Atlantis: The Search for the Lost City of the Ancients
The search for the Lost City of the Ancients was one of the main story arcs of Stargate SG-1 from the end of Season Six to the beginning of Season Eight. It is also a major story arc for the members of SG-1, especially for Jack and Daniel. An interesting twist to the tale of the search of the Lost City of the Ancients is that Jack and Daniel were not able to discover its location from within the Stargate SG-1 episodes, but from within the program premier of the spin-off Stargate Atlantis, in the episode called "Rising."
In the episode, 6.22 "Full Circle," Anubis attacked Abydos in his search for the Eye of Ra, one of several components needed to amplify the power of a weapon he was building on his mothership. Daniel, as an Ascended Being, visited Jack in the SGC's elevator to tell him of Anubis' attack and asked that Jack help the Abydonians fight. Jack asked Daniel to help them once they were under fire on Abydos and Daniel complied. He led Carter and Jonas to an area of the temple where he believed that the Eye was stored. After they located a storage room in the temple, they looked for the Eye among all of the treasures Ra had gathered there. Daniel's attention was drawn to a broken tablet on the table in the middle of the room.
Daniel was versed in the various dialects of the Ancients and could read the tablet with great ease. He discovered that the Ancients, those who built the stargates, became two groups when the plague swept the galaxy (4.06 "Window of Opportunity" and 6.04 "Frozen"): those that died of the plague and those that learned to ascend to a higher plane of existence. Much to Daniel's surprise and amazement, the group of Ascended Beings known as The Others were actually the ascended Ancients.
Daniel continued to read the tablet and found that the Ancients had left behind a great city, called the Lost City, which had powerful weaponry which, if Anubis were to find, would mean Anubis' total supremacy in the galaxy with very little hope of ever overcoming him. The information on that tablet was so extremely important that Daniel insisted that SG-1 save the tablet and themselves and get off of Abydos with it as soon as possible. The Eye of Ra was not even a major consideration in the type of weaponry available in the Lost City, so SG-1 traded it for their free passage to the stargate. Daniel told Jack that he'd help them find the Lost City once they got the tablet off of Abydos.
Daniel bought time for his friends to get through the stargate by confronting Anubis, but Oma Desala pulled him out of actually wiping Anubis from existence at the last moment (8.18 "Threads"). After Daniel was taken from the confrontation against his will, Anubis destroyed Abydos with his new superweapon powered by the Eye of Ra and other Eyes he had collected along the way. Oma Desala, however, knowing that Daniel was trying to protect the Abydonians by confronting Anubis, ascended the entire population of Abydos in order that they not be completely destroyed.
Jonas took it upon himself to translate the tablet after Daniel was presumed dead. He used many of Daniel's notes left from his translations of various Ancient writings, but since the tablet was written in one of the oldest dialects, his translations could not be validated. One day while working on the translation, Jonas got a sudden flash of insight. He ran through the halls of the SGC to tell General Hammond what he had discovered: the translation was not "Lost City" but "City of the Lost." He said that he could never quite understand why the Ancients would call it the "Lost City" anyway. His logic led him to believe that this city was supposed to be the grandest that the Ancients were to build, but they did not complete it because the plague killed them off. His conclusion was that when Jack input the addresses of Ancient stargates into the SGC computer from the Ancient download he had several years ago (2.16 "The Fifth Race"), he had placed them in order of their existence and thus, the last location on the list was the location of the incomplete "City of the Lost."
The SGC sent out a probe to the planet P4T-3G6 and finally, SG-1, SG-3, and SG-5 went to the planet to take a look at the ruins. They encountered the nomads who were living among the ruins of the Ancient city. These nomads were aware of the stargate and what it was used for, saying that they were travelers the same as those from the SGC. The nomads mentioned that they had been on the planet for some time, however. SG-1 assured them that all that they were interested in was to take a look at the ruins.
