The Empires of Atlantis

The Origins of Ancient Civilizations and Mystery Traditions throughout the Ages

We warmly welcome Marco Vigato, author of Empires of Atlantis, as our featured author for April. Drawing on extensive ancient and modern sources and his exploration of hundreds of archaeological sites, Marco investigates the historical and geological reality of Atlantis, its rise and its fall. In his book, he traces the course of an Atlantean civilisation through its three empires and the colonies and outposts formed by its survivors in Egypt, Göbekli Tepe, India, Mesopotamia, the Mediterranean, and North and South America. 

Interact with Marco on our AoM Forum here.

My new book, The Empires of Atlantis is a search for the Esoteric as well as the historical Atlantis, weighing it against the latest scientific evidence from the fields of archaeology, geology, anthropology, and genetics.

This research owes much to Graham Hancock’s pioneering work as presented in Fingerprints of the Gods, Keeper of Genesis, Magicians of the Gods and America Before, centered on the idea of a lost, global seafaring civilization of remote antiquity and its identification with Plato’s Atlantis, which the present author also identifies with the Atlantis of Plato and esoteric legends.

Most people will be familiar with Plato’s story of Atlantis. Written in the 4th Century BC, it is the wonderful account of a mighty and splendid empire, whose island homeland sunk beneath the waves of the Atlantic Ocean 11,600 years ago. It is truly one of the foundational myths of western civilization, and one, moreover, that does not cease to fascinate and prompt questions about the reality and location of the fabled lost continent.

Plato’s story, however, is also a cautionary tale about how even the most splendid civilization that the world had ever known could fall prey to vice and corruption, eventually leading to its downfall. At its core, it is the story of the fall of primeval, golden and divine humanity, into the depths of materialism. The esoteric idea of the “Fall” of man from an original divine state, is thus projected against the idea of cyclical time and the myth of a lost Golden Age.

Esoteric Atlantology and the Ages of Man

Three hundred years before Plato, the Greek poet Hesiod spoke of the five ages of Man, tracing the descent of Mankind through five different ages or “Races”. Thus, the primeval Golden Age gave way to the Silver Age, the Bronze Age, the Age of Heroes and, finally, the dreaded Iron Age in which we live, representing the lowest point of the cycle. A similar worldview probably inspired the system of the Hindu Yugas, and the Mesoamerican Legend of the Suns, according to which the world has already undergone four previous cycles of creation or Suns.

This is a view radically different from that of contemporary evolutionary theory, which is based on the idea of a constant progression of humanity in the arts of civilization since the appearance of the first anatomically modern humans in East Africa about two hundred thousand years ago. What ancient worldviews maintain, is instead the idea of a descent of Man, a process of spiritual and material degradation from an original divine state. It is to these ancient worldviews that Plato conforms himself when he describes the fall of Atlantis as the result of the “divine portion” of its inhabitants fading away and becoming “diluted too often and too much with the mortal admixture”. Such is, according to Esoteric Tradition, the fate of every civilization. There is hope, however, for the end of a cycle also invariably marks the beginning of a new cycle. This whole system may be better described based on the idea of cosmic seasons, in which the Golden Age, Silver Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age follow each other in cyclical repetition. One only needs to know the starting point of the present cycle to draw a complete chronology and predict thus the beginning of a new Golden Age.

Figure 1. The sequence of the four Yugas or World Ages according to Esoteric cosmologies.

Ancient sources assign a fixed duration to the entire cycle and to each one of the cosmic seasons that together make up the Great Year. The key number is truly 25,920 years, a duration all but identical to the fabled period of the revolution of the zodiac, known today as the Precession of the Equinoxes. How exactly a tiny wobble in the Earth’s axis causing its tilt to change slightly over thousands of years could have such deep effects on the cycles of life and civilization on our planet is a question that few in the modern scientific community would even consider. Yet it was paramount to ancient cosmologies and worldviews, as shown by the great interest that nearly every ancient civilization on the planet put in the movements of the sky – an interest certainly going beyond the basic needs of planting and agriculture.

It was only with the advent of Christianity that ancient worldviews based on the concept of cyclical time and multiple cycles of creation were replaced by linear time, the belief in a single revelation and a single divine incarnation leading uniformly toward salvation. In the much shorter Christian and biblical chronology, the totality of human experience was effectively limited to the span of the present Iron Age or Kali Yuga which began, according to Puranic sources, in the year 3102 BCE, thus leaving no space for previous cycles of creation, least for the idea of a lost world ruled by the gods. It was based on the authority of the Bible that the Archbishop of Ireland James Ussher famously stated in 1650 that “the world was created at nightfall, preceding Sunday, October 3, 4004 BCE”. Yet, thousands of years before Ussher, the Brahmins of India realized time computations covering the enormous period of 4.32 billion years, while the Chaldean priests could boast of keeping accurate astronomical observations dating back 720,000 years. Ancient Egyptian records similarly spoke of primeval dynasties of gods and demigods ruling for tens of thousands of years before the beginning of recorded history.

