Who has not heard of Atlantis? The legendary island that sank into the sea in a single day. But do you know more about her? Who came up with it? Was it a real place?
10 Things You Probably Don’t Know About The Lost City Of Atlantis
The story of Atlantis comes from the Greek philosopher Plato. Specifically from two of his writings, Timaeus and Critias. In them, Plato wrote that the Greek sage Solon received the story from a priest in Egypt.
Upon his return, he shared the story with his relative Dropides; who in turn passed it on to his son Critias, who told it to his granddaughter. He finally shared it with Socrates and others present. Of course, this is more of a legend than a historical fact.
Atlantis was an empire
Plato tells us that Atlantis was actually an empire ruled from this island. «On this island of Atlantis, there was a great and wonderful empire that ruled the entire island and several other parts of the continent.
In addition, the men of Atlantis subdued from Libya, within the columns of Heracles, to Egypt, and from Europe to Tyrrhenia. Tyrrhenia is now central Italy. Which means that one day Atlantis stretched from present-day Tuscany to Egypt.
The story is true, according to Plato
Plato discerns fact from fiction in his story. “There is a story… that once, Paethon, the son of Helios, having yoked the steeds in his father’s chariot, because he was not able to drive them in his father’s way, burned all that was on Earth, and he himself was destroyed by lightning. Now it has the form of a myth, but it really means a decline of the bodies that move in the skies around the Earth.
Here Plato acknowledges that some myths are symbolic in nature. Nevertheless, assures in his book that Atlantis is real, not a myth.
It is 11,500 years old
Solon was said to be the wisest of all the Greek sages. The text indicates that the story of Atlantis was transmitted to Solon in Egypt when he wanted to “draw” one of the priests to talk about their oldest tales.
Solon lived from about 630 BC to about 560 BC. So if the story is true, the fall of Atlantis would occur around 9500 BC. Atlantis would then date from around the year 10,000 BC It is considered by many archaeologists, the first temple in the world.
Missing half the story
Plato is known to have written at least two books on Atlantis. Today we have a complete version of Timaeus, but not a complete copy of Critias. critics it ends after Zeus, head of the Greek gods, “gathered all the gods together in his most sacred room, which, being situated in the center of the world, beholds all created things.”
We do not know if Plato left the book incomplete on purpose or if the final version was long lost. But in addition, not only is the ending of Critias missing, but Plato is believed to have written, or at least planned to write, a third book about Atlantis called Hermocratesyes.
The ocean was named for him
Most people believe that Atlantis was named after the Atlantic Ocean, but the text claims that it was the other way around. As the story goes, Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea, had five sets of twins with an Atlantean mortal woman named Cleitos.
The god gave each of his sons a portion of the island to rule. Since the first-born Atlas had the entire island, and even the surrounding ocean, gave him his name.
its location is known
Some believe that Santorini is Atlantis, while others believe that the Bimini waters hide the path to the lost city. However, in Plato’s text he makes it clear where the submerged island once was.
The text says that Atlantis “came out of the Atlantic Ocean.” And he continues: «there was an island situated facing the straits which are next to you (referring to the ancient Greeks), called the Pillars of Heracles».
Humanity has been and will be destroyed
The Egyptian priest told Solon that none of his stories were “truly ancient” compared to his own. According to the priest, the reason for Solon’s lack of “truly ancient” knowledge is that humanity has been destroyed time and time again.
«There have been, and will be again, many destructions of humanity arising from many causes; the largest have been caused by the action of fire and water, and other minor ones by innumerable other causes”.
Plato may have wanted to keep us out of the Atlantic Ocean.
If the Greeks knew what lay beyond the Mediterranean, they probably didn’t want more people to know; and that is why Plato wrote that no one could navigate the Atlantic.
“But then there were violent earthquakes and floods; and in a single day and night of misfortune all the warrior men sank to the Earth, and the island of Atlantis disappeared in the same way in the depths of the sea. According to Plato, this caused an impassable mud bank. Was Plato trying to prevent people from entering the Atlantic? Did you really believe that a mud bank was blocking ocean travel?
Women were allowed to serve in prehistoric Athens
Plato’s text says: «Military activities were then common to men and womenthe men of those days, in accordance with the custom of the time, mounted a figure and an image of the goddess (Athena) in full armor, to be a testimony that all animals that associate together, both male and female , they can, if they want, practice in common the virtue that belongs to them without distinction of sex».
Ancient Mediterranean peoples were able to learn about the Americas
Plato may have invented Atlantis for the sake of philosophy. However, there is a part of history that would have been hard to imagine.
In the story, the Egyptian priest tells Solon, “The island…was the way to other islands, and from these one could pass to the entire opposite continent that surrounded the true ocean. (…) The surrounding land can truly be called a continent without limits». Couldn’t this mean that the ancient Greeks knew of or had been to the Americas?