Mysteries of Ancient or Lost Civilizations
Atlantis is a legendary island first mentioned in Plato's dialogues Timaeus and Critias, written about 360 BC.
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According to Plato, Atlantis was a naval power lying "in front of the Pillars of Hercules" that conquered many parts of Western Europe and Africa 9,000 years before the time of Solon, or approximately 9600 BC. After a failed attempt to invade Athens, Atlantis sank into the ocean "in a single day and night of misfortune".
Scholars dispute whether and how much Plato's story or account was inspired by older traditions. In Critias, Plato claims that his accounts of ancient Athens and Atlantis stem from a visit to Egypt by the legendary Athenian lawgiver Solon in the 6th century BC. In Egypt, Solon met a priest of Sais, who translated the history of ancient Athens and Atlantis, recorded on papyri in Egyptian hieroglyphs, into Greek. Some scholars argue Plato drew upon memories of past events such as the Thera eruption or the Trojan War, while others insist that he took inspiration from contemporary events like the destruction of Helike in 373 BC or the failed Athenian invasion of Sicily in 415–413 BC.
I'd love to be able to throw on a wetsuit and scuba gear and start searching for Atlantis. The possible existence of a real Atlantis was discussed throughout classical antiquity, but it was usually rejected and occasionally parodied by later authors. Alan Cameron states: "It is only in modern times that humans have taken the Atlantis story seriously; no one did so in antiquity". The Timaeus remained known in a Latin rendition by Calcidius through the Middle Ages, and the allegorical aspect of Atlantis was taken up by Humanists in utopian works of several Renaissance writers, like Francis Bacon's "New Atlantis". Atlantis inspires today's literature, from science fiction to comic books to films. Its name has become a byword for any and all supposed advanced prehistoric lost civilizations.
Most of the historically proposed locations are in or near the Mediterranean Sea: islands such as Sardinia, Crete and Santorini, Sicily, Cyprus, and Malta; land-based cities or states such as Troy, Tartessos, and Tantalus (in the province of Manisa), Turkey; Israel-Sinai or Canaan; and northwestern Africa. The Thera eruption, dated to the 17th or 16th century BC, caused a large tsunami that experts hypothesize devastated the Minoan civilization on the nearby island of Crete, further leading some to believe that this may have been the catastrophe that inspired the story. A. G. Galanopoulos argued that Plato's dating of 9,000 years before Solon's time was the result of an error in translation, probably from Egyptian into Greek, which produced "thousands" instead of "hundreds". Such an error would also rescale Plato's Atlantis to the size of Crete, while leaving the city the size of the crater on Thera; 900 years before Solon would be the 15th century BC. In the area of the Black Sea the following locations have been proposed: Bosporus and Ancomah (a legendary place near Trabzon).
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