small blue flowers


long way around the sea

Well, as neat as it is, the river does indeed flow into the sea (or another, bigger river) so following my last post in the geography theme, I'm going to write about the sea/ocean.

Is there a difference between a sea and an ocean? The only real difference that I could discern from their meanings is that you can have an inland sea (Caspian Sea), but not an inland ocean. Maybe someone with greater knowledge than I can shed some light. Now normally talk of the ocean would be a good excuse to talk about pirates, or if we went back to last months theme we could talk about how Pirates of the Caribbean 2 has just become the third biggest grossing film of all time. But we shouldn't do that really. We should examine closely the links between music and those vast expanses of water. We should wonder at the metaphors used within, woven so cleverly that even the most ardent fans still argue for hours over the internet about what they really mean. We could wonder at the destructive nature of the sea, the mystery of it and indeed the mysteries it holds. We may even look at the man made craft that skim atop its surface, like the ill-fated Titanic, the Marie Celeste or the HMS Bounty. In fact the list is practically endless and I have no idea where to begin.

Saying that, as I write it, I have the sudden idea to write about one of the greatest oceanic mysteries, Atlantis. Where did it disappear to? Did it really exist?

The earliest mention of Atlantis came from Plato in about 350BC where he describes several conversations overheard. One of the participants of these conversations (Timaeus) claims that his account stems from Solon the Lawmaker who visited Egypt in the 6th century BC. Timaeus may actually be a fictional character invented by Plato, however, Solon is a historical person. Of course, we all want to know where Atlantis was (while at the same time trying to banish images of Patrick Duffy's webbed hands and feet from our minds). Many theories suggest that Atlantis was somewhere inside the Mediterranean, at various locations. This is given some weight due to the volcanic eruption of Mount Thera which occurred in the 17th or 15th century BC. The eruption would have caused a massive tsunami which could easily have wiped out a coastal civilization. Certainly, if Atlantis didn't exist, then its legend may have been based on this.

The Black Sea is also a popular theoretical site. In about 5600 BC the Black Sea flooded with 200 times the daily flow over Niagra Falls pouring into to it for some 300 days through the Bosphorus. It was then a freshwater lake and this flooded some 150,000 square kilometeres of land. In fact this flood has also been postulated as the flood of Noah, but many scientists believe that was some 2000 years or so later.

Maybe it existed in the lost continent of Mu? Maybe not. Other popular destinations for the fabled city are Cyprus, Caribbean and the Pacific Ocean. I'm not sure if anyone will ever truly find out where Atlantis was, or even if it existed, but I do know we'd be poorer without the myth.

I suppose I should have talked about the songs, but suffice to say they're great, with the first one being the least great, but increasing in oceanic greatness as we go down the all too short list. (even Bat For Lashes, kitten)

mp3: Frank Black - Atlantis (Buy)

mp3: Bat For Lashes - Mother Sea (Buy)

mp3: Low - Long Way Around the Sea (Buy)

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