timaeus and critias atlantis

As soon as we arrived yesterday at the guest-chamber of Critias, with whom we are staying, or rather on our way thither, we talked the matter over, (20d) and he told us an ancient tradition, which I wish, Critias, that you would repeat to Socrates, so that he may help us to judge whether it will satisfy his requirements or not. (120a) When therefore, after slaying the bull in the accustomed manner, they had burnt its limbs, they filled a bowl of wine and cast in a clot of blood for each of them; the rest of the victim they put in the fire, after having purified the column all round. Apparently in response to a prior talk by Socrates about ideal societies, Timeaus and Critias agree to entertain Socrates with a tale that is "not a fiction but a true story." 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; (111b) 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. And this was unknown to you, because, for many generations, the survivors of that destruction died, leaving no written word. And the king was not to have the power of life and death over any of his kinsmen unless he had the assent of the majority of the ten. On the north side they had dwellings in common and had erected halls for dining in winter, and had all the buildings which they needed (112c) for their common life, besides temples, but there was no adorning of them with gold and silver, for they made no use of these for any purpose; they took a middle course between meanness and ostentation, and built modest houses in which they and their children's children grew old, and they handed them down to others who were like themselves, always the same. Thither also they brought year by year from all the ten allotments their seasonable offerings to do sacrifice to each of those princes. (26a) For a long time had elapsed, and I had forgotten too much; I thought that I must first of all run over the narrative in my own mind, and then I would speak. Listen then, Socrates, to a tale which, though passing strange, is yet wholly true, as Solon, (20e) the wisest of the Seven, once upon a time declared. Considered as the sequel to the Republic, “Timaeus” speculates about cosmology, where the universe as a whole is divine and ruled by mathematical truths. RIT. Estimations date Pavlopetri to around 2,800 BCE and 1,100 BCE during the Bronze Age. CRITIAS    I will tell an old-world story which I heard from an aged man; (21b) for Critias, at the time of telling it, was as he said, nearly ninety years of age, and I was about ten. About the greatest action which the Athenians ever did, and which ought to have been the most famous, but, through the lapse of time and the destruction of the actors, it has not come down to us. Wherefore, Socrates, we must consider whether this story is to our mind, or (26e) we have still to look for some other to take its place. The problem so far with claiming Pavlopetri to be the Atlantis Plato spoke of, is that the structures and landscape found do not resemble those described clearly in the dialogues. And herein, Critias and Hermocrates, (19d) I am conscious of my own inability ever to magnify sufficiently our citizens and our State. In this fashion, then, they dwelt, acting as guardians of their own citizens and as leaders, by their own consent, of the rest of the Greeks and they watched carefully that their own numbers, of both men and women, who were neither too young nor too old to fight, should remain for all time as nearly as possible the same, namely, about 20,000. for all wives and children were to be in common, to the intent that no one should ever know his own child, (18d) but they were to imagine that they were all one family; those who were within a suitable limit of age were to be brothers and sisters, those who were of an elder generation parents and grandparents, and those of a younger children and grandchildren. The island is described having a very fertile plain and "not very high mountain" in the center. SOCRATES    It was stated that this city of ours was in command of the one side and fought through the whole of the war, and in command of the other side were the kings of the island of Atlantis, which we said was an island larger than Libya and Asia once upon a time, but now lies sunk by earthquakes and has created a barrier of impassable mud (109a) which prevents those who are sailing out from here to the ocean beyond from proceeding further. The whole of this wall had numerous houses built on to it, set close together; while the sea-way and the largest harbor were filled with ships and merchants coming from all quarters, which by reason of their multitude caused clamor and tumult of every description and an unceasing din night and day. Though only briefly mentioned in the Timaeus dialogue, Critias talks of Poseidon possessing the island of Atlantis. And the priest replied, �You are young in soul, every one of you. And of the inhabitants of the mountains and of the rest of the country there was also a vast multitude, which was distributed among the lots and had leaders assigned to them according to their districts and villages. And of its goodness a strong proof is this: what is now left of our soil rivals any other in being all-productive and abundant in crops and rich in pasturage for all kinds of cattle; (111a) and at that period, in addition to their fine quality it produced these things in vast quantity. All that is said by any of us can only be imitation and representation. And there you dwelt, having such laws as these and still better ones, (24e) and excelled all mankind in all virtue, as became the children and disciples of the gods. 