"There were a great number
of elephants in the island, for there was ample provision of food for all
sorts of animals... including for the animal which is the largest and the
most voracious of all."
The question of elephants is very important,
for it sheds a lot of light on the issue of Atlantis. The date given by
Plato for the end of Atlantis that of 11,600 BP is a divisor of waters. It corresponds precisely with that of the drastic end of the Pleistocene. This is the epoch when the mammoth and
the mastodon became extinct throughout the world, along with a myriad species of other plants and animals. Plato would certainly
call these two elephantoids by the name of "elephant", an animal they closely resemble in both shape and size.
So, if we consider the date given by Plato
to be real, we could place Atlantis everywhere these great mammals existed.
In contrast, if we accept later dates, as do the proponents of an American
or a Theran Atlantis, we must disregard the mammoth and the mastodon, for
they were already extinct. To be sure, there are some later RC dates for
the mammoth in North America, well after the end of the Pleistocene. But
these should be considered pending confirmation, as they seem to be spurious, pehaps as the result of contamination by extraneous material.
In other words, elephants proper are only
found in Africa and in South Asia. So, the exigency of their presence by
Plato excludes the Americas and the Mediterranean Basin, with the exception
of North African countries. The elephant existed in North Africa, and was
utilized by Hannibal of Carthage, in his war against Rome. Some ancient traditions report the presence of wild elephants in Syria, where it was ritually hunted by kings and pharaohs. But these traditions probably refer to the pristine "Syria", the Island of the Sun (Surya, in Sanskrit), which is no other than Atlantis itelf. However, the unlikely presence of the elephant in ancient Palestine would hardly invalidate any of our conclusions, for this semi-desertic region of the globe can hardly have been the actual site of luscious, tropical Atlantis.
The wonderful creature also exists
in the African savannas in relatively great numbers. But it is in the Indies
that is, in India, Indonesia and the Malay Peninsula that the elephant indeed thrives. There, the elephant has been domesticated as a beast both of burden and warfare use since remotest antiquity, as attested in the steatite seals of the Indus Valley Civilization.
The mammoth and the mastodon in contrast
to the elephant were well adapted to cold weather, and ranged farther
north, into the icy regions of Pleistocenic North America, Europe, and North Asia.
So, if we include these creatures under the "elephants" mentioned by Plato,
we must also include the regions just mentioned as possible sites for Atlantis. But we should keep in mind that this inclusion automatically
requires that the date for Atlantis in these locations must be the one given by Plato for its demise, for these animals became extinct after the end of the Pleistocene Ice Age, some 11,600 years ago, the very date of Atlantis' foundering.
Turning to other points. As a matter of fact, the elephant was the totemic deity of the Nagas (or Aryans) of India. The Nagas (or Titans) were the people so closely connected with Atlantis and Atlantean legends
there and elsewhere. Indeed, the word
naga means both
"elephant" and "serpent" (or "dragon") in Sanskrit. Such "dragons" or
"elephants" are universally held to be the same as the Atlantean Sons of
God, the engenderers of royal dynasties everywhere. Such was the case, for instance, of Alexander, the Great, of Buddha (the Elephant = a Naga), and of Arthur Pendragon ("Son of the Dragon").
Interestingly enough, the Mayas of Mexico worshipped the elephant
as a totemic deity, and endlessly reproduced the animal's features in their
temples and palaces. Mayan temples are often decorated with
elephantine trunks in the so-called "elephant trunk" decorations. These
are said to reproduce the elephant-faced god called Chaac. Chaac seems to
be the exact counterpart of his Hindu alias, Ganesha, likewise elephant-headed.
No one with an open mind can ever deny that the Mayan god Chaac locally called
Narigon ("Big Nose") is anything other than an elephant god of
the type the Hindus call
(a Sanskrit word meaning both "Elephant
and "Serpent" or "Dragon").
The Nagas represent the anguipedal Titans
and, in particular, the serpent (or elephant =
Naga) god Shesha. Shesha is the true archetype of Atlas as the Pillar of the World. Similar elephantine temple decoration abound even today in the Indies. There the elephant (or serpent) god is, just as in Mayan America, endlessly reproduced in the form of pillars supporting the temples' roofings which represents the skies. In Incan Peru we also had the same thing. There too, the Serpent Amaru the exact counterpart of Shesha was held to support the world. Its dual was the Inti Bird, a sort of kite or falcon, also the archenemy of serpents. Both animals figured in the royal coat-of-arms, just as they did in Mexico.
The elephant or serpent gods of the Incas, the Mayas and the Hindus have a dual in the eagle god, called Garuda
or Nagari ("Enemy of the Nagas") in the Indies. In Mexico, the duel of the Eagle and the Serpent has been adopted as the national emblem of Mexico, as it was central to Mayan religion. The motif is equally famous in the Indies, where Garuda is the Eagle, and the Nagas are the Serpents or Dragons.
Hence, either the Mayas got their notion
of elephant gods from India, or we have to root their formidable civilization in ante-Diluvian, Pleistocenic times. Both perspectives are equally fascinating. They both spell Atlantis, for Pleistocenic civilizations or intimate
trans-Pacific contacts between the Far East and the Americas both collide
front on with "official" views of human prehistory.
Whereas the elephant or the extinct mammoths
and mastodons may have existed in a now sunken Atlantic island, there is
no confirmatory evidence for this, and the matter is pending. Scandinavia
and Celtiberia present certain evidence of the presence of the mammoths,
but none whatsoever of its domestication or of any great Pleistocenic civilization that might be equated with Atlantis.