While establishing a perimeter around the stargate on the planet, SG-3 encountered a nomad who looked shockingly familiar. Daniel Jackson was living among the nomads, having been discovered in the clearing of the forest by a few of them on their water run. Daniel had retaken human form, falling from the sky in a bright light and landing on the planet completely naked and amnesiac. The nomads took him in and gave him food, clothing, shelter, and a name, Arrom, which means naked one. Jack and Carter convinced Arrom to return to Earth with them to learn about himself.
After returning to the SGC, Daniel regained only some of his lost memories, but he seemed to regain completely the ability to read the Ancient language and the tablet. He attended a briefing which Jonas was giving on the results of surveying and translating some of the ruins on the planet, since called "Vis Uban" which means "place of great power." Daniel began to read the tablet and Jonas' translations and with great confidence stated that they were looking in the wrong place. Jonas' translation, based off of Daniel's erroneous notes of old, was not correct. The name of the city was indeed "Lost City," not "City of the Lost." Daniel was strong in his conviction that he knew what the tablet said, even though he didn't know how it was that he was able to translate it.
Daniel explained that the Ancients purposefully hid the city and made it lost to others, possibly through camouflage. He strongly believed that the city still existed and that the weapons that they were searching for were located there (7.01 "Fallen Part 1").
Anubis Learns of the Lost City
Jonas devised a plan to entrap Anubis using a false version of the tablet. This fake tablet, created by Daniel and Jonas, would be placed by the Tok'ra for Anubis to find and he would go to Vis Uban in search of the weapons said to be buried there. At Vis Uban, the SGC would have an F-302 available to destroy the superweapon created by the Eye of Ra and, hopefully, the combined force of the other System Lords would finish off Anubis. Based on information obtained by a Tok'ra operative in Anubis' ranks, Anubis encoded the computers on his ship with an Ancient dialect which none of the Tok'ra could translate. Jonas and Daniel were given radioactive isotopes which prevented Anubis from discovering their presence on his ship while Daniel translated the computer codes to get the information needed for Jack and Carter to target the ventilation shaft of the superweapon. Daniel and Jonas found the information and Jack and Carter were successful at destroying the shaft while flying in the F-302, and thus, the superweapon overheated and was destroyed when Anubis tried to use it.
While they were on the ship, however, Daniel and Jonas were discovered and Jonas was captured as Daniel made it to safety among the inner workings of the ship. Anubis used the mind probe he had developed on Jonas. This was the same type of mind probe which left Thor of the Asgard in a coma after Anubis and Osiris used it on him to gain knowledge of Asgard technology (5.22 "Revelations"). Jonas' physiology, however, enabled him to overcome the harmful physical effects of the probe, but he couldn't prevent Anubis from finding out everything he knew, which included the text of the real tablet and the existence of the Lost City, the existence of naquadria on his homeworld Kelowna, the identity of his accomplice Daniel Jackson, and the location of all the stargates that Jonas knew as well as that of the SGC's Alpha Site (7.16 "Death Knell"). Anubis quickly went to Kelowna to get his hands on naquadria and build another superweapon for his ship. While over the skies of Kelowna, Daniel and Jonas escaped when the testing of the naquadria-powered weapon failed, and Anubis' ship was destroyed by the other System Lords. Anubis, however, escaped (7.02 "Homecoming Part 2").
The Race Begins
The race was on, with the SGC seemingly only one step ahead of Anubis. Both groups were searching fervently for the Lost City, but Anubis was also preoccupied with rebuilding his power after his mothership was destroyed over Kelowna. He used his knowledge of Ancient technology to build an army of Kull Warriors, genetically-engineered drones with brainwashed symbiotes. With his Kull Warriors, Anubis began to systematically eliminate minor System Lords and absorb their domains (7.11 "Evolution Part 1" and 7.12 "Evolution Part 2").