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. CRITIAS    And it was said, I believe, that the men thus trained should never regard silver or gold or anything else as their own private property; but as auxiliaries, who in return for their guard-work receive from those whom they protect such a moderate wage as suffices temperate men, they should spend their wage in common and live together in fellowship one with another, devoting themselves unceasingly to virtue, but keeping free from all other pursuits. These people profess to be great lovers of Athens and in a measure akin to our people here. For unknown reasons, Plato never completed Critias. 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. (118e) and by them they brought down the wood from the mountains to the city, and conveyed the fruits of the earth in ships, cutting transverse passages from one canal into another, and to the city. CRITIAS    Let me proceed to explain to you, Socrates, the order in which we have arranged our entertainment. But one of them exceeds all the rest in greatness and valour. The Critias, the second part of Plato's work, comprises an account of the rise and fall of Atlantis, an ancient, mighty, and prosperous empire ruled by the descendants of Poseidon, which ultimately sank into the sea. And this island, (116a) wherein stood the royal palace, was of five stades in diameter. It is because I wish to remind you of these facts, (108a) and crave a greater rather than a less measure of indulgence for what I am about to say, that I have made all these observations, Socrates. Marvellous, indeed, is the way in which the lessons of one's childhood �grip the mind,� as the saying is. Moreover, the land reaped the benefit of the annual rainfall, (111d) not as now losing the water which flows off the bare earth into the sea, but, having an abundant supply in all places, and receiving it into herself and treasuring it up in the close clay soil, it let off into the hollows the streams which it absorbed from the heights, providing everywhere abundant fountains and rivers, of which there may still be observed sacred memorials in places where fountains once existed; and this proves the truth of what I am saying. Written in the 4th century BC, "Timaeus & Critias" are two of Plato’s more famous stories. when darkness came on, and the fire about the sacrifice was cool, all of them put on most beautiful azure robes, and, sitting on the ground, at night, over the embers of the sacrifices by which they had sworn, (120c) and extinguishing all the fire about the temple, they received and gave judgment, if any of them had an accusation to bring against any one; and when they given judgment, at daybreak they wrote down their sentences on a golden tablet, and dedicated it together with their robes to be a memorial. As for the southward parts, when they vacated their gardens and gymnasia and mess-rooms as was natural in summer, they used them for these purposes. SOCRATES    Such were the ancient Athenians, and after this manner they righteously administered their own land and the rest of Hellas; they were renowned all over Europe and Asia for the beauty of their persons and for the many virtues of their souls, and of all men who lived in those days they were the most illustrious. One kind was white, another black, and a third red, and as they quarried, they at the same time hollowed out double docks, having roofs formed out of the native rock. and amusement. The two springs fed aqueducts along the bridges to the outer zones, distributing water along the way. They constructed buildings about them and planted suitable trees, (117b) also they made cisterns, some open to the heavens, others roofed over, to be used in winter as warm baths; there were the kings' baths, and the baths of private persons, which were kept apart; and there were separate baths for women, and for horses and cattle, and to each of them they gave as much adornment as was suitable. TIMAEUS    (23d) Solon marvelled at his words, and earnestly requested the priests to inform him exactly and in order about these former citizens. 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. Of the second pair of twins he called one Ampheres, and the other Evaemon. Moreover, the habit and figure of the goddess indicate that in the case of all animals, (110c) male and female, that herd together, every species is naturally capable of practising as a whole and in common its own proper excellence. (113a) But before I begin my account, there is still a small point which I ought to explain, lest you should be surprised at frequently hearing Greek names given to barbarians. So it was that, as Hermocrates has said, the moment I left your place yesterday I began to relate to them the story as I recollected it, (26b) and after I parted from them I pondered it over during the night and recovered, as I may say, the whole story. 