The island mentioned by the Greek philosopher Plato in his writings Timaeus and Critias around 360 BC is known today as Atlantis. Although Atlantis is not a name in the original text but rather a grammatical form of "Atlas," the island's ruler, it has been customary to refer to this island simply as Atlantis. In actuality, the island was known as "the island of Atlas" rather than "Atlantis"(Franke, 2014). Timaeus and Critias, two late Dialogues by Plato, describe it as a mighty Mediterranean empire that had subdued Egypt around nine thousand years previously, only to be vanquished by the earliest Athenians and ultimately destroyed by a disaster (Erlingsson, 2007). This is where the concept of Atlantis originates. The two dialogues extol the ideal social order of the original Athenian polis, which mirrors that depicted in Plato's greatest work, The Republic, and the bravery of its founding fathers, from whom the aristocrat Plato descended. This gives the immediate impression that the philosopher invented the legend of Atlantis to support his political ideals and honor his ancestors (Erlingsson, 2007). Through his mother's family, Plato (427–347 B.C.) was related to Solon, an Athenian poet and socioeconomic reformer who was appointed chief magistrate of Athens in 594 B.C. When visiting Egypt, Solon received the tale of Atlantis from a priest of Neith (the Egyptian version of the Greek goddess Athena), and it was passed down via Plato's family (Tschoegl, 2005).
Plato in his books goes into great detail about the magnificence of the Ancient Metropolis, which suggests that the Atlanteans were wealthy, perhaps from the fruits of a prosperous maritime trade (Tschoegl, 2005). The so-called Royal State, the remaining portion of the nation, is thought to have been a sizable, roughly rectangular plain measuring 2,000 by 3,000 stadia (or 340 by 230 miles) (Tschoegl, 2005). The narrative is ambiguous regarding the precise geographic connection between the Ancient Metropolis, or Royal City, and the Royal State. A Royal House of princes, all descended from a single ancestor and sworn never to wage war against one another, is said to control the empire (Tschoegl, 2005). Since Plato first referred to "Atlantis" in his writings, the concept of a wealthy and powerful island civilization that died in a sudden calamity has captured people's attention. The islands of Crete and Thera, which were decimated by a volcanic eruption in around 1450 B.C., may have constituted the "Lost Continent," according to accumulated scientific and archaeological data (Tschoegl, 2005).
Creating stories to support a point has always been a part of writing. Numerous methods have been developed to support the forgeries because the more people believe the stories, the more the author's hypotheses are confirmed. There are numerous notable examples of the trick of inserting one's inventions into actual stories (or stories thought to be true). The Aeneid and the Orlando Furioso, to name two famous examples, adapted well-known tales to celebrate the ancestry of their commissioners (Rapisarda, 2019). Therefore, it is reasonable for academics to doubt the existence of Atlantis. On the other hand, looking for potential connections to geologically or archaeologically recorded events is the only method to determine whether Plato drew from pre-existing legends to assemble his story (Rapisarda, 2019). The prevailing theory holds that the philosopher included propaganda elements such as the ideal polis' social structure and his ancestors' bravery to increase the plausibility of a story about events that his countrymen (his intended audience) thought to be true (Rapisarda, 2019).
Plato's books represent magnificent, wealthy, cultural, and educated people, but there is nothing improbable in this story. Nearly all of Plato's stories can be compared to descriptions of the inhabitants in Egypt or Peru; in other ways, however, Plato's picture of Atlantis falls short of Herodotus's portrayal of the splendor of Egypt. On the basis of Herodotus' account of Egypt, many people believe that Plato invented the Atlantis myth. Aristotle (384–322 BC) rejected the Atlantis tale as pure fabrication (Tschoegl, 2005). He believed that Plato concocted the story to help him explain his beliefs regarding the ideal form of government, and that after he had done so, he had it disappear in a cataclysm so he wouldn't have to explain where it had gone (Tschoegl, 2005). Nevertheless, just because the tale served Plato's philosophical goals doesn't mean we should believe that it was concocted out of thin air. In fact, at least as many individuals have accepted it as have rejected it but there are several further historical bits that illustrate the connection between Egypt and Atlantis (ZHANG, 2021). "In Chaldea, the twin sister of Egypt, daughter of Poseidon, King of the lands beyond the sea and Libya," the Greek philosopher Orpheus wrote (ZHANG, 2021). The Egyptians boasted that their predecessors in the countries of the West were the oldest men alive, according to Herodotus. The Egyptians themselves claimed that their ancestors were outsiders who, in very ancient times, arrived on the bank of the Nile, bringing with them the civilization of their mother country, the skill of writing, and a refined language. Diodorus told us this (ZHANG, 2021).
According to Plato, Atlantis reigned over all of Libya, all the way to Egypt's boundaries. As a result, Atlantis had to be west of Libya, and Libya itself had to have been a part of the Atlantean domain (ZHANG, 2021). Zhang reconstructed the process of desertification in North Africa after the green Sahara using data on the stability of the water cycle and paleoclimate, including an abrupt dry-out in the Atlas Basin and a subsequent steady extension of the desert driven by trade winds and westerlies (ZHANG, 2021). People who lived in the Sahara were forced to the Nile valley as the desert gradually grew from the northwest to the southeast. The dynastic Egyptian civilization, which began around 5000 years ago, shortly after the end of the last green Sahara, was born from population concentration (ZHANG, 2021). The Egyptians, who were at the time thought to be the world's oldest people, contributed to the notion of a lost ancient civilization. Their chronologies claimed that their first pharaohs had been gods who originated in the West; this was a polite way of saying that their kingdom had started when foreign conquistadors with "magical powers" (i.e., invisible technologies) entered the region and brought with them agriculture and new knowledge. Therefore, the entire narrative can wind up being a syncretism that combines legendary narratives with stunning natural events, to be set in a time period that is appropriate for the beliefs of the day. For instance, it might have combined the shocking reality of the earthquake and tsunami that obliterated the city of Helike in the Gulf of Corinth in 373 BC with the myth of a flood striking an ancient society that had become so powerful and evil as to merit divine punishment which was fairly common among ancient cultures, including Greece (Rapisarda, 2019).
Among literate Athenians in Plato's time, stories about vanished civilizations and the era of Egypt's "divine" creation were rather common(Rapisarda,2019) The main issue with Plato's story is that it takes place towards the end of the Ice Age, when people were still involved in hunting and gathering rather than farming, making it an improbable time for an "advanced" human society like the one Plato describes (Rapisarda, 2019). The Atlantean complex exhibits a combination of custom, rite, and tradition that, in terms of its conglomeration of peculiar circumstances, is unique to the region between the shores of Western Europe and Eastern America. A cultural complex that can be found on the coastal stretches of these nations and in their island outposts must have originated in some area of the Atlantic that no longer exists, as shown by its distinct existence (Spence, 2003).
In conclusion, Plato believed in the existence of Atlantis, which is a story passed down from descendants of his mother's family, because there is no actual recorded evidence of the existence of Atlantis, as recounted by Plato, it has been ridiculed by generations of archaeologists but the stories are also trusted by people and numerous techniques have been developed to support the forgeries.
Erlingsson, U. (2007). A geographic comparison of Plato’s Atlantis and Ireland as a test of the megalithic culture hypothesis.
Franke, T. C. (2014). What is Atlantis? https://www.atlantis-scout.de/atlantis-introduction-1.htm
Rapisarda, M. (2019). Atlantis: A Grain of Truth Behind the Fiction? MDPI. https://www.mdpi.com/2571-9408/2/1/18
Spence, L. (2003). The History of Atlantis. https://books.google.com.ng/books?hl=en&lr=&id=-dAMx0quR2EC&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=history+of+atlantis&ots=hzXxVV6nXc&sig=JsD6UijLR2KuyUrSBu-oe55reS0&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q&f=false
Tschoegl, N. (2005). ATLANTIS. https://calteches.library.caltech.edu/2927/1/atlantis.pdf
ZHANG, H.-Q. (2021). Is Atlantis related to the green Sahara. https://medcraveonline.com/IJH/IJH-05-00275.pdf
Cover Photo: Djonis, C. (2021, June 1). Atlantis: Examining the Legendary Tale of Plato. Ancient Origins Reconstructing the Story of Humanity’s Past. [Photograph] https://www.ancient-origins.net/opinion-guest-authors/atlantis-examining-legendary-tale-plato-005750
Figure 1: FNBC Universal. (2011, March 14). Lost city of Atlantis believed found off Spain. NBC News. [Photograph] https://www.nbcnews.com/id/wbna42072469
Figure 2: 20. Plato. (n.d.). Details - Slater Museum. [Photograph] https://www.slatermuseum.org/exhibitions/permanent-exhibitions/the-plaster-cast-collection/online-cast-exhibition/p/%7Eboard/online-galleries/post/20-plato
Figure 3: Winkler, M. (2016d, September 2). History of Art: Ancient Egypt. Design & Illustration Envato Tuts+. [Photograph] https://design.tutsplus.com/articles/history-of-art-ancient-egypt--cms-26908