探索发现-寻找亚特兰提斯Discovery Atlantis01

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Vanishing from the face of the earth
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on one dark, terrifying night,
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the legendary city of Atlantis has remained a mystery
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that has baffled explorers and historians
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for over two thousand years.
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The tragic story of the golden city of Atlantis is
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said to have first been whispered among the pyramids of Egypt.
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Priests in the land of the pharaohs
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told a visiting Greek statesman named Solon
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about a mighty city that was suddenly and violently destroyed,
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leaving behind no trace of its existence.
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No one would ever know about Atlantis,
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had it not been for Solon's distant descendant,
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the famous Greek philosopher, Plato,
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who lived in the 4th Century BC.
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Saying that the precious information
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had been handed down to him through generations of Greeks,
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Plato recorded the strange tale of Atlantis
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in one of his classic works.
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According to Plato's writings,
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there was once a city of fantastic wealth and power
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situated at the edge of a fair and highly-fertile plain
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on a vast island.
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The city ruled over a glorious empire
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that had flourished more than nine thousand years earlier.
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The city, Plato wrote, was called Atlantis,
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and it was so unimaginably rich,
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its walls were covered in gold and other precious metals.
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Lying within a complex system of canals,
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it possessed a huge trading network and awesome military strength.
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But after the kings of Atlantis had ruled for many generations,
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the island on which their city lay was suddenly destroyed
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in a violent cataclysm.
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In a single, dreadful night,
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it was swallowed up by the sea, and vanished.
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It is an extraordinary story. But is it true?
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As one of the greatest philosophers of all time,
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Plato is perhaps best known for his attempts
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to describe an ideal society, the perfect world as he saw it.
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So he could have dreamed up the story of Atlantis
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to get across these ideas.
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But Plato repeatedly emphasized that the story of Atlantis is true.
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What is more, he maps out the geography and architecture
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of the metropolis at length,
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in a way which seems concrete and real.
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He described it in such detail,
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that it looks much more like a travelogue,
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a guide book to some foreign country.
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That suggests that it is a real place,
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somewhere, at some time, but a real place.
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And we could go and look for it.
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Certainly, many have been convinced that Atlantis was a real place.
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And so, from the first stage of exploration to the present day,
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the search for the lost city has become the ceaseless obsession
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of historians and treasure hunters alike.
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One of the earliest sites to inspire Atlantis seekers
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was the Greek island of Thera in the eastern Mediterranean.
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Peaceful enough now,
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its dark rocks bear witness to a terrifying natural disaster.
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Some three and a half thousand years ago,
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people were forced to run for their lives
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as a volcano exploded with extraordinary violence.
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It ejected enormous masses of volcanic material
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which not only covered the entire island of Thera,
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but spread all over the eastern Mediterranean.
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The eruption of the volcano, Thera, was the biggest in history.
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Here, thought many, was an event
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that strongly echoed Plato's description
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of the catastrophic end of Atlantis.
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Further evidence dramatically came to light in 1967,
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when archeologists uncovered an entire abandoned town on Thera.
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It had lain hidden for centuries
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under layers of solidified volcanic ash.
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Excavation revealed that the people who lived here
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had once been part of the great Minoan culture.
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A major power in the Mediterranean, the Minoans, like the Atlantians,
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were wealthy and sophisticated,
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their plush homes adorned with ornate frescoes.
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It is true that the standard of civilization
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we reveal in these ruins is... exactly, or almost exactly
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what Plato describes for Atlantis.
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But something not exactly as described is the dating of Thera.
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Plato says it was nine thousand years
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before the time of his ancestor, Solon,
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that Atlantis was destroyed.
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Yet, it was only around nine hundred years before Solon
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that the Minoan town was buried under red-hot ash.
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It has been argued that the figure of nine thousand must be a mistake.
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Since Egyptian history did not go back nearly that far,
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it could be an error introduced as the story was handed down
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from Egyptians to Greeks.
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So Thera need not be ruled out.
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All the similarities, the volcanic eruption,
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the type of society, the standard of civilization,
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led many people to be convinced that Thera is Atlantis.
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But despite its attractions,
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dates are not the only difficulty with Thera.
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For it was only one small colony of
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the much larger Minoan civilization.
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Yet in Plato's tale,
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it is the entire empire of Atlantis which disappears.
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Thera was not the center of the Minoan civilization.
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The center was in Crete, seventy miles away from here.
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But Crete was not affected by the eruption.
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There are still many who believe that
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it was here Atlantis met its tragic end.
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But doubts about Thera have led others to take their quest
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for the lost city elsewhere.
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And it is at a place of heroes and legends, a place that was,
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for centuries, itself thought to be no more than a fantasy,
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that a more recent theory about Atlantis has arisen.
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The mighty city of Troy was once thought by many to be
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an invention of the Greek poet, Homer,
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in his epic stories of the Trojan Wars.
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But with the discovery of this Bronze-Age site in Turkey,
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the famous city of Troy was transformed
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from myth into solid stone.
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Of the many experts who have flocked
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to investigate the remains of Troy, one,
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Doctor Eberhard Zangger, a geoarcheologist,
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came up with a startling idea.
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Could the discovery of Troy have also ended the search for Atlantis?
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Could the two legendary cities be one and the same?
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Troy had not sunk into the sea or been destroyed overnight.
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But Zangger's research uncovered many striking parallels
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with Atlantis and the city's landscape and architecture.
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Some experts are convinced Zangger is right.
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Zangger's idea that Troy and Atlantis
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might be the same thing is new
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and it is very original and it is very exciting.
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The strength of his theory is that
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so many features of Atlantis seem to be possibly or probably