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. The city of Pavlopetri off the shore of Laconia, Greece is believed by some as Plato's inspiration for his dialogues speaking of Atlantis. In the dialogues, Critias and Timaeus entertain Socrates with a story that is "not a fiction, but true." In two of Plato’s great works, the Timaeus and the Critias, Plato describes an Athenian civilization in dialogues between Critias, Socrates, Timaeus and Hermocrates.Plato’s Critias recounts the story of the mighty island kingdom Atlantis and its attempt to conquer Athens, which failed due to the ordered society of the Athenians. The dialogues are conversations between Socrates, Hermocrates, Timeaus, and Critias. For indeed at that time, as he said himself, (21b) Critias was already close upon ninety years of age, while I was somewhere about ten; and it chanced to be that day of the Apaturia which is called �Cureotis.� The ceremony for boys which was always customary at the feast was held also on that occasion, our fathers arranging contests in recitation. It's believed the city was home to Greek royalty, gods and heroes from evidence uncovered throughout the 30,000 square mile site. Now in this island of Atlantis there was a great and wonderful empire which had rule over the whole island and several others, and over parts of the continent, and, furthermore, the men of Atlantis had subjected (25b) the parts of Libya within the columns of Heracles as far as Egypt, and of Europe as far as Tyrrhenia. (116d) And the temple of Poseidon himself was a stade in length, three plethra in breadth, and of a height which appeared symmetrical therewith; and there was something of the barbaric in its appearance. And Poseidon, who received for his lot the island of Atlantis, had children with a mortal woman, and settled them in a part of the island . �Its subject,� replied Critias, �was a very great exploit, worthy indeed to be accounted the most notable of all exploits, which was performed by this city, although the record of it has not endured until now owing to lapse of time and the destruction of those who wrought it.�, �Tell us from the beginning,� said Amynander, �what Solon related and how, and who were the informants who vouched for its truth.�. So all these, themselves and their descendants, dwelt for many generations bearing rule over many other islands throughout the sea, and holding sway besides, as was previously stated, over the Mediterranean peoples as far as Egypt and Tuscany. But in summer-time they left their gardens and gymnasia and dining halls, and then the southern side of the hill was made use of by them for the same purpose. Timaeus and Critias Quotes Showing 1-8 of 8 “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.” SOCRATES    For many generations, (120e) so long as the inherited nature of the God remained strong in them, they were submissive to the laws and kindly disposed to their divine kindred. I had then the greatest pleasure and amusement in hearing it, (26c) and the old man was eager to tell me, since I kept questioning him repeatedly, so that the story is stamped firmly on my mind like the encaustic designs of an indelible painting. Available English translations of Plato's Timaeus and Critias: Persons of the Dialogue: Socrates, Critias, Timaeus, Hermocrates. And of the buildings some they framed of one simple color, in others they wove a pattern of many colors by blending the stones for the sake of ornament so as to confer upon the buildings a natural charm. Timaios, pronounced [tǐːmai̯os]) is one of Plato's dialogues, mostly in the form of a long monologue given by the title character Timaeus of Locri, written c. 360 BC.The work puts forward speculation on the nature of the physical world and human beings and is followed by the dialogue Critias. But what I must somehow endeavor to show is that the discourse now to be delivered calls for greater indulgence because of its greater difficulty. May we say then that we have now gone through our discourse of yesterday, so far as is requisite in a summary review; or is there any point omitted, my dear, which we should like to see added? So though they gladly passed on these names (109e) to their descendants, concerning the mighty deeds and the laws of their predecessors they had no knowledge, save for some invariably obscure reports; and since, moreover, they and their children for many generations were themselves in want of the necessaries of life, their attention was given to their own needs (110a) and all their talk was about them; and in consequence they paid no regard to the happenings of bygone ages. Such was the vast power which the god settled in the lost island of Atlantis; and this he afterwards directed against our land for the following reasons, as tradition tells: (120e) For many generations, as long as the divine nature lasted in them, they were obedient to the laws, and well-affectioned towards the god, whose seed they were; for they possessed true and in every way great spirits, uniting gentleness with wisdom in the various chances of life, and in their intercourse with one another. And they placed therein golden statues, one being that of the God standing on a chariot and driving six (116e) winged steeds, his own figure so tall as to touch the ridge of the roof, and round about him a hundred Nereids on dolphins (for that was the number of them as men then believed); and it contained also many other images, the votive offerings of private men. (109b) Once upon a time the gods were taking over by lot the whole earth according to its regions,�not according to the results of strife: for it would not be reasonable to suppose that the gods were ignorant of their own several rights, nor yet that they attempted to obtain for themselves by means of strife a possession to which