The calendars of Atlantis

It is when comparing these ancient chronologies and king lists with one another that a most interesting pattern begins to emerge. In spite of all their internal inconsistencies, gaps in information and incredibly long durations of time, these documents, some of which date back almost to the beginning of recorded history in ancient Mesopotamia and Sumer, appear to be in substantial agreement when it comes to portraying a sequence of world ages related to astronomical cycles and the consecutive rule of divine, semi-divine, and finally purely human dynasties. This makes it possible to reconstruct a first, albeit still tentative picture of the origins of the present cycle and the succession of different world ages through the last 432,000 years.

A most interesting feature of these ancient esoteric chronologies is the reference to not just one, but multiple cataclysms periodically befalling human civilization, forcing the survivors, just like Plato’s Atlanteans, to “begin over again as children, knowing nothing of what had happened in ancient times”.

The last of these cataclysms in order of time would have occurred about thirteen thousand years ago, in 10,961 BCE, following an even earlier cataclysm in 35,335 BCE – the two being separated by almost exactly an entire precessional cycle. While the date of 10,961 BCE may be fixed astronomically, over half a dozen ancient chronologies point to at least one major cataclysm in the period between 11,500 and 9,200 BCE.

It is certainly a remarkable coincidence that this set of dates, derived from esoteric chronologies, also remarkably agrees not only with the date assigned by Plato to the final sinking and destruction of Atlantis, but also with the timescale of a mysterious cold spell accompanied by megafaunal extinctions known as the Younger Dryas. It is now widely believed that a massive cometary impact triggered the Younger Dryas about thirteen thousand years ago, with a second impact being possibly responsible for its abrupt ending almost 1,500 years later. The memory of the cataclysm was preserved in hundreds of mythical traditions from around the world that describe a fiery conflagration followed by a Great Flood and a sudden cooling of the Earth’s climate.

This is also the view presented by Graham Hancock in Magicians of the Gods, to whom goes the credit for first having brought the Younger-Dryas impact hypothesis to the forefront of the lost civilization debate.

A lost Mid-Atlantic continent

Unlike previous mass extinction events, the Younger Dryas cataclysm was not without witnesses, for modern humans had by then already been walking the planet for thousands of years, and may thus have been responsible for the destruction of an advanced Ice-age society whose survivors would later spread their civilization and culture throughout the world.

Geological and oceanographic evidence from the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean confirms the possibility that a sizeable landmass may have existed above water in the region of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and near the present-day Azores until comparatively recent times, in the same approximate location suggested by Plato and the Esoteric Tradition for Atlantis.

If we exclude the most recent hypotheses of a polar location of Atlantis either in Greenland or in Antarctica, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge has been the most frequently proposed location for the Lost Continent. Drained of the ocean’s waters, the Mid-Atlantic Ridge would appear as a continuous mountain range stretching nearly from Pole to Pole, extending for a length comparable to that of the combined Andes and the Rocky Mountains and with heights comparable to the Himalayas. The present-day Azores and Madeiras represent the highest peaks above water in this submerged mountain range. Evidence collected from the Atlantic seafloor shows the presence of extinct riverbeds continuing underwater for over 300 kilometers (186 miles) off the coast of Sao Miguel Island in the Azores, at a time when this portion of the Atlantic seafloor was still dry land. This evidence alone would suggest the cataclysmic sinking of a large landmass, measuring at least 450 miles across from East to West and 300 miles from North to South, by at least 3,300 meters (10,827 feet) in the recent geological past.

Figure 2. Bathymetric chart of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge (Courtesy of NOAA – PMEL Acoustic Program)

In his monumental tome Atlantis, Atlantology: Basic Problems, Russian scientist Nikolai Zhirov has collected hundreds of pages of geological, climatological and botanical evidence pointing to the former existence above the water of a large Mid-Atlantic landmass, certainly as late as the end of the last Ice Age, and possibly also much later during the European Bronze Age, in the third and second millennium B.C. The rising and subsidence of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge over tens of thousands of years may also explain the cycles of glaciation and deglaciation in the northern hemisphere, as well as the abrupt ending of the Younger Dryas in about 9,600 BCE. According to Zhirov and other scientists, it was the sinking of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, an event possibly triggered by a cometary impact, that effectively ended the last Ice Age by allowing the warm Gulf Current to reach the coasts of western and northern Europe.