Osiris was in league with Anubis (5.15 "Summit Part 1," 5.16 "Last Stand Part 2," and 5.22 "Revelations") and, based on his host's past relationship with Daniel, he decided to manipulate Daniel's dreams and search for the memories Daniel may have had buried deep into his subconscious of the time he was ascended. Daniel had theorized that Oma had buried his memories deep into his subconscious just as she had with Shifu's Goa'uld genetic memories (4.17 "Absolute Power"). Anubis and Osiris must have theorized the same, possibly based on information obtained through their probing of Jonas' mind, and Osiris used a set of modified memory recall devices to plant false images in Daniel's subconscious, thus simulating dreams. Osiris introduced a tablet, similar to the tablet discovered on Abydos, in these false dreams for Daniel to translate, but Daniel wasn't able to translate the tablet because he was not in control. Osiris thought that Daniel knew where the Lost City was located while he was ascended, but Daniel, after realizing what Osiris was doing to him, told the Sarah Gardner of his "dreams" that he never knew the location. Osiris attempted to kill him with the ribbon device after this revelation, but the rest of SG-1 stopped him and separated the symbiote from Sarah (7.15 "Chimera").
Anubis was most likely using Jonas' knowledge of stargate locations for planets formerly of the Ancients because he had probes sent to the same locations that the SGC sent teams. One close encounter happened on the planet P3X-666. The SGC was just starting to study the Ancient ruins on the planet when Anubis' probe, a flying MALP, sent Anubis a report that the SGC was there. A battle ensued and Dr. Janet Fraiser was killed while trying to stabilize one of the wounded members of SG-13 (7.17 "Heroes Part 1" and 7.18 "Heroes Part 2").
Another of Anubis' probes was sighted when SG-2 and SG-3 were on the planet P3X-439 while SG-2 were surveying a colonnade with Ancient writings on them (7.21 "Lost City Part 1"). When Daniel translated the writings, he concluded that the location had in it another Repository of Knowledge just as SG-1 had discovered on the planet P3R-272 (2.16 "The Fifth Race"). SG-1, SG-3, and SG-5 were sent back to P3X-439 to attempt to locate and remove the repository before Anubis attacked. Daniel unlocked the repository, but he and Carter couldn't remove it from its location. Anubis attacked and in a last moment of desperation, Daniel attempted to take the download, but Jack prevented him and took the download himself. They destroyed the repository before Anubis could get to it and return home with their own copy—in Jack's brain. Upon discovering that the repository was destroyed, Anubis had the remaining Jaffa he had sent to attack the SG teams executed by a pair of his Kull Warriors because they had failed. Anubis realized that the SGC now had a tremendous advantage in the race to find the Lost City.
The Race Ends
Anubis was on his way and would be attacking Earth within three days, so the race was quickly approaching its final lap.
Jack was right to take the download himself, because soon, he was only able to communicate using the Ancient's language—a language that only Daniel could translate. Because Jack was not aware of what he was doing or saying, Daniel had to intepret his actions and translate his words. From past experience, they knew that Jack could utilize the knowledge to reach a goal, even though he was not aware of it himself. Daniel never left Jack's side while Jack commenced his search for the Lost City of the Ancients.
Daniel learned from Jack that the stargate symbols were not only representative of constellations, but also "letters" of sorts. Each symbol had a sound associated with it and Jack had written down the words "Praclarush Taonas" (translated into "lost in fire") in a crossword puzzle. Daniel put these two pieces together and came up with a stargate address. Everyone hoped that this was the location of the Lost City of the Ancients. Carter input the coordinates that Daniel wrote into the SGC computer and found out that they had tried to dial it two years ago, but could not make a lock. Daniel said that the stargate was most likely buried, but felt strongly that they should go there based on what Jack was doing. Teal'c and Bra'tac acquired a cargo ship and they all set off for Praclarush Taonas.
Onboard the cargo ship, Jack enhanced the engines to make the ship travel faster and soon they reached their destination. Praclarush Taonas was indeed buried in molten lava and had been so, according to Carter's calculations, for over a million years. They found a bubble in the surface which appeared to have been shaped by lava which had cooled down over a dome or forcefield. When they entered the bubble, they found that they were in an outpost of some kind. Daniel, by observing the architecture of the structure, confirmed that the design was Ancient. Jack found a chair and brought up environmental controls in the outpost to make it safe for them to take off their hazmat suits. He then brought up a map of the Ancient's domain and zeroed in on Earth and declared "Terra Atlantis" when he pointed out Antarctica. The configuration of the continents on the map indicated that the map was 30 million years old, before Antarctica had drifted to the southern pole and frozen over.
