Atlantis – Fact or Fiction?
Atlantis is a legendary island first mentioned in the dialogues of Plato himself. According to Plato, Atlantis was a naval power lying directly in front of the “Pillars of Hercules” that conquered many parts of Western Europe and Africa around approximately 9600 BC. Atlantis also went so far as to invade Athens, but after failing in its attempt, sank into the ocean as what Plato described as “in a single day and night of misfortune”.
What we know about Atlantis from the ancient times is strictly limited to the dialogues and writings of Plato. No other major account was or has ever been detailed, and therefore all ancient information is based upon Plato’s account. Plato asserted that the Ancient Egyptians described Atlantis as mostly mountainous in the north and on the shorelines, while having a vast sweeping plain in the south. In Plato’s myth, the island was a vast array of canals and bridges. The Atlanteans dug a great canal to the sea, and alongside the bridges carved tunnels into the rocks so that ships could actually pass into the city around the mountains. Many passages lead to the city, and every one of them was guarded by gates and towers, and a wall surrounded each of the city’s rings. These walls were said to have been covered with brass, tin, and the precious metal orichalcum.
According to myth, the Atlanteans had conquered parts of Libya and as far as Egypt, and subjected all those in their path to slavery. Athens proved far more difficult, as a resistance of Athenian warriors rebelled against the Atlantean empire. The resistance was comprised of many different alliances, but at the end – the Athenians stood alone, thwarted the Atlantean advance, and actually liberated the occupied lands in Africa.
Plato described at a later time to follow that a series of earthquakes and floods swallowed the island of Atlantis as a whole – as if the sea actually devoured it. To this day, that spot has now become impassable and mostly unsearchable, being blocked up by the shoal mud which the island presumably created after it was swallowed and subsequently settled down. It’s this myth and storyline from which the Atlantic Ocean bears its name today.
In modern days and recent times, the advancement of science and the understanding of how the earth functions has actually made some theories of Atlantis diminish in popularity. As continental drift and plate tectonics have become more widely researched and known, they display that an entire “lost continent” theory is a near impossibility according to our geologically recent past. Because of this, Plato’s story is more or less emphasized on its fictional elements.
The current location (if there is one) of Atlantis has been argued to be in many locations. Many historians feel that it’s located in or near the Mediterranean Sea, around islands such as Crete, Sicily, or Malta. Other locations obviously include the Atlantic Ocean (based on the similarity of the names), parts of the Caribbean (around Cuba and the Bahamas), the Pacific and Indian Oceans (Indonesia and Malaysia), and even Antarctica.
Whatever the case may be, Atlantis has been featured in many pop culture mediums including movies, video games, and books. It’s evident, whether fictional or not, that the Lost City of Atlantis is not only an inspiring story, but one that will continue to live on through generations.
(Source material : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantis)
(Pic source : http://newsitemstoday.today.com/files/2009/02/lost_city_of_atlantis_map.jpg)