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Atlantis was an island legend, whose motion is mentioned for the first time by Plato in Timaeus dialogues (17-27) and Critias in the fourth century BC. According to Plato’s account, Atlantis was a naval power lying “beyond the Pillars of Hercules,” which would have conquered many parts of Western Europe and Africa nine thousand years before Solon’s time (in approximately 9600 BC).
After the failed invasion of Athens, Atlantis would sink “in a single day and night of misfortune” for the work of Poseidon. The island’s name comes from that of Atlas, legendary ruler of the Atlantic Ocean, the son of Poseidon, which would also be, according to Plato, the first king of the island. The possible existence of a genuine Atlantis was actively discussed throughout classical antiquity, but it was usually rejected and occasionally parodied by later authors. Almost ignored in the Middle Ages, the story of Atlantis was rediscovered by Humanists in the modern era. The description of Plato inspired the utopian works of several Renaissance writers, like The New Atlantis of Bacon.
At issue, we have devoted several thousand books and essays. Atlantis inspires contemporary literature, especially the fantasy, but also science fiction, comics, movies, video games, has become synonymous with any and all hypothetically lost civilization in the distant past. The news that Plato tells of Atlantis most likely come from the Greek tradition, from Crete and perhaps Egypt and from other sources we lost, all reinterpreted by the literary philosopher.
Most recently assumptions indicate the location of the mythical island no longer Ocean or in other places too remote, but closer, in the Mediterranean or in its immediate vicinity, where Plato most probably could have learned the various elements to build his story. Geographical Knowledge of the Greeks at the time of Plato was in fact very vague and limited to the Mediterranean basin and was a sufficiently precise reality only in the Aegean. It has been suggested that Plato may have drawn some inspiration from the earthquakes and tsunamis that not many years before, in 373 BC, had swallowed the islands of Elice and Bura. It was also destroyed an island named Atalante, near Locri in Calabria (Italy).
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