Paul Borchardt locates Atlantis in Tunisia

Entworfen von Paul Borchardt / Leitung: Prof Paul Langhans, Plato Insel Atlantis | Lageplan der Burg des Poseidon | Die Ebene von Atlantis | Atlantis als Mittelpunkt eines Kulturkreises. Gotha, Germany: Justus Perthes, 1927.
Lithograph printed in colors, 12”h x 19 1Ž2”w at neat line plus margins. Folds as issued and a hint of marginal foxing, else excellent.

Fascinating color-printed map purporting to show the location of Atlantis in present-day Tunisia, published in Petermanns Geographische Mitteilungen for 1927.

This map is the work of Dr. Paul Borchardt who later became one of the more intriguing figures in World War II espionage. Borchardt’s work on Atlantis originated in his close reading of Plato’s dialogues the Timaeus and Critias, both of which presented the island kingdom as a cautionary tale about a failed utopian state. Atlantis fell victim first to imperial overreach (like Plato’s own Athens) and then to devastating earthquakes and floods.

Borchardt took Plato perhaps a little too literally and dedicated much energy to locating Atlantis on the north coast of Africa, in present-day Tunisia. On Borchardt’s reading, Plato was describing the kingdom as consisting of two distinct areas. One, shown on the left side of this map, was the royal city (“Burg des Poseidon”) on an island in the Schott el Hanceima, which lies below sea level and in ancient times was connected with the Mediterranean. The other, the main island of Atlantis, was per Borchardt on an area of the North African coast, shown on the right side of this map, which at one point was separated from the mainland.