The Lost City of Atlantis

Which lost civilization was mentioned in works by Plato?

The mythical island of Atlantis has been an object of fascination among Western philosophers and historians for almost 2500 years. The ancient Greeks were divided as to whether or not Atlantis stood as a metaphor or reality. Since then, efforts have been made to link Atlantis to historical locations, most notably the Greek island of Santorini.

Plato describes it as a powerful and advanced kingdom that sank, in a night and a day, into the ocean. His dialogue "Critias" claims he heard the story of Atlantis from his grandfather, who had heard it from the Athenian statesman Solon, who had learned it from an Egyptian priest, who said it had happened 9,000 years before that. In the end, proof for Atlantis becomes a long train of "he-said-she-said." However, it is clear that the story of Atlantis was not employed for historical accuracy – Plato's dialogues make it apparent that regardless of who or where or how Atlantis existed (if at all), it was meant to function as a metaphor.

But such a fact has not stopped historians and scientists alike for searching for the truth in the Atlantic ocean. From time to time, evidence will be found—a swampy, prehistoric city in coastal Spain; a suspicious undersea rock formation in the Bahamas—that might be a source of the Atlantis story. Of these, the site with the widest acceptance is the Greek island of Santorini (ancient Thera), a half-submerged caldera.

What do you think? Did the mythical city of Atlantis really exist? Check out this History.com video to learn more:


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