Why had Jack taken them out so far to Praclarush Taonas if the Lost City, now identified as Atlantis, was located in Antarctica on Earth? Jack soon answered their question by retrieving a power supply from the base of the computer chair. Upon returning to Earth, they went to Antarctica where Jack knew the outpost to be located and gained entry. Jack replaced the depleted power supply in the Antarctic outpost chair's base, identical to that of Praclarush Taonas, and activated an extremely powerful weapon which destroyed Anubis' fleet of over 30 vessels in Earth's orbit.
Jack was soon on the verge of death with all of the energy he had expended to activate the powerful weapon and harbor the Ancient knowledge. He had pointed out a stasis chamber when they entered the outpost and Daniel instructed Carter and Teal'c to place Jack in that chamber to save his life. They felt that they could locate the Asgard who could save Jack as they had before when he had taken the first Ancient download.
After making sure Jack was safely placed in stasis, Daniel realized that the Antarctic outpost was too small to meet the description of the Lost City. They had not found the Lost City of the Ancients, but had found the weapons they needed to prevent Anubis from destroying Earth. The Lost City and its powerful weapons were still "out there" somewhere and they still needed to find them (7.22 "Lost City Part 2").
Daniel returned to the SGC in order to pack up reference materials so that he could go back to Antarctica and help translate the records there, hoping to find some way to revive Jack and unload the knowledge. Dr. Elizabeth Weir, the civilian who replaced General Hammond as leader of the SGC since the new Presidential administration, told him he could not go because the various nations involved in the Antarctic Treaty were not in agreement of how the outpost should be administered and by whom. The Treaty specifically states that no military outposts could be placed there by any of the countries because Antarctica was to be treated as a place for scientific research only. Carter and Teal'c, however, persuaded Dr. Weir to allow them to take the cargo ship they had used to get to Praclarush Taonas to track down the Asgard near the planet Hala where they had trapped the Replicators in a time-dilation bubble (6.12 "Unnatural Selection"). Carter theorized that the Asgard were keeping a close watch on Hala because the Human Form Replicator named Fifth was very close to the device when it was activated and that soon he would be able to deactivate it. While Daniel was stuck at the SGC base awaiting the results of the negotiations for the supervision of the outpost, Carter and Teal'c headed off for Hala (8.01 "New Order Part 1").
Carter's theory about the Asgard's monitoring of Hala was correct. They arrived in the area of space where the planet should have been, but were pulled into the gravitational effects of a black hole. The Asgard had destroyed the sun of Hala in hopes that the Replicators would be destroyed along with it, but the Replicators broke free and were on their way to the Asgard's new homeworld. In order to find a way to defeat the Replicators once and for all, Thor retrieved Daniel and Jack from Earth. Jack was still in stasis and Thor asked that he be allowed to connect Jack's consciousness to his ship's computer and request that Jack use the knowledge of the Ancients to devise a weapon against the Replicators. Jack retrieved the information from the Ancient download and designed a disruptor gun which eliminated the link the Replicators' blocks needed to function. The Asgard finally had a weapon to defeat the Replicators, but some of the Replicators escaped before the weapon was used against them on the Asgard's new homeworld (8.02 "New Order Part 2").
Thor removed the knowledge from Jack and successfully revived him. They would never know if Jack ever knew the location of the Lost City of the Ancients from the download because they didn't have a chance to ask him. The team returned to Earth and Jack was given a promotion to Brigadier General, as well as the command of the SGC. Carter was promoted to Lt. Colonel and given command of SG-1. Daniel was allowed to go to Antarctica and study the Ancient outpost after Dr. Weir was successful at organizing a group of international scientists to study the outpost as well (8.02 "New Order Part 2" and Stargate Atlantis: "Rising Part 1").
