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Atlantis: The Story of a lost Civilization

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Atlantis: The Story of a Lost Civilization

Perhaps one of the most famous myths is the myth of Atlantis-an island that was buried under the depths of the sea thousands of years ago. Did it really exist? Today we will find out what hypotheses exist when this myth appeared, and much more about the legendary island.


For the most part, all the myths are presented by the authors on the basis of an older oral tradition. With regard to Atlantis, there is simply no such tradition. It is unknown to Homer (circa IX-VIII centuries BC), Hesiod (circa VIII-VII centuries BC), or anyone else before Plato (429-347 BC). It is thanks to his dialogues - Timaeus and Critias - that Atlantis appears.

However, Plato most likely borrowed the name from the ancient Greek historian Gellanikos, who had written a work of the same name a little earlier. "Atlantis" by Gellanik is a collection of myths about the descendants of the titan Atlantean, who inhabited the island of .

The action of Plato's dialogues takes place around 421 BC, when his teacher, Socrates, was still alive, and he takes part in the conversation. The main characters, in fact, are Timaeus and Critias. The first is a philosopher and follower of the teachings of Pythagoras, the second is a distant relative of Plato himself. The story of the second one interests us most of all...

altalntis los civilizations

The Legend of Atlantis

According to Critias, his grandfather was a friend of the famous ancient Greek politician Solon (640-559 BC). It was Solon who told him about his journey to Egypt - there he met a priest who told him about Atlantis, or rather about the war between the Atlanteans and the ancient Athenians. This war took place 9,000 years before this story, i.e., approximately 9600 BC.

In the first dialogue, it is said that Atlantis was larger than Libya and Asia combined and was located to the west of the so-called "Pillars of Hercules" (the Strait of Gibraltar). The Atlantean state itself had conquered not only the nearby islands but also the western part of Europe and Libya, that is, Africa.

Atlantis here acts as a kind of enslaver empire, which captures more and more new territories. It is she who is opposed by ancient Athens, which, thanks to the firmness of spirit and high morals, defeats the conquerors, and then liberates all the peoples captured by Atlantis. But then, suddenly, unprecedented natural disasters occur - the Athenian army is killed, and Atlantis is plunged into the depths of the sea.

In accordance with what has been said before, the gods divided the whole earth by lot into possessions – some larger, some smaller-and established shrines and sacrifices for themselves. So Poseidon, having received the island of Atlantis as his inheritance, inhabited it with his children conceived by a mortal woman.

2nd Critias Dialogue-is a more detailed description of Atlantis:

This area was entirely flat, but in the center of it was a small mountain. There lived one of the first men Evenor and his wife of Leucippus, they had a daughter - a beautiful Cleito. She became the beloved of Poseidon. In the union they had five pairs of male twins:

Having given birth to five male twins, Poseidon raised them and divided the whole island of Atlantis into ten parts, and to the eldest couple who was born first, he gave the mother's house and the surrounding possessions as the largest and best share, and made him king over the others, and these others-archons, to each of whom he gave power over a populous people and a vast country

The quote:

His first child was Atlas. All the brothers and their descendants for many centuries ruled not only over Atlantis but also over the neighboring lands. Especially revered and numerous was the Atlantean family, no royal family had and will not have as many treasures as they have.

Atlantis lost civilizations

The riches of Atlantis were incredible. Temples built of silver and gold, golden statues, and palaces. And everything on the island was plentiful, from minerals to wildlife.

For protection and convenience, the inhabitants of Atlantis dug many navigable channels, the shipyards were filled with ships and everything necessary for navigation.

For many centuries, the Atlanteans observed all the laws and remembered their divine origin. Moderation, prudence, sincerity, and virtue reigned in their state. However, over time, the vicissitudes of life have perverted their society. The more human the Atlanteans became, the more they became accustomed to luxury, and pride and greed took possession of their hearts. With the help of the force, they decided to conquer many. And then Zeus, the lord of the gods, planned to punish them for this...

This is the end of Plato's dialogue.

Myth or reality?

The myth of Atlantis within the framework of Plato's work is not entirely peculiar to the Greeks. It is very different from the Iliad, the Odyssey, or The Theogony.

The great philosopher himself believed that old myths corrupt human society, so he advocated a certain selection of good myths that could help in the development of spiritual and moral values. And there was no place for either Homer or Hesiod.

Therefore, many researchers believe that Atlantis is a myth about the ideal state. The life of the Atlanteans corresponds to Plato's teaching about a state of a different type than the Greek polis.

 "The Acropolis of Athens". By Leo von Klenze.

"The Acropolis of Athens". By Leo von Klenze.

The very description of the legendary island is the result of acquaintance with the scientific discoveries of that time. The theory of the spherical shape of the Earth prompted the mention of the continent, which is located across the ocean - and the way there leads through Atlantis. The so-called system of round cities of the East was reflected in the urban planning of the Atlanteans themselves, and the choice of the capital, which is protected from the north wind by mountains, is a reference to Hippocrates.

And then you have a question: was Atlantis really there, or is it just a philosophical myth?

What are the theories of the location of the sunken island? First, the Atlantic Ocean (according to Plato). A number of researchers have claimed that the mid-Atlantic ridge at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean is the lost Atlantis. But according to oceanographic studies, the ridge has been underwater for at least 60 million years.

Other Atlantean explorers have explored the Balearic, Canary, and the British Isles and beyond. But to no avail, no one, to this day, has been able to find the sunken island.

Nevertheless, there are a number of clues in the story that Plato may have relied on. First, it is worth remembering the "Atlantis" of Hellenica on the island of Crete. As you know, the Cretan-Minoan power died as a result of a volcanic eruption on the island of Fera, about 3,500 years ago. And the Minoans themselves have repeatedly encountered the Achaeans (one of the four main Greek tribes), who lived on the mainland.

The remains of the island of Fera (other names - Tira, Tira, Santorini) in the Aegean Sea.

The remains of the island of Fera (other names - Tira, Tira, Santorini) in the Aegean Sea.

Secondly, Plato's work could have been influenced by the death of the Athenian army during the conquest of Sicily or the sinking of the small town of Helica in the north of the Peloponnese due to an earthquake and subsequent flooding.

I would like to finish the article with the words of Aristotle: "Plato is my friend, but truth is a better friend"

Related tags:

Atlantis  Lost Civilization  Myisterious  Timaeus  Plato  Critias  Pythagoras  Crete  Atlantic Ocean

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