others, as they knew, had a better claim. NB: The borders of these paragraphs cannot be exactly reflected in a translation, e.g. The citizens have a deity for their foundress; she is called in the Egyptian tongue Neith, and is asserted by them to be the same whom the Hellenes call Athene; they are great lovers of the Athenians, and say that they are in some way related to them. The whole country was said by him to be very lofty and precipitous on the side of the sea, but the country immediately about and surrounding the city was a level plain, itself surrounded by mountains which descended towards the sea; it was smooth and even, and of an oblong shape, extending in one direction three thousand stadia, but across the centre inland it was two thousand stadia. Critias is the second of a projected trilogy of dialogues, preceded by Timaeus and followed by Hermocrates. And now, friend Critias, I will announce to you the judgment of the theatre. Thus there remains only that class which is of your complexion� (20a) a class which, alike by nature and nurture, shares the qualities of both the others. But in primitive times the hill of the Acropolis extended to the Eridanus and Ilissus, and included the Pnyx on one side, and the Lycabettus as a boundary on the opposite side to the Pnyx, and was all well covered with soil, and level at the top, except in one or two places. For practically all the most important part of our speech depends upon this goddess; for if I can sufficiently remember and report the tale once told by the priests and brought hither by Solon, I am wellnigh convinced that I shall appear to the present audience to have fulfilled my task adequately. Wherefore the goddess, who was a lover both of war and of wisdom, selected and first of all settled that spot which was the most likely to produce men likest herself. Now, therefore,�and this is the purpose of all that I have been saying,�I am ready to tell my tale, not in summary outline only but in full detail just as I heard it. Now different gods had their allotments in different places which they set in order. It received the streams which came down from the mountains and after circling round the plain, and coming towards the city on this side and on that, it discharged them thereabouts into the sea. That too was stated as you say. Then, in accordance with the word and law of Solon, I am to bring these before ourselves, as before a court of judges, and make them citizens of this State of ours, regarding them as Athenians of that bygone age whose existence, so long forgotten, has been revealed to us by the record of the sacred writings; and thenceforward I am to proceed with my discourse as if I were speaking of men who already are citizens and men of Athens. CRITIAS    good laws, things went well. I have before remarked in speaking of the allotments of the gods, that they distributed the whole earth into portions differing in extent, (113c) and made for themselves temples and instituted sacrifices. 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 (24e) both for magnitude and for nobleness. (112b) And its outer parts, under its slopes, were inhabited by the craftsmen and by such of the husbandmen as had their farms close by; but on the topmost part only the military class by itself had its dwellings round about the temple of Athene and Hephaestus, surrounding themselves with a single ring-fence, which formed, as it were, the enclosure of a single dwelling. And I will tell you why. So it was ordained that each such leader should provide for war the sixth part of a war-chariots equipment, so as to make up 10,000 chariots in all, together with two horses and mounted men; (119b) also a pair of horses without a car, and attached thereto a combatant with a small shield and for charioteer the rider who springs from horse to horse; and two hoplites; and archers and slingers, two of each; and light-armed slingers and javelin-men, three of each; and four sailors towards the manning of twelve hundred ships. The old man, as I very well remember, brightened up at hearing this and said, smiling: Yes, Amynander, if Solon had only, like other poets, made poetry the business of his life, and had completed the tale which he brought with him from Egypt, and had not been compelled, by reason of the factions and troubles which he found stirring in his own country when he came home, (21d) to attend to other matters, in my opinion he would have been as famous as Homer or Hesiod, or any poet. The greatest of the circles into which a boring was made for the sea was three stades in breadth, and the circle of land next to it was of equal breadth; and of the second pair of circles that of water was two stades in breadth and that of dry land equal again to the preceding one of water; and the circle which ran round the central island itself was of a stade's breadth. TIMAEUS    He has been taken ill, Socrates; for he would not willingly have been absent from this gathering. But at that epoch the country was unimpaired, and for its mountains it had (111c) high arable hills, and in place of the �moorlands,� as they are now called, it contained plains full of rich soil; and it had much forestland in its mountains, of which there are visible signs even to this day; for there are some mountains which now have nothing but food for bees, but they had trees no very long time ago, and the rafters from those felled there to roof the largest buildings are still