Daniel uncovered records of what happened to the Ancients in Antarctica. They had left some five to ten million years ago inside a great city-ship. Daniel had a few theories about why the Ancients took the city-ship away from Earth, the foremost being that they did so in order to escape the plague. He also thought that maybe they just wished to explore and start anew some place else since they had built an entire network of stargates in the Milky Way Galaxy. The records he had found did not give the actual reason. (Viewers of the episode "Rising Part 1" will see that the Ancients left behind a woman at the outpost when they left Antarctica in their city-ship. It was implied that this woman was Ayiana, the Ancient discovered in the ice in the episode, 6.04 "Frozen." Ayiana was a carrier of the plague that killed many of the Ancients.)
Daniel concluded that the city-ship was actually "Atlantis."
Daniel also discovered the stargate address of where they took Atlantis—it was an eight-symbol address because the destination was in the Pegasus Galaxy. Jack and Daniel were familiar with the eight-symbol address because Jack had used one to get to the Asgard's galaxy when he had taken the Ancient download the first time. Jack pointed out that in order to connect with that address, they would need a great deal of power and they didn't have it. Dr. Weir proposed that they use the power supply from the outpost itself. This power supply had been named the "Zero Point Module" by Dr. Rodney McKay, the scientist who had been considered the world's foremost authority on the stargate after Carter.
Dr. Weir and Daniel argued that the risks of going to the Pegasus Galaxy were far outweighed by the potential of the discovery of knowledge and technology left behind by the Ancients. They were even hopeful that somehow some of the Ancients had survived and they could meet them. Jack was hesitant, but after considering the potential of the mission, he permitted Dr. Weir to gather her team and attempt to dial the address. They formed a stable wormhole and Dr. Weir's team stepped through the stargate and into Atlantis.
Daniel wanted to go, but Jack didn't allow it. Jack wanted Daniel to stay with him at the SGC because he insisted that Daniel was needed there. Jack didn't want to risk losing Daniel because of the possibility that the trip was going to be one-way for quite some time and of Daniel's value in the war against the Goa'uld.
Even though it was a discovery of a lifetime, Daniel would not get to see the results of his quest for the Lost City of the Ancients—the quest he had started in "Full Circle."
The Legend of Atlantis and Stargate
Plato, the Greek philosopher who lived from about 428-347 BC, is the only source for the legend of Altantis. In his two dialogues, Timaeus and Critias, said to be written about 360 BC, Plato describes the size of Atlantis, its location, its history, and its downfall. Many believe that his writings were purely myth and others are currently searching fervently the world over for this lost continent.
The Stargate creators have taken the legend of Atlantis and crafted a story arc which has spawned its own television series, Stargate Atlantis. According to Brad Wright and Robert C. Cooper, co-creators of the new series, in the special Sci-Fi Channel presentation Lowdown: From Stargate to Atlantis, they had to rewrite the story arc to accommodate the concurrent running of Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis. Originally, Stargate Atlantis was to pick up the Stargate saga after Stargate SG-1 ended its run, but Stargate SG-1 was renewed year-by-year since the end of Season Five.
One of the dilemmas the creators had to deal with in having the two television series existing during the same time period was that there could not be two stargate programs running simulateously from Earth, something which was heavily covered in the episode, 4.07 "Watergate." So, they had to move Atlantis out into another galaxy, utilizing a separate network of stargates and never meeting SG teams or their primary enemy, the Goa'uld.
The legend of Atlantis has that the civilization was technologically advanced and had a mighty military presence. These two aspects of Atlantis were translated into the Stargate universe as the Lost City of the Ancients with a great store of highly-advanced and powerful weapons the SGC could use in their fight against the Goa'uld. Daniel recognized that if Anubis or any other Goa'uld found these weapons before the SGC did, then the galaxy would be lost and most likely never recovered. In the episode, 6.22 "Full Circle", Daniel said of the tablet describing the Lost City, "If Anubis gets his hands on it and finds the Lost City before you do, it's all over."
The timing for the existence of Atlantis and the Lost City of the Ancients do not coincide. With Atlantis, the civilization has been identified to have been in existence on Earth approximately 11,000 years ago (approximately, 9000 BC). In Stargate, this civilization existed over 10 million years ago and was located on Earth as late as five million years ago.