The Neo-Atlantean Empires

If Zhirov is correct, Atlantis did not sink in a single day and night. Rather, the subsidence of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge spanned hundreds of thousands of years, alternating long periods of gradual subsidence with truly cataclysmic episodes of sinking by hundreds or even thousands of meters.

Despite the catastrophic events of the Younger Dryas and the end of the last Ice Age, Atlantean civilization did not vanish overnight. Evidence shows that Atlantean civilization did in fact survive the cometary impacts at the beginning of the Younger Dryas. During what I call the Neo-Atlantean period, between 10,961 and 9,600 BCE, Atlantean missionaries visited virtually every corner of the world in an attempt to reestablish pre-cataclysmic civilization.

Two main centers of Neo-Atlantean civilization emerged around this time, in Egypt and South America. It was from these two primary centers and their various colonial outposts that a colossal building program was undertaken, aimed at no less than reconstructing the lost world of the gods. This is the essence of many mythical accounts describing the arrival in various parts of the planet of seemingly divine beings, possessing a civilization and culture far in advance of that of the local indigenous populations.

Figure 3. The extent of Atlantean colonization and main centers of culture of the Neo-Atlantean period.

Graham Hancock was probably the first author in the lost civilization debate to drive attention to the Edfu Building texts, a set of cosmological records covering the walls of the Temple of Edfu, in Upper Egypt. These texts describe how, after a great and terrible cataclysm that plunged the world into darkness and destroyed the primeval island-homeland of the gods, a new generation of gods sailed from the primeval island, eventually settling in Egypt, where they became known as the Shemsu-Hor, the “Companions of Horus”. These semi-divine beings were responsible for the rise of the first Egyptian civilization of the prehistoric period and may have been the original builders of the Great Pyramid and of many of the other colossal megalithic structures of unknown date whose ruins are found throughout Egypt and the Middle East. Very similar accounts can be gathered throughout Mexico, Central and South America to explain the origin of sacred sites and other mysterious structures.

Yet also the immense surge of construction and accelerated technological evolution that characterized the Neo-Atlantean period was short-lived. Within a few centuries, the great edifice of Neo-Atlantean civilization lay in ruins, plunging the world again into the depths of a new Dark Age. The causes of the collapse are unclear: Whether this was the result of climatic and environmental factors, the pressures of an expanding population against a small, albeit technologically advanced elite, or a second cometary impact at the end of the Younger-Dryas, the main centers of Neo-Atlantean civilization were abandoned. In many cases, it is as if the builders simply dropped their tools and left, leaving only the shells of their unfinished structures, like a great Tower of Babel, behind.

Over the following centuries, global sea levels rose by an estimated 120 meters (400 feet), submerging an area of land roughly equivalent to the combined extension of Europe and the continental United States. The consequence of this rise in global sea levels would have been particularly severe for any coastal maritime civilization, whose major cities and trade centers would have been entirely submerged by the rising waters within the span of just a few generations.

In his book Underworld, Graham Hancock provides abundant evidence from around the world of submerged cities and megalithic structures that may date back to a time before this last catastrophic rise in global sea levels.

The Atlantean diaspora

The events of the end of the last ice age would have certainly caused a massive diaspora and exodus of people from the now doomed islands of Atlantis and the coastal centers of Neo-Atlantean civilization towards higher ground and the interior of continents. It was the disintegration and fragmentation of the Neo-Atlantean civilization that triggered one of the most remarkable stages of accelerated cultural and technological evolution in the whole of human history. As Atlantean survivors scattered through vast areas of the Middle East, western Europe, central and South America, they brought with them an extensive knowledge of agriculture, architecture and astronomy, which effectively gave rise to the Neolithic Revolution. It was at this time that we witness the sudden emergence of agriculture and of sophisticated lithic technology in places like Göbekli Tepe, Jericho and Çatal Höyük, as well as in the highlands of Mexico, Bolivia and Peru.

At the same time, the sinking of even the last islands of Atlantis, a process that extended well into the European Bronze Age, sent wave after wave of “Sea Peoples” to the coasts of Europe and Africa. These peoples were the originators of what has since become known as the Atlantic megalithic culture, through at least three different waves of migration in approximately 5,000 BCE, 3,500 BCE and 1,200 BCE. These Post-Atlantean “Sea Peoples”, or Pelasgians, as they would be known to the classical authors, penetrated as far as the western and eastern Mediterranean, where they remained a powerful force until at least the second millennium BCE, leaving evidence of their distinctive megalithic architecture over a very large area extending from the Orkney Islands in the North, to western France, southern Spain, Italy and Greece in the South and East. The last of the “Sea Peoples” invasions in the 12th Century BCE became memorialized in contemporaneous Egyptian records from the Temple of Medinet Habu.

