Is there any truth to the ancient lost city of Atlantis? Could it ever be found? Let’s find out.
Few legends are as famous and enduring as that of Atlantis. Plato created the legend over 2,000 years ago. But why is it still popular? Is it based on a real event? And if so could it ever be found? Debate still rages on these issues and is expected to continue to rage in the years to come.
While we may never find the fabled city of Atlantis, we have found a number of other lost cities and civilizations. One can actually visit the lost Inca capital of Vilcabamba in Peru today. If in Italy, one can visit the once lost cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum – buried under an ocean of volcanic ash.
Plato’s legend of the lost city of Atlantis
One of the most famous stories of the Greek philosopher Plato is that of Atlantis. The story of the cataclysmic destruction of an ancient civilization. The story has been told countless times over the past 2,300 years since Plato’s death and it’s a story that continues to capture the imagination. It’s a story that has so many elements that people love to fantasize about (and Hollywood loves to make countless movies).
According to National Geographic, this story “is almost certainly false.” The reasoning becomes more obvious when you consider that Plato said that the founders of Atlantis were half god and half human. The civilization they created was utopian and they became a great naval power.
The islands were filled with gold, silver and other precious metals and were home to rare and exotic wildlife. There was a large capital on the central island. Atlantis, he said, was made up of concentric islands separated by wide moats, but people eventually became greedy and “morally bankrupt”.
- Origin: Plato told the story around 360 BC.
- An ancient civilization: Plato said that Atlantis existed about 9,000 years before his time
Plato claimed that the story was passed down through the millennia by priests and poets, but his writings are the oldest known today.
Many of these details cannot be true. But many stories have been embellished (read the story of Troy for example which most scholars believe took place).
Scholars note that Plato included many philosophical theories in his story, including those of divine versus human nature, the progressive corruption of human society, and others. He used the story of Atlantis to deliver some of his favorite themes.
The story is one of moral and spiritual decline where the gods sent fire and destruction upon Atlantis to make it sink beneath the waves (much like Sodom).
Other tales of the destruction of civilizations
There are other stories of the destruction of ancient civilizations that scientific debate continues to rage over whether they were based on truth or not.
- The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah: The debate continues to rage
- The Siege of Troy: Believed to be based on an actual event
- The destruction of Pompeii: Certainly true and we can visit today
But could Altantis be based on real events?
Unfortunately, very few scientists believe that Atlantis actually existed. But it’s boring. So to go with the minority view that he can have, where could He was?
There are many theories that it could have been an island in the Mediterranean just off the coast of Spain – or just outside the Strait of Gibraltar in the Atlantic Ocean.
Some of the theories put forward have been somewhat believable, while others have been exercises in the limitless flights of humanity’s imagination. Locations have been suggested for just about any place you can point to on the map (even under what is now Antarctica).
Cataclysmic floods and volcanic explosions have occurred throughout history and on rare occasions have ended civilizations. If the legend of Atlantis is based on history, then it would probably have been somewhere close to the ancient Greek world.
Atlantis theory was the Minoan island of Santorini
Perhaps the most believable explanation is the massive volcanic eruption that devastated the island of Santorini in the Aegean Sea (now part of Greece).
It is known that a very advanced society of Minoans lived in Santorini and the Minoan civilization suddenly disappeared around the time of the volcanic eruption.
The eruption was one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded history. This happened during the height of the Minoan civilizations and left behind a massive caldera surrounded by volcanic ash hundreds of meters deep.
- Eruption: Called the Minoan eruption (or Thera eruption)
- Dated: About 3,600 years ago (about 1,300 years before Plato)
- tsunami: It is assumed that the great tsunami devastated the Minoan civilizations in Crete
It is even possible that it indirectly triggered the collapse of the Minoan civilization on the island of Crete.
Next: Lost City Of Atlantis: 25 Things We Thought To Be True (But Are Actually False)
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