While one interpretation of the legend of Atlantis has it that it existed as an island in the Western Ocean (the ocean to the west of the known world), near the Pillars of Hercules, the Stargate interpretation has it that Atlantis was not an island but a city-ship which took off for the Pegasus Galaxy. The Pegasus constellation is situated southeast of Andromeda and southwest of Hercules. Pegasus was the winged horse of Greek mythology and the constellation representing it only presents its head, neck, and the front half in its stars (Pegasus' partial form is depicted in the Atlantis Expedition Team's patch).
Atlantis was the the domain of Poseidon, god of the sea. When Poseidon saw that his people had become corrupted by greed and power, having once lived simple, virtuous lives, he is said to have gathered the other gods to determine what should be done with them. The punishment was swift and lethal, with one surge of the waters, the island of Atlantis and its people and history were swallowed up by the sea. The Stargate version of this is presented in Stargate Atlantis: "Rising Part 1." Here, the people of Atlantis left Earth five to ten millions years ago for the Pegasus Galaxy and encountered an enemy so powerful that the city was besieged for several years. The Ancients sent many of their people back to Earth through the stargate after they submerged the abandoned city into the ocean of the planet, hoping that their people would one day return. Those Ancients who returned to Earth did so 10,000 years ago (Stargate Atlantis: 1.15 "Before I Sleep"). It was hypothesized that those who returned to Earth were the ones who told the ancient Greeks of their great civilization and started the myth of the city which sank in the ocean. The submerging of the city-ship also ties in with Daniel's theory of the city being lost to others through camouflage.
Also attached to the legend of Atlantis was a volcanic eruption which destroyed Thera and possibly ended the Minoan civilization sometime around 1500 BC. Some believe that this event was what inspired Plato's writings about a lost utopia. It is possible that the volcanic cataclysm could be translated in the Stargate story as the destruction of Praclarush Taonas, the Ancient outpost covered by the lava of a planet destroyed by its sun a million years ago. Daniel thought that Praclarush Taonas was the Lost City because its name translated into "lost in fire," but this conclusion was made before Jack identified the location of the Lost City as "Terra Atlantis" in the Antarctic on Earth.
- 2.16 "The Fifth Race"
- 4.06 "Window Of Opportunity"
- 4.07 "Watergate"
- 4.17 "Absolute Power"
- 5.15 "Summit Part 1"
- 5.16 "Last Stand Part 2"
- 5.22 "Revelations"
- 6.12 "Unnatural Selection"
- 6.22 "Full Circle"
- 6.04 "Frozen"
- 7.01 "Fallen Part 1"
- 7.02 "Homecoming Part 2"
- 7.11 "Evolution Part 1"
- 7.12 "Evolution Part 2"
- 7.15 "Chimera"
- 7.16 "Death Knell"
- 7.17 "Heroes Part 1"
- 7.18 "Heroes Part 2"
- 7.21 "Lost City Part 1"
- 7.22 "Lost City Part 2"
- 8.01 "New Order Part 1"
- 8.02 "New Order Part 2"
- 8.18 "Threads"
- Stargate Atlantis
- Col./Brig. Gen. Jack O'Neill
- Dr. Daniel Jackson
- Maj./Lt. Col. Samantha Carter
- Jonas Quinn
- Gen. George Hammond
- Dr. Janet Fraiser
- Sarah Gardner
- Dr. Rodney McKay
- Oma Desala
- Dr. Elizabeth Weir
- Antarctic Outpost
- Anubis' MALP
- Ascended Beings
- Disruptor Gun
- Eye of Ra
- Kull Warrior
- Memory Recall Device
- Praclarush Taonas
- Repository of Knowledge
- Ribbon Device
- The Others
- Vis Uban
- Zero Point Module (ZPM)
- Sci-Fi Channel: Lab Notes: True Legends of Atlantis by Wil McCarthy
- Yahoo! Search: Folklore Legends > Lost Continent of Atlantis
- Atlantis - Fact, Fiction or Exaggeration?
- WikiPedia: Atlantis
--DeeKayP 14:03, 29 Aug 2004 (PDT)