The Legacy

In spite of their obvious decadence and the loss of much of their civilization and culture, Atlantean survivors were nevertheless able to preserve the principles of a certain type of sacred knowledge that still forms the basis of many esoteric and religious traditions throughout the world. Monuments as far away as the great Egyptian temples of the Pharaonic period, the mountain temples of Angkor in Cambodia and the Gothic cathedrals of medieval Europe all testify to the survival of a Sacred Science of Atlantean origin through countless millennia. It is difficult to speak of fortuitous coincidences when, throughout the millennia and on entirely separate continents, one finds the same images and symbols used over and over again to convey the same esoteric truths and to designate the same abstractions.

We are again indebted to Graham Hancock and Robert Bauval for first tracing in their book Talisman the full chain of transmission through which elements of this very ancient wisdom permeated into medieval and modern Europe, forming the basis of many esoteric and religious teachings of today.

This vast body of knowledge appears, moreover, already complete and fully-formed since the time of the earliest dynasties, knowing no period of development nor evolution. It must have thus existed at some point as a preconceived plan, directed by powerful masterminds whose only purpose seems to have been the unadulterated transmission of knowledge through the ages that separate us from the fall of the last Atlantean Empire.

Ultimately, this very long chain of transmission appears to be the continuation of the Neo-Atlantean project which was left interrupted by the events of the end of the last Ice Age and the Atlantean diaspora. What this project calls for, is no less than the resurrection of the lost world of the gods, which alone will bring forth a new Golden Age for mankind.

About the Author

Marco M. Vigato has spent the past 15 years researching the question of the origins of civilization around the world. He is the author of The Empires of Atlantis, published by Inner Traditions, and a frequent contributor to various print and online journals.

He holds degrees from Milan’s Bocconi University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. A native of Italy, he lives and works in Mexico City.

He can be followed through his website

The Empires of Atlantis

The Origins of Ancient Civilizations and Mystery Traditions throughout the Ages

Marco M. Vigato is an Italian born author, researcher and explorer who has dedicated the last 15 years of his life to the task of uncovering the truth about the origins of civilization. Educated at Harvard and Milan's Bocconi University, he lives in Mexico City.

He is the author of The Empires of Atlantis, published by Inner Traditions, and has appeared on numerous documentaries, podcasts and TV shows as an expert in ancient Mesoamerica and the worldwide megalithic phenomenon.

In 2020, he founded the ARX Project ( with the objective of uncovering more evidence of what he believes was once an advanced global seafaring culture that vanished at the end of the last Ice Age.

He can be followed on his website

11 thoughts on “The Empires Of Atlantis”

  1. James says:

    Might have to check this out!

  2. Margot Schönberger says:

    Une superbe synthèse de nombreuses sources ! merci !

  3. Emilio says:

    This is the most eloquent summarization of the Azures Island theory I have ever read. All of the old customs and traditions, the history of the esoteric culture alongside the latest research — Seriously, bravo! Can’t wait to get the book.

  4. Luke says:

    Really awesome. This is a great mystery, all part of the human story. It is important to look deeper and explore the evidence. I’m wondering about the mountains in north africa, called the Atlas mountains… coincidence?

    1. Travis says:

      Not at all a coincidence My Friend. The capital of Atlantis is the eye of the Sahara or also known as the Richat structure but the civilization was more global than originally thought. With ten kingdoms spread throughout the world and not just on a handful of islands as others have suggested. The Richat can also be traced back to being surround by water by inundation mapping and fits every description of the capital of Atlantis right down to the wells of fresh water on the center of the structure. I am excited to check this book out and see where this author went with his research into this forgotten history. I hope that it becomes available for Audible!

  5. Mark H Gaffney says:

    hi Marco,

    Thank you for a fine article. I will have to go back and check Hesiod — who as you say mentioned the five ages of man. The number five cannot be coincidence because we have come to know — about four previous north/south pole positions which, plus the current pole (N&S), equals five pole positions that are known to us.

    In 2001 two paleontologists, Andrew Currant and Roger Jacobi (both since deceased) published an extremely important science paper summarizing nearly 200 years of research in the bone caves of Britain. The authors explain in their paper that all of this research succeeded in identifying five separate and distinct stratigraphic layers of the bone caves. Each layer is associated with a unique climate and assemblage of species that were current in that period. Moreover, fossils from each of the layers have now been isotopically dated.

