Further Travels in Atlantis with Christopher Gill

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In this continuation of the main interview, we explore the Atlantean terrain further. Topics dicussed include:

  • Two of the likely historical sources at play in Plato’s Atlantis story, namely the war with Persia and the more recent Peloponnesian War,
  • A survey of the ancient reception of the Atlantis story after Plato’s time,
  • And of the exotic modern reception and transformation of the story in all manner of esoteric currents of thought,
  • The only ‘explanation’ of the Atlantis story to carry some weight in scholarly circles, the so-called ‘Minoan hypothesis’ arguing that the story is an echo of the eruption of Thera and subsequent collapse of the Minoan civilisation,

I attempt to draw Prof Gill out on the possible significance of all the baffling details of Plato’s Atlantis which seem to partake in the more general approach to geometric and arithmetical philosophy found in the Tim├Žus, but he refuses to speculate on what we can’t really know. Too bad. But this does lead us to speculations on the possibility that Plato was basically right about the universe being fundamentally mathematical, as certain ideas in modern physics (‘information theory’ and the like) might suggest.

Works Discussed in this Episode:

  • Luce, J., 1969. The End of Atlantis : New Light on an Old Legend. Thames & Hudson, London.
  • Tarrant, H., 2017. Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus. Volume VI, Book 5, Proclus on the Gods of Generation and the Creation of Humans. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
  • Tegmark, M., 2015. Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality. Penguin, London.
  • Vidal-Naquet, P.trans., J. L. (Ed.), 2007. The Atlantis Story: A Short History of Plato’s Myth. University of Exeter Press, Exeter.

The broadcast of Bettany Hughes reviving the Theran hypothesis can be found on her website.