sound. As soon as the day broke, I rehearsed them as he spoke them to my companions, that they, as well as myself, might have something to say. And whatever happened either in your country or in ours, or in any other region of which we are informed-if there were any actions noble or great or in any other way remarkable, they have all been written down by us of old, and are preserved in our temples. The city and citizens, which you yesterday described to us in fiction, we will now transfer to the world of reality. HERMOCRATES    (117c) And there they had constructed many temples for gods, and many gardens and many exercising grounds, some for men and some set apart for horses, in each of the circular belts of island; and besides the rest they had in the center of the large island a racecourse laid out for horses, which was a stade in width, while as to length, a strip which ran round the whole circumference was reserved for equestrian contests. The consequence is, that in comparison of what then was, 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. The leader was required to furnish for the war the sixth portion of a war-chariot, so as to make up a total of ten thousand chariots; also two horses and riders for them, (119b) and a pair of chariot-horses without a seat, accompanied by a horseman who could fight on foot carrying a small shield, and having a charioteer who stood behind the man-at-arms to guide the two horses; also, he was bound to furnish two heavy armed soldiers, two slingers, three stone-shooters and three javelin-men, who were light-armed, and four sailors to make up the complement of twelve hundred ships. For these histories tell of a mighty power which unprovoked made an expedition against the whole of Europe and Asia, and to which your city put an end. After him I am to follow, taking over from him mankind, already as it were created by his speech, and taking over from you (27b) a select number of men superlatively well trained. SOCRATES    Then have I now given you all the heads of our yesterday's discussion? And you, after consulting together among yourselves, (20c) agreed to pay me back today with a feast of words; so here I am, ready for that feast in festal garb, and eager above all men to begin. SOCRATES    We said, if I am not mistaken, that the guardians should be gifted with a temperament in a high degree both passionate and philosophical; and that then they would be as they ought to be, gentle to their friends and fierce with their enemies. Like as we previously stated concerning the allotments of the Gods, that they portioned out the whole earth, here into larger allotments and there into smaller, and provided for themselves (113c) shrines and sacrifices, even so Poseidon took for his allotment the island of Atlantis and settled therein the children whom he had begotten of a mortal woman in a region of the island of the following description. I will tell you the reason of this: Solon, who was intending to use the tale for his poem, enquired into the meaning of the names, and found that the early Egyptians in writing them down had translated them into their own language, and he recovered the meaning of the several names and when copying them out again translated them into our language. SOCRATES    Did we not begin by separating the husbandmen and the artisans from the class of defenders of the State? As to the population, (119a) each of the lots in the plain had to find a leader for the men who were fit for military service, and the size of a lot was a square of ten stadia each way, and the total number of all the lots was sixty thousand. Around the temple were golden statues of the 10 kings and their wives. Moreover, it was enriched by the yearly rains from Zeus, (111d) which were not lost to it, as now, by flowing from the bare land into the sea; but the soil; it had was deep, and therein it received the water, storing it up in the retentive loamy soil and by drawing off into the hollows from the heights the water that was there absorbed, it provided all the various districts with abundant supplies of springwaters and streams, whereof the shrines which still remain even now, at the spots where the fountains formerly existed, are signs which testify that our present description of the land is true. And these very writings were in the possession of my grandfather and are actually now in mine, and when I was a child I learnt them all by heart. Taking the form of dialogues between Socrates, Timaeus, Critias and Hermocrates, these two works are among Plato's final writings. So while many poems of many poets were declaimed, since the poems of Solon were at that time new, many of us children chanted them. Wherefore if at the moment of speaking I cannot suitably express my meaning, (107e) you must excuse me, considering that to form approved likenesses of human things is the reverse of easy. For as it is now, the action of a single night of extraordinary rain has crumbled it away and made it bare of soil, when earthquakes occurred simultaneously with the third of the disastrous floods which preceded the destructive deluge in the time of Deucalion. To this city came Solon, and was received there with great honour; (22a) he asked the priests who were most skilful in such matters, about antiquity, and made the discovery that neither he nor any other Hellene knew anything worth mentioning about the times of old.

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