While Atlantis is a very popular topic, there is disagreement on the historical records of its existence. In this article we are going to look at the question, where is Atlantis mentioned in history?
Atlantis was written about by Plato in 360 BC, which is the only official historical mention of the lost civilization. Later writings on the subject all refer to Plato’s description, which he inherited from an earlier Greek thinker named Solon.
Like Socrates, Solon never wrote anything down, and what we know of his knowledge of Atlantis comes from Plato. Remarkably, his descriptions correspond with those of psychics thousands of years later, whom had minimal exposure to Solon’s descriptions as recorded by Plato.
The Writings of Plato
The most widely cited source on Atlantis is the writing of Plato. In two dialogues named Timaeus and Critias he describes Atlantis. These dialogues were published in 360 BC and include conversations between Socrates, Timaeus, Hermocrates, and Critias. Within these dialoques, Solon is described travelling to Egypt and learning of the lost continent of Atlantis.
Plato goes on to describe Atlantis as being a technologically advanced civilization that existed on a series of islands shaped in concentric circles, and had sophisticated bridges, canals, and aqueducts. Atlantis had temples dedicated to the god Poseidon, as well as public bathes and extensive canals. It was ruled by 10 kings who became more and more immoral and corrupt. They waged a war on Athens but were defeated, and shortly after sunk into the ocean as punishment for their immorality.
Timeasu and Critias also contain thoughts on the ideal sate according to Socrates, the creation of the universe, and the role of order and beauty in the universe.
Solon was an Athenian Statesmen, and the source of Plato’s knowledge of Atlantis
The source of Plato’s knowledge of Atlantis was passed down to him from a man named Solon, who was a friend of his great grandfather.
Solon was an Athenian statesmen, lawmaker, and poet. He was considered the wisest of the seven sages. The seven sages were a group of wise men in Greece during the 6-7th century BC who were renowned thinkers. They were revered and highly influential on the Classical World.
Solon was born in Athens and lived from 630 – 560 BC. He is considered to be an important contributor in the development of democracy, and wrote poetry, which according to some was on par with the great literary works of Homer. His was of noble descent but not particularly wealthy, and throughout his life made many contributions to political reforms.
Solon studied in Sais, Egypt at the delta in which the Nile River divides, which is where Amasis the king of Egypt lived. Solon was taught the history of Atlantis by the Egyptian priests, who possessed knowledge of it because they had been able to avoid cataclysms like the Greeks, and had preserved their records in their temples.
Solon was taught by the Egyptians that the Greeks did not possess knowledge of great antiquity like the Egyptians because cataclysms had periodically wiped out most civilizations, leaving the few survivors to start again. The Egyptians had managed to preserve their records of Atlantis because of their safer location relative to the Nile River during times of destruction, as well as their sturdy temples.
According to the Egyptian priests, the same deity who created their city state of Sais also created Athens, and actually created the Greek city 1000 years before the Egyptian one.
Atlantis was a conquering civilization, and ruled over numerous surrounding societies, including Libya, parts of Mediterranean Europe, and parts of Asia. They continually expanded their empire until they encountered Athens, who courageously pushed back on the Atlantean invasion, and won the battle between them.
After the battle between Atlantis and Athens, violent earthquakes and floods, and Atlantis sunk into the ocean in a single day. During the destruction, the Atlantic Ocean was filled with mud.
The Egyptian priests taught Solon that this had occurred 9000 years earlier in history. Solon was also taught by the Egyptians how Poseidon had become the god of the Sea, met Cleito, and by making love to her had broken the island into a series of concentric circles by the impact. Poseidon had also created fountains of water in the center of the island, one warm and one cold.
Allegedly Solon had been working on a manuscript describing Atlantis upon his death, and researchers think it is likely that this manuscript made its ways into the hands of Plato.
Ongoing Interest in Plato’s Descriptions of Atlantis
While Plato’s descriptions of Atlantis are often considered the only legitimate source of academic writings on Atlantis, interest in the subject matter has continued to present time.
The Renaissance Writers
Atlantis was a popular theme amongst Renaissance writers, with Thomas More penning Utopia, which is actually where the word utopia comes from. Francis Bacon wrote New Atlantis, published in 1626, in which he describes a vision for a future humanity based on “generosity and enlightenment, dignity and splendour, piety and public spirit”.
Donnelly was a congressmen and amateur researcher in the 1800s, who believed Atlantis had really existed. He wrote about and popularized the idea that it was a real place. His writing is an impressive compilation of everything that was known about Atlantis.
Writing in the late 1800s, H.P. Blavatsky described a very different Atlantis than the one Plato wrote about, in her books Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine. She describes Atlantis as being significantly older than Plato, coming to an end 850 000 years ago.
According to the psychic readings of Cayce, which were conducted in the early 1900’s and later were turned into books which sold over a million copies, Atlantis was destroyed in a series of three cataclysms, in 58000, 20000, and 10000 B.C. Read more about Edgar Cayce and Atlantis here.
If you want to continue exploring the subject of Atlantis more deeply, you can see which books I recommend by clicking here.