθῆναι, τοὺς δ᾽ ἄλλους, ὅσοι κατοικοῦμεν ἐντὸς ὅρων Ἡρακλείων, ἀφθόνως ἅπαντας ἠλευθέρωσεν. ὑστέρῳ δὲ χρόνῳ σεισμῶν ἐξαισίων καὶ κατακλυσμῶν γενομένων, μιᾶς ’
‘ [25d] ἡμέρας καὶ νυκτὸς χαλεπῆς ἐπελθούσης, τό τε παρ᾽ ὑμῖν μάχιμον πᾶν ἁθρόον ἔδυ κατὰ γῆς, ἥ τε Ἀτλαντὶς νῆσος ὡσαύτως κατὰ τῆς θαλάττης δῦσα ἠφανίσθη: διὸ καὶ νῦν ἄπορον καὶ ἀδιερεύνητον γέγονεν τοὐκεῖ πέλαγος, πηλοῦ κάρτα βραχέος ἐμποδὼν ὄντος, ὃν ἡ νῆσος ἱζομένη παρέσχετο.’
English: [24e] both for magnitude and for nobleness. For it is related in our records how once upon a time your State stayed the course of a mighty host, which, starting from a distant point in the Atlantic ocean, was insolently advancing to attack the whole of Europe, and Asia to boot. For the ocean there was at that time navigable; for in front of the mouth which you Greeks call, as you say, ‘the pillars of Heracles,’ there lay an island which was larger than Libya and Asia together; and it was possible for the travellers of that time to cross from it to the other islands, and from the islands to the whole of the continent
[25a] over against them which encompasses that veritable ocean. For all that we have here, lying within the mouth of which we speak, is evidently a haven having a narrow entrance; but that yonder is a real ocean, and the land surrounding it may most rightly be called, in the fullest and truest sense, a continent. Now in this island of Atlantis there existed a confederation of kings, of great and marvellous power, which held sway over all the island, and over many other islands also and parts of the continent; and, moreover,
[25b] of the lands here within the Straits they ruled over Libya as far as Egypt, and over Europe as far as Tyrrhenia. So this host, being all gathered together, made an attempt one time to enslave by one single onslaught both your country and ours and the whole of the territory within the Straits. And then it was, Solon, that the manhood of your State showed itself conspicuous for valor and might in the sight of all the world. For it stood pre-eminent above all
[25c] in gallantry and all warlike arts, and acting partly as leader of the Greeks, and partly standing alone by itself when deserted by all others, after encountering the deadliest perils, it defeated the invaders and reared a trophy; whereby it saved from slavery such as were not as yet enslaved, and all the rest of us who dwell within the bounds of Heracles it ungrudgingly set free. But at a later time there occurred portentous earthquakes and floods,
[25d] and one grievous day and night befell them, when the whole body of your warriors was swallowed up by the earth, and the island of Atlantis in like manner was swallowed up by the sea and vanished; wherefore also the ocean at that spot has now become impassable and unsearchable, being blocked up by the shoal mud which the island created as it settled down.”
[NovoScriptorium: This Platonic excerpt refers to ‘Atlantis’. Here we will not enter into the discussion whether ‘Atlantis’ existed or not. Instead, we shall focus on other very interesting pieces of information provided by the text.
First, the Egyptian priest repeats that these old stories are ‘recorded‘ (in texts) and preserved in their temples. Again, in our opinion, what we have here is another declaration of the existence of a ‘Museum’ in Sais. It can be very well assumed, if we combine knowledge sourced from various ancient texts, that some advanced culture initially developed in the Aegean region, spread around the Mediterranean, then was destroyed by a series of cataclysmic events in its own center, and then revived – probably multiple times- by sourcing knowledge mainly from: a) a few ‘Museums’ that have survived in the Greek peninsula, and b) from the foreign peoples that once have been taught by the Aegeans, and who have preserved Knowledge in their local ‘Museums’/Temples.
Second, they do not ignore the existence of the Atlantic Sea.
Third, they know that there is a continent (obviously this refers to today’s “Americas”) at the other end of the Atlantic Sea. Clearly, it is a big misconception that the peoples of the Old World ignored the existence of Hesperia, the great continent in the West. But this also directly implies that somebody must had gone to the Americas and returned home.
Fourth, it is suggested that before the last (?) Cataclysm there had been a World War between the Atlantians and their allies against the Athenians and their allies.
Fifth, it is suggested that the pioneering and advanced Athenians won the War and liberated all nations who were living around the Mediterranean, without any demand from them.
Almost all scholars agree that the above two stories and the very existence of ‘Atlantis’ was pure Platonic fiction. While we cannot at all support with evidence the possible existence of ‘Atlantis’, the rest of the information provided, in our opinion, should be examined more carefully.
Sixth, it is suggested that “portentous earthquakes and floods” occurred back then (∼12,000yBP) and the island of Atlantis “was swallowed up by the sea and vanished”. We are tempted to compare this date with some relative modern scientific discoveries. The two dates are close enough. This does not mean that ‘Atlantis’ existed. Not at all. But all this narration could very well be a genuine record (dressed in mythological cloak) of an actual cataclysmic event that indeed took place near that period. And this is a thing that should put us in thoughts with regards to the Ancient Tradition.
Seventh, it is suggested that during the 1st millenium B.C. the Atlantic Ocean was still “impassable and unsearchable“.
Well, most likely we must take this reference as allegoric. In other words, that the Ocean was indeed “impassable” but not because of some fictional ‘Atlantis’ but for a number of other serious reasons. We have found a very interesting discussion on the issue here]
(Source for the ancient Greek text: Τίμαιος)
(Source for the English text: PLATO, TIMAEUS)
Research-Analysis for NovoScriptorium: Isidoros Aggelos
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