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The Walls of Atlantis (cont.)
By Doug Fisher

Based on this corrected layout, here again we find that after crossing the three harbors we come to a wall as was stated by Critias. If the wall being spoken of was a fourth located at the sea 50 stades from the third outer harbor, instead of stating:


Figure 3 - Common misconception of a fourth wall lying 5.7 miles from the city complex and completely encircling it. Interaction between those living on this outer wall and the merchant ships filling the canal would have been minimal, limited to the entrance of the channel while there would have been absolutely no interaction with the ships in the city's outer harbor, seemingly conflicting with Plato's account.

"And after crossing the three outer harbors, [117e] one found a wall..."

It would have been more accurate to have stated:

"And after crossing the three outer harbors [and passing through the channel] one found a wall..." Or perhaps even "And after crossing the three outer harbors one found [the first of two walls...]"

But here is the clincher. If there was a fourth wall and it never came closer than 5.7 miles from the multi-ringed city and its outermost harbor, instead only coming in contact with a small portion of the channel at its seaward mouth as that misinterpretation maintains, portions of the passage would seem a bit disconnected and unnecessarily added.

"[117e] The whole of this wall had numerous houses built on to it, set close together; while the sea-way and the largest harbor were filled with ships and merchants coming from all quarters, which by reason of their multitude caused clamor and tumult of every description and an unceasing din night and day."

Contextually the surrounding text is focused on a description of the wall and it follows that this final portion of the passage addressing the endless clamor should also pertain directly to the wall, describing the constant interaction between those dwelling on the wall and the merchant ships that filled both the outer harbor and the 50-stadium channel.

The only such interaction with the alleged fourth wall would be limited to a very small area at the mouth of the channel near the sea. And in fact if there were guard towers located on both sides of the entrance into the channel then there would have been virtually no interaction between those that lived on the wall and the merchant ships entering the channel. We would have to assume that an extremely small group of people living on the wall were generating an 'unceasing din night and day' for all the city at all times of the day. It also makes little sense for Critias to mention the merchant ships in the largest harbor since they would not have been visible at all from any point along this vast wall, let alone for those dwelling on the wall to become so ecstatic about their activity 5.7 miles away.

At the bottom of figure 3 you can see how truly isolated this fourth wall would have been from the ships entering the channel and especially from those ships in the outermost harbor. If you look closely the little white specs on the blue water represent ships of about 120 feet (37 meters) in length, a general size for Greek triremes used merely to provide a sense of over all scale.

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