    I pointed out the biggest surprise, however, in my Book Deep History and the Ages of Man. The surprise is that each of the five stratigraphic layers correlates with one of the four known previous pole positions over the last 130,000 years. If we include the present north/south pole this makes five.

    So the Ages of Man identified by Hesiod ~800 BC correspond with earth change events — each of which involved a cataclysmic slippage of the earth’s crust.

    Please consider my suggestion that the period — which you evidently believe relates to the precessional cycle — may instead relate to a 12,000 cycle of our sun. I cannot prove this, it’s merely a suggestion for your consideration.

    Thanks again for a stimulating paper.
    Mark H Gaffney, author, Deep History and the Ages of Man (2nd ed, February, 2022)

  6. Nick Schmidt says:

    Thank you for this intriguing historical information. I have a question for Marco Vigato and Graham Hancock…

    Let’s assume that the Golden Age follows the current Iron Age. Given all the fear-based energy that exists in the world today, how can a Golden Age, when most of the energy is love-based, evolve from the overwhelming preponderance of fear that exists today? I’m beginning to think that a cleansing must take place, and only the spiritually-awakened remnants that remain will form the seeds of the Golden Age.

    I’d appreciate your thoughts…Thank you, Nick

  7. Manu Seyfzadeh says:

    Hello Marco,

    I noticed something in the name of Hesiodos’ Fortunate Isles, in Greek the μακάρων νῆσοι [makárōn nêsoi], that immediately caught my attention. This is the place to where the fallen heroes of the Heroic Age went yonder. In the Pyramid Texts, there is mention of an jw nsjsj, i.e., Island of Fire. This is mentioned twice, once on the west gable of the antechamber inside the Pyramid of Unas, and once on the east gable.
    The reason why I find this interesting besides the etymological resemblance of the words νῆσοι and nsjsj is that the Azores are volcanic, hence “fire-born,” islands, and that the heroes chose to be resurrected three times to navigate their, and the Pyramid Texts of course are about resurrection.

    1) Antechamber Unas West Gable (, bottom of the 15th column from the right (north): It states that Unas has come from the Island of Fire and put order in place (jst) of chaos (jzft).

    2) Antechamber Unas East Gable (, bottom of the 11th column from the right (south): It states that Unas is living of the gods who have their belly full of magic from the Island of Fire.

  8. Andrew Pearson says:

    Three books worth hunting down re the cataclysm +/- 12000 years ago:
    When The Earth Nearly Died – DS Allen & JB Delair
    Earth Under Fire – Paul A Laviolette
    The Atlantis Enigma – Herbie Brennan
    Not sure whether they are still in print or not

  9. Jay Hurst says:

    We mustn’t neglect the Chinese Pyramids in Xi’An: 34°10’45.00″N 109°01’41.00″E

    Their alignment is at least interestingly similar to the pyramids at the Giza plateau, though clearly there are significant differences. Similar in circumference and only slightly different in layout, if you compare each set of three main pyramids, both sets are aligned to true North, and when placed together present an almost mirror image of each other:

    To travel full circle by linking this part of China to the America’s, there’s also the indisputable Sisiutl found at Shinmao, in Shaanxi, China, dating back to 2300 BC, first mentioned here by Nathan Myers:

    Which, if one compares it to the figures of Sisiutl still made in the Pacific Northwest today, I’m sure you’ll agree there’s a striking degree of thematic and stylistic similarity which would be very difficult to account for with the current mainstream explanation of human history:

    (The top image is a relief carving at the base of a wall at Shinmao, the two images below are Sisiutl figures from Northwest American native tradition. I have my own ideas about these specific representations of Sisiutl but I shan’t bore you…)

    Anyway, the three main pyramids at Xi’An if connected through their centres form a line which, if extended west, falls more or less exactly between Giza and Gobekli Tepi, which is probably completely coincidental, but nevertheless interesting.

    Very much looking forward to reading your book!

  10. Murat says:

    I saw the book in this site and bought it right away. Made it to page 100 now. In the overall it is going well and wants you to keep on reading. My only negative comment so far would be the writer’s reference to T. Lobsang Rampa. I understand that the is making a reference to secret libraries under Tibet (and some other locations) and uses this fellow together with other 2 resources, however, T. Lobsang Rampa is a highly discredited character. He was a plumber from US that had no relation to Tibet whatsoever. Besides, all the things that he talks about was discredited by Dalai Lama himself. He talks about some highly unrealistic stuff about Tibet, such as lamas flying on cardboard kites.

    In my opinion, people writing in these highly disputed matters such as Atlantis should refrain from using such sources with limited credibility, even if they are trying to make a point. This throws a huge mud on the wall and makes the reader to question the credibility of the other references as well.

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