Archive | 4:00 am

The Secret of Atlantis

26 Aug

Atlantis has been described as the greatest of all historical mysteries. Plato, writing about 350 BC, was the first to mention the great island in the Atlantic Ocean which had vanished ‘in a day and a night’, and been submerged beneath the waves. Plato’s account in the two late dialogues of Timaeus and Critias has the absorbing quality of good science fiction. According to Plato, Atlantis was already a great civilization when Athens had been founded about 9600 BC. It lay beyond the pillars of Hercules (the Straits of Gibraltar) and was larger than Libya and Asia put together.  The sea god, Poseidon, founded the Atlantean race by fathering ten children on a mortal maiden named Cleito. Although they were great engineers and architects, the Atlanteans were, however, also a warlike people who were only finally conquered by the Athenians. At this point violent floods and earthquakes destroyed both nations’ armies and Atlantis sank beneath the waves. The destruction of Atlantis was in part supposedly a punishment from the gods, for when the Atlanteans began to lose the wisdom and virtue they inherited from the gods, and became greedy, corrupt and domineering, the chief god Zeus decided to teach them a lesson. Although many later scholars and commentators have assumed that Atlantis was a myth or allegory, others have been persuaded by the sheer detail of Plato’s account that at its core it was grounded in fact but embellished in the manner of a fable or fairytale. Needless to say, many have taken either side in a debate that has rumbled on for over two thousand years: was Atlantis a reality or a work of fiction?

Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: