According to ancient accounts, namely Plato’s Critias, and Timaeus, Atlantis referred to an Island located
“… in front of the mouth which you Greeks call, … the pillars of Heracles, there lay an island that was larger than Libya and Asia together; and it was possible for the travelers of that time to cross from it to the other islands, and from the islands to the whole of the continent.” (Plato, Timaeus 24e).
Moreover, “… in Atlantis there existed a confederation of kings, of great and marvelous power, which held sway over all the island, and over many other islands also and parts of the continent.” (Plato, Critias 108e). Further accounts stemming from Plato’s recollections refer to the island/continent as one of the greatest powers in the world and is an allegory of how the pride and hubris can destroy a nation. Consequently, Plato’s represents the island nation as a rival power to the Ancient Athens, who manages to withstand Atlantis’ power as a proof that a city with the right government system is capable of defending itself against any power.
Consequently, how the legend started is still a matter of massive speculation, but given the historical importance of Plato’s most scholars give the philosopher at least the merit of compiling Egyptian myths and mixing them into the recollections shown above.
Also, given to Plato’s nature of embellishing his stories, it is possible that even though such city had existed, it did not wage war against a proto-Athens that most archeologists and scholars say it could not have existed. Therefore, although the Egyptian sources Plato used to show Atlantis as a place of great cultural prowess might have referred to a real city, it could not have had the dimensions he claimed it had, nor the technology to sail in the Atlantic Ocean. Consequently, the theory of Atlantis existing beyond the “Pillars of Heracles”, or in the Atlantic Ocean are hard to believe. On the other hand, Donnelly theorizes that the city might have been located in the Greek islands, which makes said contact with a proto-Athens possible, as well as explains how the city is part of the Egyptian priests’ memory
Nevertheless, given its mythological and pseudo-scientific nature, the myth of the town of Atlantis lies unproven until our days which only adds to the city’s symbolism on how pride is also a destructive force capable of generating the wrath of the Gods. Hence, using Plato’s accounts, along with Donnelly’s modern take that states that the myth of Atlantis gave birth to the Ancient Greek gods and that the former rulers of Atlantis became by association, the archetypes of the Greek gods (Donnelly 120). Hence, the sociological value of the myth has two directions. The first as a symbol of a city chosen by the gods to rule among men and the other, a city with such cultural advancements that it became a legend from which the posterior Mycenae populations constructed their gods. Regarding the first, while it is possible that such city had existed, and the recent evidence found in the Minoan ruins concluded that they had a rather advanced society that could have influenced continental Greece, the claims are still in revision but show promising results. Concerning the second possibility, it is possible that if the Atlantean civilization had a stronger culture, it might have influenced the proto-Greek cultures, giving them Gods and other cultural advancements as well as becoming a potential colonial force they could have resisted. However, given the mythical nature of the city and the obscurity of the sources, the city remains largely on the grounds of speculation and mythology.
Donnelly, I. Atlantis: The Antideluvian World. CreateSpace Independent Platform, 2012. Print.
“Vol. 9 Timaeus.” Plato : In Twelve Volumes. Trans. W.R.M. Lamb. Reprinted ed. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard U, 1990. Print.
“Vol. 9 Critias.” Plato : In Twelve Volumes. Trans. W.R.M. Lamb. Reprinted ed. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard U, 1990. Print.
Get a verified expert to help you with any urgent paper!Hire a Writer
from $10 per-page