The earliest written record of Atlantis is found in the works of Plato’s dialogues ‘Timaeus’ and ‘Critias’, written in about 360 BC. The other written record, papyri in Egyptian hieroglyphs, from which the details of this civilization are believed to have been derived, ceased to exist eons ago. Many argue that Atlantis is just a myth created by Plato in his dialogues. On the other hand there are also those who believe that a civilization and city called Atlantis actually did exist. True or not, there are certain things about the lost city of Atlantis anyone claiming to be an expert on the topic is supposed to be aware of. Let’s have a look at the top 10 things to know about Atlantis before you call yourself a history maniac.
The great civilization of Atlantis is believed to have been made up of concentric islands. They were separated by wide channels and were linked to each other through a canal that went right up to the central island. The canal and tunnels that joined the islands were so huge that even ships could navigate through them. The islands were bestowed to Poseidon, the Greek god of sea.
It is believed that the islands that made up Atlantis were very rich in precious metals. It was a rich civilization which was self-sufficient. To take this theory forward it is also believed that gold, silver, and other precious metals were in abundance. Brass, tin and the precious metal orichalcum were among the other metals and alloys found on these islands.
Atlantians were believed to have maintained a powerful navy. Almost every article written about this great civilization mentions about the harbors and docks that were built in Atlantis. The fact that it was a city made up of several islands warranted that it worked on its naval command. It is believed that they had even conquered many parts of Western Europe and North Africa with their naval prowess.
Atlantis has been touted as a great civilization, advanced in every sense of the word. So it is not really surprising when notes about Atlantis mention about the architecture of the city. The buildings in the city were equipped with hot and cold fountains and shared dining halls and stone walls covered with precious metals. The palaces and temples, too, were architecturally superior for those times. There were gates and towers at every passage to the city. Also, walls made up of red, white and black rocks surrounded each of the city’s rings.
According to Plato, Atlantis was located in the Atlantic Ocean to the west of the “Pillars of Hercules” which is today known as the Strait of Gibraltar. Many sites around the world have been touted as the remains of Atlantis by various explorers and researchers. However, such sites only have certain characteristics in common with Atlantis and hence no definitive proof exists of the location – except Plato’s writings – with everything else being speculation.
Plato had mentioned in his work that the history of Atlantis was based on a translation of its history from papyri in Egyptian hieroglyphs, into Greek. This was done when the legendary Athenian lawgiver Solon visited Egypt and met a priest of Sais who translated it. Although Atlantis is believed to be a Hellenic civilization, there is possibility that it could was Egyptian.
Atlantis was known to be extremely fertile. Food, water, animals, wood and flowers were available in abundance. Perhaps, this was one of the reasons why it has been called a prosperous city by Plato. The stories of its riches continue to attract explorers and adventurers who spend years searching for the ruins of the city.
As per Plato and several other literatures pertaining to Atlantis, the great island city sunk beneath the sea as a consequence of an earthquake. Modern researchers who believe in the existence of Atlantis argue that it was a massive tsunami that sunk this great civilization to the depths of the sea. So it is believed that Atlantis sank into the ocean “in a single day and night of misfortune”. This is believed to have occurred around 9600 BC which is around 9000 years before the time of Solon.
Plato, in his account, mentioned that Atlantis came into existence when the Poseidon fell in love with Cleito, the daughter of Evenor and Leucippe, who bore him five pairs of male twins. Atlas was the eldest of the lot and was made king of the islands and the ocean that was bequeathed to Poseidon. The extremity of the island towards the Pillars of Hercules was given to Atlas’s twin Gadeirus. The central mountain was carved by Poseidon himself and the people of the land built canals and bridges connecting all the islands.