Hans David Tampubolon, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | National |
A manuscript from the era of ancient Greece backs up a claim that the lost continent of Atlantis was part of pre-historic Indonesia, a book written by an Indonesian geologist concludes. In the book, titled Penemuan Atlantis Nusantara (The Discovery of Atlantis in the Archipelago), Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) geologist Danny Hilman claims that the condition of pre-historic Indonesia is consistent with the description given by Plato in the classic dialogues on Atlantis, Timaeus and Critias, which makes the country the perfect location for the lost continent. “Where was Atlantis? It definitely was not in the Mediterranean region, which includes Europe, Turkish-Asia and Egypt. All these Mediterranean candidates, including Crete-minoan, Cyprus etcetera, do not fit the description of the location in Plato’s dialogue,” Danny says in the book. Based on Plato’s description, Atlantis was located in a land with a tropical climate and abundant natural resources, including herbs, fruit and horticultural plantations. The land was struck by continuous rainfall some 11,000 years ago and was later submerged by floods. Needle in a haystack: A field worker sifts through what is left of an ancient structure at the Gunung Padang megalithic site, about 60 kilometers southwest of Cianjur, West Java. The structure, which many believe was older than the Egyptian pyramids, has been used as evidence that an advanced civilization had existed in the country long before the rise of other ancient civilizations. Kompas/Andrean Kristianto “It does not take a genius to pinpoint where Atlantis was. Let us open the world map and find out by ourselves which region fits Plato’s description. There is no other choice but the ‘Sundaland’,” Danny says, referring to a region that covers Sumatra, Java and Kalimantan. He said thousands of years ago, these islands were joined as one giant continent before most parts were subsumed by the sea. “Sundaland fits 100 percent with the description of Atlantis in Timaeus and Critias. Sundaland, 11,600 years ago, was a large peninsula that extended from the Asian continent. All of the characteristics [of Atlantis], including animals, plantations and natural mineral resources described in Critias are exactly the same as that of Sundaland,” Danny said. Danny is the first Indonesian to publish a book claiming the existence of Atlantis in ancient Indonesia. Previously, two foreign scientists — Stephen Oppenheimer from Britain and Arysio Santos from Brazil — had published books on the possibility that an advanced civilization existed in ancient Southeast Asia. However, many doubted the claim. Yogyakarta-based Gadjah Mada University (UGM) archaeologist Daud Aris Tanudirjo said that it was premature to conclude that Atlantis was once part of pre-historic Indonesia. “More research needs to be conducted. What we have so far are merely interpretations of an old manuscript, which can differ from one person to another,” Daud told The Jakarta Post. “Researchers in the Mediterranean have also used the same basis to claim that Atlantis was part of their region. We have to be careful because the similarity of descriptions contained in a manuscript with real life events or conditions does not always mean that it accurately describes a certain location,” he added. Daud also questioned the validity of Danny’s claim because the latter only used a translated version of Plato’s dialogue manuscript. “Did he [Danny] have the capacity to read or comprehend the original manuscript, which was written in latinized Greek? Sometimes, a translation can have a certain bias,” Daud said. Speaking during the launch of his book, Danny said he had only read the English version of the manuscript. Regardless of the criticism, Danny stuck to his guns. “The story of Atlantis in Plato’s dialogue was based on facts, not fiction. This claim has been confirmed by Solon, a well respected Greek legislator who lived 150 years before Plato,” Danny says in the book.
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