Atlantis: The Andes Solution: The Discovery Of South America As The Legendary Continent Of Atlantis, by J.M. Allen
When people think of the myths of Atlantis or the many stories that are based on those myths, a lot of fantastic elements are added that make the stories less than entirely believable for many people. One hears stories about lasers and so forth and tends to discount them completely . That said, the writings of Plato concerning Atlantis, which this book faithfully copies from one of the extant translations into English, are rather sober-minded and plausible, assuming some garbling from collecting the information second-hand. This book consists of a serious attempt by an amateur historian and classicist to take Plato seriously and see what place would best fit the available knowledge coming from that source as well as other lines of evidence concerning Egypt. The result is a worthwhile book, that if it does not entirely convince me of its veracity, at least strikes me as being worth taking seriously. This book is certainly written by someone who is a complete believer in their theory but finds it not taken seriously, and this is definitely a book worth taking seriously.
In terms of its contents, this is a short book, and even shorter when you consider how much of its contents consist of a quotation of Plato’s writings on Atlantis. Yet this book is not one that overstays its welcome, being more about quality than mere quantity. The author begins by talking about the golden keys to Atlantis, then looks at how South America fits the bill, specifically the antiplano area south of Lake Titicaca. The author discusses Plato’s account and Donnelly’s account of Atlantis. The author then discusses the relationship between Atlantis and the Sea Peoples, the relationship of the Antiplano to the Aztecs and their stories of Aztlan, as well as the way that South America remained the land of the four quarters. The author then moves into some interesting evidence that shows how one of Plato’s comments about a metal corresponds to the behavior of Orichalcum, and how the sailors of Tyre and Carthage appear to have known about the ideal Prime Meridian, where Carthage happens to have been built. After a discussion of the author’s expedition to South America to look for signs of Atlantis, the author closes with some supporting material including photographs and commentaries.
It must be freely admitted that this is not a perfect book. It is a very good book, but not a perfect one. Like many books of its kind, the author spends too much time making too much fit. If you take the book, though, to signify that at some point there was a maritime Andean Empire that had a great deal of cultural influence, it is not a nonsensical idea in the least, as many empires have been involved in trade with the Americas. That said, few people seem to take this seriously. The Greeks themselves likely heard a garbled account from the Egyptians as well as from the Hebrews or Carthaginians, and as it was the Greeks who passed it down, there are likely some ambiguities in the words that are used. All in all, though, this book makes sense and also allows the reader to gain an understanding of a wider world of early human history far from Europe and Mesopotamia. The more we understand the global aspects of trade, especially as far as precious metals are concerned, the better we can grasp the way that the New World and the Old World have seldom been as far separated as they are usually assumed to be. This book is merely one piece of that larger puzzle.
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